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Mandamon

20200309 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 2 - 2700 words - Sub 13

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Chapter 2 for the second time. I've split the original into two, so this is shorter than last time, but with some extra bits added. Let me know what think, and if there are any of the same problems as the first time.

Previously:

S/E/I arrive in the other facet with their news of the Elg. The Eff and court are there, E has problems with trust, and E/I learn about their folks. The Eff faints shortly thereafter.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't been the first one to comment on something in a long time!

 

I wasn't as engaged with it as I have been in your other chapters. 

As far as structure goes, I like that there seems to be less back and forth. 

Page 3 to 4

My attention was torn between E's internal conflict and all the stuff happening on the street while they walked. The background distracted me from the conflict I was trying to engage with and the conflict, which I thought was more important, made it hard for me to care about the worldbuilding going on in the background. 

The part where I felt like the internal struggle and background world building was most related was at the end of page 4 when the voices start talking as opposed to just being general feelings. In the paragraphs before that, I wasn't super interested. Personally, I would find her study of the beings more interesting if she was directly thinking about what it would be like to change into them, or if one of the voices was. It could also be a seed to set up for what happens when she turns into one of the E. 

I got a little confused on page 5, partially because on my first read through, I missed the tag indicating that these were two separate voices: 

"S took another step forward.

Kill them! Shouted one voice from within.

He deserves you, not the other instance. Said the big one. Your brother will only seek to undermine your station with him. It is why we absorbed our other instances. Let the two aspects become one, so they are truly united."

However, even knowing this on the second read through, I still found the exchange that follows a little confusing. I get one voice wants her to kill I and S, where the other just wants her to absorb I. That makes me think I is the one who is in more danger, and that because of the conflict of the voices, she'd be less likely to loose control around S. After all, it seems like the big one wants her to keep S alive, but just not have to share him with I. But I'm not 100% sure. On page 6 and 7, I'm not sure which words belong to which voice. 

Page 8:

"You can stay in control, if you are strong. That was a new voice, and it sounded peaceful, confident. The others, strangely, were quiet." I like this! I'm guessing this is the pillar voice she talks to in the chapter where she is amount the E?

Overall,  it seems like the flow of  the story is improving, but the chapter still might need a little more fine tuning.  

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Personally, I would find her study of the beings more interesting if she was directly thinking about what it would be like to change into them, or if one of the voices was. It could also be a seed to set up for what happens when she turns into one of the E. 

Very good thought! I'll include that.

9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

However, even knowing this on the second read through, I still found the exchange that follows a little confusing

Hmmm...will reword again.

9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

On page 6 and 7, I'm not sure which words belong to which voice. 

I wonder if I need to come up with another way to represent this? I don't want to have a bunch of gimmicky fonts and styles though. Hopefully I can separate them better.

9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

That was a new voice, and it sounded peaceful, confident. The others, strangely, were quiet." I like this! I'm guessing this is the pillar voice she talks to in the chapter where she is amount the E?

Right! I'm hoping setting this up early will help E's character growth.

Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

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Posted (edited)

Overall

Adorable. The ending was adorable and I love this trio so much. The first five to six pages really lagged but I think some cutting would do wonders. I do think between this chapter and the last it is a much stronger start to the book. It gives us what we really want--the apprentices--and the pace and tension are holding. I love Sam's evolution, E's new personality, and the wonder of the new aspect of the Net. Looking forward to next chapter!

As I go

- I find these first two pages drag. The last chapter was fairly dynamic and while yes, I want emotions from E, they're coming more as impressions of others instead of her own feelings, which is what I really want. I think it's because backstory is being slid into them as well, and it bogs the impressions down

- pg 5: other instance. Said the big one <-- typo here, needing comma instead of period

- pg 6: there has been very little happening in these six pages, and just a smattering of dialogue. I think you could condense these six pages into two, easily, without cutting any dialogue or emotion, and it would be smoother and more engaging. It's just a lot of wandering and thinking, which doesn't have the forward momentum I'm wanting right now after chapter one

- pg 7: oooh I do like the attack on S. Good tension there

- pg 9: love that fierceness line

 

Edited by kais
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27 minutes ago, kais said:

I find these first two pages drag. The last chapter was fairly dynamic and while yes, I want emotions from E, they're coming more as impressions of others instead of her own feelings,

This tracks with what @shatteredsmooth said. I can boil this down.

