Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
hawkedup

08/19/19 - Turn of Ages 08 - hawkedup - 4600

11 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

WARNING - This chapter has been revised and resubmitted. If you were still planning on reading and critiquing, please feel free to give this one a skip and go right to the 08.5 submission for Monday the 26th!

Previously: Z, R and M are in possession of a demon egg and secret information that could change the world. Their plan is to take the egg to the highest authority, the God King. On their way, they are attacked by another demon who they believe was searching for the egg. They are saved by Z's mother who disappeared almost a year ago.


I had some trouble with this chapter. I blocked it out different ways, first setting U's story apart as a flashback, then incorporating it into the scene for more immediacy and finally a mix between the two. I don't think the emotional resonance I was shooting for quite takes hold, but I hope I'm wrong. Also, this chapter ends Act 1.

Edited by hawkedup
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall

While I enjoyed the reunion and some plot details, this chapter had a somewhat wandering arc. I think the first eight pages could be cut entirely, and the end trimmed, to make a very powerful reunion scene. The emotional beats don't fall quite where I'd like, especially at the end, but I've flagged the stuff that really bugged me.

I think basically what I'd like in this chapter is more forward plot progression, and less standing around talking. I like dialogue, a lot, but I'd like it in conjunction with either emotional growth or plot growth (ideally both).

 

As I go, from IRELAND!

- these first three pages I'd like to be in Z's head a bit more. This is her long-lost mother, and while I don't expect a barrage of overt emotion from her necessarily, there should be more thoughts in her head I think, especially if her expression of her autism has changed as she's gotten older, which is fairly common

- pg 4: I still have a hard time with the 30 mile walk in a day, from teenagers who don't routinely walk 30 miles in a day

- top of page 5 needs some dialogue tags. I had to read it three times to figure out who was talking

- pg 7: I feel like there is a great deal of plot convenience happing in this chapter

- pg 8: there is a ton of dialogue through these pages and I'm not feeling any real tension. We might need more actions with the talking, more forward momentum of the characters, to keep the dialogue working

- pg 8: I think this dialogue and emotional arc, here, is where the chapter really starts. You could probably cut everything before

- pg 11: It's weird to me that a place that really really wants women to have children would allow hysterectomies (assuming that is what you mean by 'the surgery')

- pg 13: getting antsy. Too much talking and not enough forward movement, even though we are getting plot elements now

- pg 14: why doesn't the mom have more questions about the egg? It doesn't seem like she knows more than the kids so wouldn't she be... shocked? Surprised? Curious? Horrified? Especially if her daughter is mixed up in it?

- pg 15: it weirds me out that the mother is so surprised that Z has friends. It's a weird beat, and I wonder if it is from an older draft?

- pg 16: and then her mother relents just because Z has friends? This doesn't ring quite right

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, this was good, and I'm glad to see it starting to develop the world some more. The existence of the train vs. the town helps place the tech level a little better.

Like @kais, I have some issues with the setup, though. For example, Mom's social status with the group. She's sort of accepted as "one of the teens," and then there's some weird power play with how much control she has over them. Especially with her absence and deliberately hiding from her daughter (for some reason?) She doesn't have a lot of leverage, and so the normal mother/daughter/friend reactions seem strained and a bit unreal.


The whole flashback/POV change in the middle isn't working at all though. It's very confusing because there are head hops back to Z while the mother is telling the story, although the story is in Z's POV. I think it can be cleaned up pretty easily, just needs some editing.


Looking forward to where this is going though, and I would love to see more of the mom further along in the story (right now it seems like she's going to stay where she is?)


Notes while reading:
pg 1: “You’re like a week from hitting the turn of age. Haven’t you ever broken a bone before?”
--Hmm. A couple issues with this. First, is M addressing the mother? Second, it seems a pretty disrespectful tone for one who has just saved her life, and for an elder. From what I've seen so far, there is general respect to those older than you. I'd expect this as a comment more between teens. Third, if someone's near the turn, wouldn't they naturally be more concerned with keeping themself from getting injured?

pg 1: “And, no, I’ve never actually broken a bone before.”
--Possible, but unlikely, if she's trained as a soldier. I've broken several bones practicing martial arts and I've never been in a real fight. You do give reasons for it below, but it stretches my belief a little. ribs, toes, and fingers are very easy to break and not much you can do about them.

pg 2: "He looked just as surprised by this news as she felt."
--also surprised. Wouldn't small-town people generally know what was going on, especially with career choices?

