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20150714 - Robinski - The Mathematical Bridge - Submission 14 - 5629 words (-)


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Well, here it is, a week late and over 5,000 words, Chapter 12 of 14, chock full of what passes for action in a Robinski tale.


I appreciate your patience and hope that you have the time to read it.


All comments very much welcomed.


(At least at 5,629 words it’s shorter than Mandamon’s submission from 6th July     ;op

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Note with your intro, you actually come to 5688 words, which is 7 words longer than my submission!  This is why I don't put my summaries in my submissions...



pg 6: Is there a reason the other pedestrians are avoiding him?  I thought he was making a face or something, but you don't mention it in the text.


pg 8: Tarquin threatens to betray Blacklake to Judith, but when Blacklake says he's told her some already Tarquin gets angry.  So was it in an empty threat?  I don't imagine Tarquin would do that. 


Before that Tarquin says Blacklake has his freedom, but he obviously does not if Tarquin is still planning to "clean up" after him with Judith.

You do explain this better a little further on, in that Blacklake is free to make his own choices.  But I would argue he isn't free if Tarquin is coming after him.  Although I think now I might be arguing with the character rather than the writer...


pg 12/13: I was a little confused by what Blacklake did to stun Tarquin.  He reached out to everyone at once?


pg 13-16: the description of what Blacklake is doing to Tarquin is also little confusing, but then I suppose we don't have good words to describe it.


You do say people were avoiding them, but might not someone come to see what the matter is when two men silently face each other for several minutes, and then fall on the ground?  Even if Tarquin is doing something to keep them away, they should start coming once he's stunned.

--edit: Ok, then you address it the next paragraph with the undergraduates.  I'm still surprised no one came before then, or was the whole confrontation a matter of seconds?


More cliffhangers!  I shall have to wait until next time...

Overall, a captivating section.  I'm wondering what will happen to Tarquin and whether Blacklake did permanent damage.  A few minor quibbles, but a solid piece in all.

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- The opening section seems a little jumbled for Blacklake. First he smiles and then he almost cries? I know he's thinking about Judith and Tarquin respectively, but it feels a little out of character, at least with both extremes so close together. You might consider either eliminating one - or instead of having Blacklake cry, just have the thought of Tarquin dim his move.


- I like Blacklake's rational, if not downright cold estimation of Sabine.


- I also like the comparison between Blacklake and Tarquin, and how Blacklake's stocism is ultimately a facade compared to Tarquin. Good contrasting!


- First Blacklake seems intent on engaging Tarquin head-on, and now he seems to be lying to Tarquin to protect Judith. I'm not sure this works, since the best way to protect Judith at this point would see to be fighting Tarquin.


- Overall, a very exciting chapter, especially once the stakes are raised!

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Note with your intro, you actually come to 5688 words, which is 7 words longer than my submission!  This is why I don't put my summaries in my submissions...


Oh come now, the summary doesn't count - surely!   :)

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Thank you Mandamon, I am encouraged by your comments because I thought that this chapter was a bit loose. In fact it still is of course, as you have highlighted, but I'm glad that things worked for you here and that you found it captivating - generous praise indeed.


I'm happy enough that you feel you are asking questions of the character rather than me, and on that basis I will choose not to answer them! Hopefully Blacklake will, through his consequent actions.


Points noted. I'll be aiming to tighten the whole flow up and you've nailed the main things I need to hit, the 'psychic intervention' in particular.


Super, ta.

Edited by Robinski
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Thank you RDP, as with Mandamon, your comments are very encouraging. I think I was having a bit of 'final chapters of the story' crisis moment as I skimmed through this chapter in prep for submission, so I'm very glad that you liked the interaction and felt that the stakes were raised, and that it was exciting!


I totally accept that I need to tighten up on the description and what is going on. At the time I think I was trying for a sort of loose, open to interpretation, disorienting feel, but that can be just plain confusing, so there is some work for me to do there which I think can only help.


Thank you very much :)

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Well that's good to hear! Perhaps it's something to do with the action, and drastic reduction in people standing and sitting around thinking about stuff.


