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9/14/2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapters 19/20 (6,331 total)

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This week is a heavy hitter, and although I did try to keep it down to 6,000 words, I ultimately failed. Sorry about that. There is a scene in the beginning of Chapter 20 I could take out, but I wanted to see everyone's opinions on it first. It may be my personal bias keeping it in. 

I completely deleted a chapter, so I saved you from what was supposed to be this week's fluff. Slowly trimming down that slice-of-life. Got rid of a bad POV too. Progress!


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Hi! This is my first week here on writing excuses, so I just have to say that I really like your style! It is very clear for the most part, and the emotion comes through well. It also kind of reminds me of Narnia, with the talking animals and such. 

Some general thoughts:

Nice worldbuilding with the musical rain things. It seems like it would be very pleasant. 

The whole concert sequence was emotionally authentic, I believed that she was actually experiencing stage fright. However, even though I liked it, I feel as if her freaking out on three separate occasions was a bit redundant. It did pay off nicely at the end though, with her twirling.

I thought it was actually quite rude of her to invite all of her friends when she knew they couldn't come, and mainly wanted J to come over. 

Having her siblings come over for a surprise visit actually wasn't all that surprising. (Especially since we see them at home with her the chapter before) 

The awkward "not-political" conversation at her house was very relatable, lol. 

While reading:

pg 2: "the musicians fired..." repeats the word 'incompetence'

I like the description of her parents

pg. 4 "pockets to hide..." i think removing the word 'in' makes the sentence flow better. 

pg. 7 "like a wooden puppet..." who is like the wooden puppet here? I or J?

All of the rain imagery is cool. I like the hanging beads a lot. 

pg. 11 Having a chapter break here seemed odd to me. Maybe after she invites J? 

pg. 13 "Weird dead sea creature" seems a bit clunky to me. 

pg. 20 Slamming seemed a bit harsh of a word for me at first, but after reading a bit longer, it made more sense.

pg. 22 Oh No! the date didn't end well :(




Edited by ginger_reckoning
didn't upload everything the first time for some reason

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4 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

This is my first week here on writing excuses, so I just have to say that I really like your style!

Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! I hope you enjoy your time here! I'm very flattered to be compared to Narnia, considering those were some of my favorite books growing up. 

I know I leave summaries for the book in my emails, but if you are like, "What are earth is she referring to?" many of the worldbuilding/character questions may be found here. It's out of date since I'm between drafts, but it will give you a good idea of what is going on. Of course, you can also ask me any questions at any time. 

I have to apologize in the fact that I'm generally slow to respond to critiques, if I'm able to respond at all, at the moment since I've started a new job and battling the school district has been...challenging. I'm reading everyone's comments, though, and I really appreciate them. All feedback is good feedback. 

Again, welcome, and I'm glad you are here!


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2 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

@Snakenapsthat is a very impressive webstie! I really like the artwork

Thanks! I'd normally say I'm a hobbyist...but since I'm now an elementary fine arts teacher, I guess I'm now??? Technically??? 

I like art. 

Edited by Snakenaps

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I'm wondering if you could so a little more with the instances where you switch to the BK's POV? It seems like the narrative pulls back really distant when it shifts to his POV, with all these stunning yet distant descriptions that happen before we get to the meat of it and the scenes purpose, like revealing that he hates the wealth but has a use for it and the people who love it. These little snippets and I's interactions hint he's a really interesting character, and I want to see more of it. 

The chapter with the concert was nice. It was well written with clearly conveyed emotion, and culminated in another character moment. But Plot? Something is missing to connect to the bigger things going on. I had expected her to actually need to use her ability. 

The next chapter had more plot. Things got nice and tense when S and J started talking about barrier. Then it kind of dropped off. I wonder if I missed something with the last little political talk at the end, because that seemed to come a little out of nowhere. 

The comment about the BK and peaceful protests rubbed me the wrong way, but that has to do with politics, which I won't get into here. 

Overall, there was lots of good writing and beautiful prose. Lots of emotion. I'm looking forward to the next chapter. 


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I think this still has some of the issues I noted when I read the previous draft, mainly involving the political situation.
The more I think about it, the more I think you could easily remove the first 6 pages and start with the actual concert. That would give you space to show a lot more of Ir's reaction during the performance, and like @shatteredsmooth said, even have a chance for her to use her powers. It would also give a little more to expand on the BK. His character is very interesting, but I don't think we see enough during the book to really understand his motives.

