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07.20.2014 - manaheim - Redemption's Edge - Ch4 (L)


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Comments as I read:


Pg1: both of first sentences are passive voice.


pg1:  She can't touch anything without it hurting?  That's really going to limit her action.  Also, I'm not sure whether she's visible or not.


pg 1: "She was trouble alright. That much was certain. But what kind of trouble, and what authority figures she had to be wary of, had significantly changed since last she walked the earth. "

--I had to read this section twice.  You're saying she's trouble, but she's the one running away.  I got your intent, but it took a couple tries.


Pg 5: Candice is really angst-ridden about murdering someone.  I would be too, but this also undermines what you've told us about her being a "bad girl." I would think she's used to doing what she had to to get the job done.


pg 7: "If this would-be thief were to get caught and tossed in jail, it would be nearly impossible for her to complete her assignment."

--This made me wonder how Candice arrived on Earth again.  I suppose she went down the elevator, but where does she get off?  If the guy gets thrown in jail, can she just ride the elevator down to his cell?

--I assume by this point that she's invisible to humans, but you don't actually say.


pg 12: "after which she could turn as many doorknobs as she liked, with hands soaked in blood. "

--so does she make an impression on the world or not?  Is she invisible, but corporeal?  or does she have to manifest in some way?


pg 14-19:

I'm not sure what Ryan's POV adds, except to get an outside view of Candace holding the sword.  You could still get that point across from her perspective.  It seems strange to switch to him briefly after so long in Candace's POV.  Plus, you rehash some of the story, which adds some unneeded length to the chapter for a character who (I assume) we won't see again.



So...I'm unsure of what happened at the end.  I looked up the quote that appears on Candace's chest, and it has to do with stopping one who is stealing.  I'm not sure whether it applies to what she did with Ryan, or some sin she's been purged of, or both.  In any case, I'm confused as to why she got the brand when she was sent to kill.  I'm guessing we'll find out more of the reasoning in the next chapter.  To me this ties into the lack of information on the Contract.  We don't know exactly what Candace is doing, and why Ryan was a target--he seems a pretty sorry specimen for Heaven to target to kill off.


Still interested to see what happens next, but I'd like to get some clarification on what she's doing and why.

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Overall, I enjoyed this chapter, plenty of action and I enjoyed the different setting, which I was able to picture well enough from the description you gave us. I had some issues however, with some of the details, as noted below.


My main problem, I guess, was that certain things seemed to exist just to serve certain elements of the story. Ryan happens to be about to steal a sword; which happens to be very poorly protected. He happens to know how to use a sword.


Notwithstanding my concerns about these details, I though the chapter flowed well, had good elements it in, pretty good description (occasional off word choice, I thought). I did feel a bit let down by the climactic face/off between Ryan and Candace. You went to a fair bit of trouble to set up a sword fight and then we don’t get even a short one, which I had been expecting – felt a bit let down by that.


I was a little surprised to see Ryan's POV as well, but the biggest thing for me was his reaction, which I thought was a bit tame.


Still with it though, roll on Chapter 5.




Page 1 – “She was trouble alright...” – This sentence tripped me up, could be smoother.


Page 2 – I like the idea of touching physical things being painful, but the wind is a physical thing, so I'm wondering how that works. Is that why she wonders why her feet don’t hurt? I didn’t that was clear.


Page 3 – Why is his job pointless? That seems unlikely to me. I guess it’s not pointless to him, since he earns income from it, and I guess he is serving customers at a gas station, which I wouldn’t say is pointless. I would beware of denigrating everything about a character just because they have done something bad. Perversely, if a reader perceives a reference like that to be unjust, they might start to feel sympathy for the guy.


Page 3 – “She had no choice. But then, she never really did.” – Not sure why she never really did. I read this as she has no choice now that she’s dead, but she never did when she was alive.


Page 3 – Hmm, where did this revenge ‘speech’ come from? There’s no foreshadowing of that in the three chapters previous. Despite the fact that I like Candace, I'm not sure I’ve had any sympathy for her from the start, but if there was some tragedy in her life, I would have thought we would have head about it before now. I think that’s a problem. Also, I don’t buy criminals who didn’t have a choice, B.S. This speech and the sentiment feel right out of place for me.


Page 4 – I like the description of her getting inside, I found that effective.


