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JWerner

7/8/19 - JWerner - Greek Confederates, Chapter 2 Revised (L, V, G) - 5,577

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Greetings all,

Just sent out an e-mail with my submission for this week (it's scheduled to be mailed in a few hours from now).

I've revised my second chapter that I submitted last week, trying to take in as much feedback into account in order to flesh out the world, clear up confusion between Channels and Enhancements, and hopefully make R a more cohesive character. 
 
However, like the last time I revised a chapter, this meant the chapter has become significantly longer. Like, 1,400 words longer. Sorry about that.
 
If you like it, awesome! If not, I'm positive you'll all let me know why, which is why this group is so damnation awesome. 
 
Recap: In chapter 1, ranchers J. and her Uncle D went out hunting for a hydra that killed one of their herd. Using a Channel—a drink that gives humans animal attributes—they find the hydra, only to discover it's been killed by a man belonging to a feared outlaw band called the BRs. The R kills Uncle D, and J kills the R in turn by using Channels. Doing so, however, takes a dire toll on her body.
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Ooh, not often I'm first up. Interested to see what you've done with it.

(page 1)

- Last bit of the first paragraph it weak. Why the hyphen between random and bush? Doesn't seem right. And surely they are still bathroom-breaks, bush-breaks doesn't mean anything, imo. the 'bathroom' bit in the traditional phrase refers to the function, I think, as much as it refers to the place.

- "she’d quickly learned to buy her own when she’d moved out here" - I don't think you learn to buy your own, you just buy your own, it's not an ongoing skill, like conserving water or something like that.

- "they’d sorely stick out" - split infinitive = fingernails down a blackboard, imo.

After one page, I think it's definitely better. It flowed more smoothly for me, I know where R is and where the group are, who they are and what they're doing, I know the blocking of the surrounding and something about the environment. All good starting stuff, all well established. I'm ready for sh1t to happen.

(page 2)

- "...swill, cringed at the taste, and flicked" - Not needed; rather telling.

- "managed to pick out a single word" - imo.

- "chipping away at the thing" - missing word.

- "Looks fine." - This is a nothing line for me. Don't know that it's worth including it. If her thought was ore intersecting then fine, but this doesn't add anything.

- "squares of orange string wrapped around..." - I know what you mean, but 'squares' makes me think of little patches, more like cloth than string. I did not interpret this as a barrier.

- "grew noticeably nervous in at her passing" - grammar. Also, them getting nervous feels like repetition of the scientists getting wary, as in it's the same beat, which felt a bit off to me.

(page 3)

- R is described in terms of her weapons, but hardly anything about her physical attributes. Interesting what that says about her self-image more than anything else, I would say.

- "the greatest threat to clients were was themselves" - single/plural disagreement. Threat is singular. It still sounds awkward though, I get that. Maybe best to rephrase completely.

- "was always probable" - I think this has more impact without the 'always', it makes it more definite somehow.

- "and when she decided she knew absolutely nothing about them" - wordy.

- "she said, trying to look as casual as possible, leaning up against a pole supporting one of their sleeping tents" - you tell us what she's about to do, then you show her doing it. The first bit is redundant, I think. The reader will take the right inference, imo.

- "There were a few exchanged glances" - This is quite impersonal and distancing. Show they people doing the glancing, like, 'The twins exchanged a glance, while the red-head looked around the group.' Something. What I'm always working on is trying to make things less vague and more specific, making all the words work harder.

- "a nearby square of string" - again, I don't believe this conveys what you're looking for.

- "R said, feeling awkward." - Show me, don't tell me!

- Two cups a day is pretty bland: hardly a dependency.

- The trouble with small talk is it tends towards being boring.

(page 4)

- "miss’ made her skin crawl" - heading towards cliché, maybe just okay.

- "by his ankles until all the blood ran into his head until the sheriff" - repetition.

(page 5)

- "wouldn’t have assumed that at all" - I didn't understand what this was, it's a vague word, not easy to connect with him stating where he came from. You can address be just saying 'R frowned, he didn't have a trace...'. Neater, less wordy.

- More repetition in the form of "Let me know..." and "give me a holler." One of these is redundant.

- "quickly scurried off, flushing" - Eh? No! That is the most obvious way to admit guilt. She's supposed to be tough, and now she's scurrying? I don't buy this.

- "paranoid... cats" - LOL. Like that.

