C_Vallion

7.26.2021 - C_Vallion - Price of Peace - Chapter 9 RevA - L - 4724 Words

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Hello, All!

Here we have a Ro PoV to end of Part 1. Though once I’ve trimmed more back from these early chapters, we’ll see whether that part designation means anything.

Content Warning: Mild Language

The usual questions plus Part 1 summary questions.

  1. Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  2. Thoughts on characters?
  3. Points of interest or engagement?
  4. I know Ro is a more clearly dynamic character than Is- or Al, and have toyed with the idea of having a pov chapter from him earlier, but have always liked the idea of him coming across as more of a pseudo-antagonist or stressing the fact that Is and her father both undervalue his opinions in the earlier chapters before revealing more of his true colors here.  Is that effective (or would it be assuming I can ever get Is- and Al to be as engaging as they’re supposed to be :P )? Or am I just continuing to do all of the things that make my life more difficult by holding off?
  5. Considering Part 1 as a whole, what would you say are the biggest points of frustration/disengagement/ things you thought were unnecessary up to this point?  Things unrelated to Is- or Al’s needing to be more dynamic would be more helpful, since I know those have been dwelt on a good deal in both the comments and my rambling responses, and I've already gotten some solid feedback from a number of you on some things to consider during revisions. But if there are really specific parts of those that you can think of those would also be helpful.
  6. And then, relatedly, biggest points of interest or engagement or things you would have liked to see more of through Part 1?
  7. Do you have a sense of where you expect things to go or where you would want them to go from here?

Thanks so much! 

I continue to appreciate all of your thoughts and patience as I figure out some of the bigger challenges of this whole project. 

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Hi! As I read:

p7 - I like most of this conversation, but the long bit about what Ro thinks of minor characters and what he thinks they're in support of drags.

p8 - I like this foreshadowing of 'if V did something that drove them to take sides'. It feels like the first time since the poisoning that there's a real sense that a catastrophe is looming. (I know there's been rumblings about a war with C and general dissatisfaction with K and magic problems, but 'what if V splits the court and causes infighting' feels like a more tangible and immediate threat)

p9 - 'In all reality, I don't think even she knows' - the 'in all reality' sounds like weird phrasing.

p15 - I like this new line of thought on who could be behind the poisoning and why

Generally:

I liked this chapter, and Ro seems like a pretty interesting character so far. From other characters' viewpoints, he's come across as a useless party boy, but here he seems like he's secretly wily? He's going drinking with these guys, but really what he's doing is politicking on a different stage than the other characters. (But he also seems to think that he and Is are close, which might be a bit of a warning sign that he's not as good at this as he thinks he is?)

1. Most of the chapter was interesting and made sense. Just thought the convo between Al and Ro could have been trimmed a little bit.

2. Ro's POV worked well, I thought, and gives a fresh angle on V and Al that I didn't see before (V seems not as in control as before, and Al's inscrutableness comes through in a way it didn't before)

3. The new angle on the poisoning is interesting, and I like that Ro gives us a more concrete sense of what's wrong with the court politics than I got from Al.

4. Hmm .... Ro doesn't seem like a major figure before this chapter, so I don't think bringing him forward would undermine a sense that he's some kind of antagonist. The first chapter with Is gives the strongest impression of what she thinks of him, so as long as you keep that in, you'll be highlighting the difference between Is's opinion of Ro and the reality. (I don't think I gave much thought to how V views Ro before this point, given that V is hard to get a read on and Ro seemed like a side character.)

I think you might be able to make life easier for yourself if you use an earlier Ro viewpoint to show the political situation to the reader - if we have an understanding that different factions are scheming to put different people on the throne, various people are trying to secure favourable marriages, V is generally regarded as clever but a liar, Al is seen as a valuable but potentially dangerous unknown factor, and the whole thing is kind of a powder keg, that would be good context to have. Especially for the scenes where Al is floundering out of his depth because he doesn't know the court well enough.

5. I think the biggest problem with Part 1 is the way the political situation is presented. Sometimes (usually with Is) the political motivations are mentioned vaguely, and there isn't enough detail to latch onto. Sometimes (usually with Al) there are more details spelled out, but it doesn't seem relevant to the main characters, so it doesn't feel engaging.

