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Mandamon

20200504 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 13 - 6260 words - Sub 24

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Once again submitting two chapters this week. Thanks to everyone for putting up with me taking over the forum... Both chapters are around 6200 words as well, because of course. These two are the last remnants of what I submitted previously. From here on out it's all completely new!

SUB 24
Chapter 13, where we find out what happened to E. 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.
S/E/I learn more about the Ari and find there's only one hammock in the bedroom. They all attempt to pass through the wall, but are stopped by the Elg. S devises a new plan and they try again, with disastrous results.
M leads his posse on a hunt, without success, and meets up with R and her posse. Many connections are made.
 

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Overall

The bones of this chapter are good. Really good. The plot is great, E is compelling, and the saving S in the end really nails the chapter. I think the sentences don't flow together as well as they could, and it makes for choppy reading, especially at the beginning. E's wandering time is also too long, I feel. You could easily cut a thousand words from it and not lose any content at all. I think her wanderings and observations become redundant at a point, when I really just want her observations to compile into new information, not just rehashing stuff we already knew.

But that ending though! Wow!

 

As I go

- pg 5: so this is very compelling and I'm enjoying it, but the text seems choppy and jumpy. I think it might just need an out-loud read for a smoothing pass to make it flow

- pg 6: wait, what is happening on the bridge? Are they taking her somewhere?

- pg 7: oh so they didn't overtake her. I'm confused as to what happened on the bridge then

- pg 8: 

She began to sway as well, falling into their rhythms.

Eventually they would suspect. 

These two sentences seem to be at odds with one another. If she is falling into their rhythms shouldn't she be blending better? Why would they suspect?

- pg 14: time passage here is confusing. I get that it is meant to be sudden, but I think I need a few more visual clues before it happens. It's very jarring and I had to reread a few times

- pg 17: this is dragging now. I feel like we are seeing a lot of the same things, and while I thought we were getting E slipping into more Elder thought, it seems just sort of disjointed. I get that time passage is strange to her right now but reading it feel like we're still in the first ten minutes or so, not really moving forward with the plot

- pg 18: so is this a different pillar than she was talking to before?

- pg 27: slicing bits of the Ari apart <-- aren't they slicing El now?

 

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Very exciting chapter. It didn't feel over-long with all the movement and information covered.

I feel like E is more proactive in this draft which I liked alot. I didn't mind her pondering about the Ev's because I'm looking forward to her meeting up the the characters trying to study them later on so it feels relevant. 

I do agree with @kais that the fight with the Ev and the inner voices gets confusing. Especially the line, "slicing bits of the An apart." It's still her body, so isn't she slicing herself? Or is this the Ev fighting back?

The fight also left me questioning how the An shapeshifting works. It seems like E can completely change her body down to the tissues and organs which is cool, but wouldn't her shifting be restricted by her mass? Ie: if she becomes something smaller where does the rest of her go, or if she becomes something larger is she hollow inside? I bring this up now because I had been assuming that the Ev's are smaller than your average biped. E changes into an Ev and then slices or loses several sets of Ando size arms so it seems like she would end up being smaller as the fight progresses. Then she becomes something large enough to catch S as he falls. 

This might be one of those things I missed from previous books, bringing it up just in case. I have the same issue with Marvel's characters with a healing factor growing back their legs in 10 minutes without consuming 50 pounds or so of meat, fluids and minerals. Sorry, I am one of those people who gets hung up on details like that, feel free to ignore. 

I enjoyed this chapter a lot, comic fueled rant asside :-)

Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks @kais and @Sarah B!

On 5/4/2020 at 10:55 PM, kais said:

- pg 27: slicing bits of the Ari apart <-- aren't they slicing El now?

 

On 5/5/2020 at 1:51 AM, Sarah B said:

Especially the line, "slicing bits of the An apart."

Oops! That should be Elg, not Ari.

On 5/4/2020 at 10:55 PM, kais said:

E's wandering time is also too long, I feel. You could easily cut a thousand words from it and not lose any content at all.

Yep, I especially tried to cut down some of the explanation in the beginning, but not enough. I can cut more.

On 5/4/2020 at 10:55 PM, kais said:

I feel like we are seeing a lot of the same things, and while I thought we were getting E slipping into more Elder thought, it seems just sort of disjointed.

Hmmm...I'll try to pull this together more.

