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Snakenaps

12,21,2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapter 33 (3,390 words)

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I literally forgot it was Monday.

My brain is like bleeeeeeghhhhhh. 

I'm keeping this short because my brain is mush and also, I don't want to influence your thoughts. 

 

Thanks in advance. Happy holidays and merry Christmas!

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This chapter has a few pieces that add to the overall story, but I think it could be incorporated into another chapter pretty easily. There's a lot of time with the expectation of Ir returning home, except so many chapters have already been devoted to this whole trip, I'm ready for Ir to move on an get to the next part of the story. There's some brief conflict at the end, but this is all just a buildup for Ir and S to meet later on. We get one tidbit from TBK, which could be added to the previous chapter easily, and then there could be a page or so of Ir getting home and greeting family, but then make the rest of this chapter about Ir and S's confrontation.

 

Notes while reading:
pg 2: "and the lack of remorse she felt towards the entire situation concerned her."
--not sure if "remorse" is the right emotion for this? Guilt? Embarrassment?

pg 2: "It was easier to just exist in this moment."
--not sure this first section achieves anything, and they we switch to TBK. Can we just start with him?

pg 3: "best choice for the F. project."
--aha, here's the start of the chapter, 3 pages in.

pg 4: Not sure why there's another time skip on this page. I'm ready to get Ir home and get on with it.

pg 5: and another time skip...

pg 7: "She dug through it, pulling out one item at a time."
--it would be nice if these had some significance. I've said before the whole trip is talked about too much and takes up too little of the story. I'd like to see a lot more manipulation during the trip by TBK. It would be really cool if all these little mementos were from escapades Ir and W had on the trip!

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This was an interesting segment. Individually, I liked most of the scenes, with the conversations with N and S standing out most. However, I feel like this part just lacks streamlingin, like all the pieces are kind of tacked together. I like that Ir is finally coming to some conclusions, but at this point with her questioning thorughout the entire book, I wish that she would be just a bit more concrete in her emotional decisions. 

Opening the doc now

Pg 1 first sentence is a lot. A bit hard to get through

“She weaved” this is a nice scene. *sigh* now I want a flower crown  

“Am I gorgeous” mmmmmmmmm hard to put my finger on it, but I think “pretty” might be better. Gorgeous seems a bit strong. Idk tho

Btw where are they getting all these flowers? I’m assuming from the field they are sitting in, but it seems like a pretty wide diversity of flowers for a single field

Pg 2 I like how she’s addressing the loyalty issue. At this point though, I would like her convictions to be a little more concrete.

“s and T were” yes, this is good. More of this please

Ok BK time :-)

“Necessary when they were between” what, the walking is necessary, or the camping is necessary. Cause the second one seems obvious

Pg 3, bottom “the f were not creatures to tested” to be tested, I’m guessing.

Btw I just realized I read this whole bk section with a really good flow. Nice job

Pg 4 “B” this little section could just be “they arrived”. don’t get me wrong, I like the writing in this part, but the time skip and the paragraph breaks kind of ruin the flow of the chapter. Especially the break after this part. I think that it could go right from “always call B home” to the next sentence.

Pg 5 “a full two inches!” she was gone for like, two weeks!! What???

Pg 6 I assume she helped unload

Oh it was eight weeks, huh? I guess that makes more sense

Pg 8 “Family should come before” I guess this makes sense for this character, but seems a bit extreme to me.

“Still love us” oof

Pg 9 This conversation with N is good, it feels like she is finlly cementing some of her beliefs, which I like

Pg 10 Is this a new segment? If she’s visting S, I feel like it could be a new chapter

Pg 12 “How about we have dinner” I do not trust this. Nope nope.

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Overall

Going to assume you know the drill by now so I won't belabor it. No chapter arc, I being passive with the plot, too much internal musing and recap and not much, really no, action (emotional or physical). Even TBK is fairly passive in this chapter. I agree (unsurprisingly) with @Mandamon that the useful bits could be snipped out and put into other chapters easily. It's also very anticlimactic after the last sub, when we got to see I really do things!

