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Mandamon

20200221 - Fall of the Imperium Ch9 pt 2 - 4198 words - Sub 11

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Part 2 of Chapter 9 of book 3. Well, I promised a short submission this week, but then I realized I'd completely left out a scene at then end of this chapter. On the good side, it's still under 5k! We learn more about E and I, following directly from the first part of the chapter. Any comments are welcome!

Previously (separated by POV):
S/E/I: they arrive in the other facet with their news. The Ari leader is there, E has her problems, and E/I learn about their folks. The Eff faints shortly thereafter. They all take her to the Ari section, and S goes off with WW to try to pass through the wall. He fails, gets E/I to accompany him, but they are stopped by the Elg and their party is separated.
E is trapped in the Imperium for day, in the shape of one of the invaders. I, however, dons the diadem and struggles with the memories contained therein.

M: 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 book 2). 

R: Ri and Co 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.

Re: He and the assassins listen to the LC's plans, while the assassins start to interfere.

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Wait, I'm first? How did this happen?

Overall

This didn't have the same momentum as the first part, and some parts left me very confused. You could very easily break this into a separate chapter and lead with I, letting the E momentum build until you swap back to her for the S rescue (which I would have liked to have seen!) and the somehow movement through the crystal again. 

In terms of how this section was structured, I think taking out E's wandering, which did not seem to serve the plot, and replacing those words with her rescue of S and how they get through to the other dimension, would hold tension better and move the plot forward more. 

Still though, I enjoyed it! I'd have loved E to get more info from the E creatures, and maybe try to communicate. In that part I feel this didn't meet reader expectations, and I'd have liked more forward movement on that, if only a little.

 

As I go

- pg 2: are these wanderings and musings world building or are they plot relevant? They seem to just be filler right now

- pg 3: so this room of power that she found...are we supposed to know what that is? I find myself disoriented here and unsure where all she is going due to the descriptions she is giving. This section doesn't seem as clear as the last, and the sense of urgency has bled from it with all the wandering. I'm ready for action!

- pg 5: since the talking she heard from them earlier sounded like they just wanted to communicate, why did she waste all that time wandering and not trying to figure out how to talk to them?

- pg 10: wait. I thought E and S were on 'our' side of the Net and I was on the other? How did E and S get to the other side? I am very confused now

- pg 13: So S can use other house powers? Is that what is being hinted at?

- pg 14: FFS @Mandamon, this hammock thing is going to kill me. If you ever do a Patreon, this needs to be a short in it!

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Thanks @kais!

9 hours ago, kais said:

Wait, I'm first? How did this happen?

Amazing!

9 hours ago, kais said:

I think taking out E's wandering, which did not seem to serve the plot, and replacing those words with her rescue of S and how they get through to the other dimension, would hold tension better and move the plot forward more.

Good point. I think this definitely loses some tension by being cut in half. I was attempting to give a sense of time moving around her, but sounds like it's not landing right.

9 hours ago, kais said:

I'd have loved E to get more info from the E creatures, and maybe try to communicate. In that part I feel this didn't meet reader expectations, and I'd have liked more forward movement on that, if only a little.

Good point. I can beef that part up.

9 hours ago, kais said:

so this room of power that she found...are we supposed to know what that is?

Heh--I'm still not sure whether this will stay or go. I didn't really get a change to expand on it in this book. It might be a tie-in for the second arc of this story, or I may try to expand on it in this rewrite.

9 hours ago, kais said:

How did E and S get to the other side?

Skipped the scene of another trip through the wall, but I can call it out better.

9 hours ago, kais said:

So S can use other house powers? Is that what is being hinted at?

Hmm...no. I'll look back and see if I can clarify this.

9 hours ago, kais said:

FFS @Mandamon, this hammock thing is going to kill me. If you ever do a Patreon, this needs to be a short in it!

Lol--I put that line in when reading over this before submitting, just for you! Going to try to fit some more in with an earlier scene, but there may be a more NSFW version eventually. ;-)

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Overall, I think there are some good things in this chapter, but there also feels like there's a fair amount of chaff here too.  I think there's a decent amount of overlap between what's going on here and what's already been covered in other parts and once that gets skimmed off, this'll be a really good, informative section.

