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Robinski

Robinski - 190806 - TCC Chapter 05 - 4273 words (L)

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Hey all,
 
Chapter 5. Tagged accordingly.
 
Chapter Recap:
 
01 - In small town in British Columbia, Q and M close out the Not-All-That-Curious Case of the Stolen Art;
02 - Q and M decide on what to do next, all the options seem to have some issue or other. Q's ex-father calls;
03 - After some political machinations, we meet EM (the administrator) and TT (the scientist) who at Gen Ex in Yellowknife, NWT;
04 - T is coerced by M into releasing the MTs. They are meant to kill her, but it does not go to plan for M. Now he has a problem
 
Any an all comment greatly appreciated. I'm really sorry I haven't responded to last week's and I am so far behind on critiquing too. Bah, sorry!
 
Cheers, Robinski
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Got a bunch done on the plane, and now's the first chance I got to comment with an internet connection!

Another good chapter. I think there's some more action in it this time around. Things have been a little slow with Q&M wandering around Canada--there was more action on the E/T/M side. But this chapter starts to get things going. I also like that there's more background about both Q & M. Nice to see them developing in character.


Notes while reading:
pg 3: "technique approaching tenderness—most unsettling"
--I mean, they are designed to serve people. Why would an android not be able to massage and help relax people?

pg 3: "had made him look shifty during his questioning by C’s sheriff the next morning,"
--wait, what? What is he being questioned for? And how does he know it made him look shifty if it's not happening until the next morning?

pg 4: "R arrived today"
--I think this is where the jump in timelines gets confusing. R is the security guard M found in the last chapter, right? Except he's already contacted Q&M in the chapter before that.

pg 4: “I don’t know how you’re not taller"
--was this talk about her parents taken from the last chapter or am I having flashbacks to the first time I read this?

pg 6: "It sounded like a really good dinner"
--lol

pg 7: "he had his own missing person, two in fact."
--There's more development of Q's life in this chapter than I remember. Good.

pg 8: "a man called M took the boy away"
--Oho! I know that part's new. Very nice twist.

pg 9: "Creston ideal" -> "Creston was ideal"

pg 9: "It served the North American Federation right for dispensing with driving licenses."
--nice worldbuilding touch.

pg 10: a bit of a drag in tension on all the driving descriptions.

pg 12: "It’ll keep schedule, right?”
--what will keep schedule?

pg 14: “She’s feisty; I like her,”
--lol (Also good on more background for M, above)


 

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Overall

I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one? I think I have heavy WRS right now. I do miss Q's bi-ness, so I don't know if that's something you removed or it just didn't make it in this pass. Some thoughts on it are below. 

I liked the general premise of this chapter, but it felt a little wobbly, like the chapter was escaping from its jell-o mold in places. I think it needs some tightening and a few logic checks, but otherwise it progressed the narrative nicely and I did enjoy it. M, as always remains a delight.

 

As I go

- pg 4: do we know who Old Man is??? I thought it was Q's dad but... the antagonist mentions him too so now I think I've missed something entirely

- pg 8: Q wondered if M was a friend or sweetheart; wife or daughter. Is Q still bi? Because if so, I don't think he'd hetero default like this

- pg 13: I think something is missing in the scene where they get to the airport and get into the woman's truck. I feel like it happened too quickly, like there was a logic jump I missed, but I can't quite put my finger on it. How did they know their client was in that plane? I think that's what I need to know, and maybe feel a bit more emotion about it too, from Q

- pg 14: If Q is still bi, then I think we should get a smidge more detail on the 'strapping sheriff' since we did get he was 'strapping.' A bit of his clothing, perhaps, to balance with our car driving lady

- pg 17: so The Old Man is the ex-father-in-law, but is The Old Man referred to by M the same then? Yes?

 

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Over all: A little slow to get started, but the action was good. I'm seriously confused about what and who I'm supposed to already know. Was something cut? 

 

As I go:

I am having some serious WRS with the beginning of this sub. I have forgotten what's going on and why Q is sore, and it felt like I was missing a bit of ... something for about two pages. Did this get cut a lot? It felt choppy, but that might be the fact that I can't remember what this chapter connects back to.  Why is he being questioned by police again? Did I just forget I read like half a chapter? 

