kais

5/24/2021 - Kais - Pruitcu - Chapter 11 (L) - 3249 words

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K, some issues with this one.

This used to be the second half of chapter ten, and I think hits a lot of the issues people pointed out in chapter ten. Together, they are too long, but noting last week’s feedback now I wonder if I don’t just need to either have them be a long chapter, or get aggressive with the cutting and force them together. Basically this one is all the missing emotional beats.

Thoughts on how to meld this with chapter 10, or if it should just be cut, or something along those lines, would be helpful. Or hey if it works, that’s fine too!

 

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As I read:

p1 - So B's real motive here is for O to provide her with an excuse to salvage scrap from the C Systems? I assume that she needs a N to get into the C Systems, otherwise everyone would just go there? This is good to know - it fixes B's 'too good to be true' problem, and makes me less suspicious of her.

p1 - 'And I think she likes my nail polish' - lol

p2 - 'friend/contact' having the / in there looks weird and takes me out of the story.

p3 - Wow, this job is incredibly suspicious. I guess O is reckless enough not to ask questions.

p4 - I love the cafe with food printers and sparkle spray.

p4 - Sounds like B has a history of picking up strays, which is good context for her relationship with O

p7 - 'Fresh off the grill'

p9 - I know I'm missing a lot not having read the previous books, but it sounds like B is offering to come to N and upend their religion and everything the culture holds to be true about the world? Which sounds fun and interesting to read, but from an in-universe perspective, that sounds super irresponsible for one random person to decide to do all on their own. Isn't B worried that she could accidentally do more harm than good by barging in like that?

p10 - The rehashing of 'O doesn't need to take the job because she could just run off with B' makes me think that B's offer, and O's decision about it, could be moved from the last chapter to this one without losing anything.

p11 - The 'what could possibly go wrong' vibes are strong!

 

So, I did like that we get some more explanation of B's motives and some meaningful interaction between B and O in this chapter. The biggest problem, I thought, was that their interaction at the doctor's stole this one's thunder in places. There was a lot that felt like a rehash of the conversation in the previous chapter, but this time with added emotional beats. But I also think it would be a problem for a romance between O and B if you cut this chapter, because it's (I think?) the first time they've interacted on their own terms and not in a crisis situation, so it's important to establish that they have a rapport.

Question: do you need B to show up in the previous chapter? If not, thoughts on melding with chapter 10: I suggest having O recover from her Ard feelings by herself, find that she's been given enough money to pay the bills but not quite enough to secure passage, agree to do the quick job for Dr Y with the intention of using the money to get out of there. Then in this chapter, she runs into B in the cafe for the first time since she woke up, they chat, B makes her the offer of free passage, O declines for reasons, B promises to wait for her.

I think that would solve last chapter's problems with flirting vs priorities, with B's lack of characterisation, and with the logistics of O accepting the job, as well as this chapter's rehash problems.

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Pg 1:

I think the epigraph here is exactly what we need to get a read on some of B’s character and goals. It provides more background for what had seemed to be a suspicious level of helpfulness previously by showing both that she’s been raised to help people who need help and also that there are ways she is hoping O might help her in return.

Pg 2:

“torn between momentarily monetary stability” Extra word?  Typo?

“she loves strays” even just this line a little earlier in our interactions with B would go a long way in helping with the “Isn’t she being a little too helpful?” questions.

I’m surprised she doesn’t have a few more questions about the job.  It being high-paying is probably enough to make up for it being a little suspicious, but she doesn’t seem to acknowledge the suspiciousness of it.

Pg 3:

B sighed” wrong name.

Pg 7:

“clear over the table” wasn’t she wearing a dress? Is this pulling the skirt up or is it a wide skirt? Seems like that would be as distracting as the apparent flexibility.   Relatedly, this timing/location makes more sense for being distracted by the pretty lady than the hospital room (especially after her world had just been turned on end) did.  It didn’t quite fit when she’d just found out everything about Ard, but having the space between then and here, and a change in location makes it fit much better here.

“set a glass of water down for bother of them” for each of them?

“perfect for all of us” who is all?  B and Y, I get. Should we be aware of anyone else?

