kais

2/22/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Chapter 3 FOR REALS (L)(G) - 5166 words

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I just realized its a bit over, but last week's was way under so hopefully you'll all forgive me.

The flashback to little At and young Ori is now officially chapter 2. Chapter 3 (Ori finds Pruitcu) is now chapter 3 (this chapter). It has been edited per the last round of feedback, and the Keft player is now a different character. Same basic idea as before, but I’m hoping the execution is smoother and you are all more invested in Ori, and that I have appropriately differentiated her from Ata. 

Also note that in the previous chapter I really hit the ‘Ori wants to be in the Guard because she wants to be a HERO, not because she necessarily enjoys flying. She wants the glory of finding Ard, then wants to leave the Guard and go work on Ard and do something really big with her life. So that line should carry into this chapter pretty well, I hope.

In the document attached, you’ll also find epigraphs. I’ve finally started writing them for the book, so I’ve shoved the three that have come before at the very start of the sub. You’re welcome to crit them or not as you like, but the backstory they give will probably help in interpreting the events.

 

Thanks all!

Edited by kais
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Wow, this is so much clearer, even for a newbie to the series like me. The added background from the flashback helps ground what's going on in this chapter for me. 

Nice suspense in this edit as well.

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Epigraphs:

I generally have pretty mixed feelings about epigraphs anyway, so that doesn’t help, but these mostly just seemed confusing and a little disorienting.

I assume these would be more meaningful if I’d read the previous books, but I can’t place most of the details, so they don’t mean much to me.  And a couple of them just seem really long. 

Chapter 3 Start

Pg 3:

“Not Or…flying.”  The structure of both of these sentences made me have to slow down to process them.  Seems like they could be smoothed out a little.

“Hero?...magnitude” This does a great job of calling us back to her goals, though, which I think is especially helpful with the time jump.

Pg 4:

“She sat…At-“ On one hand, this sentence is really long. But I like her making reference to At- here as well.  Lets us know that the scene in the previous chapter turned into a longer-term relationship.

Pg 5:

“The material was not…cost”  Another sentence that could be smoother.  Or split into two.  The list of material qualities and the purchasing details would each be fine on their own, but doesn’t flow as well when combined.

Pg 6:

“Cellulose loss…hold?” The shift from cellulose-related warnings to the last sentence was a little jarring.  I’d initially read “body” as some curse I didn’t understand. Keeping the structure pattern through that paragraph, maybe just “Cellulose loss…Cellulose loss… Body. Did…” or something like that, if we’re listing something along the lines of sensor readout.

Pg 10:

“She finished laughing…”  The previous paragraph made it clear that the ship name was notable, but not necessarily that she found it funny.  So the jump to the laughing and casual conversation seems sudden.

Pg 11:

“…my tech knowledge is dated… do you have any idea…” This gives me a far better idea of her level of knowledge.  Though it does make me wonder why she wasn’t more concerned about the cellulose depletion coming in, if she had no idea why it was happening.

The dialogue also does a much better job of clarifying the undertones of the conversation this time around, making the pauses and concerns about offending and the like a lot more understandable.

Pg 12-13:

Approximately a million times clearer than the previous version.

Pg 14:

“The … Pru- (maybe??) …”  I’m not sure what the maybe is second-guessing or why.

“Still, pretty woman. Bar…” Hah. Might as well make the best out of the situation, right?

Pg 16:

“They won’t want anything…” Also hugely helpful in explaining why the Ke- isn’t more concerned about leaving her. 

Pg 17:

“How could she be so close…” Oof.   

Pg 18:

Her distraction from apparent death and destruction makes far more sense this time around.

Pg 19:

“I can … have an existential crisis…” Best to plan these things out.

Overall:

I think this solved all of the problems I remember having with the previous version. The stakes aren’t getting bogged down in confusion, the conversation with the Ke- is clear, and her goal of heroically proving At- right comes across far more clearly.  

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Overall:

About the chapter overall, I really don’t have much to add. GF does come off as a little young, here, with her focus on the hero thing, but given she’s spent the last six years alone in a spaceship that’s probably okay. Other than that I thought character and pacing were all good. My biggest issue was reconciling the timeline of current events against GF’s six-years-out-of-date knowledge, especially when juxtaposed against the flashback chapters. I had to check several times to make sure I wasn’t in one.