- "eat up whatever crap she told served them about herself" - suggest carrying the metaphor through to the end.

- "Right as R crested the pit, she froze" - don't like this phrasing: it's kind of mushy, loner than it needs to be. I think this moment works better if it's short and crisp. Also, not sure I understand the size (depth) of the pit. Can't all the other folks see this man? How does she get back up the steep sides of the pit?

- "fell straight down the back of his neck" - is it not just down his back? Sounds like it's long enough to go way past his neck. Neck-length hair is not that long.

(page 6)

- "Peg. feathers" - Would you not say the singular in this form? I think you do. You don't say cattle hide, you say cow hide.

- "letting it break apart in the dirt" - If you drop something then you broke it, you didn't let is break. If someone throws the mug to her, and she chooses not to catch it, steps aside, then she's allowing it to break, but she did the throwing. Also, 'break apart' is slow. If you drop a glass on the kitchen floor, does it break apart? I submit that the glass 'smashes'; one word, instant destruction.

- "quickly disassembled it" - seems reckless to me. While she's taking that time, he could have a knife in the back of his belt. Surely the disassembly takes both hands, so she's got to take her bow off him? Asking for trouble there, taking a chance.

- "by her destroying his weapon" - By definition, disassembly is not destroying, surely, but the ordered dismantling of something in a way in which it can be reconstructed later.

- Cool glasses.

- "never seen one that large before" - one what? More specific is more compelling.

- Last sentence on the page is pretty darn wordy.

(page 7)

- "danger-klaxons started going off in her head" - Meh, the low-hanging fruit of the internal alarm pantheon.

- "didn’t take her eyes off the Stranger" - why is this Capitalised? It doesn't stress it, it just makes me stop and wonder why it's capitalised. I take a book of my shelf at random: Elantris (okay, that wasn't random, but seems appropriate). The only words that are capitalised are the names of people of places: nothing else. I skimmed the first chapter, about 14/15 pages, nothing. The more you capitalise the less impact it has.

- "like he was trying seriously to seriously figure" - I split the infinitive occasionally. Occasionally there's merit in it, but I recommend not doing it if you can avoid it. I think it reads way smoother (and technically better) when we don't split.

- "eyes filed into points" - I can't imagine what this looks like.

(page 8)

- "in a cheery voice" - his sudden shift in tone away from the offence takes my be surprise, kind of a jolt.

- I like the east science line, but the science is not really directed at him, so its focus seemed a little off to me.

- "specs, which were highly UV-resistant" - I know this, seems redundant to me. You don't need to explain to me what sunglasses do.

- "plucked her thankfully intact spares tucked from her front shirt pocket" - Firstly, is 'tucked' an extra word to be deleted? Second, how did the specs get into her pocket? It was said that he knocked them off.

- No, really confused now. It says she hopes her Cors are okay, but then thankfully intact applies to different glasses, that's really confusing.

(page 9)

- "an imitation of the... channels that would never work" - This is much better. It shows me how one relates to the other, as a (pale) imitation of an ability she can never have. Good.

- "around their findings" - finds, I would say. Findings are the more intangible intellectual outcomes, imo.

- "twirling both her hand-bows" - verging towards cliché, but there is something slightly camp in the tone of the story, I feel. Maybe that's the wrong word, something broadly colourful and playful in using a western setting. I don't get gritty from the story, I get a sense of a rather arch and knowing wink towards the genre stereotypes that's quite fun, and which I'm willing to go with. I still don't get the rationale for all the Greek stuff, but I'm willing to accept it no questions asked as the central conceit of the world. I'd kind of like an explanation at some point before the middle of the story, though.

- "then took off for the rim of the pit" - so, is she running away or towards him? Away, I guess.

- "from the dig site at its two o’clock" - not sure the site has a 2 o'clock. Is it his or, if she's running away, her's?

- "at its twelve" - I find this confusing, because I don't see how the site has a clock face, or why she would orient in any other way that to her own alignment?

- "took off down the dried, hilly ravine that fed into the dig site" - if it feeds into the dig site (the implication being in the sense of a flow), and she's running away from the dig site, she must be running up the ravine, surely.

- "there was no dust or sand" - This made me stop. Seems a bit odd that a ravine would not collect sand that was blown around when it's windy in the desert. Dunno, I'm no expert. And then "sunbaked stone" - if it's in a ravine, that implies to me shadow and shelter from the sun for most of the day.

