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Robinski

Robinski - 190902 - TCC Chapter 08 - 5124 words (LG)

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Hey everybody, I am eternally grateful for your help with and feedback on this thing. I present to you Chapter 8. Usual stuff. Have at it, if you're willing.
 
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;
06 - Q and M are questioned at the sheriff's office then taken to the hospital to see R who they manage to speak to briefly before M appears and kills R;
07 - Q and M are in the frame for R's murder. M decides they should run. Car chase thru small town. They collect 80, 'borrow' N's plane and run;
 
Cheers, Robinski
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Overall

Not much to comment on here. I thought the tension and pacing were really good. It lagged just a bit with scenery descriptions, especially getting to the sheriff, but my empathy bar was high with our MC and I'm invested in her emotions, so I didn't mind at all. I thought this was a solid chapter that moved the plot, and really helped establish E's personality. I can feel how she feels about T, and I love that. I don't think it ever came across this well before. 

Thanks for a great read!

 

As I go

- pg 9: And I could have saved her, if I’d just been able to keep my pants on. <--- Wait, I don't follow the logic on this. Smooth reading up to this point

- pg 10: I deeply empathize with E in this rage pain

- pg 17: excellent tension through these pages. I'm hooked

 

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I'm not sure if it is WRS or revision, but E seems different, maybe more sympathetic, in this chapter than last one I remember seeing her in. This is a good thing, though it does shift the role I expect her to play in the narrative. In the other chapter, I had her pinned as someone who might be more of a rival or antagonist to Q, now I'm thinking they are going to be working together to find T before the book is over. 

(No need to confirm or deny my predictions).

There was a ton of tension in the chapter. I was squirming while I was reading the seen with DM because I, as the reader, have already seen him blackmail T and play his role in releasing the monsters, and I CANNOT WAIT for her to figure this out. 

Overall, this chapter was great, and can I have the next one please?

A few as I read notes:

"...hard eyes more lacking in human feeling than any android's." I love this line. 

"even though...frost heaves...again" What do frost heaves on the road have to do with architecture? 

"...she was being fitted for the fall..." I can't wait for her to move from thinking he is just trying to blame her to realizing it is actually his scheme. 

"She pulled on the warm, familiar mantle of corporate b...." Now, this line makes perfect sense and is awesome, but when I was reading it last night, I flagged it as confusing. This also comes back to my first comment (which may be WRS related, but even before E realized she was getting blamed, her corporate b vibes seemed toned down compared to her last chapter).

"...crew wound them then?" Found?  

I loved the ending and all the emotion in it. Looking forward to the next submission! 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
hit post too soon
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9 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 9: And I could have saved her, if I’d just been able to keep my pants on. <--- Wait, I don't follow the logic on this. Smooth reading up to this point

 

I didn't follow this either. 

9 hours ago, kais said:

I thought this was a solid chapter that moved the plot, and really helped establish E's personality. I can feel how she feels about T, and I love that.

I agree. 

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I guess I'm in the minority that I had several problems with plotting and timing on this chapter.

First, I don't think it actually adds anything we don't know, and along with the strange changes in E, it makes things confusing for me.

Second, something's not right about the sequence with E and M "finding" what happened, but I'm not sure what. I think E should catch on that M has already done the work and is getting her to go over it again?

Third, this disbelief continues with E just sitting around for 3 days until actually doing something. Her type of personality wouldn't sit still until she'd found something. 

45 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

E seems different, maybe more sympathetic, in this chapter than last one I remember seeing her in.

 

45 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

her corporate b vibes seemed toned down compared to her last chapter

This exactly. Unless there's been a change in the first few chapters, this is a big emotional shi

 

Notes while reading:
pg 3: "had no interest in how his health was."
--what does this have to do with the opacity of the windows?

pg 3: "Usually, he liked nothing better than to pick at any difficulty"
--he sort of did anyway...

pg 4: “Who reports to you.”
--Agree, this is a bit of a stretch. Glad E calls him on it.
--also, M seems to be a very good actor.

pg 6: "It was the end of T at Gen., but it didn’t have to be E’s swansong, unless M wanted it so."
--It doesn't really have to be E's either does it? She already stated she and M had equal blame (from her POV, of course)

pg 7: "she could not access the security footage in the service areas without a second senior sign-in" -> "M brought up a paused view of the loading area from a high vantage"
--so E needs another sign in, but M doesn't? Also, she seems unsurprised that M already knows this much when he sent her off to find out on her own. 

