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Snakenaps

8/31/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapter Sixteen (2,751 words)

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Technically, this is a Draft Three chapter, but almost nothing has changed from the Draft Two version. Only little tweaks here and there. 

 
Thank you ahead of time! You guys rock! Any comments, opinions, and concerns are welcome!
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Looking back to my notes on draft 2, since this chapter is basically the same, I think this is where I first started to get really confused on what the Fey were. Something I'm not sure was ever answered - what does a null have to do with the Feylands? Is it just that they can touch iron, or is there something else to it?

This is also where I started to get confused on the country/city layout. I'm not really sure where Them. and Maith. fit with Pem. Are these all independent kingdoms? Is there a larger empire they belong to with the B.K.? Is there a larger continent?

pg 6: was L. particularly cold or pompous? I don't really remember that.

The part with J and Ir at the end really feels like a good start for their relationship, but as I can recall, from this point it sort of levels out and doesn't go anywhere. This might be a good place to lean into that a little more.

Overall, the arc is still a bit light for these last several chapters. I think it would be pretty easy to pick the tensest moments out of them, but some of the fluff, and make this into one or two chapters about meeting the musicians and Ir starting a relationship with J.

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Looking back to my notes on draft 2, since this chapter is basically the same, I think this is where I first started to get really confused on what the Fey were. Something I'm not sure was ever answered - what does a null have to do with the Feylands? Is it just that they can touch iron, or is there something else to it?

Ironically, this was originally the chapter that introduces the Fey. At the 36% mark of the book! I plan to have the Fey mentioned, if not basically explained, by Chapter One, with a solid understanding created extremely early on. So by this point, the Fey won't be being introduced, they'll be a solid concept. 

Laying out the countries with the new government systems should fix things up too. 

I think if I play my cards right, I can combine this chapter and the last chapter...

Thanks! 

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I had mostly the same issues as @Mandamon 

There is a slight typo near 20% where monster should be monsters.

The idea of this other city/fortress being built is intriguing.

I got a little bogged down in the place names, I think that reading a chapter a week makes it harder to get familiar with things than reading straight through would though. 

There are a lot of things on the table for nearly half way; Why the BKs name is important, revolutionaries, a musical tour, a fortress being built and feys. Also, over 90% of Ir's year under contract is still ahead of her. Is this set to be the first book in a series? Sorry if this was already explained. 

Ir seems pretty terrible at secrets, but that certainly builds tension :-) 

A fun read as always!

 

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9 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Is this set to be the first book in a series? Sorry if this was already explained. 

Yes it is, but I don't think I've ever mentioned it. This is the first book in a planned trilogy. Although I'm currently bopping around the idea of outlining a prequel from the spy W's POV in regards to how the BK comes to power. 

9 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Ir seems pretty terrible at secrets

Book One Ir is not great at secrets. This should contrast pretty heavily with planned Book Three Ir. 

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Overall

Same comments as usual I'm afraid. What is the arc? What is the purpose of the chapter? How does it drive the narrative forward? From what I can tell, the chapter was supposed to do two things:

1) tell us that BK is building something sinister up north

2) lay down the start of a romance line

#2 is does okay, although it would pack a much stronger punch if I had actual reactions when people prod too close to BK's name. #1 was achieved during the convo with #2, so the first beat could likely just be deleted, as could the third. If you make it just about the 'here is the love interest and the reasons they can't get together because he won't stop asking about BK and it makes her sick/giggle/tell bad puns, that would be a decent arc for the chapter and give more depth to I's character, as well as the plot.

If that wasn't a romance line start, I'm not sure what it's purpose was, and it leaves me unmoored in yet another walk/talk chapter without any real stakes.

I'm assuming a lot of this is going to get cleaned up next draft or so. The writing was nice, as always!

 

As I go

- pg 2: slow start to the chapter with more conversation. No start to the chapter arc so it makes me itchy right off the bat

- pg 4: argghhhhh just more walking and talking

- pg 5: ah, I see some romance here. Maybe we could lead the chapter with this? I's line about the BK having a thing up north is fine here, and the info in the scene before it really isn't needed. She could just say she overheard it and it's making her feel unwell, then they go for a stroll

- pg 8: The earlier joy fled, leaving her tired. <-- this would be way more dramatic if the hex or whatever BK put on her went into effect and made her say something funny or puke on the guy or something

- why do her feet feel light after such a heavy conversation? 

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1) "mundie" not sure about that. 

5) That slip is going going to get her sister killed, isn't it.

8) I'm confused why it matters if people know the BK's name. 

9) "the golden haired boy" two things: 

         a) "boy" may or not be race specific.

        b ) this implies a specific character archetype. Was that intentional?

10) I'm going to agree with  @kais that she seems way too happy for what just happened.

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Notes as I go:

P. 1. – Repetition of “little.”

Wait, aren’t these musicians from M? Why are they being so hard on the university?

