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RedBlue

5/24/21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch9 (3095 words)

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Hello everyone,

Thanks for the feedback on the last chapter. I’m planning to change the conversation between C and Mr S so that C is aware of some of the repercussions of her continuing to push for answers (then keeps pushing for them anyway). I’m still wrangling with some plot details, and I’ll probably post a revision to that scene once I’m happy with it, but the specifics aren’t necessary for this week’s chapter.

Questions:

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

2) Do the characters’ thoughts and actions make sense?

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I thought this was one of your better chapters so far. There are some interesting characterizations and C is finally learning how to deal with GM. That said, I'm still frustrated by the lack of movement on the deal with the stove. I was hoping C would figure something out from her plan to get into the plane, but nothing really happened. Even if she started to discover something, but then was interrupted by GM, that would be better. She does realize it's maybe from the stove, but that's not really surprising at this point.

A little confusion as well on how well C has GM figured out now, when she was completely clueless a chapter or so ago. It's a quick transition.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "If there’s been some kind of misunderstanding, why can’t you just explain that you want to be friends again?”
--Yeah, that's sort of my thought in all this. Why not just sit down with T and go over everything?

pg 2: "for that sort of thing"
--what is E expecting to do?

pg 3: "they will be the first of the current generation of kids to go on a date"
--How old are these kids? I was thinking like 12 or so. Also, it's not like there's a big pool to choose from. Someone's going to have to go with someone else eventually...

pg 4: "the ‘date’ will be an unmitigated disaster..."
--there are a lot of assumptions in here. Also, I'm not sure what GM's POV really adds yet.

pg 5: hmmm...yeah, I'm not sure what all this planning on GM's part is doing.

pg 5: "trespassing on the Claimjumpers’ property"
--lol. The last names in this are great.

pg 6: "edges of exercise books, familiar energy tingling through them, wanting to tap out excited rhythms"
--do what now?

pg 8: "Even when you think she couldn’t possibly do anything bad to you, she finds some way to ruin your whole day."
--so this is in direct opposition to what I've remarked on in earlier chapters that C seems overly optimistic about GM's friendship. Why does she now understand how manipulative GM is?

pg 8: "How could C have fallen for it so easily?"
--okay, so was the previous comment about how C has finally understood GM? It sounded like she'e been aware of it for a while, but this paragraph makes it seem like a new thing.

pg 9: "when they have a sudden surge of energy but not enough sleep to prop it up."
--Having a hard time visualizing this.

pg 10: “I want you to stop being involved!"
--again, I'd find this more believable if there were more than five kids in this town.

pg 11: Nice moment of victory at the end, but I would have liked C to actually learn something from the plane. I'm getting tired of waiting to find out more about the wood stove.

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I really enjoyed this chapter!! It felt like things were starting to pick up, and I particularly enjoyed GM's inner thought process about E and T being inducted to the stove... that's progress right :0 I guess whatever T took from the airplane-house must have been what set T off? Because other it being from the stove, there's nothing particularly off about it, so while going there seems like an important step, it didn't really seem very conclusive. And about characterization, I think I was a bit thrown off by C being embarrassed? I didn't think she was particularly embarrassed from the marks trick...

pg 2 - E isn't commenting about how it's bad to break into a barn or something? Like there was a bit of a "why can't you talk to T" but I figured there'd be some more... "maybe breaking into someone else's property could have negative consequences if you get caught and maybe have a backup plan" or something lol. The "chance with T" thing was funny tho lmao I wasn't expecting that

pg 3 - isn't the current generation like four people? I wouldn't really have expected E and T to not be the first set of dates. Also I was worried about an hour not being enough

"Mayor's son" -> oh? seems important?

pg 4 - "two children to the WS" :00 digging this vibe, I'm really interested in what introducing them means. Also around here I was thinking if GM and C would somehow team up? Eventually? 

pg 8 "trick" -> the embarrassment thing I mentioned earlier

pg 10 - love the bit on popularity

pg 11 - "saying things that are true" -> what’s true? I don’t buy that she believes GM should be popular—C believes that pushing the MD on E isn’t fair? I liked seeing C realize and stand up to GM though! 

