C_Vallion

9.6.2021 - C_Vallion - Price of Peace - Chapter 13 RevA - (L, D) - 5203 Words

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Hello, All!

Man, really sneaking in before the buzzer this week. Whoops.

This was originally two chapters, which I trimmed and merged to remove some of my usual walky-talky issues.  It likely still needs more trimming in some spots, specifically in discussing the magic mechanics, but after cutting 3k words already this week, my brain needs a little more distance before it decides what else should be trimmed.

Content Warning: Mild Language, Mild Drinking (not sure if that quite fits the drug/substance abuse tag, but figured it’s better to mention it)

Usual questions plus one:

  1. Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  2. Thoughts on characters?
  3. Points of interest or engagement?
  4. Does it seem like this works alright as one combined chapter, or does it seem like it would be better divided into two shorter chapters (Basically split into Campfire Conversation Day and Magic Conversation Day)?

Thanks so much!

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Hello!

I think this read well as one chapter! If it was split, it doesn't seem like the second chapter would have enough substance on it's own. 

The fireside conversation was my favorite part and made me like the MC better. Especially in showing that while she was willing to take on some responsibilities, she was still dreading them. 

The dialogue when they first saw other people in the valley was a little confusing as far as who was speaking. I sorted it out, but it took some re reading. 

The MC showing off her secrete skills was a nice touch and a fun moment. 

The end felt a little fuzzy and rushed as to what was happening, but maybe that was intentional?

I'm afraid I don't know why she dislikes G, I'm assuming that was in the parts I missed. 

One sticky point for me was when they get into a discussion about energy spell (I'm assuming it's like we see her using where it eases pain and strengthens muscles) acting on the heart. I was assuming this was figurative the heart as someone's core (because making someone's heart beat faster wouldn't really help them with endurance unless other things are happening too), until they got into 'causing a heart attack'. I don't know if you want to get into this or not, but a heart attack is the obstruction of blood flow to the heart's own tissues. What you are describing seems more like sudden cardiac arrest, which is usually caused by electrical or mechanically stopping the beating of the heart.

Both terms are fairly new medical science, we didn't have any strong idea of what was happening durring a heart attack until the 1900's (so says google). I've forgotten when this story is set but it feels older than that.

But it is magic! So feel free to ignor all this. If you want to go deeper into though, I am happy to help. 

Thanks for sharing!

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Hi! As I read:

p3 - It feels like the important bit of the chapter starts when Is starts asking Is-n pertinent questions about his plans. The first two pages struggled to hold my attention, honestly. A bit of scenery description and scene-setting is good, but two pages feels like too much at once, especially without a strong hook to pull us through.

p4 - This might be a weekly reading schedule problem - I'm not sure who Ar is or why Is doesn't like him. I'm guessing from context that Ar is just kind of a pig, but I don't remember any of this coming up before, other than Is's assumption that she'll be married off at some point.

(Also, if the assumption was that Is was getting married off at some point, why was she courting? Wasn't that seen as a problem?)

p5 - I'm not sure why Is is getting so drunk. We're told that she's not usually much of a one for drinking, and she is in the middle of a fairly serious conversation, so why did she drink so much? 

p6 - The king called off any possible marriage to a M lord? Huh. Maybe he suspects them of being behind the poisoning?

p12 - What's this about a message box chiming? Does Is-n have a magical version of a phone on him? How does that work??

p13 - I assume the Vowband is essentially the same thing as an Oathband. I'm not sure what the significance of it glowing is.

 

One thing to keep in mind about this chapter is that it is pretty walky-talky. Not enough to be a problem in and of itself - the conversations are interesting and it feels like they are moving the plot forward - but too many walky-talky chapters in a row will start to drag, which is something to think about when you revise.

1. I mentioned in the LBLs that the beginning was slow, and I think the first two pages could do with trimming.

2. I enjoy Is-n's rebellious side, and I'm kind of interested in why Do was so floored that Is knew the fire spell. Maybe because he sees it as a clear sign that attitudes on magic laws are changing, even among the most powerful people?

