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Snakenaps

1,4,2021 - Snakenaps - Name of the King D3 Chapter 35 (3,605 words)(V)(G)

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HEADS UP! This chapter actually has violence and gore in it. That's like...the third time in this entire book? Wow. 
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Comments.

(page 1)

- "her sister’s lack of loyalty" - it's more engaging to describe what does exist, rather than what does not. Something like 'sister's rebelliousness'.

(page 2)

- "Her burned hands tried to pull her out of the calm ocean" - Sounds weird. Her hands don't have autonomy of thought. They cannot take the initiative.

(page 3)

- "telekinesis unlocked the manacles" - Why does he need the guard or the keys to open the cell, when he doesn't need the keys to the manacles?

- The very short Sue POV is...very short. 

(page 4)

- "That meant the Revolutionaries..." - suggest keeping present tense (means), to be more immediate.

(page 5)

- Confusion of blocking, in my mind at least. The musicians are within the palace wall. This implies the Ir and the BK are not, since it's implied that, somehow, the musicians are safer than she and the king are. I'm happy enough that the BK would be in some armoury with his troops, preparing to defend the castle, but the revolutionaries would not know that, surely. They must be expecting the BK to be within the palace, and therefore their intention is indeed to breech the palace wall to get at the BK. I guess maybe Ir has not reached that conclusion....yet.

- "they made an honest mistake" - Eh? This is delusional. Nobody involved in this story thinks the rebels have made an honest mistake. Ir's smart enough to know that.

- "That was family for you." - I think there are too many one-line paragraphs here, and on first glance, maybe going forward as well.

(page 7)

- "The edges of her wall chipped away" - This sounds slow to me, gradual. Not the kind of effect from a bullet hitting the wall, which would be more violent/sudden.

- "wearing black and grey" - Confused, I thought they were going to be blue. Who's wearing blue?

(page 8)

- BIG ISSUE - "Girl, what’s your name?" - No. You've lost me here. I don't believe that the defenders of the palace are going to gave a mundane rat's a55 about Ir's problems, or her name. At the very best they might try and get her to safety, but otherwise she is just under their feet. Certainly not something they would bother the BK with when he's in the middle of fighting in a battle, IMO.

I like the Ir's ability comes into play here, but I'm not convinced by the way it's leveraged.

(page 10)

- "Protecting the he BK was a priority" - typo.

- "The soldier was attacking plunged her spear" - typo.

(page 11)

- "herding, arresting, the surviving Rev" - one comma too many.

- "her sandals soaking in the blood" - Opportunity for an even more dramatic line here if you say 'Tal's blood' instead of just 'the blood'.

This is an incredibly powerful moment, and on its own justifies the all that time spent building the strong family dynamic. It's been clear before that both Sue and Ir were right, and they were both wrong too. There's nothing quite as compelling, I think, as showing the reader a conflict between positions that both have merit, and the fact it comes to a conclusion like this (an end, not the end), is really compelling.

(page 12)

- "Her sandals halted at Ta" - Oh, I thought Ir was standing next to Ta because of the description.

- "as the blood spread around him" - I think this--to some degree--is a TV/movie fallacy, especially this long after he was speared. The whole blood spreading thing is vastly over-done, even if it is accurate. However, I will consult my go-to medical authority (What do you think, @Sarah B?)

- "There were words that were should said" - typo.

(page 13)

- "She shushed him like she might have done to a crying Par" - grammar consistency. Trick is to (mentally) try the same verb (shushed) in place of 'done'.

- "but Ir never saw" - Kind of a POV 'trick'. If she didn't see it, how did we?

- "her fingers likely bruised" - I'm not aware that bruising would make a hand go numb, quite the opposite surely? Medic! (@Sarah B? Sorry, I keep calling on your expertise, like you don't have enough to do, I'm sure :) ). Now, I may have taken the wrong inference from the wording. I assumed that her hand had gone numb due to it being in the same position, and gripped by Ta for that length of time. If it was some kind go meds that numbed her hand, that would be different, but I didn't get that impression.

- "a windy thing of copper and rope" - I always read windy for this, as in Windy City. 'wind-up thing', or 'twisty thing' leave no room for dubiety, I think.

Overall 

Very powerful, emotional and well-handled chapter, IMO. Sure, there are some irksome details, but the emotional punch is quite something. I would say that your story has had a lot of heart from the beginning, but this is some real, heart-wrenching tragedy. A lot of stories have violence, battle, death, but where they fall down (IMO) is that they don't do enough to bring home in the cost of loss and death.

I think the take-away for all of us who have issue in this department is that work is needed beforehand so that the violence and battle and death have real emotional and personal (to the character) weight. I suspect we can all think of examples of recent subs where death has been cheap, and therefore has lacked the weight that it deserves. I'm not saying that everyone should (or even can, in the context of their particular story) achieve the emotional weight that there is here, but it's a point we would all do well to mark, IMO.

