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Mandamon

20190616 - Facets of the Nether Ch 19 - 5398 words - Sub 18

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Hello all!
We're back with the main group  again this week and, well, tell me what you think. I quite enjoyed writing this one! 19 out of 21 chapters and an Epilogue. 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. Re observes one of the LC attack the Eff, but discovers a way to create a portal to their base. Meanwhile, S and I explore the new facet with WW, and meet the ruler of that facet. M and co start work on the Device, and E learns more about the L.C. S and WW go to a new House, and Sam learns about a surprising ability.

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So, I hate to say this, but I really don't understand the point of chapter. I was liking at first -- Re was being annoyingly smug about the portal, which was completely in character for him. I liked the fumbling in the dark just fine. I kept thinking they were going to stumble into the fight E and the Ari started with the LC. Then e get to the void room and their decision to create one made absolutely no sense to me. 

What about E? Isn't this where they think she is being held? Why would they just go and destroy the place she is being held prisioner without trying to rescue her first? Did they completely forget about her? Couldn't this kill her? I am utterly baffled as to why they might destroy the place where she might be held prisoner without making any effort at all to find her. I'm so confused. 

 

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Overall

I really like the concept of this chapter, and I see where it is going. I do love a good moral grey issue, and this is, I mean wow do those people not have their moral compasses aligning. What I would have liked was more tension. When the drain didn't act like it was supposed to, I needed more wonder and emotion. Same as when they were running, I couldn't really feel anyone's fear. The end of the chapter fell flat for me because I wasn't afraid, so instead of building tension with 'weird symphony and now people coming OH NO' it was more 'here is a mildly interesting occurrence and one person is going to come and probably chat.'

I think another pass through with emotions would go a long way to helping things. I'm still not clear what our R apprentice role is in all this, or why he is a POV, but he's entertaining enough and so I'm good to go with him. I'd love to reread this chapter with more emotion, since I think it would keep the tension up in these last few chapters and really drive the end home.

 

On 6/17/2019 at 7:09 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I am utterly baffled as to why they might destroy the place where she might be held prisoner without making any effort at all to find her. I'm so confused. 

I agree that this needs addressed. It didn't bother me so much because I assumed that they assumed she was elsewhere, but it did also occur to me, too, that they would be killing E in the process. So even one throwaway line about how 'E wouldn't be here so we don't have to worry about her' would be good

 

As I go

- I really like the epigraph on this one

- I think it might be a stronger chapter start with starting with 'The other side of the portal' paragraph

- pg 3: you've got some redundancy on R wondering why R is taking the lead

- pg 3: lol @ 'legendary whatsit of whocares'

- pg 7: did no one speak in this fight? It seemed very quiet and I don't think most fights are quiet?

- pg 14: well there is some heavily morally grey stuff happening here. Very interesting

- pg 18: 'insane' is part of a group of mental health words that are becoming increasingly unused, especially in fiction, for being ableist. This is a fairly new movement, so just mentioning it.

 

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On 6/17/2019 at 8:09 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

What about E? Isn't this where they think she is being held? Why would they just go and destroy the place she is being held prisioner without trying to rescue her first? Did they completely forget about her? Couldn't this kill her?

 

6 minutes ago, kais said:

I agree that this needs addressed. It didn't bother me so much because I assumed that they assumed she was elsewhere, but it did also occur to me, too, that they would be killing E in the process. So even one throwaway line about how 'E wouldn't be here so we don't have to worry about her' would be good

Yep yep. I dropped the ball on this one. They should definitely be wondering where E is. I think the whole thread of them trying to get her back sort of got lost. I'm working now on making her capture/sacrifice work better in Ch 7-8, so hopefully I can pull that line through all the way to here and fix this hole.

On 6/17/2019 at 8:09 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I kept thinking they were going to stumble into the fight E and the Ari started with the LC. Then e get to the void room and their decision to create one made absolutely no sense to me. 

 

9 minutes ago, kais said:

I mean wow do those people not have their moral compasses aligning. What I would have liked was more tension. When the drain didn't act like it was supposed to, I needed more wonder and emotion. Same as when they were running, I couldn't really feel anyone's fear.

Hopefully these both stem from the same issue. I'll work on getting the tension up and giving more substance to why they're doing the things they're doing.

On a meta note: This book is a lot more morally gray than the first one, and I think some of it came from my experience writing Fruits. I want to continue writing more like this, but I need to make sure I stack up my reasoning so it's surprised yet inevitable...

Thanks @kais and @shatteredsmooth!

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It's getting exciting now to be so close the end of the story (although as you know from previous comments, it could be more exciting!).

On we go...

(page 1)

- Love Ori's journal entry.

- "Finally, they could get behind all this nonsense" - as in put it behind them? Not entirely clear what he's getting at.

