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Snakenaps

12,28,2020 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapter 34 (2,836 words)

33 posts in this topic

I know we've had a lot of new people join recently and I'd like to say I apologize that you're entering in towards the end of this manuscript. Just do what you can. All input is valuable input, especially since I'm working on Draft Four.

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Comments.

(page 1)

- I was on the verge of saying there was too much description of clothing, but I held off, and the repetition of the line about casual/fancy carried it. One or two style/drafting things, but I'm not doing LBLs.

(page 2)

- "The house was clean for once" - Ouch! Meow!!

(page 3)

- Really feeling the tension. Some nice, subtle touches like Sue referring to Pem instead of Mat, and Ir noticing that. I might have missed it.

(page 4)

- "doesn’t exist anymore" - And we do get the uncomfortable moment. The discomfort is palpable.

- "Justice, accountability!" - As with the best arguments in fiction, neither of them is (wholly) right or wrong. Very effective.

(page 6)

- "That was when she heard the door lock." - This is still a great moment, nicely done, surprising yet inevitable--I think. I'm not keen on this wording though. I think it's a bit over-written. Personally, I think it would have more impact if it was shorter. Something like 'The key clicked in the lock'. My feeling is that 'That was when...' gives the game away to the reader before the get to the important bit, the lock clicking. These 'extra' words prepared the reader for the surprise, when I think you want it just to hit the reader without them seeing it coming.

- "while her brain scrambled" - Again, I feel this is over-written. Consider, if you will, the comparison with a much simpler wording. 'She stood there, dazed.' That's all the you need to say. Scrambling is something done to eggs.

- "skin prickling with adrenaline" - pretty sure it's nerves that cause skin prickling, not adrenaline. @Sarah B?

- "I can’t let you get hurt!" - Oh, now, this seems to be a change. I'm pretty sure in the previous draft, Sue did this out of wanting to ensure that Ir did not interfere and rat out the rebels. I think this is less good. I think you've let Sue off the hook. There was genuine dislike between them before, in this version, I don't mean in the last one. There was something verging on hate, but I think this undermines all that, it undermines the breakdown of the relationship, because suddenly Sue is thinking about Ir's welfare? I don't buy this, I'm now confused, when the emotions were so clear before.

- Why is there a huuuuuuge white space here?

(page 7)

- "How many of the rich and powerful would see themselves..." - grammar, IMO.

- "looking for something to help her" - Kind of vague. I think this could be more urgent, more immediate: 'looking for a way out'.

- "Her feet hit the ground running" - Modern expression, IMO. Kinda cool, once, but verging on cliché now, IMO.

(page 9)

- "the stone navy and mulberry in the evening" - Lovely description, but I need this at the beginning of the chapter, or something to tell me it's evening. I've been picturing bright sunlight since the start of the chapter, and not enough time has passed for that to change naturally.

- "a sigh of relief as, finally, the walls of the palace rose before her" - suggestion for impact.

(page 10)

- "Ir stumbled to a halt" - I would curt out as many instances of her name as you can, keep is imbedded in her POV. Using her name tends to take the reader outside her head, IMO.

- "The guards probably saw her as a distraction for an attack" - Hmmm, feels like overthinking to me. I reckon it's more urgent and frustrating if she just thinks they don't believe her.

- "One of the guards advanced, a burly minotaur" - Good example of primacy and recency effect. The reader best remember the start or end of the sentence. The fact of the guard being a minotaur is the least important part of the sentence. Suggest rewording: leave the reader with the punch. 'One of the guards, a burly minotaur, advanced.'

(page 11)

- "ill-lit by sputtering torches" - Why should this be the case? Best to be able to see everything that is going on in a prison, IMO. Better for it to be well lit in case a prisoner has smuggled in a shiv, for example.

- "Her legs felt like noodles" - No. This is a terrifying moment, the country is at stake, huge implications; tension; fear; anger. I should not be laughing right now. I should not.

