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Mandamon

20200601 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 21 - 3595 words - Sub 32

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Getting to the end! I took about 200 words out of the first chapter, and over a thousand from the second, based on feedback I've gotten, so I'm hoping these work better.

SUB 32
Chapter 21. E and I check on the Ari. I think this chapter came out better than I was expecting? 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 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.
E lives as an Elg for a few days and learns how they work. She also wins over the voices inside. I, meanwhile, dons the diadem and learns the history of the Eff.
E/I appear in front of the rest of the cast and fill them in on everything. O gets some long overdue recognition and the whole crew starts planning to fight back.
Back with S, he learns about the HoT and what comes next. Then it's off to Re to see how he's working with/against the Ari.
M works with E/I on their connection, Talks to O, and E/I figure out their next steps. Then O talks with the hive and R with the Gr.

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Overall

I thought the beginning was a touch slow, but by page five things were moving at a nice clip. I really liked going into the memories and seeing the two leaders be separated, and I loved I's emotions (not all his of course). The resolution in getting V to wake up was a very good beat, strong emotion, and there was a sweetness to it I really enjoyed. Nice work!

 

As I go

- pg 1: THANK YOU for having a brief discussion of evolution in terms of the Ari. I have been wondering this forever

- that first sentence has a lot of 'in' in it

- pg 1: There is longer a reason <-- missing a 'no'?

- pg 2: She had easily held the voices in check after E returned from her time in the Imperium, but they were calling out to her again.  <-- I understand what you are trying to say but I had to read this three times to sort out the 'her' and 'E'.

- pg 5: I feel like the chapter really gets going here on page 5. I think you could probably cut at least one of the preceding pages to help with flow and wouldn't lose anything in terms of content

- pg 11: I remain deeply shuddery over the diadem embedded in I's skull

- aww, that's a sweet ending!

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Nice chapter! 

The trip into the diadem was easy to follow and compelling.

I felt like I's decision to bargain was a bit rushed over for how suprising it would be to E after their discussion to do almost exactly the opposite. The point came across clearly though.

The only other hangup I had was "like salt in ice cubes." This was not a clear visual for me, I found myself weighing the ideas of frozen salt water in cubes vs hollow ice cubes with powdered salt somehow inside to see which would make sense as a comparison.

I really enjoyed it overall. Thanks for Sharing.

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Sorry I haven't responded in a while! School has started again and teaching has left me drained. We had some meetings today and I have down time so I am reading and commenting ASAP.

For this chapter, I felt a lot of the tension. I always love reading your opening notes/quotes and I feel like the really help set the tone. I agree with @Sarah B that the bargain was rushed over. Also that I's consequences have also been brushed over (at least by E's POV on page 9 when talking about M and K).

I am HUGELY concerned about E's wellbeing. Mainly because of what she is dealing with and how she is unable to share it with her brother because "there are more important things". Overall, I think this was a good chapter.

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

On 6/1/2020 at 4:55 PM, kais said:

I really liked going into the memories and seeing the two leaders be separated, and I loved I's emotions (not all his of course).

Yay emotion!

On 6/1/2020 at 4:55 PM, kais said:

pg 1: THANK YOU for having a brief discussion of evolution in terms of the Ari. I have been wondering this forever

Heh...things have been going so fast there wasn't a lot of chance before now.

On 6/1/2020 at 4:55 PM, kais said:

- pg 11: I remain deeply shuddery over the diadem embedded in I's skull

Lol. I've found, writing these two books, that I seem to be reasonable at writing body horror. Not sure if that's a good thing or what...

On 6/1/2020 at 5:08 PM, Sarah B said:

I felt like I's decision to bargain was a bit rushed over for how suprising it would be to E after their discussion to do almost exactly the opposite. The point came across clearly though.

 

12 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

I agree with @Sarah B that the bargain was rushed over. Also that I's consequences have also been brushed over (at least by E's POV on page 9 when talking about M and K).

Good catch. I'll look back at that and see if I can add more emphasis.

