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Snakenaps

9/7/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapters 17/18 (4,653 words total)

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I calculated out that if I continued my habit of submitting one chapter a week, it would take me until March 15th, 2021 to get through this entire book. Now, I may not be as cool as some people here and have a deadline from an agent, but waiting seven months to get full feedback seemed...stifling. So, whenever I can, I'm going to begin submitting two chapters a week, starting with today. We aren't jam packed with people fighting for slots right now, so I don't feel too bad for giving you all a couple extra thousand words to scoff at.
 
Chapter Seventeen is almost entirely new. The first scene was from Draft Two but has been heavily modified, but otherwise only a couple other paragraphs were from before. I'm curious to see how this will be received.
 
Chapter Eighteen is nearly the same, with some tweeks. I'm not happy with this chapter yet. I still feel like the beginning 2/3rds are slow, and need to get cut more. It is also lacking the emotions from the previous chapter except for a sentence or two. I need to fix that. I've definitely noticed that the way I write emotions is like a teeter totter, constantly swinging back and forth from chapter to chapter. I think it is because by the time I finish a chapter with conflict, then I want to write a chapter that is all hunky dory because writing tension gives me stomach aches. I plan to go back and add more angst to this chapter. 
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Bring on the chapters! I'm up for some extra NOTK each week. 

I liked these chapters. There are some tone shifts but given the different settings I think it made sense overall. 

The rain description in the beginning gets a little repetitive, similar words in repeating order but I liked the section over all. 

A few typos/small grammer things:

"A cozy library whose floors..." I think 'with' here, but I'm not 100%.

Same paragraph:

"As P introduced them to those..." isn't she just introducing Ir here? 

Around 80%

"The Blackt was for the elite only, anyone else considered worthy for bathing in the sewer." Maybe, "Everyone else was considered worthy to bath in the sewers." 

 

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No problem with multiple chapters. If you're around 5k words, you don't even need to ask to send out however many chapters fit in that limit.

I think the additions here are good, and start to get more tension into the story at this point, but there needs to be more reaction. We quickly go back to the chapters and chapters of learning to play an instrument. I'd like more consequences of the spy escaping, and/or why the king is starting to get noble's names. Also why there's a surprise concert. Is he planning something?

There could be a lot more intrigue to these middle chapters to set up what happens at the end of the book.


Notes while reading:
CH 17

pg 1: Talking about the mines and using revolutionaries for labor definitely brings more gray area to the B.K. Good addition. Need more of this!

pg 1: Not sure why he's standing outside in the rain, though. He could have done his thinking inside. Did he want to get wet?

pg 2-3: I think there needs to be more tension through here. The performance is in 19 days! She's going to spoil everything! But P. is just like, do what you can...oh well. Even if not a threat, then a "we really need you to do well. We're all counting on you."

pg 3: I missed why they were in the library. We suddenly switch from the concert to looking for a spy translating things?

pg 4: "She met the owl’s knowing yellow eyes"
--Doesn't she only know that the spy's name starts with an "F"? Does it have to be this individual? Couldn't there be more names that start with "F"?
--Good tension though, that Ir. lets F. get away.

pg 6: I'm not sure why they think the B.K. is setting her up for failure. Doesn't he want to use Ir.'s ability? Why would he make her fail and by extension make her useless to him?

CH 18

pg 8: Good that she's still worried about the spy.

pg 8: "and indentured servants"
--this is a big change from what we've seen so far with the castle. It's been a lot of people working hard at their jobs for what they believe. This completely undermines that.

pg 9: "Although I wasn’t able to manipulate emotions until after the explosion."
--So did he have a power before that at all, or was he a null?

pg 11: This is starting to drag a bit. I know that's the emotion in the story, but it also makes it harder to read. We don't need to be frustrated along with Ir. at the monotony of learning an instrument, we want a summary that shows she is frustrated.

pg 12/13: I'm glad her father has some sense that people are going to have to change under this new rule. However I feel like this might be something he'd have said early on when the B.K.'s rule was solidified.

pg 14: 'She had spent all of that time believing that she had been hired to find spies. Now, she wasn’t so sure."
--except she did find a spy--exactly what she was meant to do. Except she let him escape.

pg 16: hmmm...I'm not sure the last section adds anything useful. We already know the king is collecting names and wants to use Ir for that purpose. Collecting an influential merchant or noble's name seems like an obvious extension of that.

