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Snakenaps

8/21/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapter Fifteen (4,367 words)

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Although this is a Draft Three version, this one has seen little change compared to the stitched-together chapter last week. 
 
I'm so sorry for not replying to everyone's comments on my chapters. I am reading them and they mean so much to me. I'm just having a hard time sitting down and finding time to reply with this stupid job hunting. I want you all to know I'm thankful for your time, your patience, and your willingness to help me. I wish I could give you all hugs and a pile of your favorite desserts. 
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Very similar to the one I read! I think the back half of the chapter is really good and really gets the musician characters centered in the story. This is where I first saw Ir. and J as a thing, and their relationship could easily develop from here.

The first half still has the problems stemming from the government worldbuilding. Two main problems I had are:

1) S. comes across as sort of a whiny privileged person. She regards being a revolutionary as a new hobby, to help out all the people who don't understand that they're oppressed. She reads as someone who hasn't really seen hardship, but just wants to protest change. Again, more setup with how the government works will help this.

2) The whole census thing. We've been doing various forms of censuses for thousands of years, all the way back to Egypt at least. Generally a census is regarded as a good or at least neutral thing, where the government learns where to send money effectively. The only problem here might be cataloging magical abilities, though they don't seem to be secret in this society. I just don't believe at the moment that there would be such a negative reaction to the announcement.

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The first half was a little choppy for me but I loved the beach scene!

Great use of senses and lots of personality. I think this is my favorite part so far. 

I liked the tension that you built with Ir starting to see both sides at once and it complicating her world view. 

Great chapter overall,

May the prose be with you!

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Posted (edited)

Hi!

I think the idea of blending the two parts together was a good one; the plot driven bit carries through the second half and lets me enjoy it without wondering what happened to the story. The first part with the crier was good, but now I want to see it happen. Personally, I think that a census would have been a good idea regardless, but that's not the characters, just me. I still feel like something is lacking with the musicians. It was fun to watch, but I felt like there was too little tension, and I could just skip it and find out what happens next, knowing that she had a good time with her musician friends. Seeing her cook was like a treat itself. She finally got something she liked. Yay!

Edited by Turin Turambar
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Overall

Another 'slice of life' chapter that didn't seem to advance the plot at all, save for the brief marketplace scene with the speech giver. As a reader, I tend to look for the arc markers in each chapter so I know where the chapter is going and can get excited. If I don't get those markers, I can't focus on the neat details like food and chitchat, because I keep asking myself what is important? What is this scene trying to do? And when it becomes apparent that the scene isn't advancing the plot, it turns me to skimming as I want to get to the scenes that matter so I can focus on them.

I think this chapter has a page, maybe two, of plot-relevant information that could be kept, and the rest tossed as worldbuilding you needed to get to this place, but that is no longer relevant for the narrative. A lot of feelings and backstory are delivered via author monologue instead of dialogue or character reactions, and that also slows down my reading as I don't want to be told, I want to experience things as the character does.

It's not functionally a bad chapter, it's just that we have had so many slice of life chapters and I'm still waiting for the plot to start its acceleration.

 

As I go

- pg 1: after the slow plod of the previous chapter, it was hard not to feel disappointed by another 'average day and chitchat' opening

- pg 4: okay we almost get to some plot with the talking about being revolutionaries, but then I changes the conversation. I grumbled. Loudly

- pgs 1-5: Everything up to the section break I'm not sure what it's point is. It doesn't appear to feed into the plot, and we get maybe two or three lines of plot-relevant dialogue for the five pages. Is it necessary? can it be cut?

- pg 5-6: the paragraph with: Politics were simple when it came to as well as the next paragraph are things I want to be shown in context, not told

- pg 6: “-on the Cr-an border. The <-- I think you chapter actually starts here, with a sentence or two stuck into the paragraph like I was shopping with XYZ at the XYZ and they'd stop to hear a rambler or something

- pg 8: I clenches her jaw a lot

- very hard not to skim through the gathering as I'm still searching for the arc of the chapter, and its purpose

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I got a little overwhelmed with all the market description. It was vivid and detailed, allowing me to picture everything clearly, but because there has been a lot of wandering, I wasn't sure how much was relevant, and found myself wanting to get through and get more sibling tension. 

"The news always makes me sad." So relatable! 

"Maybe S and T viewed things too simply" I like the realization  I is coming too!

"Blood running down the steps of the palace" This scene ended on a very tense note, and I wish more of the scene had the kind of tension the later section had. 

"It was free and she didn't have to make it." Yay! Free food

I was very getting hungry while I was reading about all the food. 

At the party scene, I enjoyed the food and seeing I getting to like the people she once thought of as the enemy. I think it will have an even bigger impact later after you've tightened up the plot / arc in other scenes. 

