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Mandamon

20200406 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 7 - 6284 words - Sub 18

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Well this is unprecedented! I've checked with the mods, and am taking two slots this week as I'm intending to publish this book in a few months and really need to get feedback on the whole thing. And of course I review and edit the chapters before I post, which meant the second one bloomed up past 6000 words. *grimace* Sorry. The two together are still less than 10K, however...

SUB 18
Chapter 7, Continuing Ri's POV and group. Here's where stuff hits the fan, and they find out what's happening in the Imp. I've added more emotion here (and made the chapter longer...), so hopefully the relationship parts come across better. Let me know!

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. E battles the voices inside her as they travel to the Ari, and attacks S. In the Ari enclave, I struggles with his image, we learn of the Ari, and E and I use each other's houses for the first time.
M arrives with the society to the Imp and is attacked by Elg. People die and Man finds himself with more and more responsibility as they attempt to figure out what's going on. They learn the Eff is also killed, and M makes clever use of a portal to save his life.

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Overall

I thought this chapter started very strong. Much stronger than the last chapter. In fact, I'm not certain you need the last chapter at all, as I feel like you recapped in this chapter just fine, the events of the last. I was well engaged until everyone got to the council meeting, and then it started to drag. I think because there's no new information presented, it just seems like people are talking without really progressing the plot.

My biggest gripe comes from the inconsistency in R. I'd never seen her as outwardly affectionate, and she has a lot of feelings right now about O, who does not usually return her gestures. And yes, that makes sense, but she's doing a lot internal monologue about love and sex that I've just never really seen her do before. She seems like two different people--the cool, in control one, and the wildly passionate one. The two halves just haven't really meshed together, I feel like, since that first book.

As I go

- that's a really interesting epigraph about the Net. It's got me thinking

- pg 2: ah, see, I'm already more invested in this than I was the last chapter

- pg 6: the pixie death is excellent. Very engaging

- pg 7: and she would not let last night be their last <-- I know I keep bringing it up, but it always seems so forced and out of place. The hand on his shoulder worked. This line seems...very passionate for a person who is very dispassionate in actions and speech. I feel like it would be more in her voice to say something a bit disparaging, while still acknowledging her desires, like she wanted to see more of his sock collection, as offensively colored as it was or something. Obviously not socks but something with a bit more humor to it

- pg 10: She’d never heard of the House of Strength manipulated in such a way. <-- there are a number of these instances in the text, where something we already know is presented again. Here, we already had a paragraph about how unusual this manipulation is. This addition reads as redundant.

- pg 13: They’d taken so long to get to this point. <-- what point? I feel like I've missed some pivotal relationship dynamic with these two. As fas as I can recall, they were together, broke up for a bit, now see to be back together but O doesn't show much, if any, outward public affection, and R likes to poke fun at his clothing. 

- pg 14: this lands better: her friend, her lover, would be gone.

- pg 17: same sentence you used 'hir' --> joined him

- pg 20: nice ending to the section! Ominous 

- pg 20: why are none of them trying to really talk to the creatures? Since the things talk to them. Was that already tried earlier? Did they give up?

- pg 21: a fruit makes a vegetable cooking base? Wouldn't it make a fruit base?

- pg 22: brought his hand  up to kiss his fingertips <-- when she grabbed his hand and he squeezed it, that worked well. This seems such an overt display of affection from her, especially when he isn't returning it as overtly. It just... jars against the mental image I have of R

- pg 25: She’d make certain he slept well tonight. <-- this is an entirely different R, I feel like. This is the most sexual I have ever seen R. It just seems so out of place for in public. I could see her being passionate in private but it seems so out of character here

- pg 30: the council meeting is going on too long, I think, without anything of substance really coming out

- pg 32: the tension is really down here in the council meeting. There was good momentum when they were traveling but now it seems like the last chapter, with a lot of talking and not a lot of doing

- I don't understand the last line.  

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Hello Again! 

I enjoy the little quotes from "books/records" that are at the beginning at the chapters. Especially if they aren't from other real published works and are made for the story.

