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Mandamon

20190520 - Facets of the Nether Ch 15 - 3334 words - Sub 14

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Hello everyone!
Another Re chapter this week. I know he's not everyone's favorite, but hopefully this one will help a bit. As usual, all comments are welcome.

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. We go back to E, who discovers the Coalition's headquarters, and meets some new, strange friends. Back to S and Co at the wall, who finally find out what the chime was all about. We drop in on M, who showed the new two-house recruits what's he'd been doing. Meanwhile, S and I go through the wall with WW, and find out what's on the other side. E learns about her species from the others, and fends off an assault.

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Posted (edited)

My first reaction when I started reading this was "I wish this was from O or R's POV" because I was put off by Re's attitude towards the new species. However, as I read on, I saw why you chose Re. No one else would've offered that level of focus on the portal. Speaking of portals...had his skill with portals been discussed before? This seemed a little out of the blue to me, but I may just be forgetting something from a previous chapter, or from Seeds. 

The chapter went by quickly, but my level of engagement wasn't as high here was it had been in other sections. I didn't stop and think much about whether or not I could really follow the fight. It was blur of symphony changes and people trying to stop an assassin. The combat element made me crave R's POV since  she is the martial arts expert. For RE, the fight was background to the portal stuff, so to me, the fight was also background. If that is what you are going for, then Re's POV is working. If you want more emphasis on the fight, then O or R might be better. 

I did like the timing of this chapter. The reader knows P is Ari... but not of the characters present in the scene know, except for maybe the one trying to kill him. I'm looking forward to see where this goes next. 

Because everything was going so fast, I didn't really make any LBL or "as I read" notes. However, I did notice one lower case letter that should've been capital.  The line was "...there are more here." he spread his arms to the two ends...." I think h in he should be capitalized there. 

I'm looking forward to the next chapter 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Overall

Loved it. fantastic tension that sustained throughout. Only thing that bugged me was that we now have to wait, when I would have like R to be the hothead that he is and just make the portal and go. If you're doing a rewrite so this is 'apprentices' focused, I think that would be a really nice twist, if R just decides to take action. Apparently I just want more people barreling through portals.  I need someone to be reckless.

1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Speaking of portals...had his skill with portals been discussed before?

I don't remember this, either.

 

As I go

- I know nothing about the house of grace, I feel like, so I appreciate the epigraph. It makes me wonder though if we have met anyone substantial from that house? Is it part of this dimension of the Net?

- pg 1: ah I see R remains highly unlikable (but quite readable)

- pg 4: +20 for tension

- pg 9: +40 for sustained tension

- pg 10: gaaaaaaah I want him to just make the portal and go! 

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Thanks to both @shatteredsmooth and @kais!

35 minutes ago, kais said:
1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Speaking of portals...had his skill with portals been discussed before?

I don't remember this, either.

I realized I hadn't set this up. I've included a bit about him studying portals in the first few chapters.

 

1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I did like the timing of this chapter. The reader knows P is Ari... but not of the characters present in the scene know, except for maybe the one trying to kill him. I'm looking forward to see where this goes next. 

 

36 minutes ago, kais said:

I think that would be a really nice twist, if R just decides to take action. Apparently I just want more people barreling through portals.  I need someone to be reckless.

Interesting comments. I get the feeling of people wanting to read on, which is good, but also being frustrated with going to a different POV every chapter. So is this good frustration that makes you read on, or bad frustration that stops the tension building? I'm hoping the first, especially when I have the other issues taken care of.

1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

The combat element made me crave R's POV since  she is the martial arts expert. For RE, the fight was background to the portal stuff, so to me, the fight was also background.

think this is good. I more wanted the fight to come off as Re figuring things out when everyone else was too concentrated on the moment...

40 minutes ago, kais said:

I know nothing about the house of grace, I feel like, so I appreciate the epigraph. It makes me wonder though if we have met anyone substantial from that house?