- "her clothing was wrinkled and askew" - Not important. Stakes! Askew? Dear heavens, her mother would not like to think that she was not at her smartest when she got locked up in jail for trying to prevent a coup. I say again, stakes; tension.

(page 12)

- I don't like the last paragraph. It's not strong enough. Too wordy, IMO. Needs to be stronger, shorter, more powerful.

Overall 

Excellent chapter. A few issues, as noted. My biggest concern is the tone of Sue's words when she left. IMO this is completely different and contradictory to how Sue was before, and lets her off the hook. I think retaining the animosity between the sisters is important. It's a really powerful aspect of the story, and the fact that they both are--to some degree--in the right is a great source of conflict for the reader. This, and the ending of the chapter really isn't powerful enough, IMO. Good job though. Loads of action It really does feel like things getting worse, story ramping up to the conclusion, etc. :) 

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12 minutes ago, Robinski said:

IMO this is completely different and contradictory to how Sue was before, and lets her off the hook.

really messed up Sue this entire draft. She's practically bipolar the way that she bounces between love and hate. I have weakened her character considerably and I have to fix that. I'm already making steps - instead of Sue saying she and T are going to join the Revolutionaries in Chapter 1, now I am having Sue flat out say they already joined. I think having made a visible list of Sue's motivations to always focus on and call back to will also help. Sue may start out worried about Ir...but by this part of the story, both sisters need to consider each other traitors and lost causes. 

The white spaces were probably caused from me copying and pasting from Scrivener and then forgetting to double check the formatting...kind of like how I forgot to attach the document to the email *sigh*

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Overall

I interacts with the plot! Behold! The second interlude was generally great and I was very engaged. The first...Sue is just all over the place with character and emotion and I can't get a decent grasp of her. I see others have had the same issue so I won't belabor it. I can see you're doing a lot of work to arc the chapters and keep the pacing going so very well done!

 

As I go

- pg 1: Except the sister <-- this is more of that redundant interior thought that could be cut to speed up the narrative

- pg 2: wrung her hands <-- why? Wasn't she enraged with her earlier? Who is this character?

- pg 3: Sue quiet is weird

- pg 4: oh here is regular Sue

- pg 5: no, wait, now calm Sue is back. What is going on? Also this is the same argument they've had a zillion times. I don't want to read it again. One of them or both need to evolve

- I do like the end to that little interlude!

- pg 7: They were going to attack the palace <-- this is a lot of conjecture on our lead's part. She just leaps to all these conclusions and I don't feel like they're supported by the narrative. The actions could be better back seeded into her and her sister's conversation, so the reader gets that something is about to happen and once the lock in does happen, can go AH. That's what that was about!

- pg 12: good action from pas 7 to 12, and good movement and engagement with the plot. The end leaves something to be desired I feel, and that last line isn't very powerful. At this stage in the book the stakes should keep raising, so I was waiting for something else to happen to her while she was in prison 

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16 minutes ago, kais said:

I interacts with the plot! Behold!

Gasp! It's like seeing a unicorn in real life! A miracle!

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11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I think having made a visible list of Sue's motivations to always focus on and call back to will also help.

Yes. That's good.

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

The white spaces were probably caused from me copying and pasting from Scrivener and then forgetting to double check the formatting...kind of like how I forgot to attach the document to the email *sigh*

No worries. You no me, no 'off' switch. It's a really small thing.

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14 hours ago, Robinski said:

 

- "skin prickling with adrenaline" - pretty sure it's nerves that cause skin prickling, not adrenaline. @Sarah B?

 

Depends on how technical you want to get. An adrenalin response causes a lot of things to happen in the body. Among them: increased blood pressure and body temperature (causing sweating in some), increased nerve excitability, and the tiny muscles that control the hairs on a person's arms and legs contracting, causing the hairs to litterally stand up. The skin prickling can be a combination of the flush skin/sweat and nerve excitability combined with all those little hairs brushing against each other. That's also the reason why some people feel cold/chills suddenly. As their body temperature rises and they start to sweat, the ambient air feels relatively colder. 