This might be lost on me because I haven't read book 1 or chapters 1-5 of this one, if it is explained somewhere else please ignore this, but on page 19, they are doing a battle with the floating monster and it disappears? I had to go back and read what happened to the monster a few times to understand that they did defeat it, and only they could see it die (change?), and they don't react to this achievement only M sees it but only some of it? I was just confused for a while. And what does it change into? (Again if this is already stated please ignore this).

 

This was a very suspenseful chapter. I kind of agree with Kais after reading this chapter compared to chapter 6; that the two chapters could be merged together. However, I feel that there is supposed to be some kind of significance in being in HD's home, so it should be kept.

 

I hope my critiques are helpful. ^_^

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Thanks again, @CherishLarain!

5 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

Especially if they aren't from other real published works and are made for the story.

Yep, they're specifically for this story.

5 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

but on page 19, they are doing a battle with the floating monster and it disappears?

Heh...I think some of this is missing the magic system and world building both from the earlier part of this book and from the previous two books, but I'll see if anyone else gets lost here.

17 hours ago, kais said:

I thought this chapter started very strong. Much stronger than the last chapter. In fact, I'm not certain you need the last chapter at all, as I feel like you recapped in this chapter just fine

 

5 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

I kind of agree with Kais after reading this chapter compared to chapter 6; that the two chapters could be merged together.

Yep, I think I'm going to do this. HD's house was a fun scene, but it's basically just worldbuilding with no plot. Maybe I can turn that chapter into a short story or a bonus scene.

17 hours ago, kais said:

I was well engaged until everyone got to the council meeting, and then it started to drag. I think because there's no new information presented, it just seems like people are talking without really progressing the plot.

Hmmm...I'll see what others say. I was hoping to add some new information here, especially with the Gr. 

17 hours ago, kais said:

My biggest gripe comes from the inconsistency in R. I'd never seen her as outwardly affectionate, and she has a lot of feelings right now about O, who does not usually return her gestures.

I think this comes from feedback last time that said she wasn't having enough concern over O. Not it's not fitting together right. I'll see what the other reactions are.

17 hours ago, kais said:

I feel like it would be more in her voice to say something a bit disparaging, while still acknowledging her desires,

Good point. I will try to adjust this the next time around.

17 hours ago, kais said:

why are none of them trying to really talk to the creatures? Since the things talk to them. Was that already tried earlier? Did they give up?

Yeah, that was the end of the last book when they tried talking and one ate the Eff.

17 hours ago, kais said:

a fruit makes a vegetable cooking base? Wouldn't it make a fruit base?

Heh...I just threw this in. Maybe it's like tomato sauce...

17 hours ago, kais said:

this is an entirely different R, I feel like. This is the most sexual I have ever seen R.

I think I'm channeling R from Tuning...I'll have to adjust this.

17 hours ago, kais said:

the council meeting is going on too long, I think, without anything of substance really coming out

Yeah, I think the substance of this is eluding me. I want them to be proactive rather than reactive, but just jumping back into the city will get them killed.

Thanks @kais!

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I liked this chapter. 

In some ways, it felt very similar to M's chapter, but from different characters POVs. They go back to the city, and it takes a whole bunch of them to defeat a couple El. However, it was kind of neat seeing how the different characters approached the problem in their own way. 

There was good emotion and tension during the actual fight. You did a good job capturing R feeling helpless but still managing to do something. She was also very perceptive of the other characters and how they were faring, so it was definitely worth seeing this play out through her eyes. 

When they got to the manor with the other survivors, it was a satisfying end to the chapter. 

One thing I like about the placement is that it seems like they could've almost crossed paths with M's group, but didn't. 

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Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

In some ways, it felt very similar to M's chapter, but from different characters POVs.

Good point. There are a lot of similarities.

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

When they got to the manor with the other survivors, it was a satisfying end to the chapter. 

Glad you liked this. Guess we'll see what the overall feedback is...

2 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

One thing I like about the placement is that it seems like they could've almost crossed paths with M's group, but didn't. 

Yep! Just wait...

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So sorry! I think editing was enabled on the document for this chapter. I didn't notice until after I had left highlights and embeded comments as I read. I think I got rid of everything  but my sincere apologies if something was left behind! 