 

As I go

- that is a very long first sentence. Shortening it will give it more impact

- pg 1: on behalf of cottonwoods everywhere, I object to them being called lazy

- up to the break on page two - this is all recap and could very easily be cut. It doesn't advance the narrative and doesn't give any new information

- firs paragraph of TBK gives us all the info of the first interlude. Definitely cut it. Also once again TBK interacts with the plot and drives it, and I just...exists

- pg 4: I'd have preferred to get the information on why I is the best name-knower organically, through dialogue or during another scene where we catch snippets of it while other action is happening. Getting it in internal thoughts of things past is very passive

- pg 4-6: do not appear to advance anything and could easily be cut

- pg 10 seems to be where I begins to actually interact with the plot for the first time this chapter

 

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I really liked the description of the city of B this chapter (I guess I should shorten city names too?), and I'm always a sucker for sweet kids. They're just too pure. TBK's little section definitely caught my interest as well, especially when he goes through the different people who have Ir's powers. 

I got the same feeling that everyone else did so I'll try to look at what's going on from a different angle. To me, it feels like the story doesn't quite know what it wants to be about, and it ends up feeling like two separate stories as a result. This chapter pushes us towards Ir's conflict of family relationships, which is great character building for Ir. I really get to see her situation and personality shine through. And if the family struggles were the main plot of the story, I think this would be a great chapter. But I can't say that I think the family struggles are the main plot because they aren't advanced at all through many of the previous chapters when she's traveling. Instead, I think all of the commenters (me included) are thinking of the larger political conflict as the main plot. When something like this is introduced, it's hard for it not to overwhelm the small-scale conflict. But if that is the main plot, chapters like this don't really advance it.

I think the story needs to answer the question of if it wants to be about Ir getting involved in TBK's affairs and integrating herself into the political world around her, and if family is a subplot that informs Ir's personal struggles with what she's doing. Or does the story want it to be the other way around, and have the family be the main issue while TBK mostly exists to set up conflict between Ir and her family? Because right now it's trying to push both as the main story and they're clashing with each other instead of building off each other. I think the story does recognize that there needs to be some connection between family and Ir's actions with TBK, but right now we don't have one creating motion in the other. She thinks about family when getting involved in TBK's schemes, but it ultimately doesn't change how she behaves. She thinks about TBK when meeting with her family, but that doesn't change what she wants or does with her family either (it changes what her family does with her but that's not enough imo). So yeah, my (prescriptive) suggestions are for the story to more clearly lay out its priorities, connect the two plots together through having one part of her life inform the actions in the other, or both. 

Anyways this large-scale plot and focus stuff is how I tend to think about writing in general so I hope it's helpful. Also, one small note is that N reads more like a preteen than a teen to me. I think a teenager would be, if not totally opposed to wearing their heart on their sleeve like N does, more cognizant about doing so. 

...And now I'm thinking again about how precious these kids are. Good luck wrangling with this story! 

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Some really peasant reading in here, as expected. 

The first line read a bit tangled. 

Overall, this chapter felt like a little of everything. Some of the musicians being buddy buddy, some BK machinations, some food and some family drama. I liked all the parts, but it felt like sections of different chapters sandwiched together. 

As always, looking forward to more :-)

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Merry comments!!

(page 1)

- "was anyone’s best guest" - Never heard this expression. I've heard 'anyone's guess', but I don't know what best has to do with it.

- the word 'lazy' appears three times on the first page, and again, just over the page. This is a bit much, I think. Kind of lazy word choice :P 

(page 2)

- "power to knowing that she had somehow helped her monarchy. She had made a difference" - Yes, this is very good breadcrumb trail in Ir's development as a character, and the evolution of her political beliefs, her worldview.

- "and this one action hadn’t changed anything" - IMO, it's not clear what the one action is. Whereas, if this was 'her latest deed', it becomes obvious it is her helping worm, which I'm guessing was the intention.

- "She wasn’t the traitor. Sue and Ta were." - I feel that this is the first time she reaches this pretty dramatic conclusions. That may be WRS, and the fact I read through Draft 2, but if this is her reaching this realisation for the first time, I think it deserves a bit more attention, maybe just one more line (or two) to show she really feels this change in her perspective, or rather her acknowledgement of a change that probably happened subconsciously several days ago.

- "he had been pleased when W had reported" - Is he not still pleased?

(page 3)

- "of a more permanent work position?" - I think it's clear that position refers to work. 