Also, I picked up on the fact that Is-n doesn't think V would ever have considered marrying Is to Ar. Is-n knows (or believes?) that V does genuinely care and wouldn't put political gain before Is's well-being, while Is thinks that V really is as cold as he appears.

3. I liked Is finding out that a marriage with a M lord was on the table. I also liked the discussion of the magic, and Is learning how to use it more.

4. I think it works well as one chapter, and don't see any reason to split it up.

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:22 AM, Sarah B said:

The dialogue when they first saw other people in the valley was a little confusing as far as who was speaking. I sorted it out, but it took some re reading.

Good to know. I'll make a note of that for editing. 

On 9/10/2021 at 9:22 AM, Sarah B said:

One sticky point for me was when they get into a discussion about energy spell (I'm assuming it's like we see her using where it eases pain and strengthens muscles) acting on the heart.

Now I see where the explanation disconnect in our messages was.  Is- has two spellstones. The energy spellstone (the bracelet Al gave her) that D references, and the one she actually uses at the beginning of this chapter (a necklace that her uncle brought back from one of his healing trips), which contains a combination of spells to help with muscle strength/pain.  

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

The first two pages struggled to hold my attention, honestly. A bit of scenery description and scene-setting is good, but two pages feels like too much at once, especially without a strong hook to pull us through.

I'll have to figure out the best way to deal with this. On one hand, it is scenery description and scene-setting, but the geography of it is really important when they're returning, and in theory, the pacing of that chapter should be quick enough that a scenery/geography description there would be distracting.  I'll have to figure out what to trim back and what to hang a lantern on for later. 

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

I'm not sure who Ar is or why Is doesn't like him

Probably a mix of weekly reading and it being a while since he's been seen/mentioned. And most interaction with him has been indirect, as her specific thoughts on why she doesn't like him are in one of the cut chapters at the start.  He's one of the ones who basically called out Al as a foreign spy in the court scene way back when (chapter 5 or 6, I think).  He's also the one who hosts some of the parties that Ro- mentioned overhearing concerning conversations at.  Most specific to why Is- doesn't like him is in R's chapter, where R is pretty confident that Ar would try to overthrow him if R took the throne before something was done to settle the conflict among the court. 

As with so many things, it may also just not be sticking well enough if those sections are bogged down in setup...

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

p5 - I'm not sure why Is is getting so drunk. We're told that she's not usually much of a one for drinking, and she is in the middle of a fairly serious conversation, so why did she drink so much? 

This probably needs more clarification for how drunk she actually is more than anything. Ultimately, Is-n is assuming she's far more drunk than she is, since she's so guarded under normal circumstances. She's had enough to lower inhibitions a bit and be slightly louder/more giggly than usual, but that bar is low enough that you could trip over it if you're not careful. 

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

p12 - What's this about a message box chiming? Does Is-n have a magical version of a phone on him? How does that work??

The message boxes were introduced in Is's conversation with Aunt D in Chapter 10. What we get there is that it's new magic-tech. Text-messaging via magic is probably a decent rough idea, though the boxes Is-n and Der- have are a little larger. Probably jewelry box sized. 

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

p13 - I assume the Vowband is essentially the same thing as an Oathband. I'm not sure what the significance of it glowing is.

Vows have different procedures than Oaths, and appear on different arms (Vows on the right, Oaths on the left).  If they're Judge-bound (so, not the tattooed ones like Al and the other Gil- nobles have), they glow when touched (like a spellstone would) or when the person is using magic. 

Currently working on the reworked prologue that will detail some of this better than the old one did.  Had you read the initial prologue? I can't remember when you jumped in for the reading. 

On 9/10/2021 at 3:15 PM, RedBlue said:

Also, I picked up on the fact that Is-n doesn't think V would ever have considered marrying Is to Ar. Is-n knows (or believes?) that V does genuinely care and wouldn't put political gain before Is's well-being, while Is thinks that V really is as cold as he appears.