Pg 8:

“Y…they send beings…they come back out again…what he has them do…they don’t get arrested by they don’t seem to happy coming out”   My read of this line, the initial “they send beings…” was referring to Y, as does the “he” later, and the other “they”s are referring to the beings being sent into the void?  Is that correct? 

Pg 9:

She says she’s doing work for bird people.  Did we get information that’s tying her job to the bird people?

“You need a drink.” Hah.  I agree. Poor O.

Pg 10:

“going on a minor errand and then …”  …oh yeah.  This seems like everything will be going just fine and that nothing at all will go horribly wrong.

Overall:

This deals with the issues I had with the last chapter really well.  It provides a much better sense of B’s motivations and character, and has a little more distance (both time and space-wise) between the details of O’s attraction to her and the news about Ata/Ard.  

As for how to combine them (or not) in a useful way....hm.

I like @RedBlue's thoughts on having less of B in the previous chapter. It seems like B might need to be present in some form to get the memo of O being overwhelmed by the news from Ard, but I think having her appear, make her offer to pay the bills and take O to Ard, then give O space might work. So you could have the sense of B’s really wanting to help (quickly followed up by Y’s comment about her picking up strays), O’s not wanting to accept charity, and Y offering the job.  I’d have to check back to last week’s chapter to see how much time O and B spend talking, but maybe some of that could be trimmed back and some could be moved to their conversation at the café where O would have had more time to absorb some of the information about Ard. At least enough of it to avoid the priority misalignment I was having trouble with before where flirting with someone she’d just met had been seeming just as important as the life-changing news about Ard.  By the time she’s at the café, she’s physically and mentally drained, and it makes sense for her to let Ard-related worries fall by the wayside for a bit when talking to a friendly, attractive lady seems like a far more enjoyable way to spend a little time and decompress a bit.   

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I agree with the others that this does fix a lot of the last chapter. It's not terrible as it is, where this is a bunch of sequels to last chapter's scene. As for combining, I think moving this epigraph to the previous chapter will help flesh B out enough to let the reader wait for more information. We still need a lot of the revelation that came about how things work here in the last chapter, and the conversation between the two here is really good.

You could potentially cut a lot of the shopping in this chapter and the waking up in the last chapter to recombine them into one, but I think you might miss some things. I also think B needs to be present last chapter because these two are about the relationship developing. There's simply a lot here that the old readers need to be reminded of and the new readers need to learn, plus more information that's new to everyone. If you can hang a lantern on :"I'll explain this all in a bit" with things like the epigraph in Ch 10, that might help.

 

Notes while reading:

Pg 1: Oh, lol. This is from B's POV. Great to see what she things of O. Also glad to see she does have some ulterior motive with the scrap.

pg 2: "an hour post-surgery."
--huh. Thought it was longer than that.

pg 2: "they pulled a thin biofilm sticker from their other pocket"
--the hologram pulled a physical sticker from their pocket?

pg 3: "To go shopping."
--this is both a very specific and vague mission she's on. I'm wondering who's following/watching her.

pg 5: "watched the chair promptly go limp in her hands, feathers shedding into a sad puddle"
--had to read this a couple times to figure out what this was. It's an inflatable feather chair?

pg 6: "There was clearly no escaping the fungi"
--this seems on-brand.

pg 6: "Any unprotected cellulose just gets pulled to the Void."
--okay, glad to get an explanation for that. I was wondering.

pg 7: "Fresh of the grill!"
--"off"

pg 7: "but you’re especially perfect for Y. I wasn’t thinking about the rebels when I took you to the doctor."
--Hopefully this will get unpacked at some point. Right now I don't really understand it.

pg 9: Good conversation between the two.


pg 11: Some good background here that grounds B as a character. This makes their paring work a lot better, I thought.

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Sorry I was MIA last week! I did read chapter 10 but I didn't really feel like I could provide any valuable feedback that wasn’t already said. 

So we continue forward :)

As i go:

pg 1

-i agree that this epigraph could be moved up earlier so we get a better sense of B’s motivations. She becomes more than just a “sexy savior” 

-“Souvenirs, boring things” very curious where this is going

-also curious why Or is specifically doing this job. I assume B has a reason for not doing it… but idk what it is. Edit: it's sort of explained further down on page 8.