 

As I go:

 

This beginning feels very abrupt to me, like it's missing transitions, or paragraphs here and there. I almost thought I was reading last week's sub again at first, with E going on again about not wanting to be near the other slugs and losing time, but then it switched to E looking around, and I thought maybe that first part was just a recap for us? I'm not sure though, because then there's just as an abrupt switch to everything suddenly chasing her. 

I don't really have a good sense of the location or geography here, so I'm not really understanding much of what's going on in this chase.

I'm slightly unclear why E is using her healing magic to change shape when she is a shapeshifter and apparently now on good terms with her voices (who I thought were the primary reasons she didn't want to use her natural shifting ability before?). 

And so she found the storeroom for magical miscellany In saw in the crown's memories? That's ... convenient. If that's true, I'm not sure how much this really works as a bookmark for later, at least for me, because it feels like a really obvious plot set up and it ends up not seeming to have a real function of its own in the chapter. It doesn't do anything for E, sort of? She sees it, the narrative plunks down some "remember this for later!!" markers and then she's off again doing her thing. 

I still feel really uncomfortable with In being so glib about doing what's tantamount to declaring himself emperor. Yes, back in the beginning it was just a device, but I was under the impression by the way everyone remarked on it in prior books, that the circlet had become a symbol of rulership and of the emperor. Surely as someone who was brought up in the culture of the N, and as someone who understood who the emperor was (and as someone who's shown no indications of being a megalomaniac), In would feel something about the larger implications of wearing the emperor's crown, viewing the emperor's most private thoughts?  But to me, he's acting like he's borrowed an ordinary, interchangeable tool of some sort. I feel like there's some context missing here. 

In feels sort of out of character here to me a little bit. He's not reacting to much that's happened to him, and seems to me to be behaving in a much more forceful and even quippy way that I've seen from him to this point. It feels very discordant and abrupt to me, especially juxtaposed with his S-like worry last section.  

"watched his fingers" ......*eyebrow waggle* o rly?  :3

"I can’t go with you" -- this is really rubbing me the wrong way after all of the earlier "should-we-stay-or-should-we-go-now" shenanigans that've been going on up to this point. I know some of them have been streamlined, but I am still a little worried even with that, this once again feels like it's negating a good chunk of the progress last several chapters have made. 

 

 

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Thanks @industrialistDragon!

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I think there's a decent amount of overlap between what's going on here and what's already been covered in other parts and once that gets skimmed off, this'll be a really good, informative section.

Glad for the vote of confidence. I'm starting to clear this stuff up while working on the first few chapters.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I almost thought I was reading last week's sub again at first, with E going on again about not wanting to be near the other slugs and losing time

Yep. I can condense this. I think I was being too artsy and making my writing reflect a sense of lost time... ;-)

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I don't really have a good sense of the location or geography here

Noted. will expand description.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I'm slightly unclear why E is using her healing magic to change shape when she is a shapeshifter and apparently now on good terms with her voices (who I thought were the primary reasons she didn't want to use her natural shifting ability before?). 

And so she found the storeroom for magical miscellany In saw in the crown's memories? That's ... convenient. If that's true, I'm not sure how much this really works as a bookmark for later, at least for me, because it feels like a really obvious plot set up and it ends up not seeming to have a real function of its own in the chapter.

These two things are definitely slated for some changes in edits. I dropped the thread with the voices too early, and I need to do something with the artifacts, or delete them/reduce to a single mention. I have a way I can tie them into the end of the book, but I need to figure out how and if it's worth it.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I still feel really uncomfortable with In being so glib about doing what's tantamount to declaring himself emperor.

I've bolstered this a bit in the first chapter already, and I'll definitely be putting more emotion and reaction into it this time around. Hopefully that will clear this up.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

seems to me to be behaving in a much more forceful and even quippy way that I've seen from him to this point. It feels very discordant and abrupt to me, especially juxtaposed with his S-like worry last section.

Interesting...more evidence I need to fix his character personality.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

"watched his fingers" ......*eyebrow waggle* o rly?  :3

Lol...yeah, I think it's me.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

this once again feels like it's negating a good chunk of the progress last several chapters have made. 

I think I can make these decisions a lot more meaningful once I strip out the incessant back and forth.

Thanks again! Very helpful stuff.

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I think I was being too artsy and making my writing reflect a sense of lost time... ;-)

If it's intentional, then I think it could work, but I think it'd have to be VERY blatant and E would have to make a decent deal out of noticing "hey have I had these like exact literal thoughts before this is creepy" so it doesn't just look like an editing error.