On 5/4/2020 at 10:55 PM, kais said:

- pg 18: so is this a different pillar than she was talking to before?

Nope. This is the same one.

On 5/5/2020 at 1:51 AM, Sarah B said:

The fight also left me questioning how the An shapeshifting works. It seems like E can completely change her body down to the tissues and organs which is cool, but wouldn't her shifting be restricted by her mass?

I try to make this as plausible as I can. I also hate it when shapeshifters change mass with no consequences. Here, the Elg are about the same size as a person, so that wouldn't be a restriction. When we becomes something large enough to catch S, I was envisioning that she had a lot of wing-like areas and long arms to catch him, but weighed the same. So the mass is spread out, which means E would also have a better chance at gliding. And fixing the typo above help a lot too!

Thanks!

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Comments. Aiming to avoid grammering all over the place.

(page 2)

- "She could control the voices, with the P’s help. They would not take her over again. Except they were lessened when her boyfriend and her brother were close" - Confusing, there are like four different positions here. Not sure which it is.

(page 3)

- "In the silence, she missed the usual babble" - Contradiction. The maj cause the babble, therefore their absence causes the silence, surely?

- Her going straight into that change without thinking about it beforehand is a good change (I feel it was premeditated last draft).

(page 15)

- "They would converge on her if she was not" - They seemed to converge on her anyway, in this form.

(page 22)

- She thinks whether she has had a thought before and I must admit I thought at that point 'Good question.' This chapter does feel fairly repetitive in places. There are lots of questions thrown out. There are 61 question marks in this chapter. That is a lot of pondering and inquiring. I found it quite tiring after a bit, because there are no answers, only question after question.

(page 23)

- "They were looking for something" - the diadem, I'm thinking.

(page 28)

- I enjoy the big Ar trying to take over, and it forcing En to attack the other El. In then like the transformation to make the arms, and how that works as a weapon, and then ultimately how she cows it. Very good. This is the kind of clear exercise of personality that I was missing in a big chunk of the paragraph earlier, when she is running around. I can see it was necessary, but wonder if it might be shorter, and flow a bit better.

(page 29)

- "every street she passed had more El" - This is the kind of concentration of the creatures that we have not seen before, I feel, which is what I was 'cringing' (lol), earlier when people were talking about the Imp being full, when clearly it was nothing like full. This is much more what I expect full to sound like, in description.

(page 33)

- "That was how she saw the tiny speck spit out of the N wall and begin to fall" - the timing here is just too crazily coincidental, IMO. Okay, turns out she has not been away for days, but only minutes, I think, but be in the right place at PRECISELY the right moment... Its so unlikely. I'd prefer her to see him already falling, or to be in the air for a little while before he emerges, to make this convincing.

(page 34)

- "talons the length of his legs" - Eh? Seems way longer the necessary. The talons are not the important park, surely, Birds do have toes, and are those not what would wrap around, and then the talon (a foot or two long), stop him from falling out? This sounded wrong to me.

- Oh, of course, it was days for S in the wall. I remember.

- "Can you pass back through the wall?" - Oh, no, please deity, don't go back through, please. We finally got here, finally!!!

(page 35)

- Really nice closing image. I finally feel that S has now has mastery, or good ability, in crossing through the wall. I must say though that is about the only thing that seems to have come from this chapter.

Overall 

Lots of good movement in this chapter, but the initial part was frustrating when En was just running around as she did not seem to learn anything for some time, until the big Ar tried to take over. I enjoyed it much more from that point, and think that cutting the earlier part of the chapter would pay dividends in terms of pacing.

I was dismayed when they went back into the wall, because they have been striving for all that time to get here. Okay, En has seen a lot and they have a lot to talk about, but it feels like going back again. I really, really need to see these three make some concrete progress in something in the next chapter. I will be super frustrated if they go back to sitting around moping about the hard choices they have. Just achieve something already!

I liked a lot about this chapter, and actually read through it pretty quickly for me. In no small part due to (yes) not obsessing overly about word choice, etc. Still, small amount of LBLs sent just for the form, don't you know.

Thanks for sharing :) 

 

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Thanks @Robinski!

5 minutes ago, Robinski said:

This chapter does feel fairly repetitive in places. There are lots of questions thrown out. There are 61 question marks in this chapter. That is a lot of pondering and inquiring. I found it quite tiring after a bit, because there are no answers, only question after question.

