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Turin Turambar

8/2/2020 - Turin Turambar- Infernal Accounting - Ch. 2 (5751)

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Hi All,

 
Ch. 1 - N and R go out for lunch. N gets held up.
Ch. 2 (now) - Concert. L calls and invites herself over.
Ch. 3 (then) - Car crash?
 
Thanks!
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Overall, I have to admit I was mostly lost while reading this. Remembering from last chapter, the MC has a run in with a demon hunter, and then the demon kills the hunter? Maybe? Most of this chapter seems to be aimlessly wandering some city, though it's hard to say which city, let alone which state it's in. I had to go to G maps after a while to make sure I wasn't dreaming things. I thought she was in some sort of demon version of the world for a while, as strange things kept popping up, but then she just went to a concert and talked with her friends, though there wasn't any resolution of what happened to her last chapter. She did have a panic attack, which seemed to be more realistic, but then they all just kept watching the concert?

Anyway, I had a hard time following things, and was confused at what arc this chapter had. I think we need a lot more explanation of why this person is working with demons at the detriment of herself and her family, before there is buy-in to the story.

 

Note while reading:

pg 1: " I found myself holding myself, and I forced myself"
--awkward

pg 1: "Regardless of what just happened, a promise was a promise"
--wait, didn't she just see someone killed or something?

pg 1: "passing what looked like a blue telephone booth,"
--is this the Tardis or something?

pg 2: "Passing a glass pyramid set in the ground"
--there are a lot of strange descriptions here and I'm not sure what's going on.

pg 2: " I had discovered years ago that demons would go to quite the length to get
what they wanted...there was no escaping him.'
--Again, I have no explanation for why she's working with him.

pg 3: "For my family."
--I thought she was single?

pg 5: "He stiffened further, if that was possible. “Get your grubby hands off of me,” she growled"
--Should "she" be "he?"

pg 6: The whole encounter with the other demon seems...random? Like the MC calls out to warn the guy and then sort of shrugs it off and keeps walking. She didn't try very hard. The last several pages have been sort of aimless wandering through the city.

pg 6: "and there was no railing"
--Is this going to be a plot point? Why is the MC calling it out?

pg 8: "World Trade Center"
--Sorry, I'm having trouble following the chapter because of the landmarks. WTC is in New York, John Hopkins is in Maryland, and Stratford University seems to be in Virginia.
Fort McHenry also seems to be in Maryland? I'm confused.

pg 8: "I thought you knew.”
--knew what? That they were traveling out of state?

pg 10: “Nobody said that you didn’t fulfil your word. I’m just saying that it’s ok if you don’t want to.”
--sorry, I'm lost as to what's going on. The MC just went through a traumatic experience, and now these two are acting like it's some sacred promise that they meet today...for some purpose? Couldn't the MC just call and say "sorry--can't make it today?"

pg 11: “The concert"
--Oh, I guess they're going to a concert? I think I missed that while I was confused about geography.

pg 12: “I have no idea,” S said airily. “They had good posters, though.”
--wait, they don't even know what they're going to? How about drop that and attend to the obviously traumatized woman?

pg 12: "wouldn’t be able to hear anything that wasn’t more than a single repeating rhythm"
--I'm not sure what this means.

pg 13: "The things I put up with from her!"
--This is a weird turn from "I was assaulted a few minutes ago" to "why don't you think that random person is attractive."

pg 14: "I kept trying to figure out what key the song was in, the tempo and rhythm." "realised that it sounded like the tenth movement of Messiaen Turangalila symphony."
--Weren't they at a rock concert? Does the MC have some sort of brain damage that keeps her from hearing music? Sorry, I have no idea what's going on.

pg 16: So I'm guessing L is her sister? Why is she smiling at the memory if she's kept her number from L?

pg 16: "find out and use him against me"
--So she's separated from her family because she's working with a demon? Again, Why??

pg 16: “I’m taking care of his axe for him.”
--do what?

pg 18: "I have a convention in Baltimore"
--Except they're in New York because they passed the wreckage of the towers??

pg 18: " The one consolation was that demons usually left my friends alone."
--demons plural? Now there are more she's working with?

pg 19: "I protested, claiming that I was fine, I just needed to walk off my headache"
--Usually headaches are cured by sitting down and not doing much.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Overall, I have to admit I was mostly lost while reading this.

Oh dear. As for the descriptions, this was supposed to take place in downtown Baltimore. I've been there a couple of  times, though I had to use google maps to track her walk. As for the blue box things, I had no idea what they were either, other than they were everywhere. 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 1: "Regardless of what just happened, a promise was a promise"
--wait, didn't she just see someone killed or something?

