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Snakenaps

1,18,2021 - Snakenaps - Name of the King - D3 Chapters 37 & 38 (4,522 words)

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Only two chapters left after this...

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As I go:

pg 1

-The comparison with J is good

-Right now I need the story to give us some sort of direction. I keep hammering this in and I don't want to be needlessly harsh but it really seems like Ir has no plan for anything she does

pg 2

-The rapid-fire comments from the family are good. Really shows us how overwhelmed and tired Ir must feel

-Ir's explanation is mostly stuff we know. If the way Ir's saying it doesn't matter a ton, the story can just say Ir tells them what happened

pg 3

-why are you making me cry (like no lie I'm literally crying right now and that's a great sign for the story. Doesn't even feel too sentimental which is good)

pg 4

-This is good, but I'm reminded of how passive Ir has been and I think this would hit a lot harder if she had tried to enact a plan to save them and failed

pg 5

-Normally I'd say that these sorts of religious rites don't move the story forward, but here I think it's really important in showing the culture

pg 6

-S's decision mostly caught me off guard here. I'm sure there's a reason but it seems so out of line with what she said last chapter. I think we could use a bit more context right away

-Again, my personal view is that the Pe people here need to have some sort of power to not get run over by the ruling conquerers long-term. I want to see people concerned about B push for this integration giving power back in the hands of the people. Ir's plan across several chapters to basically just submit to whatever BK wants and hope for the best does not seem like a good strategy to me. The caveat to all of this is that this perspective of mine is very much shaped by my own personal politics, so make of that what you will. 

pg 8

-I'm confused. Does Ir hate S because she chose the mines? I thought that was what Ir wanted. 

-I don't really like J flat-out rejecting how Ir says she feels, unless we're supposed to see him as problematic. I feel like there are more considerate ways to word what he's going for. 

pg 9

-J's dialogue at the top is pretty expository. I'm assuming Ir knows most of this anyway, which makes it not come off well for the story even if it makes sense for J to be emphasizing these facts. 

-Idk Ir I feel like your guy could be a lot more supportive than he is right now

-repeat at the end doesn't work for me unless the tone shifts in between (which would have to be shown to us through physical descriptors rather than told, most likely)

-good opening for the next chapter

pg 11

-Now that we have some downtime I'm reminded that we still don't know what's up with that crystal BK stole

-I think the rebuilding scene works but I'm also missing context so I have to infer what the opening was probably like

pg 12

-great you're making me hungry now 

pg 13

-I like the ending paragraph for the scene. Knowing she can't really go back makes me excited to see which direction she'll go next

pg 14

-Is that actually a joke about BK not letting her go so easily? I thought Ir's name powers were highly sought after

pg 15

-only 20% more money when working for the royal kitchens instead of some restaurant? And considering that she has super important name skills that make her important enough to potentially put her in danger? You're being robbed Ir

-No not tempting! You should demand to be rolling in cash for this I'm sure BK has the money 

pg 16

-2 months is a long time to respond, right? I've never worked a real job (don't ask me why I chose to peel apples at a school instead) but that seems long to me

-haggle for more money Ir do it

Overall:

This seems like a really solid beginning to a resolution for the story. I'm saying seems because it really relies on what was set up, which I haven't read. But based on what I can infer was set up, the mellow scenes and the back-to-normal-but-not-quite life for Ir is really effective.

My main comment here is that S choosing the mines is both very important and seemingly very arbitrary. This might be harsh, but I'd put it on the level of a deus ex machina type thing because family is so key to Ir and this family conflict sort of resolves itself because S decides to make the choice to survive. The fact that there's lingering hostility is good but S's choice here is one of the most pivotal events in the story (the parts that I've read, anyway). From a narrative perspective, I think S's decision acts as the climax to the family plot. It's the moment where everything is at stake, fate can swing to either direction based on what happens, and after it ends we begin the resolution. Which is why I think it should be treated as such, not given a little blurb with no explanation. 