On 6/1/2020 at 5:08 PM, Sarah B said:

The only other hangup I had was "like salt in ice cubes." This was not a clear visual for me, I found myself weighing the ideas of frozen salt water in cubes vs hollow ice cubes with powdered salt somehow inside to see which would make sense as a comparison.

I'll look back at this. I meant more like imperfections in ice.

12 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

Sorry I haven't responded in a while! School has started again and teaching has left me drained. We had some meetings today and I have down time so I am reading and commenting ASAP.

No problem! Thanks for taking the time!

12 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

I am HUGELY concerned about E's wellbeing. Mainly because of what she is dealing with and how she is unable to share it with her brother because "there are more important things".

 

On 6/1/2020 at 4:55 PM, kais said:

- pg 2: She had easily held the voices in check after E returned from her time in the Imperium, but they were calling out to her again.  <-- I understand what you are trying to say but I had to read this three times to sort out the 'her' and 'E'.

So, I'm wondering how much I've addressed this and if I need to add some more on it. I was sort of regarding the "voices" arc as, maybe not concluded, but at a standstill after E took control before leaving the Imp. They're still there and still cause problems, but E has a handle on them, and has I to lean on. Are you all expecting more resolution for this? More conflict?

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57 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Are you all expecting more resolution for this? More conflict?

Oh the idea is fine! Just the sentence structure confused me with the pronouns. 

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The usual disclaimer. I have no clue what anyone else thinks.

Thoughts as I go:

Introduction: I'm not sure why, but I really liked this one. Maybe it is because I never considered evolution, or maybe it just flows really nicely. Maybe I just really like V's POV? I don't have the knowledge or experience to say why I liked this introduction so, but I did. 

Pg 1, "miniature dancers, twenty-eight members" I love this species. It's my favorite species, which I think I bring up pretty much every time H.D. or T.D. appear, but it is true each time. 

Pg 2, "wanting to change her right now into one of the invaders" That is a fantastically bad idea. Suicidal even. Goes to show those voices aren't very sane. 

Pg 2, "Fine. Let’s go" This initially bothered me because she shakes her head before going, "Fine." So I do what I often do, I acted it out, and how she acted made sense. Still, it caused me to stumble, so I'm noting it.

Pg 3, " was not salvageable." This gives me the sads.

Pg 3, "he was trying to keep the annoyance out of his voice" This is only one step away from, "Gosh, Mom." Reminds me of my sister and I.

Pg 3, "The voice quieted." Missing period. 

Pg 3, "Took me a bit to find the right stationary." Okay, until he showed that the stationary had a specific seal, I thought that M was being picky over paper texture or color. I was picturing Two Weeks Notice (which I haven't seen in forever) where the male lead can't decide between two envelope colors. Or at least I think it was that movie, don't quote me.

Pg 4, "She was not just referring to the [masters] in the room." My poor baby...I just want to give her a hug. I want to give them all hugs.

Pg 5, " an entire organ of bells" Two random things: 1) I love handbells and this makes me think of them and 2) my local college is auctioning off a 12,000lb organ. Organs crossed with bells is a funny thought. 

Pg 6, "I believe the Ari will be a valuable addition in fighting the Elg" I think that they'll be a valuable addition to society as a whole.

Pg 6, "She has gotten worse, the past few days." No! Her introduction at the beginning of the chapter only makes me want to hear more from her!

Pg 7, "quivered in worry." Quivered in worry or quivered with worry? I think that's just a stylistic choice.

Pg 7, "They had grown attached to him" Aww, no wonder they behave better when he's around.

Pg 8, "Even the instances in her." I wonder how many of them might have known V...

Pg 8, " She felt almost nothing from him" Is this because of I or because of the diadem, though? If he is searching through it (which the previous sentence makes me believe he is), then maybe he can't connect with E as well. Kind of like how it is hard to have a conversation if you are concentrating on finding something in your phone, or something.

