kais

2/15/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Chapter 3?? - 2789 words

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I'm thinking this will actually need to be chapter 2 (so come before the one you read last week). It's another 'in the past' vignette, much like the intro. Unlike the intro it is a clear character-building piece, not a mini adventure. In additional to the usual comments, I'd like to know: 

A) do you think it is necessary (there was a lot of 'why is G4 doing this I don't understand the connection, and I think this helps??)

B.) should it come before or after last week's sub

C) does it need shortened or lengthened? Make it snappier, or make it more intricate with maybe a real plot?

Regardless, note that next week I'll be resubbing an edited Chapter 2 (or whatever we call last week's sub) as it has undergone substantial changes.

Edited by kais
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Comments:

- Ooh, I like these heading '17 years before...' etc. I will totally pay attention to these, indeed I think they are highly necessary for continuing readers to connect with the events at the start of this book. (Well, me anyway.)

- Great first line(s).

- "Long crimson hair fanned down her back as she returned to her own ship" - These two clauses seem unrelated.

- "neatly landed on a compact stream bank" - super awkward phrasing: hard to parse.

- "slip and fall into the river" - missing word, also, LOL.

- Ten ships doesn't seem that many, but I can't recall earlier references to the HG and how many ships might be implied by those.

- "She could literally reach the heavens, reach Ard" - So, was Ard a known thing at this time? I thought it disappeared hundreds of years ago? This reference makes it sound to me like reaching it is a viable thing that she might do. Okay, it's clarified later, but still.

- "stood a confused looking girl" - LOL, excellent. I remember enough to know who this is.

- "robe bashed against the crimson" - word choice.

- "Little bit scary to grow up" - Missing inverted commas at the start of the line.

- Good basic background here. Very useful to put all this into context.

- "supposed to be memorizing versus" - typo: verses.

- "kid playing dress up" - 'dress-up', IMO.

- "May this would be better" - typo: maybe

- "She opened the thrusters as much as she could" - 'far' its more evocative and descriptive, IMO.

- Good ending. Good tension towards the end. Good banter between the two characters.

Overall 

This is a good chapter, I think an excellent opening chapter, because it reminded me of some of the most important stakes of the first trilogy, it reminded me where At came from, it plays out a scene that is referred to in the first trilogy (I'm sure it does). I think this would make a perfect first chapter, and it is certainly not too long. There's no fat in it, it seems to me, at a paragraph level, and it doesn't weigh the reader down with too much information. Opening with this chapte would mean that all the readers, continuing and new, were starting in the same place, with a character that they don't know. Also, this seems to be the first scene in the timeline, another good reason to start with this, so that time flows 'forward'.

A) - Yes, necessary; B) Yes, I think it should be the opening chapter; C) Perfect length, nothing would add to the impression it gives of exploration, adventure, and dreams.

Nice work :) 

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This was a nice, tight, little vignette. Although, we've heard about this scene several times before already. I suppose if it comes earlier in the story then those sections get turned into reminders.

On to the questions!

A) I'm not sure. This gives us the connection between G4 and A, so it really helps to prop up when they meet again. At the same time, it could almost be a couple paragraph flashback, and take out the stuff about G4 being late, because it doesn't add all that much for now.

B) I agree with @Robinski. I think this should the very start of the book if it's included. Then the meeting between the two is more poignant.

C) I would say either have it as the intro as is, or shorten it greatly to become a flashback maybe when the two meet up again.

 

You also have a couple flashback chapters now, which is becoming a pattern. Are you planning to have multiple flashbacks throughout the book? Because just having two might seem weird.

 

Notes while reading:
pg 1: "slip and into the river"
--missing/extra word

pg 1: "oversaturated...overripe"
--Word placement is a bit repetitive

pg 2: "where the old G4 had gotten to no one had told her, and she didn’t ask"
--So the old G4 disappeared AND they added a ship? So they needed two new volunteers?

pg 3: Nice to get a POV from another N. Interesting that G4 also dreams about Ard. Do other N's also do this?

pg 3: "sounded, weirdly, like a sigh"
--huh...so can she hear the trees too?

pg 6: "Flying is a whipped joy."
--that's a great comparison.

pg 7: "Do you even remember..."
--This is a big speech from kid At. Would this be more comparable to 17-18 for a human?