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12 minutes ago, industrialistDragon said:
1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I think I was being too artsy and making my writing reflect a sense of lost time... ;-)

If it's intentional, then I think it could work, but I think it'd have to be VERY blatant and E would have to make a decent deal out of noticing "hey have I had these like exact literal thoughts before this is creepy" so it doesn't just look like an editing error.

By the time I make it that blatant, I think it will be a bit too much of a hammer, so I'll likely take it out.

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Feels like the story is really rolling and then slows back down.

I liked the action segments alot. The reprise and regrouping afterwards seemed to last longer as a reader than the events of the chapter though. The ground of their relationship and concerns was covered so recently I wonder if you couldn't shorten the last third and time skip to the next event. 

I agree that seeing E catch S would have been fun. I wonder how the physics of a flying animal's weight suddenly doubling + momentum would work out. 

I am fine with skipping the their trip back through the wall. To a first time reader though, it seems contradictory that S can take E back through the wall but later says he couldn't make the trip like he did with either I or E. Didn't he just do that? Perhaps (likely) I missed something but that jumps out as a possible continuity issue. 

Thanks for sharing

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Thanks @Sarah B!

8 hours ago, Sarah B said:

The reprise and regrouping afterwards seemed to last longer as a reader than the events of the chapter though. The ground of their relationship and concerns was covered so recently I wonder if you couldn't shorten the last third and time skip to the next event. 

This is likely true. I'm planning to cover a lot more of the relationship stuff earlier, so I hope this section will either be shorter, or building in a different way.

8 hours ago, Sarah B said:

I agree that seeing E catch S would have been fun.

Yeah, I want to do this, just not sure how it fits with the arcs of the chapters.

8 hours ago, Sarah B said:

I am fine with skipping the their trip back through the wall. To a first time reader though, it seems contradictory that S can take E back through the wall but later says he couldn't make the trip like he did with either I or E. Didn't he just do that?

I'll have to check on this. With all the trips through the wall, I'm starting to confuse myself. It should be a lot clearer the next go round.

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Comments.

(page 1)

- First paragraph: I thought the last three sentences were quite unconnected and didn't flow together particularly well.

- Second paragraph: I had to read the last sentence several times to get the meaning.

- "had passed very few beings in her wanderings" - But she's just described all her contacts and these expanding to whole city blocks. This seems contradictory.

- "why they were still concentrated in the Imp" - I think I'm confusing the Imp and High Imp. When I read this line first time I thought it was contradicting the earlier statement about fewer El being around.

(page 3)

- "Had she forgotten that...?" - Demonstrably she had forgotten that, because she had to be reminded.

(page 4)

- "What had been the deciding factor" - Well, she attacked one, surely? That seemed pretty obvious.

(page 5)

- "adjusted her mass to compensate" - The game is well and truly up, why does she not just change form completely, like into a bird or some such? What is the point of remaining like in El, even an enhanced one?

- "momentum upward was the only thing that kept her going" - Umm, this seems really obvious.

(page 6)

- "That was why how she saw the tiny speck" - More logical, I think.

(page 8)

- "What did they mean now? Danger?" - I think it's clearly an alarm, and they established that before. I would not think he would question whether it was danger or not, but what kind of danger the alarm was now warning of.

- "There is something coming" - I thought everyone had accepted this already. Or, is this something else coming in addition to the Dis?

- "barely heard x words. He trudged across the city" - There is a hard time skip between these sentences. he's standing with the others, then he's elsewhere in the city. Really disorienting.

- "wondered if they had some sort of tram line" - he must know this by now, surely?

(page 9)

- "instance and his boyfriend were still missing" - I feel like the stakes here are an issue. The end of the world is coming, but In is only concerned about S and En. I get that, but I think the story should be concentred on the main stakes. I think it's why I'm more compelled by the other POVs, because they are centred on the main issue. The personal relationship stuff is good, but that too should still be about the end of the world, I feel.

(page 10)

- "holding tight to S" - I've generally been skipping over phrasing and other mechanics, but this did make me stop. I think this phrasing implies that S is in control, and she is holding on, however surely it's the other way around, since she was flying. 'holding S tight' I think would permit the correct interpretation, that she is in control, because she's flying.

