C_Vallion

8.16.2021 - C_Vallion - Price of Peace - Chapter 11 RevA - 4892 Words

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Hello, All!

Thanks for the comments on Chapter 10! I’m glad it seems like things seem to be more focused there than they were in part 1.  I am hoping that continues to be the case moving forward, but I know there will still be some meandering rough spots that make it through the edits.  They should be fewer and farther in-between, but we shall see.

We dig more into the magic system in this chapter, which I think will be good, but I’m not sure what parts might come across as info-dumpy or if it will just seem like too much walking and talking. There are also a couple of the political setting details that should be coming across from the chapters in Part 1, but may not have been explained well enough there to have stuck. 

Content Warning: None

Usual questions plus one:

  1. Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  2. And then, relatedly, any “I feel like I’m supposed to know what they’re talking about, but I really just don’t” moments?
  3. Thoughts on characters? Specifically, does the ending here seem to work, assuming I can get a better sense of Is's sense of purposelessness after the poisoning in Part 1?
  4. Points of interest or engagement?

Thanks so much!

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Hi!

As I read:

p1 - The very start of the chapter, repeating Is's frustration with her recovery period, isn't very interesting since we've just heard about it last chapter. Things pick up when she starts talking to Is-n about the magic.

p 6&7 - The section about Is thinking of dangling questions and the discussion about lots of normal activities carrying risk could probably be cut. Is-n has already explained that accidents can and do happen when magic is used, and the rest is common sense.

top of p8 - I think this is the first mention of the idea that magic can manipulate gods? That's an interesting idea

p10 - After all that talk about the potential dangers of magic and the problems of training your body to rely on it, and Is is just going to use a spell stone to climb a big rock for no particular reason? Shouldn't there be at least some hesitation there?

p 11&12 - I like showing what the effect of the healing spell is. Having that character beat as Is looks up at the mountain feels odd, pacing-wise, this far into the story. It feels like she's setting out to get something done, fix the magic laws, save the world. Having this moment come this many chapters in, and still be as vague as it is (I'm not sure what metaphorical mountain Is is about to climb) makes it feel like act one of the story was an overly long prologue before the main characters start actually engaging the story.

 

1. Generally, this chapter did have a very 'walk and talk' feel to it, and the middle section was losing my attention. Nothing in it is bad exactly, but having nearly 5k words of just two characters talking starts to feel samey.

Having said that, I like that we got an explanation of the different levels of magic going on and why people are so scared of it.

2. I think I have at least a fair idea what they're talking about. I don't remember hearing Lord H's name before, but he seems like a minor character who may be more important later.

3. I commented on the chapter ending in my LBLs. Essentially, I get what the chapter is going for in terms of Is becoming more positive about effecting change in the world, but it feels like the chapter is coming too late in the story. It's also very vague.

I'm also having a hard time getting a read on Is-n, though I'm not sure if that's deliberate or not. He seems to want magic laws to be more permissive, and is pinning his hopes on the younger generation (particularly Is) to make that happen, but he's limiting the amount of useful advice and information he's giving her for ... reasons?

4. I like that we have a clearer idea what the magical healing is doing to Is-n. 

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As per usual, I am a bit sleep deprived so I apologize about not making sense or being harsh.

as i go:

pg 1

-this conversation about the magic sort of feels like it could’ve been in the last chapter

pg 3

-I like the comparisons for the magic usage but im waiting for something to happen. It feels like their conversation has gone on for longer than necessary

pg 4

“What are the spells you’re undergoing” i kinda wish she would ask this question sooner. This is like the driving force of tension and should probably be more front and center. 

-there’s more tension at the end of page 4/beginning of page 5. We should get to this sooner in the chapter (probably)

pg 6

-hmm im losing interest on this page. Lot of walking and standing and talking

 pg 7

-yeah interest is dwindling. there’s some good lines of dialogue but you can cut this way down without losing anything

-”wielding the power of the gods” regaining interest 

pg 8

-”turning the gods wills to our own is” hmmm interesting. Foreshadowing?

“So. wielding the power of the gods?” interest dwindling again

On 8/16/2021 at 10:25 AM, C_Vallion said:

Usual questions plus one:

  1. Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  2. And then, relatedly, any “I feel like I’m supposed to know what they’re talking about, but I really just don’t” moments?
  3. Thoughts on characters? Specifically, does the ending here seem to work, assuming I can get a better sense of Is's sense of purposelessness after the poisoning in Part 1?
  4. Points of interest or engagement?

1. Nothing confusing. I think there's quite a bit you can cut in this chapter. Like @RedBlue said, this whole chapter is just walking and talking and you can definitely feel it. There's probably a way to make this chapter feel more story/plot relevant rather than just walking and talking.

