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Robinski

Robinski - 190930 - TCC Chapter 0C (12) - 3546 words (L)

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Hello all,
 
Here we are again. Any and all comments greatly appreciated, if you have the time and inclination to read.
 
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;
08 - E discovers T's disappearance, is suspended by DM then goes to see the YK sheriff. He takes her to a kill site, but it's only animals, not T;
09 - After some chat about the past and Mor, Q dumps N's plane on the tarmac, QME are recovered by EMS and taken to hospital, where they escape;
10 - E runs the gauntlet of the press then releases the Vuls. Q and M progress to YK. Q gets a mystery call. K is on Q's trail and intends to make him pay;
11 - Q calls E and leaves her a message, the Five-Star gets wrecked by a bear, DM is travelling back to YK and speaks with TOM.
 
Cheers, Robinski
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This chapter seemed disjointed and almost disconnected from the plot. It's a lot of Q standing around thinking about things the reader has already learned, changing his personality while talking with TOM, then encountering some strange transformer version of a single mom. Then, finally getting, not to the place they need to be going, but somewhere...close? I hope?

I have no idea why TOM chose this moment to talk to Q, when he's evidently had the ability for some time, and I guess has just been sitting back and watching Q&M play Benny Hill will the local police? (Yakity-sax is going through my head, thinking back to the hospital, car, and plane chase...). And why does Q turn into a 9-year old boy when talking to TOM? As he says, he's done the work to get out from under him. I would think he would have had to learn to stand his ground while doing that.

Sorry to be negative on this one. This, added to the last chapter, is just making me itchy to have Q&M actually get to the plot of the story and figure things out. Battling genetically engineered monsters is a lot more interesting than a road trip through Canada in winter.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 2: "They were passed by numerous vehicles, "
--passive...

pg 3: "one of the beasts had escaped. "
--Probably WRS. Does Q know what kind of creatures they're creating?

pg 2-3: There's a lot of thinky bits and explanation here. Not much plot movement.

pg 4: "owner of the Five-Star"
--who is this and why does it matter? I'm confused as to where they are and what they're doing. (Edit: Ah, I see from the summary above that it was the vehicle from last time that got wrecked. So probably WRS)

pg 5: "But what was this all about?"
--I feel like this paragraph is bringing the pace down a lot. Q is asking questions about things the reader already knows, and it makes him look far behind the rest of the plot. Contemplating refusing the "heroes quest" at this point in the story is a bit too late.

pg 6: "I mean what are we actually doing? How far is it to YK, even with transport?"
--pretty much agree with M here. They need to get on it.

pg 7: The convo with the old man is...weird. Like I'm not sure why it's happening now and not some time before this. 

pg 7: "Would you like to speak to her?"
--I thought J was in some sort of institution? Am I remembering that wrong?

pg 8: “Leaving was too difficult. I put in the hard yards, as they say. I earned this.”
--Q's demeanor here is really strange. He's actively working against TOM, but here is subservient to him.

pg 9: "you’ve got no right"
--I mean, pretty much agree with M again. TOM is obviously sowing some discord and Q has abandoned his usual sharp intellect.

pg 9: "A low table separated the rotated seat from a rear bench divided into three separate seats ..."
--What the heck is going on? Why is this vehicle stopping and opening up like a 1950's housewife version of Optimus Prime?

pg 10: "to the point that three more chairs near the back could flip up and lock into place."
--I am both very confused and want one of these vehicles.

pg 10: “I hope you nice folks can mend your fences. We’re a happy car, aren’t we?”
--is this the mother? Why is she in italics?

pg 11: "But you’ll need to work on that. It takes time, and you need to be very polite with it. It might feel like you’re giving in sometimes, but you need to pick your battles."
--this chapter has gone off onto a very weird tangent.

pg 12: “You got it, Mister Q.”
--Did...did Q just conscript a child to tell him how he's getting better at playing board games?

pg 13: "Where the heck had that come from?"
--yeeees...also wondering what happened to Q this chapter.

pg 13: "struggling with a sudden dryness in his throat."
--I mean, great, kindness of strangers and everything, but I'm not sure why any of this happened and why Q is suddenly all emotional.

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Overall

I think the first 3-4 pages could be readily cut/condensed to get to the meat of the story, which is the talk with Mor and then being picked up by the family. The internal monologues I think might be vestigial, in that they helped you get a feel for time and place and character, but are redundant for the reader at this stage.

I liked the conversation with Mor and knowing M has a secret is fun. I liked the scene in the camper/van thing as well. Q's sudden paternal side is adorable and the advice he gives to the young boy is great.

So this chapter, like several others before it, I think is just too exposition-y, too long, and not enough forward plot momentum, although there is more in this one than some others!

As I go

- the recap in the first few pages made me want to skim. It would have been fine at just a page I think, to get a flavor for Q's POV, but I felt like it dragged

- the internal monologue about M on pg 5 I think should be part that stays, because it's new information and gives us a deeper look at Q's personality

- pg 9, missing word: I know YOU wouldn’t want to hurt your daughter

- pg nine: Four dark-skinned faces  <--- ehhhhhh have we reliably been getting skin tones on everyone else? Could you use a bit more descriptive language?

