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RedBlue

5/17/21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch7&8 (2783 words)

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Hello everyone,

This week, I’m subbing chapters 7 and 8 together, since they’re both short (even more so than usual).

Questions:

1) Any boring bits or bits that don’t make sense?

2) Do C and V’s character arcs track?

3) Does the info about the WS in chapter 8 feel satisfying? Was it too easy to guess, or did it come out of nowhere? Are you interested in the mysteries still to be uncovered?

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7 hours ago, RedBlue said:

1) Any boring bits or bits that don’t make sense?

2) Do C and V’s character arcs track?

3) Does the info about the WS in chapter 8 feel satisfying? Was it too easy to guess, or did it come out of nowhere? Are you interested in the mysteries still to be uncovered?

1) I don't think this chapter really pushes the plot along enough. There's also the dangling plot thread of the plane, which we still haven't gotten back to. The whole homework bit is not particularly interesting.

2) Such as they are, I guess? I didn't see a lot of progression for either one's arc.

3) I think it's too easy, and not satisfying enough. All the information is what the reader (or C) has already guessed at. We know the stove turns things into other things. At this point I'm more interested if the adults' weird effects are from the stove, how, and WHY the stove is such a big part of the town. The mechanics aren't that interesting without meaning.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: I think Mrs. F secretly wants to be a poet.

pg 2: I feel like C might have been vaguely interested about the condition of the dog she just gave up? Why does she just brush E off?

pg 3: "This is getting silly.” 
--V is in the school library? Does he come to class with her?

pg 3: "full marks"
--I'm also not sure why C is back on getting full marks when she knows GM was lying?

pg 5: "It never mattered what marks she was getting."
--I thought she already figured this out?

pg 6: I'm not sure we need the interlude with the dog...

pg 9: I'm a little frustrated by the reveal of the wood stove. I think this is all stuff we've guessed at already, so I was looking for a little more content.

pg 10: "another link between the curse and the Wood Stove,"
--okay, yes, I don't think we've been told the stove is specifically at the center of the town, but it's something we could easily guess.

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  1. Nah, I think it general these chapters are just a little bit less tense or eventful than the previous ones. Some of the scenes (like w V and MD) are pretty short too so it doesn't seem like much happens. There were a few parts where I was confused, but I'll get to that 
  2. I don't get what you mean by this haha
  3. The fire tenders thing was new, but nothing else was really surprising or anything. It didn't come out of nowhere. I think I'm most interested in the 'sacrifices' thing that GM mentioned earlier and what specifically the adults have to do with the WS. And I guess at what point the children become adults/included in what's going on (I think that has something to do with C, but idk). 

pg 1 "sad" -> weddings are sad? Mrs. F sounds like a super annoying teacher. the sentence w "routines of school" kinda felt a bit off to me

pg 2 - I feel like the thing w E is going to backfire on C and she'll lose her last friend lol

pg 5 - I'm a bit confused as to why C is realizing that the week was a waste now? Why did she realize that now? Like I'm not quite following her thought process; I mean, I get that it was, but I didn't think she was there yet...? Also a similar thing w the trust bit later... though that might've been mentioned before and I'm just forgetting 

pg 6 "anxiety" hmm that seems important 

pg 7 - I didn't really get the point of MD's POV or what happened there

pg 10 "not very long" -> I don't think I'm right, but... is V from the WS? Also in general, kinda the same thing as the bit with MD, I'm not sure what this was for. The village is a perfect circle? The WS is in the centre of the village? (Also, if that's a new development, shouldn't C already have known that her house is in the middle of the village? Why did we need V to find that out?) 

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Overall

I liked the first chapter, though I think mop dog's POV in it isn't necessary. Same with V in the second chapter. I felt like the info C did get on the stove was a touch too easy to get, and would have liked to see some of the associated fairy tale consequences, or some kind of payment she had to use to get the informaiton (like putting mopdog back in the stove, etc)

Mostly I feel like we didn't move forward this chapter. We got some threads confirmed, but there was no real progression. On the plus side, I do finally really like C, and am invested in her journey.