Nak. and one of the maji are both house of grace. They're the ones who stand off face to face. But no, it hasn't had as much focus on it.

 

42 minutes ago, kais said:

I would have like R to be the hothead that he is and just make the portal and go.

Yeah, I really wanted this too, but got tied down by some timing intricacies in the plot, which will become apparent near the end. I think I need to change things around so he does make the portal here. It would keep the tension up better.

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22 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

So is this good frustration that makes you read on, or bad frustration that stops the tension building?

In an unknown author, it would be frustrating. With a known author it does kill tension sometimes but I have a bit more trust.

I don't mind changes in POV but want at least a full chapter with the character, preferably two, before changing, so I can settle and get invested. If the stakes are high enough, like in this one and the Ari one, it is less of a big deal because sustained tension.

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6 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Interesting comments. I get the feeling of people wanting to read on, which is good, but also being frustrated with going to a different POV every chapter. So is this good frustration that makes you read on, or bad frustration that stops the tension building? I'm hoping the first, especially when I have the other issues taken care of.

 I wasn't frustrated. I didn't find the tension lacking. I think from S to E to this worked. However, in other sequences, it slowed the tension. 

6 hours ago, Mandamon said:

think this is good. I more wanted the fight to come off as Re figuring things out when everyone else was too concentrated on the moment...

7 hours ago, kais said:

Yeah -- if that is what you were going for then you nailed it. 

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I am about to enjoy my weekly instalment of the Nethery goodness :D 

(Page 1)

- "has also had" - awkward wording.

- "Ask any m a j u s" - ? Think this should be singular, as the line goes on to say receive a different answer (singular).

- 'interact' with other houses?

- "to untie other changes" - I think this means something different from "untie other houses' changes", which I think is what is meant.

- "next section over" - Lol. Sounds like the house next door.

- "Bunch of weirdos" - Ah, good old xenophobic R... I nothing else, it's good to have a viewpoint that is not noble (that's the best term I can think of), which all the others are. It varies the tone of the POVs

- Hilarious description: flagpole, lol.

- Is the Sa's a "healthy" appreciation? I sometimes forget that it's only the LC that believe in the ideal form. Is that right? Not the regular Sa?

- "first opportunity he has" - The double 'h' bothered me. I feel like 'he gets' lands better.

- "Made a guy not want to put in the effort" - R's already put in the effort. Rather than this phrasing, I think maybe 'Made a guy regret putting in the effort'?

- "Could this be sommat other manifestation" - Sorry, I'm going to hit R's parlance again. 'Sommat' is a word using in UK numerous local dialects, and it means 'something', not 'some'. For that reason, me and all your UK readers will think this is a typo. So, he might say 'This was sommat else.' for example.

- "busybodies that they were" - I am this close to skipping R's POV. He's an arse. I dislike him twice as much now. He's an ungrateful sod, and I want bad things to happen to him, sooner the better :angry: 

- Ah heck, and then you go and do this "like the last stump...". That's a great simile right there.

(Page 2)

- The dialogue that follows "Nak..." is really very tell-y. Sounds like a thespian giving it full throttle. 'Colonel Mustard! What are you doing here, I thought you were with Miss Scarlet in the library!!'

- "blue and dark purple" - I forget what this means. Also, I'm in the garden, so I can't check my shelves. Does Seeds have a glossary of terms in it, with the colours of the houses? I feel that it does. If not, Facets definitely needs one!! #whatdowewantaglossarywhendowewantitnow

- "almost as quickly" twice in two lines.

- "flowed into the two" - The two what?

- Confused. K's dialogue implied he was in on the LC plot, now he's attacking the attacker? :huh:

(Page 3)

- I was confused by what R was doing. I wasn't clear immediately if he was helping Na or hindering.

- "grabbing on to the cold slippery steel" - I was going to say it should be 'onto' (I think), then I realise you don't need it either way.

- "assisted by the energy stolen from N"

- "In the few instants that had passed" - I takes several instants to read this: I would consider cutting, it's not doing anythinfg.