- "It seemed longer than the normal lifespan of a Meth" - this is an odd comparison, imo, since the eff is not a Meth (in either guise).

- R is much more sympathetic now, imo, since we see him acting in unison with the others. It's always satisfying to see a character 'converted' / redeemed (if that is indeed what is happening).

(page 2)

- "Who’d put her in charge?" - You did with yer tacit silence and unconscious acceptance of her authority, ya big galumph, just like the others.

- "an exit to this place" - from this place

- "For us to leave..." - I don't quite understand this sentence.

(page 3)

- "take in slightly different light" - surely all eyes take the light in the same, it's the processing that is different. Everyone will get shone on the same, won't they?

- "She just couldn’t help taking charge, could she?" - I'm not sure I believe R is that naive. He must know that someone has to be in charge, and would he argue that Ril is the more resourceful of the maj?

- "He wondered if anyone else got tired of their bossy condescension" - No, but get tired of yea bellyaching' about it!

(page 5)

- "shielded the torch with their body" - but in a corridor, the wall on the other side of the torch will be illuminated and visible to the person approaching from behind them, surely?

- "then peered down the three directions available to them" - IMO.

(page 6)

- Ha! I like that Re discovers that by being reasonable and constructive he gets hears, as opposed to when he is blubbering in to himself about the injustice of it all.

- "without even waiting for the others to agree" - typo.

- "another cloaked figure, emerging from another a cross corridor" - awkward repetition of 'another', imo.

- "they hadn’t checked this one" - I reckon they didn't even notice it.

- "like an angry d--- st---" - excellent simile.

(page 7)

- "steps were oddly tiny" - tinny? small? Bit confused.

(page 9)

- "he found little incongruities popping up" - grammar off here, I think.

(page 10)

- "No wonder this place was stored far away from everyone" - it's not the place that's stored though, it would be a thing, the place would be 'located far from...', I think.

- "as if they had never finished falling" - this is some great imagery, feels like something very different.

(page 11)

- "Assuming that's actually what they're meaning to do" - being accepted is not something the LC can do, it's something they want.

(page 13)

- "I said sommat should talk with 'em" - referring to my previous comment, this form in the accent that R is using means something. I would say 'sommun' would be the equivalent for 'someone', i.e. own the way that young un' would mean 'young one'.

(page 14)

- "let's give 'em sommat to deal about" - see, here the word is used to mean something, which is the correct form, imo.

- "Perhaps one in the middle" - I'd like him to be more certain about this. Certainty and positivity is more engaging than doubt and vacillation. This actually seems out of character in its hesitancy.

- "Is it a function of how many s are used" - tense disagreement.

(page 15)

- "Make sure no one is coming, too" - imo.

- "R swallowed" - very tense moments.

(page 16)

- "was blocking the way he had entered the swarm" - unclear, I think.

- "but there was another path" - because they have not coordinated where they are going to run, they could all be bumping into each other if they choose the same routes.

- "matching the colors of the other houses" - confused, are all the different colours not showing? Ah no, they can't be 'matching' because all the colours are different.

- "The symphony curdled..." - oh this is very awesome. I wonder if we could have more of an impression of the speed of spread of the thing, and if the speed changes when it intersects another sliver.

(page 17)

- "already too difficult to open" - could they not have opened one before they triggered the drain?

(page 18)

- "A third, fourth, and fifth" - I think the numbering is off, there have been more than two combined before we get to this point, have there not?

Overall 

This chapter has some excellent tension and action to it. Some comments about, but nothing hugely implausible. I did think the ending was anticlimactic, as in the very ending. You've got some great tension going of not being able to open a portal, and then you've got the conflict of the drains not behaving as expected. However, the fact that someone is coming is a bit lame to me. We saw them dispatch ten people earlier in the chapter, so why should this pose any kind of threat? It's not the crescendo I was hoping for.

Great work though. This is some of the stakes that I felt I was missing in earlier closing chapters. I am left with some questions thought, and one thing that occurs to me now. Do they not think off the fact that En could very well be here, and that by triggering a drain and running away they might be killing her?

Anyway, good work. I'm very happy with this as third last chapter in first(?) draft.

<R>

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Over all: some good suspense, but I still don't like Re. ;) The walking bits in the beginning dragged for me. There wasn't enough description for me to get invested or feel much tension. It seemed like they were just walking and having a meeting, instead of Walking To A Meeting. I also wished there could have been more connection to E. I was excited that finally the threads were going to overlap! But there was no mention of E. Once the attack and the disturbances are discovered, it goes much more quickly. I like the way each mage made their own decisions, and they way they objected to differing degrees. That was good (M's sections could use more of that). I'm sort of left with the feeling that this should be more momentous than it is feeling right now, and that some of these lines-in-the-sand were not earned in earlier sections. 
 
