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ginger_reckoning

10.26.20 ginger_reckoning - ch. 4, ch.5 (5300) (v, L)

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Here's the thread. Thanks again!

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Hi! I don't have a whole lot of super specific stuff to say. This chapter was really good! I thought the arc, the dialogue, and the descriptions were great. There are just a couple things I think you could improve.

First off, the whole flip-flop thing isn't a bad theme to carry through in S's pov, but it does sound a little childish to be saying "flip-flop" all the time. That kind of contributes to the childish tone of S's pov. On that same note, I still feel like S and A's voice sounds a little young, and I still haven't internalized exactly what their ages are. Are they teenagers? Are they adults? It's hard to tell. I also feel like their meeting kind of downplays the dread A felt in the last chapter. Nobody has been mad at him yet, and I kind of wondered at this point what all the worry was about.

On pages 5-6, I really appreciate the awkwardness of the scene. I don't really understand why the prayer hadn't been nice to listen to at the beginning of page 6. I feel like there isn't enough information about why it was so hard to listen to.

On page 7, I feel like A's story about the goats is definitely upsetting, and I understand that A is mad that he was always the "less favorite" son. The argument just seems off to me in a couple ways. First, A shows up after three years and then starts yelling at his dad about a goat story? Also, he was so nervous and afraid of seeing the rest of his family, and now he's just fine with yelling at his dad. I feel like this scene would be great to see through A's pov to know why A did those things and what his thought process is. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense seen through the eyes of someone else.

I did think the ending was really good, though. I'm definitely curious about where S is headed with his girlfriend. Keep up the good stuff! I can't wait to read next week's chapter!

Edit: Aaand I didn't even notice that there's a chapter 5 on there. Oops. 

I feel like this chapter didn't really need many improvements, and I liked the extra details about the army and what it does, as well as why A went and joined it. Giving a number to S's age is helpful, but I still don't feel like I've internalized that he's older. I guess he still reads like a teenager to me. 

On page 4, why does S think A would be mad about eloping with D? Also, when A calls S the "ladykiller of B" I guess I just don't see why he's a ladykiller. As a woman who's attracted to men, I guess I just don't find S a very charming or "ladykiller" sort of guy. Maybe other people disagree, but I personally don't think he's the kind of guy I would be at all interested in or that I could see any other girls being interested in. It just doesn't fit with what I know of him.

I also think the reaction of D's dad is a little intense based off my knowledge of this place. Why would he decide to get a gang of multiple guys together to jump his daughter's boyfriend who's eloping with her? Is elopement really bad enough to go to jail for it here? More information about this in the chapters leading up to this scene or in the moment would help this make more sense.

Again, great job and I'm excited to read what comes next!

Edited by ima willshaper
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These chapters read very solid to me too. Nice work!

Ch 4:

"Or am I just getting better at noticing them." This line is a bit confusing, I think because so much is going on in the sentence before it. 

The family name list was hard to sort out. I'm not sure whose three daughters they are.

The goat story came off a little awkward. The point was clear but it might need a little polishing. 

Ch 5:

The ending was anticlimatic for me. With the reminders that A has a rifle and S is telekinetic, I was expecting them to fight or bluff their way out. Letting themselves be arrested without any explaination or attempt to get away felt a bit empty. 

Really nice exposition in chapter five. And your description of their dinner has me deeply regretting bringing cold lunch :-)

Thanks for sharing!

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Two pretty good chapters, though I think they could probably be combined into one. I agree with @ima willshaper on the "flip-flop" part. I didn't mark it down, but it was kind of annoying. I'll also agree with @Sarah B that the ending to Ch 5 is pretty anticlimactic. I'm expecting A and S will do something cool together since they're both telekinetics now, but maybe they could put up a little resistance here?

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "his brother was alive"
--did his family think he was dead?

pg 1: "It had been three years"
--repetition

pg 1: "A chuckled, running his hand through his short, black hair."
--wasn't A all nervous about meeting his family again last chapter?

Not a lot to comment on, but a pretty good scene. We find out why A is apprehensive, though I think it could be made clearer earlier that it's just his father he's nervous about meeting, not the whole family.

Ch 5

pg 2: "That was the minimum, if the stars decided to appear at all."
--not sure what this means. That they're only considered stars if three or more appear? Or that at least three stars came out at once?

pg 2: Not a lot happening in this chapter so far. Some good retrospection from A on the first page, but I feel like we've gotten this information about the army before.

pg 3: Good that S and A are meeting up, but we also know this information already, so it's not really progressing the plot.

Most everything in this chapter is on pgs 4-6. I wonder if this could be a brief interlude at the end of the last chapter, to make the sequel to that scene.

