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Reading Excuses Scholomancer Chapter 23, 24 and 25 (L) 4093 words


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Robert Renfield has betrayed his master Dracula, leaving him trapped at the bottom of the ocean. Unaware of this development, the vampire hunters of Westenra Corp continue the search for Dracula and his ilk. Their lead agent, Stephanie Van Helsing, suffers from strange visions. Framed for the death of her colleague, she goes on the run, and confronts Robert Renfield. After narrowly escaping an attack by the werewolf Bannister, Renfield and Van Helsing are now being transported by Bannister to meet with the Council of Others, the mysterious group of monsters who equipped Renfield to betray Dracula.


Apologies in advance for the length. There's a lot of information in this chapter about the Council and the Scholomance. 

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I thought the first part of this was a little slow and confusing.  There were some inconsistencies in the conversation in the car, some of which I've noted below.


However, the council members were much more interesting.  Even though you were conveying a lot of information, it didn't feel like an infodump.  I enjoyed the banter between them and the revelations.  I'm not sure I'm completely bought into the information about van Helsing--there's certainly something else going on.  I'm glad we're getting into the meat of things.  Some of this information might have been more engaging to the reader if available earlier on.


Stephanie does seem pretty trusting of the Council, especially as one of them just locked her in a truck.  A little more information on WHY westerna hunt monsters might set this section up better.  Definitely interested to see what's coming next!





pg 1: Renfield hated two things about the interior of Bannister’s car. The lack of air conditioning

--You don't list a second thing...


pg 3: "He waited patiently for the tension to return. Fortunately, it never did."

--why not?


pg 3:“What kind of death are you coming back from?” Renfield asked."

--Renfield asks the question, but then answers it himself and never lets Bannister answer.



pg 4: "Bannister twisted the wheel like the mast on a ship"

--the wheel on a ship?  The rudder?  I don't think he's twisting the mast.


pg 4: "He brought his hand up to his chin, feeling the traces of hair "

--not sure what this is for


pg 6: "The Council of Others, she presumed? She knew Bannister right way"

--I didn't think Bannister was on the Council, and I presumed the Council was more than three people.

--OK, you do address this later.


pg 6: "A gray fleece of hair spread across the man’s beard "



pg 11: "Well, that’s where Renfield gets it from, Stephanie thought. "

--gets what?  The crazy?


pg 13: "The room fell into a deep silence. Evelyn faced downward, as if lost in thought. Bannister laughed like a hyena."

--It's not quiet if Bannister is laughing.


pg 19: "tattoo on his shoulder"

--I thought it was on his arm?
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I don’t have much more to say that Mandamon, so I won’t echo what he’s already said.


My biggest gripe happens in chapter 25, when  Rewer is telling Renfield a lot about Dracula. While this does feel like an info-dump that’s not the problem I have with it. The problem is that he’s telling Renfield things the prime servant of Dracula should already know, if not from his own experiences with the count then from his family’s history. How can he wonder if Dracula was a knight? Why does Renfield ask Rewer if he thinks Dracula is was a student of the devil? If anyone should know the history (at least the known history) of Dracula it’s Renfield and not some mummy.

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Thanks Mandamon and Asmodeon!


@ Mandamon - I agree there are too many throw-away lines in this section regarding Bannister's backstory, which are never really picked up again. I also need to set up why Westenra hunts monsters in the first place and what the political landscape is.  I also agree I need to make Stephanie less trusting of her new allies.


@ Asmodeon - It definitely feels like I've made Renfield's knowledge base of Dracula too inconsistent and inconsequential. I need to point out what he knows and doesn't know and keep it consistent.

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P1 - "speeding through rush hour traffic" - If there's heavy traffic, he isn't speeding.

P1 - "snatched the hood from his pocket and stuffed it into his pocket" - one pocket too many

P2 - For a manual-transmission car, a clutch is a foot pedal. Your hand goes on the gear stick.

P10 - Stephanie calls Frankenstein's creation a monster, to the face of said monster? A little rude...