28 minutes ago, kais said:

here has been very little happening in these six pages, and just a smattering of dialogue. I think you could condense these six pages into two, easily, without cutting any dialogue or emotion, and it would be smoother and more engaging.

Cool. Can do.

Thanks @kais!

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Over all, I really liked this chapter, right up until the end. 
 
As I go: 
This has much more personality from E and I'm really enjoying it. Her thoughts make more sense and her outburst seems more logical. I think, if anything, you could lean in to the descriptions more than what is already here. They're good, and they're E-flavored so I like them. I'd love them to be even more E-flavored, for sure! 
 
 I feel like descriptions can be a whole lot more than just a necessary unpleasant chore to trudge through in a work; what a character chooses to notice and how they describe something can show more and portray things more believably about their personality and values than a bland bald statement of the same ideas in dialogue and thoughts. I think this goes back a little bit to what I was talking about on the last sub, where S felt calm and detached because the descriptions in his POV section were feeling detached to me. In this part, I am getting a sense of E and how overwhelmed she feels in this new situation from the way she is describing the things around her, and I would love to be able to see more things about her mental state and personality in more descriptions throughout the piece. A shallow surface read can miss some of these bits, but that's no reason to scrimp on description or ignore the opportunity to highlight differences between POVs, especially in a book with as many of them as this has.  
 
I'm oddly unhappy with S in this section. Like, I almost wish he would go away. I think... maybe because the bits with E are so good, and then S comes in with what's feeling to me like a very trite sort of "Oh woe it's all my fault" hero-grief, like he's trying to make E's chapter all about him instead of actually caring about her... and I just feel like, no son. E gets to have a chapter in which she's not thinking of you or talking about you or praising you or coddling you. E gets to have a time when she's not explicitly noticing how awesome you, S, have become.  A girl can have a little bit of narrative focus, as a treat. 
 
But of course, E's problems don't matter in the end. It's all about S being so strong and E realizing it.  I was so there for this section and having the end be all about S just really soured it for me.  
 
 Heck, In praises E in the context of S, even. Not for her own sake, but for her ability and conviction to protect S from the voices. I like the line, but the sentiment behind it makes me grouchy. Does E have to be constantly contextualized? 
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Thanks @industrialistDragon!

Sounds like it's getting better, though I'm interested that you almost liked the inverse of what @shatteredsmooth and @kais liked. I'll have to ponder than and see what other people say.

14 minutes ago, industrialistDragon said:

 I feel like descriptions can be a whole lot more than just a necessary unpleasant chore to trudge through in a work

Good thoughts on this. I think I can work with this part to provide more emotion and streamline it.

14 minutes ago, industrialistDragon said:

But of course, E's problems don't matter in the end. It's all about S being so strong and E realizing it.

Hmmm...definitely not what I intended. I'll have to read through again and see if I can find where the start of this response. I was more using it as a tie-in for the next chapter. I'll ponder this one too.

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18 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

what a character chooses to notice and how they describe something can show more and portray things more believably about their personality and values than a bland bald statement of the same ideas in dialogue and thoughts.

I agree wth this, but I didn't feel like the descriptions in that section fully accomplished this. Even with a close reread, I felt like the descriptions were distant, more in tune with authorial voice than E's voice. On the other hand, in Ch. 9, the description was very much in E's voice and did exactly what you describe here. 

 

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First of all, sory for responding late, been ill most of  the week.

Overall I liked it.

The fantastical elements are somewhat confusing at the start, but thats probably because I haven't read chapter 1, so i skipped the start of the learning curve. 

