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Robinski

Robinski - 190819 - TCC Chapter 06 - 4777 words (LSr)

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Dear all,
 
Firstly, please forgive me for my lack of response on previous submissions. WorldCon and the lead up to it has been pretty all-consuming. I've done next to nothing on this end, Sorry! I will get caught up over the next week or so, promise.
 
On to normal business, here is Chapter 6 of TCC. Any and all comments greatly appreciated.
 
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 Trick 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
05 - Back with Q and M, they speak to R before going to meet him at the airport, but the plane crashes in 'unexpected' circumstances;
 
Cheers, Robinski
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Aha! I shall see your lack of response and raise you a quick reply! Annnndd...doing this on a plane half on my phone, so I don't have good page numbers...

The stuff in the hospital really propels things forward and starts connecting things. I'm not convinced the scene in the jail accomplishes much, though. As far as I can tell, Q&M plan to be separated, but that doesn't actually gain them any information. The police flex their muscles (figuratively and literally...), show that they're not letting Q out of their sight, and are going to accompany Q to the hospital, but that could probably be done in transit with the same effect and less words.


Notes while reading:
"Michael Buble tickets"
-- So this would be the "head in a jar" tour?

I assume this is WRS from everything, but I don't remember why they're dragged into the sheriff's office.
--edit: I went back to the last submission, because I just couldn't remember. Looks like Q asks to go give an explanation? Then why are they manhandling them into the building now?

-The argument between M&Q seems almost forced, as if they're trying to be put in separate rooms, though I don't think that's the intent. I think it's that the argument comes up very abruptly, without much of the nagging banter the two usually have before it's all-out shouting.

"His strategy with M might have backfired a little"
--Ah, so it was a pre-planned argument to separate them? Why?

"And I have very little idea about his beef."
--lol. I'm choosing to take this a certain way, whether you mean it or not... ;-)

"paid the price with her sanity."
--This is the ex, right? Was sanity in question before? I don't recall that.

Should I know who Mer is? We know R., but I don't remember the other name.

"he was a perfect gentleman until a trim backside walked in."
--delightfully ungendered!

"Let's pretend he wasn't carrying a book."
--was he? Did we know this? What kind of book and what does it have to do with anything?

"Too easy"
--As I recall, last time this part strayed into being a bit too much. This time I don't think it's enough. Neither M or the officer really follow through on threats, and M's display to dominate him doesn't really land for me. Maybe just a little more posturing? The whole exchange is a little scattered as well. The office yells random things about giving him info, but M doesn't really know either, so there's not much actual information in this section, and I'm wondering how much it ads to the story.

"The trick was staying on the right side of the bars."
--yeah, I'm really not sure why the two are even in the police station. They were also trying to investigate, and the lady who took them there can easily verify they wanted to find out about the crash. The obviously don't know anything, so I'm not sure why the police are chasing this dead lead rather than another path.

Ah. Then K gives lets out that R is awake and wanting to talk. So why all the charade to get started? Much easier to just tell Q they want to come along to learn, and they'll delay him if he doesn't.

"tensed involuntarily at the name"
--interesting. So Q knows about the company, presumably from the old man?

patient because of his chest bandage? Why?

Good ending to the chapter! Was M the gunman before? at any rate, still interested in the story. From what I recall, this last section is much clearer than the last time around.
 

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Thoughts As I Go: pg. 2 – My opinion of Q rises a notch. Always nice to see a man with integrity.

Pg. 5 – Standard dialogue interchange between a PI and an underpaid/overworked cop. I like things like this, it’s why I read these kinds of novels.

Pg. 6 – I assume the Pokemon reference (Squirtle) is accidental.

Pg. 8 – M seems to think she’s messing with the guy, but this is really just closer to her throwing a tantrum.

Pg. 10 – I’m starting to like K.

Pg. 12 – Title drop-ish. Had to look up carborundum though. Inorganic chemistry isn’t my forte.

Pg. 14 – And now we have a D&D reference, in ‘lay on hands’.

Pg. 16 – I’m unfamiliar with D, but I didn’t finish the last Q&M novel so I assume he’s a character from there.

 

Comments: There’s nothing really standout in this submission, but nothing’s wrong either. It’s just a good piece of furthering the plot with Q’s signature charm worked in. There’s nothing really unsolved right now, I caught up on the previous submissions so the only mystery is what exactly Q’s ex-FIL has planned, but there’s not enough to go on to start guessing. The M interrogation scene is arguably the only weak point, as my thoughts point out, it read to me like M was just throwing a tantrum and thought M was in control.

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I enjoyed this chapter, but it didn't seem like a whole lot happened until the end. It was mostly banter. The banter was fun and entertaining, but I don't feel like it revealed more than a few kernels of information or moved the plot forward much. But then again, in this genre of book, sometimes that happens and as a reader, I am empathizing with Q and M's want to get out of the interrogation room and back to the case. I'll admit I only read one book with a PI or detective character in the past year.

I was very excited to finally get a scene from M's POV, but then I was a little disappointed because hers was the one I had the hardest time following.  

(side note: I think something about every submission confused me this week, so maybe the problem is me, not the submissions. Sorry @hawkedup and @Mandamon)

I was also a little confused by end. Was I supposed to have a good idea of who set Q up in that particular scene? Were the cops setting up? Or did they not know DM was hiding under the blankets? Aside from it feeling sudden and me being confused, the chapter definitely ended in the right place. 