I'm excited to see the last two chapters! :) 

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Overall

The first part was perfect and had great emotional resonance. Loved the return home and the funeral. Past the funeral though, this seemed like a long-winded epilogue. The TBK stuff was good, and with a bit of expansion could be a great way to end the book. But at this stage all the plot points are wrapped so now it seems like dawdling. Unsure what else could change in two chapters, I feel like the end of the book is right here.

 

As I go

- pg 1: had always thought ... <-- this paragraph can easily be cut. Just slows down the momentum. Also its pretty elitist of I. It makes me like her less, like she hasn't grown at all through this.

- pg 2: I don't think we need I's recount. We already saw it so we know what happened

- good emotions through pages 3-4

 pg 6: no queen-consort,  ah, but what about a KING-consort?

- pg 10: So I'm starting to wonder if this should end before this section. The part with I and her boyfriend is a good end cap, and probably a sound place to end the book--on an emotional beat. This part now is just summation and seems to not have a purpose. This is a good chance to practice the 'in late, out early' I think,

- pg 13: yeah, the return to the restaurant, while nice, does not serve a purpose narratively I don't think. It's the kind of thing you could save for an eventual Patreon though, or newsletter

- pg 15: ohh, she is seeing TBK. This part I think could stay and would be a good end, too. In fact this would be a great launching pad for the next book

- pg 16: weirdly, here is a place where I'd like to see MORE introspection from I. TBK is offering her a job with good pay. I'd love to see her mentally grapple with how he isn't evil here. Like really dissect her previous notions and, for better or for worse, start siding with him. Even if its a slippery slope later to justifying aggression, this is the place to really hit us with her emotional growth, and then end the book

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Overall, this chapter hit me harder emotionally than I thought it would, so good job iwth that. My main concern with this is that I think it might take too long to do what it needs to do. At first, I thought the funeral was too long, but then changed my mind as I reminded myself that this is the end of the book, and about 10% of the length is normal for falling action. But the stuff after the funeral doesn't seem all that necessary. But then again, it was not too terribly long, so...I'm kind of undecided on this. Also, I would kind of like to see S make the decision to go to the iron mines from her POV, since she was so adamant on dying earlier. It would also help with the floating narration that I mention further down.  But other than that, this was an excellent chapter for bringing things to a close. 

Opening the doc now

Pg 1 “It was only the stir…” I think this is passive voice? Not sure tho

“slowly stood” I think these two words should be switched imo. “Stood slowly.”

“never resurface” nice line

Like the emotional descriptions in here so far. Very convincingly at rock bottom

“Cliffs” this is also good

“L’s small wiry…” I think could just be “his small wiry…”. Y’already know I fall for this one ALL the time…

Pg 2 just overall ripped my heart out. Thanks

Pg 3 “fingers digging into” digging seems like too strong a word, and kind of pulled me out. The imagery just seems a bit violent. I also noticed the same word was used for L earlier. Though reading the rest of the paragraph, that could be what you were going for.

Why give the revolutionaries 3 days? I feel like one day is enough to decide. I feel like this unnecessarily invokes the “three day journey” trope

“flower blossoming” coming in clutch with the imagery, as usual

“maternal and…” I think you could just say “all her grandparents”. saves a couple words, and makes the sentence a bit easy to read imo

Pg 5 it just occurred to me that we don’t know about T’s parents. Does he have them? Brothers or sisters?

Pg 6 “one day” huh? Why not just skip to the last day?

“but it was enough” implied torture? Doesn’t seem like the BK imo

This whole page just kind of floats there. It seems weird to read something that isn’t from anyon’e s viewpoints when most of the book is 3rd  person limited

Pg 7 say goodbye to her! Don’t end it like last time

Pg 8 oh yeah I forgot that Ir and J were together

Pg 9 “locked in me” locked me in

“no heir” oh yeah, BK needs to adopt Ir so she can be queen.

All jokes aside, this scene with J is good. I like that she is confronting some of these problems verbally.

I like these little details of life moving on without her being ready. Very realistic

Pg 10 “j was an ear” I get what this is saying, but the way this is phrased pulls me out a bit. Like, almost weirdly objectifying? Idk maybe “a listening ear” would be better?