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As I go:

pg 1

-Don't understand the full context here, but I don't think I have to. There's enough that interests me in the first half page

-Ohhhh okay so I got confused and thought G7 was addressing multiple trainees and was very confused by that. Only figured out at the end of pg 1 that it was a comment about trainees in general

pg 2

-I like the flower imagery. In sci-fi I need more description than usual since I have no idea how to picture anything so this helps me latch onto something

pg 3

-I think the whispering to the wind could be internalization instead. Also seems like the heroism of discovering the planet is what she's focusing on here so that's what I want to see more of in her internality

pg 4

-I like this dynamic already. G4 was in the kid's place not long ago and now she has to be the authority. 

pg 5-6

-Wow I love A so much 

pg 7

-The "do you remember what it was like to be me?" Feels too self-aware even for this very observant kid. Not that a kid wouldn't have that vocabulary, but I don't think kids spend a lot of time thinking what older people were like as kids. I'd expect something more like "You're barely older than I am. If you can do it, I can do it."

-Have I mentioned that I love how formally A talks?

pg 9

-I don't quite follow why G4 is convinced that A is going to be the one to find Ard. Also, is the idea that they're eventually going to pass orbit with the planet and be able to see it by just flying on the planet?

Overall:

This is helpful for background on the N planet for a new reader like me, and I really enjoyed it. Maybe at this point it's just my focus being weird, but even in this chapter I still felt like I got more from A than I did from G4. A's the active one here and G4's getting dragged into stuff, so I find myself liking and focusing on A more. Maybe I just like kids (in concept, anyway. Haven't worked with them much). Still, if I were to read this chapter blind, I'd think we'd be following A and not G4 in the future, since G4 seems to be setting up A's character more than doing anything for herself. 

For the questions:

A. I think something to give us more background is necessary if O starts in isolation, but as much as I loved reading this I felt like I learned more about A here. Personally, what I want to know is why G4/O decided to leave the planet and follow in A's footsteps (that's what I think happened, anyway?). If A is super important to G4's motivation then these are good scenes, but I'm not sure they're enough. So... maybe this is like when geneticists say a gene is necessary but not sufficient. ;) 

B. I think either is fine, but I'm adamant that our first introduction to O's PoV should have her not be in isolation. I just think it's so much easier to establish character dynamics in a non-info-dumpy way when there's another character present. So if she starts out alone in her ship in last week's chapter, I think this needs to come before. 

C. I think shortened, not because the scene itself is too long, but because there needs to be room for more to do with G4's motivation in striking out and looking for Ard (or was she looking for Pri? It takes me a while to get all this stuff straight, which is just a me thing and not the story's fault). If the scene itself stays with no other background on G4, I think the length here is good. In that case, I think some of the beginning parts could be trimmed back to make room to deal with G4's motivaitons. 

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23 hours ago, kais said:

A) do you think it is necessary (there was a lot of 'why is G4 doing this I don't understand the connection, and I think this helps??)

 

It helps a little. It does show where there connection was born, but I am more or less under the impression that they only had this interaction before the tree thing, and that G4 was just sort of a celebrity A looked up to. So one little interaction lays the foundation for understanding the motives, but I'm not sure it's enough by itself.

Is it necessary? I did enjoy reading it. It was sweet and fun and would be interesting contrasted with the chapter where G4 is in the wreckage of P. 

If little flashback chapters are going to be a thing, keep it. I think it's worth keeping even if I'm not convinced it's absolutely necessary. 

But if you cut it...could any of this be conveyed in an epigraph? 

23 hours ago, kais said:

B.) should it come before or after last week's sub

 

Before. 

I think having them back to back could work. Or this might make an interesting prolouge, one that might be accessible to new readers and a good world-building refresher for old readers.  

23 hours ago, kais said:

C) does it need shortened or lengthened? Make it snappier, or make it more intricate with maybe a real plot?

Plot? Who needs plot? 

I liked it this length. Make it longer and it will drag or take over. Make it shorter and there won't be enough. 

 

Some general notes:

I really just enjoyed reading this and kind of feel bad that I don't have a lot to critique. 

The opening line drew me in.

I loved the image of G4 making herself and her settee a crown. 

Maybe there could be slightly more stakes? What actually would happen if they got caught? 

 

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Page 1

-”slip and into the river” slip into the river? Slip and fall into the river?

-”trainees” is G7 talking to multiple people or just G4? Edit: i guess it was just G4 but i was confused at first. Maybe this should be something like “‘Trainees,’ she said as she rolled her eyes.” so its more clear that she is annoyed by trainees in general.

