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Snakenaps

7/6/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - Chapter Eight (3017 words)

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After four weeks, I'm finally posting a new chapter!

This chapter is one I am particularly proud of. Not because it doesn't have flaws (it does), but because this chapter was completely overhauled for Draft Two. It used to take place in a public bathhouse with no confrontation and no tension. I'm proud of how I've completely managed to turn this chapter on its head and make something so much better.

All comments, questions, and feedback welcome!

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Jumping in first since I have prior knowledge on this one! Although I think I'm only two chapters ahead, so I'm hoping to get back to reading this one later this week.

I was a little disappointed to have Ir go haring off on a boat ride when I was more interested in if she's found any spies, but this chapter had some good character development between I and S, and we get to know the sister a little better. I'm also glad we find out more about S's revolutionary tendencies and some of what they're doing.

We also learn about the name powers their family has, which are pretty cool. They could go into identity theft and password stealing and make a killing!

And I was wondering why the boat suddenly capsizes. I thought they were both capable sailors?

But (you knew it was coming...)

This was also the first chapter I really felt was dragged down by the lack of worldbuilding around the governmental system. I know you said you're changing it, and I think this chapter actually gives a lot of good jumping-off points for how to do so. 

S comes across as a sort of rebel without a cause. She talks so much about bringing down the government and trying to kill off the B.K. but we have no reason why. She urges I to get out of working at the palace, but as far as I can tell, this is the best deal of I's live, even accounting for the bad parts.

S talks a lot about not liking Mat. but I don't think we've ever been shown why people don't like people from that country. People in England hate people in France, because they've fought each other for more than a thousand years. People from the U.S. tend to look down on Canadians and Mexicans because the U.S. was expansionist and was stopped at those borders (among other things). There's religious disputes, border tussles, political pundits claiming sanctuary across borders...there's so many options to choose from with why one country dislikes another.

I feel like this is perfect place to close on emotional buildup over the first eight chapter, but right now it falls flat because we haven't had it.

We are also told why being a Fey is bad, that they are cruel and heartless, but never why. There has to be some reason that type of name-calling would start.

Finally, S just seems not to know what she's doing. I basically demolishes her whole argument near the end of the chapter: "At least right now our streets don’t run red with blood. The B.K.’s taxes aren’t as bad as T’s. There aren’t daily or weekly executions. No raids on random houses." They're doing pretty well, for a 1500's equivalent city.

Finally, I have one prescriptive suggestion, so feel free to use it or not. It could lead to some extra conflict in the first couple chapters. S says the B.K. has taken over other cities, so what if they were planning to overthrow the previous king (who was already established as terrible) and let the people make the laws, except the B.K. got there first and took over? That would certainly make the revolutionaries want to remove him.

Glad to see your submissions again! Again, I'll try to get back on reading ahead soon.

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Ah, I'm glad to be able to comment here and re-kickstart my read through of Name... Glad you are back subbing, @Snakenaps :) 

These are the same comments you have had already, but--if nothing else--it was helpful for me to read through them again to get back up to speed.

You've already responses on some of the points before, of course. I summary though, I think it's a really good chapter, and I love the setting, the mood. Can practically feel the wind in my hair (very long, lockdown hair) and smell the salt :D 

Chapter 8 

I realise that I never really think about my feelings going into a chapter, which is something a reader would do, so it might be useful to start including this in my critiques (because they’re not long enough as is, LOL). So, I’m really into the story, and have been for several chapters, to be fair. I’m keen to find out how things play out with Ir’s new role, and what intrigue emerges from that. I’m hoping we get into that soon. I think this part should be where we find out what the overarching stakes are for the whole story. What is the inciting incident that will put Ir at the centre of bigger, more dangerous events.

Her visiting her sister—as I see we are from the start of the chapter—seems likely to take the entire chapter, and no doubt will be tense and angry. I do wonder if it’s likely that anything will happen on the big canvas of the city, but maybe I don’t need that for this chapter to be a zinger.

I’m so sorry about the restaurant.” – Ooh, and we’re straight to the moment of revelation. I like that we go straight there, pretty much.

Brown hair is really vague. There are sooooo many browns. Maybe it’s cited elsewhere, but it’s an opportunity for a more compelling description, without going into great length.

get rid of that awful smell” – What smell? Confused.

Oh… I was so sure that Ir would have to spill the beans when confronted with the topic of concern, but she dodged it. Okay, that’s natural, they’re practically still in the house.

any particularly unusual species” – After the mention of mundane seagulls, I was sure that we were talking about mundane creatures, but it seems like we’re talking about sentient species, which is unclear, IMO. Also, repetition of ‘species’ here is awkward, IMO.

the tiny sailboat had no name” – This seems really unlikely to me. Okay, people and places are different, but, having spent a lot to time holidaying in coastal settlements, I’ve seen anything and everything given a name, right down to rowing boats.

before we lose our light” - I sense it was morning, for some reason, so this struck me odd. then thinking about it, I guess Ir has come from work? Not clear, but maybe WRS.

mainsheet rope” – I’ve been sailing precisely once, but I’m pretty confident from that and reading and watching shows that on a boat, anything we’d call a rope on land is called a ‘sheet’ or ‘line’ on a boat, so, this is like saying ‘rope rope’ or ‘line line’. I appreciate the problem though, or conveying the meaning to someone not familiar with the term mainsheet. Clearly, these challenges are why writers earn the big bucks!! ;o) I wonder if it would work to say ‘rope that was the mainsheet’ the first time, then just say jibsheet.