“be a crutch” ok, I like this line though, so maybe just ignore the first part XD

Pg 11 “like a butt” first off, LOL, second off, this was like a 180 from the rest of the tone of the chapter. Also, the word “butt” seems a bit…modern?

Pg 13 “stored her belongs” her belongings

Page 15 Where is Cl? Is it in the city, or is it another city?

I think she is going to choose to take the job.

 

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It really feels like the end now.

I have to agree with others that some mentioned of the family's interaction with S or some reason for her decision would be helpful. Or even just hanging a lantern on it and having Ir be shocked and suspicious of the choice because S was so adamant when they spoke. 

A few small things:

"Whipped her hand out of L's urgent grip." Ripped?

"Not only was I scared..." this sounds like J had more feelings than fear and is about to say them. Maybe instead:

"I wasn't the only one who was scared."

"L would cease his jokes." This may be WRS but I didn't understand why this would help. It seems like that would make Ir feel worse, not better to have her friend stop joking with her. But I don't remember L being harsh or biting in joking, maybe he was?

 

Yet another fun read, looking forward to the next one!

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I just want you to know that I was eager enough to read this that it was the first thing I did this morning. So, these comments come from my second time reading this. I did prepare more this time by whipping out some good ol’ sad instrumental music to accompany my read and really set the mood. 

 

Page 1

-awesome stuff on the first page. I think it's good that Ir points out how her and J are different. Things are different when you have a lot to lose. Though, it did sound a little pretentious at first. Like she was so confident that her family was perfect and incapable of having problems. Seemed like she placed her family on a pedestal. 

 

Page 2

-”she pressed her palms against her eyes” great visual!

 

Page 3/4

-”a mortal flower blossoming” i loved this line

-i also love the comparison of the joyous funeral of her grandparents and the not so joyous funeral she is at now.

-”a symbol of the funeral pyre” nice worldbuilding! 

 

Page 5

-funeral felt appropriate for me. Characters never get time to grieve so this was good.

 

Page 6

-my prediction before reading this was that Su would choose the mines. I was right about the mines, good choice Su! I guess it would be too hard on Ir if she lost both T and S.

-but also, that line about S’s choice slapped me in the face. I didn’t expect it to be so abrupt.

-”the last surviving cells” cells of revolutionaries? I pictured cells like prison cells at first and was confused. That's just me being uneducated tho.

 

Page 7

-”staining his skin with tears” earlier you said Ir’s shirt was stained with tears. Do tears stain skin though? 

-I honestly forget that Ir and J are together. To be fair, I haven’t seen him very much since I started reading. 

 

Page 9

-”no heir, no queen-consort” this is news to me. Is this stated earlier? I actually thought this was the most interesting thing J said. 

-”life didn’t wait for Ir” true, life dont wait for anybody

-there's two moons?? the stuff you miss when you don't read half the book.

 

Page 10

-all the stuff at the top def seems like this is the end. But did we ever learn about that crystal TBK stole? What was that for?

-”home was cold and distant” yeah, i imagine her not wanting to be home is like me not wanting to live in my hometown. Too many memories, you gotta move on. I honestly hope she works in the palace and doesn't go back to the way things were because otherwise, what was it all for? 

-”L would cease his jokes” wouldn’t jokes be good for her? Lighten the mood a little?

-”she rediscovered her passion when” I really like this sentence. It's the little things that bring you back

 

Page 11

-i love how things are back to normal but they aren't really and never will be. Feels accurate to life.

-’Ir felt older and somehow too large for B” i kinda wish she would leave and take time to go travel. She needs to find herself. maybe accompany BK when he leaves and he can train her to take his place or something. i'd read that for sure.

 

Page 13

-”gained a yearning for more than a simple life” yes Ir, go explore the world

 

Page 14

-”last time through the guard room” you sure about that?

 

Everything read very well! I am super curious to see what Ir does next. :)

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These chapters hold up pretty well. But like @kais and @ginger_reckoning, I think this does go on a little long. I think the funeral is good, but could probably be edited down just a touch to hold only the most poignant parts.