I do love characters with internal struggles that are external. By which I mean that no one can see her struggle, and even though one ofthe other characters can kind of understand, they cannot help. I believe you did that beautifully here and walked the balance really well between internalising too much which would draw me out of the story and externalising too much which wouldn't make me as invested in the MC. 

I do have to agree with @industrialistDragon though. S kind of annoyed me. At first he didn't understand, which is fine and he can be somewhat pushy to try and force an interaction, but once I made it very clear that this is serious stuff and he NEEDS to back off when she acts like this it becomes less of a'ok  he's trying to connect' and more 'dude, are you trying to get her to attack you?'

As far as I understand (again, without having read ch1) the Eff's situation should be more of a concern, especially for WW, now it just feels like they're excorting someone, not leading someone in clear distress to a place to figure out more about what's going.

I'm definitely interested in the characters and the fantastical elements, and I'm real curious who the soothing voice at the end is. At this stage in the story though, i wanne kick S in the groin and I do not believe thats the feeling you want me to have rigth now.

 

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Thanks @killersquid!

I'll take a look back how S is interacting in this chapter. He's got some other baggage from the previous two books, so I'll try to make things mesh better.

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Comments.

(page 1)

- "I visit for the wise council of their leader" - 'our leader' I think, to be consistent with the references in the rest of the epigraph.

- What is a 'dyhro'?

- "undercurrents of conflict" - really? Have seen no evidence of this whatever that I can recall.

- "a slip of shell" - I don't understand what she's lying on.

- "pistoned against the stone floor" - I struggle with this description. I feel like it distances me from what I'm trying to picture.

- "It was only as sophisticated as something used" - phrasing, for me, is off. I feel like a more easily absorbed wording would be in the sense of 'No more sophisticated than...'.

- "This was what they had to carry..." - Is it not more that this is what they would use to carry anyone who was injured? It's not just about the Ef, surely?

- "trudging past countless columns supporting the ceiling" - goes without saying.

- "They trailed courtiers, losing more the farther they went" - Why? Surely not from their pace. They must have to control their speed so as not to cause discomfort or injury.

(page 2)

- "S rubbed her shoulder" - I thought S had switched gender here. It's long enough since E was mentioned.

- "no doubt feeling sensing the sense of frustration" - wordy.

- "the voices beneath her surface" - Kinda clunky, I thought. 'voices within' is elegant in its simplicity, IMO.

- "I know we will" - I've completely forgotten what he said by this point.

- "though it was at the expense of her captivity" - I don't think this is the right sense of this phrase. I feel that the second element refers to something that one has lost, whereas she did not lose her captivity. I think it would be 'at the expense of her liberty'.

- 'reaction to the actions' is kind of clunky.

- 'I feel there's getting a bit much introspection here. By the end of the penultimate paragraph on this page I'm more than glad to move on to some activity.

- I like the description of the city, and the comparison of building materials (but then I would).

(page 3)

- "to fence the voices away" - fence does not sound very secure, and has holes in it to shout through.

- "the caravan used" - I read this as the caravan still existing.

(page 4)

“This does not fall into the latest estimation.”

“What new variables are introduced?”

“Different species? Communicable diseases? Should we recalculate transmission map of city?”

- Who is speaking these lines? I don't understand.

- "your predications and forecasts" - do they means predictions?

- "twig-like purple beings" - (a) hyphen, IMO; (b) where are these? Are they relevant? I feel that maybe some of the description is shoehorned in, and maybe distracts some from the matter in hand.

(page 5)

- "E was reminded of when he had first learned E told S of their species" - Wording kind of confusing, I thought.

- "over the face of an annoying and impulsive" - missing word.

(page 6)

- "He must be picking up enough of her conflict" - This thought it incomplete. I think 'some of her conflict' would suffice.

- "like it was with In" - I though In did not have any other presence in him?

- "she kept from flinching back" - There's no effort here, which makes it rather remote and uninvolving. Could she fight again or defeat the urge to flinch back?

- "I was able to find the music of my being not long ago, like I did in D" - phrasing here is inconsistent. 'like I did' is redundant.