6. The strongest parts of Part 1 were (IMO) the parts where the POV characters are actively engaging in a situation. The poisoning sequence, Is being frustrated at her illness, Ali trying to lighten the mood, Al chatting with Is and her friend group and (maybe) starting to build alliances. Chapter 3, with G and the oath, was attention-grabbing and cool but G seems to drop out of the story afterward and I'm not sure now whether that scene had any purpose other than showcasing that aspect of the worldbuilding.

Basically, the POV characters having conflicts and alliances with concrete characters we know is more engaging than POV characters talking about conflicts and alliances between groups of people we're vaguely aware of.

7. Going forward, I'm pretty much expecting a power grab.

I hope all that makes sense :)

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Posted (edited)

Wow I've sort of rambled my heart out so I am apologizing in advance if I don't make sense or give bad advice.

as i go:

pg 1

“R pulled A into a turn” whoa whoa whoa im diving headfirst into the deep end here. Are they dancing or are they walking out to the dance area? What's going on?

-also where are they at??

-who is Mart? I mean… i can assume things but i feel like im on the outside here. Is he a previous crush Ali had? I see the joke you’re going for but i don't actually get it.

-I guess R goes into Mart a bit in the next paragraph… but i still dont know who he is. edit: right, he's the Li heir. my brain just skipped over that.

-also this feels like a 180 for R’s personality. Does he like Ali more than Isr?

-okay so on my second read of page one, i dont mind all the talk about M. i did my first read while i was at work and i was just not fully engaged, hence my confusion. also there's all these dukes and heirs and its hard to latch onto everything.

pg 2

-”tell Adr not to go flirting” see here is some gossip that i could get on board with. However, Idk who Adr is so it falls a little flat. Maybe if we saw Al and Adr interact this could work better. Idk who Li is either tho so again, my engagement isnt as high as it could be. Is Li a person or a place? Or both?

“Wont want to risk even a drop of K blood” smh

pg 3

“You were right, L must have wanted” im a bit confused here. I feel like i missed some interaction with Al and R. edit: okay, i remember this from three chapters ago, but only barely

“It wasnt unusual for Za” agh im sorry im still having trouble with all the names. I think its because we’ve had a lot of POVs and im still learning who everyone is, especially all the minor players.

“Having ignored D’s warning” but D just glanced at them? How is Al supposed to know what that means??

“Ill be staying for now” im confused >.< he says this like they were already conversing. I mustve missed something. I think its cause i dont get their relationship. I guess Z mustve thought R would go with him?

pg 4

“What had he failed to do” i like this. I think you should have more of this sort of thing. It gives me a good sense of their relationship

pg 5

“The best way to explain things to someone who” i like this too

pg 6

“Next time” no! There is no next time! There is only now! i sense bad things coming.

“He had obviously noted R’s glance” i think theres a lot of this that bogs the story down. Im always going to be more interested in the dialogue

pg 7

“He took another drink...toward their right...banquet tables” yeah stuff like this can be condensed or cut. The gap between dialogue is too long i think. A lot of times i forget what was even said previously. Edit: upon my second read, it wasnt as bad.

pg 8

“Who had said that he and Is werent close” oooh drama

pg 9

-super intrigued in all this talk about Is because I know Al and R and Is.

pg 10-16

-this talk with the king has interesting parts, but again, it feels bogged down with all the breaths, glances, etc. I like that we learn R didnt know how serious Is’s condition was and that we learn about what kind of leader R wants to be. I expect it won't go as he plans but I like it nonetheless. This whole section can definitely be cut down to make the conversation way more meaningful. Just remember that you don't have to describe every single thing they do, or every time they look away. I can pretty much imagine a lot of that on my own.

 

Overall

Good news is, I can definitely tell this POV apart from the others. R has a voice and Im into it. He’s probably the most intriguing character so far, seeing as he seemed like a jerk before but its obviously much deeper than that. I like that Is and others underestimate R when he is actually quite smart. I also like the idea of R trying to show Al the ropes of the court. I think even though I haven’t seen much of R, this chapter already puts him at the top of my list character wise. i love a misunderstood character lol. 

I’ve been having a rough time getting my thoughts across and thinking critically about things so… bear with me please. I'm gonna try to talk through the story and see where you lost me. This will get a bit rambly but we’re all ramblers here, right?

