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Mandamon

20190318 - Facets of the Nether Ch 5 - 5418 words - Sub 5

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Hello all,
    
Here's chapter 5. This is slightly longer than 5000 words, so apologies. As always, let me know what you think. Reactions on anything/everything else is appreciated, from character reactions, to description needed, to grammar and phrasing. 

Previously: E coaxed S out of his room after a strange chime went off. The maji are interested in S's new house. R got some information from a source, and M wants to restart the Society. R reveals the location of the Coalition's headquarters, but can't get there, and everyone is called to the Assembly, where the Coalition unveils an ancient being.

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Overall,

Hmm I was pulled into this chapter and still feel like I need to keep reading; it feels like a tease to just read a little and then have to stop. :D

Of the three sections, I think S’s was the weakest, and M’s was the strongest.

E’s was packed with emotion and definitely needed, but I did get a little confused in a few spots and found myself having to go reread more. Because the conversation between her and R was happening in a room where other people were talking, I got a little lost and was wondering who could overhear them. I was also a little confused by what E meant about changing her eyes. At first I thought she meant actually changing her eyes to someone else’s, not using the symphony to enhance her vision like she did.

S’s section got off to a slow start. Since there had been a lot of internal monologue in E’s, I wanted a break for it, not more of it. Once he got into the E’s office and started having a conversation, things got better. Consider trimming the begining of that section.  

M’s section was the one I had almost no criticism for, except for that the transition to it felt jarring, and I didn’t want it to end. There might not be anything to do about the transition. I just had a hard time adjusting because it had such a different tone from the last two sections. Transition aside, the difference in tone is a good thing. 

As I read:

page 1:

"...but when E arrived with her brother, they were both surprised by the way the gigantic crystal translated intent and words from other species... " I feel like this information about the Nether is constantly being repeated. 

Page 2

"“J,” called Speaker Osc..." to Councilor F had captured the Ari... E and I talked to in Gloomlight prison. Speaker Osc carefully hadn’t said the Council already had proof. " I got confused here, but I think it might have been my fault, not yours. Since we alternate between Councillor <last name> and the first name, sometimes I forget which names go together, so I was thing Osc was someone else. But going from that to part about Councilor F capturing the other Ari... had also somehow confused me. I felt like I was missing something. 

Page 3

"If that was something the Ari.. could to, their parents had not shared it with them." I think "to" should be "do"

Page 4

"She risked a glance left and right. Could she change her eyes here, in the middle of so many people, while an Ari...—another Ari,,,—showed its face for the first time in a thousand cycles?" This is what I mentioned in my overall comments. Was she thinking of using her Ari... abilities to change her eyes to someone else's? Why? I don't understand.

In the next paragraph, what E was thinking about R was also confusing.

Page 6

“We have a much larger problem,” Majus A said." At first I thought she was saying this to everyone and forget she was just talking to E. This was an issue on and off throughout the whole thing. Who else are these two around? Anyone that can over hear them? Had i missed them doing something to the symphony to prevent people from overhearing or is their whispering masked enough by the assembly's chaos? 

Page 9:

"The intervening days had been full, with Majus C ...rattled the Assembly representatives badly." I was not making the right connections between sentences here. 

"...majus would have gathered them all if she had found anything" There was too much summary in this section, especially considering it followed one that was very internal.  I think you could trim a lot of this and get to the main part sooner.

Page 13:

"...then tapped the circlet. “A long time. This..." A long time ago? Should sam have asked “When did you hear?

 

I loved the last line! 

I am looking forward to reading more next week.

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10 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Hmm I was pulled into this chapter and still feel like I need to keep reading; it feels like a tease to just read a little and then have to stop. :D

Awesome! That's just what I want.

10 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I feel like this information about the Nether is constantly being repeated. 

Excellent. I can cut this back then.

10 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Since we alternate between Councillor <last name> and the first name, sometimes I forget which names go together, so I was thing Osc was someone else.

Can clarify.

10 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Was she thinking of using her Ari... abilities to change her eyes to someone else's? Why? I don't understand.