- pg 11: frizzy hair <--- suggest something like thick, wavy, hair was in puffs (which is what pigtails that are round are called)

- pg 12: unclear what happened with the business card. Q gave a card to the boy? Why?

- pg 13: warring on her pale features <--- This should have come earlier, otherwise we default. But also I think you are setting up the assumption that this is a big-hearted (white) woman who adopted black children, therefore she would help even a strange man on the road with his daughter and not assume that Q was a pedophile or a human trafficker (both of which would potentially be more likely, but this IS Canada, where people tend to assume better of other humans). It might be worth it to go through that internal monologue because A) you already have a ton and B.) I think it would then make the marginal bias here Q's and not so much narrative.

For help with the descriptions, here is a great guide. The link is for skin tones, but they have a page on writing about black hair, eyelid folds, etc.

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So, I had a lot written about where the sense of urgency went, because I feel like it's mostly vanished and the story is just sort of glooping around in a gooey morass right now, but I don't think the whole long paragraphs amount to much useful critique here. Q feels oddly detached to me right now, and I don't think hanging a lantern on the questions around his motivation is quite enough to get over the problems they cause. 
 
Basically, I'm just so super ready to get to what feels to me like the point of the novel and start doing mystery stuff. The traveling, the introspection, like @Mandamon says, it feels disconnected from the rest of things. Like, is this a travelogue, or a conundrum?  Q doesn't even get to a satisfying conclusion to all his musings. He's already decided to see this through to the end, that's how he got here, after all. 
 
The talk with TOM is interesting, but I also don't think it's really ... doing a whole lot for the plot. TOM is using his apparently godlike powers to bend the rules of the world just to make a few vague threats. I don't feel particularly threatened by him, though, because, to me, all of the danger and peril so far seems like it has come from either Mor or Q&M themselves. It's like he's just randomly stopped Q and M in order to give the mommyvan time to arrive. 
 
The mom is giving me super creepy Stepford Wives vibes. Did TOM send her? Did she sneak his DNA with the hug? Are the kids remote-operated undercover androids?  I agree with @kais that the descriptions of her and the kids need a bit of work. They're not super cringey, but they could be a whole lot better. 
 
This twitter thread doesn't involve puffs, but it's a great visual reference. It's talking about styles, what is involved in maintaining them, and why people would choose a certain style, which could be useful to think about from a character standpoint. Iron_spike on Twitter: Black Hair for Non-Black Artists
 
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Hey, thanks for reading.

On 01/10/2019 at 4:59 PM, Mandamon said:

This chapter seemed disjointed and almost disconnected from the plot. It's a lot of Q standing around thinking about things the reader has already learned, changing his personality while talking with TOM, then encountering some strange transformer version of a single mom. Then, finally getting, not to the place they need to be going, but somewhere...close? I hope?

I guessed this is how this would go, in general terms, based on the last chapter. I have been through and edit before looking at the comments this time. I figured after last time this one would not find much favour, and so decided to save myself the time. I'm not sure I'll keep much of this at all. We'll see when I get into it.

On 01/10/2019 at 4:59 PM, Mandamon said:

I have no idea why TOM chose this moment to talk to Q, when he's evidently had the ability for some time, and I guess has just been sitting back and watching Q&M play Benny Hill will the local police? (Yakity-sax is going through my head, thinking back to the hospital, car, and plane chase...).

Hmm, certainly not the reaction I was going for.

On 01/10/2019 at 4:59 PM, Mandamon said:

And why does Q turn into a 9-year old boy when talking to TOM? As he says, he's done the work to get out from under him. I would think he would have had to learn to stand his ground while doing that.

Well, he's not really an aggressive sort, but that doesn't mean he has to revert to childhood. I will review the whole thing. Might be able to cut it almost in its entirety.

On 01/10/2019 at 4:59 PM, Mandamon said:

Sorry to be negative on this one. This, added to the last chapter, is just making me itchy to have Q&M actually get to the plot of the story and figure things out. Battling genetically engineered monsters is a lot more interesting than a road trip through Canada in winter.

No, it's what I expected. I think I can lose most of this.

On 01/10/2019 at 4:59 PM, Mandamon said:

Notes while reading:

Thanks for these. Probably mostly academic.

Thanks for reading.

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Thanks for reading @kais and @industrialistDragon. Much appreciated. Dropped the ball pretty badly on this one. I think most of it will go.

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So, I'm editing this these past two days and it's heavily cut. I'm verging on submitting it again, such was the poor shape it was in first time around. One point I should have made before, but was (rightly) off balance and defensive about, the mother in the vehicle is also a POC, hence there were 3 children and the mother, the 4 ---- faces regarding M and Q. The face that pale was M's, not the mom's. Untidy and unclear, but not the 'paternalistic' adoption scenario that seemed to come across.

This chapter is changing so heavily – and I suspect 13 (OD) will get the same treatment – that I might be left with a single chapter that I might ask your forbearance to read again.

Thanks for calling me on this one :) 

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2 hours ago, Robinski said:

I might be left with a single chapter that I might ask your forbearance to read again.

I was actually going to suggest that. I think having all the important points in 11,12, and 13 will make a nice, exciting chapter and get Q&M well on their way to their objective.

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