kais

3/15/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Chapter 6 (L) - 4035 words

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This used to be the second half of chapter 5, which I cut in half due to length. Edits to chapter 5 more clearly established Ori’s fear arc, starting with her not really being afraid because violence just doesn’t happen in the C. Systems, to realizing she actually might die. And then confusion over Bell showing up. This chapter picks up right from there, and should be an arc with Ori sucking up her pride to accept help, establishing the start of a romance line, and then beating Ori over the head with the plot by the end.

The longer arc here should be Ori coming to terms with not being able to really rescue Ata, or things continually getting in her way. This should start establishing that though whether it does so well remains to be seen. 

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Hello! I’m new to the group this week, so I realise I’m jumping in at chapter 6 and not the beginning. I read your plot summary and I’ll try to pick things up as I go. 

Overall: the chapter was solid, read well, and was interesting. There were a lot of proper nouns that didn’t mean much to me, but that’s probably because I’m starting partway through. Even with all the space stuff I have no context for, the stuff happening to O was easy to follow. I don’t know what importance Ard. has to O, but I get the feeling that this is a big deal.

O’s romantic interest in B came across strongly, so I’m assuming B will be back. B’s sass is very good. I like her. I thought the romance aspect maybe came across a bit too strong in places, given that O has more urgent things to worry about than hot nail polish lady.

The plot is happening to O rather than her actively doing things. This is not necessarily an issue if it’s part of her arc, but it might become an issue if she stays this passive for too long.

Also, at the end of the chapter, I’m not sure where O is emotionally or in terms of danger. A bunch of really bad stuff has happened that she doesn’t know how to deal with, but if Ard.’s contact details have fallen into her lap, does this solve her problems? That’s the question I would have going into the next chapter. 

As I read:

pg 2 - ‘pleas for help were very anti-hero’ - anti-hero seems like an awkward term here. ‘Unheroic’ maybe?

pg 4 - ‘stepped out of a dated painting’ is dated the right word? Rest of B’s dialogue is chattier and more casual. 

pg 9 - ‘this being didn’t secret st’ I think you mean ‘secrete’

pg 10-12 - I notice that O has latched onto B very quickly for someone she’s just met, especially if O is only just learning to accept help. The new alien B takes her to seems okay, so it was weird to me that O was so stuck on the idea of keeping B around and asking her questions. 

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Posted (edited)

Overall

I was really engaged with this chapter! I liked the world building a lot here and I loved the ending too. This whole story (for Or) so far has been “ard, ard, where is ard, i need ard” and then bam! The doc is just like “well, you can contact Ard”  and I assume that things are gonna be wild for Or in the coming chapters because she has been out of touch for so long. I also liked what you set up with B, her dialogue right before she exited left me with a lot of questions and gave me more reason to want to read on. I am eager to know what she was talking about.

 

thoughts as i go:

Pg 1

"Or’s eyeballs hurt” her whole eyeball? Not just her eyes? Is it from not blinking?

Pg 2

“What happened to your ship?” earlier when B saw the pirates coming, didn’t she get out of there because she had at least some notion that they might destroy the ship? Would it make more sense if she walked in and said something like “oooo they got you bad huh?” cause she obviously knows that the pirates got her ship, right?

“Love the rips in your flight suit, too” i feel like this line doesn’t flow well after the previous one. Maybe its the wording. This is personal preference and feel free to ignore, but I would say “by the way” rather than “too” or i would add a line before this one that breaks up her dialogue, for example: “'What’d you do to get them so interested?' She bent down to Or’s level. 'Love the rips in your flight suit by the way.'” it just seems more seductive that way and more natural :) but thats just me. Edit: i reread this and now it seems more antagonizing... which probably isnt what you were going for.

“Ard save her from mouthy women” I really like what you’re trying to do here. But this line isn’t hitting me like it should. im just not quite feeling it. maybe because I haven't heard enough from B yet.

"Or covered her bare midriff... her shaking arm" well now I feel like B's flirting earlier was rude because poor Or is suffering

“B knelt down, hooked an arm under her knees” I can’t remember how badly Or was injured, wasn’t one of her arms like twisted? Should B be more careful lifting Or up? Later on page 9, B mentions surgery and I was like wait surgery? Was it that bad? Because the whole time she was carrying Or, i forgot that Or was injured, besides her numb legs (which i assumed was from drugs of some sort.)

Pg 3

“Had made Or’s st- thicken” I went “Ha!” out loud lol

“Just assuming that everything would work out” wasn’t Or like paralyzed on the floor? How could she get help?  I guess i don’t know how long she was on the floor for so this could be a valid thing for B to say.

Pg 4

“Free doctors?” free? Doctors? ahem, i beg your pardon but, as an american, the concept of “free doctors” does not compute.