Also… if it took GF six years to get here, is it going to take her six years to get back?

Last thought is I am still side-eyeing the structure a little bit, as I think the two flashback chapters are setting us up to expect more of the same. Of course, if there ARE going to be more, that’s not necessarily a problem.

I had no particular comments on the epigraphs, btw.

As I read:

“...only detached eyeballs and…” Okay, as viscerally effective as this is, I have to wonder: would there really be eyeballs LEFT after a planet-sized explosion? Especially if said eyeballs had been drifting in hard vacuum for any amount of time?

P2 did GF take a six-year journey not-rescue At? Has At been needing to be not-rescued for that long?

P4 “out of the last jump with…” I feel like “with” is the wrong word here

Well, I guess that’s one way to collect DNA…

“...hammered flat from a previously spherical shape” oooh is that one of the doohickeys?

P5 “any questions beyond cost” stumbled on this, maybe “beyond what it cost”?

“definitively not transparent” wait how big is this thing if it’s obstructing her view that much?

“She need to fuel before her next jump anyway” hopefully she has the fuel…? And a lot of food if she’s waiting around for inertia?

P6 “rainbow of frosted metals” nice description here

Okay, I’m getting confused about the timeline here. Most of O/GF’s internal dialogue is about At being allowed to go back home, but nothing about that minor detail where At is now one of the three people ruling Ard, which seems like it’d have some bearing on whether or not At gets to go home. (Did they not let At go home after she became an e, btw? I don’t recall but that seems like a thing they might have reasonably revisited.)

Also, this is reading very much like O has a crush on At.

EDIT: Okay, hang on, think I’ve pieced together the timeline. O left N the planet for years ago and has been out of the loop ever since, hence all this about absolution and rescuing At. If that’s correct, maybe hang a lantern on this because I’ve spent the last few pages getting increasingly confused. I think the flashbacks contribute; I had to check the timestamp at the front of the chapter two or three times to confirm this wasn't one.

Also … O must have been relatively close when the explosion happened, yes?

Maybe WRS, but what is it in particular that’s lead O to Priutcu?

“...passing by in another half hour at her current coast.” My first thought was that her ship must be moving awfully quickly, especially for something that’s mostly intended to be flown on planets. But I suppose if the debris cloud of the planet has been expanding, this could make sense?

“...put the remains of her rounds into ship repair” Isn’t this system outside the, uh, Systems? Why is she assuming anyone lives there and that they take the same sort of currency?

+10 spaceship name, but I would have expected nothing less

Oh, so it’s NOT an unoccupied system.

“Can you mine?” At first I thought there was a missing word like “send” but now I realize that’s not the case. Maybe “can you mine them” would clear up the confusion?

I mean… they’ve definitely heard of Ardulum. It’s right there in the ship name.

I am digging the “not a chance” nail polish. Do I already know what nail polish brand this is? ;)

Not understanding the significance of the image though. Is this the personnel on the K ship, or…?

P 16 “Heroes didn’t get blown up pirates” by

It feels like the conversation between O and B goes on way too long considering the FTL drive only has 50 seconds to engage before they lose the tow and start talking… I am enjoying her yelling at her computer, though.

Last line: Well, that figures.

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I like this much better than the last version! Ori's motive is clearer now though I feel like it all comes a moment later and maybe bunched up a little too much.

The moment where I really bought into Ori risking so much for At was on page 8 with this paragraph "The image...a teenager, be sentenced to death while Ori watched from the safety of her settee. Absolution for both of them floated in the surrounding debris cloud, and Oriwas not leaving until she found it.

Ori seems haunted by her inaction when they sentenced At to death, and now she is doing something because she didn't do something then. That motive I believe. 

The interaction with the K worked much better, and having a tech failure be the reason she had to stay behind worked very well.

Also, you ended this in the perfect place and I really want to just read on.

Other notes:

P. 4

"What a maddening, depressive waste of a nearly six year journey." Ori is committed. That is a long trip!