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Pg 1:

I think the opening sentence could use a little reworking to flow better.

In the second paragraph, I’m not sure that the punctuation around the dialogue would be the same for “is what E has to say” as it would be for “E says”  but I’m not entirely sure about that and might just be overthinking the slightly different phrasing.

“why can’t you just explain…”  this back and forth doesn’t really match up with the understanding I’ve had of C. She knows the adults are hiding things from her now, but for someone who generally believes the best in people, I’d expect her to initially assume they have good reasons for it.  She has reasons to mistrust GM (who has been a jerk to her), and maybe Mr. S (who seems to be actively discouraging her from finding anything else out, if nothing else), but I would expect there to be more of a sense of “of course the grown-ups aren’t going to tell me something I don’t need to know right now” even if she’s not going to let that stop her from figuring it out on her own.  Not trusting them makes it seem like she thinks they’re being malicious in some way, which I haven’t really gotten the impression of.  Just that they’re not telling her anything because she’s a kid who doesn’t need to know about the “grown up things” so she’s going to have to figure it out on her own.  And T would have the impression that C is doing the same thing to her.

Pg 2:

“E gasps audibly…” Hah.  The back and forth between them here fits my understanding of C much better, and I enjoyed the contrast between C and E.  C being very practically focused on what must be done to solve the mystery of the town, E being all excited about T.

Pg 3-4:

Not knowing enough about D or E, I don’t really know what to make of GM’s assumptions here.  We’ve been shown that GM jumps to conclusions where her position among her friends might be at risk, so that matches up a little, but I don’t know if we’re supposed to see that here or if we’re supposed to trust that this is actually what D is planning for E and T. And if the latter, I’m not entirely clear on why that’s a threat to her popularity when she’s still the one who knew first and has that bragging point.

 Pg 5:

I’m also not completely sure what she hopes to accomplish by continuing to keep C out of the group.  When they’re all in school together and the only kids in town, it doesn’t seem like a feasible goal.

On my first readthrough, the “fall from this height would be unwise” line didn’t really stick in my brain because we moved right on to what’s inside, but considering where the chapter ends, I wonder if it might be better to push on that detail a little harder here.

Pg 6:

“exercise books” on my first readthrough, I’d read this as books about physical exercise, which was confusing, but I think I’ve gotten used to just going along with a few odd details here and there because of the curse, so I didn’t think of it much more than that.  I assume it’s more like textbooks or books of math problems and things?  “Exercise book” isn’t really a term I’m familiar with.

“familiar energy tingling through them”  I assume this is what we saw the one other time when she then does…something that seemed sort of magic-y but that I didn’t understand.  I still think we need a little more information about what exactly causes that or what it’s doing when she fixes it or whatever. Something to give us an idea for where to place it in the story.

I am definitely intrigued by what we’ve found in the airplane.

“nothing happens when she flips it.” Reminds me of a few of the mystery-switches in my house.

Pg 7:

“just a schoolgirl” , “She could mess everything up.”  I don’t really get what she means here.  Messing up C’s exploring?  She’s already been interfering with that.  It seems odd to me that C was concerned that T, who she is good friends with (or was until recently), would report her exploring to the adults or destroy what she was looking at, but doesn’t seem especially concerned that GM (who is definitely interfering with what she’s trying to do) would do the same thing.  We could use a better sense of the stakes of “messing everything up” or “telling the adults.”

I think we could also use the reminder of the break in trust before she’s trying to explain her concerns to V.

“like she faces everything else” except her friend T’s misunderstanding.

Pg 8:

“He’s green.” “I should have foreseen this.” Hah.

Looking down at GM would also be a good time to remind us how far off the ground we are.

Pg 10-11:

I like the overall idea of GM demanding to be the influential one in the friend group. Her need to have them need her.  But I think some of this conversation could be trimmed back a little or streamlined

Pg 11-12:

How far of a fall is this?  If it’s high enough that GM would expect her to fearfully hide away in the plane until someone saves her, I’d expect some consequence to the fall. Even if it’s just a twisted ankle or some cuts/bruises if she stumbles and falls after landing.    I like seeing C stand up to GM, but it could have more power behind it if we get a better sense of there being a real risk to jumping instead of giving in and waiting.