I find myself liking R in this version, the increased reactions in the internal dialogue helped me get a better sense of this character.

I'm not sure I see how the 'splitting' part of the chapter name applies in the rewrite. 

A few things that caught my attention:

"Her back tensed..." I really liked this part.

In the Pixie death count off: I really liked this scene as a whole. The description that, "the two disappeared" had me initially assuming this was the hurt Pixie and the Pixie helping which left me thinking four pixies had died. Minor point of confusion, I reread it and sorted out that it was an E and a Pixie. 

About 2/3 thru, when R is thinking about O. "She found she wanted as much more time..." this sentence feels a bit garbled.

"The E, he had a light touch, but if us...." This sentence seems a little turned around .

Near 80%: "HD is with us as well..." This stopped me for a moment. R must mean in purpose right? Because I think HD is healing at home at this point.

I enjoyed the revised version of this chapter, great work!

Thanks for sharing

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Thanks @Sarah B!

35 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

I find myself liking R in this version, the increased reactions in the internal dialogue helped me get a better sense of this character.

Glad this is working for you!

36 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

I'm not sure I see how the 'splitting' part of the chapter name applies in the rewrite. 

I was thinking about that myself. May change the name for this chapter.

36 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

Near 80%: "HD is with us as well..."

Oops! Thanks for catching. I'll take a look at this.

 

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Posted (edited)

Jumping in late, but haven't taken a peek at everyone else's thoughts.

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, "She had positioned her portal outside of any portal ground": Illegal!

Pg 2, "H.D. had stayed on their homeworld to heal their injured shoulder," I am sad that there is no more H.D. for the moment, but I am also happy that H.D. is taking care of themselves.

Pg 5, "They are still coming" I like the addition of "still." I feel like it helps emphasize just how much the Elg have been attacking.

Pg 6, "The whole exchange had taken seconds.": Now that it is over, RUN!

Pg 6, "creatures reared half of their bodies off the side of the building"

Pg 7, "Mu was creeping backwards": I agree with Mu, let's talk about this somewhere safe! I understand that to know one's enemy, you must study one's enemy, but this enemy also is undefeatable (currently?)!

Pg 9, "chunks of the marble wall folding inward": Well, that's new!

Pg 10, " Their voice was raw and grating." Well, this is rather a new terrifying side of both the House of Strength and of C. I think I have ever feared them before.

Pg 10, "But the Symphony can be used to affect material": S is going to be very handy in this fight.

Pg 12, "who knew what they were doing." AKA who knew how to use the Symphony as a deadly weapon and were willing to do so. 

Pg 13, "Ri’s shoulder’s tensed." -> "Ri’s shoulders tensed."

Pg 14, "She wouldn’t lose him now." I am going to have some serious complaints if O is killed.

Pg 16, "There were…mouths, and other things that she couldn’t identify." I really hate these nasty little buggers. They give me the heebie-jeebies, and the illustration that now pops into my head from the Kickstarter does not help.

Pg 18, "He didn’t have notes to waste": What happens if someone runs out of notes? I'm sure that this has been mentioned, I simply can't remember.

Pg 21, "But will also, hmmm, keep any left inside from leaving,": This is not good news for M and his party.

Pg 21, "Were they containing themselves to the city?": If they are, I am curious to eventually find out why.

Pg 21, "the oldest ones disappeared with their victims.": Disappeared or died? 

Pg 22, " the bell at the end of her braid against at hand"

Pg 23, "And none were to be fighting back?": How could they? Fighting these creatures is almost suicide.

Pg 29, "who made their home at the previously unexplored ceiling": Not a very good time to come downstairs, unfortunately. 

Pg 30, "the ceiling cities" If the Elg end up spreading to the rest of the N, I am curious to find out whether or not the ceiling cities will be affected.

Pg 35, "Then where are they to be taking said beings": Definitely a question I have. 

Pg 35, "We must gain high ground against them.": Obi Wan Kenobi approves. 

