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RedBlue

6/7/21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch11 (3034 words)

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Hello everyone,

Chapter 11 this week. Thanks for all the feedback on chapter 10 – I’ve added a few lines to point out the scheduling clash between T’s Wood Stove appointment and the town meeting, and also to show C grappling a bit with the decision (basically, her curiosity about the town’s secrets vs her friendship with T).

Questions:

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

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

3) Thoughts about GM and C?

4) Is the reveal of new info satisfying?

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Overall:

I really like this chapter.  I am definitely intrigued by the new things we’ve learned and can’t wait to see what the AH holds. 

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

I think the town meeting goes on a little longer than it needs to. I like the things we learn there, but I think Mr. S’s explanation, especially, could be trimmed back to more basic details.

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

For the most part. I’m having a bit of a disconnect about why C getting the new information about the woodstove is as big a deal as they’re making it. I mention that below.

3) Thoughts about GM and C?

I like their interactions here and the background we get on GM.  I like both possibilities being presented for GM.  That she’s realizing she’s been horrible and trying to be better or that she’s faking it to continue to try to put herself at the center of attention (I could see her thinking that if she takes the blame for trying to start the fire, they might send her to see C-ine instead of C). 

4) Is the reveal of new info satisfying?

Other than Mr. S’s explanation being a little long, I really liked the new information we got. I did have the thought that it was odd that GM went out of her way to notice the two-story building there, only to just leave it (when the kids have already broken into other buildings in the past. The barn, anyway). I almost think we need to see something about the AH earlier in the story, especially if it’s such a notable thing and the kids have explored pretty much everywhere else.  We know C likes poking around in old buildings, so I would have expected it to be mentioned before now as the one old building she hasn’t gotten to explore. 

There were a few new things that were touched on that were sort of just dropped and left that I don’t know how to feel about (“the late Claim-s”,  the way the mayor refers to C, etc.)  I don’t know if I’m supposed to pick up on them as significant and file them away until it’s relevant or assume it’s something I’m supposed to understand already or that I’m reading into too much.

 

Pg 1:

I don’t remember rain in the previous chapter.  Though it does provide a good ominous start.

“from which an occasional drip splashes…” I think there should be a comma before this?

“which will presumably be set out…” same here.

Pg 2:

“Coats or snacks or something…” Snack storage is vitally important for any community gathering place.

Pg 4:

The mayor has a pretty excellent name.  But also, “trails of slime”. Ew.  He’s E’s father, right?  Seems like it would be fitting for MD to follow him around.

Also, I’m expecting some sign of why each of the adults has morphed into the strange creatures they are now based on some personality flaw or tendency. I don’t think we’ve seen enough of the adults’ personalities to get a solid hint that that’s how things work, but since we first saw C’s dad rolling in, my brain has been looking for some answer to “why bowling ball? Why skeleton?”  At the moment, that’s just a random thought, but depending on what else we find out about that, I might suggest hanging a lantern on some aspect of that closer to the front.

“…fire tenders’ … daughter…” well, that’s an ominous ellipsis if I’ve ever seen one.

“C is intrigued.” I am also intrigued.  

Pg 5:

I think it would be helpful for C to have some thought about being overheard earlier in her altercation with GM.  Maybe noting a contrast between C’s urgent hiss at the end of pg 4 and the volume of GM’s response. Or some change in the noise overhead. Otherwise, it’s not clear until “GM screams” that they’re likely being overheard and about to be discovered, which misses a chance for extra tension here.

Pg 6:

“all the parents with the exception of the B, and Mayor S.”  While the commas are all in the right place, the way the list here is organized, it sort of seems like the mayor is part of the group of parents who are not present.  Also, is he not E’s dad, then? if he’s not being referred to as part of the group of parents?  I’d thought E had been introduced as the mayor’s son. But it has also been a while since then.

“with unnatural appeal…” hmmm…

“a little disappointed that the…meeting isn’t more exciting.” Sorry, C.  If you wanted exciting, you should have let GM burn the place down. 

I like C acknowledging that these are the people she lives with, though it’s a pretty quick dismissal of the image she’s been building up over the previous chapters of them keeping things from her.

Pg 7:

I really like what we find out about GM here. Especially the “plain is entirely the wrong word…” paragraph. I like the image of the diamond earrings contrasted with GM’s rage.

I am also glad you go straight to C demanding to know why they made GM do it. Because it would have bothered me for things to go too long without an answer for that.

Pg 8:

Mr. S providing an explanation is good, but I think there’s more of it here than we need, which is distracting from the tension of the meeting.

“late Claim-” I’m forgetting who they are.  Wasn’t that T’s family? If that's tied into what she's doing at the woodstove, we definitely need C to have some reaction to that.  But I am honestly forgetting who they are, so feel free to ignore this concern.

“I hope it was worth it…” So she got them to acknowledge a part of life in town that they all had to deal with on a day-to-day basis anyway?  I’m not sure why that’s as big of a deal as it’s being presented as here.  Or why C thinks running away is a reasonable response. I think we need a clearer indication of what makes the stakes as high as the characters think they are. At the moment, I’m not sure if it’s something I’m missing or if they’re making a big deal about things.

Pg 9:

“wants to know what’s going to happen next” seems really detached if she thinks there’s actual danger involved.  Maybe stressing what it is she wants to know more about? Con-tine? The house?