pg 7: “Wait. You need to see the rest.” 
--yeah, so M's already got all this queued up and ready, but acts like he doesn't know what's going on when she comes in. 

pg 8: "How about explaining why you didn’t call me the instant you found this?"
--finally, she starts questioning.

pg 8: "There was nothing. He had her."
--no, she's already stated that he's at fault too. If she's cornered and fighting, I expect her to bring that up, even if it's not going to work. She just gives up. I don't believe she'd do this.

pg 9: "What followed was an evening of handwringing..."
--again, I just don't believe this. If nothing else, she should be searching to find the accomplice. I'd expect her to stay at work until M removed her kicking and screaming.

pg 9: "The day after her suspension..."
--all this too. E has something on M, even if it's slight. She knows he at least is at partially at fault for negligence, if not what really happened. I'd expect there to be a lot more negotiating, especially for someone in her position.

pg 10: "drank a little, cried a little, railed at her screen"
--E has gone from being a stone-cold b**** to wailing and crying over her dead girlfriend. What happened to getting to the top by any means possible?

pg 10: "Waking late brought E headaches and realisation."
--a lot of this reads as a vehicle to get E to a certain time in the plot. She basically does nothing for several days.

pg 11: "What if she’d sent T away on the spot?"
--sent her away when?

pg 14: "Sunday evening"
--hmmm...and this is Wednesday. I really don't believe E would just sit around that long.

pg 15: "Let’s not pretend they aren’t killers."
--If he's this knowledgeable about them, and so concerned about people getting hurt, why aren't the police out in force ready to defend YK?

pg 16: "smiled a leathery smile "
--he's far too calm.

pg 16: "she would not let a scumbag like M take it away from her"
--except she basically did.

pg 18: "why hadn’t an S&R crew wound them then"
--wound them? Missing a word? Wounded? Also, I'm wondering this too. The police managed to find this scene, but not the company personnel actively searching for them? Or is this something else M isn't actually doing?

pg 18: "Mostly deer, she guessed"
--this is a looooong way to go before saying the MTs haven't killed anyone. We learned about the "kill site" three pages ago and I can't believe in all the time to get there, the police wouldn't say that it wasn't a human. Even if they were playing coy, E should be able to see in their reactions that they weren't going to "go national,"  in the sheriff's words.

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Well, color me disappointed. I really wanted a continuation of the action from 7 and I definitely feel stymied by this switch to office thriller. It feels a bit like filler, even though I know it's not.. 

Something feels a little disingenuous to me to have E and M acting so credulous and serious about "discovering" T's "crime." Could M really resist gloating that well? Is E really that blinded to M's methods of operation that she doesn't suspect ANYTHING is amiss? Also, haven't we already gone over this info, from the "proper" perspective? I am unsure what reviewing it in deception mode is doing for me-the-reader. 

 I admit to skimming E's descent to rock bottom. Not that it's not realistic, but the story just seems to wallow in it.

When it gets to E going to see the sheriff I'm interested again. I like seeing the kill from another perspective and getting new information. I'm not terribly interested in M's snow job on E and generally being a mustache-twirling villain. 

Unfortunately, I started skimming on the drive out to the site again. It's not bad on its own, but the accretion of multiple, highly-detailed travel scenes is starting to wear on me. 

The stuff with E and T is good, but with so much detail and plot happening in their POVS and switching back and forth so much, it really makes me wonder who the protagonist actually is in this series. Q and M are on the title, but they've done very little so far, and almost seem more like comedic interludes to this, the real plot. 

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Overall:

I agree with everyone who's commented that E seems very different from when we've seen her in previous chapters. It does make her a bit more sympathetic, but it also feels very abrupt. The story does also seem to wallow tad too long in her misery towards the middle of the chapter before she makes the decision to head out to the sheriff's office, and I think seeing some of that corporate toughness reassert itself a little sooner might help drive things forward a bit quicker.

There were two things I had trouble swallowing. The first was the apparent lack of police involvement right up until E goes to the sheriff's office. It's one thing for the company to be conducting its own internal investigation--that makes perfect sense. But it's extremely difficult to imagine that corporate espionage at this level, which includes an ongoing threat to the general populace, wouldn't trigger a police investigation, especially considering T.'s status as "presumed dead or missing." I think the time jump is muddying the waters to an extent here, since we already know that she will later be recovered and that the police know where she is, but even E. thinks of T. as "missing, presumed dead." I didn't realise until E. got to the sheriff's office that T. had not been reported as either of those things.