-also, if Y wanted to pay Or for a job, couldnt that have been the exchange for Or’s medical bills? If you can't pay, then do this job for me and your bills will be settled, with money to spare.

-maybe it would work better if Ard doesn't end up paying for her bills so that way she has to do this job? idk

pg 5

“White material shifted in her ear” eeeeeee

pg 6

“Any unprotected cellulose gets pulled” oooh is this what happened with the other gang that got pulled into the void?

“For phase two which I'm not allowed” wait but Y never said not to ask, I thought. it was more of an assumption on Or’s part

pg 7

“B set a glass of water down for both of them” are they sharing one cup of water or do they each get one?

pg 8

-so is Y gonna send Or into the void??

pg 9

“If diddling around… gets me legit passage to Ard” wait does it?? I thought it was just for money

pg 11

“Remember what is here” so ominous

Overall, I didn’t have any major issues with this chapter. I think you could merge this chapter and last chapter for sure, as long as you cut a few things back. I feel like we were in the hospital for a while (could be WRS tho) and I sort of wanted things to move on, which they did in this chapter. But also, on the flipside, there's a lot of information that we need and emotional beats that are important so I'm not exaaactly sure what you should cut. But yeah, good job as always :)

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As I go:

pg 1. Honestly I've been kinda skimming/ignoring most of the epigraphs but this grabbed my attention. Really strong motivation here right off the bat 

pg 3. I don't trust this... why does O?

pg 5-6. I think this can be cut down a bit, especially if the location doesn't come up again. Really I'm waiting for them to talk about personal stuff

-the map gets a big ol detailed paragraph and I'm not quite sure why

pg 8. I think B's spiel is broader than we need right now. I don't really care about all the different factions at play; it seems like the most important part is that Y is doing something shady that could get O dragged into it long-term and I want that to be the focus

pg 9. So O is disappointed in herself that A did so much better than her? Bitter? This is what I wanted more of earlier. 

-B's response here does a better job of hanging a lantern on the fact that O really doesn't know what she wants from Ard. Any chance we could get this conversation earlier?

pg 11. Hmm B seems to cut things off rather abruptly

Overall:

On 5/24/2021 at 4:28 PM, kais said:

Thoughts on how to meld this with chapter 10, or if it should just be cut, or something along those lines, would be helpful. Or hey if it works, that’s fine too!

My personal thoughts are that the conversation with B here and the epigraph should be the first thing we get from O after the call to Ard. I don't think it would be hard to fit in, since O is probably overwhelmed and B can very easily be like "okay let's get you outside for a bit. I know a place" or something like that. The reasons I'm saying this are that 1. this information and the dynamic is important and I want it to be firmly established as soon as possible and 2. there's not a lot of plot motion in the conversation itself so it doesn't feel like the ideal end to a chapter. It's more... picking up the pieces of what happened earlier, which I think is better at the start of a chapter so it can lead us into a new dynamic later on in the chapter. 

The earlier stuff in this chapter is fine, but it raises questions that get put on pause halfway through. I think having it lead directly into the second part of the job will make it stronger, which is another reason why I want the conversation earlier. 

So my ideal course of events for the two chapters is (and I know this is prescriptive but I'm assuming you asking for thoughts gives me the go-ahead to do this):

O is overwhelmed after finding out all the info about Ard and At -> B notices this and takes her out -> they chat at the restaurant about what O wants -> B offers to take her to Ard -> Y contacts them as O is thinking B's offer over and wants O to report back -> Y offers the job and O accepts -> part 1 of the mission with gathering materials -> part 2 of the mission (partially or fully)

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Thank you all for the help!

I've combined the two chapters, cutting out about 1000 words and moving the epigraph from the second chapter to the first. The money from Ard doesn't come through right away now, so O has to take the job so that B doesn't have to pay for her. Other change: Yash now encourages O to go have dinner with B after shopping to gab about her purchases and really play up the tourism thing.

Thank you all for the help streamlining! I've cut some of the redundancy between the chapters and I think it is stronger for it.

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