Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Mandamon

20200413 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 8 - 3073 words - Sub 19

16 posts in this topic

Once again subbing two chapters this week to get feedback for book 3 as quickly as possible. Same situation as last week: the first chapter is shorter and the second is longer, but together they're less than 10k.

SUB 19
Chapter 8, which has the last new POV for this book. I've cleaned up the arc of the chapter, so let me know what you think!

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 M 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.
Ri and co arrive on HD's homeworld, gather themselves, then engage the Elg in the Imp. They barely escape, and find out where other refugees have gone.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall

I have mixed feelings on this chapter. I like Re's POV and his moral grayness. I like getting more on the Ari and their plot. The dialogue left me confused though. I wasn't entirely certain who all were talking, in terms of whether they were 'Snakeys' or Ari pretending to be Snakeys, and if there was one plot or a few. I know the Snakeys worship the ideal form but it sounded like the Ari here might, too? And the Snakeys wanted the Elders because they have perfect form, and the Ari think that's silly? And then something about wanting to use the Assembly or infiltrate it or...?

I wonder if the dialogue section couldn't be trimmed to really pack a punch with each line. It's not that it lacks tension, but it does wander in some places and I get confused and then grabbed back again, then confused, then grabbed. It was hard to gain a really strong foothold.

Still, I'm glad to be back with R and to see what's going on. I've always enjoyed his POV.

 

As I go

- aww, it's R!

- pg 3: did Ri and Ori make a void? Is this WRS or unreliable narrator?

- pg 5: oooh I liked the gloved hand line!

- pg 6: I feel like it took too long to get to the 'why didn't you eat me' part of this. A bit between this and the start could probably be cut to make it tighter

- pg 6: the paragraph that starts with: R swallowed<-- could be cut completely I think. it's redundant with the ones before it and slows down the tension build

- pg 10: ah, this explanation dialogue helps a lot

- pg 11: by favoring only those who take part in the Assembly. <-- this sounds like they will favor the ones from the Assembly of Species? But aren't they trying to take down the assembly? I have motivation confusion

- pg 12: okay, wait. So these are Ari, disguised as 'Snakeys', yes? And if so, the Ari also want the ideal form? Why are Snakey and Ari desires aligned? What am I missing?

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was confused on who was doing what (or who was on who's team). I also feel that besides the opening text from the Speaker D, you don't learn much about the chapter title. It is introduced to us and then we don't learn anything further about the leaders in this chapter. I also felt that if I saw someone that I knew get eaten and then saw someone appearing to be them that I wouldn't easily look away from them. I would be staring at them like an idiot.

 

Other than being confused, I did enjoy the way the chapter was written with spies inside of spies and people wearing other peoples faces. Is that a legal and ok thing to do in this universe or is it something that is frowned upon? It was interesting.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2020 at 9:48 PM, kais said:

The dialogue left me confused though. I wasn't entirely certain who all were talking, in terms of whether they were 'Snakeys' or Ari pretending to be Snakeys, and if there was one plot or a few. I know the Snakeys worship the ideal form but it sounded like the Ari here might, too? And the Snakeys wanted the Elders because they have perfect form, and the Ari think that's silly? And then something about wanting to use the Assembly or infiltrate it or...?

This more or less sums up much of what I was going to write. I knew "J" was an Ari, but I couldn't tell how many of the others were actually who they appeared to be and how many were Ari. I had a hard time following who was saying what and who agreed with who.

This isn't a proper writing term or anything, but in my head I have this labeled as a "talking heads" chapter because it's really just people standing around talking delivering information. Sometimes, a chapter that is mostly dialogue is okay and even compelling if there is enough tension and emotion, but for a good portion of this, I wasn't feeling the tension because Re was a very passive observer. 

It got better when R finally started talking himself, and when he started doing his own scheming. But that was page 13. It was really the last three pages where I started to engage with the chapter and feel the tension. 

On a more positive note, you did a great job with the description of the setting in this chapter. It was very grounded in Re's voice. I  especially liked his reaction to the naked statue.  

The last few lines were fantastic in a beautiful, heartbreaking way and make me feel more sympathetic to Re than I ever have felt before. 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of work to keep who is who straight reading this chapter but overall really good. You've definetly bumped up the tension in this version.

A few things:

Probably because I'm a new reader and R is an unfamiliar character, but in the first paragraph: "As R raided a shaking hand.... . The assassin's killed her." For a long moment I thought you killed off your viewpoint character in the third sentence.