“Are you flirting with me?” the way Or talks about flirting feels a little too on the nose for me. That's personal pref tho, i just like more subtle flirting rather than flat out asking, so the way it is now could be very in character for Or.

Pg 5

“Everything was fine for a minute” while i was reading the previous paragraph, i was waiting for this, to see how Or felt in that bridal carry.

Pg 9

“Y, she’s over here” oh, they know each other? Hmmm

“Per Ju last rites rules” oooh yes, I love this. Good worldbuilding. 

“I fixed your audio processor” oh? They have a history? oooo very Interesting

Pg 11

“Her injuries might be enough to actually kill her” I didn’t sense this at all while B was carrying her. Or seemed quite competent.

Pg 12

“She did feel lightheaded, more so than when B had carried her” see, i think this should be mentioned earlier maybe, just a little hint of it

Pg 13

“They pressed the biofilm onto Or’s nose” i liked this because this whole time I was like “why hasn’t this doctor taken Or in yet if she is so close to dying?” also, im just imagining the doc going “boop” to her nose and Or is like “Wtf?” for a second but she is so stubborn that she doesn’t realize what just happened so she just keeps going on about trying to comm a planet.

Edited by karamel
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Overall: Again, I thought this chapter was pretty tight! The biggest thing for me was to more clearly telegraph the seriousness of O’s injuries, about which I felt I was getting mixed messages. She’s obviously in pain and can’t walk, but a broken leg, say, isn’t necessarily life-threatening, and O’s mind seemed relatively sharp throughout all this except towards the very end. I think this will give you more opportunities to play up her naivete/denialism, too, because that has the potential to be an interesting character note, but as written I think it is mostly just contributing to the confusion around how injured she really is or isn’t.

I love how much of a thing the nail polish is in this chapter, btw.

Other than that, I made a few notes below about clarifying the general acceptability of casual murder in this spaceport. You know, minor details.  

As I read:

“O caught a glimpse of Ex’s distorted face…” Are they heading towards O’s settee then? I thought they were heading away from it?

“Pleas for help were very anti-hero…” Since “anti-hero” means a very different thing than what O is trying to get across here, maybe “not very heroic” would be better?

“A useless biofilm from a useless ship, piloted by a now-useless Ne.” oh, ow ☹

 “…or the drugs she’d ben given” wait when did that happen?

I know you hung a lantern on this, but I’m having a bit of trouble wrapping my heads around the bird aliens being so blasé about killing people in a crowded spaceport. Also, was the bay Ori was in entirely empty once the birds left? I just had a bit of a “whoa, where did all these people come from?” moment. And … literally none of them notice a Ke hauling around an injured woman?

I’m also having some trouble trying to figure out what B is trying to prove waving O’s fingers around. She’s trying to make people think O is a Ke instead of from Priutcu? I guess Ke have more fingers than Ard/Priutcuans?

I think my stumbling block for both of the points above, actually, is buying into them relies on the spaceport being thrown into at least some amount of chaos by the explosion of Priutcu, but except for the encounter with the birds themselves, the spaceport as described doesn’t read as any more than “busy airport” chaotic.

 P10 “trying to pay of” should be “pay off”

P12 “she did feel lightheaded…” I think it would be helpful to get more of this sooner.

“You have actual coordinates?” this has kind of been referenced glancingly with “everyone has an Ard story,” and I realize that not every Jo Blo alien is going to have the coordinates, but how did O get this far without establishing that the planet is not only incontrovertibly real, and that some species are capable of calling it?

19 hours ago, kais said:

The longer arc here should be Ori coming to terms with not being able to really rescue Ata, or things continually getting in her way. This should start establishing that though whether it does so well remains to be seen. 

It felt very much like a minor note here, which is honestly fine this early on. My impression on where Ori's at with this is that she sorta feels bad intellectually about her failure, but hasn't really internalized it yet. Which, again, is not a bad thing, but she definitely needs to kind of hit the bottom before she can start clawing back up and it doesn't feel like she's done that yet. I'd assume this to be a slow-burn arc that would become more prominent in later chapters and that is probably fine, but if you want it to feel more prominent in this chapter it's not there yet in terms of feeling like a major plot point. 

6 hours ago, karamel said:

“Just assuming that everything would work out” wasn’t Or like paralyzed on the floor? How could she get help?  I guess i don’t know how long she was on the floor for so this could be a valid thing for B to say.

Yeah, I kind of wanted to tell her to lay off... 

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Pg 2:

“What happened…Ju- System”  I’m not getting a good read on B’s tone here.  Or how O is perceiving it, at least. 

“I might need a bit of help.”  Having a better idea of how injured O actually is here would be helpful.  I don’t have a clear understanding of how much pain she’s actually in and how much she’s trying to cover it. 