And that was waaaaay more than anyone wanted to know :-) 

Edit: 

In short (too late), this wouldn't stand out to be as being inaccurate, especially from a non-medical person. 

Would Ir know what adrenalin is though? Understanding of hormones is pretty recent medical science. Adrenaline was discovered in the 1900's if google can be trusted. 

Edited by Sarah B
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3 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

And that was waaaaay more than anyone wanted to know :-)

Well, it was exactly what I wanted to know. Thank you :)

(This nicely evokes a joke from the office I used to work in. When one of the other engineers came into my department (Transportation Planning) to ask a question, the answer was always "That depends", to the point where us Traffic wallahs (as we were affectionately known) would roll our eyes and chortle at each other.)

By dint of Sarah's response, I would stand by my comment, in that the adrenaline is not on the skin surface doing the prickling directly, even if it is the root cause of the prickling.

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Things are heating up! 

High impact chapter. I had to re-read because I was missing things just to see what happened :-)

A few things stood out:

"Not strong enough" I didn't see why this line would deflate an angry Ir. Maybe "I love you", but that comes later. If anything, telling someone they aren't strong enough seems more likely to keep the argument going.

I didn't quite follow Ir's logic for warning the BK. It seems like by now she would realize that he would put two and two together and realize where she had heard about the impending attack. This would put S and T directly in the line of fire and give the army time to set up to kill more rebels.

The only way I could see for Ir to prevent the situation would have been to make it public, so that the palace knows there is an attack and the rebels know that the palace knows so they have time to call it off. 

It also seems like Ir knows the Rebels don't stand a chance of actually taking down the palace. So why is she worried about her music buddies, much less the BK and his empire? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it seem like so far we haven't seen anything from the Rebels that makes them seem overly competent or able to pull something like this off. Does Ir think they have powerful support from somewhere?

Or maybe I'm over thinking this :-)

 

Still loved the chapter! 

 

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6 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Would Ir know what adrenalin is though? Understanding of hormones is pretty recent medical science. Adrenaline was discovered in the 1900's if google can be trusted. 

I did not know this! So, no, she wouldn't!

3 hours ago, Sarah B said:

It also seems like Ir knows the Rebels don't stand a chance of actually taking down the palace. So why is she worried about her music buddies, much less the BK and his empire? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it seem like so far we haven't seen anything from the Rebels that makes them seem overly competent or able to pull something like this off. Does Ir think they have powerful support from somewhere?

This is a very valid point I have to fix. I didn't make the Revolutionaries an actual threat this draft. If anything I continued to undermine them. I've revamped both them and the former+present governments and I'm hoping that will help somewhat. But more importantly, just like Ir, I have to make the Revolutionaries more proactive and powerful too. 

Thank you @Sarah B

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I agree with the others that S is off here, but you've already addressed that. The two larger things I had problems with are:

1) It's really hard to lock someone IN a house rather than locking them out.I would think S would know this and assume Ir will escape soon

2) I find it hard to believe the guards at the palace she's worked at for--what, a year now?--don't recognize her and furthermore just lock her away when she comes with a specific threat and naming high-ranking officials in the palace that she's worked with. This all feels a bit like the author's hand making sure Ir doesn't get to her destination in time.

Other than that, glad Ir is showing agency and has chosen a side!