I think some of the middle space here is the "not letting the book go" part of the revision process. As @kais says, I could see the job offer moving to the next book, but I also think it provides a good bookend contrasting the beginning. I think this is where some of the confusion comes in. Ir. intends to go back to the restaurant, when we already know there's another offer coming. If you look at the MICE quotient, this is the "Milieu" part. Ir. starts at the restaurant, and the capstone is whether she goes to a new life or returns to her old one. I think the whole tone of the book is biased toward "changes" so it feels offsetting that she's going back to her old "home"

...Anyway, that was a lot of analysis to say maybe shorten the section about going back to the restaurant because we already know it's likely a fakeout with TBK's offer.

20 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

-only 20% more money when working for the royal kitchens instead of some restaurant? And considering that she has super important name skills that make her important enough to potentially put her in danger? You're being robbed Ir

-No not tempting! You should demand to be rolling in cash for this I'm sure BK has the money 

I also thought this. The monarchy has money. 1.5 or 2x (or more) the offer is generous, especially as she has skills TBK really wants.

18 hours ago, kais said:

weirdly, here is a place where I'd like to see MORE introspection from I. TBK is offering her a job with good pay. I'd love to see her mentally grapple with how he isn't evil here. Like really dissect her previous notions and, for better or for worse, start siding with him. Even if its a slippery slope later to justifying aggression, this is the place to really hit us with her emotional growth, and then end the book

I also like this suggestion, maybe replacing some of the setting with the restaurant with how Ir. grapples leaving the restaurant. Then you get a great jumping-off point for book 2 with Ir as a fish-out-of-water again with her new job away from everyone (with J, right? She's bringing J along with her?).

 

Notes while reading:

pg 5: There might actually be too much on T's funeral. He is, basically, a minor character, and we're very near the end of the book. This is a resolution for the revolutionary plot, but doesn't do much to resolve Ir's plot. By this point I'm ready to move on to what is next for her, especially so near the end.

pg 6: "Only a few Revolutionaries cracked,"
--as in, they took the 10 years, or the execution? I'm honestly not sure which is worse.

pg 6: "More than a year since troops had marched through the former capital’s streets"
--I think something like this needs to be very clear at the beginning of the book, so this is just a reminder.

pg 7: "Ten years would pass before Ir. would see her sister again.
--which is also debatable. I'm sure there's a high mortality rate for the mines.

pg 9: "has no heir, no queen-consort, no dukes, no legal line of succession."
--this...er...seems like a very large problem that a person as resourceful as TBK would have taken care of with at least a note of who would serve as regent.

pg 9: It does seem weird that Ir hasn't visited her friends since the lockdown, or at least sent a note that she's alive.


Ch 38
pg 11: "felt older, worn, and somehow too large"
--I think that's why this seems not quite right, with Ir returning to the restaurant.

pg 15: Ah, maybe this is what seems off with this chapter. There's a lot of time devoted to Ir returning to the restaurant, when we know another offer is coming and want to see what TBK has planned. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole chapter.

pg 16: "She stepped out of his office, her heart breaking."
--why? for the people she might be leaving? Seems premature.

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I've got mixed feelings about this chapter. It definitely starts out strong, and has a lot of emotion and beauty in it, but in the middle or the later parts, it drags on a little. Granted, it can't be dragging too much because I didn't actually make a note of where it felt like it had slowed down. This had last chapter vibes, but when I got to the end, it was clear that it wasn't over yet. 

There was a lot of emotion in the scene where I told her family about S. I loved seeing C's back together, and wanted to spend a little more time there. 

The line about the city needing to heal and it's people needing to co-exist made me think of some of Biden's speeches. 

If the BK is leaving, does that mean his court musicians are going to ? I have a feeling I is going to take the job.

Looking forward to seeing what comes next. 

On 1/18/2021 at 1:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

From a narrative perspective, I think S's decision acts as the climax to the family plot. It's the moment where everything is at stake, fate can swing to either direction based on what happens, and after it ends we begin the resolution. Which is why I think it should be treated as such, not given a little blurb with no explanation. 

 

I think it might be a good idea to zoom in more on the moment when I hears S chose the mines. 

Maybe the reason I thought it was dragging was because parts of it flowed like a montage without digging in enough to certain events. 