"Me, I" it seems like one of the other main characters from the last chapter has a very similar speach pattern.

Near 50%: "do they have hearts?" I don't know how deep you want to go with this but this expression works on the association with the metaphoric heart for emotion and compassion vs the literal organ. I only bring it up because it seems you have gone to great pains to not use human turns of phrase and terms (ie minutes, weeks) in other places in your book. 

Thanks for sharing!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

As per usual, did not read other critiques.

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1 - Yay!!! It's my favorite POV character!!!

Pg 1, "Why had they saved him?" What kind of tool would the assassin's see R worthy as? They certainly wouldn't rescue him out of the kindness of their hearts. I don't think that they can absorb him, as he is not Ari. And they didn't eat him, like J, unless they are saving him for a snack later (which I doubt). Whatever they want him for, I can guarantee it is not good. Time to find out how bad. 

I feel like I'm a little fuzzy on names, but that could be rectified by having a character index (appendix?) like you had in Facets. 

Pg 6, "We are bloated with extra flesh for now."  So the assassins can absorb non-Ari.

Pg 6, " to fuel us" RIP the Coalition. They're like unknowing cattle.

Pg 7, "He was alive as long as he was useful." Unfortunately, I completely agree with this statement. Poor R.

Pg 7, " Did they have hearts?" Literally? Probably multiple. Figuratively...I think the hearts of these Ari were tortured out of them.

Pg 7, "The others, they promised us power." The Elg? Or someone...something...else? A three house master? 

Pg 8, "They are here to destroy us." Completely agree with N. I think the Elg will keep eating the Symphony until nothing is left. 

Pg 9, "they take us to where our Forms may be pure and ideal." Sure, Jan. I think "J" is trying to steer N and the other surviving members. Not because the assassins believe any of that.

Pg 9, " shows much about the psychology of their people": An entire culture who believes they are so imperfect that they hide their entire body. And I thought I was bad in high school when I wouldn't wear shorts because I thought my knees were ugly!

Pg 10, "they were exactly the same as the first." Hmmmmm...interesting...

Pg 10, "They are all physically the perfection of their kind": Ah, yes, because when I think of perfection, I think of the Elg.

Pg 12, "by one of the others, who have Ideal Form." Hmm, a potential three house member? One of the ones that were referenced possibly as "the same as the first"

Pg 13, "He wouldn’t be happy about the Ari stealing her face": I don't think anyone would be happy about that!

Pg 15, "They had killed the Eff": Something N failed to do. Now the Elg have killed a lot more than just the Eff!

Pg 15: Do you mean, "Could he pit the two groups against each other?"

Pg 16, "He sheathed his knife": I'm curious to discover if this knife - which made the Eff's form unstable - could potentially work well against the Elg.

Pg 17, "There were fields that needed tilling back home." That's one thing that will be for certain: after this, everyone is going to need a vacation!

Edited by Snakenaps
Came back and finished
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I've got to leave, there's been a shooting at my sister's apartment complex. She's fine, be back tomorrow.

Oh no! Hope everything is ok.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to @kais, @CherishLarain, @shatteredsmooth, @Sarah B, and @Snakenaps!

Going to try to respond to all comments here. We'll see how that works. I had to go into work for half a day yesterday, so everything was hectic and didn't get a chance to reply...

On 4/13/2020 at 9:48 PM, kais said:

The dialogue left me confused though. I wasn't entirely certain who all were talking, in terms of whether they were 'Snakeys' or Ari pretending to be Snakeys, and if there was one plot or a few.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:44 PM, CherishLarain said:

I was confused on who was doing what (or who was on who's team).

 

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

in my head I have this labeled as a "talking heads" chapter because it's really just people standing around talking delivering information.

 

16 hours ago, Sarah B said:

A bit of work to keep who is who straight reading this chapter

 

8 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I feel like I'm a little fuzzy on names

Well, this seems consistent!! I actually did trim out a couple names this time around,if you can believe it. Sounds like I need to shop out more and get to the heart of everything. I spent the last couple days tearing apart Re's next POV chapter and adding more action instead of talking, so I'll try to propagate that sort of thing back to this chapter. I think if I throw Re into things sooner, that might help.