- "was moving even faster than he was" - But N isn't moving at all, is he? I thought he was scrabbling against the shield, which must be stationary in front of Ori, isn't it? Yes. You say N had fallen over, so clearly not moving faster than R. Very self-contradictory this piece of action.

(Page 4)

- "his face the most surprised R had ever seen on the caretaker" - grammar is off here. It's saying this is the most surprised face he'd ever seen the caretaker wearing, like the face is a hat. It's just off.

- ", and R made another grab for" - Run-on sentence.

- "his robe flowing out in a spiral around his boots" - If the robe is flowing out, I don't understand how it's still around his boots.

- ", and though the L was" - I think this is another run-on.

(Page 5)

- "The last opponent..." - This depersonalises the action. Would be better if it was 'N's last opponent', or 'his last opponent', to keep is right at the front of the action.

- "He had a good judge of the distance needed between opening another portal" - Confusing grammar. I can't understand.

- "was too far away to catch" - Again, the phrasing is rather remote and distancing. It's not direct, forceful. Compare to 'R couldn't catch N now, and could only look on...' I think it's because the verb is placed 'too far' (in my assessment) into the sentence, making the action more remote (literally). 

- "skidded his boots as he got nearer" - For me, you don't skid your own boots, maybe you go into a skid, or you skid, without the extra step of considering how you're doing to do it. (Right, I have to skid my boots now.) It sounds odd.

- "strengthening it beyond his ability to jump" - That is excellent. Go Car!

(Page 6)

- Not keen on the description of the leap. One instant he's summersaulting (surely unnecessary), then he's sliding. I can't picture it.

- 'Time sped back up to normal as R took his notes back from the music holding the extra energy to him" - Awkward and wordy sentence.

- "R silently counted" - In a sentence with only three words, I think it might be harder to split the infinitive than to avoid it! I need to test this theory: [R counted silently; Silently counted R; Silently, R counted;  Counted R silently?Counted silently, R?]. Yes, there are two split infinitives and four non-split version. Sorry, that was slightly aimless. I think it sounds way better un-split in such a short sentence, that's all.

- I'm confused by the portal logic. How were the portals linked together?

(Page 7)

- But, reading on, I like how R pieces together information towards making his own portal.

(Page 8)

- Ril taking control, snapping orders, is excellent.

(Page 9)

- "R told the majus" - he's not telling Ori, he's asking him, or demanding of him.

(Page 10)

- handle 'on' the mess - no?

- "I won’t leave the Effature to potentially die" - The word 'potentially' here absolutely ruins the flow of what should be a powerful statement. Why is it there at all? Strongly recommend deleting. In fact, drop the whole rest of the sentence, it's just padding, Til babbling, which I don't expect her to do.

- In fact, Ril goes on tell-y and exposition-y here at the end. It's washing away the impact of the 'leaving him to die' line.

- Ending: hmm, unsure. I feel like he's not really acknowledging the assault part of the equation. How will he get answer if the assembly just burst through a portal and attacks the LC?

Overall

After you got me all riled up with R's nasty attitudes, not a moment too soon you subverted that by throwing the attack at 'us'. That was well done, because I was very narked with R and this deflected my anger onto another. The attack itself was exciting, frustrating in a good way. They got so close to laying a glove on Na, and yet they didn't. It also made Na look really competent, which was well done. Re becomes active and resourceful, well done again: that makes him more appealing, certainly suitable to follow for this chapter, before he gets time to think xenophobic thoughts again.

Na's attack is excellent tension, and then the Off being wounded very tense again. Nicely done to show (potential) loss, a defeat, but getting the vital information from it, making it a costly victory too.

I thought this was an excellent chapter. You almost lost me in the first coupe of pages, but timed the intervention perfectly.

One gripe (other than the details above). The bit where Ril gives orders went on a bit long, I thought. It was almost like we slipped into her POV and out of Re's.

Great job here.