 

Notes while reading:

pg 3: "follow TBK...and go to C.?"
--Why would she go there? Isn't the king based in their city?

pg 4: "under the hoof of a tyrant..."
--as usual, need some more backup for this. Examples of him being a tyrant, and why it's bad to ally with the Fey.

pg 5: “I thought you’d be strong enough to see. That’s okay, though.”
--S is definitely fanatical in this. I'd love to see some more development earlier as to WHY she's going revolutionary.

pg 5: The instant makeup after the screaming match is bizarrely quick. 

pg 6: "That was when she heard the door lock."
--Oh, okay, that's why.

pg 7: "then her friends were in mortal danger"
--based on what's happened so far with the spy and general W coming in, I'd think more the revolutionaries are in mortal danger. They just don't seem to have a strong base.

pg 7: "the Revolutionaries would have anything more than a brief, sweet victory"
--yeah, no. There's nothing that has been shown that would make me think they would succeed. Far more likely they'll just dash themselves on the castle's defenses and all die...

pg 7: "no way out there"
--it's very hard to make it hard to get OUT of a house...much easier to keep people from getting in.

pg 8: "She grabbed a large iron skillet, hefting its weight."
--yeah, like if I was trapped in a house, I'd go directly for the weak points where a person would have to shore of naturally open places, like windows. Door can be boarded up from the outside easily.

pg 9: "who doubtless made the locks on these...shutters!"
--which at least makes some sense, but I wonder how long they spent locking up their house?

pg 10: How many guards are at the palace? I find it hard to believe they'd first, not know her face, and second, just lock her up when she asks for specific high-ranking individuals by name. She's worked there for months. Surely she knows the name of the captain of the guard?

pg 11: "The minotaur shook his head and the cell locked with a clang"
--yeah, this just feels plotful, like Ir has to be out of the way long enough for S and crew to start attacking. Is there a more realistic way she can be delayed?

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I agree with the others that S is off here, but you've already addressed that. The two larger things I had problems with are:

1) It's really hard to lock someone IN a house rather than locking them out.I would think S would know this and assume Ir will escape soon

2) I find it hard to believe the guards at the palace she's worked at for--what, a year now?--don't recognize her and furthermore just lock her away when she comes with a specific threat and naming high-ranking officials in the palace that she's worked with. This all feels a bit like the author's hand making sure Ir doesn't get to her destination in time.

Other than that, glad Ir is showing agency and has chosen a side!

Good points, great points. I took the easy way out. Don't take the first idea off of the shelf... how can I push myself further? Hmmmm...

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Opening the doc now

“as usual, she wore a dress” I’m not sure if this is a necessary detail. It tells us that she often wears dresses, but I think you could probably just cut to “she wore a pink dress” or whatever description

“once, neither” oof nice detail. Growing estranged

Pg 2 this is delightfully awkward. Very realistic imo. Reminds me kind of like talking to an ex when neither of you have quite moved on yet, but with a sibling instead.

S is uncharacteristically timid. Though I guess maybe she’s trying to patch things up for once. (though I suspect that she’s planning a trap or something)

Pg 3 “p no longer existed” yep, she really is starting to pick a side (finally)

“Are you going to follow the BK?” Aaaand whoosh! That came out of nowhere

Pg 4 “I’ll never except” Accept

This page has the S we know and love

Oooh, Ir is finally standing up for herself! I like it!

“Then you will die”

Spoiler

star.PNG.5a854d91aee27fbb6433623b3732741f.PNG

sounds like something this guy would say 

“and what stops the rich” valid argument, and (((perhaps commentary?)))

Pg 5 this seems unexpected from S

“You stay here” NO. THIS IS HER TRIGGERING THE TRAP

Pg 6 Oh, nice, called it. Side note, I assume this house has windows she could climb out of? Locking someone inside the house doesn’t seem like it would work for very long. It reminds me of the scene near the beginning of Life is Strange (if you’ve ever played that) where one character locks another inside her dorm room from the outside. It just doesn’t seem all that likely.

“a free t” I assume this is the start of the climax then? Exciting!

“her hair in her face” I think just “hair in her face” would be fine, though that’s not so big

Pg 7 nice summary of the stakes. However, nothing about the revolutionaries that I’ve seen so far makes me think that they would win. I’m more concerned about T and the others dying in their futile attempt.

also, I changed my mind on the house thing. Addressing the ways that she could've escaped, but can't is goo, i think. 

