kais

02/11/19 - kais - Dandelions, Chapters 5-6 (2793 words)

8 posts in this topic

Final installment! Edits since last time:

1) Methal is now a heavy magic-using kingdom. Magic is banned in E but there’s still a black market
2) MCs no longer do poo battle with dragons. Now they just get pulled into the carriage after getting damp butts from the sedge
3) Methal has a large magic library, from which Met stole a book written by the original colonists about early magic, and how early colonists kept ending up in other people’s minds. Book has a way to stop it but one of the people has to die. 

Other than that, events are all basically the same. I have about 500 words to play with and I wouldn’t mind using them on these last two chapters, especially the final separation scene, which might be too brisk. Any thoughts at all are welcome, but especially if the ending hits home and if you think the separation magic stuff needs some work.
 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, this wrapped everything up, but I definitely think there needs to be more with the separation ceremony and less with the coronation and sitting around beforehand. You could probably cut some of the first two pages of this section to give you more words to work with.

My main problems were:

1) Blocking. I didn't really get what was going on where in the ceremony and the separation.

2) The separation: This is the whole point of the story. The ceremony really doesn't even matter except for the (somewhat plotful) reason they have to make the glass there. There's also no explanation of how M. made this giant sleeve, or a description of it once made. I was having a very hard time visualizing it.

3) Emotional reaction from M and O after the separation. There really isn't any.


Notes While Reading:
pg 1: "She held two round loaves of bread and three thin glass jars of juice in her hands"
--on a tray or something?

pg 2: "spend the blank note "
--I think I got a  little lost along the way. M sent it? But is it her money? And it's just for whatever amount? If she isn't actually the princess, then where did it come from?

pg 3: “So the glass?” 
--This is a weird non-sequitur and threw me out until I realized what was going on. I though they were talking about the glasses of juice again.

pg 4: "killed livestock and little kids"
--I feel like these shouldn't have the same emphasis.

pg 4: "a dwarf komodo someone hadn’t thought to leash properly"
--so it is just wandering around eating people's toes? I find the culture which lets these obviously dangerous animals run free kind of suspicious.

pg 5-6: I had to read O's bluff several times to figure out what was going on. I think we need some indication of what's O is going to do, because if it was me, I'd just let the guards seize O.

pg 6: Maybe it's just me but I'm not picking up what O is selling...He sounds ridiculous. Maybe because I don't know of any customs that would support this?

pg 9: "threw pot after pot at the cooling sleeve"
--wait, why is this happening? I think I need some blocking to know what's going on. The whole throwing pots section is confusing.

pg 10: "O rolled to xir back"
--I though xie was standing straight up in the sleeve? How big is it? Need some description.

pg 10: "Blisters deflated. The red faded from xir skin."
--Are the dandelion seeds magic, to heal blisters?

pg 11: “It’s done.”
--hmmm...yeah far too short here. Needs some more emotion, or reaction, or something.

pg 12: "Perhaps they would eventually make one that brought O and M closer than xie and B."
--like lovers? I didn't really get that from O and M.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

I think we need some indication of what's O is going to do,

Ahh good call. I've changed so much in the beginning it doesn't make as much sense. I have edited it heavily

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

Maybe it's just me but I'm not picking up what O is selling...He sounds ridiculous. Maybe because I don't know of any customs that would support this?

Check. I've tied it back into the magic versus nature thing I put in the edited beginning. I think it makes more sense now

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

The whole throwing pots section is confusing.

This is partly WRS and partly bad blocking. Will fix.

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

I though xie was standing straight up in the sleeve? How big is it? Need some description.

Have fixed sleeve description and O's problematic blocking

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

Are the dandelion seeds magic, to heal blisters?

Yes. This got played up a lot more in the early parts so it isn't so shocking now

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

Needs some more emotion, or reaction, or something.

Have expanded!

On 2/11/2019 at 11:08 AM, Mandamon said:

like lovers? I didn't really get that from O and M.

Ehhhhh. There's like three lines about it scattered throughout. I'll reread and see how things are coded now. It may or may not stay.

Thank you so much! One more read through and this thing is off to the editor!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did most of these earlier in the week waiting for a student while the wifi in the building was down, and in my pre-con panic, I never uploaded them. Mostly, @Mandamon says everything I would've said. Normally I'd do a second pass, but since you are just about ready to send this to your editor, I'm just posting what I have. 

page 2
"The shower had been glorious, as had the faces of every one of the factory workers they’d had to walk past to get to them, M quelling questions with her glare as she led them on"   Confusing sentence

"They’d slept through the entire night." So no waking up to talk to eachother’s ghosts when they are in close proximity to eachother. Interesting. Maybe they won’t need the ritual after all if they just move in together.

 

            You’re  not having second thought..." Slightly jarring transition. The organization of the first half of page 2 was a little hard to follow.

Page 9

"She landed" Xie?" Wait, this was intention? Is O thinking xie is M

I found the few pages confusing. I had a hard following all the action with the diversion and the glass tubes. I think it might need to just be a tiny but slower there. 

