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Snakenaps

7/20/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapters Nine and Ten (4749 words total)

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Last week I submitted Draft Two's Chapter Nine, which I had already planned to cut a chunk out of. Well, I realized that Draft Two's Chapter Ten was not the one I wanted to submit, and decided to go ahead and revise it by throwing most of Chapter Nine in the dumpster and giving it a bunch of Ten's content so I could rewrite Ten.

 
Ergo, this week, you get Draft Three's preliminary Chapters Nine and Ten, even though the beginning of Nine is going to be very familiar. 
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Notes on worldbuilding:
Having read quite a bit ahead now (up to around chapter 28), I think the biggest part of this needs to be the characterization of the Fey. We've been told a lot how they're uncaring and bad, but I think that's going to be really hard to show in the story unless we can actually see one of them interact with another character, or at least have a very specific story about how they act. Just saying they're incapable of compassion doesn't get across the same fear everyone has of them in the book. Maybe someone could tell about what happened the one time they visited a village inside their lands, or something? This would also help the characterization of the B.K., if he's really supposed to be so bad. So far, he seems one of the more reasonable characters in the book.


Chapter 9 notes:
The kitchen tour has been expanded a bit to show things off, and some of the weird animal associations removed, which is good, but having read ahead, I'm wondering if there's just too much focus on cooking in this first part. The kitchen doesn't come up again up to where I've read. Is it actually important to the story? The big thing we get out of this is seeing the spy, however except for the one interlude, they haven't come up again either, up to where I've read.


Ch 10 notes:
pg 9: the telepathic stuff should be in italics.

pg 10: "his telekinesis pulling out papers from a drawer"
--ah, glad this is in here. There are some confusing parts in later chapters where it sounds like he opens them with a hoof or something.

pg 11: "they were sure that odd situations would have continued to line up until he knew W’s name."
--I think this is saying the B.K. contrived to learn their name? Except in the next paragraph, it said he doesn't know their name.

pg 12: "If Ireen were to meet me, her magic would call me the B.K."
--Except he knows she knows his actual name, right? (or is that that next chapter...). At any rate, it seems weird he would assume I's magic wouldn't know their real names.

pg 12: the crystal thing is different and interesting...


I didn't have much extra on the rest of the chapter, except I think the last line could be bulked up a bit. She knows who the door leads to. It's nothing new and doesn't really drag us onward. What is the uncertainty? Maybe that she doesn't know if she'll keep her job, or ever her life?

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Hi

I'm going to jump to the new bits.

8) this is a bit late for a new POV, especially one that I've never met before.

8) why's they interviewing her family? 

9) remind me what a cupidine is?

10) "and only cheat a little" lol. That says so much about their character.

11) "returning from spying" - well, that explains a bit. Maybe it would help if this was dropped a bit earlier.

12) the BK doesn't know who his chief spy really is. And he trusts them?

12) I though I called the BK by his real name. So what's all this about a moniker?

13) I know I'm not supposed to know about these crystal things, but if they're important, isn't it a bit late to be "name dropping?"

16~) I'm don't feel any real tension here; my assumption is that he wants to get info on W, not really interrogate her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm going to talk about the two chapters separately here:

Ch. 9:

I really liked the expanded cooking section, as it really helped me see what was going on and did a great job of showing us the conflict between "these people conquered my homeland" and "they have really cool stuff and let me do my dream job." I especially love the detail about Pem "accidentally" giving Irene the tour when they're making dinner. The one thing that's missing imo is a zoom-out to reiterate this conflict. Everything else seems to fade away when we talk about the cooking, which is good for the initial scene but doesn't advance the main points of the story so far as I see it. The palace has the resources to make all this amazing food because it conquered her homeland (and possibly other places), right? It makes sense that she'd be in love with all the ingredients she has available, but I'd expect this to weigh on her. It doesn't have to be that, specifically, but reinforcing the complexity of Irene working for her conquerors at the end of the chapter in some way could help us feel like this chapter is more connected to the full story (and not having read the chapters before this, I'm making an educated guess as to what the rest of that story is about).