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Chapter 15 probably isn't the best place for me to start reading any novel, especially one I'm trying to look at critically. That said, I tried to take it as a short story and enjoy the slice of lifeness of the piece. Overall, I like the character's interactions. It feels natural. I do have to agree with an above comment that the revolutionary character does seem like they are in it out of boredom. This isn't necessarily an issue on its own (unless of course it contradicts something in earlier chapters). There are people in the real world who get involved in political and social issues for no other reason than that they don't have anything better to do. This could be a fascinating thing to explore in a character - especially if Su's newfound comrades begin to feel that she isn't as devoted as they are. Is she a true believer? A weekend warrior? A spy? Whatever the case, there is real potential there for conflict with not only the authorities but the revolutionaries as well.

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Notes as I go:

P. 1. – “here, in the great stone plaza, decorated wildly with awnings and populated with fishermen, farmers, and tradesmen.” – this description should probably come sooner, so I can contextualise what you’re saying. Possibly also expand the description.

“Merchants, farmers, and fishermen cried their wares from brightly colored booths, each attempting to appeal to the diverse crowd passing by.” – You seem to be spreading the description through the page…

Actually, I’m wondering whether simply starting with “Fresh bass and sturgeon!” would be better, dropping the previous page entirely.

P. 3. - “Talem, like one of the great caravel ships, sailed through the crowds towards a bright red stand.” – hmmm, I liked this up until ‘sailed.’ Ploughed, maybe? Something more indicative of size and force.

 “For clandestine meetings?” – ooof, big booboo.

P. 4. - “at the last second.” – best dropped, I think.

“But the BK viewed the Revolutionaries as traitors” – fairly obvious at this point. Better just to show her looking distressed, we can probably guess why.

P. 6. - “It’s nothing but lies,” S murmured” – I’m liking how you established S is loving being part of something complicated and different from her role as mother, wife, so on. It builds into this moment, where her talents and abilities outside those roles are highlighted. She sees through what is announced and into the heart of what is meant.

P. 7. – Hah! Liking this. We see that I is concerned with family and personal relationships, something you also built earlier in the chapter. Then we have this nice juxtaposition of different value systems. S and T value the macro scale of governments and politics, something which you highlight I does not understand well. Hence, the core dilemma between the two. I will be swayed by personal interactions. S and T by political/economic policies. Micro vs. Macro.

“His purple and white wings unfurled, casting shadows over all of them.” – Nice allusion to the government, and that he’s a dragon ties in nicely with previous examples of dragonfire’s efficacy.

P. 11. – Is that… an innuendo? If so… I dunno, I’m getting weird thoughts about animal-people genitalia that I don’t want to have, ahah.

This is another good highlight of the stakes. Depending on how she plays this, she could lose new-found camaraderie or her sister.

P. 12. – More nice setting description. “like a woman putting her gold on.” Though, perhaps ‘jewellery’ would be better.

After reading previous comments: I agree with some of Mandamon's assessment of S' character. I feel "whiny and privileged" is a bit strong, but certainly her treating it as a hobby raised an eyebrow for me.

As for the census, I totally understand how it could be considered onerous. Consider the example of William the Conqueror. He invaded England, took it over. Replaced English lords with Norman French ones. Often granted lands in disparate locations as a means of dividing lords' power. Harrowed the North, burning it so much that the entire area did not recover for decades. And, also, instituted the Domesday Book.

All of these things were a means of control. There had been nothing like Domesday before. It catalogued lands, wealth (both in the time of William and one of his predecessors, Edward the Confessor) and the rights of lords. There's little textual evidence to say whether it was liked or not, but there IS plenty of evidence of people trying to avoid giving firm facts. It can be inferred that many people didn't like the interference.

My point is that the revolution and other city-folk are entitled to view a census of this sort as continued government interference. Big Brother, but also another front of the invasion.

Kais also has a point about the 'slice of life' thing. I liked both this chapter and the previous one, but both together seems a bit much.

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Comments :) 

1)  Do you eat sturgeon as a fish? I mean, caviar, obviously, but I'm not aware of anyone eating the flesh of the adult fish.

2)  I'm surprised that Sue let Ir away with referring to her revolutionary loyalty as a 'hobby'. That's pretty insulting.

3)  "the statistical likelihood" - This phrase throws me out of the chapter, seems way too modern and technical.

4)  "slowly increasing their space from each other" - Really awkward phrasing.

5)  I humbly submit that no culture would call its convenient snack-formatted food "mini dinner pastries". It's way too awkward to get the mouth around, unlike the dinner pastries. random examples: pasties (Cornwall); pies (all over the place); bridies (Scotland); kebabs (modern UK, via Turkey; crêpes (France); dim sum (China); pakora, bhajees and samosas (India/Asia); and then there is Mexico... My point bein, this type of snack would be named so as not to be such a mouthful, in conversation at least. Ir can still describe what she has brought, for the reader's benefit.