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Overall

Same gripes as always. I felt like the meat of the chapter was in the last three pages or so, and the rest could all be condensed to maybe two paragraphs and integrated in. There's just far too much walking and talking without arcs, or growth, or any kind of plot movement to keep my attention. I need things to HAPPEN. They don't have to be explosions but I need to see evidence of the plot moving forward, otherwise it just feels like why am I reading?

 

As I go

- pg 1-2: okay wait, is this a POV break here between pages? Looks like it. What purpose does TBK's page serve?

- pg 4: more walking and talking. In these pages I think the purpose was to point out the owl spy? Yes? If so, that could be done in probably a paragraph within a greater narrative

- pg 6: okay yes, it seems like the point to ch 17 was for I to see the owl. The chapter does not appear to have an arc however, or really advance the storyline. I'd suggest cutting this chapter and putting a paragraph about her finding the spy somewhere in the next chapter

- pg 9: ughhhh still on preparing for the concert. I am very ready for them to get to the concert. These 'learn to play while chatting' interludes could still be kept if other events were happening during them. But it's the constant chat and chat-and-walk that just drags the chapters. I need solid movement towards our plot goal! I need action! I need arcs and character growth!

- pg 13: There were six days before the <-- I think the chapter starts here. This is where the narrative seems to pick up some tension and movement

 

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On 9/7/2020 at 1:05 PM, Snakenaps said:

So, whenever I can, I'm going to begin submitting two chapters a week, starting with today. We aren't jam packed with people fighting for slots right now, so I don't feel too bad for giving you all a couple extra thousand words to scoff at.

The slots have been by word count, not chapters, so your fine. You could've been submitting more all along. And if you go over a little over 5,000 words, well, I can't speak for the others, but I think you can get away with it because your other chapters have been so short. Some weeks, if your chapters are these short, you might even be able to squeeze in three and still only take up one slot, but if it was quiet and you wanted to get ahead, I'd be cool with you taking a double slot and sending 10,000 words...

I admit, when I send things to this group, I am for chapters to be around 5,000 words and then end up dividing a majority of them into shorter chapters later on. 

Now, to the feedback. 

We got more plot in this one. 

I wasn't sure about that little opening bit with the BK. It was a lot of description of him to be from his point of view and there was just a small little reveal of information. 

I loved the lines about the rain.

I was a little confused about the Owl. So, she didn't say it's real name, but did she say any name at all? Did she pretend she hadn't seen it before it left the room? Did she give a different name? Somehow know the one it was using? This wasn't quite clear to me. 

I did like the emotion around her not telling Pem. There were also intense feelings with the sister later.  

"shared her birthday with four of them" So does that mean it was a littler of five puppies, including her?

The cat part was interesting. Certainly adds a layer to the plot. 

There was so much emotion in the scene with the dad. I almost cried. But even as she clings to her family and world, I can see her opinions about everything changing. There has been a lot of character growth, even if things have been a little light on the plot side. 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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Hah, I am only wildly behind on the this thread.

Comments:

Chapter 17

1)  "surly strings" - Excellent. I like the description here in the opening. Well done, and sets the scene nicely, emphasising his sour mood.

2)  "stone fortress...stone by stone" - That's a lot of 'stone'. Could say 'block by block' (for example) to avoid the excess.

3)  Nice simile with the minnows. The usual analogy is that minnows are small and harmless, not worth the hassle, but I like how you've tweaked it. Also...

Spoiler

...nice foreshadowing with the reference to the mines, assuming that element of the story remains the same.

