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3/4/24 - Ace of Hearts - Everlasting Sunset sub 18, VLG (4157 words)

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Hi everyone,
We're jumping back into Everlasting Sunset with a submission that has a bit more action than the preceding ones. It's clear that I need to tighten up the overall narrative arc for part 2 but my current plan is to slot this in without too many big changes unless people feel that this needs big changes beyond changing the leadup to this moment.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm going into this without reading your previous submissions, so my responses are colored as such.

Pg-1 The characters are reading as teenagers or children, this comes from phrases like "Mom telling" or "Big day." I don't know their exact ages, but this could be something to be aware of.

Pg-2 There's a lot of dialog on page two. I caught myself skimming, though I think the fact that I'm unfamiliar with many of the names being used contributes to this.

Pg-3 I'm interested in this whole concept of the glass exoskeleton, and how it seems to be portrayed as somewhat difficult magic.

Pg 4- I like the mentions of different rates of aging and mentions of political matters. These are quite interesting.

Pg1-5-So far I've had a hard time getting engaged, but I assume this is because I've started in the middle of the story and don't have enough context to properly follow the conversations taking place.

Pg 8-The mention of how characters have been created is intriguing. I'm certainly interested in this concept.

Pg 5&8-You use a form of the work "dally" twice. Not a huge number, and probably far enough apart that it doesn't matter, but it's an unusual enough word that it stuck out to me.

Pg 9- I'm loving the speculation on the politics behind the outcome of the vote and the differences in people who voted for C versus against.

Pg 9-10-Both C and H seem to be somewhat hotheaded, and H especially seems irrational. Their personalities are interesting considering that they've been given or consider for a position of power (If I'm correctly understanding what head guard is.) I'm excited to see more of these two.

Pg 10-I'm enjoying the action, it contrasts nicely with the conversations and considerations in the earlier pages.

Pg 12-I like the more mundane and creative use of magic (scaling a wall with weapons) I feel like this adds flavor and realism.

Pg 13-"Blades across his throat...said to corpse" I love the way this is written! For a second I didn't realize A killed him, and then all of a sudden dead!

Pg 15-Great ending to the chapter! 

Overall-I'm loving the magic, the politics, and the world in general. The beginning was a little dialog heavy without a lot of action, but I do think I would've found it much more interesting if I'd read previous submissions and actually understood what was going on. Now, having finished reading I think the thought heavy beginning contrasted nicely with the action heavy end, and the fight sequence was amazing! And the death at the end, despite only having known S for 15 pages hurt. Overall I love this, and my biggest thing would be to consider interspersing the dialog with a bit of something else, but again, I think I would've enjoyed it more if I'd had context from previous submissions. 

Hopefully something in here is helpful. Sorry for the late response.


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Sorry for the late reply! I've been super busy with developmental edits, and am have now just finished travel to New Zealand! So I'm maybe a little fuzzier than usual what with the jetlag.

Anyway, I largely agree with @FlowerGirl above that the first half is too dialogue-heavy, and philosophy-heavy, for that matter. It's a bit hard to stay engaged. The second half has a lot more action and some good fights. I think this is where the multitude of characters makes the story suffer, because I didn't have a lot of emotion with what happened to S. I was more trying to remember from which group he was and what relation to the others. I think cutting down the number of crew a bit will help.

Hopefully I'll have a less jetlagged edit next time!

Notes while reading:

pg 3: "Her of all people?"
--Is this implying L might be trans? Or something else?

pg 4: Lots of discussion of the philosophy of ruling in these first pages.

pg 8: Still haven't gotten to any action yet. There's a lot of preparation through here.

pg 9: Oof. Maybe a little too on the nose through here?
But also, if almost everyone is there who voted, and over half voted for her not to stand down, wouldn't there be about equal cries in answer to H's rally?

pg 14: Alright more action through this half.

pg 15: Some good motivation to move forward here. I also think the first half can be cut down a little, and maybe more of what they're preventing H from doing in the back half. He's escaping, but do they know where?

