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Snakenaps

5/18/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - Chapter 5 (5015 words)

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This is the longest chapter in the entire book. Most of the chapters are somewhere around 2,500-3,500 words, and this one comes in at 5,015. I hope you all don't mind me going over the limit by fifteen whole words. 

 
We're getting into the meat of the story now... thankfully, this one isn't as painful and boring as last week's submission, at least in my opinion. 
 
All comments and opinions are welcome in this strange, wacky world!
 
Previously: Ir attempts to get a job or a loan to somehow begin paying for the restoration of the burned down restaurant, which was destroyed when a unicorn was attacked. What should have happened in the last chapter: Ir gets the feeling that someone or something is preventing her from succeeding in job hunting, but ends up shrugging off this paranoia as stress and grief. She refuses to start finding conspiracies in everything like her sister.
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Apologies that, for you, this is repetition, but I like to think me sticking it up after you've already seen the comments stimulates debate on the chapter, and I get to discover if I'm barking at the moon or not :D  

Also:

17 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

this one isn't as painful and boring as last week's submission

I never like to see a writer giving them self a hard time. Hold your head up high. Last week's chapter was not painful and boring at all, IMO, and I'll argue with anyone who categorised it that way. I thought there some good scenes, and plenty of good moments. Sure, there were areas for cutting and editing down, but that does not make the whole chapter a duffer.

[Following pasted from notes file, with minimal revision.]

“built up the steep hills” – Hmm. This implies that some streets also are steep. Which is fine. If I'm honest, I think this sounds more like a feat of civil engineering than the temple earlier. I'd be tempted to switch the temple reference to architecture, and refer to the palace being an engineering feat. You might even draw the comparison if you wanted.

“tax breaks” – Modern phrasing in a fantasy novel, to me, is anathema. I think, as writers, we must use every trick in the book to keep the reader grounded in the setting, and by extension, the character. In a fantasy setting, assuming it’s not a modern/urban fantasy—basically, if it is a pseudo historical fantasy—using modern phrases like this, I think, will jump most readers out of the setting quick smart. There have been others, but this one got the rant. For me, this is every bit as disorienting as having a gym or a vaping store show up.

“joined the line” – What line? Important blocking issue here, IMO. When she arrives, it sounds like there is no one else there, and we get two pages when no one else is there, then there are guards, who would have been watching her the whole time she stood there looking at the building. Then we learn there is a whole line of people in front of her. The scene is not as presented in the opening of the chapter, and its disorienting to have these other people pop up out of nowhere, when Ir has been able to see them from the first moment.

In relation to the non-disclosure contract (NDC), I just thought that was waaay too modern a phrase, and is like suddenly being in a episode of LA Law or something like that. (That was an age joke, I think, although the joke might have been on me.) or The Good Wife, maybe, even Better Call Saul. I’ve mentioned before about how such modern language, in a work of ‘period’ fantasy, drops the reader out, but I think there is another dimension to this. You need to assume that among the people who read your work will be a number (on or more) of lawyers. I think it’s fun for the reader to recognise things from their everyday life that have been translated into a fantasy setting. So, I suggest Contract of Confidentiality. I mean, I think there are or used to be such things. So, maybe an Undertaking of Silence!! That sounds fun, and a lawyer would think, ‘Huh, that’s an NDA.’ I think that recognition of anything we have a personal connection to is fun, in that same way that the reader guessing or solving something for themselves rather than being told it straight out by the author is fun.

Sidebar: this is a great chapter: I'm loving it. I love a bit of contract talk, AND espionage, AND wrap it up in a moral dilemma? Perfect!

“inheriting the debts of the conquered monarchies” – This is an issue that I’ve been carrying from near the beginning. It has not been so frustrating or puzzling that I've felt the need to raise it before now, but it’s been nagging away at me, and this notion was the trigger. This new monarchy of M defeating P in battle and taking over the country. It’s all very polite. Why would an enemy take on the debts of the defeated country. Surely, they would just say tough bananas to the creditors. I appreciate they have their own creditors to pay their own troops, but taking on the debt seems to defeat one of the purposes of waging war at all, i.e. to profit from it. That’s what companies and corporations often do now. A corporation will be allowed to go bust, corporate debt is written off, then someone comes in a buys the assets for less than they are worth. (Another model is that a debt-ridden company will be bought for $1, because the company coming in knows that there is $100M of debt which they will have to deal with, and the vendor gets out debt free, but that doesn’t apply here.) Also, all this offering employee contracts is very modern. In these pseudo-historical times, I would have thought the monarchy would not be so generous as to set down how they will behave, but just keep the agreement verbal, so they can change it later. I would be surprised if anyone at Ir's level had a contract of employment even in Victoria times, or certainly any earlier.

