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Mandamon

20200120 - Fall of the Imperium Ch6 - 2884 words - Sub 6

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Chapter 6 of book 3, with the last (yes, I know) major POV intro for this book. Short chapter this week, and this particular POV acts sort of like Man's in book 2. If you have read the second book, there is also a change to the end which should be made evident in the first paragraph.

All comments are welcome, and I'm hoping this has a little more tension in it vs. the "meet and greet" of the last few chapters.

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. Man comes to the Imperium with his new Society, to learn what happened after they tried to bring something through with his device (at the end of books 2). We switch to Ri and Co, who have escaped to HD's homeworld, at an installation of their art, where they regain their bearings. They go back to the Imp, where they engage some of the invaders, with great effort, and then go to a Speaker's estate, where she is collecting refugees.

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I really liked some of the descriptions you used for this chapter, especially to demonstrate your POVs mind state. For me, the strongest example was your description of the fountain being like an artery. Well done!

First time reader issue: There are two groups of people, one who the POV apparently represents and many surrounding people from the other group. Both start with S and are a bit tricky to memorize. I don't recall reading either before this chapter so if there is significance to these groups besides establishing that the POV is in the minority, it is lost on me. 

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

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Thanks @Sarah B!

Glad the descriptions were better this time. On the two "S" names, they don't really matter for this chapter except to say that there are two different species. If you've read the other books, you might get some more out of it.

 

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Obviously, there's a lot of background I don't have going into this scene. But for what it's worth, I was confused as to how many factions there were. The Snkys seem to be the same as the LC with the assassins trying to rebel against them. But I'm unclear what side N represents as he seems to be a maji who seem to be the enemies of the LC? If all this is totally understandable to others, just ignore me. I'll keep trying to piece it together.

I liked the contrast between the statues and the hooded figures. I'm not sure that the epipgraph really added anything relevant to this scene, as we don't really see a formal power structure in this scene, just J and N and maybe one other member who supports him. You might want to pull in more of their formal decision making body to make this feel different from the previous 5 chapters, of which a lot were the same basic plot as this one: "What should we do?" "Get more information!" 

Notes while reading:
p 3 - "One gloved hand" - I could not follow what was happening in this whole paragraph. Someone is picking up a whole person like a piece on a chessboard? And I wasn't sure who was talking to whom.

p 4 - “Nonsense. S’s plans are merely beyond our ability to comprehend.” - I know nothing about this group, but I feel like this is a weak argument even in a cult.

p 6 - Na growled. “Absurd. If we take the offensive immediately," - This doesn't really respond the the argument from the previous line about the E being perfection. I'm also wondering if the others would really buy that these were "exactly" the same as the first. It's difficult for members of one race on earth to distinguish members of another until they get used to them. I think the same would apply to aliens and these guys would know it. They might only look the same because they don't know what to look for in differences. Does that make sense?

p 6 - “Me, I hate the I maji as much as anyone, but these E are a worse threat.” - Who is saying this line? It doesn't sound like the same perspective as the imposter. If N, it should still be in the same paragraph or have some other indication that it's the same speaker. Maybe move the hand gesture in the previous paragraph to the beginning of this one.

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Comments:

(page 1)

- Interesting background in the epigraph. Also, "until the ruling circle, which is the one that drives" - 'Run-on phrasing' here. I don't see what "Second..." adds. It doesn't matter to the reader that the account goes on, since we don't see any of it, and it's implicit that it's a longer piece.

- Why would the assassins scoop up R? Why bother saving him? Doesn't seem in their character, or in line with their motivation, as I remember it.

- "chins and be absorbed into their skin" - I'd say absorb is what is done to the blood, which is passive in the process, so, it could 'soak' or 'disappear' into the skin. Also, ewwwwww! Properly and appropriately gross.

(page 2)

- "babbled water" - babbled in this sense of the word, is an adjective not a verb, IMO. And I think it's a passive thing. The water from the fountain might babble over the edge of the marble bowl, but I think in this sense it's like saying the air whistled the find through a three. Sounds off, IMO. And, if it's squirting, I don't see how it can be babbling as well, which is more to do with flow, surely.

- "as bells tolled overhead" - redundant, IMO. Bells are pretty much 99% overhead by default.

- "push the feelings away" - I forget what the feelings are.

(page 3)

- "The others accepted his assistance" - What others? The Ar? I'm a bit confused by a couple of the statements in the second half of this page.

(page 4)

- "they called for the death of I" - I'm not following the discussion, too many characters I don't remember. It seems very backward looking. Who is the dreamer? Is that an alternate name for one of the names here?

- It would be easy to 'er' away from Sli and end up at a wellknown wizarding house.