“You’re supposed to be dead…” Again, not sure of B’s tone. She seems concerned enough if she came in to check on things and is going to take O somewhere for help, but she doesn’t seem obviously bothered or surprised by any of it.

Pg 3:

“It will take me a while to get used to…”  but she still doesn’t seem bothered by it.  No shock or horror.  Just something she’ll have to get used to.

“Not trying to haul yourself…” Goes back to the question of how injured she is.

Pg 4:

“…drugs she’d been given…” would the bird-people have given her drugs if they weren’t even willing to feed her for a few days?

Pg 12:

“…on the cusp of bleeding to death…”  Yeah. Still really confused about how injured she is. She mentions pain a couple times, but nothing that would indicate severe bleeding.  And what follows from here seems like a really sudden deterioration.

 

Overall: 

I think not having a good read on B’s tone created a lot of trouble in my being engaged with their interactions and generally threw me off for a lot of the chapter, since that’s a big focus in the first half.  She seems to switch back and forth between being helpful/friendly and cheerily blunt about things like the bird people trying to kill O and casually unconcerned about how injured O actually is.  

Sassy characters? They’re great.  But right now I’m not getting a clear indication of where B is supposed to be coming across on the friendly sarcasm to condescendingly dismissive spectrum.  She does make the effort to help O, and gets her to the doctor, and seems to offer to pay for whatever “extra charges” might be involved (but then they go into the whole payment discussion that seems to contradict that), but doesn’t actually seem to have any emotional response to any of it.  She’s helpful, but not obviously sympathetic.  Which is fine.  I don’t mind emotionally distant sarcasm. I tend toward it myself often enough. But O seems to read more emotion and flirtation into the interactions than I’m seeing. 

It also doesn’t help that I don’t have a good read on how injured O actually is.  She seems mostly alright, but in a little pain, until all of a sudden she’s near bleeding to death.  I think we need more of an idea of the seriousness of it earlier.  I get that she’s distracted by the attractive lady, but her condition doesn’t seem nearly as bad as Y- implies it is. I feel like severe internal bleeding would cause more concern.  Not to mention non-functioning legs.  Especially if that would stop her from piloting a ship. I would assume that cutting that part of her identity away would be an extremely painful possibility for her.  She’s obviously really upset about the destruction of her ship, but doesn’t seem to be concerned about the non-functioning of her legs at all.

I may try to read it again later and see if it comes across a little better.  It’s possible that my perception was colored by being distracted at the beginning.  The dog was extremely distressed and whiny/barky because some children dared to play in their own yard down the street, which is not exactly the best reading environment.

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Like the others said, this is a pretty tight chapter. I'll also agree that we need a little more on O feeling close to death vs. "shrug it off" if her injuries are that bad. I'd also like a couple more sentences description on what her injuries were and what/where exactly the station is. We just get crowds of people, but is it a space station? On the ground? On a planet? I'm not very sure whether this civilization is one star system with lots of inhabited planets, or what.

I think the longer arc here is fine, but maybe on the shorter arc, there could be some more realization or emoting of O realizing she's actually in danger.

Notes while reading:

pg 5: "We’re heading in.”
--There's a bit of white space here with description. Are they in a spaceport? Were they in a hangar before? I know O doesn't really know anything, but B could say something like "we'll go through the XX spaceport to get to the YY medical center," or something.
--also, was O shot in the legs? Maybe WRS on my part.

pg 5: "seemed pulled into one another"
--not sure what this means. They were in groups?

pg 6: "below ground living"
--wait, is the station below ground? I assumed it was a space station.

pg 7: "“Thanks, but I try to keep clear..."
--Yes, but if it's a day there and a day back with FTL, what's the big problem?

pg 9: "and I know, at least a little bit, what happens when it gets broken"
--that's interesting. How much contact did the K have with Planet N? I can't remember.

pg 9: "for post surgery"
--does she need surgery?? Maybe a quick reminder about what her wounds are, in this chapter.

pg 11: "R.M.Help Line"
--I have a feeling this line would not actually be much help...

pg 12: "be her own flaking off from dehydration"
--Ick! That's a lot of skin loss.

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Posted (edited)

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, “I have things under control.”

Spoiler

20 Years After Its Release, a Brady Bunch Movie Meme Emerges

Pg 2, " now was definitively not" Definitively or definitely? 

Pg 3, “I…am neutral on polishes.” Can't say I am. Five stars.

Pg 5, "an orange paste that jiggled of its own accord" Slime mold? 

Pg 6, "She slid" Used slid in the previous sentence. Synonym?

You know, it's a good thing B saved Ori and not me because I wouldn't be able to pick up anything larger than a child for anything more than a moment if my life depended on it.

