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hawkedup

08/26/19 - Turn of Ages 08.5 (resub) - hawkedup - 5300

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Posted (edited)

Same chapter from last week but revised based on your feedback. As you know, this one has given me the most trouble out of all of Z's POV chapters, but I think (see: hope) it's finally at the point where I can move forward.

I'm torn about the flashback. On the one hand I don't think the chapter needs it. I already have a couple lines of dialogue in mind that could sum up everything from the flashback that is immediately important. But the flashback does set up/foreshadows multiple things that will be very important later and I'd hate to lose it. My hope is that the flashback doesn't HURT the chapter and doesn't have to be cut. What do you think?

Does the emotional arc land?
 

Also, sorry this one is a bit over 5,000 words. I hope that's okay.

Thanks for reading!

Edited by hawkedup
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Overall

I thought this was an excellent edit! The logic made a lot more sense, the tension was great and there was good flow. The flashback was the only clunky part, but not because it was a flashback but more in the way it was written. I think if that got tightened you'd have a really solid chapter here. 

The emotional arc definitely lands, and is much, much more defined than last time. So nice work there!

 

As I go

- much better with the Z emotions in these first few pages

- pg 5: I do enjoy M

- pg 9: tension and pacing holding very well through here!

- I don't actually mind the flashback where it is now. I think it could be presented a bit tighter, but it makes sense where it is in the narrative

- pg 18: aww! Love the friends sticking together!

I have friends <-- this is a cheering moment!

- pg 20: much better with the 'you can go' logic here, too

 

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This definitely worked better than the last chapter. The emotional arc definitely lands better this time. 

I wasn't a hug fan of the flash back, but it didn't confuse me, either. I knew who was who. I knew what happened when. Something about the voice in it felt stilted, a little too stiff, and maybe that was why I didn't like it. But I think changing the voice there is more of a sentence level editing type thing and not something you need to worry about right now. If it were me, I'd just move on and revisit it on the next round of revision. Me not liking the tone of it might also just a matter of personal preference. I don't think it is hurting the chapter at all, and if I was reading for fun, at this point in a book, one flash back like this definitely would not hinder my reading in anyway.

Here are some notes I made while reading the chapter:

Pages 2-3

I like the questions Z is mentally asking. The memories about how she comforted Z after a person Z thought was a friend stopped talking to her worked very well. It showed more of Z but also gave me a good picture of the relationship.

The part about her mom being 32 hit home this time. I'm 31. 

"and cringing but nodded." I don't usually look for typos but this jumped out at me. 

"noticed that the spear had a point on the butt, which hadn’t been there the last time" Interesting. How common is it for soul lanterns to change? 

Bottom of page 5 onto 6:

"She made as if to..." The blocking around opening the man hole cover confused me a little. 

Good emotion on page 9 & 10

Page 20

I loved the scene at the top of this page where the mom hugs M. That was well executed and the emotion landed perfectly. 

 

I'm looking forward to the next chapter! 

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Very similar comments to @kais and @shatteredsmooth. I thought this was a lot better and the emotion works better. The flashback is no longer confusing, but it still stands out so much that I fall on the side of taking it out. It doesn't really serve any purpose that can't be made in a few sentences, and you can give much more emotion to Mama by her dialogue, rather than epistolary recounting. Z's emotion is much better, and really gives the last page a cheering moment as she realizes she has friends.

Great edit!

