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Reading Excuses—11/7/22—JWerner—The Witch and the Ostrich, ch. 4 & 5—5101 words (V, G, L, S)


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Here's chapter 4 and 5 for The Witch and the Ostrich.
Last time, Q—journalist and witch—and her companion F—once a powerful necromancer, now an ostrich—made it into QW and discovered that the town is, putting it politely, a pit. After finding lodgings, Q heads over to the C, QW's gladiator pit, and takes some notes for her article. When she returns to the inn, she discovers, much to her pleasure, that F has been bird-napped.
I hope you all enjoy this one, and I apologize for it being a bit over the limit. I did try to cut down as much fluff as I could. Also, bit of a content warning: Things get bloody. Nobody is safe. Kids included. 
Edited by JWerner
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Pg 5 "After a sustained bout of charades, got his answers: The Crescent—bloody smart-aleck—shrug, no, and no." I had trouble matching these to the questions in the previous paragraph. I'm thinking that maybe "smart-aleck" was a comment rather than an answer.

The part where Q was writing on her typewriter was a little disorienting to read, especially with the bigger font. It took me a minute to realize that it was Q typing rather than a shift in the font.

"Q's link to her typewriter back at her apartment in B died with an electric screech when she finally noticed who the F N was going up against" This sentence was a bit confusing. Is the typewriter electric? And why does it die when she notices F N's opponent? Do her powers short it out or something along those lines?

I really enjoyed this! You have a very unique writing style. I can always envision everything clearly, and the unique descriptions you use add a ton of flavor to the story. Q and F are extremely interesting characters, and the world is so complex and chaotic that I'm constantly wanting to know more. Aside from a couple of slightly confusing sentences, and the bit where Q was writing on her typewriter, I don't really have any suggestions for this chapter. 

Thanks for sharing! 




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Not a lot of notes on this one. It's definitely opened up into a wider story, which comedies often have a hard time doing. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting quite this level of gore and descriptive wording, but it's certainly unique.

I think defining the relationship between Q and F closer to the beginning will help this scene play out even stronger. I'm still not clear on why they haven't gone separate ways before now, especially since F doesn't seem to have any compunctions about causing Q harm.

Overall, I'm enjoying this a lot though! Looking forward to the next one.


Notes while reading:

pg 2: " It’d been considerably foolish of him to turn his back to them"
--So he'd just been staring them down for two hours?

pg 3: There's a bit much on the phallic references through this story...

pg 8: I'm enjoying the banter between F and the vampire. You have some great characters in here.

pg 9: Took me a minute to figure out this was Q's article.

pg 13: "All of which he could have gone and done without ruining her assignment."
--unsure why this ruins the assignment? Can Q not get the link to her typewriter back?

pg 14: "and an entire second jaw popped out"
--ok, you got me with that one. Good work!

pg 18: Well, this chapter certainly had more things happening!

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On 11/7/2022 at 5:45 PM, FlowerGirl said:

I'm thinking that maybe "smart-aleck" was a comment rather than an answer.


3 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 3: There's a bit much on the phallic references through this story...

pg 13: "All of which he could have gone and done without ruining her assignment."
--unsure why this ruins the assignment? Can Q not get the link to her typewriter back?

There were way more at one point. I made concerted effort to cut down on them.

It ruins her assignment bcause F is a conflict of interest; a journalist can't write a story about someone they know personally. Bit of an ethical no-no. Otherwise, no, the link wasn't affected. She just basically got taken outta the zone. 

Thank you both for your feedback! I might add a headline and byline to Q's story to make it a bit clearer that it's her article. 

Edited by JWerner
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Looking through Flowergirl and Mandamon's replies, it looks like I had a lot of the same notes as them. It seems like the story has a villain now in B, which was an interesting twist. Very interested to see how they deal with this zombie plague!


Opening the doc now!

“ironic vegetable stew” I think I missed why this would be ironic. Is it just because it would be their “meat”?

“shuttlecock” good imagery

“street rats” Aladdin

Pg 2

“F swallowed” this, right after talking about eating, is a little confusing (doesn’t help that the subject of the eating is gross)

Wait do ostriches really have big pp? Not looking that up, but interesting

Also, every single sub so far has had a discussion about p3ns1ses so far. I get it’s kind of a character quirk for Q, but I’m gonna say the same thing that I would say to most modern adult cartoons: the inherent funniness of the ding dong  wears out pretty quickly (insert pun)

Pg 3

“no long-lashed fairy princess!” not sure how this relates to emus. Ostriches also have long eyelashes, I think

A vampire? Interesting…

“sucked in a breath” gasped?

“imprisoned” nice sentence structure here

Pg 5

“kept the receipt” lol

Ah, so they’re so desperate for contestant that they are kidnapping people? Or was this how it was always done?

“jousted using ostriches” lol, is this a reference to the video game “Joust”?

“ bout of charades, got his answers” this sentence lacks a subject, technically. Should say, “he got his answers”

“shrug, no, and no” Oh no! Now I have to go back and read through the paragraph to see which answers go to which questions!

Pg 6

“the dead rat rotated”


diagonally spinning rat that i screen recorded and then badly converted  into a gif : r/notinteresting

“shut eye opened” you can remove the word shut. If the eye opened, we can reasonably infer that it was shut before

Pg 8

“pint-sized” nice

Pg 9

Whoah what happened to the font

Okay so halfway down the page, I’m guessing this is what Q is writing?

“imaginary piano” I don’t get this

Pg 11 So far I like her style

Wait so this lady stabbed herself with her nails and everyone likes that? Odd


“eight full feet” nice

Pg 15

Oooh, this is an interesting development. So the vampire is what is giving him power, which lets him do his thing. I sense that that pair might end up being a formidable foe for Q

Pg 17

That got very violent very quickly

Hmm interesting twist at the end

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