- "In bent in from the other side" - This sounds odd to me. Can he 'lean in'? Bending in sounds like limbo dancing or something.

- "He is not as worthy as you" - This is kind of vague. Is it not the case that she is worthy and In is not? An absolute like that would be more compelling, IMO.

(page 7)

- "moving far enough away so S wasn’t in reach" - kinda wordy. 'Moved out of S's reach' would be snappier, more direct.

- "both staring at her now, and she fought the changes" - sounds like a run-on to me, as the two statement are not really connected. Could it be 'as she fought...'?

- "hunting fish on the surface of a sea" - Hmm, not sure the surface is where the fish would be found, unless using that technique the dolphins(?) use of creating a cone of air bubbles and forcing a shoal of fish up to the surface. But this sounds more like a solitary hunter, which I'm not convinced would work that way. The image does not seem to rely on the fish being at the surface.

- "from the sled with V's pale form" - this is a nothing word here; it doesn't convey anything compared to say, 'carrying'. Even 'and V's pale form' flows better, IMO.

- I like In's intervention: a tense and compelling moment.

(page 8)

- "Maybe the leader the Ef mentioned can help" - I feel like the double 'the' here is clunky.

- "though he’d never shown it before" - this was a little passive for me, compared to something like 'used the advantage before', maybe.

- "You can stay in control" - it sounds like this is a cultured voice, so I feel like a more cultured phrasing would draw that out, like 'You can maintain control...'

- "That wasn’t your fault" - What wasn't who's fault? Who is he talking to here?

- "Since her emotions surged through her blood" - not sure how this helps her hear In.

(page 9)

- "I will keep the others away while I can" - Same comment as above. I feel like this different voice should stand out better from the others within her. So here, it might say 'I will keep the others at bay while I can.'

- "let her smile pull one corner of her mouth up" - For me, this is overcomplicated and undermines the emotion of the moment/expression.

- "The Ef may well be in danger" - Okay, this is my major issue in this chapter, everything else is mechanics. Why did the sled stop? There's no need for it to stop, in fact, I think it's immensely surprising that it did. Why would whoever's taking their leader to a medic, stop for some foreigners arguing? I think it's completely illogical.

Overall 

Good chapter. Again, I don't really remember the previous one, but this feels snappier, fairly clips along, and nothing particularly significant stood out for me until the end. I can see me whipping through these early chapters to get into the meat of the story. I like the reordering. I feel like it's right that the youngsters are presented as the main characters, and the other threads can fit in around them. Nice job :) 

 

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Thanks @Robinski!

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

- Who is speaking these lines? I don't understand.

It's the butterfly people. I'll make it clearer

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

Why did the sled stop? There's no need for it to stop, in fact, I think it's immensely surprising that it did.

Now I can't remember if I expressly said it stopped. In any case, yes, it can definitely plod on while they talk. I'll change it.

 

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

I don't really remember the previous one, but this feels snappier, fairly clips along, and nothing particularly significant stood out for me until the end.

Cool. Interested to see what everyone thinks of the next one! Glad they're working better.

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10 hours ago, Mandamon said:
12 hours ago, Robinski said:

Why did the sled stop? There's no need for it to stop, in fact, I think it's immensely surprising that it did.

Now I can't remember if I expressly said it stopped. In any case, yes, it can definitely plod on while they talk. I'll change it.

I felt that WW was right there to intervene, and there as no mention of the sled going away from them so assumed it was still there. That's what I pictured anyway. And, did someone not look over at the Ef? I think En did at one pointing the argument, which implied to me that the sled had stopped. The 'incident' went on for some time, time enough for the sled to get quite far away, I would think.

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Posted (edited)

Hi!

I'm late to the party so not much to add :-)

Instances: This concept is much clearer in the new draft but still a bit confusing to a first book reader. This is especially so when I and E refer to each other as both siblings and other instances. I know exposition is a dirty word in modern concept fiction, but since this is a core concept to the story it would be nice to have a firm definition.