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20 hours ago, ima willshaper said:

I don't really understand why the prayer hadn't been nice to listen to at the beginning of page 6. I feel like there isn't enough information about why it was so hard to listen to.

Thatnks for the feedback! It was supposed to be passive aggressive, but I guess it could be more aggressive. 

20 hours ago, ima willshaper said:

Also, he was so nervous and afraid of seeing the rest of his family, and now he's just fine with yelling at his dad. I feel like this scene would be great to see through A's pov to know why A did those things and what his thought process is. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense seen through the eyes of someone else.

That makes sense. I think I'll try to rewrite this scene from A's perspective and see how it feels. I also totally get the contradictions over the dread.

20 hours ago, ima willshaper said:

Also, when A calls S the "ladykiller of B" I guess I just don't see why he's a ladykiller. As a woman who's attracted to men, I guess I just don't find S a very charming or "ladykiller" sort of guy.

I guess that wasn't ironic enough huh

I'm glad you liked the chapters!

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11 hours ago, Sarah B said:

The goat story came off a little awkward. The point was clear but it might need a little polishing. 

Thanks! Noted. 

11 hours ago, Sarah B said:

The ending was anticlimatic for me. With the reminders that A has a rifle and S is telekinetic, I was expecting them to fight or bluff their way out. Letting themselves be arrested without any explaination or attempt to get away felt a bit empty.

I think I will put an explanation in here. A isn't too concerned because he figures F and H will save him, and S really isn't confident enough yet to use his powers in a fight against multiple armed assailants. But I can see how it reads as anticlimactic 

12 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Really nice exposition in chapter five

I'm glad you liked it! I was worried it was a bit info-dumpy

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

"A chuckled, running his hand through his short, black hair."
--wasn't A all nervous about meeting his family again last chapter?

2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Not a lot to comment on, but a pretty good scene. We find out why A is apprehensive, though I think it could be made clearer earlier that it's just his father he's nervous about meeting, not the whole family

Thanks! I think while I'm editing ch3 I'll adjust it so he's more just nervous about his dad. 

2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 2: "That was the minimum, if the stars decided to appear at all."
--not sure what this means. That they're only considered stars if three or more appear? Or that at least three stars came out at once?

Ok, so this is me trying to show-not-tell a kinda complicated concept. There are only seven "stars" visible from Ix, four of which are actually planets, so the three stars are more likely to appear at this time of year, and are more likely to be visible through the night. Is there a better way to describe this? 

2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Most everything in this chapter is on pgs 4-6. I wonder if this could be a brief interlude at the end of the last chapter, to make the sequel to that scene

Noted

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10 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

 

Ok, so this is me trying to show-not-tell a kinda complicated concept. There are only seven "stars" visible from Ix, four of which are actually planets, so the three stars are more likely to appear at this time of year, and are more likely to be visible through the night. 

Only three stars?  I had assumed their atmosphere was really thick and that was why he couldn't see more. If their star is that far out, can they see the galaxy their star is a part of? Like we see the milky way because we are relatively far out on one arm? Maybe my scifi is showing, but what if they aren't in a galaxy at all? I found this really intriguing, here's a link my googling spit out:

https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question29.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.space.com/amp/27682-rogue-stars-between-galaxies.html

In case it's useful, here's my thoughts on your question:

Stars 'twinkle' more than planets to the naked eye... usually. I think gas giants are an exception. 

I'm sure you know this, but on Earth at least, both stars and planets have phases of visiblility and movement from our perspective. So we lose sight of both planets and constellations, depending on the constellation, during different times of year. Ie when Lio is high and center in the northern hemisphere, Orion lays low over the horizon. 

So it seems like it would depend on how well they understand astronomy. Do they know about other planets in their solar system? 

If they do, the MC could comment on this or that being out, like we might say, "oh look, Mars is out tonight." 

If not, it might be worth considering how people viewed constellations in terms of navigation in the past. Stars that move very little are "reliable" like Polaris/north star, and others showing up and leaving are like marks on a calender, indicating a specific time of year. 

Anyway, that's my info dump and a very amateur star gazer's perspective :-)

Edited by Sarah B
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18 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:
21 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 2: "That was the minimum, if the stars decided to appear at all."
--not sure what this means. That they're only considered stars if three or more appear? Or that at least three stars came out at once?

Ok, so this is me trying to show-not-tell a kinda complicated concept. There are only seven "stars" visible from Ix, four of which are actually planets, so the three stars are more likely to appear at this time of year, and are more likely to be visible through the night. Is there a better way to describe this? 