I should probably clarify Is's opinion of V earlier on as well. There's a little of that in her talk with Al near the end of Part 1, but that's more based on his interactions with V, not her opinions.  I should probably have Al turn that back on her to get her to acknowledge her perspective.  She wouldn't consider V cold.  She's has no doubt that V loves her. She just also knows that he's practical to a fault (not that she'd call it a fault), and that he is willing to make sacrifices for the good of the kingdom, even if it pains him to do so. She also doesn't realize the extent to which that pain weighs on him - which we got a little of in the interlude (Is-n has a better sense of how torn V is about the whole thing, but likes to think that V wouldn't marry Is- off to someone he knows is horrible).  Because Is- is also practical to a fault, she's willing to do whatever that requires of her for the "greater good". Because she then gets the dual-accomplishment of doing what's best for the kingdom and of making Dad proud (or at least being valuable to him when he needs her), while also carrying on denying her own vulnerabilities and fears of failure and uselessness. 

Ultimately, they both have very serious issues acknowledging the emotional toll that practicality puts on them (or any emotions at all, really). And all of those things need to be brought out a little more clearly early on, because there's a lot of that desire to be useful to V and the kingdom in Is's motivations that just got lost in the mix early on, but that provides more answer to the "Why is she being so stubborn about asking for help?" questions that have come up.

Blargh. I feel like my list of things to fix in Part 1 is longer than the text of Part 1, itself.  Which, as you are well aware, is not an insignificant feat. 

 

Thanks so much! The input is extremely helpful, as always! 

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1 hour ago, C_Vallion said:

Had you read the initial prologue? I can't remember when you jumped in for the reading. 

I haven’t read the original prologue, no.

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Alright, opening the doc now!

Page 1

“carved the trails…” so far everything seems pretty good. I like this imagery a lot, and a wonder if they will be set into the cliff like open-sided tunnels or something.

Page 2

“I suppose I will” I can’t quite put my finger on this one, but I think I would like more of a punch here, or more of a solid beat.

“Far less…” I would put this before the paragraph her Is begins to reminisce, directly after “smirking”. I had to look back to remember what he was responding to, and I think it would help the flow a little.

Page 3

“make me more sympathetic…” is she implying that he had something to do with the assassination here?

“be a M lord” snap

Page 4

“she wasn’t good at evaluating” I’ll drink to that, dude

Page 5

“see, this was why” I think this should be an italicized thought to herself, because it if not it seems like you’re telling the audience directly.

Page 7

“see?” I would really like a description of what they are seeing, as first description comes a few paragraphs down, and doesn’t give a ton of description. I know it’s not as smooth as a ballroom, byt what is not as smooth? The ground? The cliffs? Both?

“purple and blue” I really like this description. Very evocative.

Page 11

I’m liking the magic discussion.

“How can failing…” I assume cause it could make head esplode?

An interesting end to the chapter!

1. I was a little confused by the parts where they were talking about the marriage, but other than that I think it worked well as one chapter.

2. I didn't get a strong bead on many of the characters in this chapter, though I like the uncle so far. 

3. The most interesting part to me was when she was practicing her magic. 

4. I think it works fine

I would love some more descriptions of their surroundings! Especially in the scene with the cliff, and I would love some tactile descriptions as well. The scene at the summit was good, but it kind of felt like they were floating a lot of the time. 

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As I go:

pg 1. Oh boy this is reminding me of how I got caught in a rockslide while walking to work over the summer

pg 2. I do like Is and Is--n being a bit more casual around each other

pg 4. I can tell that V planning to marry her to a M person is important to Is, but I think I need more about how she feels (even if that's being too overwhelmed to fully process it rn)

-C's son? Is that Al? Probably WRS but I don't remember the name of Al's parents

pg 5. Is D also ethnically M? I assumed he wasn't but if that's the case idk why he's being brought up now.