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

...Anyway, that was a lot of analysis to say maybe shorten the section about going back to the restaurant because we already know it's likely a fakeout with TBK's offer.

On 1/18/2021 at 1:51 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Interesting suggestion. Now I'm second guessing my advice to expand the restaurant part. 

To be honest, I expected her to just accept the offer at the end of this chapter and that would be the end of the book, but her being uncertain about the offer is what made it feel like it wasn't over. 

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Hail to the Crit.

- I think wrinkling would be the least of her clothing's worries at this point. Nice feeling of aftermath in this opening paragraph.

- "go to the dormitories" - Suggest 'run to the dormitories', has more passion and energy. She might even--to play up the romance angle--consider that she's running to J.

- "a family grounded ground so firmly into the dust"

- "...fall into the sea" - awesome line. Love how it evokes an image of the city itself. Do cliffs splinter? I would think maybe they crack.

- "The tears rushed down her face" - I'm a big fan of 'streamed'. It's pretty much a cliché, but darn it that's because it's true, that's what tears do, they stream (IMO).

- "attempted a sneak attack through a secret entrance" - They succeeded in attacking the palace. I would make this more definitive. 'The revs attacked through...'

- "In three days the imprisoned Revolutionaries would announce their choice" - I don't think the revs would get to make any announcements themselves, which is how this is worded.

- "his mother imprisioned" - typo.

- "The curls that T once had" - I think the italics here are too heavy-handed. The reader knows he's dead. That's all we're talking about presently. N italics required, IMO.

- "everyone guessing when the grandparent would reincarnate" - Lovely touch of world-building. I think throughout this book, you have very nicely balanced  the amount of world-building so that there almost never felt like there was any info-dumping. Certainly in relation to the setting. There was the chapter about the charms, etc.

- "Apparently, he was had been forced to climb through" - IMO.

- "Each of them wore the colors of fire — red and orange" - No yellow?

- "their cries sounded hollow" - But surely you don't cry to celebrate life? I feel like there is a disconnect here.

- "before A stood to speak" - confused. Surely the order of the ceremony is set down. This sounds like folk can just interrupt. This sounds like he butted in, IMO.

- "he died believing in what he fought for" - This sounds kind of arse for elbow. The more conventional expression is fighting for what he believe in. I don't think this version sounds right, it implies that there was a time that he didn't believe in what he was fighting for, I think.

- "Ir had done nothing but facilitate T's death" - I would not change this line, but wow, it's harsh on herself. Way harsh.

- "a palm-sized tablet of clay and ashes" - Okay, so this is not his whole ashes, because the human body produces way more ash then that. I know this from climbing part of a mountain to scatter my Dad's ashes, and from scattering half my father-in-law's ashes in the harbour at Cruden Bay. So, this is just a symbolic amount of ash?

- What are all the extra lines spaces here? I confused as to the run of time here.

- Knowing what I know in terms of our offline discussions about future stories/books, Sue's decision here... It's powerful stuff. A fairly large part of me hopes that she will find redemption.

- "to learn how to co-exist" - This sounds like the natives co-existing with each other, which doesn't seem right. It's an interesting question though. How many of the the 'invaders' have some to Bo with their families? Are trying to integrate into the local community, and how many are retainers, on Math staff and living in the palace, apart from the local population? My sense is that all the Math invaders are living in the palace, because none would dare trying a occupy a house on the street, and be a part of the local community.

- "I said my goodbyes" - I started into the this scene confused why the whole family would be invited. Then I thought that Ir was going in alone, then I didn't understand why the others were still here, until Ir speaks this line. I don't think there is any reason to keep the reason for the visit from the reader. I think clarity on the reason at the start of the scene would make things clearer.

- "just as it ought to be" - It strikes me that this is a situation that is completely abnormal, certainly in Ir's experience. I presume that neither she now any of her family or friends her even been in the palace under the rule of the old king, and therefore that the palace being 'full of life' is something that she has only experienced in the last few weeks.

- "familiar tapping of leather against tile" - Odd expression: I did not associate this with footsteps at all.