The chapter is also exciting, tense, fast-paced; everything that I want from a chapter this close to the end of the book. Given that there has been a fair bit of trimming preceding, chapter like this will have more promotional weight as a whole, and uplift the whole book, I reckon. Good job.

Can you remind me, please, how many chapters are left? This chapter is pretty climactic, but I want (as a reader) to gauge how long I have to go. I feel that Draft 2 had 44 (or 45?) chapters, in which case, actually, I still have about 20-25% to go, which seems like quite a lot considering the rebels have been defeated (it seems).

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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

Can you remind me, please, how many chapters are left? This chapter is pretty climactic, but I want (as a reader) to gauge how long I have to go. I feel that Draft 2 had 44 (or 45?) chapters, in which case, actually, I still have about 20-25% to go, which seems like quite a lot considering the rebels have been defeated (it seems).

Five chapters left. Still too many, imo. 

Spoiler

We have left:

Choices - Where Ir confronts Sue.

Return - Ir returns to her family.

Summer - C's reopens and the BK makes her a job offer.

Decision - Ir tries to figure out what kind of future she wants. 

Future - Ir makes a decision. 

That's 12.5% of the book. I would say the next chapter/two chapters wrap up the "finale" but the "epilogue" is still too long. I feel like parts of the last three can be combined to make one solid chapter with an arc about Ir and her decision making.

@Sarah B I would LOVE LOVE LOVE any medical input you have on this chapter. Google was not happy with me trying to find out what happens with wounds and I couldn't just...call up the local hospital or police. 

@Robinski Thank you for stabbing major holes in this chapter. This is one of those chapters that needs to be as perfect as possible, and it isn't there yet. I'm thinking once I get the setup right, this will really pull on people's heartstrings. I think what works well is that there's isn't a lot of blood/gore in this book, so when it does happen...you pay attention. 

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Violence! Gore! Yay!

Overall

Some good action in here! A few beats seemed unfinished, and I had some motivation issues, detailed below. This is a strong installment towards the end, but I still think TBK is just generally a pretty decent fellow, and I is just super naive, so I still struggle with her choices and how she sees him.

 

7 hours ago, Robinski said:

Very powerful, emotional and well-handled chapter, IMO. Sure, there are some irksome details, but the emotional punch is quite something. I would say that your story has had a lot of heart from the beginning, but this is some real, heart-wrenching tragedy. A lot of stories have violence, battle, death, but where they fall down (IMO) is that they don't do enough to bring home in the cost of loss and death.

I agree with this completely, and was thinking the same thing. So often we get battles and cheap death, but here we are invested in the characters so the one death we get has so much more power. The emotional resonance here was very well done!

 

As I go

- As an intro sentence, this one doesn't do much for me. It makes me think of boredom, and starting off chapters with boredom makes me, the reader, bored

- I don't understand why he would think she betrayed him. Literally nothing in her actions would lead anyone to that. Why would she come running in to the palace, get herself arrested, etc., just to betray him? The logic is off here. She has consistently been portrayed as eager, honest, and naive. TBK has been portrayed as understanding this and using it to his advantage but also mentoring her. He has never been portrayed, IMO, as paranoid, and I is just so earnest. So this section rings really false for me.

- pg 4: Whatever secret passage there was had just been breached <--- bah. I want specifics! What secret passage! Let's have more of this in earlier chapters. Maybe one of those wandering chapters, I can wander off and find it! And then later she offhandedly mentions it to her sister like wow did I get LOST today! and then her sister uses it to come get TBK and BOOM. SHE HAS BETRAYED THE KING which would make this a LOT more powerful

- pg 5: The Revolutionaries main goal must ... we know this already. This paragraph can be deleted

- pg 6: motivation issue. Why is she not more concerned about keeping her sister from killing TBK? It's like she doesn't think her sister can do it. She's so concerned with saving her sister, which I get, but has she gained nothing working with TBK all this time? I'd like to see more emotional pull here, between the two. A tug of war. I want to see that I has grown as a person, not that she keeps choosing what she knows, over and over. If her experiences haven't changed her, why did we read this book? Where is the arc!!

- pg 8: lot of 'crazy' 'idiot' and 'stupid' in these chapters recently. Keep in mind, when submission to agents and stuff comes, you'll want to replace these words. There's a big movement to pull abelism out of name calling.

- pg 10: good tension through here, though I'd like more when TBK finds her. Because right now he's still just... generally a pretty nice guy. 

- was hoping for a sister reckoning at the end here. The arc does not feel complete, more like 75%

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37 minutes ago, kais said:

Maybe one of those wandering chapters, I can wander off and find it! And then later she offhandedly mentions it to her sister like wow did I get LOST today! and then her sister uses it to come get TBK and BOOM. SHE HAS BETRAYED THE KING which would make this a LOT more powerful

You know...I literally never thought about that. 

Hmmmm...