Pg 8, "aid our facet against the invading aliens" Hmmm, somebody has turned into quite the politician. Rather cold-hearted of I. I almost expect that more from E, but considering he has how many decades - centuries - of memories from a politician to tap into, I am also not surprised.

Pg 9, "she’d grown up in" Missing word. 

Pg 10, "had jammed the thing into his head" I loved the wording here. Such a strong, true visual image.

Pg 10, "The Ari know the meaning of community" Oooh, ouch. As I blackmails them with the life of their leader, and E stands there in human form. 

Pg 10, " as open minded as them" Or as easy to blackmail... 

Pg 11, " though none contained his reflection" For now.

Pg 11, "Now the tendrils interfaced all the way to his spine." Oh, well, that's slightly terrifying. The diadem grows. I have to wonder...if the diadem is made up of the same crystal, does this make it very difficult for I to break his back? Although, it doesn't mess with his flexibility...hmmm.

Pg 12, "Had his body changed to what could best process the memories?" Oooh, good question...

Pg 12, " meetings lasting cycles upon cycles" Oh my gosh, this sounds like some form of hell, at the very least purgatory. Ol' BP was a much better person than me to be involved in politics for literal centuries.

 Pg 13, "treasures forgotten" Hmm...maybe more artifacts like the diadem or S's ring?

Pg 13, "dragging a personality down and smothering it into nothingness" No wonder BP stored all of those memories of board meetings.

Pg 13/14 " It was the last meeting" I'm already sad going into this. 

Pg 14, "struggling to reconcile their differences" One group against change, one group accepting too much of it. I find it interesting and nice that they seemed to have balanced out decently in Facet #2, where growing an extra arm is fine but you mostly retain your original form. And, you know, don't absorb each other.

Pg 14, " the bridge between the two was open for a short time" I wonder if it will even link up with new Facets...

Pg 14, " gained from a secret repository" How did they get there, and what other secrets are buried?

Pg 15, " knowing he would likely never again see his other instance." Uh oh, he's not thinking about E, is he? He's thinking like BP.

Pg 15, " They rang like the finest crystal chiming together." Hmmm, what does hitting the Wall sound like? Could you potentially use it as a very strange drum?

Pg 16, " Without looking at other." Incomplete sentence. Not sure if you are going for "Without looking at the others" "Without looking at his other instance" or what.

Pg 16, "Some of our people are readying themselves" Ugh, I am not ready to watch Ari die... :( 

Off to Chapter 22 I go! 

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Thanks @Snakenaps!

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 2, "Fine. Let’s go" This initially bothered me because she shakes her head before going, "Fine." So I do what I often do, I acted it out, and how she acted made sense. Still, it caused me to stumble, so I'm noting it.

Hm. I'll go back and take a look at this.

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

"Took me a bit to find the right stationary." Okay, until he showed that the stationary had a specific seal, I thought that M was being picky over paper texture or color.

Lol. I'l adjust.

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 8, " She felt almost nothing from him" Is this because of I or because of the diadem, though? If he is searching through it (which the previous sentence makes me believe he is), then maybe he can't connect with E as well. Kind of like how it is hard to have a conversation if you are concentrating on finding something in your phone, or something.

Yep,because of the diadem.

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 8, "aid our facet against the invading aliens" Hmmm, somebody has turned into quite the politician. Rather cold-hearted of I. I almost expect that more from E, but considering he has how many decades - centuries - of memories from a politician to tap into, I am also not surprised.

Glad this came across!

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 10, "The Ari know the meaning of community" Oooh, ouch. As I blackmails them with the life of their leader, and E stands there in human form.

Yeah, this was...hard to write.

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 11, "Now the tendrils interfaced all the way to his spine." Oh, well, that's slightly terrifying. The diadem grows. I have to wonder...if the diadem is made up of the same crystal, does this make it very difficult for I to break his back? Although, it doesn't mess with his flexibility...hmmm.

Questions for a later book!