-I do think this is the right time to bring up the whole political marriage business, moreso than chapter 1 in earlier drafts. We have more context as to what's going on and it doesn't feel like it's leading us astray

pg 9. Hmm at this point I feel like I'm losing track of the story. Not in the sense that what's here is bad, but so far the chapter has been about travelling to a specific place and we're spending a lot of time not doing that.   

pg 11. That's more or less what happened to Al's parents, right? It's a good connection though we're far enough into the story that I'm fuzzier on the details than I want to be.

pg 12. She's a Jud-? Idk what that means

-"like water flowing downhill" or like actual physical energy... which I guess is also just water flowing downhill due to potential energy, huh (I'm no engineer but I think I remember basic physics lol)? Anyways, I like this note. Makes the magic feel more real. 

On 9/6/2021 at 9:19 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • Any confusing/boring sections for this chapter?
  • Thoughts on characters?
  • Points of interest or engagement?
  • Does it seem like this works alright as one combined chapter, or does it seem like it would be better divided into two shorter chapters (Basically split into Campfire Conversation Day and Magic Conversation Day)?

1. Not a lot on its own, but I couldn't quite see what the chapter arc was supposed to be so it didn't feel like a lot happened so to speak even though a lot did happen. I think the issue for me is not knowing what really to track here. At the start it's a lot about the travel but the end really isn't about that. 

2. I like Is and Is--n. I don't  pay a ton of attention to anyone else and for now it seems like I don't need to. Though if one of them becomes a major character I won't feel preapred.

3. In addition to what I put in the line notes, I like the setup of Is and Ala both going to unfamiliar lands that are more related to each other and having to figure out stuff the other person might know. It's a good way of not needing to be as info-dumpy. Stuff about M magic that Al knows can be explained to Is and vice versa for court politics that Is knows and Al doesn't. 

4. To me it didn't feel like a cohesive chapter, but it also wouldn't have as two separate chapters, so it's hard for me to say. I think however the main topic arc ends up shaking out, it's fine for it to be either one or two chapters.  

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On 9/15/2021 at 8:33 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

“make me more sympathetic…” is she implying that he had something to do with the assassination here?

That paragraph could probably be trimmed down to more directly get at the "Why is all of this coming up now, and how long has it been going on?" questions.

She now has a greater sympathy for "the cause" because she has greatly benefited from the healing magic spellstones she's been using and sees firsthand why wider usage would be beneficial. She partly assumes he's capitalizing on that firsthand experience as well, not that he had anything to do with the attack.

On 9/15/2021 at 8:33 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

“see, this was why” I think this should be an italicized thought to herself, because it if not it seems like you’re telling the audience directly.

I'm always torn about how to handle these sorts of lines when trying to keep it as a pretty close 3rd person.  I'm not a huge fan of italicizing thoughts if there are ways to include them, but there are definitely parts where they stick out a little more where I might need to make exceptions.

On 9/15/2021 at 8:33 PM, ginger_reckoning said:

Especially in the scene with the cliff, and I would love some tactile descriptions as well. The scene at the summit was good, but it kind of felt like they were floating a lot of the time. 

Good to know that still needs work. Descriptions are one of my many not-best things, so getting a read on how that's coming across is helpful.  

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 4. I can tell that V planning to marry her to a M person is important to Is, but I think I need more about how she feels (even if that's being too overwhelmed to fully process it rn)

This is definitely something I want to fix in Part 1, making sure to make it clearer that Is- tends to be duty-driven to a fault, and tends to emotionally distance herself from things that might otherwise bother her by tacking on the "it's for the good of the kingdom!" note. That ties in a lot with the pride/stubbornness issues that aren't coming across quite right, as it's all a whole lot of "my value is defined by how I can help the kingdom, so any shortcoming is a failure and letting people see any emotional weakness is a risk" 

There's a little of that in her conversation with Is-n a few chapters back.  She says that V avoids acknowledging or dealing with unpleasant things that are outside his control until they're right in front of him and acknowledges that she's learned to deal with things (or avoid dealing with them) the same way. 

Definitely still needs to work on that whole aspect of her character, since it's not coming across correctly now, and is pretty much the defining point of where her arc starts. 