- "were above the minimum age for the project" - This sounds like someone else is setting the rules for the project and the BK is only complying with them. Surely he calls the shots, and could send underage folk if he wanted, OR, there is some specific age requirement, in which case that needs to be clearly explained here.

- "but there was no guarantee of success, and a high chance of costly failure" - Kind of cluttered. I'd suggest deleting the first bit. It's rather weak, and easily can be assumed by the reader from the prior description of the candidates, and confirmed by the BK's assessment of the risk.

- "were not creatures to tested lightly" - grammar typo.

(page 4)

- "Certain precautions, however, needed to be in place to encourage her future cooperation, even if they were not honorable. He hoped it would not come to that" - He has literally just said that the precautions are necessary. These two thoughts are contradictory.

This aside, The BK's scheming here is excellent plot furtherance. I like it.It's nicely grey. Doesn't mark him as totally bad, because there's a chance his end goal is good, but clearly his methods are...morally ambivalent.

- "no news of arson or minor attacks" - doesn't add anything, IMO.

- "the last two weeks" - Why did I think they were away for 8 weeks?

- "Now, it was the uneasy calm before the storm" - She can't know this for certain, but the thought is presented as certain knowledge. I think this needs qualified.

(page 5)

- "the million other creatures that made up B’s population" - I'm almost, almost prepared to believe that the city has a population of 1,000,000 (although I think that is a lot for a fantasy setting, and too much for the feel of the city as it's been presented). The reason I comment, though, is that there is no way all 1,000,000 of them are lining the streets, so, she is not trying to spot them among that many people. Probably only a few hundred, handful of thousands, maybe?

- "A full two inches" - Not in two weeks he didn't, probably not in eight weeks either.

- "resulting in his smile" - wordy. 'making him smile' is plenty. Drawing attention to things that should not be remarkable is not good style, I think.

(page 6)

- "been lifetimes since she had seen it" - Sounds like she's referring to the chest, as that is the last inanimate object referred to.

- "during her eight-week trip" - Hah! I knew it was eight weeks. What was that two week reference about?

(page 7)

- "her voice rising a touch" - The volume, the pitch? Unclear.

- "she lied softly" - Nice. I love using 'lie' in this sort of context: so effective.

(page 8)

- "I just don’t know what side I’m supposed to be on" - This is a great scene. Much emotion, and very important for showing Ir's current...position, mindset.

(page 9)

- "but he’s no a savior" - typo.

- "I haven’t see hide or hair" - (1) typo: seen; (2) I'd say 'hide nor hair', as the full expression is 'neither hide nor hair': two negatives in agreement.

- "They both watched the sun" - unnecessary. 'They' covers it.

(page 10)

- "leaning against the doorway" - This is repetitive of the previous paragraph, where Sue already has leaned on the doorframe. Description untidy here.

- This scene feels messy, the narrative, the description. The emotional notes are fine, but I'm finding it hard to read.

(page 11)

- "with eyes nearly as large as his black mess of curls" - This is a bizarre description. Cannot be even close to being accurate.

(page 12)

- I like the tension in the encounter. Very well done, and the emotional 'disruption' that Sue's invitation causes. It's an uncomfortable place to end the chapter, in a way, and yet there seems to be a note of optimism for the relationship. I think it provide the momentum for the reader to keep going, certainly.

Overall 

I don't there is that much new in this chapter, other than adjustments to threads and scenes already present in Draft 2, but it feels more forward-moving to me, more together (notwithstanding comments about the narrative itself), and improved in terms of Ir's motivation and agency. Good job, IMO. :) 

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I didn't make a lot of comments as I read because in terms of little things, I enjoyed the writing. The sentences were well constructed, the imagery was beautiful and there were some nice moments with the family. The voice and emotion were strong, and the opening portion showed and/or confirmed how I's view about the government had really changed. That scene worked as a start to the chapter.  

But in terms of plot? I felt like that didn't move forward too much.

The chapter with the BK's POV didn't move it forward as that one really just was his internal narrative telling the reader about his plans for Irene.

I was clearly happy to be back with the family, but that didn't do much plot-wise or add to the character arc until the later part of the reunion when she was talking to her brother outside. That part did show some character progression. 

The part with S seemed a little more significant since there has been lots of tension between them and so far, S does have stronger ties to the plot than the rest of the family. 