She's really careful about her word. 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 2: " I had discovered years ago that demons would go to quite the length to get
what they wanted...there was no escaping him.'
--Again, I have no explanation for why she's working with him.

pg 3: "For my family."
--I thought she was single?

I'm trying to slowly work out why she works with R.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 6: The whole encounter with the other demon seems...random? Like the MC calls out to warn the guy and then sort of shrugs it off and keeps walking. She didn't try very hard. The last several pages have been sort of aimless wandering through the city.

I wanted to point out that she's an inherently good person and doesn't want other people to fall prey. 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 16: So I'm guessing L is her sister? Why is she smiling at the memory if she's kept her number from L?

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "World Trade Center"
--Sorry, I'm having trouble following the chapter because of the landmarks. WTC is in New York, John Hopkins is in Maryland, and Stratford University seems to be in Virginia.
Fort McHenry also seems to be in Maryland? I'm confused.

there's a WTC in downtown baltiomore. Ditto for Stratford.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "I thought you knew.”
--knew what? That they were traveling out of state?

Going to the concert.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 16: So I'm guessing L is her sister? Why is she smiling at the memory if she's kept her number from L?

She tried to keep her info from everyone but her father. She cut off ties with her husband and daughter, and only calls her sister occasionally.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 16: “I’m taking care of his axe for him.”
--do what?

It's either a plot point or something cool. Or something on the chopping block, I haven't yet figured that out. 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 18: " The one consolation was that demons usually left my friends alone."
--demons plural? Now there are more she's working with?

Some clarification. Demons - harassing her and her family. Demon - R.

 

Again, sorry about the ambiguity. I have a rough idea of her motives for R, but I'm not entirely sure.

Edited by Turin Turambar
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Overall

Same as @Mandamon, I am unclear as to the purpose and arc for this chapter. She seemed to be aimlessly moving through a day, maybe with some anxiety, maybe bopping in and out of a demon world. But it didn't seem to move the story forward any, and I was very unsure what was happening at any given time. I think maybe plotting the arc out on paper might help clean things up a bit. I still really like the story premise so hoping to see things take off soon!

 

As I go

- pg 1: a lot of repetition on 'breathing' and 'breath' in the first paragraph. Same with 'harbor'

- pg 4: nothing has yet happened in these pages. They don't seem to be advancing the plot, so might be best to cut them

- pg 6: okay so....why is our MC warning people about demons? I thought she didn't care? Or is this the other woman? I'm super confused

- pg 7: how A runs the universe <-- is this another dimension or something? Who is A? Allah?

- pg 12: the friend conversation also does not appear to be building to anything. I'm unsure what the arc is for this chapter

- pg 14: so is she popping in and out of a demon world? Is that what is going on? I'm so confused

 

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Ditto for you, @kais. I'm actually trying to plot out/figure out motivations right now. I'm "just" taking a "quick" break.

2 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 7: how A runs the universe <-- is this another dimension or something? Who is A? Allah?

Yup. 

2 hours ago, kais said:

I'm unsure what the arc is for this chapter

The point of this chapter was two events. Trying to break the guy free from the demon, and her sister inviting herself over.

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So, I started this chapter, got stuck around page six when I thought to myself, "Huh, this seems to be a laundry list for walking a city," and decided to read the other comments to see if I could get a gleam on what was going on. 

First of all, I'd like to say that I think it is really cool that you tracked N's progress through the city using Google Maps. Have you heard of the Google Earth Project??? I remember Dan Wells saying he does something similar in his books to make sure that he doesn't have some local breathing down his neck. That being said, we don't need every single detail. Instead, I wonder if it would be possible to take the most notable landmark (for instance, the Twin Towers), and spin that into something that can help you give setting while maybe also revealing motivations/plot and give this chapter some arc. For instance, did a bunch of demons make bank when 9/11 occurred? When N looks at the WTC, does she think of all of those desperate people who sold their souls after the event? If something like that occurred, would she think of it as an accounting nightmare, or want to protect people so nothing like that ever happened again? Would she feel panicked, remembering how so many people died, just like she nearly did today? Or would she feel furious and want revenge? Does she see that demon praying on the man and want to save him because of these emotions?

You said that you're trying to figure out plot/motivations, and I always find it helps to ask questions and see how a character might respond. For instance, let's take my 9/11 hypothetical. If N thinks of 9/11 as a demon soul accounting nightmare, and her motivation is so that she never has to work so hard again, then how can you overload the demonic system? If N thinks of 9/11 as a tragic event where the aftermath made so many innocent people sell their souls for desperation, what happens when people come under threat again? Is she secretly embezzling souls? Encouraging demons to make hits on those who are the scum of the earth? 