I like the dialogue around breakfast, but I still feel like I'm missing something. ... Something like... argh.. something to connect this chapter back to the rest? I don't know. I feel like I've opened a book to the middle and don't know the context of what I'm reading. This section also makes me think Q is being a little coy with the readers, almost, for the way he dodges around without answering very much. I know he's being uncomfortable with M's line of questions, but I almost feel like the lack-of-information is directed at me. I don't know.. Maybe the evasion is running a little long? Or maybe i'm still trying to re-remember where this-all fits in with the rest. 

And then it goes into 3 pages of pretty straightforward travel recitation. I don't mind some, and the bucolic quality does make M's lines near the end pop really well... but 3 pages feels like a lot, especially with the rest of this chapter in the mix before it. We're down on page 11 before the action of the chapter even starts to get going. it's good action, and I want to get to it sooner! 

The truck ride is great. I'm a little unclear why they switched vehicles, but the ride itself is just a hoot.

K... the K cop... Am I supposed to know him? The story is acting like I've seen him before and I think this is the first mention.... Oh! Was there a section last time with them being questioned and it's not in here at all anymore I don't think? Okay, I think what I'm picking up on then is artifacts linking back to that part that's not there anymore. Maybe? This section is acting like we already knew and met K-cop prior to this, and there are bits and pieces referencing things that I can't recall at all  in this version (Q self-diagnosing the muscle soreness, mentioning the questioning), so that would totally explain my lost and disconnected feeling if there's a section that got the axe but wasn't scrubbed out of this current part. 

 

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I'm having a hard time finding the right words to say what I want about this chapter, so bear with me. I'll try to make sense. 

I almost feel like I am reading two completely different books. I know that the stuff from the other POVs will be related to Q's case in some way, but right now, all I have to go by is my trust in you as a writer and a few snippets here and there describing the election / campaigning. Both before and after those chapters, when you described the election stuff, I felt like you were throwing a spot light on it. Before the POV switch, I felt like you were saying "reader, you must pay attention to this, it is important and you will learn why, but I'm not going to tell you yet." After, it was "Reader, do you get it now?" And both times, something about it felt forced, though I'm not sure there is a way to make it not feel forced. And right now, as far as I can see, this is the only thread connecting the two, the only obvious hint, other than the fact that these chapters are happening in the same book, that these stories will cross paths at all. 

I love your writing, so I trust you to make the connection happen in a meaningful way as the book goes on, but if I had never read your work before, I'm not 100% sure if I would want to keep reading or not because the narratives feel so jarringly different and disconnected. However, since this is a 2nd book in a series, I'd guess anyone reading it would be invested enough in the characters and/or trusting enough in you as a writer to keep reading. 

Maybe part of my problem is that I came in expecting Q & M to be the main characters, but so far, the other POV characters have had all the action and high stakes. We opened with Q & M wrapping up a case, then they had lots of quiet time to pick a new one and talk to each other and eat food that really made me hungry. It's not until the end of this chapter that things that to get moving for them. 

 

On 8/7/2019 at 7:34 PM, kais said:

I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one?

I am also a little confused about this. I haven't read book 1, and I feel like I am supposed to know certain things but I don't know what they are.

On 8/8/2019 at 6:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I feel like I've opened a book to the middle and don't know the context of what I'm reading.

I had this feeling too. Part of it, at least for me, was because so little happened with Q & M before a whole lot happened to other people, but that isn't all of it. 

 

As I read:

Page 4

You are making me want breakfast.

"R arrived today, and Q knew..." I completely forgot who R was. However, this might not have happened if I read the whole book over the course of a day or two.

Page 9:

"Creston ideal for practising with real drivers, being remote enough that most people still had U-drive cars." Something about this sentence is confusing me.

On the end of 9 going to 10, I feel like the narrative is throwing a big light on the election, begging me to understand that everything I just read from the other POVs will be connected to Q, even though I have absolutely no clue how. 

Page 11

Because of all the description of election related things, when I saw the flashing lights, I thought for sure Q and M were driving into the scene we had just left from the other POVs. 

Confession: I may have skimmed the time/date stamp at the begining of each chapter. Maybe that would have been enough to tell me whether or not they actually could be driving into that scene.

I was almost disappointment and felt a little mislead when they didn't. 