 

As I go

- pg 4: V still feels superfluous as a character. I'm not clear what he contributes

- pg 5: wait, how does she get to the 'never going to get wood stove explained' conclusion? There's some huge logic jump here I did not follow. There was decent mystery with her suddenly getting a perfect but I don't understand how it so suddenly crashed down here on page 5

- pg 7: the mopdog POV in that first chapter does not appear to contribute to the narrative or story

- pg 8: it feels like she is getting this information very easily all of a sudden

- pg 10: I still think V's POV isn't necessary. He doesn't advance the plot so much as just tell us about little things. C is really our dynamic character and it is far more fun to watch her figure things out than have little helpers do it

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As I go:

pg 1. Is this a real book? It sounds like the most boring thing imaginable

pg 2. Shouldn't C be interested to talk to E about this stuff? I mean, her whole plot revolves around uncovering what's going on in the town, right? E might be able to help her. 

pg 3. We know the effort is all futile anyway so I'm not sure how much time we need to spend on this

pg 5. This is where the action of the chapter really starts. Honestly I think we could cut the first three pages and start with her getting full marks 

pg 6. I think this can be cut down to a paragraph or two. I do like the reveal that E's being told about the wood stove though 

pg 7-8. While I'm glad we're getting information, I think this scene is a large liability for the story right now. The fact that all C needed to do to get information about the wood stove was to ask makes all of the previous chapters feel irrelevant. 

pg 9. Hmm I really don't understand C's distrust in S specifically. He's been more helpful than anyone else so far, and what he says seems to (at least sort of) track. 

pg 10. As with C's action here, seems like V could have done this at any time

On 5/17/2021 at 6:58 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Any boring bits or bits that don’t make sense?

2) Do C and V’s character arcs track?

3) Does the info about the WS in chapter 8 feel satisfying? Was it too easy to guess, or did it come out of nowhere? Are you interested in the mysteries still to be uncovered?

1. Nope! All good here :) 

2. Hmm I like C realizing that G-M was bullying her but like I said above I'm not sure why she distrusts S so much. I didn't get a ton from V personality-wise I didn't already know, honestly.

3. Honestly this is my biggest comment on the chapter. I think the timing here is good, and I think the information itself is about what we need to know and makes sense. The problem is the way C and V find out what happens. Stories need to have a strong sense of cause and effect (much more so than real life) to be compelling, and that's what's breaking down here. C asking for help and V flying around doesn't have a strong cause. Like I said, it feels like they could have gotten this information at any time and the fact that they spent 7 chapters wandering around accomplishing nothing when the answers were so easy is the biggest thing I want to see addressed in the story as a whole. I can see where the story is trying to establish cause and effect by having C realize that G-M got the information from adults which prompts C to ask, but that's also something she could have figured out before. Though this isn't a comment on your writing skill at all. This kind of stuff happens.

The easiest solution is to come up with some reason why C couldn't have successfully asked S before, and explain why the situation changes so that S responds. Right now the story is relying on "she doesn't think to ask S before" as the reason, which is not nearly as satisfying as her overcoming an actual barrier to ask S and get the information. 

I think this is similar to what everyone else is talking about with not moving the story forward. Even though we get enough plot-relevant information, it doesn't feel like C moves her own story forward because all of the information is handed to her rather easily. 

That being said, I can see the potential for this chapter to be really awesome. The reason I'm going so in depth is that I really want to see the chapter succeed. 

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Thanks for the feedback, all!

I see everyone’s point about MD and V’s POVs not really adding much. My plan is to cut them and work the salient points into other scenes. I’ll probably combine the two chapters into one, too. 

On 19/05/2021 at 3:53 AM, Ace of Hearts said:

I think this is similar to what everyone else is talking about with not moving the story forward. Even though we get enough plot-relevant information, it doesn't feel like C moves her own story forward because all of the information is handed to her rather easily. 

Yeah, I think my problem here is that there will be quite a big consequence for C asking S directly, but I forgot to make it clear to C and the reader that something bad is going to happen as a result of this choice :wacko:

I’ll have to find a way to work that in without breaking the plot.

 

On 18/05/2021 at 5:29 PM, kais said:

On the plus side, I do finally really like C, and am invested in her journey.

I’m glad you liked C in this bit! Is there a specific thing you can point at that I did right, or is it more of a vague feeling?

Thanks again to all of you for the feedback!