4)  Nice display of his magical ability. It's been many chapters since we saw it last, so this makes a nice reminder of (part of) his power.

5)  I'm not doing LBLs, really I'm not, but..."with the cold calmness his facade demanded" - The cold calmness is the facade, surely? This sounds like tautology to me (sort of).

6)  Another LBL, but really, I have to stress this. The lack of some form of separating mark between the POV sections makes me trip hard over the switch which occurs right at the page break. To some extent this is a typesetting thing, BUT, imagine an agent or publisher reading your MS and tripping over this...'Wait, what, M's birthday...What's happening?' I strongly recommend developing the habit of inserting a section break (like ' *** ' or maybe ' # ' between your POV sections to avoid this disorientation in the reader.

7)  "would not only mean the loss of C" - I don't think I agree with this. I don't remember the contract saying anything about her having to be successful at the tasks assigned to her. And, "and, for the musicians, their careers over" - not sure I agree with this either. It seems overdramatic. They might take a while to recover, but a musician could still get a job in a band or orchestra, even if only sitting at the back.

8)  Pedant alert: I would say that a doorway is always open, it's the door the opens and closes.

9)  The language in the first library paragraph is rather untidy: "introduced them to those surrounding the table" - clunk.

10)  But...I like the tension introduced immediately to this encounter in the form of the spy potentially being present. Good job. And then the actual spy is right there!! At first, I thought this was weird, too sudden, but because it's unexpected, I think maybe it works. Very good tension certainly, and Ir's stress, her dilemma, is convincing.

11)  "Don’t switch sides" - I don't understand this line. There's no chance of Sue changing sides, that must be completely obvious to Ir, and nothing in what Sue said suggested that's what she was going to say. Oh, from reading on I think I get that Sue meant for Ir not to change sides, but...hmph. Difficult to align my emotions correctly having finished Draft 2 already.

12)  The stuff about her falling, again, it makes no sense to me, and should not make sense to her. Why would the BK set her up to fail when he needs her to be in the position he has put her? It's not logical and I think Ir is smart enough to see these thoughts make no sense (IMO).

13)  Yeah, her emotions at the end of the chapter feel forced. I accept her being stressed about the upcoming concert, but all the musicians being under threat doesn't play for me. It feels like forced tension: artificial stakes. I could go with Ir feeling stressed about not performing adequately, and not being able to fulfil her real purpose for the BK, and therefore him terminating her contract, but not the bit about all the musicians' careers being over. Damaged, yes, the progress, reputation and earning being set back, probably, but not the end of careers.

Chapter 18 

1)  "However, with nine days left..." - This is not a new section, is it? I'm basing it on the line break. Starting it with 'However' is not good.

2)  "kneading endless amounts of bread" - You knead the dough, of course, not the bread. It's the old 'What do you put in a toaster?' joke.

3)  "when she came in at a song" - I'd say 'when she joined in a song', or, you could say 'At which bar she joined a song', which is better, because it implies growing musical knowledge on Ir's part in that she knows to use the term 'bar'.

4)  "If she didn’t blend in seamlessly with some of the best musicians in the province, the restaurant wouldn’t be finished, everyone from Carcella’s would lose their salaries, and the musicians" - As noted before, I don't think these stakes are believable.

5)  "More than that, however, was their sense of humor" - More what than that? More reassuring than that, more valuable than that? Word missing here.

6)  "played off of" - I'll comment on this till my last breath. I remain 100% convinced that you will not see this form used in professionally published literature. It's clumsy on the tongue, inelegant and unnecessary. 'remark that J played off' is perfectly clear and adequate.

7)  "It was incredibly fascinating" - This seemed a bit over-much to me.

8)  "who went around in the evenings and lit all of the sconces and candles until the palace" - How do they light the streets of Bor? Is this not common practice?

9)  "Did she actually help..." - What else would she be doing? How could it not be a help? I don't understand this thought.