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 12, " meetings lasting cycles upon cycles" Oh my gosh, this sounds like some form of hell, at the very least purgatory. Ol' BP was a much better person than me to be involved in politics for literal centuries.

Lol

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Could you potentially use it as a very strange drum?

Also lol

 

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@Mandamon Maybe I am reading too much into it? I guess that since E was the floating ball and she heard the bad guy voices (not her own inner voices) and then going on break to come back and the inner voices to be strongly prominate makes it feel like shes still struggling/fighting instead of feeling like she has control. 

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3 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

@Mandamon Maybe I am reading too much into it? I guess that since E was the floating ball and she heard the bad guy voices (not her own inner voices) and then going on break to come back and the inner voices to be strongly prominate makes it feel like shes still struggling/fighting instead of feeling like she has control. 

Thanks @CherishLarain. Hopefully it's since there's been a few weeks since you last read that. I'll get feedback from the last set of beta readers, just to make sure.

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On 6/1/2020 at 7:15 AM, Mandamon said:

Chapter 21. E and I check on the Ari. I think this chapter came out better than I was expecting? Let me know!

It came out very well! 

I'm a little uncertain about how I feel about E's loosing a little control again on the voices. I felt like she had such a good grip on that, and I wasn't entirely sure what prompted the slips here. A lack of confidence? S not being around? Moral problems with what they're going to ask the other Ari? None of the above? 

I loved how bold I was with the bargaining while E shrunk from it. 

The journey through the memories was fantastic. 

Back to the begining, I almost had a feeling that as they went back to the other facet, S was going to find a way to get to the original from the house of time (pure speculation on my part, more spurred by something in the last S chapter than this one). But after reading the next chapter S chapter, I changed my mind about that. 

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Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

1 hour ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm a little uncertain about how I feel about E's loosing a little control again on the voices. I felt like she had such a good grip on that, and I wasn't entirely sure what prompted the slips here. A lack of confidence? S not being around? Moral problems with what they're going to ask the other Ari? None of the above? 

Okay, might need to dial the voices back a bit here, or give E a more satisfying control over them.

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Posted (edited)

Comments, with apologies for the delay:

(page 1)

- "banged it into her hip" - This innter conflict has played really well in this book. It had never been far away, but not so completely dominant that En has felt like the main character. Nicely judged, I think.

(page 2)

- "talking with M and K" - probably WRS, but I'm having to stop and try to remember who these are. The Ar leader in the other facet, and...the doctor?

- "Fine. Let’s go" - Whose line is this? I don't have everyone's houses memorised (apart from S's), that's too much for me to retain.

- "Useful if the Imp was not salvageable" - Good, some big stakes, some recognition of that. She might have shuddered at the thought, but maybe not, since In and En have a refuse in the other facet, so are maybe slightly less invested in the Imp surviving than say, Man.

(page 3)

- "They were curious about how Ar work together" - so, not actually in support.

(page 5)

- "an entire organ of bells" - But an organ is made of pipes, surely: mixed metaphor, IMO.

- "I believe the Ar will be a valuable addition in fighting" - Kind of weak. The stakes are slipping away again. Maybe 'We have to have the Ar to stand any chance' is a bit strong, but something like 'We will be that much weaker without them', or 'Our chances will be diminished without their aid'. I think Man is entirely capable of putting huge (unfair) pressure on others to do his bidding, for the best of reasons, of course.

(page 6)

- "They had grown attached to him" - Really? Huh. That seems uncharacteristically soft for most of the voices.

(page 7)

- "will be back to judge those with concerns" - I don't think she judges them. Surely she adjudicates their concerns? Or something like that.

- "she felt a connection already" - I don't remember this before. This feels new to me. And it's not like she has not been in the room with V before, is it?

(page 9)

- "read through it three times, very carefully" - This feels verging on out of her POV, since she can't really know he reads it three times, surely, or how carefully he is reading it.

- "but we are asked by our lost son and daughter" - First time I read this I was thinking is was the Ble who drove them here, for some reason. I think because the Ble are the 'baddies' and the Imp are 'goodies', by implication, although the Ar War is less clear cut.