Ha! I'll have to rein myself in. As @kais suggests, I'll probably cut the wandering down quite a bit to bring out the fight and escape at the end.

6 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- "They were looking for something" - the diadem, I'm thinking.

Yes and no...You'll find out some more near the end.

*blinks* also I just realized something because of this comment *scribbles furiously*

8 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Very good. This is the kind of clear exercise of personality that I was missing in a big chunk of the paragraph earlier, when she is running around. I can see it was necessary, but wonder if it might be shorter, and flow a bit better.

Yep. This will get clarified and brought out more.

8 minutes ago, Robinski said:

This is much more what I expect full to sound like, in description.

This is what it's like, from here out, pretty much.

9 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- "That was how she saw the tiny speck spit out of the N wall and begin to fall" - the timing here is just too crazily coincidental, IMO. Okay, turns out she has not been away for days, but only minutes, I think, but be in the right place at PRECISELY the right moment... Its so unlikely. I'd prefer her to see him already falling, or to be in the air for a little while before he emerges, to make this convincing.

Yeah, this is the coincidental, but I'm not sure how to move it around. It has been days, not minutes. There's better explanation in the next chapter, but I think I know what I can add to make this work better.

11 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I was dismayed when they went back into the wall, because they have been striving for all that time to get here. Okay, En has seen a lot and they have a lot to talk about, but it feels like going back again. I really, really need to see these three make some concrete progress in something in the next chapter. I will be super frustrated if they go back to sitting around moping about the hard choices they have. Just achieve something already!

There is movement...hopefully it works, especially going into the chapters after this.

Thanks for the LBLs!

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

*blinks* also I just realized something because of this comment *scribbles furiously*

The critiquing gods smile, and the faint sounds of typewriters clacking can be heard on the wind........

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I really liked this chapter. I agree that somethings seem repetitive. I commented gross and cool for Ens transformation on page 3. Can someone "run" all day? Cuz I can't run 20 feet...Also, considering that the things are eating everything, wouldnt Ens feel that same desire to devour things? (Only based on her running all= energy being used=need for sustanance.)

For page 7-8 I am surprised to hear they are actually happy that someone transformed without their help and they seemed to like her. This was interesting to me, I want to know more. OMG also, you did me dirty by making me feel sad for the Ar cloud thing on page 18. Only for him to be mean later. Ugh loved it.

My last comment is in regards to Ens. Seeing as shes one of them, wouldnt she either wonder about how her own body is doing this rather than comment on how their bodies are doing it? Or wouldnt she have an understanding since she becomes like them?

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Thanks @CherishLarain!

11 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

Can someone "run" all day? Cuz I can't run 20 feet...Also, considering that the things are eating everything, wouldnt Ens feel that same desire to devour things? (Only based on her running all= energy being used=need for sustanance.)

Good point. I'll put something in to address this. I mention that Ari don't need to eat as much in book 2, but it's probably due a reiteration.

11 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

For page 7-8 I am surprised to hear they are actually happy that someone transformed without their help and they seemed to like her. This was interesting to me, I want to know more. OMG also, you did me dirty by making me feel sad for the Ar cloud thing on page 18. Only for him to be mean later. Ugh loved it.

the voices are...problematic. There a bit more about them in book 2 as well. Also, those two voices are technically different, so the one that's mean is another personality. Again, a book 2 thing!

11 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

My last comment is in regards to Ens. Seeing as shes one of them, wouldnt she either wonder about how her own body is doing this rather than comment on how their bodies are doing it? Or wouldnt she have an understanding since she becomes like them?

I can make this clearer. Partly they just don't operate according to our physics.

Thanks!

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As usual, did not read the previous comments.

Thoughts as I go:

Introduction, "Any response I receive from the N": Hmmm, I wonder how the N responded? Through the diadem? The Symphony somehow? Changes in crystal colors? Vibrations?Pg 1: Alright, we have E's perspective. Slightly disappointing because I was hoping for S due to the situation. However, E is one of my favorite POV characters, so I'm also happy. 

Pg 2, "She couldn’t lose them again." You're not going to lose your boys, they are going to lose you, bait. 

Pg 2, "They would not take her over again. Except they were lessened...": This felt contradictory to me, as I expected that the "except" would lead to a sentence when the voices could take over. 

