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Mandamon

20190225 - Facets of the Nether Ch 2 - 4270 words - Sub 2

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Hello all,

Here is chapter 2 of the sequel to The Seeds of Dissolution. Some of this got subbed before, but it's also quite a bit different. Reactions on anything/everything else is appreciated, from character reactions, to description needed, to grammar and phrasing.

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Overall, the chapter seems a little bit fragmented. I’d be more engaged with R if her two scenes had been back to back.

 The scene with S was short, just a snippet that left me not quite satisfied. To me it was saying “hey, S is here, and going somewhere now that he am actually out of the house. He is kind of numb and recapping things that happened. He going to do something soon but nothing is really going to happen in this scene.”  It seemed like it didn't fully have it's own beat. 

The strength of this chapter was the M scene. That one was paced well, full of emotion and nostalgia, and makes me want to go and maybe read The Society of Two Houses novella you have. It made me want to know more that history.

Other than that, I have just have some little picky comments:

page 1:

"R... had been good at that part." Should this be she? Using her name makes it sound like she is thinking of her self as someone else.

Page 4:

"wasn’t going to mention it" Mention what?

Page 5

"The scars under his sleeves did not replace the emotion, as much as he tried to make it so" Confused. Not quite sure what this means. 

Page 9:

"The boy is a mistake. I have no idea how he exists.” Confused by this sentence. Not quite sure what it is implying. 

"when normally he’d be a way for her " Not 100% sure which pronouns are referring to who, especially the her.

page 12

"She turned and K...—a System Beast with a name and personality—trundled into the next room" Had to read this sentence twice to understand it. It think it is grammatically correct, the syntax you chose just made it unclear to me on the first read. 

Page 13

"... over his shoulder, He had ceased regular" Lower case h?

"had ceased regular contact with his old friend, for fear of letting their association taking up a presence in the minds of the other maji" Hadn’t you already said this?

"to take the burden off him" You were using her earlier and M hasn't realized the transition yet, so it should be she, right? 

Page 14

"and K... popped him up on jointed legs" Can’t picture this.

 

I was happy to see a mention of K after reading that other story where she had a prominent role. :-)

 

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Overall

This chapter has some good promise to it. R's part was shaky, and I think needs some retooling, but I enjoyed M's a lot. The last line of the chapter was awesome and makes me really excited to read more. I think you can get away with the head hopping at this stage in your series because we have such a strong foundation of the characters. So no complaints from me on the multi POVs this time around. 

As I go

- pg 1: YAY R!

- pg2: ah they're back together are they? The electric shiver line seems too... coarse? Like I either need it broadcasted before, so I know it's coming, or more subtly delivered, I think

- pg 3: I'm surprised V is still in this. I feel like he should be done with by now, and to keep dragging him back into the books makes it feel like we aren't progressing forward. Or maybe I just hate him still from his first time around. Could you kill him in this book please?

- pg 5: scars under his sleeves? Is he attempting suicide??

- pg 7: I feel like slapping V wouldn't accomplish anything. Surely R knows that by now? He either needs real physical stress or some type of psychological game

- pg 9: I know we've been through this before, but the queer coding of V still bugs me. It's made passably better now because you have other queer characters to help balance

- pg 10: the whole interrogation scene seems off. R seems very amateurish and it seems like V is driving the convo. I also don't get a lot of desperation from him despite the descriptions of the place

- pg 11: nice to see M again!

- pg 13: so wait, I think I want more info on why it's now okay to have two houses, when it wasn't in M's time

- solid end line!

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On 2/25/2019 at 1:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

"The scars under his sleeves did not replace the emotion, as much as he tried to make it so" Confused. Not quite sure what this means. 

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

- pg 5: scars under his sleeves? Is he attempting suicide??

Eh, probably just need to take this out. I don't think it's working.

On 2/25/2019 at 1:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

The scene with S was short, just a snippet that left me not quite satisfied.