In hindsight, I did notice a little bit of set up for it -- like the moments when Q focused on the other two beds. I don't think it was the suddenness that through me so much as not quite getting if the cops and/or the client were in on it or not.

Notes I made while reading:

Page 3

“Time of the old lead pipe massage, is it?" I didn't get this line. I'm not sure I want to ask what it is supposed to mean. 

Page 6

"...the two-way mirror, because nobody put a one-way mirror in an interview room. I mean, why the..." Slip into first person? Or should this be italicized as a thought? 

Page 10

“Do not ever dick me around, Q. My contract says I need to fire my gun..." This scene had been tense with banter and tension, but this line, as Q was walking out threw me. I wasn't sure exactly why Q getting up to walk out prompted this. 

Page 12

"thunderstorm of grumpy" I love this line! 

 

On 8/20/2019 at 2:13 PM, Mandamon said:

The stuff in the hospital really propels things forward and starts connecting things. I'm not convinced the scene in the jail accomplishes much, though. As far as I can tell, Q&M plan to be separated, but that doesn't actually gain them any information. The police flex their muscles (figuratively and literally...), show that they're not letting Q out of their sight, and are going to accompany Q to the hospital, but that could probably be done in transit with the same effect and less words.

I agree with this. 

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Hey look! I’m finally catching up on things! 

Worth noting, I did read the first 5 chapters, but haven’t read the first book. Hopefully that is a useful perspective. Keep in mind that my experience of the pacing, etc. will by coloured by the fact that I read these chapters over a few days instead of six weeks.

Also, as a general note I have to say that I am extremely into Q and M. Seriously, I am enjoying this a lot. 

That being said... Comments!  

Michael Buble tickets? In 2099? Really? 

“Time of the old lead pipe massage...” Um, is this M speaking? I don’t think I quite grok what’s being said here.

“The man’s khakis bulged at his biceps and triceps” - wait, aren’t khakis pants? Unless this is maybe a regional thing. 

“Q thought he might have a decent package between his ears though.” I snorted out loud at this line and the bartender looked at me funny. (Listen, I’m still in Ireland, and it is more comfortable than our postage stamp-sized hotel room.)

Q’s thoughts on J and the son seem a little bit out of place here—possibly just because it’s a long tangent for Q to be thinking along while having an entirely unrelated conversation. Nice that we’re finally starting to see the connection between the various POVs though, and now we finally have enough information to start speculating on what those connections might be. 

Okay, so we also have Inspector Gadget and Pokémon, and they are prominent enough that a 14-year-old in 2099 is familiar with them? Future pop culture is a tough one, admittedly, but right now the references feel a little ... eclectic. 

Hey, um, how do child labour laws work in 2099? 

“He really was unencumbered by a consistent thought process.” While funny, this line strikes me as more Q’s type of humour than M’s. 

Lots of references to deputies in this chapter. Rank-and-file RCMP are constables. Unless these aren’t RCMP, of course. 

“...said R patiently, possibly because of his chest bandage...” I feel like there’s a joke or something here, but don’t quite get the connection.

“Because of the missing person, a person someone was willing to kill R over...” Okay, I get this, Q’s following the thought K spoke out loud through to its conclusion. The way the sentence was structured threw me for a loop the first time, though. 

Okay, I know you telegraphed the time jump between T’s sections and Q’s sections through the stamps at the top of each chapter. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but structurally, having the two chapters with the inciting incident come between Q and M’s first and second chapters is a bit odd. It might still be justified if there’s going to be more switching POVs as the book goes on, less so if M and T’s chapters were just a device to explain the inciting incident to us. I get that the novel should start with the titular Q and M characters, but I do wonder if there is any room to move the order of the chapters around? 

The Old Man is being built up quite a lot. It may be a tall order to fill the character out to readers’ expectations when/if he appears on the page. Some more information about Q’s relationship with him - basically something that makes him human - might help here. 

More understanding of the two corporations, their relationships with each other and the world, might also help us understand what’s at stake here. 

Either DM has somehow managed to pass himself off as a patient, which seems exceptionally unlikely, or the police are in cahoots with him. I love intrigue, but there seems to be a LOT of double-crossing and whatnot going on here, and honestly, encounters with DM in previous chapters have NOT lead me to think that he’s this competent a planner. 

Okay, so, overall. I really like the Q and M dynamic and the wry humour with which the story, particularly those Q & M sections, are written. (Though at times it does become a little overwritten. It’s hard to point to specific examples because the line-by-line writing is so strong, but there are definitely places where you could trim back the writing if you were so inclined. This might help a little bit with the way some of the chapters feel a little slow.) I also like the way the story is escalating and the fact that we’re finally seeing connections between the two sections. That said, I do think both of those things need to happen quicker, and I think that might happen if the story was a little less stingy with the information it gives us about what’s happening and why. 

Having skimmed the thread, I’d also echo comments about the hospital scene seeming to move things further and faster than the jail scene. I don’t think you should lose the scene with Q and M both independently deciding to antagonize the cops, and I do think we get some information out of that scene, but it could probably be shorter than it is. 

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Overall

Solid pacing and flow, loved the voices of M and Q. I remain confused over the bigger plot with the father in law and keep wondering if I missed something critical in earlier chapters? I'm not sure at all how he ties to M. I feel like I'm fuzzy on the evil plot, but the characters are solid and the pacing and writing are fantastic. So no complaints on those fronts at all!

Ready for the next chapter!