- "Ir crashed into them" - This must be a typo, right? 'him', right? Also, 'crashed' is not a happy word here, IMO. It sounds more like a word from a sword fight. "Okay, Robinski, so what would your suggest, genius*?" Eh, fair question. Surged? Dashed? Rushed? Swept? Ran? I just think there are many better words than crashed, which is what cymbals do.

(* - extreme irony intended.)

- "Letting her shatter" - I don't think this is sufficiently momentous to get it's own paragraph. It's more unexpected if it comes at the end of one, IMO.

- "J, how can this ever get better?” J He put both hands on her shoulders and squeezed" - repetition of name too close, I think.

I'm going to post this up because it's a convenient break point for me.

Overall 

I thought this chapter was really effective as a sequel to the previous chapters and previous events. There's real emotion, and some of it is hard to read. Some authors don't show the scene of someone being told their son/daughter/husband/wife/partner/whatever is dead, as if they don't have the nerve to play through the emotions, so I think you get significant kudos for that. Also, it leads to this scene between Ir and J which is very, very satisfying, in my opinion. Well done.

The trick them becomes where do you go from here, but there are still things to be resolved, so I'm fine with there being another chapter or two before the end. I mean, if it's good enough for Tolkien... ;) 

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So I read through this first yesterday, which was probably a mistake, because it was a rather mentally and emotionally draining day, which definitely made all of the emotional detachment and pain and processing just flat out exhausting.   I read through it again today, and still think that some of it goes on a little too long, but it's hard to say how much of that is just being colored by the original reading. 

All of that being said: 
Pg 1:

“Ir had always…sea” – This hits home for me.  I really like this comparison, even though I haven’t actually read any of the sections that touch on J’s history.

Grim -> grime

Pg 2:

“filled the air” – filled the space?  Air seemed odd to me, though it probably pushes a detached floating feeling? So…. *shrug*

Pg 4-5:

I like a lot of the worldbuilding description in the funeral scene, but I think a lot of the emotional detachment goes on a little too long. It’s done well, and it feels real, but it’s a long time to be in Ir’s detached/disoriented brain

Pg 6:

I like the short, to the point sentences around Sue’s decision.  I think it gets the point across of that being the only thing that Ir really cares about at the moment. 

“the city was…tired.” I feel that line extra hard this week. Ugh.

Pg 7:

“Ir stepped… see you at the gate.”  I was having trouble picturing what exactly was going on here the first readthrough.  It took a lot of slowing down to really piece things together for some reason.

Pg 8:

“I hate her”  wouldn’t she hate Sue more if she’d not chosen the mines? I get some amount of grief shifting to irrational anger, but it seems a little odd here.  Then again, there’s something about the whole exchange between J and Ir here that seems a little off to me.  He’s not quite being dismissive, but it seems a little close to that.  Even if we all know Ir doesn’t actually hate Sue, if that’s the emotion that’s seeming most real to her then and there (it doesn’t feel to me like it should quite be that), contradicting it doesn’t seem helpful or supportive.

Pg 9:

“no heir”  This seems like a problem that TBK would have had figured out before now.

“Not only was I…” the wording here seems off.

Pg 10:

Again, the emotional distancing seems like it’s too drawn out.  It makes sense that she’s still feeling that way, but the sort of brushed over description of everything that depicts that goes on a little too long.

What’s wrong with L’s jokes?
“a crutch…feet again.”  Isn’t the point of a crutch to stabilize you until you’re able to stand on your own two feet again?  As someone who has spent far more time than I’d like on crutches, I  would consider them an important part of the early healing process when there’s a chance of giving out under the weight of things otherwise.  I think you’re trying to say that he’s not enabling self-pity and wallowing that she might be tempted into, but not being a crutch says something different to me.

Pg 16:

“her heart breaking”  this seemed like an odd line to end on for me. And an odd time to describe something as heartbreaking, considering all of the emotions she’s had going on in these chapters.  Being pained and conflicted makes sense, but describing this as heartbreaking after the aftermath of losing T seems off

Overall-

1st chapter- a lot of emotional distancing.  Some really good emotion and detail that makes us really feel what she’s going through, but it goes on a long time.  And I happened to read it on a day when I was already pretty emotionally drained, which probably didn’t help.