pg 2: “You know you’re being catty to a teenager, right?”
--yeah, the attitude on M isn't really working for me. I would think at least fear and hesitancy for an outcast like Z's mother.

pg 2: “You do use that line a lot.”
--who uses which line?

pg 3: “We just need to go about a mile right now,” Mama said. “I can make it.”
--on a broken leg? Really?

pg 3: "she disappeared for a year."
--I would think this would be higher up on the list of things to ask about.

pg 4: “I’d say about a mile or so shy of thirty."
--What time of day is it? I was imagining it was midday, but maybe I'm mistaken. At any rate, 30 miles would take something like 10-12 hours to walk, if you take their speed at about 3 MPH.

pg 5: “Do you always abandon your only child?”
--Yeah, the 'tude really isn't working for me. I just don't believe there would even be that much acceptance of the mother as one of the crew.

pg 5: "At first it wouldn’t budge"
--repetition with the sentence above.

pg 6: "Sub, below. Terra, the earth."
--This doesn't quite work for me with the knowledge they already have. R already guessed they were trains. Thus the big revelation that the trains pass underneath, on the tracks that are clearly below ground, doesn't really work.

pg 9: "on the day they came for her mother."
--Ah. we've gone to flashback. There needs to be some sort of break here to show that we're switching from Z's POV to Mom's.

pg 10: "When Mama revealed this fact, Z tried very hard not to look at M or R." 
--Er, we're jumping back into Z's POV while still telling the story that only mom knows. It's making my head hurt. I think this either needs to be all in quotes, so that is actually telling the story, or needs to have a very clear break to show were going from Z's POV to Moms, and then back. It's also a pretty long infodump. Could get away with it as a story, but it might still need to be edited down to the relevant facts.

pg 11: "U served a second tour"
--and now we're back in mom's POV again...

pg 12: “It scared me. 
--missing a quote

pg 12: "friend of Misery"
--Has this been defined? It's popped up several times now and I'm confused as to what it is.

pg 12: “Papa knew,” Z said. “He visited you?”
--we already covered this a few pages back.

pg 15: "Are these two kids your... friends?”
--Is there a problem with this happening? This whole exchange is weird, like mom doesn't want Z to be social or something. She's been basically unavailable for however long. She should expect her kid to have new connections. Even with that, actively stopping her kid from gaining friends seems bad, and I don't see a reason why she would.

pg 16: “Well, then... of course you can go.”
--I don't think mom has much leverage to "let" anyone do anything.

pg 17: “Afraid so,” R said and spoke no more."
--This is an odd aside that doesn't go anywhere. As such, it seems like a very author voice statement like "hey, this book is really important to the story." If I was accused of something I didn't do, I'd want to get to the bottom of why.

pg 17: Good last line!
 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was enjoying this chapter up until the flash back part. I got completely lost in that. I wasn't sure if it was a POV change or not, and even within it, I struggled to keep track of who was who. I also felt like it had more detail than was really needed. I'd be tempted to tell it through dialogue, but there are disadvantages to that. 

Even with all the flash back detail, I'm having a hard time getting a sense of the mom as a character, and about what her relationship with Z was like. There was talk of her in earlier chapters, but it mostly centered around her being gone, and the relationship with the father is so well done that it overshadows what little bits there were about the mother. I was also very surprised to find out the dad knew she was alive, and if he knew, why couldn't Z know? I couldn't picture Z telling anyone, though maybe I'm not quite reading Z right. 

I didn't stop to think a whole lot about it while I read, but @Mandamon makes a good point about the power play between the teens and the mom. I think I can kind of see what you were going for, but I'm not sure it quite landed right. I could see the mom being skeptical of the kids. I still don't trust M to actually be Z's friend, so I can see the mom also being skeptical. This feeling is definitely being colored by my own childhood struggles with fitting in with kids at school, so take it with a grain of salt. 

This chapter did make me more interested in the world and how the turn of the age affects the society. 

As I read:

"Most women gave birth..." So M must be getting close to old enough for the breeding program, right? 

"...was misery catching up to you" I'm a little confused by this line

"Began to climb down, not using her broken leg" I was struggling to picture this. 

"Oncoming train" I love the end of the chapter! 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comments.

(page 1)

- It's WRS really, but when I see misery on the page, it takes me a moment to remember that the name of the overarching evil, and not just regular, everyday misery. I'm sure it's a WRS thing, and would not cause me too much issue reading the whole story.