- "kissing him across his forehead, his nose, his cheeks, running fingers through his long hair" - This is awfully elaborate for an intense, visceral reunion. This has more of the tone of relaxed lovemaking, IMO. I think a full-on, impassioned, intense kiss would have more emotional impact in this situation.

- "“Thank you,” he said." - I thought this was In because we are in his POV: took me two goes to realise it was S.

(page 11)

- "shook her head in agreement" - This struck me as opposite. Would she not nod in agreement?

- "his boyfriend’s shoulder" - We know this already, and it's been mentioned several times. I feel it's kind of redundant by now.

(page 14)

- "Think we can all try to fit?" - The last line, for me, is too vague and uncertain. I know S is a nervous individual, but a snappier line can still fit that bill, I think. As simple probably as just dropping 'try to'.

Overall 

I liked this submission. I thought it had a good balance of drama, discovery, and decision. I'd have been happy with it as a chapter. I'm not a big fan of long chapters. I have this lingering difficulty about the circular progress of the plot, which I've mentioned before, in that the three are now back in the neighbouring facet having again been thwarted and trying again to do something that they've tried twice already. It still feels repetitive to me, and it feels like a loooong time since we've had any other POV that has a different dynamic in order to relive the feeling of repetition.

I do like the dynamic between the three, and the fact that things are happening to all three individually (the dia, En's transforming and S's abilities).

Thanks for sharing! :) 

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Thanks @Robinski!

Great comments as usual. That will help me trim down this chapter's final form.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'd have been happy with it as a chapter. I'm not a big fan of long chapters

I think this will probably become its own chapter.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

have this lingering difficulty about the circular progress of the plot, which I've mentioned before, in that the three are now back in the neighbouring facet having again been thwarted and trying again to do something that they've tried twice already.

I'm through chapter 3 on the rewrite, and things will stay in this facet a lot longer. I'm planning to condense everything to one trip through the wall.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

it feels like a loooong time since we've had any other POV that has a different dynamic in order to relive the feeling of repetition.

I'm also moving chapters around. Still not sure I have the right mix of POVs, but we'll see how the latest edit is received.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I do like the dynamic between the three, and the fact that things are happening to all three individually

Glad you like this! This aspect is coming out a lot more in the rewrite.

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On 04/03/2020 at 1:40 PM, Mandamon said:

Glad you like this! This aspect is coming out a lot more in the rewrite.

This all sounds splendid!

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I was once again fascinated by the E chapter again, but it didn't have the same magic or sense of wonder as the first one did. Part of me wondered how much we really needed two different chapters of scuttling around in E form, until we got to the part where she saw S and went to save him. 

I felt a little cheated that I didn't get to see more of the saving in action from either her POV or S's. S seemed to have struggled a lot to get where he was when he emerged and part of me really wants to know how he got back in the wall and got back to the other facet. 

On 3/4/2020 at 3:14 AM, Robinski said:

I have this lingering difficulty about the circular progress of the plot, which I've mentioned before, in that the three are now back in the neighbouring facet having again been thwarted and trying again to do something that they've tried twice already. It still feels repetitive to me, and it feels like a loooong time since we've had any other POV that has a different dynamic in order to relive the feeling of repetition.

I agree. 

I haven't read the new chapter one yet, but right now, it feels very circular. I'm starting to wonder what is going on with the rest of the characters. 

On 2/27/2020 at 6:27 PM, industrialistDragon said:

"I can’t go with you" -- this is really rubbing me the wrong way after all of the earlier "should-we-stay-or-should-we-go-now" shenanigans that've been going on up to this point. I know some of them have been streamlined, but I am still a little worried even with that, this once again feels like it's negating a good chunk of the progress last several chapters have made. 

Same. I feel like this wasn't earned in  a way. I didn't see S go through the process of making that decision. I didn't see him process things in a way that lead to the change of heart, so I'm having trouble believing it.  If it was there, it wasn't quite enough. 

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2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Part of me wondered how much we really needed two different chapters of scuttling around in E form, until we got to the part where she saw S and went to save him. 

I felt a little cheated that I didn't get to see more of the saving in action from either her POV or S's

Yep. I waffled about writing this part, but this section was so long already. I think shortening the rest and adding this POV in would help.

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I haven't read the new chapter one yet, but right now, it feels very circular.

 

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Same. I feel like this wasn't earned in  a way. I didn't see S go through the process of making that decision

Yep. All this is already working better thank to all of your comments. I should be getting back to this chapter in a week or two.

Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

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