S’s birthplace” – I’ve comments on this multiple times in notes, but I can’t recall if I’ve done it on the forum. Ir’s constant references to her parents by the first names s really bothering me. I don’t know anyone who does that, I’ve never heard anyone do that (I don’t think) in fiction textual or visual, unless, it’s being ironically ratty towards a step parent, or for some kind of isolated comic effect. When I read it here are pretty much every reference to Ir’s parents, I find it a barrier to my brain figuring who we are talking about. Just for a second, then the weirdness lands.

Now, this is the moment! (Gleefully anticipates a stormy argument.) 

the bottom of the ocean” – Surely they are not out in the ocean, but still in the bay. This implies they are in the open sea. There will be a massive difference in the waters of they were actually on the ocean, and they just would not in a boat this size, surely?

The argument is well played so far. Right on both sides, wrong on both sides. I’m enjoying it.

placed their feet on the hull and began to lean backwards” – I like that you don’t explain what they are doing, but let the reader work it out. It’s entirely obvious, but there is still satisfaction for readers to see what’s happening for themselves.

They came to me” – Hmph. Ir knows what Su is like, knows the friction between them, the most recent argument among the family about Su joining the rebels. “You can’t tell anyone” – I just can’t believe, I don’t believe that her judgement is that bad, and that her sense of honesty would trump everything that she knows about her sister, and how unlikely it is that Su will comply with this. It flies in the face of the NDC. Basically, after signing the contracts, Ir has done nothing else but go around telling EVERYONE she meets what she has done. It’s makes me think less of her; it makes me think she has really poor judgement; it makes me feel that she will absolutely deserve whatever bad stuff is going to come down the pipe as a result of her recklessness.

flipping Ir quickly into the boat, and pulling the sails out of the water with a fast jerk” – This seems super unlikely to me. Su is levering not only the boat, but the sails, and the huge resistance of the water on the sails, and the weight of her sister? I’m no sailor, and I know it’s a small boat, and maybe you’ve researched the heck out of this, or are a sailor a know all about it, but I can’t imagine that Ir is helping by holding onto the boat so she is flipped in. Surely they can climb in, one from each side, at the same time once the craft is righted. 

Also, the boat will be partly full of water, surely, once righted. They must have to bail it out, don’t they?

To call someone F was to imply their cruelty and heartlessness” – I don’t think this has been explained so far. I’ve been taking this literally, that the BK is actually F. There was reference some time back about there being F in the north, I think? I presumed that was where he came from originally… “up north” – LOL, and there we go. I remember something!!

we have a benefactor” – This is a neat line, and piles on the intrigue. Also, it’s nice for the reader that Su shares these interesting new details, but it is basically her being as loose-lipped with sensitive facts are Ir has been. Seems that they are both recklessly reveal secrets that they should not be!! Actually, it adds a nice kind of symmetry to this scenes, and I a way makes me feel better about Ir just TELLING Su everything.

the sails whispering in the wind” – They will need to dry out some, won’t they, to sail properly?

they didn’t hire me as a chef” – Oh, come on! Please, for the love of Rav keep a secret!! Just one! She can have this discussion with her sister without telling her this. 

how many beats there are in a name” – I don’t understand… like syllables? What possible use is that? I guess you don’t get to choose, but that does not sound like an ability to me, but  half-formed one.

but the words seemed to have fled” – I only they had before Ir just told her everything.

with careful neutrality” – Excellent line. The conversation (any conversation) is at its best when there is nuance, variation in tone and ‘volume’.

To say no would put her contract at risk. To say yes, would put S and T in danger” – No, I don’t buy this. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t put anyone in danger, it’s only if she acts out that ‘no’, and deliberately fails to identifying someone. Saying it doesn’t really matter, in the same way that ‘saying’ yes here in the boat doesn’t put S and T in danger. Also, at this point, I’m beginning to think that Ir will just act honestly towards whoever is in front of her, as she seems to be largely incapable on intrigue, from her recent actions.

I find the metaphor of the tiller and the direction of her life a bit heavy-handed if I’m honest. It makes me think of ‘low-hanging fruit’ (have you got to that episode of WE?). It’s absolutely obvious and understandable that someone’s mind would go there, so it’s obviously not wrong. I think maybe it’s just in the phrasing then, the delivery?

unknown in every direction” – So, I guess she doesn’t like exploring, and adventure. That’s fine! Reluctant adventurers can make for excellent stories.

fighting for a country that never valued us anyway” – I’ve not seen or heard of Ir doing any fighting for her country, so this seems way off to me.

air force” – modern term, IMO.

The BK is a monster” – I get told this a lot, but I really don’t see it yet, but that does not mean I want a scene in his POV while her tortures someone. It’s just that things don’t seem so bad. The BK could have taken away Ir’s younger siblings and blackmailed her into working for him on pain of their death. Instead, he rebuilds a restaurant and pays everyone’s salaries, gives out contracts of employment. These are not the actions of a monster.