Page 4 – I'm not saying it’s inaccurate, but “stuffed trash bags and empty pizza boxes” feels clichéd. Not everyone who lives alone is a slob. Also, Candace’s thought is beneath her, there’s no way she’s so dumb as to think that rationale is in any way possible.


Page 8 – “He pulled off much of his own clothesclothing...”


Page 11 – “No Alarms didn’t sounded.


Page 12 – I don’t buy unimaginable wealth. If any of this stuff constituted unimaginable wealth, it would be much better protected than by one drunken guard with no locks on the doors and no remote alert in a commercial alarm company’s office. This is not convincing me. Millions of dollars? No, that’s not how the world works. Even hick museums (which I presume you are going for here), know the value of things and would protect them.


Page 13 – More of a portal than a barrier to the king’s hall, I would have thought.


Page 14 – Would human hands ‘soil’ the blade if it was designed by humans, for human use?


Page 14 – I'm still trouble by the set up of the museum that allows them to possess this stuff, but not to protect it. I don’t see how any insurance company would insure these treasures, given the woeful level of security.


Page 15 – Okay, you give us a rationale for the lack of security, but it still bothers me. Wouldn’t they lend out their priceless artefacts to other museums that were perhaps willing to pay something? Ok, I realise that it’s possible for these circumstances to occur, and the ‘coincidence’ of Ryan’s friend being the guard, but, for me, it just feels arrange to fit the needs of the story.


Page 16 – “He wished he had an opponent to spar with” – This is a really leading statement – very ‘on the nose’.


Page 18 – This goes back to my comment about the security decisions being for the convenience of the story. They seem to have decided to keep paying the bills for the maintenance of the fire alarm system.

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'm 45 hours into what expects to be a 70 hour work week, so I haven't had time to really breathe and process all of your remarks, but I will before Monday.


Mandamon.... answers are coming. Some of them in the very next chapter. I guess my question to you is... would you have put the book down without having been given those answers yet?


Robinski- you make a ton of interesting points. One thing I thought you might be interested in... museum security. It's often pretty terrible. I actually researched this and there have been cases of a museum being robbed by someone cutting a chain on a pair of back doors. It's amazing. Also... the museum in question here is Higgins Armory Museum here in Worcester. I took some license with it, but their finances had been going down the tubes for years and just this last year they finally closed (very sad). Not arguing... just thought you might be interested.


I have a couple other questions for you all that I need to mull over a bit more, but will post those soon.  Thanks again, guys.

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No, I wouldn't have put it down.  This is only the fourth chapter, and I'd be willing to give it a chapter or two more for a reveal of what's going on.  The big point here is that this is the first "job" and that's where you have to start giving some of the reasoning behind things.  Right now we don't know how Candice was sent there, what she was really supposed to do (kill?  not kill?  save?) and why this guy was chosen.  That means the reader is just going along with you on faith (pardon the pun).  You're going to have to give something pretty soon so the reader can at the very least supply their own insight as to what will happen next, to provide a sense of suspense.  Right now there's no suspense because I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen next.  My thoughts range from Candice getting kicked out of assassin work (probably not) to Ryan being a plant, to this being a test to show she's not supposed to kill, to a first failure where she tries again...so on.

A long answer to your question, but hope it helps.

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Robinsky- reading through in more detail. Thanks for taking me to task on some things.


Candace is supposed to be judgmental, stubborn and a bit of a snob. It comes out a lot, such as in her comments about his pointless job. However, I do occasionally take it a little too far and flirt with the reader disliking her, and you've flagged that for me, which is great. I'll tone those down a bit.  Also... the Ryan character in this book is based off of someone I know... who is a bit of an idiot and has frustrated me greatly over the years. I think that my frustration with him has come through here a bit. lol 


Good point on the revenge thing.  I actually think if I take out just that one line on her sounding vengeful that it will tone it down a bit and I might slip it through. I was being a little ham-fisted because I'm trying to give the reader something they don't have all the detail on.  I'll also look back and see if I can foreshadow it a little more. She does make a couple comments before now, but I think I need to evaluate bringing a bit more of it in.