Yes, using Ari abilities, but not to change to someone else's, just to change the focal length of her eyes. Ari don't have to assume a specific other body. I'll try to clarify.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

This was an issue on and off throughout the whole thing. Who else are these two around? Anyone that can over hear them?

I was intending their conversation to be masked by everyone else in the seats around them. Think about having a private conversation in two seats at a football stadium, or something like that. I can clarify that they're speaking quietly.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

There was too much summary in this section, especially considering it followed one that was very internal.

I agree. I think I may need to stick another section in with S's (or someone's) immediate reaction to the reveal at the Assembly, rather than him thinking about it days after.

 

Thanks so much, @shatteredsmooth!

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I was intending their conversation to be masked by everyone else in the seats around them. Think about having a private conversation in two seats at a football stadium, or something like that. I can clarify that they're speaking quietly.

That makes sense.

Through out much of that scene, it felt like I was either watching the stadium from above it,  in a bubble of quiet with E and R, or just fully in E's head.  That may have more to do with it than just the volume of their voices. 

But that disconnect aside, I loved the content of the conversation, the tension, and E's reaction to everything. 

 

2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

just to change the focal length of her eyes

OK. That was part of it, but also what confused me was when she actually did it, she used the symphony, which made me think it was something any majus of the house of healing could do. 

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23 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

OK. That was part of it, but also what confused me was when she actually did it, she used the symphony, which made me think it was something any majus of the house of healing could do. 

Ah. I think I can make this clearer. Yes, anyone from the house of healing could do this, but E was considering using her Ari powers, so I was intending to show she wasn't thinking enough about being a majus and sort of panicking. Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 5

Ooh, what a great chapter title. I’m excited straight away.

- (pg.1) – I think you could drop ‘…of beings.’ because that phrasing is quite easy to interpret two ways, whereas dropping those two words, it’s perfectly clear it’s one’s own memory you’re referring to.

 - (pg.1) – I’ve forgotten who J is, if I even knew. WRS, of course.

 - (pg.2) – “may still be some of that ancient race still in existence” – Repetition.

 - (pg.2) – “proof for” – I would have said ‘proof of’, but potato, potato.

 - (pg.2) – “E shivered at the memory” – I didn’t remember Z from Seeds. Did you highlight they were recurring in the last chapter? I forget.

 - (pg.3) – “hiding a small metal box between them”- How did they get into the hall? And how did they get a potential bomb in?

 - (pg.3) – “if it were him” – I wasn’t feeling the case was big enough to contain a body. “With no shape?” – I was not thinking in those terms.

 - (pg.3) – “She’d been hiding for such a long time” – Great couple of lines there.

 - (pg.4) –  “fifty thousand beings inhaled” – Huh? I think this has tripped me up before. I know the Ef can damp or otherwise control the ability of people to be heard, but there a moment where everyone was speaking and shouting and I was imagining maybe a couple of hundred. If that damping tech was not used continually there would be the kind of continuous roar that comes at football (soccer) matches. I just never seem to get that impression of scale. I also tend to confuse the Council and Assembly.

 - (pg.5) – I like to see E using her ability, the narrowing down of the music, picking out themes at a more targeted level, I found that very effective.

 - (pg.5) – “decided she didn't want to know” – Then why did she look in close in the first place?

 - (pg.5) – “did not allow changing form” – This feels like new information. Did I know this from Seeds?

 - (pg.5) – “but any trick was impossible” – I feel like on its own this line is incomplete. I feel like it means ‘any trick is impossible until you see it.’ but it doesn’t say that, and I think that interpretation is too big a leap from what’s on the page.

 - (pg.5) – “It rested on the… floor” – Not sure what’s happening. Is it standing up? But if it has no legs it won’t be, I suppose. Can’t really picture what’s in front of me.

 - (pg.6) – “device underneath” – Underneath the collar? Not sure what’s being described.

 - (pg.6) – “no sign of genitalia” – Slightly curious she thinks to look for this so soon in the revelation. I know she has a very analytical mind, so I can accept it. It just kind of struck me odd that it was one of the first features she looked for.

 - (pg.6) – “was less than that” – I like how well you convey the internal bias / sensitivity / inferiority E feels about her own heritage and true nature. It’s very effective.

