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20130715 -Robinski -The Tontine Inn By The Shore -Part 3of4 (DSV)


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Very nice.  Glad to see some action finally!



pg 4: okay, Blacklake is gross.  Good job on making such an interesting character.


pg 5:  And suddenly we come to magic.  There's been no mention of anything so far, so it's a little out of the blue.  I'll accept it, but maybe seed this idea earlier when Blacklake is thinking about his poisons?  At least hint that alchemy or magic is possible.


There is some confusion during their struggle as to who is where.  Also, why did he put his cloak in the cupboard?  I assume if Blacklake were to get his way, more than his coat would be removed...


Sabine is either pretending to be affected by the poison, and makes her body seem dead, or she is actually affected, but her powers restored her.  In either case, why use telepathy rather than speaking?  It seems unnecessary, unless she needs to heal her vocal cords after being choked, and there's not a clear description that Blacklake choked her.  It's a great intimidation tactic, but not quite as impressive next to the telekenisis and coming back from the dead.


pg 9: You say "A daring spy would have seen" during Sabine's transformation, but then later tell us Blacklake is hiding in the bushes.  I'd take out the spy part.  The section is from her POV, so it's a little bit of a cheat to tell what she would have seen had she not been distracted.  You could actually put those last few paragraphs from Blacklake's POV, and not lose anything.


There's a bit much of Blacklake flailing around in dirt and mud at the end.  Yes, he's panicked, but he's starting to remind me of the girl in high-heel shoes in horror movies that constantly falls whenever the monster gets near.


pg 16: "but his spine cracked into jutting cobbles"
--I can't quite imagine this.  He fell into a creek with tangled plants, then is somehow hitting his back on a pathway of some sort?


I think my only problem is in the action descriptions.  There's not enough description of the surroundings, and then you reference walls, rock, cobbles, etc, as part of the action when we haven't seen they exist yet.  I had to read over both the confrontation in the church and the scene at the creek twice to make sure I absorbed all the action correctly.

Otherwise, I was sucked into the story completely. I knew something was going on with Sabine, but that twist threw me.  The descriptions of her magic and transformations are very creepy. 



Looking forward to part 4...

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Thank you for those comments, I am very heartened that you found the transformation effective. I will fix those other passages. No foreshadowing of the supernatural element needs to be addressed for sure. I fired a pistol that no-one knew was there!


My biggest concern was the gamble of making Blacklake so unlikeable, so it is very encouraging to hear that you still found him interesting.


As it sits at the moment, this is Part 2 of a 6 story series, which in practical terms would probably be better presented as a trilogy. You don't get Blacklake's origin story until Part 4, which in some ways seems too late, although it does mean that you get the chance to develop a healthy dislike for him before learning why he is the way he is. That part (The Mathematical Bridge) was my NaNoWriMo last year, so I might submit it down the line sometime.


All round very helpful, as ever, and much appreciated.

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Part three, the best part so far. The reversal with Sabine and Blacklake was exactly what the story needed. It was clear earlier that there was more to Sabine, but not that it was this much. And just when Blacklake seemed like the monster in the story. I agree with what Mandamon said already. Additionally I’ve got the following small points.


Clement: I was a little concerned to see the part start with Clement’s POV, as it’s another in a long line of POVs in this novella. So far we’ve seen Blacklake, Peter and Sabine, do we really need one more – especially if it’s so short? I didn’t think his POV added anything to the story.


POV switch: There is an abrupt POV switch between Blacklake and Sabine on page eight, with the sentence “Sabine appeared at the doorway in a halo of fire.” Before that we’re in Blacklake and without warning we’re in Sabine’s. There should be a scene change between them.


His ally: The sentence “The thought that Sabine might be pursuing his ally…” was very confusing. He and Clement aren’t friends and they certainly have not been aligned before this moment, so why does Blacklake suddenly consider Clement his ally?


Conclusion leaping: Maybe it’s because Blacklake is rattled, but he’s leaping to some strange conclusion – including that Sabine is after Clement (and she actually was, but why?). He is sure she can speak to animals? How so?

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All good points, thank you, and certainly fixable, I will see to these in the re-write. Encouraged that you enjoyed it best so far, but I accept earlier points that there is a fair bit of 'leg work' before the action arrives, another good point for me to address. Delighted that you found the reversal effective.


In relation to Clement, I think I was conscious of how unpleasant everyone was, and trying to give the reader a different tone, but it is short and I agree it doesn't add. He features immediately at the start of the last part, but that doesn't mean that his pov bit is right.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm enjoying this story still. The set-up is interesting, and the characters, while unsympathetic, intriguing enough to keep me reading. I'm still struggling a bit with the wordyness of your style. It's mostly well written, but it's so slow that even the action sequences don't seem to have a lot of pace to them. I wonder if it's worth getting snappier for those bits, or whether that would break the tone.


I agree with Asmodemon about the Sabine/Blacklake reversal - it shakes the story up in a good way. Though he was maybe getting a bit too unlikeable with the attempted rape just before that. I think that a lot of readers wouldn't get past that.


The supernatural element seemed to come from out of nowhere, but it's fixable with some foreshadowing earlier.


The first use of italics for a voice in Blacklake's head was confusing, as you didn't explain who or what it was. Hearing Sabine's voice in his mind would be very disconcerting, so it might be worth showing his emotional reaction as well as clarifying what's happening


And later in the conflict, on page eight, I didn't understand why she let him embrace her, after all this. It was of no advantage to her, and opened her up to his attack.


The shift of PoV mid-scene from Blacklake to Sabine was odd - maybe need to treat this as a scene break, even though it's got continuity of time and place?


Looking forward to finding out how it ends, which I'm hoping to get to later today.

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Thank you Andy, good points well made.


I'm on board with all of these. Wordiness is my folly, and I think I've managed to address it somewhat in the years since I wrote Tontine. Since the last part of Blacklake's story was my NaNoWriMo last year, I might put that up for Alpha reading if that thread gets going again. That will test how well I've addressed it (or not!).


Since the previous comment on the POV shift, I've read David Gemmell's 'First Chronicles of Druss the Legend' and he does exactly what you describe, in that he put's a scene break in to mark a POV shift although the action continues without a break.


On Sabine permitting the embrace, it's supposed to be a tell-tale, but it might be buried a bit too deep. I haven't flagged it even a little, so it obviously doesn't work.


Looking forward to finding what you thought of the ending, which I'm about to read!

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