I think that all monarchs are monsters” – Whether or not this is actually true in this world, it’s a gross generalisation and feels too easy, comfortable and dismissive a conclusion for someone who, by self-confession knows very little about the world. Reducing the world to sweeping moral judgements like this waters down its complexity, nuance, and diversity. Does she also think all rich people are monsters? Car, by the standard of most people in the city—as the owner of a business (and two properties)—world be considered rich by most of the population, I suspect.

it’ll never get any worse than this” – Am I missing something? Surely she means worse, and Ir hopes it will never get worse?!

OVERALL: This is a good chapter, I like the arc of it, the emotion of it, the pacing of it is good, for me. As usual, there are a few details, but the thing the really stands out for me is how Ir seems completely incapable of keeping a secret, and I feel that bodes ill for how the story will play out, and how the intrigue will work. I guess the time at which she will have to withhold things from people must be coming, but her just telling everyone about her secret confidentially contract…I don’t like the signals it sends.

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Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Finally, I have one prescriptive suggestion, so feel free to use it or not. It could lead to some extra conflict in the first couple chapters. S says the B.K. has taken over other cities, so what if they were planning to overthrow the previous king (who was already established as terrible) and let the people make the laws, except the B.K. got there first and took over? That would certainly make the revolutionaries want to remove him.

I'd expect nothing less that a really good suggestion from Mandamon. This is would certainly increase S's credibility as a revolutionary. I do like that she has only recently joined though. What if her husband the smith was active before, and now she has decided to join too? Dunno, but I like the idea. I was also moved to comment on the fact that the BK's government actually does not sound that bad at all, so I know it's something you have in mind. I think it remains probably the biggest issue with Draft2 that I'm reading.

Edited by Robinski
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1 hour ago, Robinski said:
17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Finally, I have one prescriptive suggestion, so feel free to use it or not. It could lead to some extra conflict in the first couple chapters. S says the B.K. has taken over other cities, so what if they were planning to overthrow the previous king (who was already established as terrible) and let the people make the laws, except the B.K. got there first and took over? That would certainly make the revolutionaries want to remove him.

I'd expect nothing lease that a really good suggestion from Mandamon. This is would certainly increase S's credibility as a revolutionary. I do like that she has only recently joined though. What if her husband the smith was active before, and now she has decided to join too? Dunno, but I like the idea. I was also moved to comment on the fact that the BK's government actually does not sound that bad at all, so I know it's something you have in mind. I think it remains probably the biggest issue with Draft2 that I'm reading.

completely agree that the largest, most concerning foundation problem the book has is the former government, the current government, and the Revolutionaries. @Mandamon has a fantastic idea and I'm totally going to test it out. It actually works out why S wouldn't be able to join, because before the war, she was pregnant with her first child, and would have been hesitant to join. Now that both of her children are pretty much out of diapers, she'd want to get involved. As for her husband, he may have been playing around with the idea before the war, but then ended up being enlisted because he can work iron (and therefore make weapons) for his country. Which, despite the hatred he had for the previous government, he would have done to protect his country. 

As I mentioned briefly earlier, I'm testing out new forms for the governments as well. I'm going to summarize them here and see if anyone can pull them apart or notice anything I may have missed:

Former Government: In Draft Two, I made this government bloodthirsty, and it didn't work. So I'm taking the monopolies and instead focusing on more of an Industrial Revolution-inspired system. Capitalism cranked up to a high degree with no regulations. As long as the wealthy can cover it up and pay the bribes, the government will look away as long as its pocketbooks are gilded. The working class has no modern day unions to fight for them, and no rights to protect them from being hurt. The Revolutionaries began to arise because they wanted the common people to have a say, instead of only the wealthy. I might pull in some of @TheDwarfyOne's peasant representation knowledge (see, and @TheDwarfyOne you thought I'd get bored) and see how the former government would have spun the working class to make them seem worthy of subjugation. Those lazy louts! Drunkards, all of them. They deserve to be stomped on 

Current (BK) Government: Is now inspired by my own California government. Monopolies are torn down, while tariffs control the previously barely-regulated trade. Permits and licenses, as well as record keeping (in a highly illiterate society, how is that fair, Sue now grumbles in Chapter 1), are now a must. All T's must be crossed, all I's must be dotted, except the government is involved, so nothing is done efficiently (in an attempt to arrest some officers for bribery, the entire docks are shut down for most of the day). The people bristle, as they feel like they went from a government that wouldn't protect them at all, to a new government that pretends to care, but won't even let anyone sneeze without paying for a permit. Now their freedom is a bunch of chains holding them down. What are they, babies that can't take care of themselves? This fits in well with the planned Book Two, as not only is the BK a manipulative control freak, but he also has a solid reason to begin laying such heavy regulations because spoilers.  

I also think I want to spin the national pride of Country P much higher, and give them a xenophobic disdain towards everyone else. M is smaller, with only one major city. I can see Country P people calling them the equivalent of rednecks and country bumpkins, filled with no class. That, I can pull from with personal experience. And, of course Country B was defeated by the BK. Weak, the lot of them, from infighting and those black markets! Country P knows how to run international trade, unlike them. Leaky ships smelling of rot! Who'd want to buy from them

As usual, my biggest enemy is going to be anachronistic phrases and finding alternatives. 