I think you could tell this a little more plainly, because it is a complicated concept. The characters aren't used to thousands of stars, so they aren't going to have a reference to how we view the sky. You could say something like "all three stars were out tonight," which gets across the strangeness and also doesn't seem too out of place for this planet.

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Overall: I can’t say much that I haven’t already said in the comments below. Really it comes down to: I think there are a lot of good moments in this arc, but the timing of the arc itself feels off, for two reasons: I need more information on/investment in the family dynamics for the family scenes to really pay off, and I have no idea how this family arc fits within the context of the larger story, which I still don’t understand in any meaningful way.

As I read:

On S being so happy that A is back: Similar to my comment on the previous chapter, I’m not totally getting the emotional impact that I think you’re shooting for, and I think it’s partly because I have no idea what A’s leaving means to any of these characters. Except for the parts when he’s directly thinking about them, and even then only to an extent, A doesn’t read like someone who is really missing his family a lot, nor does the chapter with S read like A’s departure left a significant hole in his life. We need a better understanding of what these characters have lost by being apart before we can rejoice that they’re together.

I’m also not particularly invested in this “S runs away” plot. I had no idea why he was doing it to begin with, he’s thinking about it in a very casual sort of way, so it doesn’t feel like anything significant. It’s just a thing he’s going to do after he goes to dinner with his long-lost brother who he may or may not have expected to see alive ever again.

Bottom-ish p1, ch4: “They stood in front of their house…” S has been so purely in his head for several paragraphs that I forgot anybody else was there. Are they just standing outside and grinning/scowling manfully into the night?

“He couldn’t be that different, right?” If this was a point of contention for this family, then yeah, I’m coming back to the idea that we would have needed to know this before this big reunion for this to land.

“...but he had gotten tall!” Remarks like this suggest to me that he was away longer than three years, or maybe that he ran away quite young.

There are suddenly a lot of people to keep track of in this scene, some of whom we’ve barely met and some of whom we haven’t met at all.

“I honestly thought I’d never see this place again…” Did he think that when he went running off? If so, he must have had a pretty compelling reason to join the army in the first place.

Top of p5: Not sure what is meant by “elevated” voice. Does that mean he’s projecting his voice? Also, I’m now assuming that dad being a passive-aggressive jerk is the reason A left.

Ch 5, bottom of p2: The phrase “he marched with a quicker step” shows up at the end of two paragraphs in a row.

Ah. So yes, knowing that he was leaving to get away from an emotionally abusive father and that all that about never seeing this place again was a feature not a bug… would have definitely been good to know. I keep coming back to the idea that for this whole family conflict to land, we really need to have had at least some of this information going on. It’s not that it’s particularly hard to follow, but the changes we’re observing in the family dynamics here would be more meaningful if we had a baseline to compare them to.

Wait, A and S are just going to go along with this “arrest” thing?

Hmm… I’m not sure how I feel about the way the chapter ends. From where I sit, it looks like another obstacle that is preventing us from getting to the main story. An appropriately timed B plot can well and good, but I don’t even know what the A plot is yet.

On 10/27/2020 at 11:20 AM, ginger_reckoning said:

Thatnks for the feedback! It was supposed to be passive aggressive, but I guess it could be more aggressive. 

For a counterpoint: I understood this just fine, but it DID also strike me that the description itself ("not very nice to listen to") was pretty vague. A more specific description - tone of voice, glaring at the appropriate character, etc - might help get the point across.

On 10/27/2020 at 11:20 AM, ginger_reckoning said:

I guess that wasn't ironic enough huh

Yeah, I missed any irony or sarcasm there.

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Sorry about being late on this.

Overall

Chapter 4 had some good emotion, but no real plot arc. Chapter 5 didn't seem to have any purpose and definitely did not have an arc. Chapter five could probably be cut, a bit of plot added to chapter 4 to really meat it up. The writing is just fine! I think just some greater narrative plotting is required.

 

As I go

- reasonably strong start to the chapter. I'm engaged

- pg 5: I like slice of life, but I'm getting antsy. I'm not sure what the purpose of this chapter is, or what the arc is

- chapter 4 - I think this could have been a lot shorter so there was the same emotional punch but with fewer words. There are good emotional beats but I don't really see an arc or how this contributes to the greater story arc. I'd like more plot movement within this family time

Moving to chapter 5

- pg 1: pouting isn't the best way to start a chapter

- pg 2: I'm not engaged with this chapter. It seems like a reflection/info dump which, after a slice of life chapter, really drags the narrative pacing

- chapter 5 - this chapter has less of an arc than the previous one. I think it could be cut entirely without hurting the narrative, especially if you put more plot in chapter 4

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