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42 minutes ago, kais said:
8 hours ago, Robinski said:

Very powerful, emotional and well-handled chapter, IMO. Sure, there are some irksome details, but the emotional punch is quite something. I would say that your story has had a lot of heart from the beginning, but this is some real, heart-wrenching tragedy. A lot of stories have violence, battle, death, but where they fall down (IMO) is that they don't do enough to bring home in the cost of loss and death.

I agree with this completely, and was thinking the same thing. So often we get battles and cheap death, but here we are invested in the characters so the one death we get has so much more power. The emotional resonance here was very well done!

Similar thoughts to the others on this. I think it's a really good chapter, finally bringing a lot of the buildup home. My one quibble is that if we had an even better view of what exactly the revolutionaries had been doing, it would make the scene with T that much more impactful.

I think there may be a little too much time with Ir thinking on pages 5/6 and the tension could be spiked even more.

The only other problem I had was blocking with where the Revs. are and how they got in. Like @kais says, give us the specifics of the secret passage (and Ir. telling S about it previous is beautiful!). That way we know that X revs are running up this passage, and we know the palace forces can cut them off by blocking of Y passage. Right now, there's a lot of running around, and it seems like TBK got enough warning to box in the Revs. right when they entered the palace.

 

47 minutes ago, kais said:

Why is she not more concerned about keeping her sister from killing TBK? It's like she doesn't think her sister can do it. She's so concerned with saving her sister, which I get, but has she gained nothing working with TBK all this time?

I think this is similar to what I was saying about the Rev's motives. We don't know what they are, and Ir doesn't seem to consider them a threat. I don't think at this point the reader (or maybe the author ;-) thinks the Revs can defeat TBK, and so all the characters subconsciously think that too. Make them an actual threat, so we're really unsure if TBK will survive!

 

Notes while reading:

pg 2: "guard handed his monarch the keys"
--still have an issue with lines like this. TBK doesn't have hands, so how is he handed anything? Is it handed to a telepathic grap?

pg 2: I think this is supposed to show that TBK is devious and manipulative, but it seems a good precaution for a monarch at risk to know the information is accurate, except for the part where Ir. is still clutching the bars.

pg 3: "Ir had betrayed them."
--S never got any sort of promise that Ir wouldn't tell. In fact she locked Ir up so she couldn't. So Ir can't really betray her...

pg 4: "How did he get down to the docks before you killed him"
--I feel like a monarch who has survived as many attempts as TBK would have known to check this, and wouldn't need to be told by a young girl how the revolutionaries might get in.

pg 5/6: I think some of the mental debating here is slowing the pace of the story. She's already decided to grab S&T.

pg 6: "and outnumbered the M. soldiers"
--I'm still not clear at all on how many revolutionaries there are, and how many castle guard.

pg 6: "His water pummeled the enemy,"
--I think we need some more description of the revolutionaries. We know they're there, but not where they're situated and how far they've pressed into the castle.

pg 7: "and his teeth ripped into flesh mercilessly."
--like, this makes me think there are ranks of soldiers hacking at each other, but Ir is skipping through the castle unharmed. So which is it? corridors crowded with fighting soldiers, or an empty castle?

pg 7: "Revolutionaries poured down the hall."
--They all came from one entrance, right? So how are they all over the castle? Since they knew where they were coming from, it should be easy to hem them in.

pg 8: "Sun had to be TBK"
--why? How did she come to that conclusion?
--oh, because he wants her to name the revolutionaries. Didn't get that at first.

pg 10: "The soldier was attacking plunged"
--HE was attacking?

pg 11-14: I think having Ir. with T instead of S is definitely an emotional moment. However, I can't keep but thinking all this is brought on by T and S themselves. I'm hoping setting up the revolutionaries as a stronger antagonist with better reasons for fighting will make this even more meaningful.

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Thoughts as i go:

Page 1

-I feel like there isn't enough setting in the first sentence(s). It took me a sec to remember that “oh yeah Ir is in prison”

-”missed the sound of hooves on stone” at first i thought she was saying she missed it, like she wanted to hear that sound again, but now i get that she didn’t hear BK walking up.

-”sire!” this is probably just me because i did hop in mid novel, but has Ir ever called him sire before??

 

Page 2

-””No,” Ir swore.” I could be wrong, but I think putting a comma and then saying she swore makes it sound like “no” is the swear, which i don't think it's meant to be. I picture her mentally swearing after saying no, so you would just replace the comma with a period.

-how are her hands trying to pull her out? That makes it seem like they are a living being separate from Ir.

-also, i'm bummed that BK still doesn't trust her.

 

Page 7

-”there was a grace to him” I like this sentence

 

Page 7-9

I am a bit confused about where everything is taking place, but this is probably because I haven't spent any time inside the palace so i don't know how things are laid out. Did the rebels enter through that hidden passageway? Is this all happening near there? At the southern hall? But Ir never made it there because the soldiers were marching by right? And why does the BK need names? Didn't Ir say it was easy to tell revolutionary from soldier? Oh, is it because he doesn't want to kill Sue and T? So, this was my thought process upon my first read, when i read it over a second time, it all made more sense.