<R>

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On 21/05/2019 at 6:43 PM, kais said:

when I would have like R to be the hothead that he is and just make the portal and go

I totally thought that was what he was going to do, when he was judging the distance.

On 21/05/2019 at 7:28 PM, Mandamon said:
On 21/05/2019 at 6:43 PM, kais said:
On 21/05/2019 at 5:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Speaking of portals...had his skill with portals been discussed before?

I don't remember this, either.

I realized I hadn't set this up. I've included a bit about him studying portals in the first few chapters.

Now then, he's in the House of Pot, isn't he? I remember this from the short story he was in. Isn't the HoP good with portals?

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Thanks @Robinski!

5 hours ago, Robinski said:
On 5/21/2019 at 1:43 PM, kais said:

when I would have like R to be the hothead that he is and just make the portal and go

I totally thought that was what he was going to do, when he was judging the distance.

Yep. Pretty sure it's going down this way, in the next edit.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "busybodies that they were" - I am this close to skipping R's POV. He's an arse. I dislike him twice as much now. He's an ungrateful sod, and I want bad things to happen to him, sooner the better :angry: 

- Ah heck, and then you go and do this "like the last stump...". That's a great simile right there.

Haha! Glad I'm toeing the line just enough here. I'm really enjoying writing Re, as well as the feedback on him. Hopefully on the edit I can fine-tune him enough to make him really compelling, even if he's unlikable.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Re becomes active and resourceful, well done again: that makes him more appealing, certainly suitable to follow for this chapter, before he gets time to think xenophobic thoughts again.

I think you may have hit on why he works as a character. I'll have to pay special attention to this.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "Could this be sommat other manifestation" - Sorry, I'm going to hit R's parlance again. 'Sommat' is a word using in UK numerous local dialects, and it means 'something', not 'some'. For that reason, me and all your UK readers will think this is a typo. So, he might say 'This was sommat else.' for example.

Ah, good catch. I'll have to back and see where/how I use this.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Na's attack is excellent tension, and then the Off being wounded very tense again. Nicely done to show (potential) loss, a defeat, but getting the vital information from it, making it a costly victory too.

Seems like you and @shatteredsmooth both had this reaction, which is what I was going for. I think with some fine-tuning, I can show the crew being at a big disadvantage here.

 

Thanks again! Your comments as always are very helpful. I usually keep your response up when I'm doing the next round of edits so I make sure to get all your sentence-line fixes!

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18 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Thanks again! Your comments as always are very helpful. I usually keep your response up when I'm doing the next round of edits so I make sure to get all your sentence-line fixes!

:D 

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I don’t feel I can contribute much more than has already been said especially coming this late to the story but I did read it!

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6 hours ago, hawkedup said:

I don’t feel I can contribute much more than has already been said especially coming this late to the story but I did read it!

No problem--thanks for reading! If you want to read the super compressed summary I have at the top of the post you can do that, not sure how much it will help. But yeah, pretty late in the story at this point.

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Yay playing catch-up.  I'm still not 100% here, so please forgive if I'm less coherent than usual. 

All right. Re is... Well, I still don't like him, and would still rather have O's POV, but he's better in this section.

I keep having trouble with Re's folksy idiosyncratic expressions. They're not really uniformly-sourced (like, some are analogs of common phrases ported to his culture, some are just straight up modern slang, some are loan words or phrases from other real world languages and dialects), and occasionally they throw me out of the story. "Schlep" is one I'm thinking of specifically here (much as I enjoy and like the word on my own), since it's a Yiddish loanword and comes with a bunch of baggage due to that. 

This phrase, "Made a guy not want to put in the effort," also threw me off, but for two reasons. One, is the one @Robinski noted, but the second is the lack of emotion. Re's been reading, at least to me, to be totes gay for In. Like, as in, he has much more depth of feeling than just a put-upon "why do I even bother <sigh>" phrase for when In dumps him with nary a backwards glance. Did he, Re, not just save In from torture worse than death? And in return, In would rather follow S like some lost puppy into a heretofore unknown land full of disgusting aliens than give Re the time of day? Shouldn't that hurt a little more than "why do i bother?"  Like, it just feels really inconsistent to me. Then he turns around and compares his feelings to a student-teacher relationship and I'm kind of confused here, because Re isn't teaching In anything and I don't think he'd really put himself in the student role there, would he? 