Same with her friends. They seem to be her link to normal, but don't know about her job. She doesn't seem to think of them as some cover to make herself look normal. What would happen if one of them tried to sell their soul? What about her sister? What's so special about the axe? Can demons lock doors? What can demons do?

 Anyway, these are just my thoughts, take them or leave them. Hopefully, maybe something in my ramblings will inspire you ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

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31 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

You said that you're trying to figure out plot/motivations, and I always find it helps to ask questions and see how a character might respond.

I have a rough idea of the climax. Just nothing before that. And I figured out her motivation. Of course, that means I need to entirely rework my idea and rewrite the first two chapters. It's only two chapters, but it's still 11k words. Ouch.

32 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Same with her friends. They seem to be her link to normal, but don't know about her job. She doesn't seem to think of them as some cover to make herself look normal. What would happen if one of them tried to sell their soul? What about her sister? What's so special about the axe? Can demons lock doors? What can demons do?

You hit what I was thinking of for a midpoint exactly. I still need to plot out the whole thing of course.

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4 hours ago, Turin Turambar said:

Of course, that means I need to entirely rework my idea and rewrite the first two chapters. It's only two chapters, but it's still 11k words. Ouch.

Ah, the joys of revising. I'm going through my own pain and suffering. I feel you. I'd just figure out where you want to go and keep plunging forward, though, rather than get stuck in a perpetual loop of revising the first few chapters. I did that the first several times I tried to start NotK. 

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Notes as I go:

P. 1. “Myself” - used too many times in first sentence!

“Barnes and Noble” – nice touch of realism.

“I was a bit unsteady, but the crisp autumn air and the light exercise helped clear my head and

though it still hurt, I otherwise felt fine.” – Run-on sentence

“Wicking away”?

“Weaving”

It was my first impulse to say that this page didn’t follow the “in late, out early rule.” I’d be inclined to give her a paragraph or two to process and move, then get into the meat of the chapter. But the part about paranoia is probably an important character note. Though “that had washed through me” should drop the “had.”

P. 2. “Shiver in my bones” – if this is a phrase specific to the character, great! Otherwise it seems a bit confusing.

Going into page two, I definitely feel like we’re just delaying the action. I like the description, but feel it could be condensed.

P. 4. “The sound was annoying, and I was about to back away from the two of them to get away from the sound until one of them opened their mouth. Instead canine teeth, the woman had fangs.” – the sentence needs reworked. Also, finally, the conflict! At page four it’s coming a bit late.

P. 5. A bit confused. You keep calling the man ‘she’?

“She’s a demon,” I rushed out, before I could reconsider what was coming out of my mouth. “You think I’m insane, but wait for her to try to bargain for your soul.” – I feel most of the dialogue could be cut, and this should come very near the start.

P. 7. “A runs the universe.” I take it Y is a Muslim? Do they not say Allah’s full name, or something? Is she being irreverent or witty or rude?

This has been a looooooooot of description. It would be better to have a few paragraphs at the start outlining the trip, describing some salient points of local geography. Maybe her noticing fang-woman leading a man astray and wishing she could help, then leap straight into the conversation with Y and S.

P. 9/10. Whiiiiich should probably not read so much like an inquisition.

 

The rest is in a similar vein.

 

The main problem I have with this chapter is its lack of real conflict. You have a smidge at the start with fang-lady (except even that was diluted by dealing with it through the man, and the demon was entirely passive and sheep-like) and then a smidge more at the end. But the real focus of this chapter seems to be description and exposition, both of which are done well, but neither of which makes a reader turn the page. Or rarely does.

 

Look forward to the next chapter!

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I haven't read this sub, but apropos of your post elsewhere saying you were going to write more of the story before posting, I am totally up for the story and, having read the other comments, reading it once it's re-written and taken forward. It sounds like a great idea, and seems very novel to me (although I'm sure others are more widely read).

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On 8/11/2020 at 2:39 PM, Robinski said:

I haven't read this sub, but apropos of your post elsewhere saying you were going to write more of the story before posting, I am totally up for the story and, having read the other comments, reading it once it's re-written and taken forward. It sounds like a great idea, and seems very novel to me (although I'm sure others are more widely read).

You're right, of course. I resubmitted it to make sure that I got rid of the major errors that people mentioned so I have a solid groundwork. 

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