“earned themselves the guillotine” yes, this makes much more sense to me

Pg 8 I like this page

Pg 9 “iron handle was burning” oh yeah I forgot about that

“Come one Ir” toola too roo lye aye

“the stone navy” it took me a few reads to pick up that you meant the color and not a maritime force made of rocks. I was a little confused

Pg 10 She’s been working at the palace for a while now, and I feel like the guards would recognize her. Though I respect that they take their job seriously, unlike most fantasy guards, so I can look past that. Also, why not prove she’s the name knower by revealing their names?

Pg 11 Yes, I’m certain she could convince them by telling the minotaur his name. I feel like if she grew up with the power, she would probably think of that on instinct

 

Overall, I like this chapter a lot and I am glad that this is going into what I assume is the end. Nice to see Ir stand up for herself, too. Not much to add other than what I already noted, so good work! 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ginger_reckoning said:

Overall, I like this chapter a lot and I am glad that this is going into what I assume is the end.

This is definitely the catalyst to the end! It begins!

Thank you @ginger_reckoning!

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This chapter was fairly exciting! I'm looking forward to whats next! :)

 

Page 1

-”but she delayed from knocking” this wording feels off but i can't say why

-”she knocked” oh she only just now knocked? I thought she was knocking earlier with the heavy soup in hand

-”once, neither cared what the other wore” i thought this should've been “for once, neither cared” the first time i read it but now that i'm rereading it i think it's saying “at some point in the past, neither cared what the other wore.”

 

Page 4

-”you’re too cowardly” that escalated quickly!

 

Page 5

-”I still love you” I dont believe it

“I love you, S said” she’s saying it too much, somethings gonna happen

 

Page 6

-”her skin prickling with adrenaline” Maybe not her skin but her heart? Her heart would speed up because of adrenaline. I think.

-when T and I unlock this door” i knew it. Sue you traitor!

 

Page 7

-”And not for a prank,” this sentence is a little repetitive, we’ve already established this

 

Page 9

-”Threated to defeat her” threatened ?

 

Page 10

-”The guards probably saw her as a distraction” hmm my first thought isn't that they would see her in this way, more like they are just following protocol. 

-Ir seems to be making a huge deal about the threat of the rebels but they haven’t really been portrayed that way so far.

 

Page 11

-did he leave his post to bring her to prison? Maybe it would work better if he called someone else over to take her in, then you can mislead us a bit. Also I feel like threats should be taken seriously, i mean yeah Ir would be suspicious to them but they should also not take things like this lightly. But maybe they get threats on the daily so they are trained not to take evverrrything seriously. 

-wait she is getting sent to the guillotine? What if she was telling the truth? Would the guards not face serious consequences if she was actually a valuable asset to BK? I would think they would not jump to conclusions so quickly.

 

Overall:

I like where you’re going with this, a lot of tension and drama and I love it. But definitely feels like I can see the author’s hand in Ir just being thrown into jail so quickly in order for her to be out of the way so that other things can happen. 

Also I would like to kindly disagree with what others have said about the guards recognizing her UNLESS they are the same guards that are always there and they have had interactions with her. I actually have some experience in this department at an art museum :) When I'm posted at a gallery that has an exit/entrance but isn't the main entrance, I have make sure that the people coming into the museum either work at the museum or have paid for a ticket, and even if i recognize the customer (i.e. they just left to go into the garden and i saw them leave and they wanna come back into the museum) I still have to ask for a ticket. Also there are a lot of employees at the museum and i don't remember every single one of them (i've been there for 4 years and i still dont recognize some of them) and its typical for the employees to ALWAYS have their name badges/employee cards on them where I can see them so its easier for me to see that they are okay to enter :) its just protocol yo

I know Ir's situation and my situation are different but still, my first thought wasn't that they should recognize her. thats all im saying.