 

1 hour ago, kais said:

I think you can get away with the head hopping at this stage in your series because we have such a strong foundation of the characters. So no complaints from me on the multi POVs this time around. 

Hmm...I'll see what the final consensus is.

1 hour ago, kais said:

I'm surprised V is still in this

This is the only scene he's in, and mainly to get to the inciting incident for R. I'll have to see how that plays with other readers, and whether I should just condense it.

 

On 2/25/2019 at 1:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

makes me want to go and maybe read The Society of Two Houses novella

Cool! Hopefully it will do the same for potential readers!

Glad the scene with M seems to be working better. I finally figured out what part he's playing, so I've got a clear direction. I can rework R's scene, probably on the next draft.

Thanks @shatteredsmooth and @kais!

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I remember parts of this section. It is reading better overall than what I'm recalling. 

 

"scars under his sleeves" -- Did S self-harm in the first book? I read this as cutting, but it seems like others read it as suicide? It does feel a little out of place with what I'm recalling and with S from the first section of this book, but again, I haven't read but what you've submitted here, so I can see both leaving it in and taking it out. It seems to me like he's making a reference to some scene from this book we don't have, like we're supposed to have seen him injuring himself in order to feel something and this is a callback. But at the same time, there was no mention of self-harm in the first S section of this book, so ... it is a little odd. 

"It lost you your seat, didn't you" -- is he implying that sleeping with O got her fired? :blink: Like, with the "electric shiver" in the first bit, paired with this, and that's a bit of a low blow, isn't it? I'm a bit confused by the whole prison scene in general, but this section really had me scratching my head. 

More broadly, though, I still think the part with R in the prison isn't fitting quite right with the rest of the section. It's better than I remember, because I remember thinking R lost control of the situation immediately, and she doesn't here. She remains mostly in control this time, more or less. However, I am unsure about the usefulness of showing R in generally-ineffective prison torture at this point. It's an odd change of tone from the S parts, and kind of I feel like halts the momentum the S parts had going for them.

Maybe it's because I haven't read the other books, but I'm also unsure what I'm supposed to be getting out of prison torture other than a minor pointer back to book 1, if V doesn't do much in this book. I feel like, wouldn't there be some kind of guard or interrogator or -- well, i suppose the Nether doesn't have war mages so a psychic interrogator is out, but still -- somebody better trained in actual interrogation or interviewing than an out-of-favor politician? And, like, couldn't any other person at the prison give this info to R once it had been beaten out of V? Surely V has been in contact with others with whom he could be negotiating? I have so many questions about a state-operated prison with a magic-forbidding solitary confinement room in a pacifist society that apparently opposes violence so much that it doesn't even allow research for defense, like wow.  Like, you'd think they'd be more on the rehabilitation side of correctional policy than the retributive?  Or at least, I would.  I don't know, the more I think about it, the weirder the whole thing seems....  

 Anyway, ignoring "why prison," that R would be present for or participate in an interrogation, I understand, but I keep getting hung up on R being the ONLY interrogator, the ONLY contact. I mean, I feel like, if V is showing up here this early, in this big of a section (and it is a pretty big section), then I should expect him to escape at some point and play a larger part in the plot. I don't know. the whole thing's just still not sitting right with me, sorry. 

I like all the POV sections here, but there are a lot of them, and I don't quite feel like the POVs are lining up well enough to have the momentum transfer well -- like, a bit keeps getting lost at each switch, and while no one part is putting on the brakes, the net effect is a good bit of slowing. Maybe if the S parts were together, like S-R-R-M or something instead of R-S-R-M like it is now? I do like that end line from M, that's really good and needs to stay there because I was slightly unhappy I didn't have more to read after that. 

Don't have much to say about the M section specifically. It seems a lot more focused than before, and I'm getting some more emotion out of it, I think. I was a bit confused by the K machine. It's the one that G is sitting on, yes? And I do like that end line. 