Pg 4, "like tiny tumors." Shards, are the Elg corrupted Ari??? D: Is E becoming one because of how Elg affect the Symphony? She didn't uncontrollably turn into any species from Facet #2 when she first met them...

Pg 4, "The voices inside her had made her shift form." Oooooh snap. I doubt they are helping her out of good will. More like the desire to keep one's host alive so the parasites don't die too. By becoming one of the Elg in shape, will they ignore her? Or will their hivemind tendencies make them realize she is not one of them?

Pg 4, "What would S and I think when they saw her?" My guess is, "Brahms' bushy beard, it's an Elg, run!

Pg 9, "Maybe the dreamer was not all wrong." The dreamer? The specie S prophet? Or Master Memory Wipe? Hmmm...

Pg 10, "There were no aches or pains, no worries, just being." This chapter makes me like the Elg, whom I have no desire to like, thank you very much. 

Pg 10, "They’re gathering energy, but where are they taking it?" What weapon needs an incredible amount of energy to destroy worlds? There is only one answer: the Death Star.

Pg 11, "She couldn’t wait on S" S is somehow going to drop from the ceiling, wreck everybody, and assume E is dead because she 1) doesn't notice him (unlikely), 2) can't change back (decently likely) or 3) is either killed by the Elg or by S (my least favorite theory).

Pg 12, "This body was nimble." Oh snap, what if it is E who grabs R's ankle? I'm trying to remember my timelines...are we synced up yet? I know we back tracked a bit with R.A. and Co. before they met up with old man M.

Pg 12, " as if it they were all connected,"

Pg 14, "She sensed no Elg on the water." On or in? Can Elg swim or do they walk on top of water like some sort of exterminator's Anti-Christ?

Oh my gosh, can you imagine being an exterminator in City I while all of this is going down??? This would definitely make me change careers. I vote for a two sentence short story about some poor sap who throws down his hat and quits. 

Pg 14, "They had not been evacuated" Screw that. If the rich people are dying from an attack, I'm not waiting for an evacuation order. I'm bookin' it like a bat out of hell. On the other hand, there are definitely people dumb enough to think that they can outlast anything. Others simply might not be able to leave.

Pg 16, "Now she had harmony." Turning into an Elg might just be the weirdest meditation method I have ever heard of, but, hey, if it works, it works. 

Pg 16, "There would be time later." I'm dying to know what happened to S. Hoping that will be in Chapter 14... 

Pg 21, "They are taking energy from this place, and it is not replaced": This reminds me of the book Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. In the book, everyone on the spaceship panics because they are running out of the elements needed to support life, and in space, you can't just go down to the store and get iron supplements. What happens to the N if too much of its energy and elements are destroyed/teleported, without anyone coming in from other homeworlds to track in dirt?

Pg 22, " It was as if this place drew them." Or they are waiting to try to trap/kill S again...

Pg 24, "They were looking for something," S? The diadem? Seeds? Surely not people at this point...

Pg 26, "some other presence in her grabbed at the notes" Uh oh...

Pg 28, " That part of her started to dissolve," Hmmm...not an instantaneous dissolvement. Is it because the Elg do not wish to kill her, only to incapacitate her? Or is it because her body can resist because it is currently Elg?

Pg 31, "She might be able to rip one or two to shreds," Why are they letting her? Are the Elg under orders to capture E for bait? Is it because of her body that she is able to touch them without dissipating? Because I thought that people poofed if even their weapon touched an Elg. So, with my current knowledge, either they are letting her touch them, or they can't dissipate her. 

Pg 33, " little pieces of her touched the creatures, fizzling and disappearing." Okay, so they can dissolve her, at least a bit, which means somehow she is resistant to getting poofed all at once.

Pg 35, "she finally abandoned" I'm glad, because I was worried she would become stuck.

Pg 36, "begin to fall" Apparently not that much time has passed at all! Very happy to see S!!! 

Overall:

Although initially disappointed that this wasn't S's POV, I thoroughly enjoyed how you used E has a conduit to learn more about the Elg. Just as I was beginning to feel a lull from  lack of action, you snapped me right back into the fray. This was a nice breath of calming air, from, oddly, a Elg-heavy chapter. I would not have believed that was possible earlier. 

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Thanks @Snakenaps!

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

This felt contradictory to me, as I expected that the "except" would lead to a sentence when the voices could take over. 

Good catch. I'll reword.