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My nickel's worth would be that an overly officious government is not exactly Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, or Idi Amin in Uganda. It still sounds to me that the greatest horror perpetrated on the people of this country is that they have to do more paperwork and get permits, pay fees and taxes(?) to support a government that treats them as people rather than animals, and does not seem--on the page--to treat them badly.

This is fantasy, and we're reading it to escape from the everyday lives in which we have to do more paperwork than we would like and have to pay taxes to governments that we often do not agree with. (That's glib, I know. Some of us have it way harder than that, but I'm trying to make a general point here.) I don't think the stakes are high enough. I don't think--from my external viewpoint, admittedly--that the Government of California is a sufficiently heinous overlord as a model, although I have no experience of it, but we live in a world in which China has just introduced swinging new laws in Hong Kong; Vladimir Putin is a de facto dictator who cannot be removed from office, despite his country pretending to be a democracy; we have the Asad regime in Syria perpetrating wholesale slaughter using chemical weapons, and Saddam Hussein; Robert Mugabe; apartheid; the Bosnian genocide by Slobodan Milosevic. I am also going out on a limb here to suggest that the government of California is not even the worst in the US, never mind the winder world, from the little I have seen from the outside.

I mean, I would have said monopolies are a bad thing, why not tear them down? Companies with monopolies don't need to treat their customers well, don't need to try hard to keep them, don't have to give good value or good customer service.

4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

What are they, babies that can't take care of themselves?

Unfortunately some people are, and that is why most 'caring' countries have a welfare state. But, more to the point, a lot of employers in the real world are ruthless, and will cut any corner they can to make a buck. Many employers need to be regulated, or we would end with workhouses and sweatshops on every corner. Permits and license should be a must, how else do you make sure the health and safety legislation is being followed, or that employees are being treated fairly?

Putting the soapbox aside, I think it all comes down to stakes. The main character has a loving a supportive family, a good job, which became a different job, but still one for which she is rewarded, and does not seem to undergo any particular hardship or oppression. I'd guess that there are a lot of readers out there seeking escape from difficult and unhappy situations that might look at Ir's life and say 'Yes, I would take that in a heartbeat.' I don't think the stakes are high enough.

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Notes as I go:

P. 1. “That early evening, I knocked on S’s door, admiring the new plant outside.” - Convoluted!

“still slightly unstable.” – probably not the right adjective. Children aren’t unstable. Clumsy, uncoordinated, sure.

“a rare but highly valuable trade.” – Highly valued, perhaps?

“the surface decorated in a high degree of clay.” – I believe this means that the clay is messing up the table, but I’m not sure.

“Su’s oldest, Sa, was bent over, concentrating on making his lump of clay even more lumpy.” – getting serious cute vibes from these kids.

P. 2. “The blacksmith’s dark skin shown” – Shone?

“I’ve barely spoken to you in nearly two weeks. Thanks for inviting me along for sailing. It’s been a while since I’ve been out on the water. Too long. L was so happy to deliver the message, but that’s probably because I kept him for lunch, rather than being happy over seeing his eldest sister.” – This is an awful lot of dialogue. Unless this fella has a very chatty character, then it’s fine. But I haven’t got that vibe from him so far.

P. 3 “her sister passionately” – wrong word?

“that the two sisters slipped through.” – Among? Between?

P. 4. I like the description of the sailing. Evocative!

P. 5. “’Sparks!’ Both sisters echoed, as the wind took the smaller sail with a sharp snap. S and I instantly ducked as the boom came swinging over their heads, before both were tossed in the sea as S capsized. With a practiced stroke, I shot herself to the surface, blinking the salt water out of her eyes. A second later, S’s dark head appeared, her long hair covering her face. The dinghy slowly rolled all the way over, until the mast was pointing straight down towards the bottom of the ocean.” – I feel this is formatted badly. I feel a new paragraph is needed before “with a practiced stroke.” It also feels like a shopping list of what happens, rather than a description of how I feels as it happens.

P. 6. This page is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s fine for S to go from angry to concerned, but she seems to instantly fall into the extremes of each.

P. 9. “shocking I haven’t ran into” – run.

I like the antagonism – revolutionary and BK employee siblings who love each other.

P. 10. “S said with resolve.” How does one say something with resolve? A furrowed brow? A level gaze? Describing that might be a better way of putting it across.

P. 11. “The BK is a monster, and he needs to be destroyed.” Interestingly, I haven’t seen him do anything monstrous yet. Or seen the effects of his monstrous policies/decisions. I’m thinking of the Seanchan in the Wheel of Time. They conquered numerous nations, resulting in social changes. But they were never truly antagonistic, because their one sin was conquering. This made it easy to make them ally with ‘the good guys’ in the Last Battle.

I haven’t seen an increase of orphans in the streets, the widows of defeated soldiers, merciless destruction of those who oppose him, militaristically or politically. I also haven’t read the entire thing, so that might be why, hah.

Oh, hey, if I’d read a few words further I’d have seen you pretty much write that yourself. Life under the previous monarch was worse. In which case, the BK’s sin is twofold.

1)      He conquered militaristically, and ergo killed a lot of people, probably destroying infrastructure. Would be good to see the scars of this – empty holes were buildings used to be, portions of the palace walls which are obviously newer brick, that type of thing.