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Thanks @industrialistDragon!

19 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I have so many questions about a state-operated prison with a magic-forbidding solitary confinement room in a pacifist society that apparently opposes violence so much that it doesn't even allow research for defense, like wow. 

Lol! There's actually an epigraph in the first book that hints at how the prison got built. But yeah, I'm thinking this section just needs to go. It is a bit of a cap on the V/R relationship, but maybe I'm the only one who actually wants that.

19 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

then I should expect him to escape at some point and play a larger part in the plot.

Hmm...yeah, he's pretty much toast, so not likely to add anything else to the story.

19 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I don't quite feel like the POVs are lining up well enough to have the momentum transfer well

I'll see how this reorganizes when I take out the prison section.

Glad M's scene seems to be hitting better.

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

but maybe I'm the only one who actually wants that.

Sounds like a prime candidate for inclusion in a short story collection! ;) 

And I have been tinfoil-hat speculating on how a government like the Nether's ends up with a magic-dampening solitary-confinement cell seriously all last night and today. :D 

 

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24 minutes ago, industrialistDragon said:

Sounds like a prime candidate for inclusion in a short story collection! ;) 

And I have been tinfoil-hat speculating on how a government like the Nether's ends up with a magic-dampening solitary-confinement cell seriously all last night and today. :D 

Yeesssss....

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Posted (edited)

On 25/02/2019 at 2:46 PM, Mandamon said:

to grammar and phrasing.

Oh, goody <claps hands... repeatedly>.

Chapter 2 

- (pg.1) - Another strong epigram. R's no-nonsense tone comes shining through. excellent :) 

- (pg.1) - "O suggested"- To me, it's not a suggestion, but s statement.

- (pg.1) - "S’s teeth" - ...and anyway, who is this S, and what's wrong with their teeth? :lol: 

- (pg.1) - Just lovely, lovely, snarky chemistry between these two straight from the off. Perfect. Glad to be back. :D 

- (pg.2) - "It’d be like being on the Council again, except all of the paperwork and none of the responsibility" - Something off here, for me. Bit wordy for one thing, and I don't think the sense of it comes out right. Isn't it about influence? 'It would be all the council paperwork, but none of the influence.'

- (pg.2) - "They thought..."- Who's they here? The Council? The MCs?

- (pg.2) - "but they were also falling back" - Surely, this means the same as 'on the run', compared say to 'they were also consolidating'

- (pg.2) - "looked both ways down the hallway in the S of the M" - We know this from the last page. We're past this kind of introductory detail, I feel.

- (pg.2) - "I still have clearance" - But I thought they came hereto get clearance. So what were they asking the Council for?

- (pg.2) - "Councilor F disappeared" - He did? Is this new? Oh, no!! :o 

- (pg.2) - "I’m thinking I need to find where the LC is hiding" - Eh, but this has been the whole point of the 10 pages I've read so far. If she delivered this line with irony or sarcasm, I might be able to buy it, but straight like this it seems, illogical.

- (pg.2) - "stroking her fingers down" - Have they stopped walking? This doesn't work if they're still walking: it's a soft gesture, but if they're pounding along a corridor...

- (pg.2) - "running down her back" - Oh my, so back together. Good. I hope this doesn't get forgotten about in the course of the story. I'm hoping to see gestures and dialogue to underline and emphasise the state of their relationship. It's satisfying for the reader, also, it would be good and enjoyable to see a stable and caring (cough) relationship at the heart of story, i.e. not yet another romantic pursuit arc.

- (pg.3) - "Rilan hesitated..." - Confused by this paragraph. Who's accepting what she's done? She is herself? But only because O comes along? Not quite following.

- (pg.3) - "You have plenty of studying to do on the voids"- Too wordy for R, imo, compared to 'You have voids to study.'

- (pg.3) - "his new house" - It's not just S's new house, it's the N's, surely? R's phrasing tends to belittle its significance.