 - (pg.6) – “A larger problem? More than… More than…” – I like the dramatic construction of repeating the phrase, but why change it to ‘more’? I think it would have way more impact if you repeat ‘larger’ twice.

 - (pg.7) – “What they sent to attack the Assembly”- I just don’t remember this from Seeds, but it does occur to me that I haven’t actually read the final version of Seeds, and I have a terrible memory for this stuff, even if it was in the last draft I read.

 - (pg.7) – ‘lizard’, ‘cat’, ‘dragon’ – But it was bipedal, wasn’t it?

 - (pg.8) – “He had talked to E long into that night” – This feels important, but we don’t see it? Also, would it not be more ‘He and E talked…’? I presume he was not the only one talking.

 - (pg.8) – “had hidden completely” – Is there a way to not hide completely?

 - (pg.8) – “This hallway’s walls dripped with paintings” – Grammar. Also, I really don’t see a wall ‘dripping’ with paintings, them being solid and all. If nothing else it tends to imply the paintings aren’t dry. 

 - (pg.8) – “difference in the” – Not between? Also, “species' favored methods of art” – I struggle a good deal with this. For one things, it’s far too general a comment. No single species creatures art in only one medium. It’s like saying he can tell the different between one species’ movies and another. There are so many different styles and genres, etc. Personally, I would suggest ‘modes’ of art, maybe, or ‘expressions’, ‘approaches’. This is like saying methods of sport. I just don’t think it makes sense.

 - (pg.8) – “which seemed far too tiny to hold…” – I feel like the opening to this section is repeating many of the same thoughts that E had, with the result that it feels repetitive.

 - (pg.9) – “wicked-looking scythed blade” – Pretty sure (okay, positive) this needs a hyphen.

 - (pg.9) – “had entered intense” – into.

 - (pg.9) – “The A had rattled” – this is kind of vague for me. What about it, or why had it rattled them? The reader knows the answer, but it’s an opportunity for drama / tension / colour. 

 - (pg.9) – “E had been scarce” – Slightly odd phrasing, I though, compared to ‘absent’.

 - (pg.9) – “woodworked as a hobby” – Kind of awkward, I thought. ‘worked wood as a hobby’ sounds smoother to me.

 - (pg.9) – S’s behaviour is all over the place. I can see him looking at the carpet, because of how awkward he is, but analysing the pattern?

 - (pg.10) – “He was stillwearing the sameclothes” – This felt repetitive to me, like one of them is redundant.

 - (pg.10) – “The E’slips lifted” – typo.

 - (pg.11) – “That was better done that many others” – ‘than’. Also, really? This felt condescending to me, and yet also unlikely. It’s not a difficult name, also, it seems to me there’s no logic for S to be any more comfortable in this situation than a speaker would be.

 - (pg.11) – “are coming to ahead

 - (pg.11) – “fingers. “Your” - CAPS

 - (pg.12) – Repetition of ‘as if’ in the first paragraph stood out of me.

 - (pg.12) – “advertisements” – lol.

 - (pg.12) – “should have paid more attention then” – Oh, so he was Ef in Seeds? I don’t remember him, but that’s not exactly unusual for me.

 - (pg.12) – “He wants to talk about the chime?” – This piece of internal monologue seems redundant.

 - (pg.13) – “barely more than two months ago?” – But the chimes only just started, didn’t they, so why couldn’t S know about them?

 - (pg.13) – “I fear this is one of them” – Not entirely clear what he means? Is he saying that he should know what the sounds is, but dears he’s forgotten? Isn’t there anyone else that old he might be expected to remember? Then again, maybe that’s not what he means.

 - (pg.13) – “He'd only shown”, “The Ef only smiled” – Maybe it’s just me, but word repetitions also stand out for me, and I always feel the need to eradicate them (unless it’s a deliberate dramatic thing, obvs.

 - (pg.13) – “Dissolution” – Oooohhhh! Boom.

 - (pg.13) – “The being that stole his memory” – I wish I remembered this better. This is the sort of thing that would send me back to Book 1 searching for the relevant scene.