6)  "for those who heard its murmur, across the ocean and echoing against the cliffs, they couldn’t help but feel a smile come along their face" - 'come across their face' is the conventional expression, IMO. Also, the thought is quite literal about people hearing the song on the beach, or even in the streets: that's fine, but no one is going to her even the slightest murmur across on ocean. So, the end of the line is figurative, but I think there maybe needs to be a distinction between the first part and the second. Maybe something like '...she imagined the slightest murmur crossing the ocean and echoing...' to set that part apart from the rest.

Overall 

This does feel sharper and more focused to me. Good work. I wonder now if the person moment with J on the beach is removed, or is upcoming in the next submission. I shall find out!

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On 25/08/2020 at 6:56 PM, Mandamon said:

Very similar to the one I read! I think the back half of the chapter is really good and really gets the musician characters centered in the story. This is where I first saw Ir. and J as a thing, and their relationship could easily develop from here.

#iagreewithmandamon

On 25/08/2020 at 6:56 PM, Mandamon said:

S. comes across as sort of a whiny privileged person. She regards being a revolutionary as a new hobby

I'm not quite so sure about this point. The first part, yes, but I do believe that Sue has a passion for the cause, and sees the BK's rule as unjust. I'm not sure I ever got the impression that she was just 'playing' at being a revolutionary. If anything though, she seems to be less angry with Ir., however, that is maybe just because Sue seems to think that Ir is going to help the revolutionaries by being in the palace, which I presume Ir will not in this Draft 3 (as per the previous version).

On 26/08/2020 at 3:17 AM, Sarah B said:

The first half was a little choppy

I tended to think that too, but wasn't put out enough to comment. I was relying on future edits to smooth the scene, but it's right to mention it now. I agree that the changes from one topic to another in that first scene do feel choppy, and less than organic.

On 29/08/2020 at 11:59 PM, kais said:

what is important? What is this scene trying to do?

I continue to like the beach scene, and I'm happy to accept its purpose as fairly low key: Ir gets to know the orchestra and cement a grow friendship with the musicians. BUT, it's a fair point--and one made before--that too much slice of life together will become a drag on the plot. I like @Turin Turambar's assessment in terms of the plot in the first part carrying the reader through the second part, but I'm not sure it would do any harm to the beach scene is Ir were to think beforehand that she might something about X (something plot-related), and then to have that come out in the beach scene.

On 30/08/2020 at 3:33 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

but because there has been a lot of wandering, I wasn't sure how much was relevant, and found myself wanting to get through and get more sibling tension

Yeah, I agree that the sibling tension seems to be less around here in this Draft 3. It was good in Draft 2. Maybe it's still there, but will come out/blow up a bit later in this draft.

On 07/09/2020 at 11:31 AM, TheDwarfyOne said:

but certainly her treating it as a hobby raised an eyebrow for me

Yes, but see, it was It who said this, not Sue. I agree that the comment stands out, but I think it stands out because Ir has taken that impression. I didn't think that Sue felt this way herself. The thing that throws me (as noted above) is that Sue does not take any offence at Ir's comment.

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@Robinski I see curiosity has won over, since I'm pretty sure you said that you weren't going to read this draft? ;) Sorry I haven't replied back to your email. I want to talk more about NotK, I'm just trying to survive teaching first. 

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19 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

@Robinski I see curiosity has won over, since I'm pretty sure you said that you weren't going to read this draft? ;) Sorry I haven't replied back to your email. I want to talk more about NotK, I'm just trying to survive teaching first. 

Of course, you really must survive teaching first. At least get all the boobytraps planted around the classroom (in case anyone turns up in person), and make sure the snipers are in position.

Yeah, I weakened, but I'm trying to do this critiquing 'lite', where I don't get drawn into line edits, so that I can keep pace with RE stuff. I mean, I have no excuses when there are two subs a week ATM, pretty consistently. Seems that when I concentrate on my writing, I struggle to critique, which was not always the case. #alwayslearning

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Of course, you really must survive teaching first. At least get all the boobytraps planted around the classroom (in case anyone turns up in person), and make sure the snipers are in position.

During my first month of working retail years ago (I was working at a toy store with the world's largest wooden yo-yo), I had two college dudes come up to me. One says, "I have a weird question for you."

I go, "Alright, whatchu got?"

He says to me, "How many first graders do you think you could fight?"

We proceeded to have an odd conversation about the weight of first graders and whether they could be used as clubs, scare tactics, and how infectious their bites would be. 

He was right. It was a weird question. But it was a fun one. 

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Lol. That's hilarious. How may, though?

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

Lol. That's hilarious. How may, though?

Maybe 2-4. Getting hugged by 22 eager first graders at the end of the year was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. It would not take many to completely swamp you and push you off your feet. Legit thought I was going to get crushed as they squeeeeeezed. 

I am easily outran by kids and I have no muscle strength. I am the weak member you sacrifice to save yourself. 

Edited by Snakenaps
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3 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I am easily outran by kids and I have no muscle strength. I am the weak member you sacrifice to save yourself.

Ah, yes, the old 'Can you outrun a lion?' joke.

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