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P2 “And who do you think he’ll target? Someone important to J…” I mean, yes, but is L here openly as herself? Not clear on this point, but it seems like a random princess just showing up in a place with tense relations like this could cause an international incident.

Also, L has been offscreen enough during this section (not the submission, just overall) that I keep forgetting she came along.

P3 “That’s what she was hiding from you.” Didn’t she already know how to summon pglass? Thought we’d seen this somewhere else in the book for some reason.

P4 “...sending a child into a life-threatening situation.” I do like A’s musings here on how L is actually older than the soldiers. I think this kind of juxtaposition is actually more effective at calling into question how soldiers are treated in J than just having everyone talk about it all the time.

P5 “So no, J isn’t justified…” this feels almost like A’s getting ready for wholesale revolution, which I’m not quite sure the text has earned yet. A’s been doing a lot of “working within the system to fix the system” kind of work, and I’m not sure we’ve hit anything—at least that’s been given enough weight in the narrative—to fully support the “burn the system down” dialogue that we’re reading here.

“It means that you made me feel better.” This is a nice moment, though. I actually find it one of the most effective A/soldier interaction so far.

P6 “X had saved Am not only from death…” Maybe WRS, but I don’t remember this at all. Have these two characters, who’ve been supporting characters up until now, ever discussed this at length? This might be a symptom of there being so many characters overall.

P8 “It could get ugly tomorrow.” As I read all this foreboding about the referendum, I find myself going back and forth on whether this is meant to be reflective of actual coming violence, or the trauma that gets foisted on these soldiers because of their circumstances. Either is potentially interesting and I think both could be viable, but I don’t quite have enough information about Ix and its circumstances to understand which is which.

P11 “...and they motioned for her to come closer.” Small thing but at first I thought the sniper was actually just calling her closer to talk or something, it wasn’t clear that he was egging her on.

P12 “...stopping them and the C monsters…” are there monsters too?

Edit: Ah, I see they’re mentioned a bit later as having been snuck in, but even then they don’t seem to be hugely significant to the scene, even in a background sort of way.

But I’m also wondering what A’s soldiers are doing. Why can’t she have one of them handle H while she chases after the sniper or vice versa?

P14 is this the first time we’ve heard of reality bubbles? I am immediately intrigued and would like to know more about these.

P15 “...and after checking the status of everyone” I really like the way this last scene is structured overall, but having A specify this right off the top makes me wonder why on earth nobody said anything before she came across the actual body. Everyone is just standing around quietly and nobody mentions off the top someone is dead? I can’t quite suspend my disbelief that far. Maybe just reframe so the initial conversation and such is more chaotic? Like I said, I think the bones of the scene work well!

Also: Xan seems to be missing from the scene. Maybe intentionally?

Overall: I think there is some good movement in this chapter and it it made concrete connections (and a tangible threat of) the dspeaker thread in a more effective way than anything else so far this section. I know I mentioned it in my LBLs, but worth reiterating that the interaction between A and Sp was I think one of the most effective we’ve seen so far, it’s starting to feel more like the story is hitting its stride with this kind of characterization moment.

I’m waffling on whether there is not enough buildup to this kind of violence—we’ve seen very little of Ix and everything so far is meant to suggest that it’s less violent and more culturally sophisticated than J, and H in previous chapters feels like he could be just as easily “posturing” as “credible threat” much of the time—or maybe there is too much. The more I think about it, the more I wonder what this scene would look like if it caught everybody off guard (except maybe A’s soldiers in their paranoia). But right now it definitely feels like the scene is sitting on an uneasy middle ground.

One thing I’m not too clear on, and it’s partially a worldbuilding piece but also partially trying to tease out how this chapter fits within the theme of the story, is whether H and his crew are all men? (And I know there are female Ix soldiers like C, but WRS sorry, I can’t remember if C and other women Ix soldiers are to be read as trans.) Because in a way it feels like the story is confirming a gendered binary (males are soldiers and violent) that it’s otherwise trying to take apart. Obviously I don’t have the full picture yet, and there’s enough discussion of it in the text to make me suspect that the story is going somewhere deliberate with this, but it’s something that piqued my notice here.

Good to have you back!

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