Ch. 10: 

Good news is that this one was engaging to me basically entirely throughout. The conversation between Worm and the Black King kept me interested, though I am a sucker for those types of conversations. Getting in Worm's head was really nice and a good contrast to Irene's thoughts and motivations. I agree that the telepathy should be italicized or something like that to make it clearer, and I have no idea what a cupidine is (google says it's a latin word). I think the main aspect that could be expanded here is Irene's reaction to seeing the Black King. Right now it seems like it's just fear, which makes a lot of sense in the moment especially when she's given such short notice, but I think there could be more to it. If she tries to force herself to hate Pem, then surely she has strong opinions about the Black King. Does her anger for him shine through at all? If not, how does she feel about the fear keeping it down? I thought this chapter was already solid, and complicating Ireen's reactions has the opportunity to make it even better imo. 

Good luck in revision! 

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OK, I might have done a little happy dance on my couch when I saw the "they/them" pronouns in W's POV. Give me ALL THE THEYS!

Now that I have that out of my system...

I am eating a snack, because this chapter made me hungry. The descriptions of the kitchen were so detailed. I could not only picture all of it but feel I'd love and appreciation for it. It was easy to get swept away in it all. I did think it worked much better this time ending with I knowing a name, then switching to the POV of that person. I'm really hoping to get more W chapters. That little bit you sent showed me they are a fascinating character. I loved how their voice was very distinct from I's. 

Some as I read notes:

"Although they were originally...P smiled as she..." I love the fact that Pem extended the kitchen time, however, this line and at least a couple that follow still feels like it is in P's POV even though it looks like you mostly took her POV out.  

"...eyes rolled back in rapture..." I relate. I am hungry. 

"...updating employee records..." Good end to the chapter. It left me rightly thinking that the person's name wasn't the one on record. 

"...when they questioned her family..." I felt a little disoriented for a moment, trying to figure out why this person was questioning I's family. Eventually, it clicked. 

"...or even W's gender..." I mean, they don't have to even have a gender.

"...wore pronouns as fluidly as they wore..." I like this!

"...if W is more you than the name you were born with, then yes, she would know you as..." This is good to know. I hope BK is right about this. I won't have to worry about I might unintentionally dead naming anyone

"What did you find out about the crystal?" Crystal? This is interesting. Looking forward to eventually hearing more about what this crystal is and what BK wants with it. 

"...a tone tan suggested..." Did you mean "that suggested" ?

"...door, she knew, that lead to the B K." Ahhh noooo you can't just leave me hanging. I want to know what happens when she meets the BK!! In other words, you picked a great place to end the chapter. 

 

5 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

It makes sense that she'd be in love with all the ingredients she has available, but I'd expect this to weigh on her. It doesn't have to be that, specifically, but reinforcing the complexity of Irene working for her conquerors at the end of the chapter in some way could help us feel like this chapter is more connected to the full story (and not having read the chapters before this, I'm making an educated guess as to what the rest of that story is about).

I think @Ace of Hearts is onto something here. There have been plenty of times where things in the castle have really weighed on her, and the kitchen is where she mostly forgets it. However, I think having it even hit her here, maybe with the cinnamon, would be a powerful character moment and lend more purpose to the scenes leading up to knowing W's name.

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I liked the revised chapter 9 much better! The end of chapter 10 felt more like a cliff hanger then an ending though.

Telepathy: someone already suggested differentiating telepathy text from the rest. One way I've done this in the past is to use < > for telepathic speaking instead of quotations. I lifted it from other scifi authors :-) I like the brackets because it let's me keep italics for internal thoughts or other uses. 

Looking forward to the next chapter(s), happy writing!