“Making a mundie a monarch.” - Alliterative, feels like a saying.

“Record keeping everyone’s magical abilities? I feel like that makes it way too easy for the Black King to manipulate those whose skills he knows he needs.” – Yep. Like William’s Domesday book, which allowed him to know the fighting strength of England’s lords, something he used in later campaigns.

P. 3. – You’re promising that the fey will get lose here.

P. 5. – “If my sister heard about it, she’d do something stupid.” – a bit too candid?

And then there was a love interest! Didn't see that coming.

After reading other comments: I am beginning to think, like Mandamon and Kais, that this is far too much of the "walk and talk" type stuff. I feel the chapters would work better condensed or changed so that, while all the other information is conveyed, something plot-driven happens at the same time. I'm thinking people are disappearing (Ah! The revolutionaries are taking musicians out because Ir blabbed to her sister about her social activities on the beach and told the revolution, who now think that the musicians are involved in some BK plot/hold needed information!) and Ir is delving into the mystery while J tries to flirt. Random example. Though I will note that you've been promising a moment where S betrays Ir (or dramatically doesn't) for a while now. Her loyalties are divided.

Edited by TheDwarfyOne
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There was a ton of world building here, and it was really interesting to learn all about the politics from the point of view of the M's. I liked their different takes on the BK, some more positive than others. I think after you've revised the earlier parts in the book to have a tighter plot, this will be a nice relaxing chapter. It's not super tense, but not every chapter has to be. There is nice emotion. Beautiful imagery. Great little bits of flirting between I and J. The imagery at the end, about dancing home, really was working for me. 

The problem is that most of the chapters have been low key like this one, but I think you've heard that a million times already. This is one I'd keep as a catch your breath chapter after you add more tension and plot to some others, I think. Others may disagree, but I love this party on the beach. 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Comments.

1)  I'm instantly glad that the discussion has turned to serious matters. The dialogue maybe does not flow quite as well as the previous chapter initially.

2)  I like the first section. It sets up quite a bit quickly, but we've already heard of the F long before now, this gives more meat to earlier references. It's not the first reference to the northern project; as I recall it's mentioned in earlier BK POV sections, so this is building those earlier references up, it seems to me, by the project coming to Ir's notice for the first time, I think.

3)  Why is J worried? That seems odd.

4)  "Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to-" - This is the third sentence in the chapter that has started this way. There are two on the previous page. The second one sounded repetitive. This one is even more repetitive.

5)  "I can tell the broad emotions of what someone is feeling" - Super wordy and awkward. 'I can read emotions, broadly.' Everyone feels emotions, that's what they are. No need to explain that. Also, there is a verb too many, and grammar stuff. This is quite a good illustration of Point 1)(b), above. Maybe the chapter was never quite as smooth as I remember from my previous reading.

6)  "Well…thank you for the excuse to leave" - This through me, because I though we were still talking about J's powers. This is an example of the choppiness that I think was evident in the previous chapter, in the marketplace. In fact, "I’ve been in it my entire life" - Again here, Ir makes a comment about her sister and the wall, but J's answer is about the earlier point around politics in general. These start to feel like non sequiturs and do hurt the flow of the conversation, I think.

7)  "do you know the Black King’s name?" - Now, I'm struggling just a little with versions of the story. Does J know what her ability is? If so, then I understand why he would ask this question. But, if he does not know that she knows names, then I see no basis for him asking the question.

8)  "a slow death not only for herself but her family" - Back in Chapter 14 she has a very similar thought, and uses the phrase "her family would die slowly and painfully". I understand why she would think in the same terms on two separate occasions, but since she's had a thought her like this on two occasions (two chapters apart), it rang repetitive to me.

9)  "distant music and laughter from the party mixed with the waves" - It continues to be a strongly evocative scene this one, so atmospheric. You have to promise my you will never  cut it!!

10)  "We purposefully didn’t tell you" - 'purposely'.

11)  The ending: I like how it captures the change in her dynamic with the musicians, and the Maits in general. What it does not do is push the plot forward, or push the reader into the next chapter. I believe that not all chapters need to do that, but I think maybe this book could do with the few more chapters that do...

Overall 

...Still, it's a well conceived chapter, I think. The thing is, I'm pondering whether in fact it would read better to have all of the Buch stuff in one chapter, which I think was the case in Draft 2? Since Chapter 14 is circa 2,860, it would seem easy enough, in word count terms anyway, to take the market scene from Chapter 15 back into 14, and keep the beach scene as one chapter. That, in fact, would save you an entire chapter, splitting the 4,400 words of Chapter 15 between Chp.14 (2,860) and Chp.16 (also 2,750).

I guess there is not much plot here, but I feel the tension in Ir and I feel it ease as she accepts the friendship of the musicians. I like this chapter, but do agree with other comments that probably more plot is called for through Chapters 14-16.

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