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5/31/21 - RedBlue - Constance Wood Stove ch10 (&ch8 rev) (1928 words)


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Hello everyone,

Thanks for the feedback on the last chapter. I hear you on the pacing of finding out new info – I’m playing with some ideas for adjustments to make, but I want to get through the next few chapters before I start tinkering.

This week, I’m subbing the revision of the chapter 8 conversation between C and Mr S, since I made some pretty big changes to it. Also, chapter 10. (I know it’s even shorter than usual this week, but the next part is kind of a chunk and I want to sub it in one piece)


1) Is the new version of chapter 8 better? Does it fix the problem of feeling like it was too easy?

2) Any boring or confusing bits?

3) Do the characters’ thoughts and actions make sense?

4) Any changes to your opinion on GM?

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Now that the plot is moving and we are getting information, I'm really engaged. I want to keep reading! Not many comments because I was immersed. A few quibbles and a few places where things were choppy, but to me this is really getting into the meat of the story and because I connected with C a few chapters back, I'm super hooked.


As I go

- pg 1: “The crux of it is that you wouldn’t be able to live here in town with the rest of us. You would be too dangerous.” <-- This would be a more powerful line if it was just 'you would be too dangerous'

- chapter 8: that was interesting! I'd have liked the adult to be a bit more THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES and it feels really easy, still, getting this information, but at this stage in the story I think I'm ready for it, too

- I like the end of chapter 10! But I think it needs to be more apparent in the narrative because I did not connect those events to the same time and place until the end cap there

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On 5/31/2021 at 7:13 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Is the new version of chapter 8 better? Does it fix the problem of feeling like it was too easy?

2) Any boring or confusing bits?

3) Do the characters’ thoughts and actions make sense?

4) Any changes to your opinion on GM?

-C seems much more competent in this version (of chapter 8)! I like that there are stakes too! It felt like before it was just C struggling with finding answers and it was frustrating but now there are ominous consequences as well and that's great! I also like that in these recent chapters, C gains more confidence and takes more action.

-no boring or confusing bits! I was pretty engaged throughout! and all the character's actions make sense.

-I kind of hope this is going in the direction of GM and C having to team up and work together. GM still seems crazy and obsessed but im starting to pity her a lot, especially since she is like deteriorating.

as i go:

pg 3

-“the girl seems not to have the energy” I like how she is slowly descending into.. something bad. I wonder if all the adults went through the same thing.

pg 4

“D just explained that its time” oooo spooky

pg 6

“we’re the only two who haven’t given up” hmmm

-also GM reminds me of Carmelita Spats from a series of unfortunate events

pg 8

“With T or with GM” oh they’re happening at the same time?

Good ending! It definitely makes me want to read on. I don't have much to say because this was one of the better chapters! I feel like we are so close to getting more answers.

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I was also more engaged in these chapters. The change in the conversation from Ch 8 is much better, and I'm glad we just flat out get the stove's powers. That help set the tone for the next act.

16 hours ago, kais said:

I'd have liked the adult to be a bit more THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES

I sort of felt this too. Getting sent out of the town is really not an option. They simply don't have enough population to sacrifice a child. If there was a better reason for "you can't know" even though all the other kids do, that might be more satisfying.

16 hours ago, kais said:

I like the end of chapter 10! But I think it needs to be more apparent in the narrative because I did not connect those events to the same time and place until the end cap there

Ditto. I made a note about it below.

I feel like GM has sort of been defeated already. I don't get much of a sense of threat from her anymore. The most dangerous adversary is now the stove, not GM.


Notes while reading:

pg 1: "“This jumper is a metaphor, isn’t it?”

pg 1: "you wouldn’t be able to live here in town with the rest of us"
--I don't know if this works. C punctures it immediately. Maybe something a little harder to see through?

pg 2: Okay, here is a nice, clear statement of the stove's powers.

pg 2: "It can’t burn its own ashes."
--hadn't even thought of that, but I guess it means they can't get rid of the stove.

pg 3: “The Mayor will explain that. I’m sure he’ll be in contact, after the meeting."
--wait, he is calling a meeting? Was he not lying? If so, that makes no sense. All the other kids already know about it.

pg 5: "You won’t ever have to worry about this stuff,” 
--so C isn't supposed to find out? This is going back to there only being four kids in town. This population isn't sustainable, so I'm not sure why they're keeping C from knowing things.

pg 6: All this talking between V and C: 1) Does the teacher not notice it? 2) what do all the other people in the room think of a talking bird?

pg 8: I'm still not sure what's going on with the description of C's nervous energy. Also I think the choice can be a lot clearer and stated earlier in the chapter. C can only be in one place. That's the driving force now. Show how she's thinking about it!