 

As I go

- I adore how this chapter starts off!

might actually have a decent package between his ears though OMG there's the Q I know and love!

- pg 6: I think Q's voice changes a bit in the sheriff interview, but I do enjoy the banter

- hah! The M scene is a lot better and I adore it

- pg 10: Maybe WRS but I'm just not following the greater overarching plot with the ex-father-in-law

- pg 11: OMG the handcuff comments!

- pg 17: wait--the woman went missing and now is at this guy's house? I'm confused

- oooh, our mustachio villain!

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On 8/20/2019 at 0:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"Michael Buble tickets"
-- So this would be the "head in a jar" tour?

My exact thought! 

On 8/22/2019 at 2:44 PM, aeromancer said:

Pg. 8 – M seems to think she’s messing with the guy, but this is really just closer to her throwing a tantrum.

I agree with this. I never really felt like Q or M had the upper hand at any point, really.

On 8/24/2019 at 4:26 PM, Silk said:

Okay, so we also have Inspector Gadget and Pokémon, and they are prominent enough that a 14-year-old in 2099 is familiar with them? Future pop culture is a tough one, admittedly, but right now the references feel a little ... eclectic. 

Hard agree with this. Even the 50th Anniversary Metallica shirt would be 68 years dated by the time of this story. Going back to the head in a jar reference, it feels more and more like a Futurama take on the future, where it's the future but the references are written for contemporary audiences. It works in satire like Futurama but this isn't satire and it takes me out of the setting and the story. Some of the vernacular has the same affect.

Most of my notes have already been covered including almost everything I hit in my line-by-line (of which there was little since I was mostly engrossed). The first eight pages or so went by in a blink. Usually when I'm critiquing or editing I check what page I'm on almost compulsively. It helps me gauge flow and pacing. But when I checked for the first time while reading this I couldn't believe I was almost halfway done. 

I was kinda disappointed toward the middle because I felt like it was building to Q and M having the upper hand at some point, but they never do. M thinks she has the upper hand but as Aeromancer pointed out, she really doesn't. I can totally see his POV thinking: "Wow, this kid has some issues." The reason I'm so disappointed is because, thus far, Q and M have been almost exclusively reactive, and with the muddled plot that means that there's little driving the momentum of the book forward. 

You kinda do the unreliable narrator thing again, though it's not as obvious as two chapters ago, when you imply that Q and M want to be interrogated separately and so they bicker to be separated (unless I misread). Why not just tell us this right up front? This goes back to my previous point about being reactive. Its the one moment in the chapter where they are in control, but the narrator is hiding it from us for some reason so while the scene plays out we don't know they are being active. Does that make sense?

The ending was properly shocking and I had to stop reading for a minute when M got shot.

Once again, sorry for the late reply, but weekends are really the only days I can give critiques my full attention.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks all, I will get to all these excellent and most helpful comments ASAP: I'm pushing on now, I promise!

(Also, this is a reminder to self to check @hawkedup's in-line comments on the G**gle doc upload [Done, to date]. Sorry I've not been across that, HU, I will get there as soon as I can :) )

Edited by Robinski
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No worries. With all the stuff happening with work and the death in the family I haven't been able to give it proper attention. Sorry for that! I truly meant to do it proper-like.

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So, yay. I think I am successfully channelling my post-WorldCon turbo boost and getting caught up. All critiques finished on Wednesday A.M. :o  #newrobinski

Thanks for the great comments, @Mandamon. Your work ethic has played a significant part in me refocusing my energy on this writing malarky. I tip my hat to you, sir. (I do have a hat, I just hardly ever wear it.

To the comment cave, Robin(ski)!

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

I'm not convinced the scene in the jail accomplishes much

Right. I'll examine this in the chapter edit [Done, and improved, I think]. I can recognise where the comment comes from.

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"Michael Buble tickets"
-- So this would be the "head in a jar" tour?

Lol, quite possibly :lol:. In 2099, Bublé would be 124, so still well short of T.O.M. at 163.

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

I assume this is WRS from everything, but I don't remember why they're dragged into the sheriff's office.
--edit: I went back to the last submission, because I just couldn't remember. Looks like Q asks to go give an explanation? Then why are they manhandling them into the building now?

Yep. There is an anomaly here, thanks for flagging. I've known about it but not properly confronted it. I need go back to Chapter 5 and have Sheriff K to set this up [Done].

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

The argument between M&Q seems almost forced

There was intended to be a flag from Q of him triggering it, but it's not all that clear, and the rationale is not strong at present. I will fix this to have a stronger rationale both for the questioning and the argument [Done].

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"His strategy with M might have backfired a little"
--Ah, so it was a pre-planned argument to separate them? Why?

See previous comment :) 

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"And I have very little idea about his beef."
--lol. I'm choosing to take this a certain way, whether you mean it or not... ;-)

:lol: 

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"paid the price with her sanity."
--This is the ex, right? Was sanity in question before? I don't recall that.

Yes. When Q makes his first reveal to Mth in Chapter 05, he explains that J was institutionalised after the child was taken by Mrtn. WRS, I think.

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

Should I know who Mer is? We know R., but I don't remember the other name.

Mer is mentioned in Chapter 05 by R. Q then considered what she might be to R. More WRS, I suspect. 

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"Let's pretend he wasn't carrying a book."
--was he? Did we know this? What kind of book and what does it have to do with anything?