2. It's not that the information isn't understandable, it just feels bland. I think it's the way this is all presented. The characters aren't doing anything. There's no action and I'm a bit desperate for action at this point in the story.

3. Hmmm, I'm not entirely sure about this. I'm not sure this chapter works, especially for where its at. The ending does feel hopeful and like Is might do more in coming chapters, but maybe this should come sooner. At this point, I want to see the characters make their moves and push the story along. I wanna see progress in the plot but I'm not really seeing a whole lot of that. Sorry to be a downer on this one. I do still enjoy Is-n and I like his relationship with Is. He's a good contrast to his brother.

4. I noted this in my LBLs. I liked when Is confronted her uncle about his healing and asked if others knew. Also the part about the power of the gods.

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On 8/18/2021 at 11:44 AM, RedBlue said:

I like showing what the effect of the healing spell is. Having that character beat as Is looks up at the mountain feels odd, pacing-wise, this far into the story. It feels like she's setting out to get something done, fix the magic laws, save the world. Having this moment come this many chapters in, and still be as vague as it is (I'm not sure what metaphorical mountain Is is about to climb) makes it feel like act one of the story was an overly long prologue before the main characters start actually engaging the story.

6 hours ago, karamel said:

I'm not sure this chapter works, especially for where its at. The ending does feel hopeful and like Is might do more in coming chapters, but maybe this should come sooner. At this point, I want to see the characters make their moves and push the story along. I wanna see progress in the plot but I'm not really seeing a whole lot of that.

Hah.  I thought the end might feel a little off.  I ended up changing the previous end around because it didn't fit some of the other earlier changes, and wondered how this sort of direction would come across.  In the early version (ugh, I'm tired of saying that),  there was a conversation between Is, V, and Is-n at the ball, where Is-n mentions wanting her to go to Mal- to visit and hike the mountain, and her dad shuts down the idea, then after some half-hearted pushback, Is- reluctantly gives in and accepts that Father knows best. I was hoping I might be able to squeeze some of Is-n's reasons in here instead of back there, but I can definitely see how her response feels like more of a start-of-the-story thing. 

6 hours ago, karamel said:

this whole chapter is just walking and talking and you can definitely feel it. There's probably a way to make this chapter feel more story/plot relevant rather than just walking and talking.

On 8/18/2021 at 11:44 AM, RedBlue said:

Generally, this chapter did have a very 'walk and talk' feel to it, and the middle section was losing my attention. Nothing in it is bad exactly, but having nearly 5k words of just two characters talking starts to feel samey.

Yeah. I was afraid of that.  I'll probably try to combine chapter 10 and this one into one arc once I figure out what I need to cut out. I get too attached to my chapter breaks, when a lot of them could be combined or condensed.  Fortunately, I now have that in mind as I look forward at what I currently have as 13 and 14, which will probably end up combined and streamlined.  And 16 and 17 will probably need the same. Meanwhile, 12 and 15 both need almost full rewrites... so I have a few busy weeks ahead of me :P 

As always, thanks so much for the thoughts! 

I feel like I need a checklist for my editing that just says "Cut more out." "Okay. Now cut more out."  "One more time." "Fine. But it's still probably too long."  Urgh. 

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Posted (edited)

On 8/18/2021 at 11:44 AM, RedBlue said:

he's limiting the amount of useful advice and information he's giving her for ... reasons?

There should be a clearer indication that V has told him not to share information.  Which probably just needs to be Is- saying "What? Did Father give you orders or something?" when he refuses to answer her questions. Especially since it would give space to clarify where she thinks her father stands on the matter.  

Edit: This was supposed to be an edit to the previous post...but now I can't figure out how to delete it. So you're stuck with both. 

Edited by C_Vallion
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As I go:

pg 1. This doesn't really hook me. It's a similar dynamic to last chapter. 

-More about the efficiency? Hmm that's interesting and I think I need more to fully buy into it. Are subtler healing spells intentionally inefficient to reduce the energy that a person has to bear?

pg 2. So far this is interesting and not info-dumpy 

pg 3. Top of the page her is where I start getting a bit fatigued by the info. I think the last sentence of the big talking paragraph at the top is the main one that matters, and the rest could be trimmed down. 