Page 17

"He’s called the Old Man because he is one hundred and sixty-three years old. He was born in nineteen thirty-six. He’s a truly despicable human being." I liked how this not only gave me a sense of how old the character was, but also really grounded the setting for me. 

Aside from that disconnected feeling, I did enjoy the chapters. I love M, and thought their agreement to swap information about each other was fantastic! 

I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing how it all comes together. 

 

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I'm sorry it took my so long to get to this!

This is the first chapter where Q and M really felt like independent people. I liked that we got to see their differences more and I'm really starting to like M. She reminds me of Lift from Edgedancer and I get a little smile every time she does something M-esque. 

I also like that the chapter has actual forward motion. I finally feel like I'm in the story and the story is moving. The problem with that is that it's only starting to happen on page 80, and this sense of progression keeps getting interrupted. 

Which brings me to my biggest issue with the chapter and the novel so far. I feel like the world building is getting its own way, which is strange because we are still talking about Earth and not one too far removed from present day. When I read a Dresden book I feel For instance, there's a bunch of tech being described and most of it is pretty easy to wrap your head around if you've read any sort of SF in the past, but it's at the point where as soon as I get to the description of the tech my eye immediately starts skimming. The tech will either do what the plot needs it to do or it won't be mentioned again. And therein lies my issue. I feel like I'm getting a lot of information that isn't directly pertinent to the book I'm reading. In 80 pages I feel like I've really only gotten 5-10 pages of truly important information and most of that is muddied or muddled.

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On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

Another good chapter. I think there's some more action in it this time around. Things have been a little slow with Q&M wandering around Canada--there was more action on the E/T/M side. But this chapter starts to get things going. I also like that there's more background about both Q & M. Nice to see them developing in character.

Hey thanks for reading, on a plane!! I'm glad this one is starting to pull its weight better. It may be that there's a bit more action, but it's just as much that the non-action has been pared down, I think.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

Why would an android not be able to massage and help relax people?

Q has never been wholly accepting of androids. In Book 1 there was a thing about him calling Eight 'it' and M saying 'he'. However, this was supposed to be more about Q's personal reaction to the massage specifically. I guess that doesn't come through from what is quite an oblique reference. I've made it less oblique.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

What is he being questioned for? And how does he know it made him look shifty if it's not happening until the next morning?

Poor phrasing. Q and M were interviewed the day after the showdown with G. I'd say this was PI standard when catching a crime without notifying the local PD. The timeline was unclear. Now fixed, I hope.  Thanks.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

R is the security guard M found in the last chapter, right? Except he's already contacted Q&M in the chapter before that.

Yeah. I took out the tags that marked the time jumps from the start of some chapters, but I've put the '4 Days Later...' back in at the start of this one.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

was this talk about her parents taken from the last chapter or am I having flashbacks to the first time I read this?

Um, flashbacks, I guess?

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

There's more development of Q's life in this chapter than I remember. Good.

Yup, supplemented what was there last time. Glad it's working :) 

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

Oho! I know that part's new. Very nice twist.

:D  Yeah, I think I got comments that M wasn't really working so well when he appears to Q. Another good fix from the group!

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

a bit of a drag in tension on all the driving descriptions.

I will look for ways to trim those drive descriptions. Good call.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

what will keep schedule?

The flight. I might cut this line, not sure it has any real value.

On 07/08/2019 at 0:21 PM, Mandamon said:

Also good on more background for M, above

That really is much of the task of this chapter, so I'm glad you enjoyed that aspect :) 

Really appreciate the comments. Thank you!

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Hey, thanks for reading, Kais - always appreciate your comments.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one? I think I have heavy WRS right now.

I'm going to put it down to WRS at this point, but will monitor what the others think. TOM was introduced when first speaking to Q, and again in Chp.3 when first speaking to Mor. I think it will be okay on continuous read through.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

I do miss Q's bi-ness, so I don't know if that's something you removed or it just didn't make it in this pass.

I'm not intentionally writing it out, so I will need to ensure I keep it flagged when opportunities arise. I know you'll keep me honest in this respect!

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

I liked the general premise of this chapter, but it felt a little wobbly, like the chapter was escaping from its jell-o mold in places. I think it needs some tightening and a few logic checks, but otherwise it progressed the narrative nicely and I did enjoy it.