In terms of revision, I'm going to guess ripples from earlier chapters will affect what you end up doing here and determine what gets kept, cut, or changed once you have a stronger grasp on all the plot/stakes stuff your working on for your next revision.

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Spoiler

Love GIFs | Tenor

THANK YOU EVERYONE! 

On 12/23/2020 at 7:14 AM, Mandamon said:

This chapter has a few pieces that add to the overall story, but I think it could be incorporated into another chapter pretty easily.

Saw this, went "Yeeeeeup," and am figuring out what will stay. Definitely Sue's invitation...but I think everything else can be incorporated into other scenes and Sue can move to the next chapter to create an arc. Possibly...

On 12/23/2020 at 3:58 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

However, I feel like this part just lacks streamlingin, like all the pieces are kind of tacked together.

Dude, I'm going through @kais's arc checklist and it is becoming very apparent that I have these "catch all" chapters where I kind of just throw together all these scenes that I felt were necessary into one disorganized pile. And you know how many of the scenes in catch-all chapters are necessary?

Few, it turns out. Very few.

On 12/23/2020 at 8:30 PM, kais said:

Going to assume you know the drill by now so I won't belabor it. No chapter arc, I being passive with the plot, too much internal musing and recap and not much, really no, action (emotional or physical).

I'm so proud of myself for recognizing this now because before I thought that this was just an oddly boring chapter but didn't know why. Now I have that checklist and it makes my life fantastically miserable. 

Dude. Dude. Combining your checklist with @shatteredsmooth's revision outline has made this book's flaws so glaringly obvious it is hilarious how blind I have been.

On 12/24/2020 at 8:45 AM, Ace of Hearts said:

To me, it feels like the story doesn't quite know what it wants to be about, and it ends up feeling like two separate stories as a result.

I completely agree. To the point where your comment distracted me for a large chunk of Christmas (in a good way). This manuscript is definitely in the process of evolving from slice-of-life fantasy to...epic fantasy? Political intrigue? A fantasy spy novel? Obviously, there's still a huge identity crisis going on that I need to settle on with an iron fist before switching from the revision outline to revising itself. There's this disconnect going on, and I need to thread everything together. I am hoping that a lot of my issues will disappear as I make Ir a proactive protagonist that affects the plot rather than being affected by everyone else.

On 12/24/2020 at 10:18 AM, Sarah B said:

it felt like sections of different chapters sandwiched together. 

And not a good sandwich at all! It's like a peanut butter, meatball, and cheese sandwich with pickles. 

On 12/26/2020 at 6:56 AM, Robinski said:

I don't there is that much new in this chapter, other than adjustments to threads and scenes already present in Draft 2, but it feels more forward-moving to me, more together (notwithstanding comments about the narrative itself), and improved in terms of Ir's motivation and agency. Good job, IMO. :) 

It's true, I didn't change much, when I should have just cut. On the other hand, it was really good practice for transforming a passive chapter to a slightly more proactive chapter. Thanks for the praise. This stuff is obnoxiously frustrating sometimes and occasionally I feel like I'm holding all this knotted yarn and trying to figure out how to make it into a tapestry. 

9 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I enjoyed the writing. The sentences were well constructed, the imagery was beautiful and there were some nice moments with the family. The voice and emotion were strong,

Once I figure out how to actually carry a plot and fix this poor leaky ship up, I feel like I'll have something actually good looking on my hands, especially for a first book. But I actually have to repair these holes instead of ignoring them or slapping duck tape on them like I have been. Your revision outline is getting looooooooong

Edited by Snakenaps
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3 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

It's true, I didn't change much, when I should have just cut. On the other hand, it was really good practice for transforming a passive chapter to a slightly more proactive chapter. Thanks for the praise. This stuff is obnoxiously frustrating sometimes and occasionally I feel like I'm holding all this knotted yarn and trying to figure out how to make it into a tapestry.

Yeah, I mean just don't throw out all the quiet, reflective parts or you'll end up with a thriller. Not all books, and not all parts of books, have to be pace-driven plot machines.

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

Yeah, I mean just don't throw out all the quiet, reflective parts or you'll end up with a thriller. Not all books, and not all parts of books, have to be pace-driven plot machines.