 

Page 10

 -”Ir, names!” I love moments like this where the battle is raging on but the MC is having a crisis and the people around them need something from them but they’re just sitting there in shock. *chefs kiss* 

-So i feel like there is usually some sort of turning point in a battle scene, where one side has turned the tides and has more power, and clearly this happens around T’s death when BK is like “we’re winning, surrender or die” but i don't feel like that turning point was clearly explained, it sort of just happened. Maybe adding something that tells us clearly that the revolutionaries were dying at a higher rate than soldiers and are now outnumbered, so they should give up. Until BK said they should surrender, I didn't have a clear grasp on who had the upper hand, because previously Ir said that the civilians outnumbered the soldiers.

 

Overall:

I love that we are getting some consequences. I think T’s death was totally necessary and will hopefully bring on some important realizations in Sue and/or Ir. I think you did a great job in portraying the emotional punch of T’s death, even if I wasn’t necessarily torn up about it (because technically I haven't met him) I did feel bad for Sue because she didn’t even get to be with him in his last moments, but they went into this hopefully knowing they were risking death. I also kinda wished Ir had done more in the battle, even though it technically doesn't make sense for her since she isn't trained. I mean she did give one name, but I wanted her to do more.

My biggest problem with this chapter was lack of detail/description. The attack felt short to me and I had some trouble picturing everything happening. but yeah, overall, it was a nice change of pace, I do love death and gore :) in a totally non-serial killer way.

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5 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Five chapters left. Still too many, imo.

I don't know. That's not too many for me. Totally agree with you about the impact of this chapter, but, if it's THE crescendo, I wonder if it needs a little more of a cliffhanger sort of ending. What I'm thinking is something like they actually get closer to getting the BK, and it's Sue who gets close to killing him, and maybe he gets takes a lucky hit, and it lays him out, and Ir literally has to face down Sue. I think that is the kind of showdown that is missing.

3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

My one quibble is that if we had an even better view of what exactly the revolutionaries had been doing, it would make the scene with T that much more impactful.

Yes, totally agree. If we got just a short POV from Sue every two or three chapters to show how the revs are progressing towards their aim, in combination with my suggestion above that they (S) gets close to actually getting him, that would be taking things right to the brink of the revs success, and then let Ir play a bigger part in the outcome.

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So I'm not going to do LBL's on this one if you are ok with that. I think the others have done a pretty good job with that. 

Well, actually, my one lbl thing is that the "that's family for you" line kind of blared for me, like it stood out of the tone of the rest of the chapter as slightly more humorous which pulled me out a bit. 

I agree with the others that the death of T was very well written, and while it was a little over-dramatic, I think that it is totally warranted for this part. I like how this is a negative consequence for both S and Ir, and it really just points out how silly and pointless all the violence of the revolution is. It was a mistake, but its not one that you can come back from. I especially thought the part with the stories was good. 

That being said, I am almost loathe to mention this because I thought it was so well written, but if I remember correctly T is the only black main character. This might invoke harmful tropes for some, so I guess that is something to be aware of. 

Regarding the fight, I would personally love some more description of the tactics of the different animals working together. I think there was some description of that kind of stuff after the fact, but if we could get some more of that description during the battle itself, I think it would cement the chaos of the battle more. I was also a bit underwhelmed with the descriptions of the battle. Looking back at the doc...

Pg 6 "it was easy to tell who was M..." I believe this is her first thoughts when she sees the battle, and is thus the reader's introduction to the battle. Personally I want more punch from her first glimpse at the fighting. And just more punch overall, if this is the climax of the story. (or the first part of the climax, anyway.) 

21 hours ago, karamel said:

So i feel like there is usually some sort of turning point in a battle scene, where one side has turned the tides and has more power, and clearly this happens around T’s death when BK is like “we’re winning, surrender or die” but i don't feel like that turning point was clearly explained, it sort of just happened.

I agree with this. I was several lines in when I realized "oh, the battle is over". I think a more concrete marker of the battle being over would be good. 

 

On 1/4/2021 at 3:34 AM, Robinski said:

Certainly not something they would bother the BK with when he's in the middle of fighting in a battle, IMO.

I agree with this as well. Especially since I assume that the BK has to focus in order to use all his magic. 

Though I was glad to see the more viscious side of him. I'm hoping we will see him finally get angry once he confronts Ir with her insubordination...

Anyways, good job! Excited to see IR finally tell S what's what

 

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1 hour ago, ginger_reckoning said:

That being said, I am almost loathe to mention this because I thought it was so well written, but if I remember correctly T is the only black main character. This might invoke harmful tropes for some, so I guess that is something to be aware of. 

I never thought about this. Technically, he's not, as there are both of his kids...but unfortunately, since more than half the cast is non-human...welp...