- "bouncing off a rock" - this is kind of vague, also, I don't buy that she can be aware of where the quarrel goes, it would be travelling so quickly, and she would be ducking and doing, running, etc. She might hear something, maybe.

- "sneak up on him" - what is she, 12?

- "echoing off of the cliff walls" - Try it this way and tell me it doesn't flow better, sound smoother.

- "out of her cover" - three mentions of her cover in six lines, it's getting boring.

(page 11)

- "could keep you alive by awakening survival reflexes" - telling again.

- "Yeh and me" - this reads like 'yes' to me. 'Yea', I think, is the conventional colloquialism.

- "city clipper" - This came up before. It sounds like city slicker: it doesn't sound like something mean and bad. In the UK, historically, bus conductors (who sold tickets and kept order) where called 'clippies', which is what it makes me think of.

- "ten-year-old daughter" - She's known about this right when his name came up the first time, but has not thought about it until now? Seems a bit unlikely to me. I think we need at least an o

- "confederates" - Huh? Like from the South? Confused. Does this really deserves to be capitalised? I can't really judge, because I don't understand the reference.

(page 12)

- "He dodged" - She goes all Highlander on her and he just 'dodges', and she's just flipping quarrels out the air unaided by her enhancement? I'm not convinced by the fighting here. It's very insubstantial, no consequences.

- "looked like flying garrote" - ???

- "ducked, weaved, pivoted, jumped off rocks. After a half-minute or so of evading" - This is kind of boring. Like I said, no consequences = no stakes.

- "Three crossbow bolts sprouted from her stomach" - I'm getting pretty darn frustrated at this point. He farts around for ages not hitting her (deliberately, it seemed at first), and suddenly he just shoots her? All that time she spent going all samurai on him, she's weaving the sword all over the place, but her body must be balanced and solid to do that, surely, for the most part. Therefore, she makes an easy target for a bow.

(page 13)

- "that R recognized as an..." - Don't need to be told this. Let me work it out, you've set it up already.

- "Ya gotta earn yer pay" - "puttin’ ya outta yer misery" - this stuff is more interesting. I don't get any real sense of JT's anger during the fight. He doesn't even seem emotionless, but 

(page 14)

- "miming taking a drink" - Huh? Why?

(page 15)

- "This was all set up in advance" - Really? All these people? Seems really elaborate.

- "make channels" - okay, there's more to it, that's better.

- "the marrow" - Ha. I've got a fantasy novelette about an MU using marrow. This dragon thing does prod my subconscious unease about the world, dragons, and all the Greek trappings. I mean how, and why and where?

(page 16)

- I really don't buy that she has a legend. She doesn't seem that special, just another tough in a world of toughs. I feel like I'm being told she has a legend, not shown. I mean why would towns be fearful of her if she works on the side of 'good', i.e. society / upstanding folks? "Yer a wanted lady" - right, maybe I've forgotten earlier references.

- "You just want me to play boogeyman" - what he describes is not her doing that. The black riders would be the boogeymen, she would be telling stories about the boogeymen.

(page 17)

- "three more appeared between his fingers for a total of four" - for the love of the baby J, don't tell me how to count to four!

- "get away... , or survive up to fours lethal injuries" - Why 'or'? These things are not mutually exclusive, are they? Also "I get all four?" - I'm not really sold on how life-changing this is supposed to be for her. There's a cursory (and slightly confusing) comment about escaping something, but it's not much to go on. She burns out a battery earlier in the chapter, and it doesn't well like a big deal. it doesn't feel like she's lost something incredibly valuable to her.

(page 18)

- "kicked her sword up into his left hand" - I didn't buy this. I suppose he could if it's not lying flat on the ground, but I kind of picture it laying flat on the ground, as a default.

- "until they were both bloody" - huh? What's the point in that when they are only shaking one hand, as per convention?

- "he’d never had a healing E in him" - grammar: 'he hadn't had', or something else other than 'never'.

- "In the unlikely chance" - never heard this, the phrasing's confusing to me. 'In the unlikely event' is the traditional phrasing. I would say 'On the unlikely chance' if you want to use chance. I think it's the difference between something certain (an event) and something uncertain (a chance).

