Mandamon

20191230 - Fall of the Imperium Ch3 - 4720 words - Sub 3

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Chapter 3 of book 3. As usual, if anyone is completely lost, I can provide summaries of the first two books.

This week features a favorite character of some people, investigating the aftermath of the end of book 2...

All comments are welcome. Still looking for any major plot problems. This is the introductory chapter for the second "batch" of POVs, so I want to make sure the connection with the characters is strong. Anything else is fair game.

Previously: S, E, and I arrive in the other facet and tell the inhabitants what's going on. E and I learn a little about their species, but they all decide to go back to their facet to learn more, but when they get there, E still has issues from her imprisonment that keep them from leaving. They instead work with the leader of the Ari group, until the Eff faints.

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I really liked this chapter overall!

The first half felt a bit meandering, possibly due to this-then-that and 'again' usage. 

By the second half, the chapter was on it's feet and running though. I especially liked your closing line. 

Details:

Opening paragraph; "For there is one aspect of portals that speak of." Seems like a word or two are missing.

S B conveyance question: it seems like from context that this is a dead loved one you bring back to life to use as a vehicle. Is that right? If not, some clarification might be needed for the new reader.

Near 80% mark: "The E looked much as he did today when he was..." This sentence seems grammatically sound but feels a bit tangled up and took a couple re-reads before I was sure what you were saying. 

Great flow of information in this chapter, the expositong was worked in nicely. 

Thanks for sharing!

 

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Overall

It was a solid chapter, and it definitely moved things forward. I'm not feeling any real threat though from the orange things. That may need to be built up a bit more. I'm also (and this is likely personal preference) grumpy over three different POV chapters right after each other. I'd like to get a bit of grounding in one POV for a few chapters before moving on, especially in series like this where there is so much going on. Things feel really choppy right now at the beginning, and it's making it hard to get invested (though I did really enjoy last chapter a lot, but likely because I'm deeply invested in the Ari story line). 

Very good draft though. It read smoothly and I didn't see too many typos. Some additional comments below.

 

As I go

- pg 1: . For there is one aspect of portals that speak of. <-- to speak of maybe?

- pg 3: I feel like this new void comes from nowhere. S sent the last one to Earth Past, and this one was just....at the Assembly, waiting for someone to come by? I think this needs to be foreshadowed more. It seems too plot convenient

- pg 6: there are several new names in here. It might be a bit earlier in the book, as we are all still getting our footing again, to add new characters to the already expansive world

- pg 7: oooh wait, are all the mini drains from the last book? Maybe I'm having WRS here then

- pg 10: so are these orange things any way related to the little creatures from the short a while back? That's what I'm comparing them to in my head

- pg 11: Confused. Meth homeworld has the same animals as Earth? Is it supposed to be like a multiverse deal here? I thought it was established that Meth was NOT Earth some time ago?

- pg 12: some blocking clean up. I thought the creature cut the portal in half, not the other way around. Was confused there for a minute

 

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Thanks, @Sarah B and @kais!
 

On 1/1/2020 at 5:46 AM, Sarah B said:

S B conveyance question: it seems like from context that this is a dead loved one you bring back to life to use as a vehicle. Is that right? If not, some clarification might be needed for the new reader.

No, but this is likely something missed from not reading the first book. S B's are helper automatons, but that's it. K is a special case.

On 1/1/2020 at 5:46 AM, Sarah B said:

The first half felt a bit meandering, possibly due to this-then-that and 'again' usage. 

By the second half, the chapter was on it's feet and running though. I especially liked your closing line. 

Glad it read well by the end. I can clean up the first half.

22 hours ago, kais said:

I'm not feeling any real threat though from the orange things. That may need to be built up a bit more.

Let me know what happens as the book progresses. I'm wondering about this point myself.

22 hours ago, kais said:

I'm also (and this is likely personal preference) grumpy over three different POV chapters right after each other. I'd like to get a bit of grounding in one POV for a few chapters before moving on, especially in series like this where there is so much going on.