I look forward to your comments.

Edited by Robinski
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Well that's good to hear! Perhaps it's something to do with the action, and drastic reduction in people standing and sitting around thinking about stuff.


I look forward to your comments.

I think you're on to something there...

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Apologies for the delay. I'm writing this on my phone at Manchester Airport on the way to Estonia, so please excuse curt sentences.

Here we go..

Good description of his emotions: speaks of hours arc that they are more prevalent here than in earlier chapters.

PG 1:

The writing is good.

More elegant transition instead of "His thoughts then went to Tarquin."

PG 2:

Is this the first time we've had this revelation about his desire to meet Anna / kill his maker? I get the impression this is what has been driving him, but if so then we should already know it, or such an important revelation should be given to us more dramatically.

It's well written but there's still a lot of telling over showing. The good description of his emotional life eases this.

Second paragraph: great description. The rest of the novel could really benefit from more of this quality description of his physical experience.

PG 3: I'm engaged in the story.

PG 4: Was looking forward to a bit of dialogue and fluid character interaction, but Blakelake's gone off on one of his ponders, imagining him and Sabine together. Whilst I can relate to this, it doesn't seem that relevant now, and it slows the pace. It seems you're already aware of this.

"Such musings were irrelevant."

Okay, so he just walks away from Sabine and nothing really happens. Why is this scene here? I'd lose it or expand it.

PG 5:

Too much dry thought exposition here. It's a case of telling over showing. Also, why is he thinking about Anna if Judith is much more present in his heart?

PGs 6/7

I'm engaged. Tarquin's cold rage is quite sinister...although he seems quite a reasonable chap in his exchange with Blacklake.

PGs 8/9/10/11

Okay, so that was foreshadowing with Sabine before. Still needs more to it I think.

The question of whether or not Sabine has done the deed is compelling.

It's good.

I will need to find out.

That's a great bit. Direct. Dramatic.

PGs the rest

Still enjoying it. Not quite sure how Tarquin ended up under Blacklake's power, but then I'm reading on minimal sleep so maybe I'm just being retarded.

I like how you render the experience of magic. I much prefer this oblique style to slinging spells around willy nilly.

Being in Tarquin's mind though.. It should be more interesting than simply seeking directions for Sabine. What secret might he find in his maker's mind?

Actually I changed my mind. It becomes gripping when we follow the memory of Sabine to Judith.

I'm left wondering what's going on with Tarquin when he emerges from his mind. The lose end is niggling at me as I read on.

Bit bored when he's trying this mind search.

The pace feels a bit slow and interrupted at times, given his urgency. I think you can afford to be a lot more concise here and cut to the chase a little more.

The last tip from the cafe manager felt a bit convenient. I think Blacklake could pick up Sabine's trail in a more interesting and more concise way. I'll leave you to figure out what that is.

Overall, it's compelling and well written, with flashes of brilliant description. Great job!

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Thank you Fox, some great comments there, I love that you called me on the pacing thing. Like all the best comments, I can see it as soon as you say it, but something must have blind to it before. It's been a theme all through the critiquing and even going in, I knew I was guilty of dwelling on character thoughts too long. I like to think that I'm moving away from that issue in my current writing, but have more work to do.


I'm sure I could spare a few words for more description in places, glad it works for you where it appears. Intriguing that you changed your mind in relation to the Tarquin 'delving'


Excellent point on the potential to discover something in Tarquin's thoughts, I wonder if that would be a distraction or not - I'll think on that.


Probably do need more certainty on Tarquin's situation when Blacklake leaves.


Very interested that you like the feel of the 'magic', as one of two have had problems with the lack of specifics. I'm glad to hear a counter opinion, as I am not keen on heavily proscribed magic systems - we're not role playing or gaming here. I know they have their place, and I will try writing one some time, but I like the feeling of mystery and hopefully to surprise the reader sometimes. This said, I do agree that I need some better definition of the particular effects at some points in this story, i.e. what's actually happening.


Excellent comments, thank you again Fox.


(p.s. How's you story coming? Hoping for more chapters.)

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