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Mandamon

20190415 - Facets of the Nether Ch 10 - 3221 words - Sub 9

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Hello all,

We're on to chapter 10, and almost halfway through! Back to E this week.
As always, let me know what you think. Reactions on anything/everything else is appreciated, from character notes, 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. E and R discuss the revelation, S visits the Eff in a private audience, and M continues recruiting. Re manages to meet with the coalition, learns E and I's true species, and confronts E. E trades herself for I and S takes I in.
The rest of the cast gathers at the wall, and meet the Eff. They learn some new things, then the chime stops as something comes through the wall.

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You've got some good things going on in this chapter. I'd say the most compelling thing is the idea you're working with - they definitely piqued my interest. There's also quite a good balance of dialogue to prose, which helps the pacing.

Here are some things that might help you improve on the next rewrite.

Chapter opening (first page) did not draw me in. It didn't immerse me in E's emotions/state of mind or her immediate surroundings. It didn't make me want to know what was going to happen next. I felt outside of the character - a step removed. 

Some sentences feel like they're trying to do too much, e.g. D's robe—E wouldn’t call her a majus, not anymore—drifted up in the air with each bounce, but her boots went high enough on her legs that none of her scaly skin showed. Exposition is crow-barred in and feels awkward to me. 

E was familiar with that skin. She had changed herself into a Ssn before, when they visited the insane Ari in Gloomlight prison. She'd unwittingly worn the skin of those who had subjugated the only remainder of her species. Is this a recap? Wondering why it is at the beginning of the chapter. Is it essential? Passive voice and repetitive sentence structure are the main problems with this bit, and they crop throughout the chapter. 

I like how D speaks. His phrasing makes him feel distinct. “Me, I can blindfold you if you wish. I can stop your ears and your nose. But you came voluntarily. Your brother, he did not." This is good. 

I’ll gather what information I can, and then I will free myself. She didn't plan on being here long, if she had any say in the matter. Her brother had been injured and was still shaking off the effects of the conglomeration of Ari in the Gloomlight prison when he was captured. E had come prepared, and of her own volition. She could do better. This bit is meant to establish her motivation, which is good, but it feels a bit distant from E’s emotions. I don’t really feel her compassion for her brother. I don’t get any sense of her emotional state, since we’re being told, not shown. Feels removed. 

The chapter is roughly 90% abstract (character thoughts, exposition, showing instead of telling, dialogue etc) and only 10% description. When we do get description, it often lacks specificity, movement, and sensory depth. I won't bang on about this since you're already aware of it, but I think this is one of the main reasons I don't feel as immersed in the story as I'd like to. 

When I'm reading this work it feels to me as though the author’s voice is stronger than the character’s voice. I don’t get much of a sense of who E is as a person - her attitude, manner, opinions, style, weakness distinctive traits, hopes, insecurities, burning desires, her unique way of thinking and experiencing the world. This is another main reason why the story is not compelling me as much as I hope for going in. 

 

I like the ending - what happens there is interesting and it does a good job of making me want to know what's going to happen next. The ideas in this story are definitely strong enough, and if you can make the characters more vivid and the prose more immersive then I feel like the novel will be vastly improved. 

Hope there's some useful stuff in there. 

 

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2 hours ago, Majestic Fox said:

Hope there's some useful stuff in there.

@Majestic Fox - Definitely helpful. Thanks!

2 hours ago, Majestic Fox said:

The chapter is roughly 90% abstract (character thoughts, exposition, showing instead of telling, dialogue etc) and only 10% description.

Agree. Hopefully this is the effect of a first draft. I usually layer more detail in there on the second pass.

2 hours ago, Majestic Fox said:

This bit is meant to establish her motivation, which is good, but it feels a bit distant from E’s emotions. I don’t really feel her compassion for her brother. I don’t get any sense of her emotional state, since we’re being told, not shown. Feels removed. 

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I thought something was off in the first part of the chapter especially. I'm doing more tell than show. I'll try to adjust this on the next pass.

Thanks again!

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