Okay. I'll watch out for those checks in your comments. I understand what you're saying.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

M, as always remains a delight.

:D

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

do we know who Old Man is??? I thought it was Q's dad but... the antagonist mentions him too so now I think I've missed something entirely

Well, it's the same TOM. I thought that would come over. There's reasons... which come out later. I'll see how it plays through the chapter.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

Is Q still bi? Because if so, I don't think he'd hetero default like this

Good flag. That's my hetero default. I've changed this to "sister or friend or wife" but also made it clear in that Mer (who R is worried about) is female.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

I think something is missing in the scene where they get to the airport and get into the woman's truck. I feel like it happened too quickly, like there was a logic jump I missed, but I can't quite put my finger on it. How did they know their client was in that plane? I think that's what I need to know, and maybe feel a bit more emotion about it too, from Q

Okay, I will provide more emotion from Q. In terms of their knowledge, it's the only plane from Yellowknife to Crest and they know what time R's arriving. It's a small airport (although probably bigger than it is now), so there's little scope for error.

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

If Q is still bi, then I think we should get a smidge more detail on the 'strapping sheriff' since we did get he was 'strapping.' A bit of his clothing, perhaps, to balance with our car driving lady

Got it. I've put in a line about K's 'magnetic and commanding presence'. How about that?

On 08/08/2019 at 0:34 AM, kais said:

Man referred to by M the same then? Yes?

Yup, same TOM. I hoped using caps in both POVs would get that over.

Thanks again for the comments. More good fixes there :) 

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Hey ID, thanks so much for reading. Much appreciated.

Yeah, I think there is a lot of WRS going on, so I'm not going to panic over much. I'm glad the chapter got there in the end of you, and I will try to cut down the travel a bit more, although I've cut it twice already before now. Still, clearly there is more scope.

On 08/08/2019 at 11:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Maybe the evasion is running a little long? Or maybe i'm still trying to re-remember where this-all fits in with the rest.

Yeah, I'm hoping that is the case. I'll see how the hole thing turns out once I'm through all the comments.

On 08/08/2019 at 11:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

We're down on page 11 before the action of the chapter even starts to get going. it's good action, and I want to get to it sooner!

Yes, okay. I'll be doing a word count trim in any case going through this chapter, so I'll try and take maybe a page out of the travel and see where that leaves me.

On 08/08/2019 at 11:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

The truck ride is great. I'm a little unclear why they switched vehicles, but the ride itself is just a hoot.

That's good, and it's fair to say that it does kind of highlight the 'disparity' between the first ride and the second, but it's the crash that causes the tension, of course. They switch vehicles because N is going there and Q is hanging on the running board. M really forced it by getting in N's truck. I guess it was just easier.

On 08/08/2019 at 11:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Am I supposed to know him? The story is acting like I've seen him before and I think this is the first mention.

He gets mentioned at the start of this chapter, although he's not on screen until the encounter at the fire.

On 08/08/2019 at 11:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Was there a section last time with them being questioned and it's not in here at all anymore I don't think?

That's in the next chapter, but there are two lots of questioning. They got questioned after taking Gre down, which is mentioned at the start of this chapter, then they get questioned about the plane crash in the next chapter.

Thanks again for reading. I'm off to tackle that darn travel section :)

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Hey, SSmooth. Thank you for reading. I always appreciate your comments.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I almost feel like I am reading two completely different books. I know that the stuff from the other POVs will be related to Q's case in some way, but right now, all I have to go by is my trust in you as a writer and a few snippets here and there describing the election / campaigning.

I understand (so far! :) ). There are very different sections going on, and I appreciate that the connection(s) between them may seem a bit tenuous at the moment.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Before the POV switch, I felt like you were saying "reader, you must pay attention to this, it is important and you will learn why, but I'm not going to tell you yet." After, it was "Reader, do you get it now?" And both times, something about it felt forced, though I'm not sure there is a way to make it not feel forced. And right now, as far as I can see, this is the only thread connecting the two, the only obvious hint, other than the fact that these chapters are happening in the same book, that these stories will cross paths at all.

Right. Fair comment. To some extent, I think it will play better on a continuous read through, where I hope it's clear that the election is a thread that appears in almost all of the chapters. I'll hold onto to it for the moment and measure (complete) alpha reader reaction too.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

but if I had never read your work before, I'm not 100% sure if I would want to keep reading or not because the narratives feel so jarringly different and disconnected.