Okay, so. A lot of my frustration with part 1 comes from the fact that I cant really see where this is going. Isr gets poisoned... and then what? I really do think the poisoning is a good hook. It's just the things that come after that make the stakes feel low. (i would like to note tho that the stakes are not low for Al, i recognize that) Anyway, onward. We watch this helpless duke try to save Isr even if he could possibly get blamed for the poisoning. Also good. He’s got a lot to lose. Or does he? What if you explained what he has to lose by helping Isr (if I help her, i could get blamed, then they wont support these roads that ive been building and i could have a whole army at my doorstep. Eff it. I’ll help her anyway) unless you already did say something like that and i just can't remember... i remember the "arrest me later" bit but not much else.

Then there's a secret trial for Al with only the king and two others. Good. It was a nice intro to the magic. I want to feel al’s emotions more. I think after this is where you lost me because i cant remember what happens next… Al meets with his old teacher who is suspicious and then goes to a council meeting where I cant remember a thing. Also Isr is awake and she is in bed for like 20 years. ← wasnt meant to sound malicious lol

So, the political situation. I feel like there's a lot of info or maybe it's just that it didn't stick with me because it's so early on in the story, but it definitely didn't hook me like it should have. There's a lot of characters that I had trouble keeping track of. Overall It’s just a lot of information to absorb in only a few chapters and it's hard to feel invested. It feels like there's a lot going but at the same time, it doesnt. So idk how to explain that.

Okay, i thought about it. I think i get the same feeling about this as I did when i tried to watch fate/zero. the idea was exciting. the first bit was exciting. then, it was just these guys walking and talking, exposition galore. i feel like after Al's meeting with the king, a lot of talking happens but not a lot of action. I.e. the council meeting, Isr in bed, all of Al's scenes, even the dance was just talking. Nothing really happened. I might be wrong in this (i probably am) because I cant remember everything that's happened, but that's how i feel as of now.

I know that this story is largely political right now, but it doesn't feel intriguing like it should. I think at least with Al you could get away with all the loads of info by having him be equally confused. R notes that Al doesn't understand how the court works and i think you could realllly lean into that in Al's POVs. He's been in seclusion for a while, right? (i cant remember if you stuck with that) He probably is having trouble remembering everyone's positions and names. That would be relatable. But also he is in a position of leadership so he should know everyone else, right? Idk. If you did stick with Al not being around for a while then suddenly showing up, then I feel like that plot point got abandoned because it isn't really mentioned much. I guess maybe i got the wrong impression with where the story was going back in the first chapter. Wait. I dont even remember why the duke is here in the first place. Was it just for that tournament? Oof. My memory has not been the best these days.

So, I went back and skimmed the first chapter and it was good! You've got a solid start there! I forgot how promising the first chapter was. All in all, I'm going to say the politics ruined it for me. They were too confusing at the start. Too much for my small brain to handle right now. A lot of this is also WRS. So there's that.

On the brightside, Im still interested in seeing where this goes, despite all the harsh things I've said. I hope i didn't confuse you too much and helped even in the most miniscule way. It's seven am and i've been up since 2pm yesterday :D

Edited by karamel
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On 7/28/2021 at 6:36 PM, RedBlue said:

Sometimes (usually with Is) the political motivations are mentioned vaguely, and there isn't enough detail to latch onto. Sometimes (usually with Al) there are more details spelled out, but it doesn't seem relevant to the main characters, so it doesn't feel engaging.

I am realizing now that this is probably where not having the earlier chapters is creating the most problems.  It's still better without them for the most part, but when Is is the one who knows what's going on in court, having her sidelined before she actually interacts with anyone other than Ro really makes things difficult.  She knows the people but isn't physically in the same room as any of them 90% of the time. Then while Al is interacting with them a little more directly, he's not as knowledgeable about who anyone is.  

In theory, the early Is chapters were supposed to introduce enough of the political framework for the reader to be a little more informed than Al, and to notice things that he isn't equipped to recognize once he takes over actually interacting with people. But that fell apart a lot harder than I thought it would when I cut the early chapters. All the details are still there, but without that earlier framework, they're just coming across as random information...urgh. So...how to fix it...hm.