-Hmm the analogy isn't super helpful to me. I'm willing to accept "magic is hard and complicated spells need mages to transfer energy from the spellstone into the person" and move on. 

pg 4. The magic as a health/disability treatment analogy does seem pretty solid so far. Too much magic is kinda like overdosing on meds. I really like this angle on magic, since normally it's all about destructive power (which we do see addressed in the story but isn't the sole focus)

pg 5. Perhaps I'm overly reading into the magic is a medicinal drug analogy but I don't get why the body becoming more reliant on magic means it necessarily cuts the user's lifespan. And here is also where the disability treatment starts to get a little dicey. It's understandably why someone might take Is--n's position but trading life force to be able to act more normal brings up a lot of uncomfortable questions. I don't think it's problematic and is still much better than what I've seen elsewhere in the genre, but I thought I should make note of it. I think that if you said "because I'm being treated now I'm locking myself into being treated for the rest of my life, but that's necessary to fit in society" and don't talk about lifespan at all it dodges a lot of the potential problems (logical and social).

pg 6. I think this is a lot more powerful if I know what R doesn't understand and what Is--n thinks he sees instead

-At this point even the characters feel like they're acknowledging that this is an info dump. I'd like to see some more motion instead. 

pg 7. Magic itself, ineptitude... seems like he's missing the big one. That competence in destruction could be more devastating than ineptitude. 

pg 8. So far I'm not sure any of this past the "any more questions?" is super helpful for me

-Also the little aside about H doesn't really mean anything to me because we don't have that much of the context. Not that I think we need more; honestly I don't think the theology needs to be addressed right now since it's not as plot relevant... and this is coming from someone who loves fantasy theology. 

pg 9. C took the mages from the rebellion? Interesting. That feels more plot-relevant than what we've been getting so far. 

-Whenever someone mentions "helping those poor small civilizations get rid of a tyrant" I literally never believe that they're genuine. Is--n just looks like a warmonger. Which isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but his reasons feel really flaccid. 

pg 10. I'm kinda glad the conversation is coming to and end, but it seems like a random place for Is--n to decide to hold is cards close to his chest. 

pg 11-12. I like this plot dynamic at the end. Puts the magic into action and shows its potential for helping injured/disabled people do impressive things they couldn't do without those accommodations.

On 8/16/2021 at 1:25 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  • And then, relatedly, any “I feel like I’m supposed to know what they’re talking about, but I really just don’t” moments?
  • Thoughts on characters? Specifically, does the ending here seem to work, assuming I can get a better sense of Is's sense of purposelessness after the poisoning in Part 1?
  • Points of interest or engagement?

1. I was engaged by the first half of the chapter, but the second half didn't do it for me aside from the C talk. For once C is the most interesting thing in the room! ...Not a shot at you, I just find it funny that right when I find it interesting I find something else to not be engaged with. Though I do think that C's connection to the mage rebellion is really key for unifying story ideas and should be established in part 1. 

2. Hmm not a ton. The mechanics of complex vs. simple magic were hard for me to understand but I also didn't get why we needed the technical details in the first place. 

3. I do like the ending, yeah. Is is good here because the story is converging around her injury/disability/recovery story that really starts interacting with the main plot ideas. That being said, the ending and the arc that's being set up will only work for me if Is continues to have close connections with magic throughout the story. If she uses magic to fully recover and goes back to interacting with it how she did before, I'll be disappointed. I want a relationship between her and magic, not a triumph over it to the point that she's healthy enough not to interact with it (she can be healthy and not need healing magic but I want her relationship with magic in general to be strengthened by this). Is--n felt a bit off to me at a couple points, and I noted them in the LBLs

4. I'm trying to determine how much of this is me being chronically ill and having mild disabilities, but the way that the character plot of disability, injury, medicine, and recovery revolves around the setting ideas of magic, which has ties to culture and history, is by far the most interesting part of the story to me. I'm not sure if you were intending to write a story with connections to contemporary disabilities, accessibility, and treatment, but that's what I'm getting out of it and I really like it so far. 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 1. This doesn't really hook me. It's a similar dynamic to last chapter. 

Looking at combining the last chapter with this one for the next round of revisions.  Or at least trimming back what's in this one better so that we don't get the repetition. 

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 5. Perhaps I'm overly reading into the magic is a medicinal drug analogy but I don't get why the body becoming more reliant on magic means it necessarily cuts the user's lifespan

There is definitely an intentional parallel there, so any thoughts on that comparison are helpful as I refine some of the subtleties.  It isn't a one-to-one comparison, though, since magic is manipulating the systems of the body directly. 

For more specific information on what's going on with Is-n (because it's been a while since I've rambled on about how aspects of the magic works, and to give you more things to potentially poke at problems with): The body builds a tolerance against that influence over time and prolonged use, to the point that its "normal" state assumes the additional input of magic. If there's extra energy coming in all of the time to help with muscle function, then the body is going to divert the surplus to other tasks and form new connections in those directions.  So when the magic is "out of the system", those new connections hold steady, but the old ones are suddenly not getting the energy they're used to.  In extreme cases, where the spells are strong and the person has been undergoing them regularly for years (for example, Is-n), it means that the amplified system is at risk of giving out altogether if there's no magic supporting it, or sort of shorting out when the magic is applied if the body has adjusted enough to be unable to handle the energy input. 