 

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On 7/20/2020 at 10:14 AM, Mandamon said:

I think the biggest part of this needs to be the characterization of the Fey. We've been told a lot how they're uncaring and bad, but I think that's going to be really hard to show in the story unless we can actually see one of them interact with another character, or at least have a very specific story about how they act.

I completely agree, because it throws off that certain chapter with the pamphlets terribly

On 7/20/2020 at 10:14 AM, Mandamon said:

The kitchen doesn't come up again up to where I've read. Is it actually important to the story? The big thing we get out of this is seeing the spy, however except for the one interlude, they haven't come up again either, up to where I've read.

 

Both come into play again, although the role of the kitchen needs to get pushed into brighter light in the end. W is most likely going to be a major character in Book 3, but that's hard to say considering how dramatically this story has changed from Draft One to now. 

On 7/20/2020 at 10:14 AM, Mandamon said:

the telepathic stuff should be in italics.

It should be, whoops. That was my mistake from copying it over from Scrivener.

On 7/20/2020 at 10:14 AM, Mandamon said:

the crystal thing is different and interesting...

I've got a lot I want to do with this in this book, considering it is key to Book 2...

Thanks @Mandamon

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On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, Turin Turambar said:

remind me what a cupidine is?

 

On 7/21/2020 at 3:00 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

I have no idea what a cupidine is

Cupidines are my own creation. They're this world's version of angels, I suppose. The trick is cupidine. They're just humans with wings and claws for feet, essentially. Here's my illustration for that jerk of a secretary

On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, Turin Turambar said:

why's they interviewing her family? 

In Chapter Two, a certain unicorn decides he is going to send W to find out more about Ir. In the rewritten Chapter Four, I finds it hard to find work because it seems she is being sabotaged, and her father mentions meeting a person who asked a lot of questions about Ir. My fault, due to this being a Draft Three chapter referencing other Draft Three chapters.

On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, Turin Turambar said:

the BK doesn't know who his chief spy really is. And he trusts them?

BK is slow to trust anyone. I need to put in that W has been working for the BK for nearly a decade. A long history of successes has brought W to a very tight knit circle. 

On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, Turin Turambar said:

I though I called the BK by his real name. So what's all this about a moniker?

I need to make this more clear. The BK is lying so W won't realize Ir actually knows the BK's real name. It also lays the foundation that names can change, which becomes vital in Books Two and Three. 

On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, Turin Turambar said:

I know I'm not supposed to know about these crystal things, but if they're important, isn't it a bit late to be "name dropping?"

Actually, the crystals are first mentioned in Chapter Two, but I can't remember if that is in Draft Two or Draft Three...

On 7/21/2020 at 3:00 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

It makes sense that she'd be in love with all the ingredients she has available, but I'd expect this to weigh on her. It doesn't have to be that, specifically, but reinforcing the complexity of Irene working for her conquerors at the end of the chapter in some way could help us feel like this chapter is more connected to the full story

This is a great idea. 

On 7/21/2020 at 3:00 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

and not having read the chapters before this, I'm making an educated guess as to what the rest of that story is about

If you want to read the previous chapters, PM me anytime.

On 7/21/2020 at 3:00 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Good luck in revision!

I always need it!

Thank you @Turin Turambar and @Ace of Hearts !

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On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

OK, I might have done a little happy dance on my couch when I saw the "they/them" pronouns in W's POV. Give me ALL THE THEYS!

You need to help me make sure I do this right, please. I am incredibly outside of my depth here with W. I need you to catch me if I make any ignorant mistakes. I really struggled with the they/them pronouns in Draft One, literally switching whether or not W used he/his or she/her on their POV's in some chapters because I was worried that they/them pronouns made it confusing. I've gained confidence by mimicking how @Mandamon, @kais, and yourself handle different pronouns, genders, and sexualities, but I'm still not sold that I'm pulling this off in a way that will make sure nobody will bat an eye. 

