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Snakenaps

11,9,2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapter 24 (3953 words)

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This is a heavily cut and/or rewritten chapter. I'm not 100% sold on the rewritten portion, as the original was fairly strong. However, I feel like this new one adds a bit of proactivity to Ir, which she needs.

 
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Overall, another strong chapter. I liked the intimacy we see between Ir and J, and his backstory that we fully see for the first time. There were a couple sentences that were a little hard to read (some wordings and a couple of run-ons) 

"The emptiness of the palace..." a very poetic and moody sentence, I actually liked it a lot, but I'm not sure what it means. 

"..who had ented the room within days" makes it seem like he can't tell people who have entered within those days, as opposed to people who have entered on different days

Pg. 3 I think "unasked for" might be hyphenated

Pg. 3, eyyy its W. (Also, I just remembered that Ir doesn't know them by W.)

Pg. 3 "pandering to me, lying..." I think it might flow better if its "Or lying to me" 

there are a couple other instances, but those are some that pointed out to me the most

oof brutal about his dad

The other part of the chapter is also good, and I liked how she was proactive with her sister but its also INCREDIBLY frustrating to me that she spent all that money and then they just...find him. If it were me, I'd be very relieved to have my brother-in-law back of course, but I do think I would feel at least a little bit annoyed at having just spent hundreds of dollars for nothing. 

The environmental and character descriptions are very convincing in these parts. 

Nice little anti-war sentiment to cap it off. 

 

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2 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

There were a couple sentences that were a little hard to read (some wordings and a couple of run-ons) 

I should be thankful that there aren't any sentences that I forgot about that just randomly end in the middle. 

2 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

I liked how she was proactive with her sister but its also INCREDIBLY frustrating to me that she spent all that money and then they just...find him.

This really bugs me too, but I haven't thought of a good solution and I didn't want to get stuck on this chapter for weeks. Feels good to hear my own thoughts echo back at me. 

Thanks @ginger_reckoning !

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Overall, I think this is stronger than the previous version. I had some questions about the specifics of J's backstory, where either I was missing details or it didn't make sense.

S is a very frustrating character for me, especially seeing how overall good the B.K. does at ruling. I want her to espouse some sort of reasonable objection, because right now the whole revolutionary movement is sort of a strawman.

I'm with @ginger_reckoning on the part with finding T being frustrating. Especially since she seems to give the guards extra money(?) and then right after a sentence about her praying for T's safely, they just find him at home. I like that Ir. is more proactive, but maybe there needs to be a section about tracking down T as well, or at least a larger gap between finding S and finding T.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 2: "What I didn’t know their father was"
"What I didn’t know WAS their father was"

pg 2: "risk the lost allies when word got out."
--why would he lose allies with a blind son? And how does blind equate to mentally disturbed?

pg 3: "Probably hoped I’d die without a spot of blood on his hands for investors to tut over."
--again, what does his son have to do with his business?

pg 4: "gave me a job as a musician"
--so I guess this is the B.K.'s default for people involved in political secrets? I suppose L was an officer in the Navy, and M was a secret shipping magnate?

pg 4: I have no idea what relation Pem. has to Them., Far., or Dar.

pg 4: "her magic was back"
--did it go away? She hasn't done any naming lately has she?

pg 5: Having some more experience now, a lockdown of three days doesn't seem all that bad...

pg 5: "They were bent with exhaustion, no longer polished but covered in filth."
--After only three days? Maybe if it was a week and they had no replacements, but it's a fully functioning castle. If nothing else, there are people to clean their armor/clothes.

pg 6: "The stonework, instead of sparkling in a million shades of cream, were grey and white like ashes"
--were there citywide fires or something? I would have expected a lot more destruction, then.

pg 8: "The jail was close."
--so wait, did she go to S&T's house or not?

pg 10: "a tin lore"
--what is this? Currency?

pg 11: "before taking out her last lore"
--why did she pay them more? She'd already gotten all the information she needed.

pg 12: "prayed T was safe somewhere." "falling into her husband where he sat at the kitchen table"
--Ah, well that was easy. Immediately kills the tension of "will they find him" to just go home and find him there.