I now use the word 'Book' to mean tablet device. I introduced it later, but now have a line in Chapter 04 where TT uses her Book to check the stick Mrtn gave her. However, I cunningly have capitalised it here, so how would you know it was special? I've done so now. I didn't want to call it iBook, or autoBook, digiBook, because I wanted it to be what everyone in 2099 accepted as being a 'book', implying the sad demise of physical books (apart from for a hardcore few, of course! Like the old man from G-bridge in TMM on the train with Mth).

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"Too easy"
--As I recall, last time this part strayed into being a bit too much. This time I don't think it's enough. Neither M or the officer really follow through on threats, and M's display to dominate him doesn't really land for me. Maybe just a little more posturing? The whole exchange is a little scattered as well. The office yells random things about giving him info, but M doesn't really know either, so there's not much actual information in this section, and I'm wondering how much it ads to the story.

This is a good catch. This feels right to me, even before going back to read that section. I'll see how it lands with others, including those who haven't read it yet, but consider it tagged for review of the Mth questioning scene to assess flow, impact and critically information conveyed [Done, now edited up, I hope].

On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

"The trick was staying on the right side of the bars."
--yeah, I'm really not sure why the two are even in the police station. They were also trying to investigate, and the lady who took them there can easily verify they wanted to find out about the crash. The obviously don't know anything, so I'm not sure why the police are chasing this dead lead rather than another path.

Ah. Then K gives lets out that R is awake and wanting to talk. So why all the charade to get started? Much easier to just tell Q they want to come along to learn, and they'll delay him if he doesn't.

Yeah, this bit has never been right. I've rewritten the last scenes in Chapter 5 from when they meet K to have him arrest them for obstructing an investigation. I've also turned up the initial animosity between K and Q (although is it actually suppressed something else, maybe on Q's part?) I hope it gives a stronger rationale for them being taken in to the station and questioned.

Quote

"tensed involuntarily at the name"
--interesting. So Q knows about the company, presumably from the old man?

Presumably... :ph34r: 

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patient because of his chest bandage? Why?

Yeah, er, I think that's a remnant of something earlier, now deleted. Thanks.

Quote

Good ending to the chapter! Was M the gunman before? at any rate, still interested in the story. From what I recall, this last section is much clearer than the last time around.

Awesome. Yes, he was the gunman, but the problem before was that he didn't have much presence in the story. What is new since last time is Q providing context by explaining in his reveal to Mth who Mrtn is and how he fits into Q's past. Glad it's working better :) 

Some great fixes there, thank you. You've finally wrangled me into tackling the whole arrest thing, which has been a problem from the start. Job well done!!

Edited by Robinski
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Hey, Aeromancer, great to have your comments on this! :) 

On 22/08/2019 at 9:44 PM, aeromancer said:

Thoughts As I Go: pg. 2 – My opinion of Q rises a notch. Always nice to see a man with integrity.

Cool.

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Pg. 5 – Standard dialogue interchange between a PI and an underpaid/overworked cop. I like things like this, it’s why I read these kinds of novels.

Excellent! Yes, it's very much supposed to be a call back to all the shows I love, like The Rockford Files and Magnum: P.I.

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Pg. 6 – I assume the Pokemon reference (Squirtle) is accidental.

It's not, actually. There's a Pikachu reference in TMM. I envision a future where Pokemon has been raised to high art, and is the subject of literary treatises and conferences in the way Tolkien is now. At the very least, I expect it's still on reruns. :lol: 

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Pg. 8 – M seems to think she’s messing with the guy, but this is really just closer to her throwing a tantrum.

Fair point. She's trying to get some information from the guy, but I agree it's not a big payoff, and @Mandamon has flagged a similar issue in thinking that the scene(s) in the sheriff's office don't achieve much. So, I'm going into this chapter edit with an action to up the stakes of the sheriff interviews of Q and M [Done, I think, somewhat. More info anyway.]

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Pg. 10 – I’m starting to like K.

Awesome!! :D 

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Pg. 12 – Title drop-ish. Had to look up carborundum though. Inorganic chemistry isn’t my forte.

This is actually san issue for me. I set out with an end in mind, and it hasn't played out in the first draft. So, I have an overarching to increase the role of carb. in the story [Answered in my own head.] closer to the role I imagined originally.

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Pg. 14 – And now we have a D&D reference, in ‘lay on hands’.

Erm, no. That wasn't my intention. The laying on of hands has much wider religious meaning than the spell in D&D, which I did not know about (I've played about every RPG system apart from D&D, strangely.) Here is the intro from wiki "The laying on of hands is a religious practice. In Judaism it accompanies the conferring of a blessing or authority. In Christian churches, this practice is used as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit primarily during baptisms and confirmations, healing services, blessings..." 

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Pg. 16 – I’m unfamiliar with D, but I didn’t finish the last Q&M novel so I assume he’s a character from there.

D as in Drk Mrtn? He's introduced in this story in Chp.3, then appears in Chp.4 and 5 before we get to this appearance.

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There’s nothing really standout..., but nothing’s wrong either. It’s just a good piece of furthering the plot with Q’s signature charm worked in. There’s nothing really unsolved right now, I caught up on the previous submissions so the only mystery is what exactly Q’s ex-FIL has planned, but there’s not enough to go on to start guessing...

Thanks for taking the time to catch up, that's great :) I'm certainly going to tackle M's scene, as noted above. Thanks for calling that.