- (pg.3) - "She’d travel to GP, just one more time" - Why the comma?

- (pg.3) - Repetition of 'step' is awkward.

- (pg.3) - "climbing up toward them" - Something off here. S is looking down at the steps, but could be travelling up or down, but him being scared of falling down the steps implies he's going down, otherwise he'd be concerned about falling forward (his direction of movement) into the steps, surely. So, how can he see O coming if O is climbing towards them? he must be behind them.

- (pg.4) - "Not that S could blame him" - This sounds like blame him for trying to hide his astonishment, rather than blame him for being astonished, I think.

- (pg.4) - "wash over his head" - Two 'wash's in this sentence.

- (pg.5) - "What if the linking notes between the portals are part of S’s house" - Grammar off. And does she mean 'isn't part of'? The sentence seems set up that way.

- (pg.5) - "exit points for the portals" - 'of'?

- (pg.5) - "E may be assisting me while R is" - This thought is not connected with going down the stairs, petit follows straight on in the same paragraph. Confused by the logic.

- (pg.5) - "M a j i C"- M a j u s, surely. Even if they are non-binary (I'll admit I don't remember), they are still only one entity. Ah, I see. but if it's citing two maji, I don't think 'maji' it would be capitalised.

- (pg.6) - "It would be good to help again" - It's very encouraging to see this positivity from S. However, saying it would be 'good' is an enormous understatement. I'd like to see more emotion, urgency, something stronger here, especially at the end of the section.

- (pg.6) - "he'd never need to" - Really, so no exercise? That's barbaric, and seems out off tone.

- (pg.7) - "I didn't want my seat again" - Suggest 'back' is smoother. Also, her use of the word 'my' implies she is lying to herself.

- (pg.8) - Something seems off the flow of logic through the conversation at the top of the page, and bottom of the last. Flow somehow. Not quite sure what specifically.

- (pg.8) - "That’s a V i s h-cursed lie" - 'S h i v'?

- (pg.8) - "No. she was here" - CAPS

- (pg.9) - "We've got to find him"- Why doesn't she say I? Also, strange to make it about one person: there's so much more at stake, isn't there?

- (pg.9) - "His affected lisp was coming back., and R clenched her teeth." - Seems like run-on to me.

- (pg.9) - "You do still believe in that organization a little bit, don't you?" - Again, I expect directness from R.

- (pg.9) - "R spun around"- She hardly seems to let him finish here. It doesn't feel right to me. He might be about to continue. I think she quits too quickly.

- (pg.9/10) - "She tried not to see his expression as she left him" - And she succeeds, because we don't hear anything about it. This seems redundant, unless she does catch a glimpse and it troubles her in some way. Also, she hasn't completed the deal, and V spilled before he had secured the perk(s) for doing it. I think this ending needs tidying up to address these loose ends.

- (pg.10) - "lifted an eye" - 'eyebrow'.

- (pg.10) - Oh, this is a joy. To see M in the 'main' novel timeline as a POV (I don't think Seeds had that...), and to see him back in P. Proper chuffed :D 

- (pg.11) - "with as little pre-amble as M had used" - Redundant, imo.

- (pg.11) - "from behind glasses, set on her furry snout"- Drop the comma, imo.

- (pg.11) - "She still wore her bandolier" - This sentence is a bit maid-and-butler as a thought that M would have, since he knows all this and would expect nothing else, surely? So, I suggest the 'still' to give him an excuse, or highlight that he is reappraising her appearance against his memory.

- (pg.11) - "Me and K have been" - Grammar. Should be 'K and I', but since it's dialogue and characters are allowed to have bad grammar then... But wait!! The N translates, does it? So, does it not correct grammar as part of the process?!?!?!?! :o 

- (pg.11) - "certificates of invention" - Patents, surely?