“Indentured servitude” – Yes, see this is more like what I would have expected. No complicated contracts, just a one-page deal. You enter servitude for seven years, we rebuild the restaurant and pay the staff in the interim. You say nothing about ANY of our dealings, including anything relating to the fire. Simples.

“it still would not pay for the amount” – It’ll pay whatever the government says it pays. I think we’ve established that. I don’t see how there can possibly be a defined pay scale for indentured servitude. That would vary from case to case, surely.

“to recoup some of the monetary expense of the restaurant” – This internal debate is going on for a long time. I think it’s too long, and it’s becoming too complicated. Take this phrase: she’s getting this turned around in her head now. Her services are worth whatever the monarchy decides they are worth. They have decided they are worth the cost of the restaurant and interim salaries. The government is not going to earn an income from her services. I think she is going way off track here, and it’s confusing the debate, going down a blind alley relating to monetary value when the important question is why are her services so valuable to them?

“Now she had to tell her family” – Eh? I know she is allowed to tell them she is now employed by the palace, but this sounds like it flies straight in the face of the contract she has just signed. I wonder if this could be qualified in some way, like “Now she had to tell her family…and Car, what little she could.” This also reminds us, at the end of the chapter, that she is now bound to secrecy, and has to hide so many things from those around her.

OVERALL: enjoyed this chapter a good deal. Putting aside the mechanical things that I’ve noted as concerned (IMO), I like the idea of it, how she goes through her feelings and sees that she is almost trapped into accepting the position, and there was really good tension at the end when she signs. I can see and appreciate the arc of the chapter, and now it feels like the story is really going to get into the intrigue that I’ve been promised from a fairly early stage. The stand out issue for me is that the chapter is a bit repetitive of certain concepts, and Ir goes over in her head some of the same questions and concepts more than once (or twice!). I think this chapter can be more efficient. Trust the reader to remember why she’s here, recount the reason once, then maybe once more later in the chapter in a shorter, summary form, and I would suggest simplify some of the contractual stuff and try and avoid repeating concepts. Bottom line though, I enjoyed this and I am keen to read on.

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Also putting my pre-set two cents in!

Generally, I agree with @Robinski on this one. The overall idea of the chapter is good, and I like that we're finally getting somewhere with the inciting incident and how I is going to grow as a character. The main downsides I had with this one were the anachronistic terms (NDA, unsafe business practices, legalese...) and how long it took I to just sign the contract. I think there's about 4 pages of waffling over whether to sign it, where I is unlettered and generally has no concept of what any of this means (as far as I can tell). I'd think after the rat described the fairly lenient terms, she'd be jumping to sign. Heck, I think I'd sign if given this contract.

A couple worldbuilding things that caught my attention:

Why does M use telepathy? You call out that few use it, but don't explain why. He makes some physical sounds too, so I'm guessing he's not mute?

Cow with telekinesis: Do all the 4-legged animals have this? I'd think if they didn't, they'd be reduced to living outside and depending on others if they didn't want to just eat grass (or raw animals). Rats/monkeys/and the more humanoid creatures can get by because they have opposable thumbs. How do the ungulates, etc get by?

Still also hung up on the change in governments, as Robinski states above. The new regime seems to have everything pretty well settled, and is working peacefully through everyday affairs. P is from the M monarchy, and I have to say, they seem to have things going well for them. With the bureaucracy they have in place I'm not surprised they've taken over several kingdoms and now administrate them better. I'm put in mind of a renaissance kingdom swallowing up surrounding lagging monarchies like when small city-states started conglomerating into countries in Europe.

Really going to try to read ahead some more this week! 