On 4/13/2020 at 9:48 PM, kais said:

I feel like it took too long to get to the 'why didn't you eat me' part of this. A bit between this and the start could probably be cut to make it tighter

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:44 PM, CherishLarain said:

I also felt that if I saw someone that I knew get eaten and then saw someone appearing to be them that I wouldn't easily look away from them.

 

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

It got better when R finally started talking himself, and when he started doing his own scheming. But that was page 13.

Which is supported by this. I'll get Re talking and acting sooner.

On 4/13/2020 at 9:48 PM, kais said:

I know the Snakeys worship the ideal form but it sounded like the Ari here might, too? And the Snakeys wanted the Elders because they have perfect form, and the Ari think that's silly? And then something about wanting to use the Assembly or infiltrate it or...?

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:44 PM, CherishLarain said:

I did enjoy the way the chapter was written with spies inside of spies and people wearing other peoples faces.

 

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I knew "J" was an Ari, but I couldn't tell how many of the others were actually who they appeared to be and how many were Ari.

 

8 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Sure, Jan. I think "J" is trying to steer N and the other surviving members. Not because the assassins believe any of that.

I feel like the other big confusion is the misdirection plot. Sounds like some people got it, but it's still not clear. (Also, I LoLed at "Sure, Jan...)

I wonder if it might help to cut the dialogue and have Re note which Ari is pretending to be which Snakey. Basically, the Ari are now free, so they're trying to lead the Snakeys off a cliff, and putting them face to face with the Elg is the easiest way to do that.

 

AHA! Here's an idea: what if I have the Ari talking to Re force him to also take the position that the Elg are coming to help (on threat of being eaten), thus making it clearer why Re is still there, what the Ari are doing, and maybe show who exactly is who?

Or if anyone else has any cool ideas, let me know.

Thanks, all!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

AHA! Here's an idea: what if I have the Ari talking to Re force him to also take the position that the Elg are coming to help (on threat of being eaten), thus making it clearer why Re is still there, what the Ari are doing, and maybe show who exactly is who?

I like this! I think it would clear up a lot of confusion

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Oh no! Hope everything is ok.

I went back and finished, and I should have enough time to start and complete Chapter 9 today.

As to last night's events, everything's mostly good, no fatalities. Just a massive birthday party of stupid college students that got out of hand. Someone shot professional grade fireworks off at the entrance of my apartment complex last night as well. 

Let's just say, the stupidity of my age group is why most of my friends are middle-aged. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad everyone's ok, @Snakenaps.

17 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 9, " shows much about the psychology of their people": An entire culture who believes they are so imperfect that they hide their entire body. And I thought I was bad in high school when I wouldn't wear shorts because I thought my knees were ugly!

Yeah, worldbuilding the Sath was interesting. They've gone through a lot of permutations over the years.

17 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 16, "He sheathed his knife": I'm curious to discover if this knife - which made the Eff's form unstable - could potentially work well against the Elg

Good question!! ;-)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comments.

(page 1)

- This is one of the driest and hardest to get swept up in epigraphs I can remember. It feel overlong and, it seems such an obvious explanation of what is likely to happen in the chapter, because of the title that I wonder if the information could not be quite easily conveyed within the chapter. Like an epilogue or a prologue, I think of epigraphs being there to convey information that it is not possible to do in the main narrative. This doesn't seem to be the case here.

(page 2)

- "a bloodbath so quick he would’ve missed it had he not been watching carefully" - contradiction here. If it's a bloodbath, by definition, there is blood everywhere, literally bathing the surroundings. So, even if it happened in an instant, the remnants of the blood would still be visible as a sign of what had happened. So, there's no way it could escape his notice, which I think is the feeling of his thoughts.

- "Why had they saved him?" - This line is very important, I think, and it's not part of the thoughts in the paragraph. I think it deserves to be on its own, which also allows a smoother transition into the next paragraph.

(page 3)

- "columns arched" - meh, IMO columns don't arch, they go straight up. The arching bit would be an arch, not a column.

- "picked up one boot to see slabs" - but he can see the slabs around his boot, surely? What has picking up his boot got to do with seeing the slabs? Confused.

(page 5)

- "Your mind moves between the corridors of power, as ours do" - This is a nice line, but I don't quite follow the message. Are they indeed saying the R is like the Ar, thinks like them, has their kind of attitude to the world, and to power structures? It's an interesting thought, and I'd like it expanded upon just a bit, for clarity.