Heh...yeah I don't think there are ever more than two chapters with the same POV together, but I did group them so generally there are a couple chapters each time it shifts. I tend to like shifting POVs to get a idea of what's going on from different viewpoints, but let me know if it gets too much.

23 hours ago, kais said:

oooh wait, are all the mini drains from the last book? Maybe I'm having WRS here then

Possibly? The mini drains are sort of new, but are the same thing that happened at the end of book 2.

23 hours ago, kais said:

so are these orange things any way related to the little creatures from the short a while back? That's what I'm comparing them to in my head

Nope. These are completely different!

23 hours ago, kais said:

Confused. Meth homeworld has the same animals as Earth? Is it supposed to be like a multiverse deal here? I thought it was established that Meth was NOT Earth some time ago?

It has some of the same animals. I've referenced them a couple times in the past from Ri. and M.F.'s POV. But no, Meth is not Earth!

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Color me cautiously on board with an Mand chapter at the moment. Like @kais, I am suspicious of so many POVs so early in the novel; it makes it very hard for me to get invested in any one part. Plus, I still harbor a lot of suspicion about M's usefulness as a major player in the story in particular from last book (wasn't he going to be peeled off into his own novella?), and this chapter doesn't do a whole lot to convince me I really need to be here with him, unfortunately. The action was good, and I really liked the end bits where M is figuring out how to kill the aetheric acid-caterpillars. His solution was novel but made a lot of sense in-world, so that was very well done. 

 

As I go:

I like that this excerpt from a treatise is longwinded and dry... but it is also longwinded and dry. ;) If it has stuff in it that is important to the story, I think those bits should maybe shine out a bit more...  
 
Ohh, Mand chapter. I thought he was moving off into his own novella? I am cautiously interested. 
 
I am definitely with @kais on the too many povs too early in the novel feeling. I am also still sort of wondering what purpose Mand chapters serve, since they only seem to touch on the main story at oblique angles. Wouldn't we be getting this introduction to this side of the N after-the-caterpillars-of-doom-invade from S when he comes back home (which I assume will be next chapter)? Wouldn't it have a bit more resonance from S, who seems to me to feel things more intensely, than Mand, who appears to always be at more of a remove?
 
Sorry to admit, I am skimming right over a lot of these names and political affiliations. I know they matter from prior books, but I'm not invested in the political side of the story yet and so they're not registering as important to me. Same for some of the bit players in Mand's band of mages. It's too jittery.
 
The last part, with Mand figuring out how to kill the caterpillars, was very thrilling, and not something S would really figure out on his own, I don't think. I sort-of wish I'd gotten more like that, instead of what was the beginning of this chapter. I also hope he and S meet up soon. I think that would make the Mand chapters more palatable to me. 

 

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17 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I am suspicious of so many POVs so early in the novel;

I'm not adding any new POVs that weren't in the last book, so I'm hoping if people are reading straight through,they'll have less trouble with investment. For M, he already had a novella which gave some of his background. He's going to be a lot more in-tune time-wise with the rest of the cast in this book.

17 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

not something S would really figure out on his own

That's partially why he's in here, to provide cool things from someone with a lot of experience. On him and S meeting up...that will be much later on, but hopefully S's arc makes up for it!

17 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Same for some of the bit players in Mand's band of mages. It's too jittery.

I will admit there is a lot of expanded cast in this--secondary characters who aren't that important, but sort of have to be around. I've played around with how to use them as I wrote. Let me know how it reads.

Thanks, @industrialistDragon!

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3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I'm not adding any new POVs that weren't in the last book

That does make me feel a little better, lol (though the last book had a bunch of POVs as well and I think I remember grumping about it... ;) ). Out of curiosity, since these two books are so closely linked, why split them at all? I know the era of the Big Fat Fantasy Novel is passed, but they do still appear from time to time out of traditional publishers, and this is your self-pub series, so you're the only one who has control over it, so. I'm not trying to be accusatory or anything, I'm just generally curious -- how do you decide where to break a book, when the story is very large like this, and it's in a digital-first format where physical-page count considerations have become largely irrelevant? What's to stop you from telling the story straight through, and not giving yourself the hassle of these recap chapters? 