- "he might get an idea of the power play" - How, if he can't figure out who's who?

(page 5)

- "I will be glad to assist you" - After the scenes of En with the assassins in Book 2, I really struggle to believe this. The previous paragraph reads pretty darn info-dumpy, IMO.

- "It is as S dreamed. of" - Or, 'It is what S dreamed of'. (I know, LBLs, but...) And yet I could go on on the grammar, but I figure there's another reader through (or three) to be done.

- "are a worse threat" - Mmmph. 'greater' threat, IMO.

(page 6)

- "in the perfect place" - 'position' surely. I mean, there's only one place to take over the Assembly, and that's in the Assembly. It's more about deployment of forces, I would think.

- "the D" - not capitalised in earlier instances (pun intended).

- "He wouldn’t be happy about how he’d assisted" - Surely, R will be the least of the brother's concerns. The assassins are the ones who did the killing. R is well down the pecking order, IMO. He does however have a rather overblown sense of his own importance, so this is probably in character. My difficulty is it seems to misrepresent earlier events.

- "I know them to be true" - How? 

- "the d" - back to small 'd'

- So, Z is the old Sa?

(page 7)

- "the one we should emulate? No!" - This is not a yes/no question.

- "surprised-looking assassin" - hyphenate for clarity.

- "didn’t quite hold him back in time" - To me, you hold someone back or the you don't. This vague phrasing introduces a lack of clarity over what's happening.

- "Whoever the Ar assassin was pretending at, the leader of the Life Coalition wanted him to play along." - Confused, these are different people, right?

- "though he wouldn’t turn his back on them if he had a choice" - Surely he just did that be advancing through them to confront Na.

(page 8)

- "their only possible ally" - I really struggle to accept this. These are the same Ar that all wanted to eat En, right? Who had no consideration for anything but murder? They almost seem 'normal' now.

- "His mind whirled" - must admit I read this as Na at first, since he was the last name mentioned.

- "the sheer viciousness" - but it's so much more than just viscousness, I feel.

- "you are one of the more capable ones protecting the Eff on the bridge" - I'd say 'were'. Or, 'one of the ones who protected the Eff on the bridge'.

- "He was just that smooth" - great line, although 'good' might have more impact. Or 'skilled'. Or 'competent'.

- "he turned away from R, dismissing him, and back to the other" - Untidy clause order here, IMO. Not great flow.

- "Then we are agreed?" - I don't feel there was much of a debate, if any. Just folks listening to Na talk.

- "as did the older Sa" - but they're Ar, right? Since we're in R's POV, I feel like they should be referred to as Ar. Because they can't be the other Sa in the discussion, because Ja led the nodding.

- "our first task will be to find suitable acolytes" - did Na not just say they needed to meet up with the other maj? This seems contradictory of his own comment a little earlier.

- "they will be a whirlwind" - even with the attacks we've seen, they never really looked like whirlwind, IMO. They seemed to be nosing around, and not that observant of other people until someone attracted their attention.

- "other leaders" - what other leaders? Leaders of what? I've not really been aware of any other leaders. Anyone else seems to have been pretty comprehensively subservient to Na.

(page 9)

- "at a later date" - this struck me as quite modern, kind of business chatty, not quite in tone.

- I like the ending. I feel like it's very R. (Side point, I just saw Last Jedi, so R... But it's probably ok.

Overall 

I like this chapter. Plenty of functional points, but there overall tone and mood, I enjoyed. Plenty of tension. I've warmed a good deal to R's solo POV, especially when he 'triumphantly' turned away from what appeared to be the path into evil in the last book. I think his POVB is more convincing now, this slightly random habit he has of ending up in the wrong place and the right time. My main issue here was that I found the behaviour of the assassins unconvincing, compared to how they were before with En.

Nice work. Don't listen to any 'pelters' (West fo Scotland term for abuse) that you might get. I'm convinced this is (or will be) a strong chapter.

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Thanks @lizbusby and @Robinski!

1 hour ago, lizbusby said:

I'm not sure that the epipgraph really added anything relevant to this scene

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I don't see what "Second..." adds. It doesn't matter to the reader that the account goes on,

I'm hoping this will be clearer on the next Re chapter. It's a three-part epigraph detailing the power structure on the Sath homeworld, which I'm hoping will give the reader a little more background as the story progresses.

1 hour ago, lizbusby said:

to make this feel different from the previous 5 chapters, of which a lot were the same basic plot as this one: "What should we do?" "Get more information!"

Yep, I see this as well as I read through. I think these chapters will change the most in the next draft, to spice up the beginning some more and get the characters into the action faster. Just need to figure out how...