The fun thing about W is that I myself have absolutely no clue what biological sex W is, or even what W actually looks like. When I finally do their portrait for their character bio on my website, I just want it to be a human shadow falling over a bunch of wigs, jars of makeup, and clothing. I think W, as a spy, is best left to the imagination. 

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I am eating a snack, because this chapter made me hungry. The descriptions of the kitchen were so detailed.

I heavily referenced actual recipes and did a lot of research on how to write "food porn." I'm glad it paid off! If anything sounded particularly tasty, I have the recipes running around somewhere.

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I'm really hoping to get more W chapters. That little bit you sent showed me they are a fascinating character. I loved how their voice was very distinct from I's. 

W comes in again, although one of their scenes needs to be rewritten, as it is more third person omniscient than in their head. I worried about the voice, so I'm glad it worked. If everything goes to plan, W will actually take the part as a main character in Book Three. 

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I felt a little disoriented for a moment, trying to figure out why this person was questioning I's family. Eventually, it clicked. 

This is a reference to a scene in Draft Three's Chapter Four. I should have put a note, but I forgot. 

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I mean, they don't have to even have a gender.

I think I mean sex. The BK, like myself, has no clue what W's biological sex is.

W would totally do that one meme where Undertale's Frisk answers, "What's in your pants?" with "Determination!"  

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Crystal? This is interesting. Looking forward to eventually hearing more about what this crystal is and what BK wants with it. 

Heh heh heh.

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

Did you mean "that suggested" ?

*sigh* Yes.

On 7/21/2020 at 8:35 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I think @Ace of Hearts is onto something here. There have been plenty of times where things in the castle have really weighed on her, and the kitchen is where she mostly forgets it. However, I think having it even hit her here, maybe with the cinnamon, would be a powerful character moment and lend more purpose to the scenes leading up to knowing W's name.

I completely agree. It would really strengthen the chapter as a whole.

Thanks @shatteredsmooth

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On 7/23/2020 at 4:41 AM, Sarah B said:

I liked the revised chapter 9 much better! The end of chapter 10 felt more like a cliff hanger then an ending though.

Telepathy: someone already suggested differentiating telepathy text from the rest. One way I've done this in the past is to use < > for telepathic speaking instead of quotations. I lifted it from other scifi authors :-) I like the brackets because it let's me keep italics for internal thoughts or other uses. 

Looking forward to the next chapter(s), happy writing!

 

I'm so glad that Chapter 9 reads better. 

Admittedly, this is one of the few times I tried to write a cliffhanger but I'm not sold on it. It feels a bit cheap to me.

I normally italicize telepathy. I missed this when I was reformatting from Scrivener. Darn you technology!!! 

Thank you @Sarah B 

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9 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I completely agree, because it throws off that certain chapter with the pamphlets terribly

It does! I made some notes on that. Should have the full thing back to you middle of next week.

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

It does! I made some notes on that. Should have the full thing back to you middle of next week.

Thank you! 

I think if I lay a strong, solid foundation in the mundane/civilized/Fey and the Fey history, and redo the governments, this book will end up so much stronger. 

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6 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Thank you! 

I think if I lay a strong, solid foundation in the mundane/civilized/Fey and the Fey history, and redo the governments, this book will end up so much stronger. 

Definitely!

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Apologies for late critique! At least I get to start into the next chapter almost immediately!

Notes as I go:

P. 2. “P said it with cheerful wistfulness.” – This feels like a ‘show, don’t tell’ moment. Also, the previous bit “I’s curiosity drove her like an itch” struck me as strange. Probably because it made her curiosity seem like an uncomfortable skin condition thing.

“Said the capital of Ma with such joy” – Point of note. When cows get excited their tails go up, they raise their heads. They become full of a vibrating energy. They often run wild after, of course, hoofs kicking up and head tossing. But I suspect that last isn’t in P’s character. Really, this is another ‘show, don’t tell’ point.