10)  "fell a foot from her face where it cascaded off of the rooftop and splashed onto the stone ground" - I mean, just tell me it doesn't sound cleaner, smoother, better. In fact, personally, I would replace it with '...cascaded from the rooftop...' Also, there is value in being more specific, making the words work harder in terms of description, e.g. '...cascaded from the rooftop to splash on the stone path.' for example.

11)  "not because of its lack of popularity, but its sheer exclusiveness" - Phrasing. This says that the BT is unpopular. It say it has a lack of popularity. But that's not true. I'm sure it is very popular with the segment of society that can afford to patronise it. Suggest replacing with 'not from a lack of popularity, but...' I'm sorry. I've lapsed into LBLs, but you know me well enough by now to know that I struggle to read past this sort of thing, and I WILL bust your chops about it, early draft or not :rolleyes: 

12)  "that the BT made up for its lack of color on its exterior with a rainbow collection of artwork" - Top style tip (that I stole from the Death of 1,000 Cuts podcast). Don't describe what is NOT there, describe what IS there. As in 'the BT made up for its monochrome exterior with a rainbow collection of artwork'. Actually, I well 'collection' is a bit week. Suggest something like 'coruscating rainbow of artwork', something with more pizzaz.

13)  "she would never be wealthy or influential enough to be allowed admittance" - Oh, oh, miss, miss! Please let this be a loooooong foreshadowing of a day, maybe in Book 3 (at least) when Ir has risen through society to the point that she can afford a membership of the BT bathhouse. That would be soooooo awesome :D 

14)  "anyone else considered worthy for bathing in the sewers" - grammar/phrasing: this doesn't make none sense, under mine opinion.

15)  "lackluster but serviceable houses" - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! This is not Ir's voice, IMO. The passion that she has for her family, IMO, has always included a very, very special and strong image of the family home as the centre of her world. I do not believe that she would ever think of it in this way. Modest? Sure. Serviceable? Maaaaaybe, but she has too much love for the place to think of it as lacklustre, IMO.

16)  "Ir followed the thrust of her nose" - Cows don't have noses. I don't see it makes any difference if Pe is a therio or a...what's the word? Cows must have snouts or muzzles or something other than noses, don't they? Oh, they've got muzzles, it says here...

cow-parts-true-type.jpg.c11ae84b1549ce3868a1b464cc55f30e.jpg

https://sites.psu.edu/rclambergabel/tag/scorecard/

17)  "It was much cheaper to hire your neighbor, who was capable of following given instructions without needing his own army of servants" - I don't know what this means. I don't see what it adds. Cut it, IMO. I get the point that people with carriages are super wealthy. It's not a concept that needs a lot of explanation for the reader. If you explain obvious stuff, the reader will think you think they're dumb.

18)  Whoa there. Ir gives only a partial name, but Pe states the whole name. I was going to throw a flag on this, BUT, I then remembered that Ir sees the name that the being considers to be their true name, I think? (See, I've been paying attention :D). The thing is, would a being not consider their true name to be their full name? Why would they consider a truncated version of their full name to be more true that than the full name? Seems counterintuitive to me.

19)  "Pe began leading the way towards the palace" - Compare: 'Pe led the way toward the palace." Directness is more compelling, flows better and is easier for the reader to follow, IMO.

20)  "he surely already knew of" - Knowing of someone, is not the same as knowing their name. The point here is that the BK surely already knows the bankers name. (Sorry, in full LBL mode now, but dang it, just, because.

21)  Hmm. Cut the last two lines and finish the chapter on "Why were name so important?" This is a much more compelling end to the chapter than going back to the performance, which the reader has been beat over the head with for the last several chapters(?). This is more important plot-wise, the knowing of names. I think it makes a much better, more tense and intriguing end to the chapter.

Overall 

Good chapter. I can't remember how these scenes were shaped in Draft 2, but I thought this read through well.