-”give me a reason to report you” is reporting bad or good? Should it be “give me a reason not to report you”?

Page 2

-“Had voted to add a tenth ship” if G4 took the old four’s place, why mention that there was a tenth position that opened up? Why would G4 get the new ship and not whoever was 10th? Maybe because G4’s skills are better? So would that be a reason for her getting the newer ship? Maybe the higher up in number, the better you are skill wise and rank wise which would be more deserving of a new ship??

Page 3

-"your ego is as big as your hair" feisty, aren't we?

-G4 doesn't seem to be threatened by G7, is she not worried about the consequences? are there consequences? G4 seems quite confident. I like it tho!

-”why...she followed the shuttering” Idk if this is just me, but idk what the “why” in this sentence is referring to. Is she questioning why the flowers closed? I guess i'm not getting a clear picture. Was it At that affected the flowers? If so, i think it could be a little more clear. At first it just seemed like the flowers were moving in the wind.

Page 4

-”remembered being a wide-eyed ten” ten... year old?

Page 6

-”whipped joy” I love it

Page 7

-”sure, you get your fill now… how it felt to be me?” agree with @Ace of Hearts As i kid, i dont remember ever wondering if older people remembered what it was like to be my age, but as a new adult/teenager, i definitely remembered being a kid, i was fresh out of childhood and i wanted to share my new-found wisdom with younger kids like my little sister.

-Also, their interaction made me think of this

Spoiler

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Page 8

-”i thought you got a new ship?” is this something At would know?

-”we have a possible sighting near the capital?” and “ard- really?” is it common knowledge that a “sighting” is in reference to Ard? Else, how would At know Seven was referring to a sighting of Ard?

Overall

This was a cute chapter! I loved At and G4’s dynamic. 

A) If you really want to focus on At and G4’s relationship, then yes! Necessary!

B.) I am torn because I thought having a POV from G4 in the present before this made this chapter more engaging for me, i think? But also, maybe if it came before the previous chapter, then i would be more engaged with that one. But others said it should come before and i dont have a solid argument for this chapter to stay where it is, so I think this would work well as an opening! I would even be down if you sprinkled in more flashbacks of them (if there are any) later on.

C) I thought it was a good length! Depending on what you plan to do with this chapter, you could probably make it shorter. But I thought it was good as is. I liked seeing another guard (G7). And having G7 yell at G4 added tension to the chapter so i dont think there’s a whole lot i would cut out.

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On 2/15/2021 at 6:12 AM, Robinski said:

Nice work :) 

Thank you! All typos noted and fixed. I'm really surprised this chapter worked so well for people, and I have moved it to Chapter 2. It now precedes meeting G4 as an adult as she exits to find the blow up planet. Thank you!

 

On 2/15/2021 at 10:29 AM, Mandamon said:

Are you planning to have multiple flashbacks throughout the book? Because just having two might seem weird.

 

I.... do not yet know. I think these two are enough to get people into the world, but that also may remain to be seen. I have to get the epigraphs going though, soon.

On 2/15/2021 at 10:29 AM, Mandamon said:

So the old G4 disappeared AND they added a ship? So they needed two new volunteers?

Have clarified. yes, they added two. G4 was better so she got the lower number and the new ship

On 2/15/2021 at 10:29 AM, Mandamon said:

Interesting that G4 also dreams about Ard. Do other N's also do this?

Yes, but only one has the dreams talk to her...

On 2/15/2021 at 10:29 AM, Mandamon said:

--huh...so can she hear the trees too?

I'm pretty sure all the Ne got upset in book 3 when the forests were burning because they could hear the tree screams. I think this is canon?

On 2/15/2021 at 10:29 AM, Mandamon said:

This is a big speech from kid At. Would this be more comparable to 17-18 for a human?

It's so interesting that everyone commented on this as being too old. My six year old asks me this constantly. "Do you remember being six? Did you do this? What did you watch when you were six? What about when you were seven? When you were my age did you also like My Little Pony?" So to me, it sounds almost too young. I've tweaked the wording to be a bit simpler, anyway

Thank you! Edits done, and happy to move on!

 

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Only figured out at the end of pg 1 that it was a comment about trainees in general

I'll just delete it. It tripped up a few people

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Also seems like the heroism of discovering the planet is what she's focusing on here so that's what I want to see more of in her internality

I've brought this out more to better differentiate her from Ata. Ata went into the stars because she got kicked off her homeworld for refusing the religion. G4 wants to be a space hero. Have also added that she doesn't really want the settee, it's more about leaving the agrarian life. I want her to look like she really thinks she is on the traditional hero journey. 