Repetition of ‘first’ in the next line.

P. 3. Much better description of the kitchen. I was transported and felt I’s wonder. Though the word is ‘decadent,” not ‘decedent’, ahaha. What you said amounts to “A marvellous, dead-person dream” XD

P. 4. “P smiled as she found excuses to lengthen the visits.” I’m having issues describing why this bothered me. Maybe something to do with voice? It feels like, in the middle of I’s exposition, we have a splinter of P. Perhaps “Though Ir noticed P smiled” or something similar?

Also, how does one stretch the truth harshly?

The bit “She had scabbed both knees,” etc., is a bit long to convey I’s excitement. A sentence would convey the same. Plus I think “she had” is the wrong tense? No doubt Robinski has covered that already though.

P. 5. “Bathhouses this morning,” that punched me from the narrative. Maybe change ‘this’ to ‘in the’ or something similar?

“Out of his hand, giving a large bovine sigh” I feel we’re missing the actually eating bit. I wondered why she was sighing as she levitated it. Also, though, ‘large bovine sigh’ is a great way to describe the noise.

P. 6. “Knowing she would never get the chance to taste the sweet, spicy flavor of cinnamon again.” – loved it.

P. 7. “With a flick of her tail, Pem guessed” - sounds like we switched to P’s POV.

The para starting “I wasn’t too sure.” – ‘Too’ should probably be ‘so.’ I liked this para. It showed I’s character – of course she’d know more about kitchens and staff relations than P! – and gave us a hint of future mystery.

P. 8. Oooooh, the plot thickens.

P. 9. Now where did W get identifying tokens…

The description with the guards indicates alertness, which made the yawn surprising.

P. 10. “He had been warned of their arrival by B’s telepathy.” – Great use of a telepathic creature.

“I thought you had said you were coming in as a man this time.” TBK said, taking in the disguise of a servant woman.” Comma after ‘time’ and you can probably remove ‘of a servant woman.’

“P’s schedule had them finish the kitchens two days ago.” – Hah!

P. 12. It occurs to me that it’s not just I who knows W’s name, but P as well.

P. 14. “Before digging a small brush out of one of her pockets.” – doesn’t she use telekinesis?

P. 17. The eminent meeting with TBK definitely makes me want to turn into the next chapter.

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Slowly trying to catch up from my week of corn fields and machetes

Overall

Solid chapter, and enjoyable. Loved the changes to the kitchen scene and was very happy with it. Could have lived without the POV change and I think the tension could have stayed strong without it, just the kitchens, the name, then getting called in by the king. But overall a very nice installment!

 

On 7/25/2020 at 9:26 PM, Snakenaps said:

I think I mean sex. The BK, like myself, has no clue what W's biological sex is.

You can not know either, but pronouns are for gender, not sex. Semantics, maybe, but hopefully useful as you build a mental map to this character. You can know the character has, say, a penis, but it's the gender that gets the pronouns. Sex is just... sex. A mashup of chromosomes and hormones and body characteristics. Gender is who you are

 

As I go

- pg 1: I think what keeps bogging this down for me are the bits that repeat what we already know. Like this line: It wasn’t particularly surprising. P appeared older than I’s own parents. We already know most of this. I'd rather keep with the flow of dialogue then get more thought at this stage

- pg 3: She never, ever wanted to leave. <-- great emotion here!

- pg 5: taking her own pastry from his dark hands <-- flagged because it stands out. And if it stands out that tends to mean I've not seen pale hands, or white hands, mentioned, or enough other skin tones to make this not stand out

- pg 7: ah yes, these early pages are much better now. I'm starving! Plus, the little name thing at the end kept tension high

- pg 9: the tension actually goes away when we switch to W's POV. For me, the tension was in the suspense of knowing the named person was probably up to something. But then we get to know exactly what that is, so it spoils what had been excellent momentum

- pg 10: +20 for singular they pronouns

 

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