 

Edited by karamel
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Going to second that S felt a bit off and that I was wondering why the guards were giving her such a hard time. Also, as a short note I think we get the idea pretty quickly that the small talk between Ir and S is intentionally awkward and not substantial. After this is made clear I don't think we need to see the rest of it written out since the info itself isn't important--only the dynamic is, so no need to keep hammering that in. 

I think the strongest part of the chapter is where Ir thinks about all the people she's trying to save while breaking out of the house. This is exactly what I was mentioning a while back where I want to see Ir's proactivity be informed by personal motivations, which for me makes this moment stronger than the time she helps W out.

15 hours ago, Sarah B said:

I didn't quite follow Ir's logic for warning the BK. It seems like by now she would realize that he would put two and two together and realize where she had heard about the impending attack. This would put S and T directly in the line of fire and give the army time to set up to kill more rebels.

Agreed. I'd like to see a more specific plan here for Ir than just warning BK. Because unless she blindly trusts him (which I don't think she does and she also shouldn't based on what I've read), it doesn't make sense to give all her cards away to him if she can use some sort of leverage to secure S and T's safety. 

My main comment here as someone who's only read the last few chapters is that this feels like it should be the culmination of the arc where Ir makes a decision to protect her new friends, but the arc/conflict here wasn't set up in the previous few chapters. If you told me before this that the story was about Ir learning to connect with and protect the people in the new position she's thrust into, I would have been surprised. It didn't seem like there was any real struggle to come to this decision because most of her woes focus on family and homesickness instead, so it feels less momentous as a result. 

Best of luck in editing! 

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39 minutes ago, Ace of Hearts said:

the arc/conflict here wasn't set up in the previous few chapters.

Ha, it's barely been set up at all. The plot by far is the weakest part of the story because it's so jumbled and having such a bad identity crisis. I have eleven straight chapters with no stakes. I've got the threads to weave myself a good tapestry, but I've got a hell of a lot of knots to untangle if not cut first. 

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Posted (edited)

This chapter flew by! 

In the first scene, I loved the awkwardness with I and S. The dialogue was exactly what one would expect from two people who had some kind of falling out though I wonder if there could be one more two more hints that as to what was coming, maybe I notices something odd about the windows on the way in or something, but obviously doesn't figure out what it means. 

"I'll never except that" should this be accept ?

"When T and I unlock this door...." Interesting turn of events. 

"rebounded off of the door" Try the windows next?

"The shutters had somehow been locked too" I'm sure you've spent lots of time describing houses, but now I'm forgetting whether or not the windows have glass and if it would be normal for the shutters to be closed today. It would be interesting to include a tiny bit of description of the house here, noting the shutters are closed. If I noticed something different about them and wondered about it, right before I opened the door, it would cue the reader that something else might be going on and up the tension. Since I's been here recently, she could notice this hadn't' been there before or something. 

The rest of this paragraph is great! I love how quick I is to take action and assess the situation and take action, and I love that she breaks out with a big cast iron skillet. 

I didn't make any other notes until the end. 

Why didn't she have her scroll? Is that not something people should carry at all times? 

I don't understand why the guards just brought her to a cell. Given everything that's been going on, you'd think they'd want more information quick and would bring her to someone instead of just leaving her to wait in a cell. They might not know if her info is legit, but I would guess there would be someone higher than door guard who would determine that.

Unless the guards are in the revolutionaries pocket and are trying to keep I quiet.

Overall, this one had lots of forward motion, I took plenty of action, and it leaves me very much wanting to know what comes next. 

 

Edited by shatteredsmooth
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7 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Unless the guards are in the revolutionaries pocket and are trying to keep I quiet.

Ooh! This is actually a really good idea that would give the revolutionaries some agency, if they were able to successfully turn palace employees.