 - (pg.14) – “with the other set of music” – This is s phrase I have never heard, or said. Not just ‘piece of music’?

 - (pg.14) – “Sam,” the Ef said

 - (pg.15) – Very nice close to that scene, with the Ef reaching for the crystal and S clicking the door. Very portentous. Is the Ef under thrall of someone, or up to no good (the whole Palantir thing)?

 - (pg.15) – Yay, M&G are back, and grumping away at each other. Excellent!

 - (pg.16) – “in that direction” – You’ve described the air, but not the surroundings, which seems odd. G points, but in that direction I don’t know what I'm looking at.

 - (pg.16) – “Were one of you” – Typo.

 - (pg.16) – “soft ground”, “marshy ground” – Still don’t know what this place looks like.

 - (pg.17) – “Swelling will occur” – Lol.

 - (pg.17) – “call that a “Negotiator.”” – I feel like single quotes, since he’s not quoting atual dialogue.

 - (pg.17) – “since everyone knows…” – ROFL.

 - (pg.17) – “are you,” he said.” – This is a question.

 - (pg.17) – Nice to end the chapter on a friendly note, rather than suspenseful or impending doom-laden. Changing things up is good. And, it seals my satisfaction with this chapter.

Overall 

I thought that S's section of this chapter started a bit weak, in that it felt repetitive of some of the questions and thoughts in E's, but it finished strong on the meeting with the Ef. M's section easily my favourite, but would have liked more description. Good, solid chapter overall. All parts leading elsewhere after the revelation of the LC and Ar, which is fine. A good transitions chapter, I thought.

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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On 20/03/2019 at 1:30 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I think S’s was the weakest, and M’s was the strongest.

Ta-da! #iagreewithshatteredsmooth

On 20/03/2019 at 1:30 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Since there had been a lot of internal monologue in E’s, I wanted a break for it, not more of it.

And @shatteredsmooth has diagnosed why I was dissatisfied with S's section, at the beginning.

On 20/03/2019 at 1:30 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

and I didn’t want it to end.

Agreed. I am slightly concerned how long I might have to wait to see the conclusion of that trip. Feels a tad severe to cut it in the middle. I hope the next part is not, like, two chapters away or something.

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Thanks @Robinski! The comments will definitely help me clean this up.

Lots of WRS from the first book in this chapter. Hopefully it's just you? But I'll see if I can add a little more intro to some of the side characters from the first book.

30 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Very nice close to that scene, with the Ef reaching for the crystal and S clicking the door. Very portentous. Is the Ef under thrall of someone, or up to no good (the whole Palantir thing)?

This is actually a tie-in to Journey!

 

21 minutes ago, Robinski said:
On 3/19/2019 at 9:30 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I think S’s was the weakest, and M’s was the strongest.

Ta-da! #iagreewithshatteredsmooth

Yeah, I'm thinking I may need to separate S's POV out into it's own chapter and expand, or something else.

22 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Agreed. I am slightly concerned how long I might have to wait to see the conclusion of that trip. Feels a tad severe to cut it in the middle. I hope the next part is not, like, two chapters away or something.

Aheh...three, actually. M's POV is scattered through the book, but there is a reason, I promise!

 

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7 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

This is actually a tie-in to Journey!

I do remember the scene from Journey - so I'm not completely useless, memory-wise!

7 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Aheh...three, actually. M's POV is scattered through the book, but there is a reason, I promise!

It does feel like a (completely) separate arc, and so I can live with that. Any more frequent, and I think it might take over in my head as a more prominent arc.

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I don't have a whole lot to say about this. I don't feel like this section is bad, but I don't feel like it wowed me, either. It does its job.

The section with E, I also wondered about them talking about their secrets so openly. While crowd noise can keep a conversation from carrying very far, it's been my experience that it's pretty easy to overhear people that're right next to you (such as in a theater). Moreso when you're wearing anything that reduces crowd noise at all. I feel like they should be at least taking some basic precautions, even if they're not avoiding the topics all together. 