(page 19)

- "Criminals would run rampant" - There's reference to two dozen of these goons. I have no feeling for how significant this is. If you kill two dozens police, I would expect there to be loads more, and so that would not be a significant number. If there are 30 of these cyborgs, there are still 6 left. Would criminals really run riot? If there are only 30 in the whole organisation, the bosses would be insane to send out 80% of their strength and leave only 20% to defend their seat of power. The logic of this plan confounds me.

- "The sorts of people she’d spent a near-decade killing for" - This is a massive turn-off for me. So she's scum, she's supporting criminals who inflict misery on society, who abuse and corrupt and generally ruin lives left, right and centre?

- "swipe that there dem" - I know it's a parody, but this grammar is so wrong. It has to be based on reality. 'that there' refers to singular and 'dim' above refers to plural.

- "black specter that was responsibility" - I get no sense that she's got any of this.

- "even corrupt M" - So confused.

- I like the image of the mysterious man at the end.

OVERALL 

I like this SOOO much better with the 'old timer' being mysterious instead of violence bursting out immediately, it's much more engaging, and entertaining to do it that way. The fight though... Fights are intrinsically boring unless they are doing something else at the same time, and I don't think this one is, or rather there's still too much fight, for me. It's better, but still has issues for me, a lot of them details though, it must be said.

There's a fair bit of telling things that I can work out for myself, which is more satisfying for the reader. Cutting down on the telling will help things flow much better, imo. And, really, telling the reader that 3 +1 = 4, I mean, jeez.

There are some logic issues in the details, I think, as noted.

Big issue #1: I have no real sense of how the world and society works. There are all these references to different organisations; political set ups; criminals; families, confederates; robots-cop enforcers. It's all very confusing, and underlying it all is the completely unexplained Greek influence. I know I said I can roll with it, but as more and more unexplained aspects of society emerge, that gets harder to do.

Big issue #2: I hate what R stands for. She sounds like a straight up criminal enforcer, killing people at the behest of gangsters, drug dealers, etc. I want nothing to do with someone who does that, and it's spelled out that way in one part. She's not shown to be especially competent, we're pretty much just told that. As a character, R does not engage my interest and very definitely not my sympathy.

Positives: It definitely reads better, I reckon. It's clear to see where issues from the first version have been addressed, and I like what you've done with a lot of the comments. I do not think there anything that fatally 'breaks' the story, everything I've said (if you deem any or all to be issues to be fixed) can be addressed.

Thanks for sharing the update. It's always interesting to see where people go post-critique :) 

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Like @Robinski, I think this is much improved, but still has some issues.

Overall, this is definitely better. I think there's a lot in the extra parts you added that can be tidied up to get this back to the original wordcount. A lot of the interactions with the students is awkward, and doesn't really add anything.

I'm still not fully on-board with the Greek/frontier culture mashup. Aside from the names, the big city basically sounds like Chicago. I'm waffling between wanting more worldbuilding to explain it, or less so that I don't have to worry about it making sense.

Last, J's motivations are still too scattered. He wants to kill her for being involved in his daughter's death. He wants to hire her. He's been tracking her, except this whole dig was a set-up, which means he knew exactly where she was and could have done this at any time. I think when this gets cleaned up, you could also solidify his motivations.


Notes while reading:
pg 3: I don't know that the "small talk" with the grad students really adds anything.

pg 4: This part is better, learning about the difference in tech levels, but this whole section could be tightened up.

pg 6: "one six-shooter bow"
--Not sure what this is. like it rotates a chamber around to then fire arrows from a string? My engineering mind is baffled over it.

pg 8: "Her words cut off as he smashed his palm right into her nose, which broke with an audible snap."
--His attack seems to come out of nowhere.

pg 9: "But why would a university professor know a wanted criminal,"
--This adds some good tension

pg 10: “I’ve been searchin’ for ya for a while now.”
--but he knows the professor. We all know he knew she was here.

pg 11: "J’s ten-year-old daughter had died in those flames, and the city-folk Confederates had rejoiced, thinking that it would sap all the fight from him.
---I feel like this would be have more impact shown than told.

pg 13: "Ya gotta earn yer pay."
--There's a weird mix between them casually talking, J attacking for revenge, and him testing her abilities. It's too big a mix of motivations for their meeting and it makes their interactions jumbled. I can't figure out what J will do because I'm not sure where he's coming from.

pg 15: “This was all set up in advance...."
--hmmm...Yes, it works as motivation, but it clashes with J tracking her down. I think a more solid single motivational throughline will clear this up a lot.

pg 16: "She didn’t buy that; there had to be more to this deal,"
--especially for all the work he went to.

pg 18: The bloody handshake is pretty cliche.