 

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I will admit there is a lot of expanded cast in this

I wish I had a good suggestion, or any suggestion really, of how to deal with the name overload. :( I think the POV jumps contribute to exacerbating the feeling though. But I got nothing else, sorry.  

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2 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

why split them at all?

Honestly? Because I can get more money by selling two books than I can by one.

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(Page 1)

- “For there is one aspect of portals that speak of.” - missing word. 

- “Some of the other maji” - A Man POV! Excellent. Having the whole SoTH group together is potentially challenging. When this ensemble stuff if done well it can be stellar (I think of Reservoir Dogs, Firefly, The Avengers, FoTR). The challenge of giving everyone a voice, yes, but also giving them something to do other than stand around and wait for the leader to direct them. I’m encouraged here because they are alL ranging around independently looks for signs, not waiting for orders. I hope their personalities remain distinct. 

- “random spot in space” - something odd about this. A spot in space is what it is. What makes it random? It is the very particular spot that the signal came from, surely.

(page 2)

- “no one to initiate the reaction” - so, does that mean this is a void? Unclear, to me. 

- The arrival of the worms could be sharpened up, for me. Who are the two young Meth maj? When you say young meth maj, I automatically think of S.

- “Ten seconds passed, tense.” - Eh?! No!! Take charge!! Surely Man would assume this was a threat and react. Surely he would not stand around for 10 seconds(!!!), a huge time in a combat situation, and just wait for the enemy to act. And even if Man did (which I don’t believe), surely the other SoTH members would not, would they?

(page 3)

- “The young meth” - but there are two, right? As an aside, it’s been established that humans are analogous to meth so, when a meth comes on screen, I automatically identify a bit more closely with them.

- Yeah, and then they are stuck being reactive when the critters run. Disappointed in Man here. Ten seconds is a long time. 

- “Other maji followed the first two” - this is what I’m concerned about with the group: the group ends up acting and reacting like a homogenous ‘lump’ of maj. 

- “keeping an eye out in case the creatures came back” - why in the rings of heck would they come back? For me this is closing the loop of a weak reaction after the antagonist has bolted. It make the group sound lame. 

- “He wanted to run with the other maji and chase down the creatures” - but they’re not chasing the creatures. The maj all came back. 

- Man’s got gammy knees (a detail I enjoy, I can relate to!), but I feel that it would make him all the more conscious of the need to think quickly, rather than stand around for 10 seconds.

(page 4)

- I got confused between the meth bystander and the young meth maj. Does the bystander have to be meth?

- "to block their path" - so this pronoun is used in this case because man does not know the sex of the meth passerby. It caught me slightly here because 'they' is used in causes of non-binary races or individuals so I am on the look out for it, as it were, and quite sensitive to the pronoun. To put it another way, if it had said 'blocked the young man's path' (for example), if would not have hesitated at all.

- "It was hard to see from this distance, but he caught a flash of bright orange stripes on dark flesh, like they had seen on the creatures in the Assembly. Was it the same one? Or were there are more here? Had more voids appeared and birthed these creatures?" - I would like certainty here. It's a big orange blob, I don't think there can be any doubt it's the same type of creature. This doesn't seem worthy of being made a kind of mystery / mini-reveal.

(page 5)

- "Several others followed" - homogenising again. "and the older maji" - and again.

- "that ain’t natural" - this line it not worthy of the scientific mind that is G. Clearly, it's natural for the creature. This line is just a nothing: kind of clichéd, if I'm honest.

- "unplugging the stone keeping a Th in its den for winter" - I get it, but the line falls flat for me because I don't know what a Th is, or why it's kept in its den.

- "Is it our fault?" - Hang on, first he accepts G's point then, immediately after that, in his next breath, he questions it. This seems wildly inconsistent / indecisive. 