1 hour ago, lizbusby said:

I was confused as to how many factions there were. The Snkys seem to be the same as the LC with the assassins trying to rebel against them. But I'm unclear what side N represents as he seems to be a maji who seem to be the enemies of the LC?

Er, yes. I hope this will be clearer to one who's just read the second book. The assassins are worming their way into the LC leaders, who are a small subset/cult of the Sath species. N just disagrees with the other leaders a lot.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Why would the assassins scoop up R? Why bother saving him? Doesn't seem in their character, or in line with their motivation, as I remember it.

Yeah, I think this is the biggest thing that needs shoring up here. I want to have this "inside" viewpoint, but I need to work some more on the end of the last book to set it up better. Fortunately, I'm editing that draft now, so I'll ponder while I rewrite!. Maybe something to do with how Re knows In?

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"I will be glad to assist you" - After the scenes of En with the assassins in Book 2, I really struggle to believe this. The previous paragraph reads pretty darn info-dumpy, IMO.

Noted. I need to work on their reasoning better. I'm leaning toward they're acting "in character" so much that they take on the target's personality.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

He does however have a rather overblown sense of his own importance, so this is probably in character. My difficulty is it seems to misrepresent earlier events.

Hopefully going to shore this up with edits to the end of book 2.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "they will be a whirlwind" - even with the attacks we've seen, they never really looked like whirlwind, IMO. They seemed to be nosing around, and not that observant of other people until someone attracted their attention.

Yep. Going to bump up their dangerous-ness a lot in the next draft.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I like this chapter. Plenty of functional points, but there overall tone and mood, I enjoyed. Plenty of tension. I've warmed a good deal to R's solo POV, especially when he 'triumphantly' turned away from what appeared to be the path into evil in the last book. I think his POVB is more convincing now, this slightly random habit he has of ending up in the wrong place and the right time. My main issue here was that I found the behaviour of the assassins unconvincing, compared to how they were before with En.

Nice work. Don't listen to any 'pelters' (West fo Scotland term for abuse) that you might get. I'm convinced this is (or will be) a strong chapter.

Thanks! I really like writing him, but I knew there were problems going into this. Glad the overall tone is at least going right. Hope to get everything ironed out better on the next draft.

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14 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Yep. Going to bump up their dangerous-ness a lot in the next draft.

Good. I think we a creature like this is on screen, the reader should he thinking 'How on earth is XXX going to survive this encounter?'

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Overall

I do enjoy R chapters, as I do most of the apprentice chapters. It's interesting to see the mess he's in, and how his mind works. So I was quite happy to meet him again, even with it being a POV change. 

Unfortunately I'm mostly confused by the significance of this chapter. What did it accomplish? I feel like it did accomplish things, but they feel murky to me. Maybe R could have a recap memory or something to group the reader? The chapter has good tension, and R is on character, and I loved the description of the Ari eating the other person. EXCELLENT. But the rest is a bit murky for me.

On 1/23/2020 at 10:41 AM, Robinski said:

I'm convinced this is (or will be) a strong chapter.

I agree. I think it's one of the most engaging ones from this book yet!

As I go

- pg 2: As a reference, I don't mind having a Rey POV, because he's an apprentice and to me, the series has always been about the apprentices

- pg 2: that they changed natural resources the minimum amount to make them usable in construction <-- a bit awkward. I had to read it a few times to figure out what it was saying

- pg 6: i'm engaged but also struggling to remember what happened in the previous book. So, R is with some snake people and at least one Ari? Is that right?

- pg 9: I... I feel like something very important happened, but I don't know what it is. I'm left mostly confused, but I think that's because I don't remember what happened at the end of the last book all that well

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Thanks @kais

Glad that Re is going over well. I like writing his voice too...

I tried to put some recap in the first few paragraphs, but evidently not enough. I'll try to expand it without being infodumpy.

11 hours ago, kais said:

I... I feel like something very important happened, but I don't know what it is. I'm left mostly confused, but I think that's because I don't remember what happened at the end of the last book all that well

I think this is also partly because I didn't set up this plotline as memorably in the last book. I'm working on those edits now, so I'll try to beef it up so this exchange on the LC side makes more sense. 

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This was a tense chapter, but I think I agree with @lizbusby that it's about the third or fourth "what's going on at home" research discussion chapter out of six so far, and that's feeling like a bit of a lot to me. Over all though, it was one of the more tense and interesting ones. Mostly, since this is such an LC-heavy chapter, I'm confused from last book about what's going on with the LC. 