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Hi

p1-p2 - infodump. It isn't too long, but is a bit distracting.

p2 - so they'd just let her roam around at this point?

p3 - don't the theriothropes have different name than their un-uplifted counterparts?

p6 - conversation about breaking the law with P seems stilted.

p6 - how does she not know the job that she's in charge of?

p10 -ohh

p11 - isn't this the definition of nondisclosure?
p13 - I doubt P would say 'nibble'

p13 - are they really all that patriotic? It's starting to feel like it's being rubbed in my face.

p13 - how would they know to offer her the restaurant back?

p15 - the internal monologue begins to lose me.

p18 - so the first thing she does after signing a nondisclosure agreement - is tell people.

 

Overall: I liked the scene - things happen! Still there's too much internal monologue for this scene to flow IMO. Unless the all of her thoughts are later important? But even if they are, I feel like she was thinking the same things over and over.

 

 

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Overall

I feel like the book really takes off here, and we start getting into the real plot. A lot of redundancy in internal monologue, but that's easy enough to cut down in another pass. The MC's voice is distinct and I like her motivations and strife, and the job seems like it will be a ton of fun to read about! I think we just need to get there a little sooner, and with maybe two pages less thinking.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 10:26 AM, Mandamon said:

and how long it took I to just sign the contract.

agreed

On 5/18/2020 at 7:18 PM, Turin Turambar said:

Still there's too much internal monologue for this scene to flow IMO. Unless the all of her thoughts are later important? But even if they are, I feel like she was thinking the same things over and over.

I had this same problem

As I go

- pg 1: In the early morning chill, the grey stone was painted lilac <-- confused. This makes it seem like it's only painted that color in the early morning, then someone comes and paints it another color later, then repaints it in the morning

- pg 1: 'unsafe business practices' seems very modern for the setting

- pg 2: a lot of info dumping on that first page that doesn't seem to have a place. I want movement and action!

- pg 2: I giggled at 'cream colored cow'

- pg 5: WRS? I've completely forgotten why she has to meet this person

- pg 6: oh wait, she got a police summons or something, right?

- pg 7: This doesn't have the impact you want, I think, because it's being told, not shown. I want to see her reactions. I want to know specifically this aspect of the world so when they say it know, and go, OH NO! Just being told like this is sort of meh.

- pg 7: wow, they really know how to get her to cooperate, don't they?

- pg 8: wait, so she doesn't get paid at all? Why not?

- pg 10: but what about her salary? Doesn't her family need money? Isn't she trying to move out or something? How will she eat? Who is going to support her during this year of mind reading internship?

- pg 10: oh wait, never mind. There it is

- pg 12: lot of internal monologue that is rehashing the same details page after page. I think this could be cut down significantly

- pg 14: the spy thinking is much more compelling.

- It would be a much stronger ending I think to end on that last line on page 15

 

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I really liked this chapter. It definetly feels like a pay off for the build up since the fire. 

A couple small things I noticed;

Paragraph 2: "Echoed by generations before him..." this struck me as odd phrasing since echoes usually follow rather than proceed.

Around 10%: "Ir, fulling aware..." fully?

The terms about unsafe labor conditions and contract terms struck me as ultra modern as well. Expected employee deaths due to accidents and unsafe conditions were figured as part of the budget in fairly recent history for factories and large construction projects including the Empire State building. Or, maybe your world is a kinder place than industrial north America. 

Quick question: I might have missed it if you mentioned this already, but do common people have clocks or another method of timekeeping? If not are there clock towers or chimes so people know what time it is? Just wondering because of the specific work start time mentioned at the end of the chapter.

Looking forward to the next chapter, thanks for sharing!

 

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This chapter did not feel boring to me at all. I read it very smoothly and I liked how Ir made the people hiring her go through everything step by step and seriously thought of how her choices could affect others. That being said, I am soo annoyed that people are not happy for the new king considering how the old king stressed/ made the people impoverished (on page 1). I think I need a stronger reason for people to hate the new king enough for Ir to feel threatened. I also dont know if Ir is smart enough to put together the fact that BK might have manipulated her previous job offers. Maybe that should happen later, so it has a heavier impact on Ir?

 

I am so happy that everyone will be taken care of by the BK. (Insert huge sigh). Thank you for taking care of C. I can rest easy now.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Expected employee deaths due to accidents and unsafe conditions were figured as part of the budget in fairly recent history for factories and large construction projects including the Empire State building. Or, maybe your world is a kinder place than industrial north America. 

Good point. It really is very recent, agreed.