- "There is little doubt there is more going on, but I cannot say what part we played" - I find the dialogue very loose in this chapter, and man in particular is not very leader-y. I expect him to be more competent and commanding.

- "de facto leader" - he's the actual leader, is he not? Moor was the leader of the SOTH and they handed it on to man, didn't they? (Or did they? Maybe I'm misremembering.)

- "but he valued the others’ opinions. That was why he had asked them" - Again, I want man's internal monolog to be more insightful than this. It feel obvious and not worthy of internal scrutiny in narrative. Did he not also want them to join because they were some of the only/few THM available?

(page 6)

- I like the recounting of the failings of the council. I feel that man's leaving is suitable dramatic as to deserve more of real moment. (We didn't know this already, did we?)

- "He could tell merely from the doleful stairs of the two that something was very, very wrong, though the pair either wouldn’t disclose what they knew, even to a member of the Council, or were ignorant themselves." - (1) Typo: stares (obvs). I do now want to write a short story about doleful stairs though. Sounds like a location in LOTR or GOT; (2) comma (sorry :rolleyes:); (3) Contradiction. Man can tell from the indicators of the creatures that something's wrong. Ergo, they know something is wrong. Ergo, they have something to disclose. So, they cannot be ignorant.

- "to get from the palace" - got/get is the least evocative word in the English language. My English teacher chided me for using it stating, very reasonably, that there is always a more descriptive, interesting and engaging word to use in its place. I often forget this myself (just searched TCC, 192 'got'), but this one smacked me in the face. Can they not walk, trudge, hurry or dash?

(page 7)

- "They caught glances, along the way, of people fleeing" - I though there was no one around, and the guards were lone people.

- "A group of seventeen maj was an intimidating force, and they strung out along the blocks" - How many?! :o This is crazy unwieldy. I just can't picture it. Also, it's crazy that they have not split up. ALSO, it strikes me as odd that they are not operating like a military unit (with man in command), as being the only way to wrangle so many independent minds together and make them all go in the same direction. I'm drawn back to the scene where the creatures appear. So, there were 17 maj standing around for 10 seconds doing nothing? Impossible.

- "was certain there were more than just the two or three they had encountered" - This chapter is not holding together for me in the terms of the logic. There are no people around, like maybe a dozen. The Imp has been depopulated and this has been attributed by these maj (posited by someone, and accepted by man) that it was the creatures that did it, and we have seen them do it: thus, prove. They saw two of the creatures appear, ergo, those creatures were not there before. They have seen and heard the signs of multiple entities as they've walked. So, I can't wrap my head around why man can take so long to make this pretty obvious deduction.

Personally, I think this chapter could be electrifying if the whole thing was reorganised a bit. I've already mentioned how the maj were basically completely impotent when he creatures appeared. Why did the creatures not attack? Maybe one of the maj gets 'absorbed'? With 17 you've got maj to spare pumps up the stakes immediately. Then they get outside a realise the population of the Imp has been decimated, maybe they just seen the evidence of multiple creatures running around and they realise immediately that it's an invasion - and that they may have caused it.

Sorry for the trail of suggestions, but I feel the pacing is kind of random (good coming from me, I know).

(page 8)

- "was not that unlikely" - a positive would be more engaging than a double negative here, IMO.

- I forget who Y is.

- "portal ground in the spire grounds to do so" - repetition of 'ground' is awkward. Also, there is no preceding statement corresponding to 'do so'.

(page 9)

- "Pass the word around. Some of the others should go on to the medical ward" - I come back to my point about the size of the group. Passing the word around will be awkward and time-consuming, and the chances are that at least one of 17 individuals will wander close to the creature and 'trigger' it. Again, if they have options of places to go, and there are 17 of them, it seems crazy not to divide up tasks, split into a at least two. Much more manageable. The physical area alone that 17 people will take up be not standing next to each other, walking a little apart to chat to someone... it's so unwieldy from a practical viewpoint.