Overall:

I liked this chapter much better than the previous one, even though this one was much longer. I am curious to discover how they are going to tackle this entire mess, and how much worse it is going to get before it gets better. 

Edited by Snakenaps
Came back to finish after DnD
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Comments.

(page 2)

- "It was so quiet she could hear the bell at the end of her braid chime as they walked" - I would imagine she could hear this in most circumstances. A bell ringing (like a phone) tends to cut through hubbub.

(page 3)

- "I would think to see more escaping at one time" - Confused, what's his point?

(page 5)

- "blue-ish winged" - this is rather awkward. Are they not just blue? Why blue-is?

(page 7)

- "If I am to be just" - Hard to read a fragment of O's speech and get the sense of it.

(page 8)

- "as starting to move towards the gate" - I think they've waited too long The things must be right on top of them based on their rate of movement. And they need to go at the old E's pace, not their own. But wait... "If they waited much longer" this seems contradictory. I thought they had started moving already.

(page 9)

- I can't follow what Car is doing with the wall. Fingers?

(page 12)

- "They wouldn’t be fast enough" - Yep, this was my thought four pages ago. R is more astute than that, to only realise this now and not when she had time to think about it all that time the El were approaching from blocks away.

(page 13)

- "a natural chokepoint, inside the wall" - I don't understand. So, is this bit not wide enough to ten walking shoulder to shoulder? The earlier description of the gateway does not leave room for a natural chokepoint.

(page 14)

- "They’d taken so long to get to this point" - I think she means in their relationship, but it's not clear. Could be a reference to the chase.

- "She took another step forward, but hesitated, uncertain what to do" - this whole bit with R's tension trying to come up with something to save O and having nothing is excellent tension.

(page 15)

- "They’ll come after us if we don’t stop them" - This is desperately obvious. We're well acquainted with this by now, don't need R to be saying what evident to any and all in her group.

- "The shield of air popped into being, blocking the opening" - What shield and what opening?

(page 16)

- "she called over the hideous voices" - R should not have to call over another maj. These are 'professional' magic users and must have some motivation and common sense of their own. Surely they would take some initiative in this situation, seeing the O needed assistance.

(page 17)

- "make this concoction evade" - What concoction?

(page 18)

- "slick of evasiveness" - evasion is a positive action taken by by an entity acting positively, I feel. So, I don't follow the use in this instance. Is it the barrier that is the 'slick of evasiveness'? I feel that it would be more of an 'obstruction' as it, in itself, is passive.

(page 19)

- I'm not really getting a clear picture that they are acting together to build something.

- "You’re alright,” she whispered to him. “I’ve got you" - Lovely, tender moment in the middle of all this madness. Excellent.

(page 21)

- The logic of R's deductions confused me. The El can still have an overall plan that is formulated by their leaders. Just because they dissolve doesn't mean they are not following a strategy, it seems to me. Surely it is reasonable to assume that they could be a hive mind, in which case the soldiers transmit on-the-ground details to their 'queen' (whatever) through their eyes before they dissolve.

(page 25)

- "but left him his dignity for now" - ooh, harsh. She'll come back and take it later, will she? Also, "She’d make certain he slept well tonight" - there are two ways to take this. I must say I assumed the lascivious one: my bad :rolleyes:.

(page 27)

- "with his long steps" - I'd imagine his steps would be shorter because of his weakened state.

(page 28)

- "centipede-like things" - this phrase is awkward, also, not all the threatening-sounding.

(page 29)

- All that exposition about the Gr, it's too much for me, it feels either totally irrelevant, or a very heavy plot stick.

- "what body language the two species shared" - Excellent moment, O's reaction, lol.

(page 30)

- "passed a hand up her face" - I don't know what this looks like.

(page 31)

- "They spoke with us, so they are intelligent" - No, I don't see how this can be inferred. The El may be capable of repeating a message, or transmitting a message from sone kind of mental link, but have no actual intelligence of their own.

(page 33)

- "over two months ago" - So, I forget, what is a lightening then? No, so, there are three 10 days in a month?

- "what works on them" - this is a weak phrase. I think it needs more energy. It's very passive, compared to something like 'How to kill / injure / hurt them.' or 'What their weaknesses are.' R is a pretty aggressive character. I think the language needs an upgrade here, and in any similar places.