Also need to figure out a better way of signaling the moments when she is forcing herself to stay practical and duty-focused and the like in order to distance herself from her fears. Tried to do that here, with her shifting toward restlessness and messing with her bracelet and such when she realizes that they're thinking of marrying her off to someone from M-.  But I think I need to call that out or finding a good spot earlier on to hang a big ol' lantern on bracelet-fidgeting being a sign that she's feeling a little overwhelmed by emotions she doesn't want to deal with. 

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

C's son? Is that Al? Probably WRS but I don't remember the name of Al's parents

That's D. 

Brief summary of things that I want to provide at least an implication of earlier on without taking a whole chapter somewhere to address Is's relationship history:

They were mostly good friends with lots of pressure from various outside forces to be more than that, so they sort of gave a sort-of-relationship a go (with Is- half-expecting V to jump in and warn her that she shouldn't be getting too attached to anyone) until D met May- and both Is and D realized that they should give up the act.  So they go back to being friends. D knows Is better than just about anyone, and is rather protective of her, and most of the court assumes that Is is jealous of May and still heartbroken about D, and she lets them so that she doesn't have to deal with anyone (except May-) pushing her into new relationships.   

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 9. Hmm at this point I feel like I'm losing track of the story. Not in the sense that what's here is bad, but so far the chapter has been about travelling to a specific place and we're spending a lot of time not doing that.   

Not sure what you're getting at here. If it's just an "it took longer than expected to get to the mountaintop" or if it isn't clear that this is where they were going. Or if the fireside chat and magic lessons seem to distract from an "I thought the main point was to go up to the mountain"

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 11. That's more or less what happened to Al's parents, right?

Yep. As confirmed by your jumping to the prologue after this. :) 

We were reminded of it in the very walky-talky Is-/Is-n chapter, but it's right in the middle of the slow slog there, so I'm sure it wasn't sticking very well as being important.  Hopefully with more focus on Al's ties to the magic laws in part 1 that will stick better.

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

-"like water flowing downhill" or like actual physical energy... which I guess is also just water flowing downhill due to potential energy, huh (I'm no engineer but I think I remember basic physics lol)? Anyways, I like this note. Makes the magic feel more real. 

In many ways, like both.  I figure it makes sense both in-world and in-book to have a metaphor of something visible/tangible for the more abstract aspects of magic to be compared to, especially since even in-world, not everyone is going to have a well-developed magic sense if they aren't doing formal training/study.

23 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

Not a lot on its own, but I couldn't quite see what the chapter arc was supposed to be so it didn't feel like a lot happened so to speak even though a lot did happen. I think the issue for me is not knowing what really to track here. At the start it's a lot about the travel but the end really isn't about that. 

This probably hits the question that I should have been asking on the "does this work as one chapter" question.  I'd had a feeling that it needed to be more focused, but was thinking it was the combination of the first and second halves put together that was causing the feeling rather than it being the disconnect from the travel setup...will have to figure out what to do to get that in order.

 

As always, thanks so much for the thoughts!  

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30 minutes ago, C_Vallion said:

Not sure what you're getting at here. If it's just an "it took longer than expected to get to the mountaintop" or if it isn't clear that this is where they were going. Or if the fireside chat and magic lessons seem to distract from an "I thought the main point was to go up to the mountain"

I wasn't really clear on where they were specifically going though tbh that didn't bother me a ton. More of the latter, being like "huh I thought this was about them getting to point B so stuff can happen what's taking so long?" If the ideas in the conversations connect to where they're going, maybe it could help to focus on that when talking about the travel? Part of this is WRS as well since I don't think I fully remember why they're going to the mountaintop. I think the easiest way to help me at least would be to connect the conversations to specific things that they're going to be doing at the mountaintop, healing/magic or anything else. That way it will feel more like buildup for a big event rather than necessary but not all that exciting (not in an insulting way; can't come up with a better word) conversation about the story's ideas. Though as usual I'm kinda spitballing here. 

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