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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

6)  "played off of" - I'll comment on this till my last breath. I remain 100% convinced that you will not see this form used in professionally published literature. It's clumsy on the tongue, inelegant and unnecessary. 'remark that J played off' is perfectly clear and adequate

I don't have time to respond to everything right now but this made me laugh because just before I got the teaching gig and paused on writing, I used the Find ability to replace every "off of" to "off" in the book. I got tired of you harping on all of them and decided to fix it XD 

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10 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I don't have time to respond to everything right now but this made me laugh because just before I got the teaching gig and paused on writing, I used the Find ability to replace every "off of" to "off" in the book. I got tired of you harping on all of them and decided to fix it XD 

Harping on is what I do best, as you know ;) 

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4 hours ago, Robinski said:

Harping on is what I do best, as you know ;) 

*gaspNoooo, not yooooou. You don't go on rants any more than I write essays about horses. Never. 

 

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Overall: This reads like a very reflective couple of chapters. Which is fine, in and of itself, but I’m becoming increasingly anxious for some of the setup to start to pay off, as it feels like we’ve been in stasis for a little while now. There are also a couple of particular scenes that don’t seem to serve a purpose other than breaking up I’s time with the musicians. That said, I do like the way her relationship with the musicians is portrayed.

P1 “no water to slick of his coat” should be “off”

I’m not too sure what this first scene accomplishes aside from giving the BK the chance to look ominous and imposing. The only information we get is confirmation of the structure in the north, which has already been adequately set up to allow us to assume that it’s a plot point and not merely a rumour.

P2 “Two days after the M’s” remove “the”

P2/3: “If she was unable to pass…” Has it actually been suggested that if she doesn’t do a good job pretending to be a musician – not if she just decides not to or whatever - that the BK will renege on the contract? Or is this I worrying about things without having a firm basis for it? It’d be helpful to have it presented more clearly either way; at the moment it feels like new information and is a bit jarring.

The scene between I and S also doesn’t seem to change much. I tells S that she did the thing she said she’d do, and that she’ll continue to not do the thing she said she wouldn’t do, and it doesn’t seem to change or move things forward. It doesn’t really feel like a “rest” scene either, because while there was tension in the previous scene it was also all internal conflict: I feels guilty about what she’s doing but seems to be in no danger of actually being caught.

“What’s this note?” More likely you’d be drilling someone on phrases (play this set of notes) or specific rhythms (say/clap/play this) than individual notes, especially if you’ve been doing it for any amount of time, and especially if you’re working on percussion, where you’re working with individual pitches a lot less than other instruments.

Oof. 21 siblings seems like way too many siblings.

Wait, is J able to read emotions, or manipulate the

p14 Why is Ir suddenly doubting that she’s been hired to find spies? What’s changed to make her doubt her opinion here?

On the mundane horses: Nice detail here.

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1 hour ago, Silk said:

Which is fine, in and of itself, but I’m becoming increasingly anxious for some of the setup to start to pay off, as it feels like we’ve been in stasis for a little while now. There are also a couple of particular scenes that don’t seem to serve a purpose other than breaking up I’s time with the musicians.

I'm going to have a blast cutting and trimming these later.

1 hour ago, Silk said:

“What’s this note?” More likely you’d be drilling someone on phrases (play this set of notes) or specific rhythms (say/clap/play this) than individual notes, especially if you’ve been doing it for any amount of time, and especially if you’re working on percussion, where you’re working with individual pitches a lot less than other instruments.

This is why I needed your opinion. I know nothing.

1 hour ago, Silk said:

Wait, is J able to read emotions, or manipulate them

Both, but he doesn't like to do either. He's really not good at manipulation. 

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5 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Both, but he doesn't like to do either. He's really not good at manipulation

Hm, okay. It's possible I missed something. When the "manipulate" thing came up I thought it was new information, but it read like information I should already know.

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10 hours ago, Silk said:

Hm, okay. It's possible I missed something. When the "manipulate" thing came up I thought it was new information, but it read like information I should already know.

I probably deleted the introduction of it to rewrite it and haven't gotten around to fixing it. It's a common problem currently. 

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