I've been trying to move away from internal writing in general, as it can slow pacing and limit places in certain narratives. Also I tend to write very internal characters, so I thought I'd give something new a try. Unsure if it will work but I guess we will find out!

Spoiler

“I hope a titha gores your ship,” 4 muttered. “Not that anyone would notice the damage. Maybe it’ll deflate your ego. It’s as big as your hair.” She popped the hatch on her settee and took one last, long look at trillium. “When I find Ard” she whispered into the wind, “when it comes back into orbit, when we can see its blue tails burning our atmosphere, 7 can have this settee. I’m going right to the planet, to their primary shipyard and I’ll apply for a job there. No more formation flying, no more herds of pack animals, no more bossy shepherds. I’ll learn right from the Ards. I’ll learn how to build ships and how to fly in space. I’ll take a tour of the E Palace. I’ll memorize the legendary tapestries and eat traditionally prepared andal and I will be a hero!” 

 

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Feels too self-aware even for this very observant kid. Not that a kid wouldn't have that vocabulary, but I don't think kids spend a lot of time thinking what older people were like as kids. I'd expect something more like "You're barely older than I am. If you can do it, I can do it."

It's so weird, because nearly everyone commented on it, but my kid is six and talks like this. So do her friends. Maybe generational shift?

18 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I don't quite follow why G4 is convinced that A is going to be the one to find Ard. Also, is the idea that they're eventually going to pass orbit with the planet and be able to see it by just flying on the planet?

Errr, okay. I'll see how I can slip in just a touch more backstory.

19 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I'd think we'd be following A and not G4 in the future, since G4 seems to be setting up A's character more than doing anything for herself. 

Argh! Yeah I have to really focus on this in the book. The original 4 books were mostly At, and it's hard to switch gears. Especially since At and G4s lives and journeys have run parallel at times. It's my hope that clearing up G4's motivation will make it more clear that she's doing this because she wants to be a hero. So then when we see her in the next chapter out in a debris field, looking for exiled At, it's very At screwed up and G4 is on a hero journey. Here's hoping!

Thank you! Excellent edits

 

18 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

So one little interaction lays the foundation for understanding the motives, but I'm not sure it's enough by itself.

If you scroll up there's a rewritten scene I've put behind a spoiler window. I'm hoping that edit, along with a few others, will clarify the differential motivations between At and G4

Thank you! Glad it worked so well!

 

38 minutes ago, karamel said:

i thought you got a new ship?” is this something At would know?

Does the reference to her being the neice of the high priest not connect to that? Hmm. Will poke. 

(many of the typos you references earlier others caught and have been edited)

39 minutes ago, karamel said:

I thought it was a good length! Depending on what you plan to do with this chapter, you could probably make it shorter. But I thought it was good as is. I liked seeing another guard (G7). And having G7 yell at G4 added tension to the chapter so i dont think there’s a whole lot i would cut out.

Awesome. It looks like the consensus is it should be before the other chapter, and the length is suitable. Thank you very much!!

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4 hours ago, kais said:

t's so weird, because nearly everyone commented on it, but my kid is six and talks like this. So do her friends. Maybe generational shift?

Maybe! Now that I think about it I'm guessing it would be easier for kids of this generation to picture adults as kids since when adults talk about their childhoods it's often in public online spaces kids have access to. Not that every kid is reading online message boards or whatever but there's just so much more information about what adults were like as kids compared to what we had access to (I say "we" even though I'm also a zoomer).

4 hours ago, kais said:

At screwed up and G4 is on a hero journey

I really like this dynamic, and I think there's a good opportunity for them to be counterpointed with regards to heroism. Imo the best character foils have a lot in common since that makes their differences stand out even more, so At and G4 are set up well here. I think this dynamic is the #1 thing I want to feel about G4 (including At not being invested in heroism) during her opening chapters to help me differentiate her from At. I think that's why I thought it might work well to have a scene more in the future where the "At screwed up" is clearer, but if you can establish the dynamic around heroism in the scene you have written out then I think it works. 

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15 hours ago, kais said:
On 2/15/2021 at 1:29 PM, Mandamon said:

--huh...so can she hear the trees too?

I'm pretty sure all the Ne got upset in book 3 when the forests were burning because they could hear the tree screams. I think this is canon?