- "The voice caught his attention" - But no, surely he's already looking at the that conversation. What brought his attention to it was the Ar pointing at it, so his attention is already caught when he hears the voice. He's still looking right at them in that moment, surely.

(page 6)

- "Instead, there were five Coalition leaders, talking" - Confused. Where is this? it was described before as only N and J talking. Are there in fact five in that group? And then the last sentence in this paragraph jumps to a different thought about R being protected. That should be a new paragraph surely? It feels really jumpy around here.

- "You can help us with that" - how, I still don't see it.

(page 8)

- So, J has been replaced by one of the Ar. I'm just trying to get the point of this argument, since both N and 'J' are on the same side? Is it just to convince everyone else around them that 'J' is the real 'J', or is it to generate dissent? I'm not clear on the purpose of this conversation, and whether it's real or not.

(page 10)

- Wait, N doesn't know that this is not the real 'J'? How can that be, he was right there, was he not?

- "They are all physically the perfection of their kind" - I don't see how this follows. It seems to be based on the assumption that the first one is the ideal form, but they have no way of knowing that. Just because all the El look the same doesn't automatically mean that is the ideal form surely. I don't see how that logic flows.

- "the other leaders clambering over each other" - None of them has said a word, have they? this seems unlikely to me.

(page 11)

- "favoring only those who take part in the A" - confused by this. Some Sa are maji. But also, don't they hate all the imp maj, regardless of whether they are in the assembly or not? What different does it make them being in the assembly? They're still not Sa, and therefore not the ideal form.

- "The one who had knifed his E" - More confusion. Wasn't it N who stabbed the Ef on the bridge into the wall? The wording implies it wasn't N. NO WAIT, this is R thinking that he himself agrees with N. But, has it been established that this is what R wants, to overthrow the Imp, the whole structure of the assembly?!!! I know he is dissatisfied, but I never got this level of revolution from him that I can remember. He must know that the only way they will be overthrown is if they are killed en masse, surely, or at least brutally put down, jailed, whatever. R is basically an anarchist. I've never thought this of him before. It seriously affects my view of him, not in a good way. I thought we were passed this, but I guess not.

(page 12)

- "He’d seen poor families on his world, when the maji were given money to throw away" - Too simplistic, IMO. It sounds from this line that he's going to into a big diatribe in his mind about the injustices of the way the maj operate, but it goes nowhere, just stops. This is not enough, I think, to justify a whole radical internal philosophy that overturns everything he has been taught and worked towards for the last several years(?).

(page 13)

- "the one we should emulate" - Eh?!! But this surely is a nonsense statement. The cult of F is about being a physical match for the IF, is it not? No Sa can match the form of a El. This statement must either be complete lunacy or utter heresy, isn't it?

- "who didn’t hold him back in time" - Hmm, not sure I believe that they can just be incompetent when it suits the plot.

- "was on him in an instant, knife drawn, stalking forward" - contradiction. If he is on R, he doesn't need to stalk forwards. 'on him' implies physically on him, so there is no distance between them.

(page 14)

- "to find a way out of this" - No, I'm confused again. We've just heard that R agrees with N's goals. What does he need to get out of? Surely he supports N, does he not? Okay, N is threatening him, but surely he needs to convince N that he supports N's position? But now he seems to be going along with what 'J' is advocating, that the Sa should emulate the El?

I'm completely lost by the logic of what is going on.

(page 15)

- "this is yer chance" - I just don't understand R's position at all. How can he possibly believe that the LC's intentions are noble? I thought we had been through this in the last book, and that R had had a realisation that the LC were bad. I just don't get it. How dense must he be not to see that their methods are cruel and murderous? They tried to physically destroy the assembly and everyone in it. And yet, R's thoughts sort of implied that this is what he wants too, maybe not in that way, but the end result, which he must see can only come about through violence and death. And then he thinks the Sa will just give the power to the people and/or act completely fairly? I just don't think it's plausible after what he has seen.

- "You and I, we shall confront the El" - Huh?! So N just changes his mind instantly. 'Oh, you were my enemy about half-an-hour ago: let's be allies?

(page 16)

- "Agreed, J noted" - So now J has just rolled over to accept N's position. What about the other elders here? They have bee almost completely absent from this discussion, and yet don't they have a say, do they not make a majority? I can't clearly recall their position, and I'm just so confused.