Edited by Robinski
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2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Thanks for the great comments, @Mandamon. Your work ethic has played a significant part in me refocusing my energy on this writing malarky. I tip my hat to you, sir. (I do have a hat, I just hardly ever wear it.

Lol--if Mrs. Robinski gets mad at you for writing too much, I'm not taking credit for it!

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Hey SSmooth, thanks for reading. I think it's totally permissible to be confused be every submission, and entirely possible that every submission is confusing (in some way)!! :)

On 23/08/2019 at 1:29 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

enjoyed this chapter, but it didn't seem like a whole lot happened until the end. It was mostly banter. The banter was fun and entertaining, but I don't feel like it revealed more than a few kernels of information or moved the plot forward much. But then again, in this genre of book, sometimes that happens and as a reader, I am empathizing with Q and M's want to get out of the interrogation room and back to the case. I'll admit I only read one book with a PI or detective character in the past year.

Understood, I can sympathise with your reaction. I think that chimes with the others. I think I've increased the stakes a bit at the end of Chp.5, but in editing this chapter, I acknowledge I need to try and up the stakes in both interviews [Done].

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I was very excited to finally get a scene from M's POV, but then I was a little disappointed because hers was the one I had the hardest time following.

Acknowledged. I have taken an action to improve M's scene here, and make it pay off better. I hope that it'll address the clarity too. I love that you were excited to read M, but sorry I fluffed it!

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I was also a little confused by end. Was I supposed to have a good idea of who set Q up in that particular scene? Were the cops setting up? Or did they not know DM was hiding under the blankets? Aside from it feeling sudden and me being confused, the chapter definitely ended in the right place. 

In hindsight, I did notice a little bit of set up for it -- like the moments when Q focused on the other two beds. I don't think it was the suddenness that through me so much as not quite getting if the cops and/or the client were in on it or not.

Umm, yes, but I don't think it's come over well that Mr is seeking to set Q up by drugging him instead of just killing him (and Mt). The cops knew nothing about any of this, so I'm going to have to clean up various things in this chapter, I think.

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“Time for the old lead pipe massage, is it?" I didn't get this line. I'm not sure I want to ask what it is supposed to mean.

For one thing, I've made a typo (corrected in the quote above), which probably didn't help. I think you've got it really. It's what you think it is, I think, an allusion to police brutality / interrogation techniques. M being cynical and over-dramatic, as usual.

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"...the two-way mirror, because nobody put a one-way mirror in an interview room. I mean, why the..." Slip into first person? Or should this be italicized as a thought?

Maybe italicised? Actually, I've just cut 'I mean'. I take your point, it is a bit on, on consideration.

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“Do not ever dick me around, Q. My contract says I need to fire my gun..." This scene had been tense with banter and tension, but this line, as Q was walking out threw me. I wasn't sure exactly why Q getting up to walk out prompted this.

Okay. Probably, I will reword this line in the edit [Done]. On reading now, it does seem a bit out of context, and not working hard enough as a parting line.

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On 20/08/2019 at 7:13 PM, Mandamon said:

The stuff in the hospital really propels things forward and starts connecting things. I'm not convinced the scene in the jail accomplishes much, though. As far as I can tell, Q&M plan to be separated, but that doesn't actually gain them any information. The police flex their muscles (figuratively and literally...), show that they're not letting Q out of their sight, and are going to accompany Q to the hospital, but that could probably be done in transit with the same effect and less words.

I agree with this. 

Yeah. Tagged for edit. I think I'll be revising quite heavily to make the interrogations scenes work harder.

Great comments. Thanks so much for reading :) 

Edited by Robinski
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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Lol--if Mrs. Robinski gets mad at you for writing too much, I'm not taking credit for it!

:lol: 

Her targets are firmly set on my increased social media profile, so I think the writing itself is under the radar. It's more about efficient use of the time I have than anything else.

I won't hesitate to 'throw you under the train' if needs must though... ;) 

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Silk!! Thanks so much for the comments. Well, this going to be interesting...

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

Worth noting, I did read the first 5 chapters, but haven’t read the first book. Hopefully that is a useful perspective. Keep in mind that my experience of the pacing, etc. will by coloured by the fact that I read these chapters over a few days instead of six weeks.

Also, as a general note I have to say that I am extremely into Q and M. Seriously, I am enjoying this a lot.

Awesome. That is certainly a fresh perspective. I'm so pleased that you're enjoying their shenanigans.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

I don’t think I quite grok what’s being said here.

'grok'? Is that an acronym I don't know?... Wow, it's a word! That is my lesson for the day!! SSmooth had the same reaction...

On 05/09/2019 at 3:16 PM, Robinski said:
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“Time for the old lead pipe massage, is it?" I didn't get this line. I'm not sure I want to ask what it is supposed to mean.

For one thing, I've made a typo (corrected in the quote above), which probably didn't help. I think you've got it really. It's what you think it is, I think, an allusion to police brutality / interrogation techniques. M being cynical and over-dramatic, as usual.

I wonder if that clarifies it at all? Obviously, I don't want to be explaining it all the time

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

Michael Buble tickets? In 2099? Really?

Responded to Mandamon above, but yes! If TOM is 163, I reckon Michael can make it to 124 and still be preforming.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

“The man’s khakis bulged at his biceps and triceps” - wait, aren’t khakis pants? Unless this is maybe a regional thing.

You may have a point. His shirt is khaki too, but shirt is singular, which is why I think khakis sounds like pants. I'll just add 'shirt'.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

I snorted out loud at this line and the bartender looked at me funny.