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Okay, admittedly, I don't have my title abbreviated but that's frankly because I doubt it will stay the same. It's a little too on the nose and sounds too much like The Name of the Wind. 

I mean, your title kind of encapsulates a whole strand of the story, but the NotK itself doesn't play a pivotal role in that first book, does it? I don't remember that being the case.

I love playing around with titles, but I think maybe I've forgotten too much about the pivotal moments in the story to workshop any titles here.

Having said that...

5fab946ee47e8_ScreenShot2020-11-11at07_35_51.thumb.png.77d222bf6a925977dfbc2f7191b243c2.png

And from what we were talking about wrt the search-ability of stuff, images might actually be the most secure way to do this in public forum. It's really easy on my Mac, but might be a footer (hassle) with other systems. Or not.

There are a whole host of possibilities, of course, using the names that features in the stories.

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8 hours ago, Robinski said:

I mean, your title kind of encapsulates a whole strand of the story, but the NotK itself doesn't play a pivotal role in that first book, does it? I don't remember that being the case.

His name is what kicks this all off, with the fire, but after that, no, it doesn't play a huge part in the first book. 

8 hours ago, Robinski said:

Having said that...

*Saves image for later* Thanks! Now you've got my mind going. 

The title could be as something as simple as The Unicorn Monarch, but I know I don't want it to be named the BK, because that sounds like some YA novel. You don't think talking animals with that. I, at least, think emo king covered in crow feathers with jet black hair. 

 

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2 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

His name is what kicks this all off, with the fire, but after that, no, it doesn't play a huge part in the first book. 

*Saves image for later* Thanks! Now you've got my mind going. 

The title could be as something as simple as The Unicorn Monarch, but I know I don't want it to be named the BK, because that sounds like some YA novel. You don't think talking animals with that. I, at least, think emo king covered in crow feathers with jet black hair. 

The Unicorn King has a nice alteration to it, IMO.

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

The Unicorn King has a nice alteration to it, IMO.

Hmmmm, you are correct sir. I'll write that one down as well. I do like alterations, especially since my name is one. 

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((Personally I kind of like NOTK as a title) )

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26 minutes ago, ginger_reckoning said:

((Personally I kind of like NOTK as a title) )

Isn't a bad title at all. I've come to enjoy it. I guess my point is, if an agent/editor/publisher decides I need a title change, I won't complain. If they want to keep the current, that is fine by me too. Either way, I'll probably have all of these pages deleted before I begin querying, so it won't matter if the title stays the same or not. 

I always try to be open to the potential for change. Otherwise this story would still be a rip-off of Pern but with unicorns riding dragons :rolleyes:

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Wow, not much I can add for this chapter that hasn't already been said. This read very well to me, and pulled me along. Ready for the next chapter anytime :-)

One small catch: "It had been like the ocean..." had been reads awkwardly here to me. 'Was' maybe?

Thanks for sharing

 

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2 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for reading and critiquing!

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Overall

A stronger chapter than most, for sure! I think it still lacks an arc. What is I's purpose in this chapter? How does this chapter move the story forward? I feel like if the bones were pulled from this it would be the front half of a chapter, the second half then containing the plot movement we need to keep going.

On 11/10/2020 at 0:02 PM, Mandamon said:

a very frustrating character for me, especially seeing how overall good the B.K. does at ruling. I want her to espouse some sort of reasonable objection, because right now the whole revolutionary movement is sort of a strawm

Same. Right now I'm rooting for TBK. He's probably the strongest character in this next to I, and he has a lot more agency than she does. When he is in a chapter, the plot moves.

On 11/10/2020 at 0:02 PM, Mandamon said:

I'm with @ginger_reckoning on the part with finding T being frustrating. Especially since she seems to give the guards extra money(?) and then right after a sentence about her praying for T's safely, they just find him at home. I like that Ir. is more proactive, but maybe there needs to be a section about tracking down T as well, or at least a larger gap between finding S and finding T.