Human Characters:

  • Ir's immediate family (A and Sej and their kids Sue, Ir, N, and Lu)
  • Sue's immediate family (Sue and T and their kids San and Par)
  • J
  • W (who may or may not be black...or white...or purple. It's W)

 

Non-Human characters:

  • BK the unicorn
  • P the cow
  • M the dog
  • Le the griffin
  • C and G the coyote therios
  • O the dog
  • B the cupidine
  • Mor the rat
  • Wa the direwolf
  • C's entire restaurant staff, which not one of them is a human outside of Ir...
  • F the owl, R the dragon, and a heap of other named one-scene characters

Really hard to have a diverse human cast when technically the only ones who aren't related to Ir are T, J, and W :/ 

On the other hand, the extensive non-human cast could be literally any race if turned into humans. Mom has always pictured Le the griffin as a New Yorker with a thick accent, for instance. I try not to think about it too much because I don't want unconsciously force them into stereotypes or tropes.

I'd rather keep T black and kill him than turn T white or something and still kill him. On the other hand, this is something I'll definitely keep in mind when I'm not writing books about talking unicorn kings. 

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11 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

Really hard to have a diverse human cast when technically the only ones who aren't related to Ir are T, J, and W :/ 

Yeah, it's a tough one. I think you are probably fine, especially since he is a well-rounded character before this. But really...it's hard for me to say. Like I said, I guess it's just something to be aware of. 

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38 minutes ago, ginger_reckoning said:

Yeah, it's a tough one. I think you are probably fine, especially since he is a well-rounded character before this. But really...it's hard for me to say. Like I said, I guess it's just something to be aware of. 

Especially since I hadn't thought of it beforehand. It's good to be aware and acknowledge the history behind why we should be sensitive. At the same time, though, I'm not going to live in fear of offending people, because, let's face it, if this ever gets published, I'm probably going to have a lot of people incorrectly assuming I'm a furry and get offended at that. 

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Just now, Snakenaps said:

I'm probably going to have a lot of people incorrectly assuming I'm a furry and get offended at that. 

XD

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4 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I'm probably going to have a lot of people incorrectly assuming I'm a furry and get offended at that. 

Oh yeah I want to reassure you but that's definitely going to happen. Best of luck navigating that if/when it happens. 

Going to echo what everyone else said about this being impactful. This is one of the cases where Ir's focus on family throughout the larger narrative really pays off. So as much as we said that many of the family scenes in earlier chapters lacked real motion, they're key for moments like this to have full impact. I want to make sure the story keeps track of that in revisions. I do hope the family scenes get integrated into the main plot, but cutting them will expose different holes in the story. Like San and Par being so sweet and precious made me much sadder about their dad dying. :( Though I'm still not sure how the whole spy crystal plot fits into this... but maybe that's a conversation for another day. 

Speaking of earlier chapters, while I think this chapter does its best based on the current setup I think there's still room for improvement in terms of Ir's proactivity. In my mind, her charging in blindly and even admitting that she's an idiot for doing so feels like a band-aid solution to her really having no role in this conflict until very recently. She doesn't have a plan, and she's just sort of hoping that if she sides with BK that things will turn out well. It's a step up because she's proactively choosing a side, but I still don't feel like she's carving her own path like the best protagonists do. She has a unique power here and I think she could try to flex it more. Her saying that BK can only go for nonlethal attacks based on her powers is a good start to this, and I want to see her flex that muscle more. I think much of this needs to be done in buildup during previous chapters because really Ir doesn't seem to be leveraging her skills much at all, as a bargaining chip or otherwise, to get what she wants. That being said, there are certainly other ways for her to be more proactive, but leveraging her special powers seems like the natural place to start for me. 

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:
13 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Really hard to have a diverse human cast when technically the only ones who aren't related to Ir are T, J, and W :/ 

Yeah, it's a tough one. I think you are probably fine, especially since he is a well-rounded character before this. But really...it's hard for me to say. Like I said, I guess it's just something to be aware of. 

Yeah, for better or worse (in terms of what it may or may not say about me), but ethnic diversity among the human contingent never occurred to me to be an issue, because there are so few humans in the story. Also, the story is set almost entirely in one city, and definitely entirely in one nation, albeit there is an influx of invaders from another nation. So, arguably, there is less expectation, I think, to encounter different human ethnicities, especially in view of the diversity of animal species around.

The thing that we did debate in the early stages of submission of NotK--which some of you will not be aware of, I guess--was the distinction between the different 'developmental classes' of animals, i.e. mundane animals, intelligent animals and therios (did I get that right, @Snakenaps?). I think that is the area in the story that is potentially problematic in terms of any passive / unintended speciesism or discrimination on the basis of intelligence. And I recall that Snakenaps has enacted some changes to tackle some of the comments on that topic.

Having said this, in later books, were there to be any wider travel beyond the border of Pe, there is likely to be some expectation of different ethnicities among humans in far flung geographical areas, in the same way that we might expect to see more diverse species of animals and therios (lions, tigers, penguins, etc.). I think it's fair to say that the story does a good job of establishing a setting through the selection of animals and therios that are present. Imagine the reaction, for example, if a crocodile were to appear in the next submission?