2)      He has forcibly taken the people’s sovereignty. Previously, they could content themselves with knowing that it was their monarch. S hints at this by saying she wants what, essentially, amounts to democracy (possibly communism?). A way for the people to regain their sovereignty. It’s an interesting part of the Brexit debate. There are benefits to pooling resources and political clout within the EU. Much like there are benefits under the BK. But people care about being in control of their sovereignty. In which case, I’d like to see visual representations of this sin. Perhaps a statue of the old king has been replaced by the BK. An overheard conversation about some old constitution being rewritten at the BK’s command. Another thing is the possibility of nationalist movements, appealing to this sense of nationhood. The revolutionaries perhaps do this, but so far all I know is that S is quite pragmatic and not needlessly patriotic. Showing the BK crush nationalists under his heel and grind them in would be a good way to further showcase this sin.

This is just me pontificating, feel free to ignore :P

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16 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I think it all comes down to stakes. The main character has a loving a supportive family, a good job, which became a different job, but still one for which she is rewarded, and does not seem to undergo any particular hardship or oppression.

 

16 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I don't think the stakes are high enough.

So what I need to do, is tear this apart.

A loving, supportive family? Alright, time to up Sue and Ir's headbutting, threaten that their loss of relationship is going to poison the entire family dynamic. Adding more the to Revolutionaries definitely helps this, and I'm going to push the spy-finding gig harder. 

A good job? Time to up the stakes where she might lose it.

I've already got an idea to make her chose Sue or the restaurant. Time to test that out, and then go in a make it and even more difficult.

Hardship or oppression. Okay, I'm not writing grimdark here, but it's time to figure out how I can really make people suffer... I'm already bombing the city, destroying a lot, trying to emphasize "hey man, a war happened here." I think we need an extra sprinkling of orphans, and I like @TheDwarfyOne's idea of knocking down and replacing some statues. 

I think I definitely need to stop relying on what I know, and start doing more research on what I don't know. The Black King was inspired by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk back in the day...I think it's time to revisit totalitarian dictators and such. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I just read the other comments. I'm definitely not alone on the "Is the BK realllly all that evil?" front, then.

Quote

Capitalism cranked up to a high degree with no regulations. As long as the wealthy can cover it up and pay the bribes, the government will look away as long as its pocketbooks are gilded. The working class has no modern day unions to fight for them, and no rights to protect them from being hurt. The Revolutionaries began to arise because they wanted the common people to have a say, instead of only the wealthy.

 

This sounds like the monarchy in Elantris. I recommend looking into this for possible inspiration. The South Sea Bubble is a prime example of the bad things which happen when profits and governments become too intertwined.

Edit: I just remembered something else. The early-modern European nations favoured mercantilism, the general principle of which is this: export as much - and import as little - as possible. This often held hands with colonialism. The mother nation would receive raw materials from colonies and export the products back. In the BK's case, he's conquered a few kingdoms. Perhaps he favours one (Perhaps it's a northern fey-kingdom (dun dun dunnnnnn))? In which case, he'd be sending all the raw materials from his latest conquest elsewhere, and S would have good reason to be grumpy. There's no need for crafting, or workers, anymore! Just serfs who work for raw materials. Her husband is such a craftsman!

Quote

 

I might pull in some of @TheDwarfyOne's peasant representation knowledge (see, and @TheDwarfyOne you thought I'd get bored) and see how the former government would have spun the working class to make them seem worthy of subjugation. Those lazy louts! Drunkards, all of them. They deserve to be stomped on

 

I heartily approve! :D If you have any questions on that front, let me know. I.... may know too much.

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The people bristle, as they feel like they went from a government that wouldn't protect them at all, to a new government that pretends to care, but won't even let anyone sneeze without paying for a permit. Now their freedom is a bunch of chains holding them down. What are they, babies that can't take care of themselves?

This is good, and ties into my previous point about Brexit (another possible case-study for you!). The more needlessly bureaucratic a system of government is, the less the common people like it.

Think farmers being forced to send in genetic samples of all calves born. Without these samples, the calves can't be sold. But they lose the samples. So the calves can't be sold. But now the farmer has to take more samples, which causes pain. This gets through, but the calf has consumed more food/labour (this is detailed because it is a gripe my father, being a farmer, has. He calls the Department of Agriculture agents "spivs," which is a great insult from him.)

This doesn't even touch on the fact that such a database is another method of increasing control on farmers and removing their agency. I highlight this last word because it is where a bureaucratic state gets its power. By reducing individual autonomy and agency in favour of set standards. Many, many people don't like this. It stifles creativity, for one. It's a pain, for another.

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I also think I want to spin the national pride of Country P much higher, and give them a xenophobic disdain towards everyone else.

Hey, look, my nationalist groups notion fits into this!

Edited by TheDwarfyOne
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Overall

It was well written, but I'm not sure how it advances the plot at all. We don't get any new information and mostly rehash old information. It looks like there was an attempt to do an emotional arc by confiding in the sister, but I don't feel any...real pull from that. I didn't have any tension about her family not accepting her, so this talk through didn't resonate. I'm all about emotional beats and family discussions, but I need some sort of tension pulling me through. What is the big overarching plot? Has she found any spies yet? What is the potential situation with the sister? Might she be disowned? What are the emotional stakes here?

I also really want the plot to move. It's so enticing, and we had a good start to it last chapter, so I'm ready for things to take off and for us to get another inciting incident for the movement of the plot. It can be an emotional inciting incident, but I need...I need a spark in this, or some hot embers going in, to stay invested. 