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 4, "like tiny tumors." Shards, are the Elg corrupted Ari??? D: Is E becoming one because of how Elg affect the Symphony? She didn't uncontrollably turn into any species from Facet #2 when she first met them...

You keep giving me cool ideas.But no, not at the moment...

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

More like the desire to keep one's host alive so the parasites don't die too. By becoming one of the Elg in shape, will they ignore her? Or will their hivemind tendencies make them realize she is not one of them?

These are all very good questions!

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

"Brahms' bushy beard, it's an Elg, run!"

Ha!

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

This chapter makes me like the Elg, whom I have no desire to like, thank you very much.

Lol...they just want to get along...

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

There is only one answer: the Death Star.

Well, that's it. The game is up. You've guessed the ending! ;-)

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

This body was nimble." Oh snap, what if it is E who grabs R's ankle? I'm trying to remember my timelines...are we synced up yet?

That's another really cool idea, but not planned at the moment. But yes, E was running around while R and M's groups were exploring the Imp.

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I vote for a two sentence short story about some poor sap who throws down his hat and quits. 

Your wish is my command.

"That was the biggest desert scrabbler Nuri had ever seen. Expensive equipment or no, he hoisted the entire spray canister off his back and threw it at the beastie careening after him."

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

On the other hand, there are definitely people dumb enough to think that they can outlast anything. Others simply might not be able to leave.

I hate it when things I write intersect with current affairs...

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

What happens to the N if too much of its energy and elements are destroyed/teleported, without anyone coming in from other homeworlds to track in dirt?

*waggles eyebrows*

13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Although initially disappointed that this wasn't S's POV, I thoroughly enjoyed how you used E has a conduit to learn more about the Elg. Just as I was beginning to feel a lull from  lack of action, you snapped me right back into the fray. This was a nice breath of calming air, from, oddly, a Elg-heavy chapter. I would not have believed that was possible earlier.

Cool! Glad this worked. It was fun to write. 

Your comments are a joy to read through as always!

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I'm out on my morning walk and plan to tackle Chapter 14 when I get home. 

However, so thought I would let you @Mandamon know that you have ruined caterpillars for me. The local park is covered in pipevine swallowtail caterpillars and all I can think of is the Elg.

Is this the fate for all orange and black bug friends now? Correlation with the Elg?

20200510_100113.thumb.jpg.e2f346ce7bb503644510986d8230ccf4.jpg

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1 minute ago, Snakenaps said:

I'm out on my morning walk and plan to tackle Chapter 14 when I get home. 

However, so thought I would let you @Mandamon know that you have ruined caterpillars for me. The local park is covered in pipevine swallowtail caterpillars and all I can think of is the Elg.

Is this the fate for all orange and black bug friends now? Correlation with the Elg?

Ha! Sorry/not sorry.

That's a good example, though! Just need to paste a little fin on its back...

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Ha! Sorry/not sorry.

That's a good example, though! Just need to paste a little fin on its back...

5eb84b797bd6f_20510Elg.thumb.jpg.99fa8cb1063ccf9cc22452ff2a0e5a70.jpg

I just drew a fin and pasted a background. 

Thanks for the 30 minutes procrastination! 

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9 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

I just drew a fin and pasted a background. 

Thanks for the 30 minutes procrastination!

Oh my goodness! That's awesome!

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5 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Oh my goodness! That's awesome!

Of more importance, it was fun! I haven't manipulated photos since...last summer?

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<shudder>

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The first time I read this chapter, it was one of my favorites, and I liked it better this time. Having just one chapter of this worked great! I loved the tension and conflict when the other Ari voices were trying to take over her notes, and how she asserted herself and won control over them.

As I read:

"The voices inside her head had made her shift form." Had this happened last time? It startled me a little this time. 

"had taken converted too many" Either there is an extra word or a missing word. 

"but she forced her leg to churn forward" In this section, from the running to the fighting the Elg, I was having trouble picturing how much she had changed and how much of the Elg form she had retained. 

 

Otherwise, I thought this chapter was fantastic! 

 

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Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

Glad this one is working!

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

"The voices inside her head had made her shift form." Had this happened last time? It startled me a little this time.

I think this was a new addition. I was trying to play up the conflict with the voices a lot more this time around.

12 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I was having trouble picturing how much she had changed and how much of the Elg form she had retained. 

I can update the description here to make it clearer.

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