This quote is totally going on the cover :lol:. I love that you were reading it in a bar: seems entirely appropriate.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

Q’s thoughts on J and the son seem a little bit out of place here—possibly just because it’s a long tangent for Q to be thinking along while having an entirely unrelated conversation.

Hmm, right. I'll see what the prevailing view is, but I can see what you mean.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

right now the references feel a little ... eclectic.

Yeah, and of course there are no 'new' future ones, which maybe there should be, but I can't help feeling that way might lie more confusion. I'll need to think on this.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

Hey, um, how do child labour laws work in 2099?

Not sure I follow?

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

"He really was unencumbered by a consistent thought process.” While funny, this line strikes me as more Q’s type of humour than M’s.

You're right. Good call. I've tweaked it slightly.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

Lots of references to deputies in this chapter. Rank-and-file RCMP are constables. Unless these aren’t RCMP, of course.

Well, I'm soooo glad you've read this now, as resident Canuck :) I wanted to have a sheriff, but my thought process told me that meant the officers must be deputies. I think it fits with the overall political picture of the NAF that I'm running here, that the US law enforcement system has been applied in future Canada. My limited research on the present day told me this:

"Most provinces and territories in Canada operate a sheriffs service. Sheriffs are primarily concerned with services such as courtroom security, post-arrest prisoner transfer, serving legal processes and executing civil judgements."

So, I've moved on from there, but still have the RCMP, envisaged sort of in the role of the FBI, I think, as a central agency for domestic law enforcement over the whole country. I don't come out and explain all this, but probably I should write it down somewhere.

On 24/08/2019 at 11:26 PM, Silk said:

“...said R patiently, possibly because of his chest bandage...” I feel like there’s a joke or something here, but don’t quite get the connection.

Let me know if you work it out. I think maybe I cut something and left 'possibly because' in there. I can't figure it now, so I've cut it.

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“Because of the missing person, a person someone was willing to kill R over...” Okay, I get this, Q’s following the thought K spoke out loud through to its conclusion. The way the sentence was structured threw me for a loop the first time, though. 

I've simplified it, which hopefully helps.

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Okay, I know you telegraphed the time jump between T’s sections and Q’s sections through the stamps at the top of each chapter. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but structurally, having the two chapters with the inciting incident come between Q and M’s first and second chapters is a bit odd. It might still be justified if there’s going to be more switching POVs as the book goes on, less so if M and T’s chapters were just a device to explain the inciting incident to us. I get that the novel should start with the titular Q and M characters, but I do wonder if there is any room to move the order of the chapters around?

Well E's POV does recur, and there are another couple of Mrtn's. Most are Q and M, they are not a 'vast' majority.

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The Old Man is being built up quite a lot. It may be a tall order to fill the character out to readers’ expectations when/if he appears on the page. Some more information about Q’s relationship with him - basically something that makes him human - might help here.

That info does come out, but it's a bit later on. I wonder how crucial it is here?

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More understanding of the two corporations, their relationships with each other and the world, might also help us understand what’s at stake here. 

Right. That is coming too, probably more in the next chapter, but I will try and flag the corporate significance more [Done, I think]. in this chapter.

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Either DM has somehow managed to pass himself off as a patient, which seems exceptionally unlikely, or the police are in cahoots with him. I love intrigue, but there seems to be a LOT of double-crossing and whatnot going on here, and honestly, encounters with DM in previous chapters have NOT lead me to think that he’s this competent a planner. 

Right. This is good that you flagged it. DM essentially has infiltrated the hospital. He sets the alarm off, which I never explained, and killed the other patient to take his bed. It's done in the minutes before they arrive. I could write a short story about all his covert actions in getting to Crest on from YK, crashing the plane, getting into the hospital, etc., but I'm really just asking the reader the accept all that. I will, in this chapter, try and leave a couple of tags to illuminate DM's activities [Done].

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Okay, so, overall. I really like the Q and M dynamic and the wry humour with which the story, particularly those Q & M sections, are written. (Though at times it does become a little overwritten. It’s hard to point to specific examples because the line-by-line writing is so strong, but there are definitely places where you could trim back the writing if you were so inclined. This might help a little bit with the way some of the chapters feel a little slow.)

Noted. Interesting. I may only be able to spot those in a full 'verbal' read through, which will be my next task after submitting the whole thing (I hope) on RE. But, I will take that note and try to target and refine the more 'elaborate moments' [Done, have added an element of urgency too, I think].

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I also like the way the story is escalating and the fact that we’re finally seeing connections between the two sections. That said, I do think both of those things need to happen quicker, and I think that might happen if the story was a little less stingy with the information it gives us about what’s happening and why. 

This is a good point about the stinginess. I can do that. I'll try to keep it in mind in previous chapters, now, and going forward; provide just a bit more information at each reveal. I think that is doable without breaking anything.

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Having skimmed the thread, I’d also echo comments about the hospital scene seeming to move things further and faster than the jail scene. I don’t think you should lose the scene with Q and M both independently deciding to antagonize the cops, and I do think we get some information out of that scene, but it could probably be shorter than it is. 

Okay. Yes. I'm just going into the full edit of this chapter now, so I have that in mind.