As I go

- pg 1: decorated in a high degree of clay.  <-- I don't understand this. The clay is a nice clay? There is a lot of clay on the table?

- pg 1: The blacksmith’s dark skin  <-- we are getting a lot of dark skin descriptions and not really any on the white people. Yellow flag for white default

- pg 2: They shared the same brown, slightly wavy hair, the round face, and button nose<-- red flag, no skin tone mention. White default alert

- pg 4: Four pages in and nothing has happened that advances the plot at all. Are these pages necessary?

- pg 9: no new information being presented through these pages. We already know what she does and how she does it

 

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1 hour ago, TheDwarfyOne said:

The early-modern European nations favoured mercantilism, the general principle of which is this: export as much - and import as little - as possible. This often held hands with colonialism. The mother nation would receive raw materials from colonies and export the products back. In the BK's case, he's conquered a few kingdoms. Perhaps he favours one (Perhaps it's a northern fey-kingdom (dun dun dunnnnnn))? In which case, he'd be sending all the raw materials from his latest conquest elsewhere, and S would have good reason to be grumpy. There's no need for crafting, or workers, anymore! Just serfs who work for raw materials. Her husband is such a craftsman!

This...this actually really works. P traditionally receives the raw materials, makes finished goods, ships them back out. But if the BK starts pushing the raw materials north to M...well, if M is stealing your livelihood, that'll make you mad. Considering Ir's mother is a basketweaver...maybe that job is going up north to M...maybe she'll be fired, adding pressure to the family. Not to mention, long-term wise, there is an excellent reason for the BK to push importing little but exporting as much as possible...he'll want the finished goods coming him, not the other way around. Colonialism and mercantilism would only serve to strengthen Book Two...and would absolutely pummel Book Three when everything goes wrong. Which, frankly, is exactly what Book Three needs. 

After reflecting hard upon this (this entire conversation has pretty much consumed my brain for the day), I think the reason I'm having a hard time coming up with a better solution is because I failed to recognize what the BK is. I started thinking about him as the good guy again. And he's not. He's a ruthless manipulator that will do everything he can to set up his plans for the future and make them the reality. I lost sight of that. He isn't necessarily a bad guy, but he isn't good, either. I kept trying to say "bad, evil monarchy", when I then made it good. 

I need it to be tolerable enough that Ir will be confused on which side she's on, but controversial enough that Sue knows exactly which side she is on. And then I need to make the rest of the family members pick which sister they'll lean with. 

Today, I think I'll research mercantilism, imperialism, and colonialism. I have a starting point! Maybe it'll lead to a solution, or maybe it won't, but will inspire a new direction!

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1 hour ago, kais said:

- pg 1: The blacksmith’s dark skin  <-- we are getting a lot of dark skin descriptions and not really any on the white people. Yellow flag for white default

- pg 2: They shared the same brown, slightly wavy hair, the round face, and button nose<-- red flag, no skin tone mention. White default alert

Shoot!!! Argh, it's so difficult to see past my own biases/prejudices! I should know better!!! Look at me, trying to get more representation into book lists but failing with my own novel! 

 

Thank you!!! 

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Hello! Excited to read more.

2) "thank you for inviting" that whole segment of talking does what it's supposed to, but it feels a bit blatant. Maybe?

3) "mundane seagulls" that means we're going to see intelligent seagulls, right? Right?

3) why would there be species strange to N if they're local species?

3) so satyr's are unknown.

5) was it a good idea to tell her on a boat? it's like offering explosives to a child on a spaceship. Also, JUST A SUGGESTION - maybe separate the bit about being offered a job and taking it, to build tension?

6) wow, she forgave her fast.

9) so the abilities are vaguely genetic?

9) "but, yes, I would. I can't risk losing my contract" - she's really forgiving.

10) you know, at the moment, I'm not sure if making the laws makes you valued. It kind of sounds like generic revolutionary dogma.

10) Direwold general! If that person is anything like Mat, I already like him. Of course, he's probably a throwaway character and Mat is the exception to the rule, but I like genius tacticians regardless.

11) and her sister doesn't sour at being told the the BK is better than everyone else. 

OVERALL: I'm happy to get another chapter from you. I like the tension throughout the scene, but I feel like you either ignore it or give it up sooner than you have too. Also, her sister seems to take everything rather lightly. If I found out that my brother did something that diametrically opposes me personally of his own free will, despite the fact we are the best of friends there would be sparks if not a raging bonfire. That was more poetic than intended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

A loving, supportive family? Alright, time to up Sue and Ir's headbutting, threaten that their loss of relationship is going to poison the entire family dynamic. Adding more the to Revolutionaries definitely helps this, and I'm going to push the spy-finding gig harder. 

Heh, oops! I realise that it may have come across that I was suggesting scorched earth and tearing everything apart. I didn't mean to do that (although I see that might be how it came across).

There's nothing wrong, IMO, with her having a loving family, I just though that everything in her life seemed actually to be going pretty well. The restaurant burned down, and she really sunk into the guilt of that, which was really good, but then she got a golden ticket from the BK. The seeds of family disruption are there already, and I think you are right to focus on the friction between her a Su, but her mum and dad can still be a rock. In LotR everything turned to ash and darkness but Sam was still there, F-do's emotional rock.