- "crackled in a passable whisper" - There are some lovely character details for those known to the reader, but most of the 127 are anonymous. I'll add here that I am really starting to like Meg. More detail on her would be good. I hope she's not a red shirt!!

(page 11)

- "large predatory fish" - good, effective description. Like.

- "Faster than a cheetah" - Yikes!

(page 12)

- The pace of the chapter has really picked up in the last couple of pages, which is great. I would have liked more tension in the first section. I think there is scope for it to be ramped up, and for the group to behave more logically/be led more effectively (by man).

- "positioned the portal sideways" - typo, I think. Also, not sure 'purposefully' is the right word here. I think 'deliberately' is more accurate. To me doing something 'on purpose' (i.e not accidentally) is different from doing it 'purposefully' (carefully, determinedly). Or 'purposely', that would work.

(page 13)

- "The other fell short at his feet" - the thing is almost on top of him, and is travelling at cheetah speeds (~60mph). With that amount of momentum, I would think the part of the creature would carry past him or into him from that distance. Exciting scene though, thrilling and clever solution, well foreshadowed.

- "off balance" - Err, it was cut in half, I don't think this phrase is sufficiently dramatic to describe it's attempts to movement. I get vertigo sometimes, I can off balance. This thing is missing half its body weight.

- "What was left was nothing but two divots" - Very wordy and awkward. 'Only two divots remained.' I know it's drafting, but this especially stood out.

- "deep enough the next person who stepped in one" - this implies to me that there has been a first person to step in one, which I didn't see.

(page 14)

- "voice shilled upward" - 'shrilled'? Not a verb.

(page 15)

- "the ones no longer taught" - I like the form of the ending, but I think it could have a bit more punch.

Overall 

Definitely a strong chapter in terms of arc and content, and an exciting second part as we get into the action. I wanted more from the first part. I felt the dialogue was often patchy and some of the logic was, some choices were, questionable. My biggest issues is having a group of 17 maj trouping around. I struggled throughout trying to accept how awkward that would be.

Looking forwards to the next one. Things are taking shape nicely :) 

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On 03/01/2020 at 10:42 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Like @kais, I am suspicious of so many POVs so early in the novel

Well, you know me. Bring it on, I say. Especially since they are very familiar POVs with well known characters in the series (including novellas).

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Thanks @Robinski! Great comments as always. I think you've figured out why the pacing on the first half feels slow.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Surely he would not stand around for 10 seconds(!!!)

This is a big issue, but easily fixed! I can make them spring into action much sooner.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Having the whole SoTH group together is potentially challenging. When this ensemble stuff if done well it can be stellar (I think of Reservoir Dogs, Firefly, The Avengers, FoTR). The challenge of giving everyone a voice, yes, but also giving them something to do other than stand around and wait for the leader to direct them.

 

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Personally, I think this chapter could be electrifying if the whole thing was reorganised a bit. I've already mentioned how the maj were basically completely impotent when he creatures appeared. Why did the creatures not attack? Maybe one of the maj gets 'absorbed'? With 17 you've got maj to spare pumps up the stakes immediately

I think this the key. I've provided a bunch of extra "fodder" and then not carried through. Will fix. Messily.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

so this pronoun is used in this case because man does not know the sex of the meth passerby.

Yeah, I hate assuming a male standard, so I've taken to assuming "they" until the POV knows the gender. I think it fits with this universe, but hopefully it's not too off putting. I at least try to be consistent!

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

it strikes me as odd that they are not operating like a military unit (with man in command),

I think this may work much better as an organization, or even forming up this way after they see the first creatures, with M taking immediate command.

Great suggestions, and I think they can tighten this up a whole lot.

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Posted (edited)

Pg.1 – chapter opens very cool with the sentient S Beast doing coordinate calculations. I really would like to get more visual info on how this scene looks like.

Does everyone speak the hand sign language used by TD?

Pg.2 – “To me!” M called, bringing the others back to him.” – I’d rather have him call them and a reaction line showing them hurrying to assemble around him to show action in the scene.