S's section feels a bit overly general to me. I feel like maybe I need a bit more foreshadowing, at least so myself-as-the-reader understands that there's a reason behind this summoning? I feel kind of like S is called in for an in-person meeting to show off the Eff's office, when the very general information he imparted could have just as easily been sent in a letter or some other way. Maybe this is something I'm missing from not reading the prior books, I don't know. I feel sort of like it was a lot of build-up for nothing. I do like the callback to Journey, though. 

M's section was probably the most interesting for me. I love a good "getting the band back together" set up, and I'm just assuming right now that his and the main story will converge at some point. 

 

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Overall

Some really good scenes but the multiple POVs lagged the pacing. A few of the POVs I wasn't quite sure why they were there. For a draft, I think it is heading in the right direction. I want more Arido!

On 3/22/2019 at 4:59 AM, Robinski said:

woodworked as a hobby” – Kind of awkward, I thought. ‘worked wood as a hobby’ sounds smoother to me.

I think this is a USA vs. UK think. We do say 'woodworked' here as a colloquialism.

As I go

- pg 3: I thought the box was tiny, but now it says they are scraping it across the floor. Bit more on size please

love that Arido section. SO COOL!

- miniature dragon? Yes. Sign me up for that (middle grade?) book about a biped and their best friend dragon shape shifter fighting against the rigid rules of the Assembly! Or, screw it, I'll just go write that fanfiction

- the first like eight paragraphs of S's POV are recap from the previous section and probably not needed. They slow down the pacing

- the Eff's recap is excellent for starting a new book

- the meeting with the Eff, however, doesn't seem to have a purpose? I think that slows the tension because I entered that room with S AMPED UP post Arido, hoping for another awesome nugget, but it led to nothing. Wouldn't mind a bit more tidbit

- pg 17: I know this is just me, but I want so much more information and description about the mushrooms. I mean they eat them and build houses out of them and whatnot! Give me sensory overload! Colors, smells, shapes, I WANT IT ALL

 

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4 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

The section with E, I also wondered about them talking about their secrets so openly.

Yep, point taken. I'll see what I can do to show they're being quiet about things.

4 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

S's section feels a bit overly general to me. I feel like maybe I need a bit more foreshadowing,

 

2 hours ago, kais said:

the meeting with the Eff, however, doesn't seem to have a purpose? I think that slows the tension because I entered that room with S AMPED UP post Arido, hoping for another awesome nugget, but it led to nothing. Wouldn't mind a bit more tidbit

Yeah, this is a part that needs to be in there, but I'll need to take another pass at it and spice it up. Probably need to split it out into it's own chapter. I think I've always had a greater understanding of the Eff than my readers, so I need to figure out how to get his reputation across better. By the end of the book, you'll definitely know more!

2 hours ago, kais said:

I want more Arido!

Hehe.  Just wait.

2 hours ago, kais said:

Bit more on size please

will do.

2 hours ago, kais said:

Yes. Sign me up for that (middle grade?) book about a biped and their best friend dragon shape shifter fighting against the rigid rules of the Assembly! Or, screw it, I'll just go write that fanfiction

Hmmm...now thinking about a short story to go along with the future kickstarter for these books... Though if you write this, please send it on!

2 hours ago, kais said:

the Eff's recap is excellent for starting a new book

Lol. Only 5 chapters too late!

2 hours ago, kais said:

I know this is just me, but I want so much more information and description about the mushrooms. I mean they eat them and build houses out of them and whatnot! Give me sensory overload! Colors, smells, shapes, I WANT IT ALL

One of these days, I'm going to write a novella set on that homeworld, and I'm going to need to you to act as a research consultant...

 

Thanks so much, @kais and @industrialistDragon!

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21 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

M's section was probably the most interesting for me. I love a good "getting the band back together" set up, and I'm just assuming right now that his and the main story will converge at some point. 

Yes, yes, yes :D 

20 hours ago, kais said:
On 22/03/2019 at 11:59 AM, Robinski said:

woodworked as a hobby” – Kind of awkward, I thought. ‘worked wood as a hobby’ sounds smoother to me.

I think this is a USA vs. UK think. We do say 'woodworked' here as a colloquialism.