Otherwise, I think this was a good ending to the piece. It was fun, everyone got what they wanted, and it leaves room for the reader to imagine several options of a happy future for these people. 

On 2/11/2019 at 2:08 PM, Mandamon said:

1) Blocking. I didn't really get what was going on where in the ceremony and the separation.

Yes. 100% agree.

 

On 2/11/2019 at 2:08 PM, Mandamon said:

3) Emotional reaction from M and O after the separation. There really isn't any.

I didn't quite pick up on this, but that might have been because I got a little lost at the end. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/02/2019 at 5:20 AM, kais said:

Book has a way to stop it but one of the people has to die.

:o:o:o  Wow, that certainly will up the stakes in the middle.

Chapter 5 

- (pg.1) - "The courtyard..." - Struggling a bit with the description of the building, but especially the courtyard. It's just loose stone stacked up? Why is it at head height, or is it the courtyard wall that's a head height? Struggling to imagine this.

- (pg.1) - "over the tops of the stone city" - Rooftops?

- (pg.1) - "strung and roped across" - These essentially mean the same thing, surely. Having both seems redundant.

- (pg.2) - "as she led them on" - I feel like this phrase has a very strong association its meaning 'to mislead someone', and that is the impression I get, rather then 'led them in' (to the bathhouse) or led them through' (the factory).

- (pg.2) - "no one could agree on who should take the bed" - To me, this is beyond ridiculous. I don't think three sane people would allow that situation to occur. All very well for a sitcom, or romcom, but for a serious story? I thinker's a bit off tone, like the rust show from last time.

- (pg.2) - "The morning had..." - Real run-on basket of clauses, and fragments in this sentence, it seemed to me. Very awkward to read.

- (pg.2) - "You slept last night" - Must say I missed the significance of this line until it was explained below. I think it's just WRS though.

- (pg.2) - "Or are the clothes too tight?" - I don't think tight clothes is the opposite of second thoughts, is it? This sounds off to me.

- (pg.3) - "I still want to do this" - Referring to your notes above: do they know at this point that one of them will die during the spell? If so, they seem very blasé about it here. Unconvincingly so. 

- (pg.3) - "when xie still couldn’t think of what else to say" - I don't see what function this is performing in this sentence. Reads fine without it to me.

- (pg.4) - "road rode an impressively large grey"

- (pg.4) - "what pedigrees or trainings the thing had" - Singular, surely. For one thing, a singular entity only has one pedigree. Similarly, 'training' is an aggregation of all structured experience, surely. You wouldn't say 'I've got trainings in French, Biology, etc.'

- (pg.4) - "thousands lined the sidewalks" - I'd like more impression of this through noise and clamour, bustle, etc.

- (pg.4) - What does 'breaking from the crowd' mean? The person should have tied up their pet, I understand that, but what was it they did? Then I'm unclear what happens. O falls on the brick, but protects the pot from breaking? Why does LL's dragon rear? Did O fall at its feet? Unclear. I just don't follow the action here.

- (pg.5) - "running feet on brick and surmised" - Repetition quite soon after the last use. Stood out for me.

- (pg.5) - "guards whom had originally been" - Unnecessary, imo, and do you really need whom? Seems out of tone, overly elaborate when 'who' would flow past unnoticed, imo.

- (pg.5) - "hanging around my bed post" - 'to prove it'?

- (pg.6) - "One of the guards approached" - I think it takes the guards way too long to get there. Surely, there would be a commander who would not permit them to doze at their posts. Surely, there is an escort that flanks the lady through the streets, especially if some people are booing, implying disaffection and possible rebelliousness (i.e. threat to the lady).

- (pg.6) - "four guards bowed" - Only four guards when there are thousands of people?

- (pg.6) - "A head peaked from the left side opening" - Don't understand who this is. Someone in the courtyard?

Chapter 6

- (pg.8) - "Guards are all dealing with the crowd" - Meh. For me this is quite simplistic and unlikely. It's that classic and unfortunate trope of the opposition being really stupid, lacking any kind of leadership (*see under Keystone Cops), acting as one equally daft unit*, and falling for the first simple ruse that the protagonists come up with*. It's low-hanging fruit. I know this is a short, so you don't have time for two or three try-fails, but could we not even have one? There must be guards inside the courtyard, surely, who would not run outside, because they've been assigned to a location and instructed to say put. It's not like there has been an assassination attempt, it's just crowd control which, surely, is the responsibility of those guards outside near the crowd.

- (pg.8) - "Hop in." - Again, I can't believe that O knows at this point that one of them might die. And, if M knows, she's being very callus and calculating, but not betraying any outward sign that she knows someone is going to die. Is it random which one dies?

- (pg.8) - "You can’t be in here!" - Thank goodness for this, but it doesn't assuage my doubts enough. Why are there no guards in the courtyard? Who is watching the flame, and making sure it doesn't go out? Who is controlling the equipment?

- (pg.9) - "two of the grounds crew were plenty tall enough to see over" - Is this the same wall that was as tall as O's head?