I won't be. I'm talking about things like that one entire chapter that can be summarized as "Ir practiced her music." And those quiet, reflective parts can be more powerful and drive the plot forward in other ways. There needs to be a moment of quiet in this chapter before the next few (the finale) for the reader to rest, but that doesn't mean that that moment of rest can't be more efficient. 

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Agh, I'm late. I wanted to post this yesterday but... seems headaches are in season for me. Anyway! Onward!

Overall:

This was a nice chapter! I just think you can cut down or just rephrase a few things to make them more impactful and not feel as repetitive (in BK's case).

 

Page 1

-so im wondering what else BK went to this place to do. I feel like earlier you set up that there was more for Ir to do than get just one name but i think that's all she did? I mean its fine if BK just went to this place to rob G of his crystal but i just felt like more was gonna happen so my expectations were not quite met. 

-”that a human had been caught” is she talking about W? If so, would it be more powerful to just say, “Ir waited for news of W’s capture” or something like that. 

-there were a lot of flowers mentioned, but i thought they were in a field of grass? Or maybe they got the flowers from somewhere else and moved to the grass? But why wouldn't they just be sitting in a field of flowers? I like that you put in all the names of the flowers but it might be better to just stick with one or two.

 

Page 2

-”she did not regret… etc” I feel like there’s some telling going on in this sentence/paragraph.

-”there had been a certain power” yes, Ir, turn to the dark side, please

-”she wasnt the traitor, S and T were” yesss ir, they’re the traitors. I like this firmness in her thinking.

-took me a sec to realize this was BK’s POV. i think using his real name might help because Ir refers to him as “The BK,” and having him refer to himself as “Az'' would really define that this is his POV. 

 

Page 3

-i always love BK’s pov. 

-I do like that Ir thinks BK doesn't think about her or regard her at all and yet here he is concerned about her loyalty and her personal relationships. I get that he wants her for her magic but in this first paragraph, it seems like he actually cares about her. Especially since he smiled to himself. #bkisnoteviljustmisunderstood

-A lot of BK’s stuff on this page is repeating what we know and I know that it’s nice to know that he knows it but we already know, ya know? ;)

-”were not creatures to be tested lightly” ?

 

Page 4

-yes, love the description of B. 

-”wouldn’t know when she arrived home” ?

 

Page 6

-”she told it, and therefore R” i had to read this a few times to understand that she was telling the statue as well as the god.

-”Ir tried not to let the absence of.. etc” okay, i get that family is really important to her and her sister’s absence is a sad thing. But she hasn’t seen her sister in a really long time, right? She seems to be getting on fine without her sister, and she has a lot to distract her. After this long, she is probably used to not seeing her sister. Idk, it could still hurt her, but her "burying the pain deep down" just seems a little much.

 

Page 8

-”they still love us” dang, thats cold lol

 

Page 9

-”its not that simple”

Spoiler

tenor.gif.b20fd2c14a78d5a93f9b1681e5392989.gif

 

Page 10

-”slammed the door in her face, either.” i dont think you need this “either”

-”leaning against the doorway” repetitive

 

Page 11

-”s’s eyes were cold, her expression blank” this is too similar to what you’ve already said. I would say either change it or add that they were still cold and blank.

 Page 12

-nice closing! Glad to see progress with them.

 

Edited by karamel
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2 hours ago, karamel said:

so im wondering what else BK went to this place to do. I feel like earlier you set up that there was more for Ir to do than get just one name but i think that's all she did? I mean its fine if BK just went to this place to rob G of his crystal but i just felt like more was gonna happen so my expectations were not quite met. 

I had other ideas but then realized they wouldn't work by the time I reached this chapter. I never originally planned on W taking the crystal either but went *shrug* let's try this out. 

I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall. 

2 hours ago, karamel said:

I like that you put in all the names of the flowers but it might be better to just stick with one or two.

This was definitely a case of me going "Look, I've learned all this stuff about wildflowers and I'm going to show off my knowledge!" Then bogged down the story. 

2 hours ago, karamel said:

took me a sec to realize this was BK’s POV. i think using his real name might help because Ir refers to him as “The BK,” and having him refer to himself as “Az'' would really define that this is his POV. 

This is actually one of the things I'm changing for Draft Four! The BK will always be Az in his POV for Draft Four. Sadly, you won't see it in this draft because I'm trying to work forward and not backwards. 

Thank you @karamel!

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