"An aura of blue and dark purple" -- yes I agree, a list of the houses and their colors would be great back-matter for this book!

I do like that Re is the one to finally make the portal -- it goes nicely with a "this is really the apprentices story" theme, but I felt like the end line is weak. His reasons for going seem a little strained. "I just want to talk" is the sort of prevaricating that in my experience doesn't usually get paired with an assault team (Ri has been angling for an assault from the beginning and I can't believe Re is surprised she's talking about it here), or an unauthorized portal trespassing on a private enclave of a people known to highly value privacy for that matter. This also feels a bit inconsistent for me.
 
And since it's Re making these connections, I'm slightly more interested in what's going on with the Eff than I am with him figuring out this plot point that I'd kind of relegated to a secondary position, since Ri didn't seem like a primary player in this story and the portal's been Ri's baby in most of these POVs. With so many different POVs here, I am definitely having trouble figuring out what's the focus of the book. I don't know which story is the main, and which are supplemental. 
 
 
On 5/21/2019 at 1:52 PM, kais said:
On 5/21/2019 at 1:28 PM, Mandamon said:

So is this good frustration that makes you read on, or bad frustration that stops the tension building?

In an unknown author, it would be frustrating. With a known author it does kill tension sometimes but I have a bit more trust.

It's frustrating, but I trust, so I keep going. I am getting very fatigued, though. I don't mind numerous POVs, but I like them to stop at points that seem to be good endpoints for the story, not an artificially-set-feeling end like every chapter. If I am constantly being forced to "pause" what I'm reading to take up another mental thread, at some point my mental hands get too full and I drop the "boring" or "unimportant" threads in favor of the ones I'm actually enjoying, or the ones that seem like they're the primary POVs. And if nothing gets any kind of resolution, just more and more "pauses," at the end of every chapter, then I put the book down (looking at you "Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden," grumble).

 
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13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Yay playing catch-up.  I'm still not 100% here, so please forgive if I'm less coherent than usual. 

Thanks for reading, @industrialistDragon!

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I keep having trouble with Re's folksy idiosyncratic expressions.

Good catches. I was trying for more of a feeling of a culture rather than stealing from just one, but maybe it's not working.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

One, is the one @Robinski noted, but the second is the lack of emotion. Re's been reading, at least to me, to be totes gay for In. Like, as in, he has much more depth of feeling than just a put-upon "why do I even bother <sigh>" phrase for when In dumps him with nary a backwards glance. Did he, Re, not just save In from torture worse than death? And in return, In would rather follow S like some lost puppy into a heretofore unknown land full of disgusting aliens than give Re the time of day? Shouldn't that hurt a little more than "why do i bother?" 

Also a very good catch. I'll work on this with this edit. Just for reference, Re's species requires two males and one female for reproduction, so the relationship between males is not exactly homosexual, but more like brother-husbands (I was cribbing a bit from WoT Aiel). I feel like I haven't explained this well enough, so I'll will attempt to this time around.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

"An aura of blue and dark purple" -- yes I agree, a list of the houses and their colors would be great back-matter for this book!

It's in there!

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I am definitely having trouble figuring out what's the focus of the book. I don't know which story is the main, and which are supplemental. 

 

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I don't mind numerous POVs, but I like them to stop at points that seem to be good endpoints for the story, not an artificially-set-feeling end like every chapter.

Good points. I think I'll need to do a big restructure on the way the chapters are situated when I get through this edit. To the "main" story, I'm expanding out a bit since there are more characters, so there's several stories going on, but I also don't want to drive people away. I'll ponder on it.

 

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