Thirded here.

On 11/11/2020 at 10:51 AM, Robinski said:

The Unicorn King has a nice alteration to it, IMO.

I like this too, but I think we'd need more TBK POV chapters for it.

 

 

As I go

- I'd cut the first sentence and lead with the second. It's stronger by far

- pg 3: I was fine until we got here: “See, he had already been plotting <-- when things became an infodump

- pg 6: the wandering and seeing the city lacks real punch because it doesn't drive the story forward. Suggest having I see the city as she rushes to her home. Cut it down into maybe three powerful sentences, max, to keep the narrative flowing (especially after the good, but still very sedentary, first part)

- pg 7: the home interlude also lacks any strong emotional punch. A few people are missing but....it's just another stop over. I feel like we are being dragged from scene to scene to get to a plot line I can't see yet, and it frustrates me. This should be a tense chapter, with I seeing all the carnage, but the emotional punch keeps getting delayed as we go to places that should resonate and then BOOM, I bounds off again to find....I don't know what. What is her goal in this chapter?

- pg 12: the bribery section is good!

- final scene seems superfluous 

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11 hours ago, kais said:

I like this too, but I think we'd need more TBK POV chapters for it.

Good point, and interestingly this kind of ties back into to comments about TBK and his proactivity compared to Ir. It's almost like the real story is happening to him, and we only intersect with it on occasion. I imagine a novel from his perspective would be something like 'misunderstood monarch tries to unite a continent against a supernatural threat(?), faces greed, toxic nationalism and distrust, but powers through for the Greater Good to win the day'. He is very much the hero of his own story, but he's pretty much the protagonist of this one.

Edited by Robinski
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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

'misunderstood monarch tries to unite a continent against a supernatural threat(?), faces greed, toxic nationalism and distrust, but powers through for the Greater Good to win the day'. He is very much the hero of his own story, but he's pretty much the protagonist of this one.

100% would read this book

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

He is very much the hero of his own story, but he's pretty much the protagonist of this one.

I've wondered if I should have written the book from his POV only, but, honestly, with my current skills, I would struggle with this. It would up the political intrigue far beyond my current abilities/knowledge.

I've considered writing a prequel about his past more than once. 

It may be that this book falls short from It's POV, and maybe one day (either when the book is a success or a trunk novel), I'll rewrite it from the BK's POV only. But right now, I don't feel like I know enough to pull off a book of that caliber. I'm barely making it with this one. 

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Hah! Me again.

(page 1)

- "a former ghost of the time" - mixed metaphor. I think it would be 'a ghost of the time'. What is a former ghost?

- "her small break from kitchen duty" - short break, IMO.

- "place to have as a meeting location" - wordy and complicated: it was the easier meeting location.

- "The dim room burned her eyes" - Huh? How's that?

- "Maybe if she fell asleep, then when she woke this would all be over" - for flow.

- "Could she continue working for the BK, even if it meant losing the restaurant?" - Logic issue. If she continues working for him, the restaurant will be rebuilt, surely. It's if she leaves that it won't be. Suggest 'if leaving mean lasting...etc.'

- "but that didn’t mean he forgo their ways" - grammar: is 'forewent' a word? If not, I think you'd need to use 'eschewed', or reword so that 'forgo' fits.

(page 2)

- "What I didn’t know was their father was a berserker" - Missing word, IMO.

- "Within days, I went from being able to read the smallest text to not being able to tell who had entered the room within days" - Primacy and recency.

- "the rumor milled" - typo: rumour mill

(page 3)

- "I was plopped down" - I feel that this word is weak. It makes light of a dramatic telling of this story, and kind of trivialises the encounter, IMO. Also, "called him some words" - names, usually. I think 'names' has more impact, is more personal.

(page 4)

- "he took a shuttering breath" - Show me the definition of this word. It's either 'shuddering' or 'stuttering', but I have never heard, and cannot find anywhere any definition of this word the means what it is used for here.