 

Notes while reading:

I like the epigraph on this one. Has some nice worldbuilding questions.

pg 2: "someone she thought was becoming a friend suddenly stopped talking to her without explanation"
--Has this happened a lot? I thought the village was pretty small.

pg 4: "Z noticed that the spear had a point on the butt, which hadn’t been there the last time she had seen Mama."
--I'm not sure what this means. Both sides of the spear are sharp? I also don't know what would cause a soul lantern to change.

pg 5: M's attitude is more believable now. She's still talking back, but mama is also not taking as much from her.

pg 6: "She couldn’t remember a single moment in her life without light."
--also some good worldbuilding.

pg 8: "that soul lantern you’re carrying around"
--I'm not sure why mama would think this is a soul lantern. Can they be separated from their owner over great distances? If so, wouldn't she be more concerned that the kids had stolen one?

pg 10: the revelation with the letters is a nice but of character building. Don't think I mentioned that last time.

pg 11-13: On the flashback. I think the only thing it does is define "friend of misery" a little better, but that could be handled in-world fairly easily. Having the change in style and font detracts from the tension of the story to me. We don't really need to know this much about the grandmother. As you say, Mama could sum this up with a couple lines, which is what would actually happen in the story, rather than going to a flashback. You can also inject Mama's emotion from the telling, rather than a sort of sterile account. I'd say take it out.

pg 14: "I was no friend of Misery, never have been, never will be"
--This is a better explanation than last time, and means the one in the flashback isn't needed.

pg 18: "completing the wedge formation"
--also cool.

pg 20: The hug is also well done. Mama knows how to stymie teenagers.

pg 21: A quick LBL, @Robinski-style: I think the last line would have greater impact if it was two sentences, rather than linking the train to the first sentence. Something like:
"and fell into a deep and peaceful sleep. It was interrupted hours later by the sound of an oncoming train."
 

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Comments :) 

(page 2)

- "She’d stay up all night and replay every recent encounter"

- "they had barely spoken a few words to each other" - But they have spoken a few words.

(page 3)

- "He nodded; apparently, he had already known this about M." - Unnecessary, imo. It's clear from the nod, that's all the confirmation the reader needs, imo.

(page 4)

- "a couple hours behind you" - That's a loooong way, barely following at all. The kids could have turned off and M would take 2 hours to get to the point they turned off.  That's not really following in any kind of active way, imo.

- "before we tell her anything. If we tell her anything" - I'm getting tetchy about the italics. The more you use them, the less effective they become in stressing dialogue. There are nine instances on this page alone.

(page 5)

- "wiping a droplet from her cheek" - missing word.

- "and the topic was tabled" - tabling something is the point at which you begin discussing it. I think this should be 'shelved'.

(page 6)

-  "awkwardly, slowly, trying to use her injured leg as little as possible" - comma here, imo.

- "endless round tunnel, both the ends of which" - You use 'both' quite a bit and most of the time, I think it's unnecessary. Like here, when you used it before referring to both M and R. If you say M and R, then obviously it's both of them. It was getting repetitive in the last page or so.

- "masterfully bricked all the way around" - Depending on when this tunnel was built, I'm really surprised that it's brick. If it was built before the collapse of our civilisation it would be concrete, IMO. I tend to doubt they would have the skills post crash to build it afterwards from what you're saying, or that it would last from older historical times intact and useable. Ooh, and it's got two-way tracks, wow. Just makes me way more skeptical about the brick construction.

(page 7)

- "her broken leg" - there seemed to be doubt about its being broken before.

- "matter-of-factly" - needs to be hyphenated, I think.

- "Straight as an arrow so far as I can tell" - generally, this is not how a tunnel that long would be built, subject to the terrain, rivers, gorges, etc. The land would need to be dead flat, which seems unlikely over that sort of distance.

(page 9)

- "the first time she had ever felt stupid"

(page 10)

- "Why did you have to leave" - but Z knows the reason given, the theft of the book. So, would she not question that rather than asking for a reason when she has one?

(page 11)

- "and are hereby placed under arrest"

- "their father died at the Front" - but...

(page 12)

- "Their father fights to maintain custody of the children" - These statements seem pretty clearly contradictory.

- I like the Charge, Verdict, Sentence construction That worked for me. But, I think you can cut off there. I feel that the bit about marriage, love and Z being born is unnecessary, and just a bit twee for the nature for the story.

