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20131216 - Mandamon - Physical Magic - Ch4


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Chapter 4 of Physical Magic.  Previously:
Silluka gets picked up for her coming-of-age, but fails because of her "stump" of a right arm.  However, one of the elders takes an interest in her, and sets her to decode an ancient scroll that doesn't require the use of her missing right forearm and hand.  Silluka also meets Hufi, the sadistic head of staff, and Papaki, a nice boy with a limp and a lisp.

Ichu takes in the harvest, but it's less that usual.  He uses magic to bolster his body for the trip to town, but his aching joints means the magic is less dependable.

Feedback on the usual is appreciated:  What's cool, what's boring, what doesn't work.

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This is still some of your best writing that I've seen, and I'm enjoying it. I'm particularly enjoying seeing a fantasy world from the perspective of these ageing farmers, which isn't the sort of viewpoint you normally get. And using the harvest problems to drive conflict between the farmers and council felt like a a natural way of brining in some needed conflict.


A couple of points to consider:


Given his previously calm demeanour, having Ichu worry about doing things perfectly seems odd. I know that in some ways it's a minor change, but having him think about it in terms of doing them 'right' might work better, and help keep up his unflappable image for readers.


I'm not clear how their plan is going to force the council into action - surely it'll show that their action isn't needed, as the farmers are handling it with the help of the god?
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In contrast to andyk, I thought this was one of your weaker chapters. The plan to bring Aunt Harvest feels like it's a major thing, but the reasons for calling her feel contrived. We're getting a sensation of how big not enough food is in the past two chapters--a little extreme to call a god and potentially kill some people. It seems like calling the Capitol for help might be a better move.


However, I agree on the point that Ichu does seem to be behaving uncharacteristically. He's stoic, not a worrywort.


Additionally, out of curiosity, does Rohmert's law still apply in this world? What prevents Ichu (or any bodycaster) from ending up stricken after a Chayu wears off? (Similar to the issue of pewter raised in Mistborn by Ham.)

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hi there!


FWIW I agree and disagree with what andyk and jParker are saying. I think your writing here is quite effective, though I find myself kind of skimming over some of the passages where we get into the intricacies of the Chayus and things like that, to be honest. (I'm not big on magic systems and so forth; I know you're probably wonder what the hell are you doing on a B. Sanderson fan site then?)


As far as Ichu's personality, I don't feel like he's being inconsistent in recognizing the gravity of the situation once he gets in the company of others. I think he's totally allowed to feel one way when he's by himself in isolation and another when he sees how other people are reacting. (If that makes any sense.)


What I'm curious about is how you're going to fit this storyline in with the other one. At the moment I find the Ichu plot more engaging that I did Silluka, but that could change of course.

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Great comments from everyone.  Interesting thoughts on Ichu's personality.  I hadn't thought of the stoic vs. worrywort and will have to read over it to figure out what I want to do with it.


andyk, yes, forcing the Council into action is not shown well.  I need to fix that part.


jParker, I know why you're feeling the call to Aunt Harvest is contrived.  Reading back through it, I haven't described the political environment of the Huaca well,  More information would give a better reason why they would rather lose a few people than call for help.

Rohmert's law:  Hadn't heard of it before, but I looked it up.  Thanks for bringing it up!  I want to say the Chayus make body processes more efficient, so the law takes longer to wear a body out and they aren't stricken afterwards.  Or, I suppose I could say "magic."  I'll think on it.


yankorro, Re. magic systems, your writing style makes more sense now!

As to the two storylines intersecting, that's part of what I'm having trouble with.  They will, but around 10 chapters in I started wondering "where am I going with this," (even having an outline) which is why I decided to submit it here.

I tend to like Silluka's story better overall, but it depends on which POV I'm writing.


Thanks again for the great comments.  This is helping to put me on track for the rest of the story.  I want to submit at least two more chapters, and depending on how much I have to change, I may drop out and do some revision.