In the UK, the bedrock of modern Health & Safety and employment legislation are Factories Act 1961 and the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974. The first factories act was 1937. Benefits of being a former company safety officer. So, don't run in the corridors between the threads! ;) 

Edited by Robinski
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I feel like things are starting to move along! I liked the description of the castle and gate. After all the fear of this monarch, I liked seeing how inside the castle was not at all what I expected it would be, The new characters caught my interest. My own real issue is that I thinking about and rationalizing over the signing of this contract seems to go on too long. 

"T's rule had been echoed by..." So for someone reason, I thought the monarch before  current one had been better, but he sounds worse.

"avoid ever having to see the unicorn" Does she know he works for the king? I thought she didn't. Later lines imply she doesn't know. Or is she thinking this for some other reason.

"...get back up, and keep going forward win..." Sounds like publishing. 

"...using telepathy for chatting was considered rude." LOLing at this because of my characters. 

"However, that didn't explain...Why not just bribe..." I feel like the internal thought have already been over this and is starting to get too long.

Also, I didn't realize I couldn't read. I knew C couldn't. Maybe I had mixed them up? 

I'm looking forward to the next chapter! :-)

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On 5/18/2020 at 8:30 AM, Robinski said:

“tax breaks” – Modern phrasing in a fantasy novel, to me, is anathema. I think, as writers, we must use every trick in the book to keep the reader grounded in the setting, and by extension, the character. In a fantasy setting, assuming it’s not a modern/urban fantasy—basically, if it is a pseudo historical fantasy—using modern phrases like this, I think, will jump most readers out of the setting quick smart. There have been others, but this one got the rant. For me, this is every bit as disorienting as having a gym or a vaping store show up.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 8:30 AM, Robinski said:

In relation to the non-disclosure contract (NDC), I just thought that was waaay too modern a phrase, and is like suddenly being in a episode of LA Law or something like that. (That was an age joke, I think, although the joke might have been on me.) or The Good Wife, maybe, even Better Call Saul. I’ve mentioned before about how such modern language, in a work of ‘period’ fantasy, drops the reader out, but I think there is another dimension to this. You need to assume that among the people who read your work will be a number (on or more) of lawyers. I think it’s fun for the reader to recognise things from their everyday life that have been translated into a fantasy setting. So, I suggest Contract of Confidentiality. I mean, I think there are or used to be such things. So, maybe an Undertaking of Silence!! That sounds fun, and a lawyer would think, ‘Huh, that’s an NDA.’ I think that recognition of anything we have a personal connection to is fun, in that same way that the reader guessing or solving something for themselves rather than being told it straight out by the author is fun.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 10:26 AM, Mandamon said:

The main downsides I had with this one were the anachronistic terms (NDA, unsafe business practices, legalese...)

 

On 5/18/2020 at 7:18 PM, Turin Turambar said:

p11 - isn't this the definition of nondisclosure?

 

On 5/21/2020 at 2:21 AM, Sarah B said:

The terms about unsafe labor conditions and contract terms struck me as ultra modern as well. Expected employee deaths due to accidents and unsafe conditions were figured as part of the budget in fairly recent history for factories and large construction projects including the Empire State building. Or, maybe your world is a kinder place than industrial north America. 

First of all, thank you all! I'm going to tackle these comments together.

Let's tackle the anachronistic terms!

completely agree. I definitely have small anachronisms everywhere that I need to track down and kill, but this chapter is full of them. Thankfully, I can easily replace all of them with something that can mean the same thing but that isn't a modern term. Such as @Robinski's example of turning the non-disclosure agreement into a Contract of Confidentiality. I like that better than "Oath of Secrecy" or something campy. I guess the nice thing is is that I know what I was aiming for and can now give all these words a twist and a new name. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 8:30 AM, Robinski said:

This internal debate is going on for a long time. I think it’s too long, and it’s becoming too complicated.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 7:18 PM, Turin Turambar said:

p15 - the internal monologue begins to lose me.

 

On 5/22/2020 at 8:28 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I feel like the internal thought have already been over this and is starting to get too long

I swear half of the next revision process is going to be sheer cutting. I am repetitive. It's going to be a joy to learn how to say everything I want to say in less words and with less rambling. I like a good challenge.

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On 5/18/2020 at 8:30 AM, Robinski said:

“inheriting the debts of the conquered monarchies” – This is an issue that I’ve been carrying from near the beginning. It has not been so frustrating or puzzling that I've felt the need to raise it before now, but it’s been nagging away at me, and this notion was the trigger. This new monarchy of M defeating P in battle and taking over the country.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 10:26 AM, Mandamon said:

Still also hung up on the change in governments, as Robinski states above.