- The epigraph is a little confused, I think. Not sure I believe the line about coincidence. So, if Z was on her way to see someone in the pueblo, and happened to meet them in the street, that's the work of misery? I just don't think the logic scans. Also, the banquet line: it's the grammar. In this form, it reads to me like the banquet is feeding on indecision in the same way that misery does.

- I'm still not invested in the T of Age. I think from comments previously I'm supposed to see it sand ending. Do people actually die? What happens? If it was communicated earlier, I can't remember. Does it happen at a specific age or is it different for everybody?

- "commendation board" - Bit confused, so did M know that Z's mom was at the front the whole time she was disappeared?

(page 2)

- "your bedside manner" - this jibe didn't really land for me. I didn't think M's manner was particularly harsh.

- "You douse that line a lot" - Which line? 'I'm not a kid?' Not completely clear, I don't think.

(page 3)

- Searching it out, it's page 5 before you mention mom's leg. I'd like a mention of that on page 1, so I remember how she was injured when all the bandaging is going on.

- I was enjoying the dynamic with the three youngsters, but that has changed now with the adult on board. I'm not enjoying it so much as the kids acting independently and cooperating with each other. What I'm hoping is that mom goes out of the picture again fairly soon (for whatever reason). It's more engaging to see the kids acting for themselves, making their own decisions.

(page 4)

- "That was good timing" - Yes, very convenient. I'm not all that keen on it, as it gives an easy out from a fairly tense situation.

(page 5)

- "popped it up and slid over the rim" - how are they opening the manhole? Man holes don't usually have handholds.

- "that’s not sketchy" - This seems little different from the shelter in which the egg was hidden, so this line seems a bit rich.

(page 6)

- "disappeared into shadow" - Hmm, is it shadow, or is it darkness? On the basis that there is nothing between their lights and the darkness, I don't think it can be shadow.

- "it’s the train passing beneath us" - I can just about suspend my disbelief here.

(page 8)

-  "I’d never leave you or your father" - something doesn't add up here. She can't have been watching them and fighting and the front, or walking to R City and back at the same time. On a basic level this is patently untrue.

- "Mama hadn’t really been gone" - I struggling buying into this whole thing, because I don't understand why mama had to go away in the first place. I can't recall anything previous and don't see anything here that tells me that. If it was told before, I don't remember it at this point.

(page 9)

- "But why?" - Lols.

- Hang on... So this is a flashback? I think you have to format that differently, but the problem is it's not in POV either.

- No. I don't know what I'm reading here. It doesn't fit into the narrative. Why can't you just have it as an account told by mama? I think that would be more powerful anyway, than this strange, inserted out-of-POV flashback.

(page 11)

- It's happening again. I'm getting frustrated but this. There's non need for it.

(page 12)

- "take you away from us if they ever found out" - why would they take Z away if her mother's having visions? Surely, they would take her mother away? Doesn't seem to make sense.

- "I wrote every single day" - So, was Z receiving seven letters every day? No, there were seven days of writing before mama sent the letter. Okay.

(page 13)

- 'It’s pretty obvious that it’s all connected" - Is it, is it obvious? Maybe just my WRS. I can see connections, but obvious? I'm mulling.

(page 16)

- "of course you can go" - I skipped through the argument, and I've read through the whole piece quickly. I continue to enjoy the economy of your prose. There have been some personal notes in the argument that did make me pause, however. Mama seems to give in very easily, for one.

(page 17)

- Whoa? That was shaping up to be a nice cozy ending, and you throw the train in. It does create instant tension, but I think it's misplaced. Your last page creates a restful tone of reconciliation (of a sort), and comfort, of a new beginning for Z and for a well earned chance to rest. Actually, I think you've made a promise to the reader that that is how the chapter is ending and by throwing in the train, at what feels like random, you've then broken that promise. Consider the alternative of opening the next chapter with them being woken up by the train: that way there is instant tension at the start of the next chapter. I think that will serve you way better than this cliffhanger, which annoyed me, and which I think is unnecessary.

Overall 

I'm glad that, as I hoped, mama is going to be removed from the picture after only one chapter: that's good. You have a nice dynamic going between the three youngsters, and you've delivered a decent chapter of examination of past events without wrecking the dynamic. In fact, I like how you strengthened it by having Z stand with her friends instead of just rolling over and accepting mama's will. I do think that mama give in too soon to the three going on ahead, and to what their plan is. I think the argument would benefit from being better tuned on a emotional level through an edit or three.