Pg 10:

I like the balance depicted while she’s standing here on the doorstep, but I think for the lines about going in against her nonexistent better judgment to work, there needs to be more of a sense of the fear vs. curiosity conflict. The “neither pushed nor pulled” implies that she would just stand there until prompted to do something unless she decided to do otherwise, not that the pull of curiosity is balanced by the fear of what might be waiting.

I like the line about her not having any better judgment, and really like the end line, but I think the build up to it in the last page or so could be a little stronger.

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Overall

Generally, a very engaging chapter! I read right along with very few notes. I think the ending needs punched up a touch, and there's some wordiness at the start of the chapter that could be tightened, but overall I think this has a great arc, solid characters, and forward tension. Nicely done!

 

 

As I go

- that first paragraph is wordy in places. I think cutting down some words would help give it stronger impact

- pg 1: Frustrated and feeling a growing rage <-- I'd rather see this than be told

- through page four here I'm very engaged

- pg 5: I'm confused. I thought G-M wanted C in trouble? So why is she now trying to burn down the hall to save C? Motivation switch I don't understand

- pg 10: despite her feeling of present danger, she really wants to know what’s going to happen next. <-- LOL kind of meta but I like it

- I think the end beat is off just a bit. It was building to a Big Reveal, and instead leaves us sort of dangling. I think a shock at the end might work better, like a teaser of what she sees (someone who looks just like her?)

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  1. I think the start was a little slow, with GM trying to figure out what to do. It might be because I've forgotten stuff, but some of the info at the confrontation and onwards had me confused. 
  2. I was surprised at GM's reveal, and I'm not quite sure why she did that. Also, why are they trying to get rid of C? Just because she's asking questions and the other youth are uncomfortable? Seems a bit drastic lol. Also, wouldn't it have made more sense to just tell C stuff (or enough stuff, if not everything) to have her not "dredge up such unpleasantness"? 
  3. I did like seeing them interact before getting caught by the adults, though! Their dynamic is kinda fun. 
  4. Yeah, I like that we're getting new info, but like I said I'm a little confused.

I agree that the ending could be a bit more impactful with the reveal! 

pg 1 - "making her blink..." this bit at the start felt a bit weird to me, because it's not really happening lol

pg 2 - just realized GM's name is from her parents LOL

pg 3 - all this emphasis on the 'before' is really making me wonder how long ago 'before' is? At some points it seems like it was a long time ago, and others it seems a lot more recent

pg 4 - no comment from C about V being from the WS? I forgot C fed feathers lol but I thought in V's introduction, he said he was from outside of the town (and that C to some degree believed him). What does she mean by "Is he another [of V]?" I guess in general I'm still confused about what V is.

pg 6 - I liked C remarking on how she knew all these people. Also, might be forgetting things again, but the "burning ideas" seems new to me lol

pg 7 - "incandescent rage" lol nice I liked this

In general C-tine seems very mysterious, and I'm interested to see how he fits into everything. 

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This chapter has some great revelations I've been waiting for since the beginning of the book. As I said below, I think shortening up some of the earlier chapters, as well as the beginning of this one, will get us to this essential spot sooner. I'm really eager to see what's in the house, but as @kais says, maybe give a hint of what's in the house to make us keep reading.

I like that GM and C are mostly working together for a common cause now, and that we've discovered the motivations for what's been going on with GM. I'm hoping there will be more of them playing off each other.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "to find a good hiding place"
--ah. I was confused what she was prepping for.

pg 4: "The folds of his skin drip with oil"
--ick!

pg 4: "… daughter"
--is this saying C is not their daughter?

pg 4: "the creation of the green bird"
--okay, so everyone is aware of V. I was wondering about that. 

pg 5: "No. Do you?”
--Yeah, I thought this question was weird, as there are horrible repercussions threatened, but there seems to be no precedent.

pg 7: “Her beauty,”
--huh, Okay, this is a welcome explanation.

pg 7: "It is that energy that keeps the town of C going."
--ahhh...I've been waiting ten chapters for this.

pg 8: "the late Claimjumpers,"
--what now? Isn't this T's parents? Did we hear about this?

pg 10: Very nice ending. The last couple chapters have been very engaging. I wonder if the first few chapters can be cut down a bit to get to this point sooner?

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On 07/06/2021 at 3:00 PM, C_Vallion said:

I think the town meeting goes on a little longer than it needs to. I like the things we learn there, but I think Mr. S’s explanation, especially, could be trimmed back to more basic details.

On 07/06/2021 at 5:40 PM, kais said:

I think the ending needs punched up a touch, and there's some wordiness at the start of the chapter that could be tightened,

On 09/06/2021 at 5:15 PM, Mandamon said:

I think shortening up some of the earlier chapters, as well as the beginning of this one, will get us to this essential spot sooner.

Thanks for the feedback - I'll see about trimming the superfluous bits.

 

On 07/06/2021 at 3:00 PM, C_Vallion said:

“late Claim-” I’m forgetting who they are.  Wasn’t that T’s family?

Yes, they're T's parents. I'll add a few words to clarify, as it has been a while since we last heard T's last name.

 

On 07/06/2021 at 5:40 PM, kais said:

pg 5: I'm confused. I thought G-M wanted C in trouble? So why is she now trying to burn down the hall to save C? Motivation switch I don't understand

On 07/06/2021 at 6:22 PM, leapfrog said:

I was surprised at GM's reveal, and I'm not quite sure why she did that.

What I was going for was GM trying to get C in trouble at first, but when she realises that this time it's really serious, she has a change of heart. I'll see what I can do about clarifying that.

 

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

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