(page 10)

- "have asked the question as In had" - He doesn't ask a question, IMO; he basically gives Mat an ultimatum.

- "their staff thumping on the floor" - The staff is mentioned three or four times, but it performs no role in the scene, that I can see. I appreciate it is somewhat dramatic at the end of the scene, but 

- "an eternity...reflection" - awesome line.

(page 12)

- "at the expense of forgetting who one was" - Great line, but it seems as much or more about forgetting the memories that one has stored (like some of the ancient digital photos one takes, but only remember when one sees them).

- "At last In found hazy memories" - I'm not for a minute suggesting bulking out the section, but this feels too easy. Okay, the memories are buried, but he just slogs away and, oh 'at last' he found them, in the course of a page (basically). He doesn't have to solve a puzzle, circumvent a barrier, work and intricate lock or maze of memories. Here at the end of the book, I want more stakes, harder challenges, characters dogged constantly by the chance of failure and losing everything.

- "captured like salt...ice" - very nice simile.

(page 13)

- "He ventured...this direction or that" - Oh, very nice. There are some great lines in this scene, very evocative of the kind of mysterious atmosphere I want to be feeling right here.

(page 15)

- "and V jerked" - Oh, that was so immediate. Kind of disappointing not to have a moment to wonder if it worked.

- "I had full faith in you" - At the end of the chapter here, I don't like this line. It comes over like 'Of, sure, well obviously you were going to succeed; there was never any question.' I feel like it undermines the whole scene, selling us short on any belief that In might not have succeeded. It feels out of character for Mat too, IMO, who is good at accentuating the positive*. I know he's trying to compliment In, but I just had that contra feeling in the same moment.

- Nice conclusion: totally qualifies as 'out earlier', IMO, and a strong note to end on. 

OVERALL

Good chapter, I enjoyed it plenty. My gripe is that I don't think the stakes are high enough, not that we need to hear the Imp and ending all over the place, but I don't really feel the chance of failure. It goes too easily, IMO. There's not try-fail: that's okay, I don't think we have time for that, but there is little sense of resistance from Mat, or from the Ar in this facet. Neither is In's search for the memories quite hard enough, IMO. Okay, it took him 2 days, but as we experienced it, was quite easy, per my comment above.

Nice work. The forces of light are mustering! :) 

 

(* Cue for a song, @Silk, that would be my request for your next live performance, but suspect it wouldn't work without the vocal, and I'm pretty sure you can't play the trombone and sing at the same time!)

Edited by Robinski
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On 03/06/2020 at 10:39 PM, Snakenaps said:

The usual disclaimer. I have no clue what anyone else thinks.

I think I'm right in saying that nobody reads the comments before reading the submission. To be fair, I used to point that out myself when I commented, back in my early days, but stopped because I think it's universal. (Someone tell me I'm wrong?)

Just thought I could save you some typing each week :)

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Robinski!

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think I'm right in saying that nobody reads the comments before reading the submission. To be fair, I used to point that out myself when I commented, back in my early days, but stopped because I think it's universal. (Someone tell me I'm wrong?)

I don't read the comments before I read the submission, but I do read all of them before I post what I wrote, in case others have concerns I didn't see the first time around.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

"talking with M and K" - probably WRS,

You got it, so I think this is WRS

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "I believe the Ar will be a valuable addition in fighting" - Kind of weak. The stakes are slipping away again.

Yep. Can bump this up.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

"They had grown attached to him" - Really? Huh. That seems uncharacteristically soft for most of the voices.

I was hoping this showed that E had some control over them now. However with the other comments on her for this chapter I think I need to go over her relationship with them at the end of the book and tweak.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "At last I found hazy memories" - I'm not for a minute suggesting bulking out the section, but this feels too easy. Okay, the memories are buried, but he just slogs away and, oh 'at last' he found them, in the course of a page (basically). He doesn't have to solve a puzzle, circumvent a barrier, work and intricate lock or maze of memories. Here at the end of the book, I want more stakes, harder challenges, characters dogged constantly by the chance of failure and losing everything.