The second chapter has some strange contradictions for me, in that their society is based on hospitality, and people from other countries are presumably able to visit on a regular basis. I don't understand why they are so antagonistic based just on country of origin. I'll also second the comment about protests didn't really land right, especially given the past several months. That might be more dependent on topical news, but also monarchies generally don't get along well with protests or questioning rulers.

Notes while reading:
Ch 19
pg 1: Yes, I think the first page of this can go, starting with S braiding Ir's hair. The worldbuilding is interesting, but having it scattered around a little, like L eating raindrop cookies during a different scene, would present the information better.

pg 2: wait, why would she lose the restaurant if she didn't play well enough? Was that ever a threat?

pg 3: Hmmm...okay, you could actually cut that whole scene until the break, and maybe have Ir. think of a few key images like S braiding her hair and her father bringing the pins home while they're walking her to the gate. Really, you could cut that too and start with Ir smoothing her costume. Hey! I found your 1000 words to cut for this sub ;-)

pg 6: Some good emotion in here, but still waiting to get to the performance.

pg 8: Well, we really only get a page of Ir. dealing with the actual concert before switching to BK's POV. I'd like to see more of her actually dealing with the nerves.

pg 8: "Four hundred gallons of water"
--what will water do specifically? I appreciate he can manipulate it, but I'm not sure why it's specifically presented here. Aside from getting an assassin wet, what is it going to achieve?

pg 10: I appreciate BK's assessment of Ir., but I'd like to see just a bit more of her struggling with playing well and how much effort she put into it.

pg 10: "those who had put their careers on the line"
--I never really got the threat for their careers. It seemed to be more imagined on their part. I'd like to see more of a direct threat. I think the celebration afterward would have a lot more impact that way.

Ch 20
pg 11: Again, there's a lot of celebrating, but we didn't see the struggle

pg 12: "not because of his loyalties.”
--I feel like we haven't really seen racial or country-based tensions like this before, but suddenly it's a big deal to invite someone from another country to their house.

pg 14: "Hospitality was everything in T"
--yeah, see this directly conflicts with their suspicion of having a foreigner in their home.

pg 17: "massive, shadowy murderers"
--Are the Fey also very large? Did we know that before?

pg 20: "But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to criticize my monarch."
--This continues to be a sticking point for me. It basically rebuffs any complaints that the Bk is running a bad government in any way. For a monarch to allow subjects to publicly criticize it is one of the hallmarks of modern reform, which immediately makes me turn against the revolutionaries as not knowing what they're getting into.

pg 22: “It’s why I didn’t want either of them to know about the project up north. It’s just another thing to worry them.”
--Except J warned them off a bad situation. Otherwise, T might have been tempted to take the job. I'd much rather face a few unpleasant facts that barrel headlong into a situation where I don't know the undercurrents.


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There are some good tension points in here, but once again surrounded by fluff. I think your first chapter starts around page 7 with TBK's POV. The rest can be cut. And then the following chapter has some great politics talk and family tension, but I think it's just a bit too padded still. 

On 9/16/2020 at 5:26 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

The comment about the BK and peaceful protests rubbed me the wrong way, but that has to do with politics, which I won't get into here. 

Same here, as did the no politics at the table! Lines. These are all things that are used in our current world by white people as a form of their privilege, and so it's hard to read it in a novel and not think how nice, to get to avoid politics. How nice, to think peaceful protests ever do anything. I think with these types of instances in the book, you'll have a hard time selling it to any agent/publisher with a marginalization or who is engaged in the BLM movement. They're...just phrases and situations used by people in power, and they don't make me sympathetic towards I's family.


As I go

- pg 1: this is a very slow start to the chapter. At this stage I definitely do not care about I's love of rain

- the first three pages, I getting ready for the concert, could be cut easily. We've already had like three chapters of concert prep. We need to get to the concert

- pg 6: The drums were like an echoing peal of thunder <-- I think your chapter starts here. Everything before it can be deleted

- pg 8: okay wait, now we're in TBK's POV. Maybe it should start here then. The little interlude with I doesn't give us much. At least TBK seems to be moving the plot forward

- Ch 19 recap: Okay so this chapter is the concert. That's the arc. The plot movement is TBK's POV section. I think you could start the chapter there, keep the little I endcap, and it would be much tighter and have more tension. All the stuff before it was just more slice-of-life lead up and I am positively starving for plot at this point

- pg 16: ah, there was almost some good tension there with the family but now it's devolving into chit-chat. I want movement and action!