P12 - Stephanie takes the news of Abe Van Helsing a little too easily


Not much actually happens in these three chapters, but the interplay between the character is mostly good and I can see that you're mostly setting pieces where you'll need them later, which is fine. The council is interesting, even if they're small in number here. Rewer is creepy, but he could be more creepy if that's what you're going for. Evelyn is the more interesting of the bunch. A little less on the info and a little more about how these characters act to and around each other would have been good. Nobody seems to be acting any differently here, confronted by the Council, than they did anywhere else. (Stephanie who's deep in enemy territory, Renfield who's back where he ran from, Bannister's still Bannister...)

I've mentioned Renfield's knowledge base before, and I see others saying it above so I won't repeat it more than to say that I noticed it here too.

There was a lot of information passed around here, and it felt like an info-dump, but it felt more like backstory. None of it felt to me like something that was moving the story in a new direction. We'll have to wait and see what comes from Stephanie's vision.

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Thanks Shrike76. This definitely was the most infodump-y of the chapters. I'm thinking of changing some things around that might move the story in a different direction, but that's for a different draft.


I also think I've made Stephanie's mood a little too mild throughout these first chapters - she seems to adjust to her new surroundings a little too easily.


Thanks for the feedback. 

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I also think I've made Stephanie's mood a little too mild throughout these first chapters - she seems to adjust to her new surroundings a little too easily.


Many of your characters do seem very blasé about the strange or violent things going on around them. I understand that they've all been exposed to oddness for most of their lives, but it's rare that they exhibit any actual fear or discomfort even when it seems their lives are in danger. I think Irving might be the exception, as he seems more prone to worry than the others.

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  • 1 month later...

Straight to it – over-arching comments at the end.


There an erroneous reference to pocket twice in a sentence, but I also didn’t understand the point about putting a hood on the backseat passenger when Stephanie is in the boot. Their banter on this read weird to me, as they seem to be arguing the same viewpoint.


I didn’t think that ‘shook’ was the right word for the car – I was thinking in terms of it ‘lurching’. ‘Shook’ sounds like several movements.


The description of the woman that Stephanie sees is weird to me. Sounds like she has a massive nose and I don’t see how her shoulders can glint, or how her hips can fall against the dress. And how is there wind inside a building? At best, it’s a draft.


I don’t understand the logic of Lancaster’s statement about Frankenstein destroying one monster vs. the other.


All the capitalisation of ‘assistant’ is driving me mad.


is the least troublesome thing on that


“You played with Star Trek Barbie dolls?” Renfield said. - I get the sense that this is said in admiration!!


The best she could get for (from?) her people was a twenty four hour head start. The worst was a bullet between the eyes for each of them.” – I don’t follow, does she expect the monsters to overrun her people, or is she talking about the best she can do for the monsters? In that cast, I think it should be ‘from’.


to role roll with it


Nice end to Chapter 24, definitely made me want to read on.


Okay, so I'm still enjoying the story. I like the short chapters, they really help to keep things moving along and there’s a decent progression inn events too. A fair amount of exposition in this submission, but when you’ve got characters interacting and sparking off each other, you can carry that stuff off. And I like the tone and the subject matter of the story, I feel that we’re getting to the good stuff, the root of the plot and the conflict, which is good.


My main complaint, as usual (broken record – sorry), is the need for polish in the prose and description. There are some elements of phrasing and certain facts that, for me, don’t make sense or are not logical, but a good proof read would pick those up, and this is a first draft (right?), they’re all fixable.


Onwards and upwards – hopefully I can get caught up by next week.

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I enjoyed this submission. I liked getting the information on the scholomance and on the council and i though it was handled well. That said it didnt occur to me till someone above me mentioned it but i think it would be more plasuable for Renfield to know more of the facts already although Rewer would certainly have better speculation on what is more legend and vague history then Renfield would.


There seams to be a line of dialogue from Renfeild missing on the first page between the last two paragraphs.


Renfield running: This might just be me missing something.This isn't the first time Bannister mentions this but when did Renfeild actually run and when did bannister inform the council . I know Renfeild was planning on running but he never actually did because banister caught up with him and wolfed out. Also why is this such a deal? Banister makes it seam like Renfeld is on parole or something earlier, but i never got that impression. 


Awesome revel about Van Helsing.


Page 10- “Surgery scars . . . that can be. Frankenstein only made one monster. The other was . . . destroyed?” 

These sentences contradicts each other.Their can't be an other if their was only one.

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