The orange grubs don’t seem threatening – perhaps the description should capture the shell articulations of their plated armored backs, menacing glitters hidden deep in sockets of their armor, and sharp teeth and claws or something.

Pg.3 – the grubs escaped the building but no one is pursuing them to kill them?

Pg. 4 – so they go out, see a moving shape, G yells ‘there’ and it’s another person. This confused me a lot, I was still expecting them to try and pursue the creatures that escaped and can wreak havoc through the city. Instead of trying to solve the more urgent issue of the creatures, M wants information from this person, which is strange in the circumstances.

Pg. 5 – the talk of whose fault it is seems superfluous as it seems to condition the maji’s action on whether it’s their fault; in an emergency they are oddly focused on where the blame goes

Pg. 6 – I like M more than S; he’s got more personality and internal dialog, which S is missing. However, the political side isn’t very interesting, because it’s mainly evoked through a deluge of names. It could become interested if M had personal interests there.

“M watched K and how easily she supported G. He really should design a S Beast conveyance of his own, though maybe with less personality. K was an amazing person, but he wasn’t looking to revive any more dead friends or relatives. He’d left enough of those behind him.” – Gorilla in the phone booth. Big one, batting his hairy chest saying ‘look at me’. All I want to know now is M and K’s backstory and how this resurrection business works.

Pg. 7 – “A group of seventeen maji was an intimidating force” and “There were hints of the creatures […] and M was certain there were more than just the two” – and yet the group wasn’t doing anything about the creatures. It’s counterintuitive. Even if the maji had their own interests to take care of and were so self-interested that they didn’t care what happened to the people in the street, they could’ve been attacked by a gaggle of these creatures so they should’ve acted.

Pg. 8 – the majus stopping to talk to them quite at length downplays the importance and rush of the evacuation. There seems to be little urgency on all sides in response to the creatures killing people in the street.

The characterizations and descriptions placed here also slow the pace of the emergency scene. Ideally they should come as the group heads to the Spire and end before they start talking to the majus.

Pg. 9 – “So far the invaders seemed to be avoiding the Spire.” – Having just arrived at the scene, M is there for too little time to be able to judge this, since he has no information about the creatures’ numbers

Is K’s armrest described anywhere else before this? I don’t know what it is and how it looks like so having it mentioned here is another gorilla in the phone booth, competing with the first. Now they can beat each other’s chests.

Pg. 10 – it’s confusing how TD can stammer if he’s using hand sign language

Pg. 11 – “large predatory fish” – it’s the second time the orange creatures are compared to sharks in this chapter. It’s clearly sharks so it’s time to call them sharks or find other similes if mentioning sharks would ruin the worldbuilding too much. To me it looks like these characters might’ve well heard of sharks since they have so many world to draw reference upon.

“Mandamon had no idea if one of them had made a sound” – they were all talking

“fin straightened to a blade” – if the fin is on its back like a shark’s, what does it mean that it straightened? It can’t impale them with a fin that’s on its back.

Pg. 12 – characterizing Gre and having TD speak in the middle of the charge is breaking the action. Better show the charge instead of TD’s sentence, which is on the long side for a tense moment

M’s internal dialog is too long and unconcerned for a tense moment

I’m only inferring that the creature is charging straight at M from the reactions of those around him but it’s never shown it’s charging and where it’s heading. Showing the charge would contribute to tension.

“He positioned the portal sideway, edge-on in the air, something he had never purposefully done before.” – good one! I definitely like M

Pg. 13 – “There were holes in his coat and in his shoes. He liked those shoes.” – this is the type of writing emotion I like most. It’s not overly expressed, or told straight, it’s implied by what the character is thinking, and I fully feel the disappointment of losing a great pair of shoes. damnation it!

Pg. 15 – “like a treesloth in his knothole” – I like these comparisons. I can tell what they mean and they do an excellent job evoking the world.

Pg. 15 – “No. No more hiding.” – I like M more than S. M is more of a developed hero whereas S is a kid who lives a lot internally and a little externally, and has little to make him interesting.