3 hours ago, karamel said:

“R pulled A into a turn” whoa whoa whoa im diving headfirst into the deep end here. Are they dancing or are they walking out to the dance area? What's going on?

-also where are they at??

Hah. These are the reasons I usually end up starting scenes like three pages too early. Because my brain generally believes that boredom is less problematic than disorientation, apparently.  Either way, this is further proof that I still need a ton of work on my chapter openings.

3 hours ago, karamel said:

-”tell Adr not to go flirting” see here is some gossip that i could get on board with. However, Idk who Adr is so it falls a little flat. Maybe if we saw Al and Adr interact this could work better. Idk who Li is either tho so again, my engagement isnt as high as it could be. Is Li a person or a place? Or both?

Both Mart and Adr (and the fact that Adr seems to have a crush on Ala) are mentioned in Chapter 7. I'm never sure how much those details not sticking is due to information overload and how much is due to WRS.  The combination of the two is certainly not helpful, though.  
Li is mentioned a good deal in the court scene in Chapter 6, but we've all gone over how a lot of that isn't sticking like it should... 

3 hours ago, karamel said:

“Having ignored D’s warning” but D just glanced at them? How is Al supposed to know what that means??

“Ill be staying for now” im confused >.< he says this like they were already conversing. I mustve missed something. I think its cause i dont get their relationship. I guess Z mustve thought R would go with him?

This could all definitely use a little clarification about what R is assuming.  Ultimately, Z is making the rounds to sort of gather the usual crowd to get out of there, which R recognizes.  But like you said. There's no background about their relationship at this point. Sigh. 

3 hours ago, karamel said:

“Next time” no! There is no next time! There is only now! i sense bad things coming.

Oops :D

3 hours ago, karamel said:

“He had obviously noted R’s glance” i think theres a lot of this that bogs the story down. Im always going to be more interested in the dialogue

pg 7

“He took another drink...toward their right...banquet tables” yeah stuff like this can be condensed or cut. The gap between dialogue is too long i think. A lot of times i forget what was even said previously. Edit: upon my second read, it wasnt as bad.

3 hours ago, karamel said:

-this talk with the king has interesting parts, but again, it feels bogged down with all the breaths, glances, etc. I like that we learn R didnt know how serious Is’s condition was and that we learn about what kind of leader R wants to be. I expect it won't go as he plans but I like it nonetheless. This whole section can definitely be cut down to make the conversation way more meaningful. Just remember that you don't have to describe every single thing they do, or every time they look away. I can pretty much imagine a lot of that on my own.

Hah.  You should read some of the earlier drafts *cringe*

I definitely at some point had it in my head that dialogue can't be more than a sentence long without people doing things.  Which is why everyone seems to be doing a song and dance routine or is just really focused on breathing or whatever.  I don't know why. Part of me blames my 

Fortunately, I'm aware enough now to be catching myself doing it eventually.  But unfortunately they're still instinctive to add in.  Like we need an action at every natural pause in conversation or something.  Also unfortunately, I tend to not notice those things until I've let things sit for a week, so if I make any significant changes in my pre-submission edits, there' not enough break for me to catch as many.  Hoping to stay a little further ahead on the revision schedule for Part 2 so that we have fewer issues with that sort of thing. 

3 hours ago, karamel said:

super intrigued in all this talk about Is because I know Al and R and Is.

See, this is how a lot of the seemingly irrelevant conversations were supposed to come across in Al's pov chapters. Where the base details we get in earlier chapters get some depth or additional color by getting another character's perspective on it, even we haven't seen them interact with it directly before. 
For example: Provide enough background information about Cag- conflict so that when we get to the court scene and the other nobles are all riled up about it, there's a "Wait.  Is seemed really dismissive of that, but it seems like this is an actual thing."  or alternatively "Right. I remember Is saying that all the nobles were all riled up about this.  Sure looks like she was right about that."  I'd hoped that the conversation between Is and V would be enough to create that connection, but apparently it wasn't.  And the scene where she was talking to one of the nobles about it at the party before the tournament (which would have definitely been the clearest spot for that to stick) got cut.

 

3 hours ago, karamel said:

He’s probably the most intriguing character so far, seeing as he seemed like a jerk before but its obviously much deeper than that. I like that Is and others underestimate R when he is actually quite smart.