Overall:

 I enjoyed a number of things in this chapter. Specifically C’s plotting to find answers (even if I’m not 100% sure I’m buying into her reasons for avoiding T) and her standing up to GM at the end. 

I think a little work clarifying C’s reasons for not trusting the adults (and what she expects them to do if they find out what she’s doing) would go a long way toward making it more feasible for C to not go fix things with T right away.  Some clarification to GM’s motivations would be helpful as well.  If only to provide more reason for why she thinks D is going to tell T and E about the stove and why she sees that as an obvious threat to be solved by getting C out of the way.    I get a pretty obvious sense of what GM’s goals are, but her motivations are a little murky, and I’m not sure how much of that is because she’s jumping to conclusions and seeing threats that aren’t there or where I’m just not making the right connections within the story.

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Overall

Good movement here and some strong plot development. I loved the final scene. I'm still confused with G-M (see below) but its nice to have the narrative picking up steam. Generally I enjoyed this installment.

 

On 5/24/2021 at 11:38 AM, Mandamon said:

I'm still frustrated by the lack of movement on the deal with the stove.

I am also frustrated. I wanted her to find something important before the G-M showdown

 

 

As I go

- pg 1: I think part of the disconnect I have with the story and C is using words like 'sounds' instead of 'is'. When you use 'is' it makes it clear C is our POV. Using 'sounds' makes it sound like authorial diction, which puts a layer between the reader and the story

- same here: is what Ed has to say when <-- why not just: 'E says'? The former is again, authorial story telling. The latter is immediate character

- pg 4: through here I feel like there is a lot going on but I just don't really understand it. I want to. It sounds plotful and such, but it's like I'm missing some key piece that will make everything make sense

- pg 10: I still find it weird that no one seems to really react to the raven talking

- pg 11: G-M turns to Co with a dumbfounded stare. She’s surprised that Co has learned from her last mistake.<-- There is still a fair amount of this, showing then telling. That second sentence can be deleted. We understand it from the first one

I don't get stuck <-- AMAZING line!

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As I go:

pg 2. Don't strain a muscle patting yourself on the back, C

-omg I love how C doesn't understand the implications of what she's asking E to do. I am now headcanoning her as as aro until disproven 

pg 4. I love G-M's paranoid, scheming mind. Imo this makes a lot more sense than her thoughts about distracting C with homework

pg 5. It's worth noting that I'm really engaged by the social dynamics of the kids and less engaged with the airplane rn

pg 6. Hmm this is all surprising but like I said my real engagement is coming from the kids and their interactions. Maybe it's just the time in between weekly subs but I can't quite remember why the plane matters so much

pg 8. I can tell that C being vague here about her fear of G-M is intentional, but it doesn't give me much to work with. If she can't work through her feelings then she could think about other examples

pg 10. G-M seems... really pathetic here. I definitely liked her (as a character, not as a person) more when she felt on top of her game 

Overall:

On 5/24/2021 at 5:42 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

2) Do the characters’ thoughts and actions make sense?

1. Nothing's really boring, but like I said the friend group politics are more interesting to me than the plane and wood stove, so the part where C is investigating the plane on her own is a lull for me. Up to you to decide how much of that is the story and how much of that is me.

2. G-M being so honest with C is a bit of a head scratcher to me. She's constantly scheming and thinking so surely she can see that acting like a total a-hole to C isn't going to work, right? I think there are ways she can frame the same thing but be much better at manipulation (such as tear-jerking C, like "All I wanted was to be accepted by everyone and they all like you so much," ect.). As for C, I'm glad that she's standing up to G-M but I need a bit more about where that comes from. Yeah, she realized that G-M manipulated her, but I don't really get a good sense for how that makes her feel. 

Overall, though, most things do make sense. I really like E after this chapter. He's just a dorky guy who has some tender feelings and I want to protect him. 

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