That leads me into the second thing I had trouble with, which is a bit more nebulous, so hopefully I can articulate it adequately here: I'm really kind of lost on what's a normal level of corporate politicking in this world. By this point, I expect larger-than-life shenanigans from Mor, so I'm not surprised that he would hide the security tapes from police (though I would expect that the police would have asked for them, or that they will soon). E jumps from realizing that she might be in some hot water over the login  to assuming she's being scapegoated, but is still willing to withhold information from the police on behalf of that company for some reason. It just feels like a lot of characters are willing to go to extreme lengths to climb the corporate ladder. Maybe the setting is just more dystopian than I thought?

I too am eager for E to make the leap to realizing that Mor may be the accomplice himself, and I do think there's lots of opportunity for tension and stakes-raising here. The chapter just didn't quite do it for me as is.

As I read:

Again we start with a "three days earlier..." time jump. My first thought when we encounter these--especially when there's more than one of them, and with recurring to characters--is always to wonder why the chapters couldn't have just been written in sequential order.

More to the point, I found myself nodding along with @Mandamon's comment that this isn't really adding anything we didn't already know, and I think that's one of the reasons I'm having trouble with the POV-and-time-shifts. The shifts between POVs before have basically given us different perspectives on the same events rather than moving the story forward.

It seems to me that T's disappearance for a few days might have been overlooked, but I'm seriously wondering how the security breach and the MTs getting loose, and possibly their mauling of T (since we know there were witnesses) did not end up in local media. For that matter, even if it wasn't in the local media, E seems relatively high up the food chain at this organization. Shouldn't she have been called in for this kind of emergency?

Ah, E wonders the same thing herself. Glad it was brought up in the text. Though it still begs the question of why Mor didn't suspend her sooner, especially if he is looking to cover this up.

Top of p6, "The human prick..." I really stumbled over this one, since everyone (except the syRen, I suppose) is human in this story. Isn't "prick" more common? Or is this a regional thing?

p7 "T was missing presumed dead" you need a comma between "missing" and "presumed"

E. goes to visit the sheriff's office (which probably should be a police detachment?) and it occurs to me that we've seen no police activity on this so far. Of course the company would be doing its own internal investigation, but given that the security breach has lead to at least one person missing/presumed dead and the ongoing threat from the MTs, surely there should be an active police investigation going on. Could give you some opportunities to increase the tension, too. E being hammered by investigators while she's at her worst might be a fun scene.

Okay, the office politicking is really starting to lose me at this point. I get E being concerned that this might end her career, and even thinking that she might be being set up as a scapegoat within the company, but she's willing to mislead the sheriff/police about T being missing? Is Mor just hoping E won't say anything to the police about T having been mauled by MTs, even though he's the one who showed E the tapes? Is he hoping she will say something for some reason? And why on earth does E keep her mouth shut here?

Another thing that raised my eyebrows: the sheriff is willing to bring E to the site of what is presumably about to be an active investigation.

Bottom of P15, "...pull her zip tight" probably you meant zipper.

On 9/5/2019 at 7:11 AM, Mandamon said:

I think E should catch on that M has already done the work and is getting her to go over it again?

I agree. That would help make the eventual shift to E realizing that Mor's actually involved in all this.

On 9/5/2019 at 7:11 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 18: "Mostly deer, she guessed"
--this is a looooong way to go before saying the MTs haven't killed anyone.

Yep. Might help with the "wait why are they bringing her to a crime scene?!" reaction I had too.

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Could M really resist gloating that well? Is E really that blinded to M's methods of operation that she doesn't suspect ANYTHING is amiss?

I actually thought this worked. Even E notes that Mor is quite stressed out, and as readers we already know that things haven't gone to plan, so I don't have a problem with him not gloating. Similarly, E is getting her own shock here, so I don't think she needs to cotton on that something's up right away. I am hoping/expecting that she'll catch on sooner rather than later though, especially now that she knows that Mor didn't report T's mauling to the police.

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

The stuff with E and T is good, but with so much detail and plot happening in their POVS and switching back and forth so much, it really makes me wonder who the protagonist actually is in this series.

Yeah, I'm feeling this a little too. I do feel that the Q&M chapters are starting to carry a little more weight, but if not for the title I wouldn't consider them protagonists any more than E and her crew.

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