- (pg.11) - "I've missed your phrases" - Meh. Not an evocative word, compared to something like 'quips' or 'jibes'.

- (pg.12) - "Helped me put K here together" - Hang on, did the 'spider-chair' speak just now? Not quite sure what happened.

- (pg.12) - "I’ve been afraid to reach out" - Not sure I believe this of G. No... I don't. One thing for M to be reticent, but why would all parties behave that way, especially if K was dying?

- (pg.12) - "Truthfully, though he’d first kept away from any other maji once associated with the organization he’d belonged to in his youth, his term on the Council had occupied more and more of his time." - This first thought isn't finished. he first kept away because... If it's because of the time thing, saying more and more about something that happened in the past seems awkward, and sounds more like something happening in the present, and expected to continue.

- (pg.12) - "Bet you could have showed her" - 'shown'.

- (pg.12) - "trundled" - Doesn't it have legs / feet? This sounds more like wheels, but maybe it has both. Just wasn't clear about the wheels before, I think.

- (pg.13) - "shoulder, He" - CAPS off.

- (pg.13) - "for fear of letting their association taking up" - Grammar typo(s).

- (pg.13) - "regulated to a curiosity" - Relegated?

- (pg.13) - "and just in time"- Huh? How so?

- (pg.13) - "It must have gotten worse" - This observation is beneath his intellect to make. Self-evident.

- (pg.13) - "She helped me out through the toughest times" - Unnecessary and less smooth.

- (pg.13) - "Well deserved"- Nice couple sentences here. Pathos, melancholy. Nice subtlety.

- (pg.14) - "if I may have it again"- Great line, plays off the pathos and melancholy very nicely.

- (pg.14) - "and it shall require" - Not just 'will'? 'shall' sounds overelaborate, imo.

- (pg.14) - "until his face was at standing height" - Awkward and a bit indirect, for me, compared to 'level with M's'. But wait, if M was bending down, does that mean G's face stops being level when M straightens up? Argh. This seems unnecessarily complicated.

- (pg.14) - "Our first task,” M said, “Is to restart the SoTH." - I'd forgotten this bit from reading this submission the first time around. I literally put my arms in the air and mouthed 'Yesss!" (It's still only 6:23am). This is a glorious moment. I LOVE THIS. I really hope there's a recruitment montage. This was a really Hollywood moment, and I mean that in the best possible sense. It's the Avengers assemble moment and, for me, it's just perfect.

Overall 

Oh man, oh man, oh man, I just love this chapter. It's everything I could have wanted from the new book, to have M as a main character (I hope he is, and has an equal part). There are a lot of characters and therefore a lot of POVs (I feel somewhat vindicated :lol: ), but they are so distinctive that it's no problem at all. Inevitably, there is the risk of readers having favourites, and therefore being less enthused / disappointed when you revert to a less liked one, but I don't think that's an issue because of the clearly different and interesting (for different reasons) voices between them. And this is a huge benefit is helping to 'water down' (in a good way) S's tendency to sound whiny.

A triumph. More @Mandamon, please, @Mandamon ;) 

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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Thanks again, @Robinski. Glad you like the different voices. You've got some good comments on this one that will help me clean it up a bit.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

Grammar. Should be 'K and I', but since it's dialogue and characters are allowed to have bad grammar then... But wait!! The N translates, does it? So, does it not correct grammar as part of the process?!?!?!?! :o

It does let the natural grammar of the species shine through, which is why they all have their little quirks. But I should probably fix this one ;-)

 

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

"I still have clearance" - But I thought they came hereto get clearance. So what were they asking the Council for?

 Yeah, this is still a little shaky. I'll need to get better reasoning behind it.

 

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

Oh, this is a joy. To see M in the 'main' novel timeline as a POV (I don't think Seeds had that...)

It didn't, but I liked his voice so much in STH, I had to put him in!

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

I really hope there's a recruitment montage.

Sort of...let me know what you think.

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