Hooray! So it seems like a total of one thing has come across like I was intending it to :lol:

3 hours ago, karamel said:

This will get a bit rambly but we’re all ramblers here, right?

Guilty. Rambling tends to be how I eventually wander into solutions to my problems.  And also sometimes just wander into more problems. 

4 hours ago, karamel said:

Also Isr is awake and she is in bed for like 20 years. ← wasnt meant to sound malicious lol

I will be the first to admit that this is making all of our lives more difficult....  Basically step one for the next set of revisions is to trim back everything I possibly can to cut down the time between Al's audience with the king and R's chapter here.  I'd kept some of it because I wanted to fill in some of the political framework, but without pre-poisoned Is's goals coming across well, I definitely get what you mean by it being unclear where anything is going. Partly because some things aren't explained and partly because the things that are explained aren't sinking in. 

I am tempted to throw a pre-tournament chapter back in to deal with some of that.  Because not having that framework of the court from her perspective (and where she feels her place in it is) is really causing so many other things to nosedive.  But am afraid of then losing the tournament excitement at the start.  Blargh. 

4 hours ago, karamel said:

It feels like there's a lot going but at the same time, it doesnt. So idk how to explain that.

Nope. That sounds about right...unfortunately.  

4 hours ago, karamel said:

He's been in seclusion for a while, right? (i cant remember if you stuck with that) He probably is having trouble remembering everyone's positions and names. That would be relatable. But also he is in a position of leadership so he should know everyone else, right?

Hah. See, both the conversation with his adviser and the court scene were supposed to work on conveying this.  Where he knows the facts of things, but hasn't matched names to faces or gotten to know how anyone actually interacts there in person.  But they obviously need a good deal of work. 

4 hours ago, karamel said:

Wait. I dont even remember why the duke is here in the first place. Was it just for that tournament? Oof. My memory has not been the best these days.

Still for Ali's birthday festivities. But starting with the tournament didn't provide as much opportunity to make that stick either. Since Is is more focused on the tournament than her sister's birthday.  It's mentioned, but it felt weird to shoehorn in a bunch of stuff about birthday parties when we're about to have a swordfight.  It's also been, what, three months since that chapter?  I wouldn't blame your memory on that one. 

4 hours ago, karamel said:

So, I went back and skimmed the first chapter and it was good! You've got a solid start there! I forgot how promising the first chapter was. All in all, I'm going to say the politics ruined it for me. They were too confusing at the start. Too much for my small brain to handle right now. A lot of this is also WRS. So there's that.

I appreciate your mentioning this. When there are so many other things that aren't where they need to be (and where many of those problems are building on each other), it's encouraging to have positive first chapter thoughts brought back :)

4 hours ago, karamel said:

On the brightside, Im still interested in seeing where this goes, despite all the harsh things I've said. I hope i didn't confuse you too much and helped even in the most miniscule way. It's seven am and i've been up since 2pm yesterday

Fortunately, the big issue of Is- spending all of her time in bed ceases to be a problem from here forward. So that should be helpful.  There's still probably more talking than there needs to be, but there's a lot more opportunity to make that far more engaging when Is isn't stuck in her bedroom hiding from everyone.

Not confusing at all, and definitely very helpful.  I still have to figure out how to actually fix the problems, but it's good to know that you're seeing similar things to what I am.  

Also bonus points to you for managing a coherent response under those circumstances.  My brain does not work well on little sleep.  

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As I go:

pg 2. With the talk about Ala, I'm curious what R thinks about him. Or why he even cares at all. So far I'm liking his PoV, though! 

pg 3. Having a bit of trouble following what Z's deal is. I like that R hates him but I don't really know why

pg 4. We've already had, what, five or six characters at least in the scene? As a result, it feels a bit unfocused to me

-Okay I really like R at the bottom of the page. We need somebody blunt to get the important stuff out there!

pg 6. "Invalid" might be a setting appropriate term... but not a great one. Not that I'm an expert on language around disabilities, but this got an eyebrow raise from me.

pg 7. I like R's thoughts at the top of the page. He's... actually doing stuff with the politics! Mostly because he's in a position to as the heir. 

pg 8. Why would all those people support Is for the throne? She's struck me as not being someone who's active in politics so my first thought is because they think she'll give them more freedom (to the point of her being a puppet king, maybe?). I can't imagine it's because any of her policies. 

pg 9. What does R think about Is taking the throne? Is that something he wants?