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3 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Ooh! This is actually a really good idea that would give the revolutionaries some agency, if they were able to successfully turn palace employees.

Yes! I also like this. I imagine it could throw Ir and the BK closer together, if maybe he has to intercede to get her released. Our, maybe Wrm plays a roll in getting her out of the cell, There are numerous possibilities, all or any of which seem to offer the potential for intrigue, and shifting character dynamics.

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I read twice. First time just to enjoy and second time for nit picks.

Comments after first read:

I was intimidated by the chapter number. But I shouldn’t have been. This was amazing!

The opening was blah, the worst part for me. I’m normally not a grammar policer, but as I read this right after going over a draft of my own on a comma hunt, I noticed several missing/ not needed commas. There were also several fragment sentences. 

But the big thing about the opening for me was the slow pace and difficulty in one spot of knowing who was talking when (will point out in nitpicks.) 

Once the sister starts in on her impassioned speech I was hooked.

Overall- excellent after the beginning bit.

Since this is a third draft I’ll point out some areas where I thought the wording was weak or passive voice could be improved.  These, of course, are super subjective. I’ll put a * before those comments. 

 

Nit picks:

*but she delayed from knocking. 

  • nothing wrong with this phrase, grammar wise, but it felt awkward to me.

*she was too busy trying

  • passive voice. Could be described better and passive voice removed.

*They had each chosen their paths, in different directions .

  • I really loved the paragraph where this sentence is found. I have felt it myself with relatives and it rang true. But, the part after the comma takes away some of the punch for me. I feel it reads better without the last phrase.

A moment later, S...

  • this paragraph is where this opening bit began to drag for me. The descriptions seemed forced- especially as both women are described the same way “Not quite casual, but not quiet fancy...”

Once, neither of them cared what the other thought.

  • is this story written in third person with a wide scope or a narrow? Up to this point and afterwards it reads as if it is third limited but this sentence assumes to know what S thinks.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” said S.

  • * these first two lines read a bit Dick and Jane, beginner reader book for me.

They stared at each other.

“Come—”

“How about I—?”

  • Who is saying what here? I’m confused. Because S was last to speak before but it makes more sense that she is first to speak here.
  • *I feel like this whole exchange could be strengthened with more descriptions of body language. Like I said before, it reads very flat and I feel like you are going for awkward- and it has that- but I feel like I should be squirming from the horrible awkwardness and I’m kinda more like: I think the writer wants this to be awkward. Show me the awkward!

“I. asked lightly. Casually...”

-*two adverbs in a row. I feel like this makes for weak writing. As before: show me the awkward! Make me as a reader squirm right there with them. I want to feel it.

“S said, picking imaginary lint from her sleeve.”

  • better! Give me more of this kinda thing.

Six months ago, she and S would have been chatting up a storm, while I fetched the cutting board and a knife for herself without a thought. Now she felt like all of her joints had turned to rusted iron as she made her way to the kitchen.”

-*first sentence, that I struck through, feels repetitive. We already know they had a good relationship before. It also is a break from the awkward tension and I feel like it should be mounting, not a baiting. The second line is marvellous. Take out the first and I feel the passage is stronger. 

“Oh here...” to this bit: “The world is so big, S.”

-* i feel like this settling into a normal routine makes a lot of sense. But! The tension from before is broken. I’m not sure if you wanted to sustain the strain or have it start to melt here. I like the idea of making the characters continue to squirm myself. But I guess I’m kinda evil.

The conversation after “...big, S.” is amazing! I loved it. This is where the chapter really shined for me. The tension finally snaps and they argue and it feels good to get it all out and they make up- how sweet. But then the sister locks her in the house- bahaha! Oh my goodness did I LoVe it! And excellent example of a “yes, but...” plot progression. The descriptions showing Ir trying to contain her anger are excellent.  Gah! Give me awkward the way you gave me anger! (And the anger and resolution will only be better served here- okay! I’ll stop mentioning it. But this bit proved to me that you have the writing chops to make these characters come alive and really squirm- so I’m wondering why you didn’t?)