- Nice ending to the section, but 'shuttering', please.

(page 5)

- good atmosphere in the description of her going through the city. I can feel it. The rain is a nice touch.

(page 6)

- "there was less and less signs of struggle" - GRAMMAR!!!!! Dear goodness. 'there were fewer and fewer signs of struggle'. OR, just drop the 'S' from signs.

- "She had only been gone for a night" - did the lockdown not go on for longer in D2? I feel like a lockdown of only a few hours is not very dramatic. At least over one night, if not two, would be way more dramatic, and meaningful. Or, am I missing something?

- "It felt like the foundations of everything that made up her world was cracked" - singular / plural disagreement.

- "The door unlocked with a click" - passive: 'the door clicked as she unlocked it', for example, puts Ir in charge of the action, rather than the door allowing her to unlock it.

- "a dark haired form" - dark-haired, compound adjective: I chided someone else about this a couple of days ago, so no favouritism! ;) 

- "Grow and decay" - I feel that the saying was 'growth and decay' last time I read it? That would scan better, since both are nouns. In this as typed, one's a verb and the other's a noun.

(page 7/8)

- Ir's arrival home to an empty house, and the frantic search for Sue and T is well done, I thought. Lots of tension. I can feel Ir's panic, and her going to the jail is a very proactive thing for her, I like that too.

- "with little slits for windows" - use of this word makes it sound almost cute. 'slits' does not, but those words are working against each other, IMO.

- the plural of storey is storeys, not stories, which is the plural of story. BUT, maybe this is an Americanism.

- rainbow, awesome :) 

(page 9)

- I'm glad the encounter with Sue in the street is still in. 

- "Not all of us spent the last three days all safe and sound in the palace" - I was sure that Ir had not been cooped up the in palace only one night. This does look like an inconsistency.

- "At an ally" - I don't like the use of ally here; it's very cold, and doesn't sound that cooperative, compared to comrade, for example, or fellow. Compatriot, would be maybe the perfect word, but I don't see Sue using it. But then I don't see her using 'ally', which sounds like something a general would say.

- "feeling like she had been stabbed" - Now, I don't believe she would know what that felt like, so this didn't sit right with me. 'slapped' would be a more likely analogy for Ir to use, IMO.

(page 10)

- "I’ll send your spark back" - YES, yes, yes, yes! This is great agency from Ir. Standing up to Sue she did before, but going into the jail, imposing (or trying to) her will on Sue. I love this :D 

- "Bribery hadn’t ended with..." - Great line: love it.

- "a F’s way with words" - Good deeper background on the F. Presume this comes in much earlier in the book now.

(page 11)

- At the top of this page there are many instances of use of 'jail' and 'guard', running back to the previous page. A couple of instances of alternative words would make this part sound less repetitive.

- "We share information. He isn’t there either" - This is not convincing, to me. I don't believe they have that level of record keeping and coordination, somehow. Or, if they do, it would take longer than the next day to coordinate their record books. I mean, why do they coordinate them? No, that's not it. Maybe the palace would have coordinated records, but I don 't see why each prison would, and I especially don't believe that  lowly guard would have access to that info, and I definitely don't believe he could get it that quickly.

- "kicked her boot" - who's boot? There is that saying 'kicking your heels' which means your own boots/shoes, so this to me is not immediately obvious.

(page 12)

- "Sue put her hand into Ir’s extended one" - unnecessary: it's self-evident, or it easily can be assumed.

- "She placed a hand on the R statue next to the door, giving the diety a silent prayer of thanks" - (a) typo: deity; (b) passive phrasing, delete, IMO.

- I don't remember what San is, but I'm guessing it's a boat.

- "whatever happened down at the shipyard" - New addition in D3, I think? Sounds interesting, sounds like it adds more action, more weight to the sedition.

- "All I know was is he was surrounded" - tense issue. He knows this now, therefore present.