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

or less so that I don't have to worry about it making sense

:lol: 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you both for your critiques! They are much appreciated. I will definitely agree on the telling going a bit overboard, which I'll revise (I don't think I'll be re-submitting this chapter again). As for how the Western bits and Greek bits mix, I'll delve into that more in-depth in chapter 3. 

Response to a couple points below:

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

He farts around for ages not hitting her (deliberately, it seemed at first), and suddenly he just shoots her?

May I ask when do you think he shot her? Because I was trying to convey (as he fired at her right as she charged him) that he did hit her the moment he revealed himself to her, but she didn't notice she'd been shot the whole time she'd been attacking (note his dialogue: “Fightin’ for a near-straight minute with three bolts in ya?”). I'm not sure, but it looks to me like you think she was shot towards the end of the fight. It would be helpful if you could please clarify to me how you interpreted it.

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

This came up before. It sounds like city slicker: it doesn't sound like something mean and bad. In the UK, historically, bus conductors (who sold tickets and kept order) where called 'clippies', which is what it makes me think of.

'Clip' is old American mafia slang for 'kill.' So 'clipper' is made up on my part.

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I feel like this would be have more impact shown than told.

That event was the original (planned) prologue, but would have meant two time skips within the first fifty pages. I'll re-consider other ways to add that info back in more organically.

19 hours ago, Robinski said:

"plucked her thankfully intact spares tucked from her front shirt pocket" - Firstly, is 'tucked' an extra word to be deleted? Second, how did the specs get into her pocket? It was said that he knocked them off.

Please note that the line says that they're her spares, not the originals. 

Edited by JWerner
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5 hours ago, JWerner said:

May I ask when do you think he shot her?

Sure, I'll track that in detail: so first time he shoots at her is at the foot of Page 9 when he takes her bows away and she rolls away. Something in his manner made me think he might be toying with her there. Then, on Page 10, she thinks "praying that T didn’t decide to just go and shoot her right there and then", which says that he could shoot her is he wanted to, which leads to me believe he's toying with her.

Then, there's the conversation. He has a lot of things to say to her, and if he shoots and kills her, her doesn't get a chance to say all those things that sound like they need to be said. I guess the reveal of the meeting comes up after he's put her down, so that's not giving anything away about whether or not he's trying to shoot her. 

At the top of Page 12, she does all the sword twirling stuff. That distracted me from what he was doing, I think, because I guess he hit her when he hip fired, but you will recall I expressed concern about all the stuff she was doing making her a sitting duck. I guess it did. Bit if her unit is dead at this point, surely she would feel the strike? It seems odd that a skilled fighter would not be aware of being hit. I mean once, maybe, but three times? She logs where most of his shots go, missing her ear and rattling off rocks, but she's unaware of the ones that hit her? It just felt unreal to me.

5 hours ago, JWerner said:

'Clip' is old American mafia slang for 'kill.'

I know the term, but adding the 'er' softens it, for me. Makes it sound like 'chipper', which means happy / upbeat, of course. The way that 'city cl' aliterates (okay, not phonetically, but visually) also makes it sound kind of jolly and light-hearted, I think.

5 hours ago, JWerner said:

Please note that the line says that they're her spares, not the originals.

True: I read right past that!

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This is much improved! It flows much better and I am not left wondering at so many things.  

 

Mostly, like @Mandamon, I'm still not sold on the Greek words. Is there some reason such a definitive link to the "real" world is necessary? From what I've seen, this would work just as well as an earth-analog or even a fully-secondary world. The Greek words just seem to me to add needless and confusing ambiguity to the setting. I get distracted wondering why they're there, whereas if they were made-up, I don't think I'd hang on them as much and would be better able to focus on the story. 

I actually enjoyed the scene with the graduate students. I thought it was a nice bit of character development and it helped cement R as a young adult, not a grizzled veteran. It might have gone on a bit long, but it was amusing and the dialogue flowed nicely. I do love awkward teenagers acting believably awkward. :)

The fight is better, and I really appreciate the knight's introduction a lot more now. It's a lot more of R getting freaked out and overreacting and less of "let's have a random fight" and so it seems more natural to me. I also noticed they have roughly equal amounts of description, with less focus on the tiny details of their weapons, and I appreciate that too. 