-The end was a bit abrupt to me

pg 10. I'm curious why R is fixating so much on Is

pg 12. As with the previous argument between the two I'm fully on R's side here. He didn't ask specifically about Is' long term health but he did say V should have told him about what was going on with her, and then V proceeds to... not do that and then blame R for not asking the specific question. 

pg 13. Who does R mean by "people" trusting him? If it's family, I agree. If it's the court, I think he's being naive. Especially after he admitted to himself he's being nice to Ala for later support

-Also how old is R? This definitely sounds like a hotheaded teenager (I'd guess 15-17 from the dialogue) but Is and Ali are adults right? And they don't treat him like the baby cousin 

pg 14. Okay R's idea does make sense. It's been nagging me why they went after Is when R is the bigger target and this makes sense. 

On 7/25/2021 at 11:34 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  • Thoughts on characters?
  • Points of interest or engagement?
  • I know Ro is a more clearly dynamic character than Is- or Al, and have toyed with the idea of having a pov chapter from him earlier, but have always liked the idea of him coming across as more of a pseudo-antagonist or stressing the fact that Is and her father both undervalue his opinions in the earlier chapters before revealing more of his true colors here.  Is that effective (or would it be assuming I can ever get Is- and Al to be as engaging as they’re supposed to be :P )? Or am I just continuing to do all of the things that make my life more difficult by holding off?
  • Considering Part 1 as a whole, what would you say are the biggest points of frustration/disengagement/ things you thought were unnecessary up to this point?  Things unrelated to Is- or Al’s needing to be more dynamic would be more helpful, since I know those have been dwelt on a good deal in both the comments and my rambling responses, and I've already gotten some solid feedback from a number of you on some things to consider during revisions. But if there are really specific parts of those that you can think of those would also be helpful.
  • And then, relatedly, biggest points of interest or engagement or things you would have liked to see more of through Part 1?
  • Do you have a sense of where you expect things to go or where you would want them to go from here?

1. Nope! ...Well other than what I marked in the LBLs anyway

2. R is my favorite character in this story and it's not really close for me. What sells it for me is that he feels distinct by having contradictions that make sense. Like how he's combative and hotheaded around V but is blunt with himself about what Is has that he doesn't. He doesn't notice that Is is struggling, but when he does notice it he's able to piece together important clues. He's competent without being perfect, flawed without being unlikable, active without being controlling. I want to keep seeing all those sides of him going forward. 

3. Mostly just R's character lol. The larger implications of what's going on are adequate, but what I was really interested by is how R navigates the situation and figures stuff out. 

4. While I don't think we *need* R's PoV earlier, I also don't think he's an antagonist in any capacity earlier on in the story like you were saying. He disagrees with Is and V, but he doesn't directly act towards stopping their plans or goals. So by definition I think he's not really an antagonist so far (though maybe that's what you meant by pseudo-antagonist). Honestly I do like him as a side character, especially since he's so focused on everyone around him. All that analysis on what Is would be like as a ruler but none for himself. He wants to be more honest and trustworthy, but only because V is shrouded in lies. He gets to bounce off other characters so well because he is a side character, and I don't think that should necessarily change. It's a really good setup of the crown prince who is focused on others and not himself and takes a more supportive role instead of imposing his own motivations on everything. 

So what I want from R is not his PoV to come in earlier, but just to see more of him playing off the PoV characters. More emphasis on him being an unconventional mentor to Ala and Ali turning to him for family help with Is getting caught up in so many of her own struggles. And I think the antagonist act should be dropped and the other characters should regard him more like a wild card instead. So many characters seem to focus on the negative aspects of him but I don't think that's fair, nor is it as interesting to me. The one exception being that I think it would be interesting if he were antagonistic to Is' plans to go along with what V wants... which requires him to know more about said plans, which then throws off balance of other things. So idk if that's worth it. 

You know how oftentimes the side character becomes more beloved than the protagonist? I think R could be that kind of character and also be the glue that binds different characters together by appearing in all PoVs. 