- "I think he took a hoof to the skull" - medical issue. Okay, I know you know about horses, but I'm convinced that a hoof to the skull has a better than 50% chance of killing you. That is a horsebox of momentum right there, and the edges of the hoof impacting on the human head are going to fracture that skull, surely. At the very least a concussion, that would stand a good chance of killing him anyway, or leaving him insensible; coma; etc.

- "Growth and decay" - There it is.

(page 13)

- "Sue’s arm split into four long gashes" - phrasing is off here, it sounds lie the arm 'splits' while they are watching.

- "She had seen herself what those claws could when her former" - missing word.

- "Otherwise, her sister would have been in jail" - No, surely if the bear had been aiming for her, Sue would have been dead.

- "sewed the first stitch" - But surely the point of the water is to clean the wound first? Surely, he should not be sewing the wound before it is washed.

Overall 

I think this is better than before on balance, although I think this chapter (or maybe it was the one before) had the scene where Ir and Sue were pursued through the street, caught up in the fighting, and we saw the general himself. That had different action and tension, but Ir has more agency in this one, so better, on balance, I think. There were lots of things I liked, and a few details I didn't (as above). :) 

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6 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I've wondered if I should have written the book from his POV only, but, honestly, with my current skills, I would struggle with this. It would up the political intrigue far beyond my current abilities/knowledge.

I like the story from Ir's POV, and I like the changes that you're making. Yes, I think the BK is probably living a more intriguing, tense and dramatic version of these events, BUT, you have Ir's voice down completely, I think, and her family life is very convincingly written. I posted up on twitter a comment about...something, bemoaning the lack these days of morally upright 'heroes' with good hearts, doing stuff because it was the right thing to do. I've had pretty much enough (for the most part) or morally grey characters, anti-heroes, etc, to do me for a while. Okay, there are still some really good ones written, and I enjoy reading them, but for a while there (I think we're coming out of it), it was the default and, like all defaults, was getting tired and overdone. 

So, I like the this story is different in that respect, but it does need a bit 'more' (as we all talked about on Draft 2) to make it suitably entertaining, and not to become a melodrama. Seems to me there is good progress in that direction. Maybe Book 2 will have the increased intrigued that your chops have evolved to by then, and then Book 3 even more so.

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32 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I've had pretty much enough (for the most part) or morally grey characters, anti-heroes, etc, to do me for a while.

I won't lie...this particular version of NotK was actually a reaction of me being exhausted by Game of Thrones. I didn't want an orphaned farm boy or the orphaned street rat or the gorey, depressing mess that had become so popular.

Mobile won't let me write under the quote I pulled for some reason below. 

I am hoping that both Ir's political skills and my own will grow together until Book 3 is a rip-roaring good time. I would love to have her progress from "I have no clue what is going on but I'll do my best" to "I'm the one calling the shots here, get out of my way... please." 

I think Ir, as the books progress, will harden, but she'll always want to do good. She won't go the route of Breaking Bad. 

34 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Maybe Book 2 will have the increased intrigued that your chops have evolved to by then, and then Book 3 even more so.

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Excellent :) 

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With reading this and the chapter after, I almost feel like you went from padding the story with too many moments and too much description to moving too quickly from one scene to the next.

As I read:

"Like two pieces of fragile pottery..." This line was beautiful and full of emotion. 

The background information revealed about was interesting, but I can't quite figure out what I thinks of it. I want to know a little more about her reaction. 

"Her house stood lifeless..." This does not bode well but it does create good tension. I'm worried about her family. 

"...foundations if everything...cracked and crumbling" Beautiful and full of emotion.  

side street. "Bless..."

"...sewed the first stitch." When I got to the end of this section, I felt like it had gone a little too fast. There could've been a little more in the moments. 

I agree with the others who express frustrations about I giving the guard too much money, and how they got home and T was just there. I wanted for time between I and S, more tension and arguing while they looked for T.

But otherwise, this chapter was fantastic. It was tighter and moved the plot forward much quicker than some of the earlier ones.

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