- (pg.9) - "without M" - I say again, how is it that everyone's so blasé about this is one of O and M is about to die? Secondly, The ladder must be really hot under xir hands, but O seems to feeling northing. No sweat, no scalded skin (is it only liquid that scalds?)?

- (pg.9) - "Ignoring xir burning hands and melting shoes" - I'd rather xie wasn't ignoring them, which sounds unlikely, but coping with the pain in some way, feeling it but punish through it and past it with a great effort of will. Ignoring it kind of trivialises it, to me.

- (pg.9) - "insistently reading words in an alphabet" - I don't think you see words in an alphabet, but in a language.

- (pg.9) - "pot after pot" - I don't know where this comes from. Maybe with the updated version, this is flagged earlier as part of the plan, but it seems a bit too convenient, that some guy came from Meth to buy all the flowers and handily give O a way out of the dire situation. Also, why do the guards have to climb the wall when they are seen through the open doorway (aren't they?) before O gets into the sleeve?

- (pg.9) - "thin packs on the air currents" - I don't really follow this.

- (pg.10) - "Xir skin felt too tight, the blisters on xir skin ready to pop" - Close repetition of 'skin'. Could the second instance be 'body'? I think that would flow better, and sounds more personal and immediate to me. Then there are two most instances of skin. There has to be another word. I always think close repetition of words is, well, boring.

- (pg.10) - "Her dragon has also started trying to lap the seeds from the air" - I think this was commented upon last time. There have been literally no advantages and a huge number of drawbacks to using Komodo dragons in this way. Why on earth would any civilisation do this? They can't be the only beasts of burden available, surely. (Someone mentioned pigs.) There is no logic to it, which makes me doubt and disbelieve it every time it comes up. There has been chaos every time a KD appears 'on screen', so why would the powers that by permit the risk during something as important as a coronation? I think it makes no sense, and therefore feels like the hand of the writer.

- (pg.10) - "We didn’t have weapons and I think that makes us a low level threat. We’ve got time to get away, if you can get up" - This sounds really exposition-y to me.

- (pg.11) - "O could hear M walking away" - How?

- (pg.11) - "Where there had always been a tinge of consciousness" - But there hasn't been when they've been together, has there? Not that I remember.

- (pg.11) - "even after thin glass rained down" - Nope, hang on. This sleeve is a massive glass cylinder big enough for O to lie down in and not touch the sides. Structurally, the walls must be pretty darn thick for it to support its own weight. I don't believe this at all. Even if it is thin glass, there is a huge amount of it. The chances of O coming out 

- (pg.11) - "O looked at M" - Huh? Nobody died. How does this relate to your comment in the intro? Also, you said that M walked away, so how can O look at her?

- (pg.11) - "a few men screaming"- Eh? What? Why? Are the guards tasering the crowd? Why? I can't understand, but again it seems very convenient to permit O and B to escape in the well-placed chaos. What about the guards and ground staff that were coming towards them? Where are they, have the just disappeared?

- (pg.12) - "back through the gate and into the crowded street" - But where did the guards and the ground staff go? I'm just not understanding at all. Seems like the evaporated.

- (pg.12) - "that brought O and M closer" - This is out of POV. O would not refer to herself in the third person, surely.

- (pg.12) - In my humble (Okay, probably not :lol:.) opinion, the last line is a bit weak.

Summary 

In the end, I feel rather let down by a lot of details that add up to disappoint quite significantly. I think there's a good story in here, but where is the cost? Where is the test, the trying and failing and the price of magic? I feel like it's all too easy and makes me wonder why I cared in the first place. There's close to anguish and real pain in the early sections, but that is lost when O and M come together. I feel like the tone of the story changes there, and the gritty, painful elements are gone, and it become a caper, and a rather improbable one at that.

It's well written and very readable, as always, with effective characters(+) and solid pacing, but I've come to expect more from you in terms of story after the final draft version of Ard. (still to enjoy the finished article), and most especially what is not now called TWD. I finished this with the bitter tang of disappointment on my (metaphorical) palate.

<R>

(+ Still, I am not totally convinced by the relationship between O and B.)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and can I just add, #iagreewith@Mandamon

On 11/02/2019 at 7:08 PM, Mandamon said:

Blocking. I didn't really get what was going on where in the ceremony and the separation.

On 11/02/2019 at 7:08 PM, Mandamon said:

Emotional reaction from M and O after the separation. There really isn't any.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/16/2019 at 0:44 PM, Robinski said:

It's well written and very readable, as always, with effective characters(+) and solid pacing, but I've come to expect more from you in terms of story after the final draft version of Ard. (still to enjoy the finished article), and most especially what is not now called TWD. I finished this with the bitter tang of disappointment on my (metaphorical) palate.

Quite fair. This was still a draft here, and needed quite a bit of work. It continues to morph as it goes through editorial rounds now. Apologies that I couldn't sub a later version draft through here. Time was really short and, let's be honest, my early drafts are pretty trash. :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kais said:

my early drafts are pretty trash. :P

Lol. I think that's harsh. But quick first draft, I can accept.

My approach is, I'll never learn to polish a turd, if I don't start off with the turd in the first place :lol: 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.