P. 5 

"There was no AI to talk back, of course. Mysterious stolen alien tech might break the speed of light but it wasn’t magic" Nice bit of world building. 

P. 6

"She declined. Maxing her tiny hold with a biped torso was macabre, even for her. Heroes didn’t do macabre." So she needs bigger than a hand but smaller than a torso. Also, isn't collecting any body part in this situation kind of macabre? A head or a leg would seem macabre too. Maybe more so with the head.

"She’d compromised for comfort once, and it had almost cost a friend her life." On my first read through, I didn't get this line. It seemed out of place. I was also getting frustrated because Ori was obviously risking her life and I really didn't understand why, which was making me not care. 

Now I think it is referring  to what is later revealed about her doing nothing to help At, and I'm wondering if that should just be revealed now or maybe even a little earlier.

P. 7

"the Neek who would never see her homeworld again unless Orianat got it together and found" Finally! The motive. Any later and I would've started loosing interest. 

P. 8

"Absolution for both of the..." This felt like the heart of the motive, but it feels buried. Unnecessarily delayed.

P.14

"It was very different to actually…finish" I mean, she doesn't have a sample yet. Is just seeing this being through a film.

also, pun?

P. 19

"...then give the planet a call"  I was a little confused about the transmission and calling planets bits.

"I owe you a drink.” Wouldn't be the other way around? Doesn't Ori owe this person a drink?

P. 20

"The dredgers opened fire." Ahhh want to know what happens next! 

 

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Much cleaner version! Which of course makes it easier to find other problems...

I have two new concerns with this chapter:

1) I feel like O's backstory needs a little more oompf. "I want to be a hero" doesn't really do it for me as to why she'd be stuck in a ship for six years (see notes below for more musing). It also sort of sets her and A up for a romance, which I don't think is the intent. This leads into the second issue...

2) The timeframe seems off here. I presume this is after the trilogy, and O has been actively searching for information, but doesn't know about several of the largest events in the chartered systems in years? I feel like there needs to be a little more explanation for why she hasn't found anything until now, if she's been searching while all this stuff was happening.

The interaction between O and the K is much better, and makes me want to see the two of them meet up again later.

 

Notes while reading:

Pg 1: Always like epigraphs!

pg 5: "It wasn’t like she was going back to the Guard."
--Do we have any reason for her leaving?

pg 6: "FILLAMENT" -> "FILAMENT"

pg 6: "Heroes didn’t do macabre."
--maybe one or two more sentences on why O. wants to be a hero? Or maybe that will come later in the chapter.

pg 6: "this mission"
--which is? Find P? Finding A? Something else?

pg 7: "It was a picture of..."
--Aha. Here is the explanation. So is this not present day then? Since we know from the other books what happened with the planet A...
So she's trying to bring A back to N. Fine, except this mission seems very similar to why A left the planet in the first place. Basically, prove Ar is real. 
Not sure exactly what I'm flagging here. Maybe O needs to have a slightly more enticing reason for leaving? Like, this is currently reading as the beginning of a romance between the two, and this is contradictory to the story already told in the trilogy because A got her HEA.

pg 8: "It had found..."
--I think you could cut back on some of this. We've already got a good idea of what's floating around, and this seems repetitive from the last section.

pg 9: "laying down row after row"
--sorry, quick 3D print rant. This bugged me last time too. Is this saying it's laying down the liquid as well as the solid? That just seems like you're going to have a big puddle when it's finished. Wouldn't it make the glass and then pour the liquid in?

pg 9: "which she’d be passing by in another half hour at her current coast"
--That's a quick coast...

pg 10: "Stellar ship name"
--pun intended?

pg 14: "Another head floated past"
--was that the "head"ing change? I'll show myself out...

pg 14: "six years in a settee"
--So I'm guessing the story is that O has been searching for this long and hasn't gotten information about the events of the trilogy. But if she's been gathering information, how could she not know about it? I would think news like that would travel a long way.

pg 17: the tow line snapping works a lot better. Much higher tension.

pg 17: "fail this spectacularly"
--also wondering that. Seems like she'd have heard something.

pg 20: Good ending.

