kais

09/09/19 - kais - Queen, Chapter 1 (AGAIN), (4602 words) (L)

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Well, here we are again. Chapter 1. I’d like to press on but there’s been too many revisions to early chapters and too much critical backstory added. So, time to start at the beginning and just profusely apologize for the redundancy.

These first three chapters have been approved so there won’t be large scale changes to them at this stage. LBLs and any thoughts you have about voice or where the story is going are much appreciated. 

The book is complete now and I’m in first round edits. These early chapters are better put together than the later chapters, by far, but easy reading in the beginning maybe?

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Yes, this reads a lot better than before. The new setup in the beginning helps to justify E's decision at the end of the chapter. Didn't find anything too big. A couple typos and a few points of confusion. The emotions and motivations this time around all seem to be in place. The mention of the presidium is helpful, but also some confusion with the presidium vs. the science director and what the relationship is. Not something that has to be explained now, but hopefully in the next couple chapters.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 2: E seems unreasonably upset about a rabbit and a stone. Ah, ok. The stone is from Earth. Why would she have thrown it then?

pg 5: "especially digitally on hide"
--indeed!

pg 5: "wasn’t going to say she was worried"
--so is the message on a hide a covert message? But then E says it out loud a moment later. What's the reason for not just sending the message?

pg 5: "especially if you wife"
--your wife

pg 6: "E’s still shone lily white"
--So how long has she been here? I don't think this was answered in the first go-round. If she's still thinking of it as a way station, it's probably only been a couple years?

pg 8: "elbowed the side of a dune"
--eh? How do you do this?

pg 10: The new/updated beginning is very good and sets the tone a lot better.

pg 10: "Funnel increasing in diameter"
--does E see the funnel before the AI? She makes a conclusion about it as if she's seen it.

pg 11: "watched the funnel continue to bloat across the horizon"
--a little confused here. Is the funnel what brings the M? If so, then how do they get so close when the funnel is far away?

pg 11: "Two riders on beetleback exploded from the sand....She had a minute, maybe, before they beetles reached her"
--ah, so they are farther away. Talking about them exploding up and E's adrenaline surging made me think they were much closer.

pg 13: "she really hadn’t expected them too"
--to

pg 13: "The p wanted their tech—whatever it was that allowed them to survive outside the colony"
--Do we know it's tech? E's attitude toward how the M dress suggests they don't have anything useful.

pg 16: "occasionally, bad moustaches drawn on in marker. "
--lol

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This hangs together much better now.

 

"Leather didn’t breath," -- breathe.

I was also confused by digital projection onto leather. It's clearer than before, and there's a lampshade, but the leather still doesn't make much sense and I have no idea how it's use is supposed to display worry. I also have no idea what "bug and windshield" is supposed to convey so that might be part of it. 

 

"Earth-that-was" -- Firefly reference?  Careful with that phrase if it's not. 

 

There's a little bit of awkwardness around whether or not the speakers are on when E is walking away from the sinking m. 

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Quick summary notes. I've sent you LBLs in the doc.

- circumference: no way is range measured in circumference, and 10m circumference is only 1.6m radius circle, really short distance.

- 15m: that's beyond the limit of a 10m radius scan (which I propose instead of circumference).

- topographic is a survey of surface profile only, surely it's geological survey for soil composition? In engineering, we would specific Ground Investigation for those sorts of soil details, in other words trial pits and or boreholes.

- "the science director" - Both of these two will know who the science director is, and are likely to use there name, ergo, this comes over maid-and-butler to me. However, you could make a joke out of it and have her say 'our esteemed science director', I think that works way better.

- "the science director" - Same issuse as before, but a really hard 'no' now. They've been working with the person for how long, years? And they don't use their name in a private discussion? Just weird.

- "Nothing could get you off." - But money can get you off, right? So not strictly true. And is it a pun? Internet definition of pun 'a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words which sound alike but have different meanings'. I'm not convinced the use of the phrase 'get you off' in this context qualifies as a pun.

- What do the rabbits eat? How do they survive out on the planet?

- there are three instances of capital 'M' --ella, but many more non-capitalised, so I presume non-caps is the preference.

I think this is definitely much stronger than previous versions. LBL comments sent by email. Nothing structural, just standout issues that affect flow for me. Mains ones above.

<R>

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On 9/10/2019 at 9:14 AM, Mandamon said:

Why would she have thrown it then?

I wondered this, too. My guess is that it's because it's easiest to aim considering she's wearing gloves? Still, if it had sentimental value, I just don't see her throwing it. 

On 9/10/2019 at 9:14 AM, Mandamon said:

So how long has she been here?

I'd also like a concrete answer about this up front.