- "though whether for the N" - No. No, no, no. He doesn't get to decide he wants to tears the N apart, decide that he supports the regime that imprisoned all of his friends at one time or another, and wants the assembly destroyed, and then, right at the end of the chapter, decide nah, maybe not. I just want to go home!

Overall 

I had massive problems with this chapter. I bounced off it really hard. R's motivation is all over the place. I've got now sense of what he wants, and he seems completely inconsistent about it. Not in a doubtful, conflicted kind of way, but in a way that involves deciding one thing, the completely undermining it.

I don't understand the debate between the two factions in the Sa leaders, and then without warning they seems to reach some sort of agreement that is unclear and I don't understand what happened.

I found it really, really hard to invest in anything in this chapter, and I'm still totally unclear what R believe, what his position is and how he will act going forward. This chapter seems to have torn up and lot of his character development from previous appearances although, honestly, I can't remember how it turned out before. I know he wasn't satisfied, but he seems ready just to jump into the arms of a murderous rebel who wants to destroy everything that R admits he is missing right at the end of the chapter, effectively invalidating all the soul-searching and decisions he made during the chapter.

I'm kind of dreading R's next POV now, because I have no clue what is going on with him.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/04/2020 at 2:53 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

This isn't a proper writing term or anything, but in my head I have this labeled as a "talking heads" chapter because it's really just people standing around talking delivering information.

Sounds like an established term to me. I've heard it plenty of times all over the place, including on WE.

While I'm here, I didn't have a problem with the talking heads approach to the chapter itself. I thought there was bags of tension in the body language and the arguing.

My problems were I was completely lost in the logic of it, and it R's increasingly (again) detestable position. All he has seen in the two books is the LC and the Ar imprison, torture and kill people, and use reprehensible methods to enforce their will based on some kind of body-shaming cult on the world and he thinks that's the ideology that is going to 'free' the N? He's just so misguided, and it seems so transparently wrong that I find it impossible to give him the benefit of the doubt as being 'grey'. (Sorry, I thought I was done ranting. Apparently not :unsure: ).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Robinski for the...ah...extensive critique!

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- This is one of the driest and hardest to get swept up in epigraphs I can remember.

Hmmm...the three POV chapters for Re in this book are basically a 3-part letter. I think I can take some of the concepts in the later parts and move them forward to make this more interesting. If not, I may just scrap it and write something different.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "Why had they saved him?" - This line is very important, I think, and it's not part of the thoughts in the paragraph. I think it deserves to be on its own, which also allows a smoother transition into the next paragraph.

 

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "Your mind moves between the corridors of power, as ours do" - This is a nice line, but I don't quite follow the message.

 

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "The one who had knifed his E" - More confusion. Wasn't it N who stabbed the Ef on the bridge into the wall? The wording implies it wasn't N. NO WAIT, this is R thinking that he himself agrees with N. But, has it been established that this is what R wants, to overthrow the Imp, the whole structure of the assembly?!!! I know he is dissatisfied, but I never got this level of revolution from him that I can remember.

 

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "He’d seen poor families on his world, when the maji were given money to throw away" - Too simplistic, IMO.

 

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "this is yer chance" - I just don't understand R's position at all. How can he possibly believe that the LC's intentions are noble?

I'm hoping all this can swing around by using the new motivation I posted above, that the Ari are basically forcing him to puppet a viewpoint which supports them sowing confusing and destabilizing the LC.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "Agreed, J noted" - So now J has just rolled over to accept N's position. What about the other elders here? They have bee almost completely absent from this discussion, and yet don't they have a say, do they not make a majority? I can't clearly recall their position, and I'm just so confused.

Which I'm hoping will also clear this part up.

I just finished tearing apart the second Re chapter and I think it works a lot better now. With clearer motivation here, hopefully I can get across Re's arc better.

Thanks again! (and for all the LBLs)

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally came around on R's POV in the last book, to the point that he is one of my favourite voices in the whole shebang, because his voice is so strong, and opinionated, where maybe one or two of the others are less so. Brash and brazen, for me, always sets the sparks flying. (Why are you not surprised by this, I wonder? :lol: ).

So, I am totally here for R's POV being present and being loud and inflammatory. My difficult really was that I didn't see the consistency in the thread of his thought process.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Robinski said:

So, I am totally here for R's POV being present and being loud and inflammatory. My difficult really was that I didn't see the consistency in the thread of his thought process.

Cool! I'll try to make sure his motivation works here...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.