Why doesn't this surprise me... <grumble, moan, gripe> ;) 

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:
23 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

M's section was probably the most interesting for me. I love a good "getting the band back together" set up, and I'm just assuming right now that his and the main story will converge at some point. 

Yes, yes, yes :D 

The payoff for this storyline was a sort of Eureka moment when I was writing the end of the book. I'll leave that horribly vague for now and hope I can pull off the landing... ;-)

 

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10 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I'll leave that horribly vague for now and hope I can pull off the landing...

Excellent. I'll get my score cards ready.

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Posted (edited)

Overall:

I Loved E and M's parts, especially the Ar. S's part felt a little off, but I have no idea why.

While I go along:

"...the way the gigantic crystal translated intent"

This keeps coming up... 

“Then that means they have more Ar. More than In, and more than the one that attacked F."

I think it works better without the second part.

"A hush hung over the gathered representatives," "fifty thousand beings inhaled

Is the second part an exaggeration, or is there a lot of groups that need representation.

“That was better done that many others..."

This sounds a little off, it might work better as "that was done better by many others" but I may be wrong here.

"M’s list of two-house maji,"

Is this refencing people who belong to two houses, or the society?

 

 

Edited by Atium
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Thanks @Atium! I can clean those parts up...

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I’ve been catching up with the story on the limited time I have available – which is why I’m so late to post here. Sorry :)

I’ll try to keep my feedback at a story/plot level.

Up till chapter 5 I had the feeling that the writing oscillated between “awesome and on-point” and somewhat stilted and awkward – but I don’t know what kind of draft we’re looking at here, so I thought you may still tighten your language and didn’t pay too much attention to it. In chapter 5, I found that the “flow” of the writing really picked up in the second half of E’s part. (Even S’s part; I’ve found his parts to be jarring to my reading experience – which may very well be my problem. I feel like I’m losing patience with him :))

When I started reading chapter 1, I was surprised by the magic system and really liked it. However, I’ve started getting a bit annoyed by the details we get anytime someone does something with the Sym… – and that happens quite a lot.

Now on to some more details:

I found it strange when E’s mind wandered to world-building thoughts – which are kind of a slow-down – when there’s just this huge uproar about the J’s proclamation. I just didn’t think that E would care for anything but what was going on at that moment – and as I reader I was the same. I wasn’t the least interested in the world-building at this very moment, but wanted to know more about how the situation unfolded.

In S’s part, I was a bit confused when it turned out that he was called upon and not going there on his own volition. Up till that moment, I thought it was the other way around.

What surprises me, and feels a bit off to me, is the lack of reaction to the bell. When I first read about it, it had a Lovecraftian horror feeling to me – but nobody seems to care. It should be this big scary unknown things mystery, but people are like “whatever”. Feels odd every time I see that reaction.

Blood turning to dust – no idea how that feels. I couldn’t relate to that. :)

I really like the banter in M’s part. Feels very natural succeeded in conveying the feeling of old friendship to me.

 

All in all, I think chapter 5 was solid. There’s a lot going on and the world/story doesn’t feel flat to me. I guess I’m missing references to previous books – because I haven’t read them -  but so far that hasn’t bothered me. I think I could’ve picked up this book and started there.

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Thanks @molah! Especially helpful since you haven't read the other books. This is basically still a first draft, so it will get tightened up a lot, based on what you guys see,

58 minutes ago, molah said:

However, I’ve started getting a bit annoyed by the details we get anytime someone does something with the Sym… – and that happens quite a lot.

Good call. I sometimes have complaints that the magic is too complex, so I'm never sure how much detail to go into.

59 minutes ago, molah said:

I found it strange when E’s mind wandered to world-building thoughts – which are kind of a slow-down – when there’s just this huge uproar about the J’s proclamation.

This will definitely get tightened up.

1 hour ago, molah said:

What surprises me, and feels a bit off to me, is the lack of reaction to the bell. When I first read about it, it had a Lovecraftian horror feeling to me – but nobody seems to care.

Good catch. I'll see how I can make it more menacing.

1 hour ago, molah said:

I really like the banter in M’s part.

Everyone seems to like M's section, which is the part I basically winged. I just find that funny!

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