Along the same lines, E's abduction is clear, but the details and 'absorbing' that took place seem pivital to where her character and the story are going. Especially with her inner battle, I feel like I should be worried for her. Instead I'm trying to figure out what I missed. This might be a, 'you snooze you lose' moment for having missed the earlier books that isn't avoidable without sacrificing pace though.

P.s. my memory is pretty terrible for remembering what I have and haven't said. Sorry if these are repeat comments from before!

Near 50% mark, "E was reminded of when..." this sentence feels forced. I can tell you put effort into making it clear but it feels awkwardly precise. 

I enjoyed this draft much more! I think largely due to increased showing of the world and faster pacing.

Thanks for sharing

 

Edited by Sarah B
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Thanks @Sarah B!

Glad it's clearer. There will likely always be some confusing parts for a someone coming in at this point, since it's a third book, but thanks for pointing out those spots. I'll see what I can do to clarify them without sacrificing pacing.

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Pg 1, "she pressed against her other instance and S": I like the swap as S becomes more able to deal with crowds, and now E, with everything she has been through, is the one leaning on her brother and S. 

Pg 1, "It had been days": Man, those days felt like weeks. Imagine what would have happened to E if she had stayed there longer, like I.

Pg 1, "It has happened before.": To other Specie A, not V, I would assume.

Pg 1, "This was what they had to carry the E?": No Beasts? Maybe my thought of just getting far enough away from the wall to create a portal in the last chapter isn't feasible. Or at least as not as quick as I had thought. Also, no guards to protect their leader's body? 

Pg 2, "lay insensate": I had to Google this word (yay, new vocabulary!) 

Pg 2, "though he had not absorbed one of them": I am glad she is currently not thinking about absorbing him.

Pg 3, "Was there no tram line here, as in her facet?" Is this facet newer than S's facet? Is it because it has less species that it is farther behind technology-wise?

Pg 4, "the urges to rend and absorb threatened to push from her chest.": E is still my favorite viewpoint character. I love the conflict happening inside of her. She's become so...animal-lilke.

Pg 5, "trade between the facets?": I wonder if that is something that will resume if/when everything calms down.

Pg 6, "he was taking the lead": S always does better when he has someone else to focus on. I'm proud of how far he has come. 

Pg 7, "pinpricks of red on his upper arm": Oh man, E is like the Hulk. As the reader, I hope she'll be able to control her emotions and not seriously hurt someone. As a writer, I want to see what happens to her and others if/when she does completely lose control.

Pg 8, "You’ve done fine so far.": Oof, ouch, that one made me wince. I noticed that E says that she didn't mean to, but that she didn't apologize either. I find this interesting.

Pg 8, "He reached a hand out to her": Dude, don't prod the rattlesnake when its tail is shaking. This isn't the E you know anymore. 

Pg 9, "I need both of you": E needs both I and S too, not just S needing the two of them. 

Pg 9, "I want to learn about them": For the sake of helping your friends, or to learn how to stop the Specie A assassins from harming them again? Both?

Pg 9, "saw when I stiffened": Nope, thankfully E is not eating S.

 

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Thanks @Snakenaps! Glad you're enjoying it.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 1, "It had been days": Man, those days felt like weeks.

Really. I actually had to add in a few days to the original rewrite because there was too much happening each day.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Also, no guards to protect their leader's body? 

Ah, good catch. I can add this in.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Is this facet newer than S's facet? Is it because it has less species that it is farther behind technology-wise?

They're similar ages, but just because of the species makeup and how things progressed here, they have less advanced tech.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

E is still my favorite viewpoint character. I love the conflict happening inside of her. She's become so...animal-lilke.

Cool! Let me know what you think as we get farther into the book. I'm sort of afraid I dropped some of this, and I want to make sure I keep it up.

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I wonder if that is something that will resume if/when everything calms down.

I'm hoping to explore this in the (eventual) 4th and 5th book!

2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I noticed that E says that she didn't mean to, but that she didn't apologize either. I find this interesting.

Heh. Exactly!

 

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