Pg 10/11, "You have internal bleeding, broken bones, and various torn membranes" Really polite of the birds to pump her up with so many drugs she can't feel she's dying. Makes not-flirting with the cute lady easier. On the other hand, it makes it hard for me to feel any actual danger to this.

Pg 11, " pay off grotesquely inflated medical bills." Rest of the book is Ori scrubbing dishes.

Pg 14, "she would say on a call to the gods of Ar" Honest to God, the fact that Ori missed the last three books (and a collection of short stories) never ceases to make me laugh my rump off. I can imagine how this is going to go:

"Hello, Ar? Do you actually exist? This is a N, modifier G4."

"G4? G4? Like, the G4? Ahhhhh - This is At...ummm, but you knew me as Exile."

"Uhhhhhhhhhhh-"

Except worse. Ten times worse. 

I love reveals. Have I ever mentioned that? Because one of my top ten favorite things are reveals that I know are coming that I just have to wait for. Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhh. 

Spoiler

Please Sir I want some more - Oliver Twist - quickmeme  

 

 

 

Edited by Snakenaps
Darn Oliver Twist begging keeps vanishing.
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Overall:

Like everyone is saying, I think the main structure of what's going on is really solid. Most of my comments are minor ones in the LBLs.

I'll say that for me the most interesting dynamic was how people don't take O seriously. That has to be the worst feeling for someone who wants to be a hero, and it probably hurts more that from an outside perspective they're not wrong to treat her as naive. This is something I'd like to see played up more. That everyone around O, including B, thinks that she's not only foolish but also a little ridiculous and pitiful (not necessarily in a malicious way). And that as much as O wants to be taken seriously, she's in a scary new world and can't make herself feel strong. 

Though this is just a suggestion, and I'm sure there are other points this chapter can focus on instead. Good luck editing! :) 

As I go:

pg 2: I think this chapter is about the time where I don't really want to see any more direct references to O wanting to be a hero until there's further development of what that idea means to her. At this point I think we know that this is O's trait and if the story says something like "She refused to beg," we'll understand why. 

-"A save her from mouthy women." I don't really get a clear view on what this means or why. I can understand "we can't chat now we're in the middle of something" or "help I'm socially awkward stop talking so much to me" but this is a pretty strong statement and it caught me off guard. 

pg 3: This might be an ace/aro thing (or a someone who doesn't wear nail polish thing) but I find the "wow you rescuing/carrying me is hot even though I don't want to admit it because I'm headstrong" is more engaging to me than "that nail polish makes you look hot." I get that physical attraction is a thing but for me it's more interesting when stories base romances off character dynamics instead of visual attributes. 

-Was O not trying to play dead? I thought that was a reasonable course of action back in the last chapter. 

pg 4: again, I don't really care about the nail polish. Right now it feels like it's distracting me from the dynamic. 

pg 5: Was the sharp claw thing a careless accident? Are people trying to rough her up a little since she's new and scared? I feel like O would be able to get a general vibe from the crowd. I do like how she is clearly out of her depth and scared here, though. Gives our hero a clear way to grow. 

pg 8: Oh the nail polish was something that makes her seem out of place? I didn't catch that beforehand. I think the mystery of B can be played up beforehand... is that part of why O's drawn to her?

pg 11: I like how O's being hit with reality. She does seem kinda naive like B was saying (not that I'd do any better in her position).

pg 12: I also like the condescending pats. Must be really annoying for someone who wants to be a hero. 

 

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Edits! I've more clearly described O's injuries, and now she's a bit more dazed as they are walking (with increasing pain as they go). Have specifically noted they are inside a settlement on the last remaining planet in the system. I've also hung a lantern on O's lack of fear, generally:

 

Spoiler

Her vision turned spotty again. Ori decided against pressing further. The noise, the rush of bodies, the smell of slowly-rotting plant matter, increased the farther down the hall they went. She felt like a titha staring down a ravine edge, fighting both the desire to return to the herd, and the thrill of vertigo. But Bell had her, and they were going to see a doctor, so there wasn’t really a reason to be afraid. The Jun System, thus far, seemed mostly bluster. 

Which should lead better then into the next few chapters where she slowly realizes things are very bad.

Thank you all so much for the feedback! I'm glad O is coming across well! 

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I was pretty engaged throughout the chapter.

I loved G4's reaction at the end when she realized she could just call Ard and I think it would be hilarious if when she called, she ended up talking to A. 

I am sort of questioning B's motives. Saving G4 is one thing. Offering her a ship is another.

I saw you already made some edits. I think that will make that scene through the spaceport better. 

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Nice chapter! 

Seems like everything has been covered well already. I like B reflexively and the contrast that she gets to be the hero O is trying so hard to be. This is also the most I've liked O so far. 

One line struck me as hard to picture: while O was being carried and B waves her hand while still holding O in her arms, but it sounds like that has been resolved already.

Thanks for sharing!

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