Really great comments. Thank you so much for reading :) 

Edited by Robinski
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13 hours ago, Robinski said:

It's not, actually. There's a Pikachu reference in TMM. I envision a future where Pokemon has been raised to high art, and is the subject of literary treatises and conferences in the way Tolkien is now. At the very least, I expect it's still on reruns. :lol: 

I can't decide whether this is a stroke of absolute brilliance or basically the inverse. Though, as a point in your favor, like a true man of culture, you seem to have elected to only use ones from the original 151. This brings me much joy.

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4 hours ago, Robinski said:

'grok'? Is that an acronym I don't know?... Wow, it's a word! That is my lesson for the day!!

Not an acronym, just slang, at least as far as I know. Goodness knows where it came from.

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

This quote is totally going on the cover

:D

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

"Most provinces and territories in Canada operate a sheriffs service. Sheriffs are primarily concerned with services such as courtroom security, post-arrest prisoner transfer, serving legal processes and executing civil judgements."

Ah! These are typically operated by the provinces/territories, not the RCMP and are, as you note, more about courtroom security than being out in the field. Since this chapter is an active investigation, it should probably be covered by police, not sheriffs (I say that without any real research into the day-to-day activities of sheriff services). Think of it this way, RCMP is investigation and enforcement; sheriffs' service seems to be more about prisoner logistics, and civil matters.

What Canadian readers will be familiar with: RCMP provides federal policing. It has a contract with most provinces and territories for provincial-level policing, and contracts with a number of cities to provide municipal policing (Creston included).

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

If TOM is 163, I reckon Michael can make it to 124 and still be preforming.

Fair enough! In that case we do need to know that extreme longevity is a thing, though. I don't think TOM's age comes up until after Buble is mentioned.

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

That info does come out, but it's a bit later on. I wonder how crucial it is here?

and

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

This is a good point about the stinginess. I can do that. I'll try to keep it in mind in previous chapters, now, and going forward; provide just a bit more information at each reveal. I think that is doable without breaking anything.

I don't know that it's crucial that more info does come out at that particular spot, or any particular spot. It's just that TOM is going to have to be one heck of a villain to match the larger-than-life pictures that Q and Mor are painting of him.

Just in general, I should note that it feels like the narrative plays coy with its readers a lot. It often feels like you're trying to build up the intrigue and keep us interested by not telling us things when, at least in my opinion, the most interesting stories often do things the other way around.

4 hours ago, Robinski said:

I will, in this chapter, try and leave a couple of tags to illuminate DM's activities.

That would help. A few clues to let us know that's something's not right going into the scene, even if we only recognize them in hindsight, are probably all you need here.

 

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2 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Though, as a point in your favor, like a true man of culture, you seem to have elected to only use ones from the original 151. This brings me much joy.

I don't consider myself a Pokemon fan particularly, and I did not notice this when I was reading through it, but now that it's been mentioned I also appreciate this.

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6 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I can't decide whether this is a stroke of absolute brilliance or basically the inverse. Though, as a point in your favor, like a true man of culture, you seem to have elected to only use ones from the original 151. This brings me much joy.

4 hours ago, Silk said:

I don't consider myself a Pokemon fan particularly, and I did not notice this when I was reading through it, but now that it's been mentioned I also appreciate this.

Excellent! I think I will take these nice comments and run :) 

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4 hours ago, Silk said:

I don't know that it's crucial that more info does come out at that particular spot, or any particular spot. It's just that TOM is going to have to be one heck of a villain to match the larger-than-life pictures that Q and Mor are painting of him.

Yes, well... I think it's possible that someone will embellish when describing someone to someone else when the first someone elicits a strong emotional reaction. This said, I don't want to say that, in this case, TOM is not 'one heck of a villain'. (There's me being coy again.)

4 hours ago, Silk said:

Just in general, I should note that it feels like the narrative plays coy with its readers a lot. It often feels like you're trying to build up the intrigue and keep us interested by not telling us things when, at least in my opinion, the most interesting stories often do things the other way around.

This is one of my real problems, and leads to a high proportion of the comments about the structure of my writing, I think. I've taken a note to try and tackle it during the next whole edit. Thanks for flagging.

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10 hours ago, Silk said:
15 hours ago, Robinski said:

'grok'? Is that an acronym I don't know?... Wow, it's a word! That is my lesson for the day!!

Not an acronym, just slang, at least as far as I know. Goodness knows where it came from.

*pushes up nerd glasses* It was coined in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as meaning "to fully understand a thing."

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

*pushes up nerd glasses* It was coined in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as meaning "to fully understand a thing."

And now we know! 

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Hey Kais, thank you so much for reading. Greatly appreciated.

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

Solid pacing and flow, loved the voices of M and Q.

Excellent.

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

I remain confused over the bigger plot with the father in law and keep wondering if I missed something critical in earlier chapters? I'm not sure at all how he ties to M. I feel like I'm fuzzy on the evil plot, but the characters are solid and the pacing and writing are fantastic. So no complaints on those fronts at all!

Now, I don't think you did. I mean there are clues there, but as @Silk has commented, it doesn't necessarily mean it's easy for the reader to link them together without the author being less coy with the information and the connections. What I will say is that the overarching plot is laid out in Mrt's POV in Chapter 4. I think it might be a bit clearer now than it was, thanks to the excellent comments in this new round of me submitting. I'm going to hope that's the case, and I'm going to tell some stuff right here. I think perhaps there is a touch of WRS in there too.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: In Chapter 3, we see the trail discussions in the one-off POVs about some election skullduggery, a trail that ends with DM being instructed to enact 'the plan'. DM then manoeuvres TT into releasing 'the hounds', she's meant to be killed, she isn't, DM pursues and finally sees BR stooped over TT (still alive) by the river. DM withdraws because of the cops. Now, BR has rescued TT (and clearly takes her... somewhere). What I need to do now in this chapter is explain what DM is doing in Crest on, since I really haven't accomplished that as a result of being too coy.