On 9/10/2019 at 9:14 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "elbowed the side of a dune"
--eh? How do you do this?

Same note.

On 9/12/2019 at 1:07 AM, Robinski said:

- What do the rabbits eat? How do they survive out on the planet?

This question was actually distracting me for a good chunk of the chapter.

Also, the trees. I'm no interstellar botanist, but what's the point of maple and aspen trees? Even if you could get them to grow on Q, aspens don't produce food, and I can't imagine the maples producing any significant amount of sap in such a wasteland. 

Overall, my only big issue is that I feel like the chapter stutter starts and then ends in a weird place that doesn't mesh with what came before. Writing Excuses has pounded into my brain that every chapter (even every paragraph) should be built around a specific set of scenes, especially a first chapter, and should contain (at least something resembling) beginning middle and end. Yes, there is a lot here that comes into play later, but I can't for the life of me figure out what the central theme or event or scene of this chapter is, and in the end I was left feeling kinda overwhelmed and frustrated.

This is too bad because the chapter starts out very clear and concise with a lot of direction about finding T. That momentum is interrupted by the call from N, which sets up another goal and direction, which is interrupted by the M on beetles. I get that the ongoing plot (looking for T) isn't going to see any sort of resolution in chapter 1, but I never get the beginning, middle, end feel from this chapter. It feels like beginning, beginning, beginning, middle.

I didn't join the group until you were a couple chapters in already so I never read the previous version of this chapter, but comparing it to the chapters I did read, I can see that the writing is tighter and you have a clearer picture of where you want to go now. E comes across as legitimately likable, which I think is your biggest accomplishment here because she was not sitting well with me before. Being completely honest, I don't think this would have passed my "1 Chapter Test" on its own if it was a random author I had never read before, but being more familiar with your work, I can see how this will lead to some great stuff.

Thanks for sharing!

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I enjoyed this first chapter, and really don't have too much to say about it. Plenty of questions about the setting and world-building, of course, but nothing that I feel really needs to be addressed right now.

The one thing that kind of caught my attention was the mention of the "all-woman" planet on p5. It seemed like an odd place for that particular factoid to come up, with E lost in her thoughts about T. And, of course, there are a whole bunch of questions one wants to ask about a planet that's only women. I know you and your work so I'm not worried about it, though of course I'm curious to see how it plays out; but if I were reading this from an author whose work I'd just picked up to try out, I'd probably be bracing for the possibility of poor logistics and questionable representation. Just a thought.

As I read:

p2 If the stones are from Earth and irreplaceable, why does E have them in an exterior pocket where she can lose and/or throw them?

p2 "In lettering so large it blocked most of the landscape" and p4 "the red dunes faded into a semi-transparent image..." Wouldn't notifications that block the suit user's field of vision be awfully dangerous, especially since it seems they can pop up without the user's input (and therefore will inevitably do so at inopportune moments)?

Also p4, mentions of "fierce" wind caught me by surprise, since this is the first time we've heard of it while E's been standing outside.

p4-5 I don't quite get what's happening with the message being delivered on hide? If they can transmit an image of N holding it up to the camera, surely they can just transmit the text directly to E, or use audio?

p9 The comment about "Earth's legacy" seems to imply that cancer is specific to earth and its immigrants, which ... seems unlikely.

On 9/10/2019 at 8:14 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 11: "Two riders on beetleback exploded from the sand....She had a minute, maybe, before they beetles reached her"
--ah, so they are farther away. Talking about them exploding up and E's adrenaline surging made me think they were much closer.

Agreed. I did a mental double take when I got to the part that told me the beetles were farther away than I thought.

On 9/12/2019 at 0:07 AM, Robinski said:

- topographic is a survey of surface profile only, surely it's geological survey for soil composition? In engineering, we would specific Ground Investigation for those sorts of soil details, in other words trial pits and or boreholes.

I'd just assumed this referred to different kinds of topsoil. No need for a geotech survey for that.

40 minutes ago, hawkedup said:

That momentum is interrupted by the call from N, which sets up another goal and direction, which is interrupted by the M on beetles.

To be honest, I didn't find this to be much of an issue, especially since it's all tied in with T's death and E's determination to find her body. I was a little surprised that the chapter took us as far as a confrontation with the m, since N's message told us to expect them at E's next destination, but I thought the chapter had an arc with E getting at least some piece of what she was looking for.

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23 hours ago, Silk said:

To be honest, I didn't find this to be much of an issue, especially since it's all tied in with T's death and E's determination to find her body.

Maybe it isn't so much what happens as I'd read a few pages that seemed to go by really fast, but then one of the "stutters" would happen and it would slow down. More disjointed pacing in the prose?

 

Edited by hawkedup
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