Big skip here- as getting out of the hut and the gate guard bit were so much fun I just grinned and read through it without noting anything on round 2.

“Decay, girl, shut your mouth,” from her neighbors. I fell silent, instead, planning what to say when the guards re-emerged.

  • I love the paragraph this is from. But, again, feel the last sentence takes away. I don’t know if you are familiar with the idea of two types of scenes? Scenes with action and scenes of reflection  and regrouping. I like to think of them as upbeats and downbeats in action. This chapter is excellently paced in that way. But the final sentence is a bit of a summary and more telling. I, of course, haven’t read the next chapter- but still my gut tells me it is a better hook without the last line- at least the way it is written.

Final comments: there was way less passive voice than I thought at the top so ignore that bit. 

Not to gush, but why not- let me gush. For jumping into the middle I felt the argument scene was amazing. I loved S. But could feel how Ir thought her naive and vice versa. So so so well played to argue both sides and make both valid. You mentioned it was suppose to be a politics book- well, excellent form here. I look forward to future chapters.

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On 12/29/2020 at 11:25 PM, Snakenaps said:

Ha, it's barely been set up at all. The plot by far is the weakest part of the story because it's so jumbled and having such a bad identity crisis. I have eleven straight chapters with no stakes. I've got the threads to weave myself a good tapestry, but I've got a hell of a lot of knots to untangle if not cut first. 

Aw, I wouldn't agree with that. And even if I did, what I'm trying to talk about is different from stakes, at least the way I rationalize it. It's less "there's no action here" and more "we were talking about stumbling on your employer stealing a crystal and now we're dealing with a revolution--what's the connection here?"

On 1/2/2021 at 11:15 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Unless the guards are in the revolutionaries pocket and are trying to keep I quiet.

Agreed that this is a great idea, though I'm sure there are other good ways for the story to go here if that's not the route you want to take. 

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On 1/2/2021 at 8:15 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Unless the guards are in the revolutionaries pocket and are trying to keep I quiet.

 

On 1/2/2021 at 3:28 PM, Robinski said:

Yes! I also like this. I imagine it could throw Ir and the BK closer together, if maybe he has to intercede to get her released. Our, maybe Wrm plays a roll in getting her out of the cell, There are numerous possibilities, all or any of which seem to offer the potential for intrigue, and shifting character dynamics.

 

32 minutes ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Agreed that this is a great idea, though I'm sure there are other good ways for the story to go here if that's not the route you want to take. 

I'm definitely hopping on this train. I think it needs to be W who busts Ir out, a repayment for her help with the crystal. Also, since they know that Sue/Tal are Revolutionaries, they would also believe her immediately. I think I still want to toss her in prison (circles back nicely now to how her first day is going to be knowing names of inmates), and then have W rescue her. I just have to figure out how. W is about cleverness and disguises, not about assassinations and killing. So they aren't going to brute force the guards. 

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4 hours ago, Valerie said:

Since this is a third draft I’ll point out some areas where I thought the wording was weak or passive voice could be improved. 

These are most appreciative. I am definitely trying to get all of the wrinkles out, especially the small ones. 

4 hours ago, Valerie said:

I was intimidated by the chapter number. But I shouldn’t have been. This was amazing!

You definitely picked one hell of a time to jump in XD Glad it rang so true. The argument has gone through so many revisions, because I actively avoid conflict in my life, and therefore struggle to write it. Kinda hilarious, considering this is rapidly evolving from a slice-of-life to political intrigue/drama. 

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Hmmm... the only problem I have with W (who I assume is her love interest? I don’t have the notes open). Is that it would take away a moment of character empowerment, where Ir manages to free herself. 
 

it also seems a bit deus ex machina to me to have a hero swoop in and free her from her sister’s house. 

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