5. The big one for me is that the politics don't feel immediate compared to, say, that short story you submitted a while back. I don't think they're unnecessary; far from it, I think they're integral to the story. Instead, I think that they're just not set up in a way that feels real to our characters. All this talk about C and nothing to show for it, and no way to track how much bigger of a threat it's becoming. A lot on racial dynamics with Ala but we can't tell what escalation of racism would mean for Ala aside from vague consequences or how he plans to deal with it. And his whole deal is about roads, but then he gets sucked into this other plot with Is (which is fine on its own), and neither really advance much. Ali not really doing much of anything. 

So, yeah. Stakes that aren't clear or immediate and a need for our focus to be directed so that everything doesn't feel scattered or pointless. 

6. Now I'm just sold on this idea of R being the key side character who facilitates the plot and makes things happen since he's blunt enough to put stuff in the open, has a clear connection to all three protagonists, and counterbalances V who right now is a bit overbearing in the story. Other than that... I don't want to be negative, but I'm not quite sure. Not because what's here is bad. In fact, I think this story has already undergone amazing growth. But just because of the needing more focus thing, I don't really know what the story wants to be doing a lot of the time so I can't really assess how well it's doing it. Other than R. R is cool. 

7. Well the C threat has to show up at some point, right? Other than that I don't really know. I've already talked about what I want to happen between Is and Ala, which isn't going to happen from what it sounds like. Again, mostly I'm not even sure what plot threads I'm supposed to be focusing on and predicting about. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 6. "Invalid" might be a setting appropriate term... but not a great one. Not that I'm an expert on language around disabilities, but this got an eyebrow raise from me.

This is definitely a thing I've gone back and forth on, and have had a lot of trouble trying to figure out the best way to have various characters refer to Is-n's condition. Some would definitely be careful to use more respectful phrasing, but even there, I haven't figure out a term to fit the condition exactly. And I think it reflects R's bitterness and irreverence to the situation appropriately, partly because it's not polite or respectful. 

I am glad to change it out for a better option, and would welcome any thoughts or suggestions on what that might be, but I haven't come to any good alternatives that fit the attitude the pov characters would have toward it.  For R, especially, there's a lot of bitterness and resentment and frustration wrapped up in his attitude toward Is-n because Is-n's accident and resulting disability forced him to basically exile himself or spend the rest of his life in bed.  Not to mention the aspect that by choosing that self-exile, Is-n was choosing to give up any opportunity at a real relationship with R once R was named the heir (this is what Is-n's line in the interlude is referring to about having lost R. To jump ahead in your review comments before I forget :) )
So yeah...I would definitely love to find a more fitting option if there is one out there, but it does encompass the rudeness and disrespect that the characters who would be using the term would have for his disability, whether it's the members of court who would see the disability as shameful or a reason to pity him, or R with his complicated bitterness/resentment toward the whole situation. 

This probably won't be the last of things that I need to adjust or be cautious about in regard to Is-n's condition... but we'll muddle through those as we get to them... please keep pointing out things that seem off, though, as I know I'll be missing things that come across differently than they are meant to.

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

to the point of her being a puppet king, maybe?

This, mostly.  They see her as sort of a blank slate who will mostly follow her father's policies but who seems quiet enough that they can probably assume she won't push back if they try to push her into a marriage with whoever they want to set up as a "more-fitting" ruler or if certain members of the court start acting up to claim a little more power.   They assume she's more predictable and less trouble than R would be. 

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Also how old is R? This definitely sounds like a hotheaded teenager (I'd guess 15-17 from the dialogue) but Is and Ali are adults right? And they don't treat him like the baby cousin 

early to mid 20s.  All of the ages have gotten smudged a bit in this revision, but it's roughly
Ali- 17- 18.
Is- 19-21
Al-20-22
R-23-24  
R just happens to still be rather hotheaded.

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

R is my favorite character in this story and it's not really close for me. What sells it for me is that he feels distinct by having contradictions that make sense. Like how he's combative and hotheaded around V but is blunt with himself about what Is has that he doesn't. He doesn't notice that Is is struggling, but when he does notice it he's able to piece together important clues. He's competent without being perfect, flawed without being unlikable, active without being controlling. I want to keep seeing all those sides of him going forward. 

Hooray.  Things that are coming across correctly! Hopefully once I get Is-a and Ala working the way they're supposed to it will be a little closer, but there's no problem with him being your favorite. 

