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RedBlue

8.9.21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch21 (2503 words)

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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the feedback on the previous chapter. I’m taking lots of good notes on the things I need to consolidate in the early to middle chapters in order to make this story really come together.

Chapter 21 this week. Questions:

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

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

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Pg 1:

Oh hey! GM. I’m excited to see GM.

“…but by that time everything will be on fire.” Exactly the sort of chaotic energy I expect from GM.

Pg 2:

I am a little surprised by how quickly things go up in flames. Even a well-built pile of flammable things (complete with gaps for air circulation but still with enough strength to not cave in and put itself out) is going to need a little more than crumpled paper and a single match.  Cover all the plywood and dry stuff in gasoline or something equally flammable, and I think you’ll have better luck with the dramatic single match.

The scene change starting with T seeing the smoke, then C running off after it was a little disorienting.  Obviously C also saw it, but I think it would be helpful to either mention that or have T tell her.  Just to avoid the very brief “Wait. T is the one who saw the smoke. What’s C worried about” confusion.

Pg 6:

“I think she’s been struggling…she’s still a kid.” This seems like a big realization for E to have come to when he’s mostly seemed like the cheery, carefree member of the group.

“No” Go, E, Go!

Pg 7:

It seems like a bit of a stretch that fires starting at several separate piles would make the space between them impassible so quickly that she wouldn’t be able to get out…

“it could take hours for it to catch.” That seems unlikely to me if everything around it is burning unless she’s got a constant source of water to keep it wet.

Pg 8:

“I thought that meant…”  glad you included this, because my immediate thought after the “Ashen things can’t burn” sentence was “but that was just about the stove.”  Wouldn’t C have figured out that she can’t be burnt before then, though? Never got sunburn? Or accidentally touched the wood stove as a kid?

Pg 9:

I hope the new ashen item that’s going to save the day is one we’ve seen before…otherwise I think it’s going to frustrate my deus ex machina concerns.

 

Overall:

I like this chapter overall, but some of the fire details aren’t quite holding up my suspension of disbelief.  I don’t know if it’s the blocking of the scene, and I’m picturing things differently than they are, but I can’t figure out why there aren’t gaps where C could clear burning things out of the way to make a path, if she can’t get burned, or why GM couldn’t have just made a run for it when she saw the gaps closing in.  It seems unlikely that she stood there admiring her work for the good long while it would take for a full ring of fire to form around her.  And if C is able to see past the fire to see the ring of wet grass GM is standing in (which I’m still not convinced would stay unburned if the flames around it are so hot and high that GM can’t get out), it can’t be burning that high. I don’t know.  I think part of me also sees the opportunity for C to be the hero here by clearing burning debris to make a path for GM on her own, so seeing her call in help (which feels like it’s going to take far more time than they have) is a little disappointing.

I think I like the twist of ashen things being unburnable in general, but I think I’d like to see some other lead-in hint to that earlier on as well. I know that list of things is getting longer and longer, but I think introducing significant details immediately before they become vitally important goes a long way in making the reader feel that those twists are earned instead of just feeling blindsided and sort of tricked.

I do like that E stands up for his friends and recognizes the horribleness of his parents.

1) Nothing boring.  And I think I’ve rambled on about the confusing aspects of the fire above.

2) I think this is also mostly covered in the LBLs. GM’s motivations aren’t that clear, but she gets away with it by being the wild card who literally just wants to watch the world burn at this point. I think my issue with her here is that she has seemed smarter than to get herself barricaded into an inferno.

 

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Good twist at the end of this chapter, but I feel like this one is still lacking an arc just a little. GM's revenge seems to come out of nowhere. I don't remember any fascination with fire, but I could be misremembering. I guess this would come under #2, as GM isn't completely making sense to me. I feel like the story is losing some direction here, because we've switched between trying to escape, to V going to the ashen house, to Gm starting a fire here. Still a very interesting story, and I think the second editing pass will really bring this all together.

notes while reading:

pg 1: GM is starting to sound like a pyromaniac

pg 2: "She has wanted this for years. This is her revenge."
--She's wanted to burn down the workshops for years? Did we know this before?

GM's part seems a little plotful, as I don't remember hearing about her pyromania. However, the E section has some good character building to it. I'm glad to see E finding some courage.

pg 8: The "ashen things can't burn" revelation is a cool twist!

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As I go:

pg 1. Oh we have a little pyromaniac on our hands. Let's see where this goes.

pg 2. This is really good but I think it could use more setup. She was always selfish and scheming but I didn't imagine her as being the type of person to burn everything to the ground, especially when she might have to deal with the consequences 

pg 3. The medicine thing is a good note and I think it has a lot of potential as a conflict source... though how much of that is just me personally being on like five separate very important medications and constantly worrying about not being able to afford them in the future (yep, I'm American...) is up for debate. 

pg 5. Man, this is getting real. Even if D goes along with it, she has leverage in case E tries to weasel out of his side of the deal

pg 7. Yay E gets character development! Though it does feel a little like a 180 turn. I feel like deep down, this shouldn't be a surprise to him.

pg 8. I'm half wondering if this is another one of her ploys, and also half hoping that C just leaves her. 

-Oh cool realization that ashen things can't burn. But I feel like it should have taken some deliberation

On 8/9/2021 at 7:20 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Any boring or confusing bits?

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

1. Nope! Though again I was expecting them to have left town by now and this all feels like distractions. I think this is what V's conversation with C about how she should leave them all behind was trying to foreshadow, but I didn't quite get that. 

2. Mostly! I think we need a bit more on G-M, what she's trying to accomplish, and why. 

 

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