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2 hours ago, RedBlue said:

I’m glad you liked C in this bit! Is there a specific thing you can point at that I did right, or is it more of a vague feeling?

I think it is because she is frustrated and emoting in this chapter, and I haven't really seen that level of emotion from her before

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1) Any boring bits or bits that don’t make sense?

Most of chapter 7 where C is concerned with getting good grades and ignoring everything else was somewhat frustrating and boring to me. V was making some cogent points, that I wanted C to address, but she just tried to ignore them and focus on homework. I think that C spends way too long to realize that GM tricked her and that getting good grades isn't going to do anything.

2) Do C and V’s character arcs track?

As it is, I don't see much of an arc between the two of them, particularly V. He feels like he's been absent a lot lately, and quite a bit more passive than when he was introduced. There's has been more with C, but at the same time, she has frustratingly maintained her dense naivety. 

3) Does the info about the WS in chapter 8 feel satisfying? Was it too easy to guess, or did it come out of nowhere? Are you interested in the mysteries still to be uncovered?

It wasn't particularly satisfying, since I had figured that out many chapters ago. It was very easy to guess. I am interested to see what's going on with the WS, but the intrigue is starting to sour. I want some more meat about the WS. I want to know about the plane. I want to know what the deal is with C, was she created in the WS? I want more juicy WS bits.

As I go-

(Chapter 7)

pg 1

- It seemed like "Consumption and Conservation" was going to be an important book, but from how C describes it, it's about rich people arguing about money and getting married. This may be a red herring from C's POV, as it feels like it might be actually about the town of C. I also find it interesting that Consumption and Conservation both start with "Con", as does the protagonist/town name. I still feel like the book is important, and possibly about the town and its people. Especially when we get the line, "the book's approach to responsibility." We've already seen the word "responsibility" used in reference to the WS.

pg 2

- Her brain wants to focus on how much she misses MD. Does she really? They didn't seem to have a close connection, and she's only had him for a couple of days. Perhaps it's because she was his creator.

- "Instead of building up and up until it spills over, the buzzing energy inside her seems to have vanished." I still want to know what the deal is with this. Is it magic, is it a metaphor for a mental health problem, is it a physical ailment?

- It feels like C is ignoring all the interesting questions that have been posed lately, and is instead trying to drag reader down the path of boredom she has selected for herself in her quest to become good at schoolwork, even though she knows that GM was lying about the grades thing.

pg 3

- "I have completed an aerial circuit of the town." Just now? Isn't the town quite small? I feel like V did this the first day he was there. What has he been doing with his time if he's just now completed an aerial circuit of the town?

- "And your house is at the origin-that is, the dead centre-of the circle!" Mmhmm, around the house with the stove, which is definitely cursed. Makes sense.

- "Are you still working on that essay? This is getting silly." Agreed, V. Very much agreed. We saw through GM from the beginning. Why is C still committed to getting good grades?

- "We still haven't finished investigating the plane!" Yassssss. We need to get back to that, please. I want to know what's going on with that so badly.

pg 4

- "...on a single-minded mission to do whatever it is that teachers do in the staff room." I feel like I've already read this line from you much earlier in the novel.

pg 5

- "She sees a nasty bully, laughing at other people's trust." Geez, finally C. Been waiting so long for C to realize this about GM. You can only be so naive until it begins to cross over into stupidity. And we know that C isn't stupid.

pg 6

- "A hungry, smouldering elephant in the room." This is an excellent line. I love it.

pg 7

- "So MD can't understand most language, other than his name, but he can recognize the phrase, "WS?"

Chapter 8

pg 1 

- "This jumper is a metaphor, isn't it?" Haha, I love this. 

pg 2

- "If you keep trying to find out more, you will not be permitted to live in town any longer." Oh wow. What would they do, just exile her?

- "I think the WS can burn anything. Not just objects, but concepts too...You don't gain or lose anything, but it all gets shuffled around." Hmm interesting that C has figured out this much.

pg 3

- "It can't quite burn anything." Wow. Mr Sta folded rather quickly.

- "Since before before." Haha, this is amusing, but also intriguing.

- "...and to clean up or take care of any unwanted products." Is he talking about V or MD, or is he possibly talking about C? Hmm.

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