As-I-go:
 
There are 4 uses of the word "much" in the kicker and that just feels like a bit... much for a single paragraph to me. 
 
Oh yay, it's Re. :[  I'm not entirely buying his motivation at this point. He just wants to talk to the LC, so that's why he's abetting the hostile takeover of their base? It feels a bit disingenuous. Or pointless. If Ri and co are successful, what's Re going to do, write a sternly worded letter to the mage council with the knowledge he gained from "talking?" I also... I think I kind of feel like it's not letting his character grow, as well, this insistence that his only motivation is to "hear the other side." He's consistent, but at this point, he's starting to feel a bit stunted to me. He just witnessed a brutal attack on a harmless old man, and I feel like that, plus In's mistreatment, and the other things he's seen directly linked to the LC should maybe modify his reasoning by this point.
 
I'm a little unclear why Re is so against Ri being in charge here, since she's been in charge of this particular plot thread the entire time, and while he was annoyed with her-as-a-person before, I don't feel like he's been particularly against her being in charge.   
 
"That was reasonable" -- Yes, having reactions to traumatic and sudden events is reasonable, yet Re is still as phlegmatic as ever. Does he react to anything that's not related to his infatuation with In? I would really like to see some more emotions from him, even just in internal monologues.
 
Yes, if i'm stuck with Re as a POV, I really want him emoting more towards me, even if he doesn't show it to the other characters.
 
"wouldn't get in the way" -- Then what's the point of talking to the LC? I'm really having trouble understanding why Re is a part of this expedition at all: why he participated in getting the mages there and why he was allowed to tag along. Does he serve any purpose other than complaining here? Surely they don't need him to get home?
 
Honestly, HD is feeling a bit similarly to me too. I've either forgotten or never really noticed they were pro-LC. With how blatantly hawklike Ri and O have been this entire time, I find it a little weird for these pro-LC people to be here on this espionage-cum-sabotage mission (and moreover somehow surprised that a mission run by Ri and O would end in sabotage. How was this not foreseen?). Why would O and Ri want them along? Why would anyone pro-LC be willing to condone an expedition like this, run by these people? 
 
I would really have liked some more emotional build up to Re's switch from pro-LC to willing to help with the sabotage. That's a nuanced position that's not really been borne out I feel like by his reactions and reasoning from his other pov sections (or this one) so far. I like it though. It's a good decision from him. It makes me like him a little better. I don't think he's earned it, unfortunately. 
 
The part with the drain crystals is really cool, and I like the little bitsof characterization in there (like O having to be pulled back, and HD being professionally intrigued. I feel like you could play these up a bit)
 
 
 
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19 hours ago, Robinski said:

this is an odd comparison, imo, since the eff is not a Meth (in either guise).

He is actually supposed to look like a Meth...

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

referring to my previous comment, this form in the accent that R is using means something. I would say 'sommun' would be the equivalent for 'someone', i.e. own the way that young un' would mean 'young one'.

Good comments. I'll adjust this.

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

I did think the ending was anticlimactic, as in the very ending. You've got some great tension going of not being able to open a portal, and then you've got the conflict of the drains not behaving as expected. However, the fact that someone is coming is a bit lame to me.

Yep, I'll work on this.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

It seemed like they were just walking and having a meeting, instead of Walking To A Meeting.

My bane for this book!

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

R is much more sympathetic now, imo, since we see him acting in unison with the others.

 

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I'm not entirely buying his motivation at this point. He just wants to talk to the LC, so that's why he's abetting the hostile takeover of their base?

Urg. Re needs a lot of adjustment. I'm just starting to get into this on my edits, so hopefully I can streamline his character arc and make it feel more deserved.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I would really like to see some more emotions from him, even just in internal monologues.

 

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I would really have liked some more emotional build up to Re's switch from pro-LC to willing to help with the sabotage.

think the way I'm heading will make this switch seem more likely.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Honestly, HD is feeling a bit similarly to me too. I've either forgotten or never really noticed they were pro-LC

This may be an effect of having too many character in this scene.

 

Great comments, @Robinski and @industrialistDragon! This is exactly what I need to beat this book into order. I'm already seeing some improvement from the edits I've done so far.

 

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33 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

He is actually supposed to look like a Meth...

Arrrghh. Put that down to reader confusion. Getting my Effs mixed up, I think.

34 minutes ago, Mandamon said:
14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

It seemed like they were just walking and having a meeting, instead of Walking To A Meeting.

My bane for this book!

It worked for Aaron Sorkin ;) 

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

It worked for Aaron Sorkin ;) 

I guess he'll have to direct the movie version then...

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