(page 13)

- "bundle of joy" - Yah, cliché, and again, stuck on the fluffing end tone of the flashback that I really don't want at this point. And we go on to all this kidding and joking around. It's bringing up the tone of the chapter in a way that does not suit this point in the story, IMO, or the tone you've been building and will want to maintain, I presume.

(page 14)

- "Her She and the rest of the pueblo" - grammar.

(page 15)

- "stick you in foster care, too just like what happened to me when I was a kid" - This feels like repetition: we've just heard about it. Suggest cutting.

(page 18)

- "but R didn’t give her a chance" - but it's M who speaks the next line.

- I don't understand M's positioning herself behind Z in that way.

- "rabitting" > rabbiting. This means blathering on in UK English, not running away. That's confuse European readers, I expect.

- Ah, okay. This wedge formation is awkward on the page, and physically in setting. I think it's more powerful if her friends stand at her shoulder, side by side in advertising, etc.

(page 19)

- "throw words like friend around with far less weight more casually than they should" - When they're saying it, they're more likely to say 'friend' imo. Hence this suggested adjustment, which I think is more powerful. Also, I find phrasing around less weight confusing and kind of wordy. Suggest this is simpler and clearer.

(page 21)

- I still don't like the last line. The train has no impact just dropped in out of nowhere like this, casually, without emphasis.

Overall 

I think it's better. I do find the chapter long though, especially in the last third. I think go good, hard line edit could chop out a good number of words without changing the content much at all, especially in that last third, where all the dialogue about trusting Ma and then friendship, I think, is a bit rambling. Some good fixing done there. Good job :) 

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17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

"and fell into a deep and peaceful sleep. It was interrupted hours later by the sound of an oncoming train."

Yep, that would be better for me too.

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On 8/26/2019 at 9:43 PM, kais said:

I have friends <-- this is a cheering moment!

I knew this was the moment her character arc needed to build towards even before I knew anything else about the character, so I'm really glad to hear this!

On 8/27/2019 at 9:00 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Interesting. How common is it for soul lanterns to change?

Technically, just like their people, they are constantly changing (they never truly become fixed) though the changes usually can't be seen day to day. However, if someone goes through a life changing moment, there is a chance that their soul lantern could noticeably change in one day. This is rare and only happens in 

On 8/29/2019 at 9:26 AM, Mandamon said:

Has this happened a lot? I thought the village was pretty small.

Small compared to a proper city. I haven't really thought about population, but what I do know is that there is at least one school and multiple classes per grade level. Keep in mind that only 1/4 of the people who conscript come back to the pueblo, so the child population is much higher than the adult population. 

On 8/29/2019 at 9:26 AM, Mandamon said:

Both sides of the spear are sharp?

Yes. The top of the spear is the orange glowing  Mama uses to kill the demon. At the bottom is a smaller spike. I'll try to clear up the description.

On 8/29/2019 at 9:26 AM, Mandamon said:

I also don't know what would cause a soul lantern to change.

The change comes from the person themselves. Most people define themselves by their time in the army because the entire civilization 

On 8/29/2019 at 9:26 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm not sure why mama would think this is a soul lantern. Can they be separated from their owner over great distances? If so, wouldn't she be more concerned that the kids had stolen one?

Ouch. No they can't. I'll rework this. Thank you!

On 8/30/2019 at 2:29 AM, Robinski said:

That's a loooong way, barely following at all. The kids could have turned off and M would take 2 hours to get to the point they turned off.  That's not really following in any kind of active way, imo.

You're right. Guess I just never even really considered how infeasible it would be to follow from that far back. Thanks!

On 8/30/2019 at 2:29 AM, Robinski said:

These statements seem pretty clearly contradictory.

Can always trust you to find these oopsies! Thank you!

So, I see general consensus is the flashback should probably be cut for multiple reasons, and I'm gonna go with you guys on that and try to work in the world building elements a different way. 

Thanks as always for the feedback! It's been most helpful.

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