Edited by Robinski
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Grumbles into the forum...

Disclaimer: I hate it when characters the mc really cares about dies. This is a personal preference when it comes to writing. From a craft point of view, I understand how character deaths can be important to the plot and development of other characters. I still don't like it.

I've killed characters in my own writing too, though mostly ones that were either villain, people the mc didn't like, or people the mc just didn't have a very strong connection to.

Anyways, on to my actual critique.

Based on the discussion from last week, I'm assuming the first part of this chapter will eventually change. BK coming to get I was a bit anticlimactic. I would much rather see M help her in a way that lets her take some part in the escape, and then they go to BK.

I actually naming her sister when talking to BK, and her thought process around it, really showed how her opinion of his and the monarchy changed. It was a good character moment. 

I also liked how she was sort of sensitive to his mind shenanigans and on some level, realized something had happened even if she wasn't aware of what she was realizing. I'm guessing she is going to find out sooner or later. 

The POV switch was too quick and it was very distracting. I'd say either take it out or really expand it. 

I like that I did not go to the safe house and instead tried to find her sister, even if it seemed like a foolish endeavor. She was aware enough of that. 

"This was totally, utterly, ridiculously stupid. " I like this line and 100% agree with it. 

"Not a target for either group, right..." This made me think she was going to be someone's target. 

I had no confidence that she was actually going to be able to reach them, let alone convince them to run, but I admire her effort. 

I like her bargain with BK. Names for Non-leathal attacks. I don't like that shortly after that bargain was made, someone shoves a spear through T's gut, fatally wounding him. 

I was on the verge of tears while I sat with T and very upset about his death. I don't want him to die, and I'm not sure if this is just me not liking certain kind of characters getting killed or if I think his death won't have the right impact. 

I couldn't quite gauge which way this was going to sway I, for starters. There was a lot of emotion in the sense that she is loosing a brother-in-law she cares about it, but I don't recall figuring out if this is going to drive her to or away from BK, especially since he said no lethal attacks and then his people killed T. 

As a reader l expect this will  completely, irrevocably radicalize S against. There will be no turning her back from her hatred of BK now. And she will hate I forever and forever blame I for his death. I'm expecting this to push S to the point of no return where before I was hoping that maybe there would be some  hope to redeem the relationship between the sisters. 

I feel like the death isn't working, but I may be bias against it and may be reading your characters and goals wrong. 

  

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On 1/4/2021 at 5:34 AM, Robinski said:

Very powerful, emotional and well-handled chapter, IMO. Sure, there are some irksome details, but the emotional punch is quite something. I would say that your story has had a lot of heart from the beginning, but this is some real, heart-wrenching tragedy. A lot of stories have violence, battle, death, but where they fall down (IMO) is that they don't do enough to bring home in the cost of loss and death.

 

I do agree that the emotion was well handled and this was very heart-wrenching. You really did show the cost of the violence. 

On 1/5/2021 at 2:04 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

That being said, I am almost loathe to mention this because I thought it was so well written, but if I remember correctly T is the only black main character. This might invoke harmful tropes for some, so I guess that is something to be aware of. 

 

So I admit, I had completely forgot which characters had what color skin until I saw this comment. 

I agree that some might find his death harmful. It's a lot deeper than just people getting offended, imo, but being white, I'm not 100% sure how to explain it. 

Does he really have to die? 

 

 

 

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On 1/4/2021 at 2:34 AM, Robinski said:

 

- "as the blood spread around him" - I think this--to some degree--is a TV/movie fallacy, especially this long after he was speared. The whole blood spreading thing is vastly over-done, even if it is accurate. However, I will consult my go-to medical authority (What do you think, @Sarah B?)

 

On 1/4/2021 at 8:26 AM, Snakenaps said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

We have left:

Choices - Where Ir confronts Sue.

Return - Ir returns to her family.

Summer - C's reopens and the BK makes her a job offer.

Decision - Ir tries to figure out what kind of future she wants. 

Future - Ir makes a decision. 

That's 12.5% of the book. I would say the next chapter/two chapters wrap up the "finale" but the "epilogue" is still too long. I feel like parts of the last three can be combined to make one solid chapter with an arc about Ir and her decision making.

@Sarah B I would LOVE LOVE LOVE any medical input you have on this chapter. Google was not happy with me trying to find out what happens with wounds and I couldn't just...call up the local hospital or police.

 

 

 

On 1/4/2021 at 2:34 AM, Robinski said:

- "her fingers likely bruised" - I'm not aware that bruising would make a hand go numb, quite the opposite surely? Medic! (@Sarah B? Sorry, I keep calling on your expertise, like you don't have enough to do, I'm sure :) ). Now, I may have taken the wrong inference from the wording. I assumed that her hand had gone numb due to it being in the same position, and gripped by Ta for that length of time. If it was some kind go meds that numbed her hand, that would be different.