 

On 5/21/2020 at 4:02 AM, CherishLarain said:

That being said, I am soo annoyed that people are not happy for the new king considering how the old king stressed/ made the people impoverished (on page 1). I think I need a stronger reason for people to hate the new king enough for Ir to feel threatened.

The old government is DEFINITELY getting a makeover, and how the BK's monarchy works is going to get a new fresh coat of paint too. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 8:30 AM, Robinski said:

“Now she had to tell her family” – Eh? I know she is allowed to tell them she is now employed by the palace, but this sounds like it flies straight in the face of the contract she has just signed.

 

On 5/18/2020 at 7:18 PM, Turin Turambar said:

p18 - so the first thing she does after signing a nondisclosure agreement - is tell people.

I should make this more of a struggle. Ir tends to be of an honest nature, especially around her family and friends. Keeping a secret for her should be incredibly difficult and I'm missing that throughout the book. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 10:26 AM, Mandamon said:

Why does M use telepathy? You call out that few use it, but don't explain why. He makes some physical sounds too, so I'm guessing he's not mute?

M is mute, actually. I had an explanation for this in the first draft, but deleted it because I thought the conversation with P wasn't necessary. I'll toss it back in, considering M is beginning to take a bigger role in my outlines for the future. 

On 5/18/2020 at 10:26 AM, Mandamon said:

Cow with telekinesis: Do all the 4-legged animals have this? I'd think if they didn't, they'd be reduced to living outside and depending on others if they didn't want to just eat grass (or raw animals). Rats/monkeys/and the more humanoid creatures can get by because they have opposable thumbs. How do the ungulates, etc get by?

Not all 4-legged animals have telekinesis. It can create difficulties, but also opportunities. For instance, horses are massively strong compared to humans. Humans have thumbs. Horses typically do much more physical labor while humans tend to take on the finer jobs, like basketweaving or cooking. Animals can be surprisingly thrifty without hands. I mean, give them horizontal doorknobs, and even a regular cat can learn how to open a door. My roommate's cat opens cupboards all the time. Horses are actually great at undoing locks. In the world, rats, like M, are often seamstresses and rune painters. Hummingbirds are singers or messengers or pollinators. No matter one's size or shape, there's some job out there. 

On 5/18/2020 at 7:18 PM, Turin Turambar said:

p3 - don't the theriothropes have different name than their un-uplifted counterparts?

I need to lay the basics down early on in the book, considering this has definitely been a problem.

Civilized = intelligent creature

Mundane = stupid, regular animal

Theriomorphic "therio" = half human, half animal (minotaur, C, sphinxes, satyrs, centaurs, etc)

On 5/19/2020 at 9:37 PM, kais said:

- pg 1: In the early morning chill, the grey stone was painted lilac <-- confused. This makes it seem like it's only painted that color in the early morning, then someone comes and paints it another color later, then repaints it in the morning

Me trying to be poetic, which usually falls flat on its face. My uncle and I were talking about that last night. I'll master being all fancy prose at another time. It just distracts in this work. I'll let my words fly under the radar, just like how brushstrokes shouldn't be seen. I'm not painting an impressionistic painting today.

I'm reading the Starless Sea now by Erin Morgenstern and this lady LOVES her fancy prose, man. It's almost distracting. 

On 5/21/2020 at 2:21 AM, Sarah B said:

Quick question: I might have missed it if you mentioned this already, but do common people have clocks or another method of timekeeping? If not are there clock towers or chimes so people know what time it is? Just wondering because of the specific work start time mentioned at the end of the chapter.

They do have mechanical clocks, as well as sundials. Clock towers are decently common, but it is also common to pay someone to knock on your door and wake you up at a specific time. An alarm person. I know I made a job name for that, because it does come up, I just can't remember off the top of my head. 

On 5/22/2020 at 8:28 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Also, I didn't realize I couldn't read. I knew C couldn't. Maybe I had mixed them up? 

Neither of them are literate. Only about a third of the population in the province is literate, and generally that is the upper class. I mentioned it once with the recipes, and once with the help sign, but a proper foreshadow is three times. I should add in another hint. 

I think this hits all of the random questions! 

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