The arc off the story takes her to the palace and into the BK's employ. That's a really cool opportunity to entangle her in darkness, without her being dark herself (as it were). It certainly doesn't need to be Grimdark, but maybe one aspect of her life can be darker, and the BK maybe has hiked up the taxes to pay for his war machine. Maybe it not about paperwork a permits so much as it's about the cost of getting those permit, shortages of food since the BK needs to feed his army from the lands that previously only fed the locals (did you mention that already in the story? I feel like maybe food shortages were mentioned already.)

I also need to remember that I am reading Draft 2 when you are already formatting changes for Draft 3, so I know things will be different from the version that I'm reading.

Edited by Robinski
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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

There's nothing wrong, IMO, with her having a loving family,

This book has a firm happy-ish ending. You can still have a loving family that is strained by in-fighting but makes it in the end. One of the major themes of this book is family. Her parents can be solid rocks (and stay that way), but what about her younger brothers? What happens if your two older sisters are fighting? How does that affect you, especially when you are the youngest at ten?

Things have to go wrong before they can go right. I bomb out chunks of the city from war? Opportunity for them to rebuild into something better. Things might go wrong, but, in the end, this is a happy ending book for most characters. 

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14 hours ago, Turin Turambar said:

Also, her sister seems to take everything rather lightly. If I found out that my brother did something that diametrically opposes me personally of his own free will, despite the fact we are the best of friends there would be sparks if not a raging bonfire.

Completely agree. My sister and I fight when we butt heads (we also love each other massively), and that's still lacking here. The first version had Sue going, "The palace is bad and I'm worried, but la ti da, I'm sure it'll all work out!" *tosses out sparkles and rainbows of joy* I took a good step in the right direction with this version, and I just need to give it another good crank. 

The ending conflict early habit admittedly stems from the fact that I avoid confrontation in real life and therefore struggle with adding it in books because, ho boy, I just end up wanting to hide and leave. It's something I'm definitely working on. 

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Posted (edited)

Glad to get to read another chapter from this story!

One small line edit I caught that I don't think has been mentioned already is near the end, "No trying is the same as giving up. "Not trying"

Boat stuff: (this is going to be long, sorry)

I am going to precurse this by saying that while boats are a big part of my life, I am not an expert. I live on a sailboat, my neighbors are all sailors, ex navy, harbor workers, etc. My father grew up fixing and working on boats. I only say this so you know my perspective may not be academically accurate and is regional.

The dinghy: I had to look up what a dinghy technically is because the usage for a small recreational sailboat is not what I am familiar with. To my experience, a dinghy is a small open boat which is usually motor or man powered that is used to travel to and from a larger boat, or hauled along as a lifeboat for emergencies (16 feet is big for a dinghy. Twelve feet is the longest I've run into.) 

16 feet is also very small for three adults if it is a wooden sailboat. You could fit 8 adults easily in an inflatable raft that size, but the narrowness of a sailboat and the space occupied by the mast, lines and boom would be an awkward ride for three people in my opinion. 

The capsizing: As I understood the events, I's sister drops the Jibsheet and this causes the boat to flip. I don't understand why that would happen. Dropping the jibsheet would let it go loose, you would lose propulsion and maybe some fine control but unless they were sailing in some very serious weather that shouldn't have had a dramatic effect or caused the boom to swing if Ir still had control of the mainsheet. Since the mainsail is attached to the boom, and I think you had Ir also controlling the tiller, she would have maintained control of the sailboat. You can sail with no jib or any head sail at all. 

Feel free to disregard but you might consider changing the type of boat from a dinghy to a small sloop, maybe 24 feet. That gives you the same two sails, plenty of room for 3, and a cabin to keep the boat buoyant. 

False statement alert! I have to call BS on myself for this comment: "I don't understand how the flipping maneuver worked, but I have never been on a sailboat that small." And the explaination that followed. After talking to one of my neighbors about it, this totally would work. They claim to have seen a 14 year old flip a racing sailboat on their own using a similar method followed by bailing. Well, please excuse me as I wipe egg off of my face :-)

The boom swinging: usually the boom would be attached to two different lines, one in each direction and either running through a pulley and then to a cleat on the deck or just to a cleat. These lines are locked around their cleat when you are not switching directions to prevent an unplanned boom swing, it takes less than a minute to loosen or secure a line around a cleat. People are thrown into the water, receive head injuries and have died from an uncontrolled boom. To not secure these lines, especially with someone else on the boat would be deeply irresponsible and is usually the mark of someone who is overconfident, inexperienced or both. Sorry, this is a bit of a soap box from seeing it a hundred times in movies as a 'haha' moment. 

Ropes: I captured this from a website that has a nice breakdown of terms for lines and sheets on a sailboat since it explains better than I could: "Ropes or wires that control the sails are known collectively as running rigging or lines. Those that raise sails are called halyards while those that strike them are called downhauls. Ropes that adjust (trim) the sails are called sheets. These are often referred to using the name of the sail they control (eg. "main sheet", or "jib sheet")."

I'm done now, honest! And please let me say again that this is not definitive information, just what I have seen and beleive to be true. 