Yep! I remember this now.

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30 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Yep! I remember this now.

Me too.

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So by being late to the party, it looks like everyone caught the typos and sentence flow sorts of comments that I had noticed, and you addressed them in your post above.

I really enjoyed this chapter as an introduction to G4.  I think it is far more helpful than having her introduced out on her own, especially with the tie to At-. I didn't see any issues with At- seeming too mature or thoughtful for her age.   I do think it tells us more about At- than it does about G4 in some ways, but I don't know if that's a bad thing.  Especially if it works as a sort of mid-point to get to G4's PoV.  It tells us about who At- was as a kid, and it tells us enough about G4 to keep our first interaction with her from being her sitting in space on her own.  

A) do you think it is necessary (there was a lot of 'why is G4 doing this I don't understand the connection, and I think this helps??)

I don't know if it's necessary, but I think it's helpful, and I think it adds a lot of color to the other chapter.  And I just like it. So there.

B.) should it come before or after last week's sub

Before.

C) does it need shortened or lengthened? Make it snappier, or make it more intricate with maybe a real plot?

I like it as it is. I think it's fun and presents the characters vividly.  See the notes above about it seeming like an interesting halfway point between At- and G4.  A baton pass of sorts that makes for an interesting perspective of the new character.  But I think if it were too much longer, we'd want it to be more focused on G4.  Also, maaaaybe finding a way to imply when we later reference the relationship that there's more than this one interaction? Which I wasn't getting from her glance at the photo in the settee last time. But that's not relevant to this chapter.  

Not a lot of useful things to point out, since everyone else beat me to them, but I enjoyed this one :) 

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On 2/14/2021 at 7:59 PM, kais said:

A) do you think it is necessary (there was a lot of 'why is G4 doing this I don't understand the connection, and I think this helps??)

B.) should it come before or after last week's sub

C) does it need shortened or lengthened? Make it snappier, or make it more intricate with maybe a real plot?

A) I'm coming down on the side of "yes." It's  a solid piece of character building that fills in the connection between the two of them in a way that a line or two of reminder/summary in the prose doesn't, I think. 

B) Being late to the party on last week's sub I'll give this question a pass. In general, I'd think this was a "beginning of story" thing, but I'm hesitant to suggest that here because you've got another one of those and that might be a stumbling block for readers. I'm kind of wondering if there's a way to integrate some of the highlights of the two flashback chapters directly into the prose, instead, but that's just a thought experiment at this point...

C) Length is good, IMO. Chapter is admirably tight and does what it needs to do, and especially for a flashback, shorter is probably better. 

As I read: 

“GF prayed for her to slip and into the river.” One, missing word, I assume it should be “fall in.” Two, HAH.

Having a bit of trouble picturing the actual layout of the scene though. The “making love” comment had me assuming that they were inside the settee – but I guess there are two that are outdoors? Also, wouldn’t it make more sense for these two guards to do whatever training thing they’re doing in proximity of all the other guards who are apparently somewhere over the horizon?

               Edit: Ah, okay, she wandered off from the group.

I hope GF did not turn her comm on before muttering about poop and egos.

P2 “…the shuttering flowers” should probably be “shuddering”?

GF seems a lot more confident than I would be in just doing my own thing if I were at the first day of a new job and one of my colleagues kept verbally abusing me…

P6 “memorizing versus for your ceremony” should be “verses”

“I have no interest in that” seems a little formal.

“A possible sighting” of what? I need to know so I can decide how I feel about GF basically abducting a kid to go take a look.

               Edit: about 2 seconds after I typed this, I realized it was probably the planet, which is proven to be a good hunch a few lines later so… false alarm, I guess?

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Late again!

Seems like previous critiques have been very comprehensive already. 

The only line that really caught me was : "Sixteen and think you own..." Because of the numbers used in their names, it took me a minute to realize that she was talking about G-4 and not another guard named 16.

As a new reader, this was very helpful for getting some sense of the N homeworld and culture. My only concern is that this would be two time skips right in the beginning and may feel more like prologue B than Chapter 1 since both take place years before the main story. For someone like me who is coming in with no sense of timeline for previous stories: starting three years earlier, then jumping further back, and then forward to the main story might get confusing. 

I liked the planet descriptions and am very curious about the ti animals that keep getting mentioned. Based on the references to their poop and milk, I'm picturing something like a winged cow. 

Thanks for sharing!

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