I also like that the prof is in on it with the knight. I feel like that also helps explain the oddities still around the professors.

That's not to say @Mandamon and @Robinski don't have a point though. The knight's motives for finding/hiring R are still a bit unclear, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me for him to be saying he couldn't find her when he's orchestrated this big setup to get to her. This, to me, makes the fight seem a bit gratuitous (less so than last time, but still). There are still issues around the stakes of the fight as Robinski and Mandamon mentioned, as well. To me the enhancements suck the physical danger out of the confrontation, and the cavalier way the injuries are handled doesn't help. I like the idea that R is worried about being found out, and about protecting her charges, and I was wondering if maybe some heightened social or psychological danger in the confrontation might make up for the lack of physical danger?

The knight's motives during the fight are clearer than last time, but still pretty muddled. Why is he going for kill strikes, or being on the offensive at all, if his end goal is to hire her? I suppose I could understand if he intended to get her to run out of battery juice so he'd have more leverage on her, but it seems to me that just having her do any kind of extra activity or heal minor injuries would make her use energy faster, so why go for lethal shots?  I'm not entirely sure why he doesn't just end the fight. It's still clear he's the better combatant, so wouldn't a fast, humiliating subdue-and-disarm be as effective in getting R to stop overreacting for like a hot minute and just listen? I do enjoy the new dynamic of R freaking out and the knight just kind of rolling with it, I find that really amusing. It's also still mixed up with him fighting in earnest and that's less enjoyable for me. 

I'm still unclear on what his larger plan is, what he intends to do with R. He wants her to attack innocent people? And just, maraud around randomly until someone in the city notices? That seems... very nonspecific to me. 

Because, it's like, to me, he's really just looking for a certain level of general mayhem, yes? If so, then why does he need R, specifically? Couldn't he just hire any random thug/s to do that, without having to go through all the rigmarole of the fake dig and fight to get to R? I feel like, if R is ex-mafia with ties to political/municipal groups the knight wants to dismantle, wouldn't it be more reasonable to coerce R to give him information on his rivals/nemeses, or have her help him attack things in the city (things she knows about but he, presumably, doesn't), or have her/use her to broker alliances with the city mafia who might share his goals, or, just, something that plays more to R's particular strengths and unique experiences/knowledge? 

 

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Yes, this is much more in line with the quality that I have come to expect from you. Excellent improvements overall!

The only change I don't like:
- In the first draft you started by showing us an initial encounter that was designed to show us that R is a badass. It didn't really work because 1) you used the same monster from the first chapter and 2) she dispatched it too easily. Based on the feedback for the last draft, I can see why you cut it. But. With the changes to this new draft, I think you need that initial encounter. Something that shows us she is worthy of a reputation before we are told that she already has one later. Does that make sense?

3
- Confused. By now as part of her job she should have already spoken to everyone in the camp and explained to them what she needed out of them. I have nothing against her trying to be friendly with them, though.

5
- "part of the country where the technology was centuries behind and social norms" I don't buy CENTURIES behind. Years. Even decades, but centuries? No.
- "Those weren’t the kind of jobs that paid for Enhancement batteries..." Nice foreshadowing!

6
- "R took the weapon and quickly disassembled it, pulling off the frame, removing the revolving chamber and unhooking the string from the arms." This is great. I was really confused by the weapons but this is the perfect way to show them to us without simply info dumping a description. 
- Is she using her battery every time she does something like an x-ray or is that stuff powered separately?

7
- "danger-klaxons" made me go huh?
- "straight-bladed chokutō" Nice, specific detail.
- "made a surgical scalpel look like a butter knife" I like this. Takes two cliches and combines them into something fresher.
- "fighting stance" Be more specific.
- "My parents? D? Or was it one of the Families outside of NA?” Woah. Why is she revealing all this info?
- He doesn't strike me as the type of person who would blush/flush over something like this. I'd cut.

8
- The punch took me by surprise!
- “Eat science, you feather-hatted son of a slontze...” This falls really flat for me. I'd cut.

9
- Everything about the tech flows so much more naturally this time around. I'm not jolted out of the story every time I learn something new. Kudos!
- Even though an entire page has passed since the punch, I don't feel the flow was interrupted.
- Confused. If she has fallen head over heels into a pit and hasn't gotten up yet the logistics of going for her bows is weird. 
- Also, I'm not sure I buy that he disarmed her in the time it took her to fall back after the punch. I know he's supposed to be good, but I'm assuming her bows are locked into place. And it's not like she stumbled around before falling backwards.