(page 34)

- "We must watch them feed" - but there's no certainty that what they are doing is feeding. How can they be feeding if that action causes them to appear to be destroyed. That is kind of the opposite of what 'feeding' is supposed to do, is it not?

- Nice ending line, although I think the ending loses a bit of punch because of all the people speaking on the last page. Then again, that shows them cooperating, which is good. I think maybe overall that ending could be brought home of R finished off the chapter with an additional line at the end, something pithy and aggressive like "Well, we know someone who can."

Overall 

I like a lot about this chapter, and there is good action and good portaging. There were some details that I felt let it down a bit, and some confusing areas and passages that could do with some tidying up. I think it works better than the last incarnation. I did enjoy a lot about it.

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Thanks @Snakenaps (Somehow missed that you commented on Saturday?) and @Robinski!

On 4/11/2020 at 8:42 PM, Snakenaps said:

I really hate these nasty little buggers. They give me the heebie-jeebies, and the illustration that now pops into my head from the Kickstarter does not help.

Awesome! It's definitely helping me edit the ending as well...

On 4/11/2020 at 8:42 PM, Snakenaps said:

"He didn’t have notes to waste": What happens if someone runs out of notes? I'm sure that this has been mentioned, I simply can't remember.

It's sort of been hinted at here and there, but basically fatal.

On 4/11/2020 at 8:42 PM, Snakenaps said:

"And none were to be fighting back?": How could they? Fighting these creatures is almost suicide.

Glad this is coming across well. I want to make sure I set these up as a very hard challenge!

On 4/11/2020 at 8:42 PM, Snakenaps said:

"We must gain high ground against them.": Obi Wan Kenobi approves.

Lol

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"as starting to move towards the gate" - I think they've waited too long The things must be right on top of them based on their rate of movement. And they need to go at the old E's pace, not their own

Yep, I was a little worried about this as I was editing. I'll try to work on distances and time to make them snappier.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Yep, this was my thought four pages ago. R is more astute than that, to only realise this now and not when she had time to think about it all that time the El were approaching from blocks away.

Hmm...Will work on this too.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

So, is this bit not wide enough to ten walking shoulder to shoulder? The earlier description of the gateway does not leave room for a natural chokepoint.

Well, it's a choke point compared to open city, but I take your point. I'll adjust.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"The shield of air popped into being, blocking the opening" - What shield and what opening?

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Surely they would take some initiative in this situation, seeing the O needed assistance.

Sounds like the blocking still needs a little work here.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

"You’re alright,” she whispered to him. “I’ve got you" - Lovely, tender moment in the middle of all this madness. Excellent

Nice. Glad this is coming through.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Also, "She’d make certain he slept well tonight" - there are two ways to take this. I must say I assumed the lascivious one: my bad :rolleyes:.

That is the correct interpretation!

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

All that exposition about the Gr, it's too much for me, it feels either totally irrelevant, or a very heavy plot stick.

- "what body language the two species shared" - Excellent moment, O's reaction, lol.

Hmmm...I'll try to make this more subtle.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

They spoke with us, so they are intelligent" - No, I don't see how this can be inferred. The El may be capable of repeating a message, or transmitting a message from sone kind of mental link, but have no actual intelligence of their own.

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

The logic of R's deductions confused me. The El can still have an overall plan that is formulated by their leaders. Just because they dissolve doesn't mean they are not following a strategy, it seems to me. Surely it is reasonable to assume that they could be a hive mind, in which case the soldiers transmit on-the-ground details to their 'queen' (whatever) through their eyes before they dissolve.

I'll take a look back at this. I think I need to add some facts about what they see and hear so Ri's crew has more to work with.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Nice ending line, although I think the ending loses a bit of punch because of all the people speaking on the last page. Then again, that shows them cooperating, which is good. I think maybe overall that ending could be brought home of R finished off the chapter with an additional line at the end, something pithy and aggressive like "Well, we know someone who can."

Will adjust!

Sounds like this is getting better, so I have hope!

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