I think much of the early part of that stuff would be clearer on a straight read through, but I still have work to  do, obvs.

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

Ready for the next chapter!

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- I adore how this chapter starts off!

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

might actually have a decent package between his ears though OMG there's the Q I know and love!

<3

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- pg 6: I think Q's voice changes a bit in the sheriff interview, but I do enjoy the banter

I wanted to show Q trying to dabble in the local patois, but kind of ironically. I think maybe that's what you're detecting? I've thrown in a couple of italics, maybe that will help.

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- hah! The M scene is a lot better and I adore it

Cool. @Mandamon thinks it's missing something, and I do see his point, while there are some good theatrics, I think I am going to try and tweak it very slightly so Mth gets some more concrete and useful information from DB. (Have now done this. She gets something from Beck that she needs to tell Q covertly in the squad car.)

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- pg 10: Maybe WRS but I'm just not following the greater overarching plot with the ex-father-in-law

See public service announcement above, but Q just doesn't know enough at this point to be expounding on the subject. I have just had a good idea that really will up the stakes for that plot arc fairly soon. I've provided the reader with a bit more information now during Q's contemplation while he questions R in the hospital.

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- pg 11: OMG the handcuff comments!

:) 

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- pg 17: wait--the woman went missing and now is at this guy's house? I'm confused

I've added some clarification, I think!

On 25/08/2019 at 4:35 PM, kais said:

- oooh, our mustachio villain!

:D 

Thanks so much for reading, and for keeping me honest on this stuff. Got some really good fixes and tweaks here.

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20 hours ago, Mandamon said:

*pushes up nerd glasses* It was coined in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as meaning "to fully understand a thing."

Awesome! I just listened to a really interesting podcast interview with Farah Mendlesohn about her biography of Heinlein, speaking to my GSFWC chum Beth Faulds at EasterCon last year. Really interesting stuff.

http://www.speculativespaces.com/episode-13-eastercon-2019-pt-3/

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Hey HawkedUp, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I got here in the end!

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

I agree with this. I never really felt like Q or M had the upper hand at any point, really.

Yes, I accept this, and have punched up both interviews, especially M's. Thank you.

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

Hard agree with this. Even the 50th Anniversary Metallica shirt would be 68 years dated by the time of this story. Going back to the head in a jar reference, it feels more and more like a Futurama take on the future, where it's the future but the references are written for contemporary audiences. It works in satire like Futurama but this isn't satire and it takes me out of the setting and the story. Some of the vernacular has the same affect.

I take your point on this. I think it's a tricky one. I easily could have called this 2049 (oops, that's taken), and--probably apart from the settlement of other planets--I don't think the change with respect to the level of tech would raise any eyebrows. Likely, it would make some of the reference and languages sit better. I'm going to take a note on this, because it's an over-arching question of style and approach to the trilogy as a whole. It's a good point, but not an easy one.

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

Most of my notes have already been covered including almost everything I hit in my line-by-line (of which there was little since I was mostly engrossed). The first eight pages or so went by in a blink. Usually when I'm critiquing or editing I check what page I'm on almost compulsively. It helps me gauge flow and pacing. But when I checked for the first time while reading this I couldn't believe I was almost halfway done.

This is awesome. Very pleased :) 

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

I was kinda disappointed toward the middle because I felt like it was building to Q and M having the upper hand at some point, but they never do. M thinks she has the upper hand but as Aeromancer pointed out, she really doesn't. I can totally see his POV thinking: "Wow, this kid has some issues." The reason I'm so disappointed is because, thus far, Q and M have been almost exclusively reactive, and with the muddled plot that means that there's little driving the momentum of the book forward.

I accept this point, and have tried to address some of these issues. I think the edited version is better, without being transformed into a driving narrative. People do respond differently to it. This is NOT a criticism, but it seems some people are more patient with the plot. This said, the story has come on a lot (it used to be much slower, believe it  or not), and I'm indebted to RE for keeping pushing me to up the stakes. I will keep going. Thanks for raising this.

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

You kinda do the unreliable narrator thing again, though it's not as obvious as two chapters ago, when you imply that Q and M want to be interrogated separately and so they bicker to be separated (unless I misread). Why not just tell us this right up front? This goes back to my previous point about being reactive. Its the one moment in the chapter where they are in control, but the narrator is hiding it from us for some reason so while the scene plays out we don't know they are being active. Does that make sense?

Fair point. I think I've fixed this, in that I've made Q and M more active in places. And while they still are being detained, are trying more actively to benefit from the situation and pursue their investigation, I hope. The sheriff is always going to have most control, but I think it reads better now. Thank you!

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

The ending was properly shocking and I had to stop reading for a minute when M got shot.

Ooft! Well... I can't say too much about that other than mission accomplished, I guess...

On 26/08/2019 at 3:47 AM, hawkedup said:

Once again, sorry for the late reply, but weekends are really the only days I can give critiques my full attention.

Don't even think about it. Here's me replying 12 days later!! I really appreciate the comments and have a long way to go in submitting, so timescale is by no means critical.

Great comments once again. Thanks so much.

:) 

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