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Thanks everyone!

Confusion as to why G4 doesn't know what happened in the previous books. I tried to hang a lantern on it with this;

Spoiler

What a maddening, depressive waste of a nearly six-year journey. She’d learned a lot, certainly—languages, cultures, food, religions, especially after she got out of the Charted Systems (that had taken less than a month). But settees were old tech. They couldn’t pull news feeds and data packets while the FTL was engaged, and when she landed to get information, she generally didn’t have time, or rounds, to get the latest Charted Systems download. Which meant the past six years had been a waste and she was galactically out of touch with both the Charted Systems, and her people.

Romance between O and A:

If it is going to bother people, I can tone it down. However there are plans...

Spoiler

So 1) it's canon that the Ne are polyamorous. But 2) G4 DOES have a crush on Ata. And I was hoping to play that up because in a few chapters she ends up in the mirror universe and she's married to Ata there, so I figured there should be some setup. 

With these in mind, still tone down?

 

8 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I feel like O's backstory needs a little more oompf.

This is my fault. I added what you're asking for into the previous chapter and then didn't include the little niblets so you could all get up to speed. I edited the flashback chapter to really hit O's dreams being the one to find Ar and then get off Ne to prove herself. So she was going to ditch the Guard first chance she got and take any old job on And just to be someone.

My goal is to run O and A fairly parallel in terms of end goals, but with very different desires to get there. A wants to change Ne by proving Ar exists and it's all just science. O wants to find Ar to get notoriety and do something amazing with her life. At wants what is best for her people, O wants what is best for her. O then has to change that mission after she fails to keep A from being exiled, and wants to make up that failure by rescue. 

Any tips on how better to bring this dynamic out would be much appreciated. This is the added paragraph I've put in to try to just very blatantly draw the parallel

Spoiler

Exi had failed to swallow Ardu-as-religion and had lost her planet. She’d wanted to find Ardu for her people, to bring them out of technological stagnation, and they’d tried to kill her for it. All Ort had wanted was to leave her pastoral heritage, maybe get some Aran validation that she was more than a just pilot and titha herder. And maybe she could still do that, but she had to find evidence to vindicate Exe. Not because that was what a hero would do, but because Exe was her friend, and no one else seemed to want to stick their neck out to save their fellow Guard.

 

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I think that helps a lot. Having the backstory in a previous chapter will go a long way to setting this one up.

14 hours ago, kais said:

If it is going to bother people, I can tone it down. However there are plans...

Ok, yeah, with THOSE plans, I think hints of romance here are entirely appropriate!

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thoughts as i go:

Page 3

I really liked the last epigraph. It genuinely made me want to know more, and it gave me more incite into what Ard is.

Page 4

-”to validate the scientific arguments of At” yes, getting right into, telling it like it is, i love it

Page 5

-”which allowed pilots to see” nice explanation of what the transparent sheath is for!

-”it wasnt like she was going back to the guard” this is a good line following the previous chapter (when G4 was a teen). It makes me wonder “what happened between then and now”

Page 6

-”she’d just rely on inertia” seems risky

Page 7

-”right before she’d earned that modifier” is being an exile something you earn? Seems like it’d be the opposite

Page 9

-“lemonade” incidentally, i am currently drinking lemonade

Page 17

-”it delicately dissect her” dissected?

-”like removing the wrong piece” what is this sentence talking about? What wrong piece?

Page 18

-”it just travels around and, what? Has sex with other planets?” my thoughts exactly!

Overall, I don’t have much to say other than this was much, much better! The tension was way more...tense and I actually felt concerned for Or. It was just all around more clear. 

21 hours ago, kais said:
Spoiler

G4 DOES have a crush on Ata. And I was hoping to play that up because in a few chapters she ends up in the mirror universe and she's married to Ata there, so I figured there should be some setup. 

 

noo, don’t tone the romance down! Let Or pine for At! And mirror universe?? I am intrigued!