I love reading about sailing in books, I'm glad you decided to include it. This chapter added more to the family history for me, anchoring  (Haha, sorry) their family trade to the world. 

one last small note: the last line did not makes sense to me "I hope so." I understand the dramatic moment of her needing the current monarchy to stay in place dispite the terrible things that may happen, that is clear, but the phrasing didn't quite land for me between the question and answer. 

a pleasure to read, as always!

 

Edited by Sarah B
Fact checking
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5 hours ago, Sarah B said:

I am going to precurse this by saying that while boats are a big part of my life, I am not an expert.

The only experience I have regarding boats is my Dad's bass fishing boats. I've been on a sailboat a whooping two times. Wow, makes me such an expert /s.

The dinghy I gave the family is primarily based off of the Wayfarer dinghy, the wooden recreational version, not the racing style. The capsizing scene is based nearly step by step on this YouTube video, which, granted, isn't Wayfarer, but is a small, 2 person dinghy. I definitely need to go in and make sure all of my terminology (as you pointed out with the ropes) is correct, and, preferably, have an actual sailor take a look at this scene and make sure I'm factually correct. I've got some east coast relatives who have been sailboating for decades. I haven't talked with them since high school, but I bet they'd be willing to lend a hand. 

Since you have experience living on a sailboat and knowing more than I do about sailboats, can you think of any little details I could put in that would really make it seem that I have more knowledge than I really do? As Sanderson says, a little smoke and mirrors to make it seem like I'm an expert when I'm not?

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So, out of curiosity, I decided to count how many chapters it takes me to provide a real definition for the Fey.

Sixteen chapters

I don't really introduce a pivotal part of the world until 36% into the book.

Like, Jesus, yikes, no wonder I've been confusing the hell out of everyone. 

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Posted (edited)

On 7/8/2020 at 6:34 PM, Snakenaps said:

 

Since you have experience living on a sailboat and knowing more than I do about sailboats, can you think of any little details I could put in that would really make it seem that I have more knowledge than I really do? As Sanderson says, a little smoke and mirrors to make it seem like I'm an expert when I'm not?

Every sailor or boater that I know (myself included) is obsessed with the weather. When is the wind coming? How fast will it be? From where? What is the barometer doing? I find myself checking my barometer, the temperature, my storm glass, and google weather more than daily even if I have no plans to go out. 

Storm glasses are very cool, in my humble opinion, and I have seen mine out predict the weatherman more than once. It's also just fun watching the crystals form :-) they are very old tech and better at predicting general changes than precise times. A storm glass must be calibrated by leaving it near where you want to predict and then making sure nothing desturbs it or the crystal's won't form. 

Also, frequent boaters are very aware of the tides. High tide is a great time to be heading back to harbor. Slack tide (the time the water moves the least) is best for going through tight channels where the tide is amplified, especially if you're sailing. Low tide is dangerous if you're near shore, especially if its unfamiliar because obsticals like rocks, shelves, and sunken logs will be closer to the surface than usual. 

Sails that have salt water on them, and are left in the sun for prolonged periods break down faster. Many cruisers/ocean crossers have a custom of washing down their sails, drying them and storing them away to prolong their life. 

Sails also need to fit the geometry of the boat within a very narrow margin if you want them to perform their best. Often serious sailors will have sails made for their boat specifically. They are often then stored in canvas bags with the name of the vessel and the year the sails were made printed on the bag. The bag must be the same or nearly the same material as the sail to prevent wear. Good sails are slick in texture and very stiff, any sail that folds easily or is nice to lay on is near death.

I'm not sure what the sealife is like in your world, but harbor seals, porpoises and diving birds tend to get curious when sailboats are on the move and often pop up to see what the fuss is. The harbor seals in my area are sometimes called SeaPuppies because of the way they play around boats and get curious about any new sound or people. Unconfirmed, but I swear there's a seal in particular that watches me who used to sleep near my boat when he was a pup. I named him Ollie. 

That's probably more than you wanted.

I hope something sparks an idea or proves useful!

 

Edited by Sarah B
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12 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I don't really introduce a pivotal part of the world until 36% into the book.

Like, Jesus, yikes, no wonder I've been confusing the hell out of everyone. 

Excuse me, miss, I think you dropped this penny ;) 

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5 hours ago, Sarah B said:

That's probably more than you wanted.

I hope something sparks an idea or proves useful!

This is exactly what I wanted! More the merrier! My brain is already going a mile a minute!

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I didn't make a whole lot of comments on the chapter while I was reading. I think the heart of it happens out on the sail boat, and I don't think getting to the sail boat is really necessary. I would've been happy to start with some imagery out on the water and then dive into the conversation. I already know that I is really close to her sister, so I don't necessarily need a paragraph explaining that (I think there was one in there). 

I enjoyed how so much of the conversation with the sister was paired with sailing, capsizing, and righting the boat. 

I had thought that the sister hadn't joined the rebels yet and was just thinking of it, but that could be WRS on my part. Either way, I think there could have been a little more reaction from I when the sister told her. 

I had mixed feelings about the part of the conversation where I explains her job. I feel like that was repeating information we already knew.

What I would like a little more information about is the rebel goals. What kind of government are they going to set up? Learning about the rebels was definitely interesting.

The reveal about the attempt on BK's life was interesting, but I's reaction to it fell a little flat. 

I also find it interesting that I is starting to feel a little sympathetic to the BK. I like how that thread has built. 

I'm looking forward to reading more!

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