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

So by definition I think he's not really an antagonist so far (though maybe that's what you meant by pseudo-antagonist).

Yeah.  I was having trouble thinking of a proper term.  Him being a foil to Is and V would probably be more accurate.  Ultimately, I wouldn't call him a side character, though he starts out that way.  As things go forward, he gets dragged more into the middle of things.  I'll be continuing to look for feedback for how all of these shifts get carried through, so feel free to continue to offer thoughts on how he's coming across in that regard. 

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

All this talk about C and nothing to show for it, and no way to track how much bigger of a threat it's becoming.

Yeah. I still need to figure out exactly how to get this (and the other things you noted in that paragraph) correct.  Ultimately, I do want it to seem like the PoV characters are underestimating the C threat so that they're blindsided when it punches them in the gut in a few more chapters.  But I think part of the issue is also that Part 1 is still far too long, and is still doing a lot of "Hey! Look over here!" before proceeding to point at the wrong things. Some of it is a good deal more trimming.  Some of it is finding a way to introduce Is-'s actual interactions with the court before she's sidelined. Some of it is giving Ala- better short-term goals to be working toward.  Initially, he was doing a lot more off-screen in Part 1, so the specific tasks he was working toward here weren't as important.  They get turned on their head and redirected down the road anyway, but there needs to be something engaging for him to be doing here now that Is- is spending more of Part 1 off-screen... Yeah... I have a lot of work ahead of me on all of that.  Most of those problems clear up more going into Part 2, but aspects of them still linger, and I'm not sure I can do much with that until I find the better starting points for them... 

I have ideas for things to do in all of these directions, but we'll see where they actually end up when I get around to Part 1 revisions again.

On 8/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, Ace of Hearts said:

Not because what's here is bad. In fact, I think this story has already undergone amazing growth

Hah. 95% of that growth is just straight up cutting 15k words from the start.  These chapters were all rewritten and trimmed and polished to various extents, but only one and a few miscellaneous scenes are fully new.  Ultimately, the current Chapter 1 just used to be Chapter 7 or something like that.  And from general opinions, it seems like the 15k words wasn't enough to cut to keep the pacing up.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out which scenes and things need to go on the chopping block this time around, and what things need to be mashed back in from the old cut (like some of the specifics of the magic system). 

As always, thanks for all of your thoughts! They are extremely helpful!

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On 8/8/2021 at 11:05 PM, C_Vallion said:

This is definitely a thing I've gone back and forth on, and have had a lot of trouble trying to figure out the best way to have various characters refer to Is-n's condition. Some would definitely be careful to use more respectful phrasing, but even there, I haven't figure out a term to fit the condition exactly. And I think it reflects R's bitterness and irreverence to the situation appropriately, partly because it's not polite or respectful. 

I am glad to change it out for a better option, and would welcome any thoughts or suggestions on what that might be, but I haven't come to any good alternatives that fit the attitude the pov characters would have toward it.  For R, especially, there's a lot of bitterness and resentment and frustration wrapped up in his attitude toward Is-n because Is-n's accident and resulting disability forced him to basically exile himself or spend the rest of his life in bed.  Not to mention the aspect that by choosing that self-exile, Is-n was choosing to give up any opportunity at a real relationship with R once R was named the heir (this is what Is-n's line in the interlude is referring to about having lost R. To jump ahead in your review comments before I forget :) )
So yeah...I would definitely love to find a more fitting option if there is one out there, but it does encompass the rudeness and disrespect that the characters who would be using the term would have for his disability, whether it's the members of court who would see the disability as shameful or a reason to pity him, or R with his complicated bitterness/resentment toward the whole situation. 

This probably won't be the last of things that I need to adjust or be cautious about in regard to Is-n's condition... but we'll muddle through those as we get to them... please keep pointing out things that seem off, though, as I know I'll be missing things that come across differently than they are meant to.

My personal suggestion (and feel free to take it or leave it) is to heavily rely on the neutral "disabled" and try to convey R's (and other characters') opinion about the disability in other ways that don't rely on harmful language towards disabled people in our cultural context that has little to do with the world you've made. And also to make R's views extra clear so that he doesn't come off as blindly ablelist. 

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