Hmm, okay. Well, there is that fact that it's Book 2, so hopefully folks reading it would be onboard and grant me a little trust, as you say :unsure:. I'm not saying that I won't try to strengthen the connections between the two location threads in another edit though.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Maybe part of my problem is that I came in expecting Q & M to be the main characters, but so far, the other POV characters have had all the action and high stakes. We opened with Q & M wrapping up a case, then they had lots of quiet time to pick a new one and talk to each other and eat food that really made me hungry. It's not until the end of this chapter that things that to get moving for them.

I can't argue with this. I think maybe I will keep trying to trim down the other POV chapters, and the opening Q and M ones, to make them as tight as possible.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

You are making me want breakfast.

:lol:  I like to inspire my readers however I can :lol: 

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

However, this might not have happened if I read the whole book over the course of a day or two.

Yeah. I'm thinking this would be okay on a 'regular' read.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

"Creston ideal for practising with real drivers, being remote enough that most people still had U-drive cars." Something about this sentence is confusing me.

There is a missing word at the start (was). Maybe it's just not strong enough logically. I've tidied it up, made it more compact.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I feel like the narrative is throwing a big light on the election, begging me to understand that everything I just read from the other POVs will be connected to Q, even though I have absolutely no clue how.

Hmm, yes: relying on your patience here a little, I guess.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Confession: I may have skimmed the time/date stamp at the begining of each chapter. Maybe that would have been enough to tell me whether or not they actually could be driving into that scene.

I was almost disappointment and felt a little mislead when they didn't.

Well, yes the date stamps do do that, however, they also tag location. Mor, E and T are in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, whereas as Q and M are in Crest-on, which is a town about 5 miles north of the US border (Idaho). That's mentioned in narrative. I appreciate that you didn't run to an atlas to check where these places were, but they are different places ;)  What I did do in response to Mandamon's issue with timeline was add back in a tag at the start of this chapter that days '4 days later'. It was in before, but I took it out because of complaints about the chapter timeline tags. I think on balance, I'll leave this one in.

On 11/08/2019 at 1:49 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I liked how this not only gave me a sense of how old the character was, but also really grounded the setting for me.

Aw, that's cool. Glad this worked. I didn't want to pick a ridiculous age, but given that the oldest person to have lived (according to Wiki) was 122 (from 1875 to 1997!!), 163 did not seem so crazy.

Thanks again for your comments. Very helpful to see what's working and what is not (so well). :) 

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On 17/08/2019 at 4:13 AM, hawkedup said:

I'm sorry it took my so long to get to this!

Hey HawkedUp, please don't worry about that. It's taking me ages to get caught up, so you're still ahead of me! Also, I'm sorry I've been so unresponsive about checking the G**gle Doc...

...which I have just done, and thank you so much for all the comments. I've been through Chapters 1 and 2, and will progress through the rest much faster now!

On 17/08/2019 at 4:13 AM, hawkedup said:

This is the first chapter where Q and M really felt like independent people. I liked that we got to see their differences more and I'm really starting to like M. She reminds me of Lift from Edgedancer and I get a little smile every time she does something M-esque.

Aw, that's great. I'm really pleased.

On 17/08/2019 at 4:13 AM, hawkedup said:

I also like that the chapter has actual forward motion. I finally feel like I'm in the story and the story is moving. The problem with that is that it's only starting to happen on page 80, and this sense of progression keeps getting interrupted.

Yeah... It's not an action from the first page sort of story. I'll be trying to get the page count down before the 'action' starts, but slower character moments are kind of a feature of these stories. They do rely on pretty heavy investment in those character moments.

On 17/08/2019 at 4:13 AM, hawkedup said:

I feel like I'm getting a lot of information that isn't directly pertinent to the book I'm reading. In 80 pages I feel like I've really only gotten 5-10 pages of truly important information and most of that is muddied or muddled.

Right. All I can do about that at this point is mark it for the next full edit.

Thanks for the comments.

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Oh, and @hawkedup, sorry to be dense, but I don't get what 'BM' means in the G**gle Doc comments. Please excuse my ignorance! :) 

p.s. I got it. Bookmark, right? I'm such a dough-head sometimes.

Edited by Robinski
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