- pg 21: when the start up with the politics talk again, it's pretty good. I still find it hard to wade through, possibly because of the sheer number of characters and that I don't feel grounded in the politics of the world at all. I feel like I'm constantly having to mentally cut around the fluff to get to the meat, and so I've lost little bits along the way.



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Not much to add to earlier comments:

Chapter 20:

Paragraph starting: J hesitated as he put..." Near the end of the paragraph is a sentence that doesn't quite match up, "he takes creatures like trying to overthrow him..." maybe 'actions' instead of creatures. 

The point J makes about his father headhunting skilled tradesmen doesn't seem to fully connect to what they are talking about, like maybe a beat in the conversation is missing? Not sure it just struck me as standing out. 

I loved your tactile descriptions and the other sensory information you include. That's something I am always trying to work on. 

Looking forward to more next week,

May the Prose be with you!


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Note: Every time you have a paragraph break, make sure the first paragraph after that is aligned with the left margin, not indented. Also, in instances where dialogue is cut off by an n-dash, I'd replace those with m-dashes.

Also, Jaisom's dialogue could use more contractions. If you're trying to make him sound stiff and formal, then I'd remove them altogether. The mix is somewhat distracting, and makes his dialogue seem unnatural. 

I really liked the sensory details of your world. It feels quite lived-in.

Everyone else's advice on your portrayal of politics is something I think you really ought to listen to and consider. 

Notes below, corrections in bold: 

Pg. 1: 

Rain poured down from a sky painted in a million shades of grey.—How many E.L. James sequels is that? 

People placed odd little creations...cascade of sounds.—Loved this detail. 

Pg. 2:

“And she has more hair on her head than a horse,

P berated for incompetence, stripped of her position and demoted.

Pg. 4:

Small glass beads were sewn here and there to give a sensation of water droplets.—I'd replace 'sensation' with 'illusion.' 

Had her nerves not been getting the best of her—I'd reword this as 'If it weren't for her nerves'

...she would have definitely found....

Pg. 6: 

can quiet them, but I would really not like to.—I'd italicize 'really', because this bit of dialogue feels stiffly worded. 

I gratefully accepted it and—Removed comma. 

Pg. 7:

...sparkling with prosperous olive trees of jade and polished wood...—Huh? Are they fake olive trees?

Nearly-translucent—Note: It's grammatically incorrect to add a dash after a word ending with 'ly'

Pg. 8:

He was dressed in flowing midnight blue silk, imported from half a...

Instead, he turned his golden eyes to the stage, to see the wonders of music, dance, and poetry.—Since this is the BK's POV, I would not mention his eye-color. It feels weird that a character would mention their own physical traits. Also, I haven't read much else of this story, but be careful about gold/yellow eyes. Take it from someone who's been guilty of this: if your character isn't Scut Farkus-levels of evil, it's a Mary Sue flag. 

Pg. 9:

...but instead her jaw was set like someone who knew what they had to do and wanted to do it perfectly.—Deleted comma. 

Pg. 11:

The success of the S of R burned like a lantern inside her.—I'd replace with 'torch.' A lantern isn't exactly supposed to burn that brightly. 

Pg. 12:

"Sounds perfect. Should I bring anything?"

I thought. “A cask of wine?”

“I can do that.”—I like this dialogue. Feels natural. 

Pg. 14:

...and the larger the gathering, the more the fun to be had...

Pg. 17: playing a twelve-note ocarina was similar to the pendant ocarina. 

...from T by the fifty-mile wide...

Pg. 19:

J said, equally strongly—Replace one of the last two words, so that the sentence isn't ending with two words that end in 'ly.'

Pg. 21:

…” he said, “but I know..."

But he takes creatures trying to overthrow him with deadly seriousness.—Removed 'like'

Pg. 22:

S doesn’t exactly stay calm when it comes to the matters of this country!—I'd reword this dialogue to make it sound a little more natural. 

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have taken the bait. I'm sorry I didn't listen."—I don't think he should apologize that quickly. It doesn't feel earned. 

“They’re risk-takers.


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