2nd chapter- I think having some of the easing back in to things is good. Some of the feeling of the world not waiting up for her.  But there’s a little too much of it.  I think moving to the kitchen scene to give a few more concrete examples is more helpful. 
I’m also think the kitchen scene goes along a little too long.  I don’t have the emotional attachment to the kitchen that she does (probably because I’ve only read like 6 chapters), so her thoughts about it aren’t as meaningful to us as they would be otherwise.  [side note. Oh hey. This is exactly what I’ve been doing in my recent submissions. Oops.]  I don’t know how often she reminisces about time in the kitchen.  If we get a good picture of it throughout the story, checking back in periodically when things bring up memories, I think the impression I’d get here would be really different.  But if we mostly just see it before it’s destroyed at the beginning (I don’t know what chapter that was. But I’m assuming it was early), we’re probably not going to get a huge emotional impact from her reminiscing about specific things here.

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600da70be0589_ScreenShot2021-01-24at16_57_24.png.adc20bec13f61c8e1cfc6d5b942c3ed5.png (I'll just drop this here and hope nobody notices it's Sunday evening... :ph34r: 

Chapter 38 

Heh, sort of thought I had loads of time to come back and do this, and then it was the end of the week.

(page 9)

- "Life didn’t wait for Ir to pull her pieces back together" - I don't like this line. I think it's kind of muddled. Maybe it's just person taste, but I really think this line is not the best it can be. I can't think of a better way to explain it other then through testing the line, so, if it were me (which it's not), I'd probably go something like: 'Life didn't wait for Ir to piece herself back together.'

- "bringing along the moon Day and her miniature self, Arr in an endless dance" - missing comma.

- "Spring settled into the summer’s relentless heat" - So, isn't that summer then?

(page 10)

- "B filled with tourists" - Really? I would have said that mass tourism is a modern thing, and since this is a pseudo-historical setting, this sounded odd to me. Some tourists, sure, but filling the streets, outnumbering the natives? Seems unlikely. It's not Mallorca, or Waikiki., maybe 

- "The liveliness chafed" - Like this line.

- "Ir returned to the palace" - word missing.

- "seeking some part of normalcy, of routine" - Too complicated, IMO: suggest 'seeking routine, normalcy.

- "Home was cold and distant, choking in memories until she couldn’t get out of bed" - Unclear. What or who is choking? Home? No. Home is fine, it's Ir who is choking.

The prose in this chapter is really untidy, IMO.

- "She avoided the south wing whenever she could" - Confusion. The last place mentioned was home. Home does not have a south wing. I know she is at the palace, but...confusion. I just think the order of the thoughts could be smoother.

- "Blame and guilt dug into her skin until Ir panicked, unable to breath, her chest crushing her heart" - (a) guilt is the equivalent of 'self-blame', so this would be tautology unless the reference to blame means blame by other people. Is anyone else blaming her? I'm not aware of that. I know she stayed away from the preparation of the body for cremation, and no one asked her to help, but as far as I can remember, there has been no overt blaming of Ir for what happened by anyone other than Sue; (b) honestly? I found this a bit much, but I think it's the imprecision of the concept. How does the chest couch the heart? The chest does not exert the pressure itself? Where does the pressure come from? If there's a weight on her heart--which I completely accept there would be--where does that weight come from? It doesn't come from her chest. There needs to be an external force, even if it's metaphorical. Neither her chest, nor her heart as the source of the weight.

- "Len would cease his jokes" - typo: this doesn't sound like it's as intended. Also, the idea of the friends being all over her like this sounds really annoying, I thought. If she's consumed with grief, my reaction is to think the people being all in her face all the time would be antagonistic. If it's guilt that's consuming her, I would think--psychologically--her brain is telling her she wants to wallow in it by herself. Considering looking at the stages of grief, as set out in many sources.

- "Revolutionaries had breeched the palace with" - breached.

(page 11)

- This chapter, it reads very much as a montage, which obviously is what's intended, and rightly so, I think, as it would take a long time to play these events out in real time. I'm just not sure that it's as engaging as it could be.