10
- He's not really missing his mark, though, right? He's missing on purpose?
- I'm starting to lose the immediacy of the scene a bit here, especially after she tells him to follow her.

11
- "bucket of ice water over her head" This makes me wonder if there is social media in this world.
- "JT’s ten-year-old daughter had died in those flames, and the city-folk Confederates had rejoiced, thinking that it would sap all the fight from him." This is good backstory but I think the line that follows (and after) is much stronger without it. I'd cut.

13
- "creepy city tech" Oooh. I like this! Excellent world/character building.

14
- "like she had a whole parade of ants beneath her shirt" Cool simile!

15
- "You’re gonna make Channels outta them.” Oh rust, son! I love this. Especially since the dragon thing seemed so background last draft. Awesome! 
- I just noticed nobody has Ancient Greek sounding names. I think this is a missed opportunity.

16
- "I don’t suppose any of them mentioned that the White Viper was two people?" I like this. Good lead in. 

19
- The chapter is so strong that it feels like it fizzles first with the bit of back and forth negotiation (stuff we've already covered) and then a full page of R's internal thought process. 

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Overall, I liked this better than the first time around.  The whole arc of the chapter is clearer, and the set up makes sense. I liked that the fight was trimmed. It made the interaction with the knight easier to follow. 

Here is one point where I got confused

"Like I said, White V..., just some old timer..." Something about way this was phrased made me not realize WV was R's nickname. So for a few lines of the following conversation, I was confused until I started reading again. 

 

On 7/10/2019 at 3:44 AM, Robinski said:

Big issue #1: I have no real sense of how the world and society works. There are all these references to different organisations; political set ups; criminals; families, confederates; robots-cop enforcers. It's all very confusing, and underlying it all is the completely unexplained Greek influence. I know I said I can roll with it, but as more and more unexplained aspects of society emerge, that gets harder to do.

I also don't have the best understanding of the world, but it's only the second chapter, so I'm willing to wait it out a little since it seems like something very complicated. 

One other thing I  am wondering is why the people on the frontier don't have the tech. Is it an economic thing? A choice? Did the societies evolve differently? How hard or easy is it for people to move between the two places?

On 7/11/2019 at 7:12 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I actually enjoyed the scene with the graduate students. I thought it was a nice bit of character development and it helped cement R as a young adult, not a grizzled veteran. It might have gone on a bit long, but it was amusing and the dialogue flowed nicely. I do love awkward teenagers acting believably awkward.

I liked that part too.

 

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Well, I'm ridiculously behind, aren't I?

Overall

Ah, this is much better than round one! Very nice pacing through the start and I was much more engaged with the story. The fight still bored me because I didn't understand why it was happening, and I think the chapter went on a bit long, but otherwise I think this was a really solid rewrite that really launches the next chapter!

As I go

- pg 2: scientists would not use the word 'eons.' A scientist would be very, very specific.

- pg 3: I don't think grad student gaze would be that descriptive or about 'stuff.' Grad student gaze would be more, "Oh crap, she's the grant money, isn't she? GOD LOOK BUSY ALREADY!' Although in this case it might be, "Huh. Police. Meh. Hey Sally, did you do a diameter check on that last molar? Want to compare to the three I found this morning? Samir has the centrifuge and we can sort by dry weight once we powder them later, if you want. Oh, hey, why is the fuzz still here?"

- would she really chuck a coffee mug when they're in the boonies? That seems like a waste

- pg 9: okay there are too many words I don't know that I need introduced. I'm into the storyline and the pacing is fine but I don't understand the magic system, as it were, or some of these proper nouns that keep being thrown around

- pg 10: okay wait what? I thought the magic guy knew someone at the dig site? What is going on? Why are they fighting??

- I skimmed the fight because I had no idea why it was happening. Pg 13 and we are getting stakes and plot and I'm back in

- pg 15: I think you need like, one line more after your first sentence on this page, and then end the chapter. After this it goes into info/plot dump and the tension fades. The rest is another chapter, I think

- pg 17: yes this is a bit too much now. Too much information. I'd rather get it piecemeal and have R figure it out during another chapter.

 

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