 

As I go:

 

Oh yay it's Re.  :< But new book, new chance for Re to redeem himself in my eyes, lol. Please insert also the standard carping about POVs here. ;)

(Note from future me: I actually didn't mind him much at all this time around!  Of the POVs so far, he's probably in my top 3) 

 

The Ari assassins saving Re just makes me think they're planning ahead for midnight snacktime...

 

"what we craft" / "as long as he was useful" -- His usefulness is being an audience? These two lines coming right after each other are confusing me with how they interact a bit, possibly because I don't yet see or can't remember from last book what usefulness Re has to these Ari. Do they need a bargaining chip with relevance to SE&I?

 

I am having trouble remembering from last book... did Re kill the person the Ari then ate, or did he just distract the person so the Ari could kill and eat them?  I feel like maybe if Re did the killing then I'd appreciate a reminder of it while he's trying not to have a meltdown at the beginning here, but I honestly can't recall. 

 

Well, I definitely don't want this chapter before any of the "killing the bugs" chapters. Reading the assassins' assumptions that the slugs will be easy kills is deliciously anticipatory and I am now looking forward to seeing that confrontation (also, I will be disappointed if the assassins aren't at least partially trounced in the first matchup, because to me, this chapter is setting that up and giving me front row tickets to see it).

 

"what the LC was doing" -- What is the LC doing? I'm unsure. Some of this is WRS, for definitely, but also, I don't think I ever had a clear idea of why the LC was taking any of the actions it had taken. From what I remember, they're following a prophesy, but it seems like they're also overthrowing a corrupt government for the good of the common people from the talk here, and they're also controlling that same government with secret assassinations and impersonations from the Ari, and they're also trying specifically to kill the emperor which was a success so at least they've got a score on the board I guess, and they're also from last book trying to get recognition in/pull out of that same government they think is corrupt (using the threat of Ari as leverage) but that they're also controlling from the inside but that they also want to destroy? And now they're debating which of the many things they want to do/are doing/have done has the most relevance to the prophesy, which may-or-may-not have already come true / been proven false by the summoning of the slugs which was/was not intended from the beginning?  I think I am having trouble figuring out which parts of their plan are the ones I should be concentrating on as important for right now, and also that I am having a lot of trouble remembering what the LC was about from last book.

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18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

it's about the third or fourth "what's going on at home" research discussion chapter out of six so far, and that's feeling like a bit of a lot to me

Yep. I think I have some ideas on how to handle this. Some of it will include bringing a lot of the next chapter earlier, and adding more danger into M's chapter. Hopefully getting rid of at least two of them will tidy things up.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Note from future me: I actually didn't mind him much at all this time around!  Of the POVs so far, he's probably in my top 3

Yay! Glad he's doing better this time around. I'm hoping he'll get some redemption in this book, but I'm also adjusting the arc in the last book so he's not quite as off-the-deep-end.

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

The Ari assassins saving Re just makes me think they're planning ahead for midnight snacktime...

lol

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I am having trouble remembering from last book...

Understandable. This is something I'm changing. Re originally killed J, then the Ari ate her, but that wasn't working for his character. Now he's an unwilling assistant, and carried along because the Ari have decided they like him and he's useful (which is not a great thing to be).

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Well, I definitely don't want this chapter before any of the "killing the bugs" chapters. Reading the assassins' assumptions that the slugs will be easy kills is deliciously anticipatory and I am now looking forward to seeing that confrontation (also, I will be disappointed if the assassins aren't at least partially trounced in the first matchup, because to me, this chapter is setting that up and giving me front row tickets to see it).

Good. glad it works here. Although I think you've found a promise I haven't fully followed through on. Need to make some notes for later chapters...

18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

"what the LC was doing" -- What is the LC doing?

Yeah, I think this is all still pretty muddled. I'm working to clear it up in Book 2 and make the thread stronger in this book as well.

Thanks @industrialistDragon!

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I was a little prickly at first when I saw an Re chapter because he is probably one of my least favorite POV characters in the wholes series, but I think I liked him better in this chapter than any of the ones in book 2. His voice and thought process are very distinct from the other characters, and felt consistent with the last book.

I was a little confused at times, like @kais, about what the chapter actually accomplished. I felt like I can almost see but, but it doesn't quite come together. And at the moment, I can't remember what happened to him at the end of the last book. 

 

 

On 1/25/2020 at 10:45 PM, kais said:

Unfortunately I'm mostly confused by the significance of this chapter. What did it accomplish? I feel like it did accomplish things, but they feel murky to me.

After reading some of your replies, it sounds like you have a good handle on how to fix the murkiness issue. 

This definitely had more tension than some of the earlier chapters. :-)

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Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

Yep, seems consistent that the voice is working but the content is not. I've been working on his arc in the last books, so hopefully that will tie in better with this book.

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