I reworked the unimaginable wealth (I just took out unimaginable... Candace steals a lot... I'm pretty sure she can imagine it. Just more of me being purple, I think.) I also reworked the alarms line. Great idea on the portal vs. barrier... funny how much of a difference that is, though I used "entrance". Basically, I hit a lot of the thing you flags and tweaked them. :)




A lot of your flags are things that are questions we either haven't answered... or won't. I guess time will tell if these things frustrate you enough to eventually put the book down or not. :/  In my original write-up, a lot of your questions here WERE answered but it made the book seriously info-dumpy. IIRC, you complained about the chapters with Paul being a little long? Imagine if I also explained all the stuff you were asking about. :) (it was painful) So I very much appreciate you flagging them and I've copied all of these things into my notes to watch and see how your reaction develops. 


I went back to double check on a couple of your questions. On her corporeal/semi-corporeal state... we do explain this in Ch3, but maybe it wasn't clear enough. I'll revisit.  On her being a bad girl... probably a similar thing. It's explained, but again.. maybe not enough.


Thanks again, everyone! I've got my work cut out for me.

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Thought struck me (ouch!) on reading your response. Maybe a straightforward way to show that Candace is bad would be a prologue where she steals something, showing how capable and unscrupulous she is. I think Paul pulls her up for stealing holy relics. You could have her in a church, and it looks like she's there to worship, then priest / minister leaves or whatever and she swipes something, or she's casing the joint, or some such.


Or, maybe's she's in discussion with her fence and he's chatting, "This is nice, where'd you get it?" and she's "Oh, I stole it from some old lady in a wheelchair." (Bit extreme, maybe). Then again, you've got to go from there to the end of Chapter 1 where she's remorseful, so need to have passage of time.


Just a thought (Ouch! Stop doing that!!).

Edited by Robinski
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Some folks have suggested something similar, though I've struggled with how to make it interesting... frankly, the one of her in church stealing stuff... that one could be VERY amusing to play with.  It would also give me another 3000-5000 words in the story, which would be good because I think it's a LITTLE short at 73K. Damnit. lol 


Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to mull this over.

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Your comment about word count caught my interest, so I did a little research.


The Great Gatsby is renowned as a short novel, its word count is about 47,000, but not a great example.

I then tried to think of other renowned novels, and came up with;


- Frankenstein = 75,000

- HP and the Philosopher's Stone = 76,944

- The Hobbit = 95,022


So, I suppose my point is, don't freak about the word count. I've seen advice that 'first time' writers should keep word count down.

Edited by Robinski
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Yeah, I've heard that too... but one of the frequent guests on WE had said that he had a 63K novel or something, and his conclusion was that no one wanted a 63K novel from a new writer. :-/


I'm sure there's no magic formula.  I just have it in my head that 75K is a nice, safe, number.  Not too short, not too long.  Not that I'd pad the novel, but having an actual GOOD reason to add a few thousand words wouldn't be a bad thing.


Not that it matters anyway. lol. Like I'm gonna sell it?! lol

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A lot of your flags are things that are questions we either haven't answered... or won't.


Thanks for the answers.  I've come across the same problem while I write.  What I've found is to make sure you include the things that, if left out, make readers go "Huh?  That doesn't make sense," at the cost of potentially taking out something cool, that takes up more room.  Also, something I've been working on lately is making sure my sentences do two things at once.  For example, you could have Ryan looking around the room at his sorry situation, but his eyes passing across Candice without seeing her (thus you remark on his situation and that he can't see Candice, at the same time).  This gets rid of some of the info-dumping.

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I think that the idea of showing Candace robbing a church, or doing something similar, would be a good start to the story. It would mean you were showing a lot of what you've ended up telling, give a more exciting first chapter, and show more about her character.


I like that you've shown Candace having a dilemma over what she's doing, but it didn't totally convince me. If she's already bought into killing people to save herself then why give this guy a chance? Especially when she knows there's an eternity of torment at stake. So she made the decision I wanted her to, but not in a way I found convincing. I don't have a suggestion for how to fix that, but it seemed worth saying.


Why have the servants of heaven sent an assassin after some random thief? If this is meant to be a mystery then I think that's worth flagging up by having Candace question that part - as it stands, it just felt like something nonsensical.


Oh, and why doesn't Ryan even think about his friend by name? That seems weird.


Having said all that, you should take all my responses to these later chapters with a pinch of salt. My view of them is somewhat coloured by my not getting on with the earlier shifts in tone.

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