My biggest problem in this chapter was the flashback thing. That did not work at all for me. It's very messy, difficult to read, and also unnecessary. I think you can cut a lot of that material, which adds very little, and bring it into a straight account from mama of what happened to her mother. I think that would be way more effective, and would allow you to show mama's emotions, since there seems to be little benefit in showing the grandmother's.

I'm still on board. Thanks for sharing.

<R>

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/20/2019 at 0:07 PM, Mandamon said:

What time of day is it?

It's after midnight. They left the pueblo the day before around 8 AM and stopped around 10PM. Figuring they were probably only on the move for about 12 of those hours, travelling 28 miles, that averages out to about 2.33 mph, which I found to be a realistic pace. Keep in mind that these children undergo rigorous physical training on the regular and all of them have made this trip to Rossendar City before.

On 8/20/2019 at 0:07 PM, Mandamon said:

It's making my head hurt. I think this either needs to be all in quotes, so that is actually telling the story, or needs to have a very clear break to show were going from Z's POV to Moms, and then back. It's also a pretty long infodump. Could get away with it as a story, but it might still need to be edited down to the relevant facts.

This is what I was afraid of. Originally I blocked it out into it's own little sub chapter and then bounced back to Z's POV but it felt disconnected so I tried to integrate it into the main narrative so it felt a little bit more immediate to Z's POV. All four of you called this out, though, so I see that my experiment failed miserably and I'll go back to either making it all dialogue or blocking it separately in the next draft. 

On 8/20/2019 at 0:07 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 12: "friend of Misery"
--Has this been defined? It's popped up several times now and I'm confused as to what it is.

Think darkfriend from Wheel of Time. It has come up before but now I'm thinking it should be defined better. 

On 8/20/2019 at 0:07 PM, Mandamon said:

--This is an odd aside that doesn't go anywhere. As such, it seems like a very author voice statement like "hey, this book is really important to the story." 

So, this is 100% accurate. :lol:

On 8/21/2019 at 6:54 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

So M must be getting close to old enough for the breeding program, right?

Yes. Women enter the breeding program as soon as they conscript (16).

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

Do people actually die? What happens? Does it happen at a specific age or is it different for everybody?

 Yes. The turn happens (on average) between the ages of 38-40. Once the turn hits, the person ages at a ridiculously accelerated pace. Most die within a year, two at the absolutely most.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

She can't have been watching them and fighting and the front, or walking to R City and back at the same time.

I'm not sure where I implied she was at the Front for the past year but I'll fix it. This whole time she's been camping in the wilderness outside the pueblo, using the Sub Terra for shelter and only made a couple trips to the city.

Thanks for reading and all the comments, guys! This chapter took me twice as long to write as normal and it just felt like nothing was clicking and if it did click, it clicked at the wrong time. I've already started revising based on your comments and it's turning out much better already.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hawkedup said:

I'm not sure where I implied she was at the Front for the past year but I'll fix it.

I'm sure there was a line of M's about mama's name being on the wall behind the bar (or some such) as a hero who had been fighting at the front, or maybe I misunderstood that reference.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Ok I see it now. No it was just supposed to inform that she had spent 8 years in war. Thanks!

Edited by hawkedup
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, hawkedup said:

No it was just supposed to inform that she had spent 8 years in war.

Ah... right, hence my confusion. So previously, she was fighting in the war, and would go on a tour of duty, then come back home? This makes me wonder how long a tour was. Less than a year, I guess, other wise this time (her being away for a year) wouldn't seem that different from her being away fighting at the front. So, maybe 3 month tour? Whatever the case, I guess Z would have been used to her mom being away a fair bit over those eight years.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Ah... right, hence my confusion. So previously, she was fighting in the war, and would go on a tour of duty, then come back home? This makes me wonder how long a tour was. Less than a year, I guess, other wise this time (her being away for a year) wouldn't seem that different from her being away fighting at the front. So, maybe 3 month tour? Whatever the case, I guess Z would have been used to her mom being away a fair bit over those eight years.

Thank you for bringing this up. This is definitely stuff that should be clearer earlier for the reader. So "Mama" had Z toward the end of the third year of her first tour. Papa is older than Mama by two years so he (essentially) raised Z from ages 0-5 by himself, though Mama visited every chance she got (not many). So Mama came home for good when Z was about 5 years old and had been there consistently until a year before the story starts. So Z isn't used to her mom being away.  

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, hawkedup said:

So Z isn't used to her mom being away.

Okay. Yeah, clearer would be good. It's just the odd little reference that confused me.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.