Hmm. Good point, and you do also mention that this takes two days. I was trying to give the impression more of difficulty in length to find the memories, rather than actually finding them. After all, they were stored in the diadem, so I would think just accessing them is not that difficult with respect to finding the right one. I'll take another look at this.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

Kind of disappointing not to have a moment to wonder if it worked.

I'll also look at this and see if I can add a hesitation, but I'm also more in the "wrap things up" phase than "it doesn't work" phase.

11 hours ago, Robinski said:

My gripe is that I don't think the stakes are high enough, not that we need to hear the Imp and ending all over the place, but I don't really feel the chance of failure. It goes too easily, IMO. There's not try-fail: that's okay, I don't think we have time for that, but there is little sense of resistance from Mat, or from the Ar in this facet. Neither is In's search for the memories quite hard enough, IMO. Okay, it took him 2 days, but as we experienced it, was quite easy, per my comment above.

I do think you're right that there can be a little more in the way of stakes, but I don't want to drag this up either. I'll see if I can add some small moments of hesitation, rather than large ones.

Thanks!

Edited by Mandamon
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On 6/3/2020 at 5:39 PM, Snakenaps said:

The usual disclaimer. I have no clue what anyone else thinks.

 

 

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think I'm right in saying that nobody reads the comments before reading the submission.

95% of the time I read the submission first, but there have been a few times where I'm worried something might be triggering, so I look at some of the comments first. But a majority of the time, I don't want anyone's critique influencing mine. After I gather my thoughts, I will look at some of the things other people said, especially the "overall" type comments and decide if I want to agree or disagree with or comment on what has already been said. 

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42 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

I don't read the comments before I read the submission, but I do read all of them before I post what I wrote, in case others have concerns I didn't see the first time around.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think I'm right in saying that nobody reads the comments before reading the submission. To be fair, I used to point that out myself when I commented, back in my early days, but stopped because I think it's universal. (Someone tell me I'm wrong?)

Just thought I could save you some typing each week :)

 

23 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

95% of the time I read the submission first, but there have been a few times where I'm worried something might be triggering, so I look at some of the comments first. But a majority of the time, I don't want anyone's critique influencing mine. After I gather my thoughts, I will look at some of the things other people said, especially the "overall" type comments and decide if I want to agree or disagree with or comment on what has already been said. 

Thank you, all! It's good to hear how everyone else does it :)

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:
7 hours ago, Robinski said:

Kind of disappointing not to have a moment to wonder if it worked.

I'll also look at this and see if I can add a hesitation, but I'm also more in the "wrap things up" phase than "it doesn't work" phase.

Definitely, I agree that a try-fail would be too much here, and a lot of readers might be like 'Really, again?' Just a moment of doubt, and couple of breaths (oh, the old classic 'Did the CPR work? Nope, still dead. No, wait: he/she/they are alive!'

Oh!! @Mandamon, I used In-s full name twice in my comments. Many apologies!! I've edited my posts, but it occurs once in one of the quotes in our response. Sorry!

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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

Definitely, I agree that a try-fail would be too much here, and a lot of readers might be like 'Really, again?' Just a moment of doubt, and couple of breaths (oh, the old classic 'Did the CPR work? Nope, still dead. No, wait: he/she/they are alive!'

Oh!! @Mandamon, I used In-s full name twice in my comments. Many apologies!! I've edited my posts, but it occurs once in one of the quotes in our response. Sorry!

Can do.

I edited my comment too. I'm not overly concerned about people finding this, but probably for the best.

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Robinski said:

and I'm pretty sure you can't play the trombone and sing at the same time

You only say that because you didn't catch my last livestream...

Edited by Silk
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21 hours ago, Silk said:

You only say that because you didn't catch my last livestream...

:o 

Oh, man. Can I watch it back somewhere?

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