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Most everyone said everything that can be said on this one, and I just started reading it last week so I might not be able to offer much help other than a little cheerleading, but I can say I still really like how this one is going so far. I'm enjoying Ichu as a character, but I'm a little bit on yankorro's side with the magic only in a few places this particular chapter though), because I thought you described it so well in the last chapter, that some of the description wasn't needed here. I felt like you only needed to mention it in order for me to visualize what was happening.


p.1The thought made his stomach knot as tortouise shoulders his load was one he performed often, useful for chores around the farm. 

This line of description isn't needed in my opinion, because you already showed us how useful it was in the last chapter, and how often he uses it in this chapter.


I know the part where he was talking about his aching joints from the cold was showing that he may have cast the spell incorrectly, but I thought his joints already ached in the cold. I might just be imagining it, i haven't gone back and checked but I thought in the last chapter it mentioned him flexing his fingers and prepping for the morning routine in the cold and talking about his joints aching. Anyway, if that is true that paragraph at the beginning might be a bit inconsistent. Then again I might be totally off bc I didn't check so...


Anyway I like your writing. Keep it up!

Edited by The Goat
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  • 2 months later...

Apologies that I'm only commenting on this and previous chapters now, still working on my NaNo catch up, and almost there!


I enjoyed the chapter, I do like your writing style, it’s pleasing to read, but I felt that the chapter left me with a lot more questions than I had before, as per the comments below. Like others, I did enjoy Liku’s storytelling in particular.




Page 1 – I know you like your epigraphs, having read Seeds of Dissolution, and I appreciate that here, they are painting a picture of the pantheon and beliefs that lie at the heart of the story, and the original of the chayus themselves, no doubt, but I‘m finding them a bit flowery


Page 1 – ‘While walking, he kept warm,’ seems the wrong way round – ‘Walking kept him warm...’?


Page 1 – Several loaves of bread sounded to me like a huge amount.


Page 3 – I found the sentence “I haven’t had to perform Wind From Behind to keep up with my crowd, but I can’t complain.” a little hard to follow. I presume Puka means being able to deal requests and orders from the crowd in his inn. Also, Wind from Behind made me smirk, sorry, double entendre.


Page 4 – ‘lake Yuraq’ – Lake Yurak, thought the first one was a typo.


Page 4 – Why must they all agree to challenge the council?


Page 5 – ‘Chirisuyu library’ – By my reckoning, when something is named it gets a capital letter, as in ‘Chirisuyu Library’.


Page 5 – The way that the farmers discuss summoning a god felt a bit too matter-of-fact to me. Considering how long it has been since it has been done, it would seem to be something that would almost have passed into myth, and yet...


Page 6 – ‘no inhabitant of Chirisuyu would be surprised to see a god or goddess striding into town’ – I found that hard to believe.


Page 6 - ...and I'm still reaching here. If ‘...Chayus existed to call the eight gods...’, and people in the Capitol are completely obsessed with chayus to the extent that no-one reads books anymore, would they have been able to disassociate the chayus from their original purpose, when what they are using chayus for is to draw power from the gods? You tell is at the end of the first paragraph that belief in such (i.e. the particular summoning) chayus has dwindled. I guess I can accept that, but perhaps better if the distinction between the attitude to chayus here and in the Capitol was stressed earlier.


Page 6 – The reaction of the young farmhand seems to contradict the statement about no-one in Chirisuyu being surprised to see a god, is that because he lives out on a farm? Also, I think I'm becoming a bit disoriented, Chirisuyu is the furthest city from the Capitol (I think), but Liku has taken the scroll from the research library in the Capitol? Does this mean he sits on the council that rules all the Huaca? If that’s the case, does that mean he run’s Chirisuyu, and is their representative to the council? I'm unclear about where Liku sits in the scheme of things.


Page 8 – The description of the historical summoning was very good, but I expected to see the god, as described in the earlier passages referring to ‘striding into town’. If that was apocryphal, then what these significant chayus do is produce a larger effect than the common ones, but they are no more the summoning of an actual god than the smaller ‘everyday’ ones are, surely?


Page 9 – The line ‘Tomorrow would be a long day.’ seems to imply that they are going to go ahead, since it’s associated with the description of the chayu, but there doesn’t appear to have been any debate. Surely, Liku will need to canvas a lot more people and they would need to learn the chayu first before performing it for real.

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