- "None of them were the same, though, in the year that had passed" - I don't get the sense of this phrasing. Not sure it flows, grammatically.

- "and somehow too large for B" - This is odd. Somehow feels like her being big-headed. Whereas, if she thought that Bor felt too small, that would seem reasonable.

(page 12)

- "one built from a night that a cord of wood failed to be delivered" - passive and wordy.

- "Might as well" - This page is not engaging. Nothing is happened and nether character has any real agency, or emotion. Flat.

- "Her former master" - Former and current?

- "so quit that" - I do like Car, she is grumpy and direct. "like I taught you" - LOL.

- "The master and former apprentice" - So, now Car is the master, but Ir is no longer the apprentice? There just seems to be an inconsistency about the nomenclature 

SUGGESTION: To address the issue with this chapter feeling un-engaging, consider moving the dialogue with Car up front in the chapter, and having the montage interspersed through it. The dialogue is much more engaging than the montage, which is really just a list of thing that happened.

(page 13)

- "Ir rubbed her hand across the empty cubby" - Sounds like she's trying to clean it. I think this wants a more delicate word, like 'Ir traced the interior of her cubby', or something. Maybe patted, or trailing her fingers.

- Too many uses of Ir's name in this chapter, and especially on this page. One or two per page, as appropriate, is plenty, IMO. It's not like there is anyone else in the scene, really.

(page 14)

- "apparently both have had nervous breakdowns already" - This seems a bit much. If it's meant jokingly--which it must be surely, as I don't believe is for a second in reality (chefs must be queuing up to work at Car's)--it seems out of character for Ir, who I don't think of as a joker.

- Also, why has Car had chefs filing in? I thought Ir was back in the kitchen at Car's. Oh, because she's working for the BK, I get it.

- "She’d learn how to be content again" - Oh, this took me by surprise. Ir had that yearning before, that feeling of being too big for Bo (see, still think it sounds better if Bo is too small for her). Now she's changed her mind, and then she's going to change it back again. That's like three changes in the one chapter, seems like flip-flopping, lack of commitment.

- "as soon as Ireen walked through the doors, the cupidine was already scowling" - Don't need both of these. Sounds cluttered.

(page 15)

- "Pay would be twenty percent more" - (a) I don't doubt that they have percentage in such pseudo-historical times, but it still sounds modern. Whereas, if you say something like 'a fifth more', it sounds more in period, I think; (b) +20% doesn't sound like much of an incentive. In essence, she would be working two jobs, arguably three. I think, to paraphrase the immortal words of Don Vito Corleone, he should make her an offer she can't refuse, like 50% more, 100% more (I presume the cost of living is more in the Math capital, for some reason). I think there is merit in shocking the reader a bit in this moment. +20% on a low number is still a low number. Even though we're at the end of the book, in fact, especially because we are at the end of the book, the reader wants as many 'wow' moments as they can get.

- "You could be able to receive letters from your family weekly" - tautology: only need one of these. 'could receive letters' is fine. 'be able to' is passive, IMO.

- "paid leave of absence" - This is a modern thing, IMO. I think unpaid leave is more likely in pseudo-historical times, if anything.

- "surprisingly tempting" - This is modern interview-speak (Sorry, still raw, I guess :unsure: ).

(page 16)

- "remembering when the BK wasn’t in B" - hand't been in Bo, IMO.

- "who will ensure Math laws are withheld in my absence" - Typo: upheld.

- "although you may give your answer at any time" - Cut: unnecessary. Having two months to decide clearly implies the decision can be made at any time.

- "She stepped out of his office, her heart breaking" - Nope. There is no emotional build-up to this moment, so I don't think you get to slap an emotional zinger on the end. As noted earlier, Ir flip-flops between maybe going, maybe staying, in these two chapters, but there isn't much emotional weight to that. There is no sign at all during her conversation with the BK that she's having a strong emotional reaction until, very suddenly, at the end.

Overall 

I think this chapter is kinda weak. I think it needs to be way tighter. There are good potential emotional notes, but it needs cutting and rearranging, IMO, to sharpen it up and deliver those important emotional beats near the end of the story.

One to go? Wow, how far we've come! Thanks for sharing :) 

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