@Robinski

@Snakenaps

Happy to help! This is why no one will watch medical dramas with me :-) (Warning, graphic description to follow)

T's injuries: If I'm reading this right, T was shot in both lungs and then stabbed in the abdomin. The pool of blood I would buy if the spear hit him in the abdominal portion of the aorta. That would make someone bleed out very very quickly until their heart stopped. The thing is, someone who lost that much blood and has two punctured lungs dies in minutes. 

If one lung was punctured only, and the spear only sliced into intestines, then you are looking at a much slower and more painful death. In that case though, you have likely have internal bleeding rather than a 'pool of blood'. Also, with punctured lungs there would be a gasping 'sucking chest wound' sound with each breath as the punctured lung filled with blood and leaked air. T would be choking and coughing until he passed out. In first aid, the temporary solution is to press something sterile and air tight against the puncture to help seal the lung from the outside. The downside is that you can also trap air in the chest cavity that causes other problems. 

Honestly, given the medical skills and tech available, being eviscerated with the spear would be plenty to kill T. Between the bleeding and almost inevitable sepsis as his bowels leaked into his abdominal cavity, this wound is a death sentence on it's own. You might decide to forego the chest shots for a less vital point if you want a slow send off like is written.

(Well, that got dark) Moving on! 

Numb hands:

I had assumed this was shock. Other than shock, the numbness could be from cold given the circumstances maybe? Bruising wouldn't make hands go numb, unless there was some pretty serious nerve damage, but the pressure that caused the bruising could cut off circulation (as you mentioned.)

Not to harp on the same thing, but Adrenaline is mentioned again in this chapter, which is a bit current for IR's time period:

"The adrenaline had departed..."

 

Very powerful chapter! Everyone has covered the LBL and other points well, so I'll stick to my lane and just say it was a real page turner!

Thanks for sharing!

 

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1 minute ago, Sarah B said:

This is why no one will watch medical dramas with me :-)

:lol:

3 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

Well, that got dark

Yeah, dark and accurate!! I like it.

4 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

so I'll stick to my lane

Aw, heck. See, this is what I was concerned about in invoking you for these medical aspects :unsure:. We want your writerly insights too!

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18 minutes ago, Robinski said:

 

Aw, heck. See, this is what I was concerned about in invoking you for these medical aspects :unsure:. We want your writerly insights too!

Not at all what I meant! Invoke all you like. You know I'll be invoking your skill set for my WIP  :-)

I only meant that all the writerly stuff had been covered already, so I would focus on what hadn't. Team effort!

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38 minutes ago, Sarah B said:

Happy to help! This is why no one will watch medical dramas with me :-) (Warning, graphic description to follow)

You are my new favorite person, hands down. I'd give you a pan of brownies if I could. 

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19 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

You are my new favorite person, hands down. I'd give you a pan of brownies if I could. 

Aw, thanks :-) 

Anytime!

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I noticed a lot of fragmented phrases that seem to be trying to make things quick and snappy. That does keep the pace going quickly and keeps the intensity up, there are some places where I got caught feeling like a word was missing or that the way it was fragmented was awkward.  Turning them into short, complete sentences can keep the snappiness and quick pace without risking the reader tripping over a fragment.

Other than getting a little lost during the battle, those intentionally fragmented parts, and an oddly worded phrase here and there, I think this flowed really well.  The pace was good and kept me focused in even when I wasn’t entirely sure what was being referenced a few times.  And the hard hit of the last scene definitely makes me wish I’d had a chance to see the characters’ relationships from the beginning.  I will have to make sure to read the whole thing through at some point.

 

Pg 1.

“missed the sound” I read this as implying that she wished the guards would come back (which was confusing), not that she didn’t notice it.  Not sure if that’s a mistake others have made, but it might be worth rewording.

“Good evening  …stir”  Is there a reason there’s a line break between the two phrases of BK’s dialogue?  I don’t have a clear enough understanding of dialogue formatting rules to know if there are reasons for it to be that way, but I would read that as a switch in speaker if not for the immediate indication that it’s BK talking.  Especially with only the two of them there.

“Lack of loyalty” awkward wording

Pg 2

“She tricked me…free.”  The detail of being tricked into going to dinner would be odd to mention

“minotaur guard” Hello, there. I didn’t realize he was there as well. 

Pg 3

“You’ve commanded…” This seems like it should come right after the bells. Or right after her action in the previous line.  Otherwise it seems like she’s taking a long time to process it while he unlocks the door.

Also, I am assuming the need to unlock the door with a key vs. the manacles with telekinesis is an iron vs. bronze (it was bronze, right?) thing? I hope?

“Bells…” I think this either needs to be split into two parts (“Bells.” then the description) or made into a complete sentence.  It sounds odd as a fragment, though I get what it’s trying to do.

Pg 5

Sort of like with the dialogue line split above, I’m not sure what the official rules are and what I habitually do incorrectly, but I think a lot of the phrases separated out with commas here should be punctuated differently.  “turn around…blew over.” And “without his…following suit”

Pg 6

I like the paralleled descriptions contrasting the equipment

“Y-shaped hallway”  I don’t know what this means. Is this a specific place that we should know about?