Edited by Lightbearer
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Just to let you know, I just read 2, 3, and 4 all back to back and I'm left wanting to just read the rest of the book and not go chapter by chapter. 

I really enjoyed this one too and how it connected to the chapter that follows it. 

I felt like most of the other people in the group were just background except for M, G & K, and even with the other ones that spoke, I didn't know much about them and had a hard time keeping track of them. If you want one of them to be more significant, then you could spend a little more time on whichever character that is, but if none of them are important, then leave them as background. 

I was surprised by how easily the evil slug of doom was defeated. I was expecting more of a fight and maybe society casualties or injuries. However, in the end, I loved how M defeated them, but the pay off would've been better if it had taken more fight to get to that defeat. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Lightbearer and @shatteredsmooth!

In general response to your concerns, I definitely need to speed this chapter up and put more excitement in along with the dynamics of a large group. It will be a challenge for the next edit. Things aren't going at the right pace to keep up with the tension of the chapter. Will work on this and thanks for insightful feedback!

The end seems to be working, but I need to make the characters suffer a but more to get there. Will do!

10 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I just read 2, 3, and 4 all back to back and I'm left wanting to just read the rest of the book and not go chapter by chapter. 

Very glad it's flowing well for you!

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

All I want to know now is M and K’s backstory and how this resurrection business works.

Fortunately, there's an entire novella already published about M, G, and K's adventures about 50 years before this! Glad this is catching you, though. I'm hoping this and M's arc in the last book will make people want to read the novella.

Glad you like M as a character. I hope S will grow on you as well through the book. Let me know as we go...

Edited by Mandamon
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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

novella already published about M, G, and K's adventures about 50 years before this!

Cool, what's it called?

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Posted (edited)

1 minute ago, Lightbearer said:

Cool, what's it called?

The Society of Two Houses (Click in the signature below to go to the Amz. page.)

Edited by Mandamon
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30 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

The Society of Two Houses (Click in the signature below to go to the Amz. page.)

Got it.

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Obviously, we're starting with new characters, so that confused me as a new reader, but nothing to be done about that. But this chapter didn't do much to give me characterization of them. Most of the lines are really generic, not revealing much about the characters or their relationships to each other. I didn't get a clear picture of anyone.

Again, I felt like some of the exposition was placed strangely in the middle of action scenes. It made things seem slow and clunky to explain some background about politics or the magic system when they are supposed to be fighting something. I agree with everyone else about being confused as to why they just sat there and let the creatures escape. I'm not sure about the background of the group, but it seemed like they should have been more organized. Also, I wasn't sure whether or not the two people who chased the slugs kept chasing them out the door (which, it makes sense to me that they would) or just stopped when they didn't overtake them immediately. It seems that even if you can't immediately catch them, you could at least see where they go. This felt amateur and passive.

I also thought it strange that they never came up with a name for the creatures, simply calling them "it" or "the orange and black creatures." Most people would come up with a shorthand to refer to them pretty quickly, especially since they are a main topic of conversation. I liked the description of them as a "land predatory fish" but you've used that very distinctive phrase at the beginning and also the end of the chapter. It felt repetitive to me.

On page 8 & 9, the group refer to things the Eff said to them. It felt confusing to me, as they hadn't talked to the Eff on screen. I assume maybe it was from the previous book? Anyway, I found it confusing as we were just talking to a (different?) Eff in the previous chapter and these characters weren't there.

All in all, this chapter was kind of a slog for me as a new reader. I wasn't sure what was motivating the characters to move from one place to another. It seemed like they were wandering around, just following whatever idea crossed their minds. Surely they came here with a purpose; that purpose should be more evident.

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Thanks @lizbusby!

I think (hope) that a lot of the confusion stems from coming in at this late stage. There's a lot of setup for what M and his group are doing and why.

That said, the first part of this will definitely get cleaned up to have less passive wandering, and I can put in some of the emotion from the end of the last book to help drive them.

Good thought about coming up for a name for them. I'll have to ponder on that!

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