The real-world comparison would be any medication that's habit-forming or that would involve withdrawal symptoms if removed. But when the "medication" is physically keeping muscles and nerves functioning, its absence is likely to result in catastrophic failure. 

All of that being said, Is-n is definitely a special, extreme case, which I should probably have him clarify while he's trying to convince Is- of the benefits of healing magic. 

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I think that if you said "because I'm being treated now I'm locking myself into being treated for the rest of my life, but that's necessary to fit in society" and don't talk about lifespan at all it dodges a lot of the potential problems (logical and social).

For example, this would not be the case for all patients.  Is, for example, might need the extra boost of the magic to maintain "normalcy" while natural healing processes are working overtime to get everything back in order, but that will still take time, and her body will have to sort of rewire itself once the healing is done to keep from relying on the additional magic assistance.  So even once she's "done" with the spellstone, she'll have to continue recovering without it until her body adjusts to going without the magic boost full time. 

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 7. Magic itself, ineptitude... seems like he's missing the big one. That competence in destruction could be more devastating than ineptitude.

There are divine limitations on this, but like so many of the other moving pieces that haven't been in the right place at the right time, I've failed to make that clear before it's relevant.  Ultimately, anyone using magic to intentionally harm or kill another person can be accused before the gods, and if determined to be guilty, is likely to be incinerated instantaneously with their soul condemned to what would be the equivalent of the worst corner of hell. 

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

-Whenever someone mentions "helping those poor small civilizations get rid of a tyrant" I literally never believe that they're genuine. Is--n just looks like a warmonger. Which isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but his reasons feel really flaccid. 

This is definitely not Is-n's most genuine moment.  His main goal is to get the laws revised. And if Is- (or the court, if he can get things that far) seems more excited by the idea of saving a bunch of foreign innocents or fighting with C-, he's willing to push that as the main motivation.

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I just find it funny that right when I find it interesting I find something else to not be engaged with.

Yeah. In theory all of this should be tied together in Part 1...obviously that's not working yet.  The changes I have planned for Al's early chapters will hopefully tie some of the relevant details of the magic laws and mage rebellion in, which will be a big step of that. 

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Is continues to have close connections with magic throughout the story.

She does :)

22 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

I'm not sure if you were intending to write a story with connections to contemporary disabilities, accessibility, and treatment, but that's what I'm getting out of it and I really like it so far. 

Most of that is intentional, though it shifts in and out of the main focus depending on where we are in the story.  I'm glad you're finding that interesting, and definitely look forward to your further feedback on it.  Hope I can continue to do it justice! 

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On 8/24/2021 at 8:24 PM, C_Vallion said:

There is definitely an intentional parallel there, so any thoughts on that comparison are helpful as I refine some of the subtleties.  It isn't a one-to-one comparison, though, since magic is manipulating the systems of the body directly. 

For more specific information on what's going on with Is-n (because it's been a while since I've rambled on about how aspects of the magic works, and to give you more things to potentially poke at problems with): The body builds a tolerance against that influence over time and prolonged use, to the point that its "normal" state assumes the additional input of magic. If there's extra energy coming in all of the time to help with muscle function, then the body is going to divert the surplus to other tasks and form new connections in those directions.  So when the magic is "out of the system", those new connections hold steady, but the old ones are suddenly not getting the energy they're used to.  In extreme cases, where the spells are strong and the person has been undergoing them regularly for years (for example, Is-n), it means that the amplified system is at risk of giving out altogether if there's no magic supporting it, or sort of shorting out when the magic is applied if the body has adjusted enough to be unable to handle the energy input. 

The real-world comparison would be any medication that's habit-forming or that would involve withdrawal symptoms if removed. But when the "medication" is physically keeping muscles and nerves functioning, its absence is likely to result in catastrophic failure. 

All of that being said, Is-n is definitely a special, extreme case, which I should probably have him clarify while he's trying to convince Is- of the benefits of healing magic. 

This explanation makes sense to me whereas the chapter's text didn't as much. I think in most cases it is better to do what the story did and be very direct about how the characters will be affected, but in this case I think it oversimplifies the situation a bit and evokes something different than what the story seems to be going for (feels more like a deal with the devil than a medical treatment). Focusing on Is--n's body being more reliant on magic rather than the lifespan, while more abstract, I think also makes more sense with the parallels that were already drawn. 

On 8/24/2021 at 8:24 PM, C_Vallion said:

This is definitely not Is-n's most genuine moment.  His main goal is to get the laws revised. And if Is- (or the court, if he can get things that far) seems more excited by the idea of saving a bunch of foreign innocents or fighting with C-, he's willing to push that as the main motivation.

Might help to have Is call this out, because I assumed we were supposed to take him at face value. 

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