Pg 7

I haven’t read enough of the rest of this to know for sure, but the description of the violence/gore seemed more graphic than I would have expected from the tone of the chapters I’ve read. It’s a battle, so there’s certainly going to be some blood, but some of the descriptive words and phrases seem, well, gorier than I would have expected from the tone elsewhere. Especially “coated with blood” and “ripped into flesh,” where I don’t see the implication of BK’s violence being extra horrific as something that’s significant. [checking back in later, the gorier description around T does seem more relevant because it’s supposed to be incredibly horrifying]

Pg 8-11

I got a little lost in the battle.  Some of that might have been unfamiliarity with the world making it difficult to picture how a battle between people and animals and magic and weapons and some various terms that I haven’t quite figured out all fit together.  Beyond that, it looks like you tried to make it feel like Ir was a little lost in the chaos, but having various people talking and a lot going on at once.  That feels accurate for a battle scene, but I think there’s a fine line between making the character feel lost and making the reader feel lost.  And I think this might have jumped over that a bit.  But when I’m already confused about getting my bearings in the world, it might just be the result of jumping in for final chapters.

Pg 12-14

This is a powerful, emotional ending, even for someone who has jumped in last minute and doesn’t have nearly the connection to the characters that other readers would coming through.

Pg 13

“as shock and blood-loss” I’m not quite sure this makes sense, since I’d think that shock and blood loss would be compounding factors in death, not competing ones?  Even if there’s been enough blood lost for systems to start shutting down from shock, I’d still think that blood loss would be the cause.  The shock would just be part of that.  I think.  I am not a medical professional

 

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Once again, I read twice.

Thoughts after first reading:

It just felt off to me. The castle is being attacked and the main character is behaving really irrationally. 

It is somewhat saved by the fact that she failed. If she had succeeded in her “rescue” it would have been too much for me for sure.

I just didn’t buy into the action. Perhaps current events are playing in here. But storming s castle should be really hard. It is fortified by nature. And if the people have had a warning? It should be about impossible. (Current events show that if the higher ups are. Ot taking things seriously storming a fortification is a bit easier.) 

Nit picks:

“Every second felt like an hour.”

  • for an opening line this felt very weak. I go back to my point from last week about the ending of the last chapter being a bit telly rather than showy. Reading from that to this- it just feels like more of the same. I don’t feel any urgency. I should, but I don’t. 
  • I like the ret of the paragraph better. Pacing to pass the time. How is that annoying her cell mates? The catty one from before is silent as she is pacing?
  • In general I wonder about those cell mates and what they think of the black king making an appearance.

I also wonder how the king is able to hold the keys- in his mouth? How does he talk? Where does he put them after unlocking her cell door? Surely he doesn’t leave it open cause: cell mates.

“Ir stood in a large room as servants arrived with equine brigandine armor lined in leather, followed by a hideous golden collar. Dozens of barrels were being rolled into the room, their lids being removed to show water. The Black King’s personal guard flanked the doorways.’”

  • Why is the collar hideous?
  • Why the water? Who is being show the water? I’m confused.

Okay on second reading I’m catching onto the secret passage thing as far as how the army gets in.  But the black king knew about it- so why isn’t it guarded? Seems strange to know of a back door and to just leave it open. But if it is a passage- how many resistance members can get through it? Wouldn’t it bottle neck something fierce?

“This was totally, utterly, ridiculously stupid.

That was family for you.”

  • yes it is. But why is the character acting this way. It is not only stupid it is unlikely. There is a fight. Getting someone out of a fight without getting cross fire is near impossible if you are trying to cross sides. And she would have to cross twice. I just don’t by that Ir wouldn’t get that it is completely futile. Surely there is something else that can be done.

Okay if the bl king wanted Ir’s naming power why did he send her away? You’d think he’d do more to get the power.

Final thoughts:

  • Even on second reading I don’t buy a lot of the action- both that of the characters and the fighting.
  • I didn’t feel any emotion at the final scene with the death. This is likely due yo me jumping in so late.
  • I was a bit surprised the king was a unicorn. The mind control stuff felt a bit out of place. If he could do that why didn’t he get the names out of her? 
  • The fighting also seems to end very abruptly and it is hard throughout to really tell who is winning/ losing. 

 

Thanks for the read! It will be interesting to see what happens next. I’m thinking the king uses the sister as a hostage to get to Ir. He feels like the big bad, for sure.


 

edit to add (because my kiddos distracted me(

the whole bit with her and the cats and the crossbow and asking of names and taking her places was all kinda confusing and, again, seemed strange in the middle of a battle.

As I’m making dinner I’m thinking: well what would I have done if I were her? I’d have gone to the healer and asked what I could do to help- surely the infirmary  would get injured people. Maybe I’d then go out with a team to do field rescues- something active that would help. But this is me talking from a kitchen and my family is safe, so who knows. :)

 

Edited by Valerie
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