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Guess who's finally here :)

Overall:

I really like the addition of "O wants to be a hero," which helps a lot for the beginning-middle of the chapter and for explaining why she's here. I think it also does a good job separating her from N/At, and I get different reads on them in a good way. At is more reserved and a wanderer type that seems lonely while O is determined and single-minded to get this mission accomplished. The info K gives is easier for me to understand as well.

the main point where I faltered was after K left. At this point, her only conflict is to survive the space pirates which to me was not as interesting as the conflict of her not getting her questions answered by K. I assume her getting attacked by the pirates is necessary to set up larger narrative sweeps but if not I'd honestly remove them entirely. And if they do stay, I want O's "I'm gonna be a hero" to relate to the situation (but in a new way that shows us something besides the frustration/grit we've gotten so far), or I want it to get cut down fairly substantially. 

As I go:

pg 3

-I'm glad the hero thing is showing up in the first paragraph. Helps me orient myself. 

pg 4

-I think this reads better with the context of her wanting to be a hero. A six year hero's journey for nothing? Can't blame O for feeling so down. 

pg 5

-I'm not a sci-fi ship nerd so take that into consideration but I think a lot of this can be cut. I'm just looking for the highlights of what we need to know about her ship right this moment. 

pg 6

-I have a better understanding of why she's so stubborn

pg 7

-"...just the right collection of DNA to prove that Ard did more than bless the N people with science." This line seems super important, and I don't quite understand it yet. What is she hoping to find in the DNA?

-The paragraph below tries to explain it but I'm not sure what exactly they're looking for in the DNA to make those conclusions. Shared genomic ancestry with... something? Genomic admixture? As someone who's done genomics work and is interested in the subject, this is a bit of a hangup for me. 

pg 8

-I like her talking to the poster more now that I know the background between her and Ex/At.

pg 9-10

-Between the time the message about biomaterial shows up and the message about the ship shows up, not much really happens. I think this can be trimmed down a bit. 

-I think this time I get a better feel for what's going on in the conversation. Knowing that O is far out and doesn't know anything about where she is (and that the people here don't know much about her people) helps contextualize this 

pg 11-14

-I understand much better this time that there's a time crunch and that's why K is being curt. What I'm still not sure of is why. 

pg 15

-Oh, pirates were following her. I didn't catch that before. 

pg 16

-Why did the tow strap disengage? I think just a simple explanation could help here as to not make this conflict seem forced. 

-I feel like the personalities kinda break down here in the dialogue. Panic makes sense, but right now it feels like generic panic. 

-By the bottom of the page I'm back in the groove, though. 

pg 18

-I'm either going to need more explanation on that "rapes natives" comment or have it be removed because I really don't know how to read it. Not knowing how uncomfortable I should be about it is another kind of discomfort. 

pg 19

-So the comm is a long-distance one, right? Is it from a planet a few light minutes away?

 

 

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Pg 4, " presumably from the ships" Well, they're probably not from the blown up planet, that's for sure. This is the grossest asteroid field I've ever been to.

Pg 5, "storage bay accessible only from the exterior" Man, what a pain in the rump if you accidentally forgot something in the trunk.

Pg 6, "Cellulose loss" Hmmm, is something taking the cellulose? Ori? Or something/someone else?

Pg 6, " friend her life" At? Or someone else?

Pg 7, "A man stood next to her" I'm trying to remember the ceremony, but if that is the president, I have a message for him that involves a swift kick between the legs.

Pg 7, "She’d lead  led the Heaven Guard" 

Pg 9, "CELLULOSE CONTENT INSUFICIENT" Insufficient. You missed this on the next warning as well. Two F's. 

Pg 11, "what would pull cellulose from a biomaterial to begin with" Heh heh heh.

Pg 12, " This isn’t the place for any Charted Systems technology" So why is her ship breaking down here and not back home? Is it because her ship is very old? Too much FTL? Is there something different about space here, and is that why the cellulose is disappearing?

Pg 14, "loose cellulose this close to the Void" That answers my previous question.

Pg 15, " Mental breakdowns and religious meltdowns" I really like this.

Pg 16, "get blown up by pirates,"

Man, this is tense. I'm really liking this.

Pg 18, "NO PLANET DETECTED." Uh oh.

Cliffhanger! Ruuuuuuude!!!!! I want to know what happens next!

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