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  1. I think it's better - I think it's a lot more concise, and I like the addition of the town meeting here. Seems like it's important and having some lead-up is good...! Although we'll have to see whether she goes lol.
  2. Not for me :)
  3. Yep! I mean, we still don't know what's up with T, but that's supposed to be still in the dark, so. I wonder if we'll get more from GM on why she reached out to C? I can't imagine that was an easy decision for her. 
  4. I still really like her, lol. She's probably my fav character :D 

pg 3 - the part about learning manipulation and whatnot in school made me laugh

pg 4 - oh, so D did introduce the two of them to the WS (whatever that means)

pg 5 - "cross-purposes" ngl I don't think I've ever heard that before lol

pg 6 - C and GM are gonna work together?! super excited to see how that'll go through, haha. also "given up completely" is interesting... given up on what exactly? their future?

pg 7/8 on C's energy - ok wait so is the energy from the people in the town maybe? ex if they’re pent up then C is too or something.... that could kinda complicated wrt C's individuality, but I feel like her energy has gotta be connected to the town or the WS or something. maybe a select number of people from the town (her generation)? I think I'm getting this impression from the description on the three other kids being really out of it (GM being super tired, E wobbly, T sort of quiet), and from prev. ideas of C being some kind of embodiment of the town :thinking:

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Pg 1-2

I like both the jumper metaphor and C’s characteristically blunt comment about it

I like this version of the conversation with Mr. S a lot better, but I can’t quite figure out how the town expected to be able to keep something so central to the running of said town hidden from someone who lives in the house with the stove.  The curse making everyone forget things and the general strangeness of the town likely helps, but there’s something about the hiding of the information that isn’t quite matching up for me. Especially if they’re telling the other kids C interacts with.   The “I won’t tell you anything, but the mayor will explain it after the meeting” seems a little strange from the adults’ perspective.  What are they actually discussing at the meeting? If it’s just “Oh no, C is finding out!” Shouldn’t they have had some sort of backup plan in place already. It doesn’t seem like it could be hugely surprising if everyone but the kids in town are aware of what the stove does, and now the kids are also being made aware. 

Pg 4:

“something so rotten that even C can catch a whiff” I like how clearly this indicates the scale of what must be wrong

Doesn’t Mrs. F wonder why half her class has just left the room?  I'll admit that her not really seeming to care makes me less concerned about what she thinks of C sitting at her desk talking to a magical green raven later on. 

Pg 5:

“don’t need to pretend this is something that concerns you.” T was upset with C before because she thought C knew things and was hiding them from her.  But she now does know things that she’s hiding from C. Being upset might keep her from acknowledging exactly what’s going on, but I’d expect C to have more of a response to it.

Pg 6:

“You suck and I hate you…” I am all for C and GM teaming up to tackle the curse. Or the stove, as the case may be.

Pg 7:

“nervous, twitchy energy” still not sure what to make of this.  I feel like we need a better (even if not entirely clear or accurate) idea of what causes this and what it’s doing.  I assume it’s something to do with things going on in the town or in the stove, but without any sort of cause or idea to tie it to, it comes across as a little random.

Pg 8:

“She can only be in one place”  I think we need to be clearer on a couple things (that she wanted to be with T when she went to burn things in the stove and that both things are taking place Friday evening) for the end line to have its full impact.  I like the conflict it presents, and I think it could be a strong ending to the chapter, but on my first read-through, my thought was just “oh. I hadn’t realized those were at the same time” instead of “Oh no! Poor C! What’s she going to do?!” that would have been clearer if I’d picked up on the potential for conflict earlier on in the chapter.


There are a couple of points in this chapter where we are edging on the territory of the main conflict between the characters being based in the fact that no one is telling anyone anything instead of actual conflict with the world and circumstances. I always get really antsy about those sorts of things when I don’t see a good reason for characters to be hiding things from each other.  They are certainly welcome to hide things from each other, and it might be for sort of silly or ridiculous reasons, but I want to be convinced that they think they’re good reasons.  And I’m not entirely convinced of that at this point.

The chapter has a good sense of moving things forward, and as usual, I look forward to seeing what happens next!

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Looking forward to reading this! :) 

As I go:

pg 1. I like that C identifies the lie as a lie, but it means there's still no consequences so far. Honestly I think there should be something established early on for why she can't ask adults, and that somehow gets broken and lets her ask S

-I'm spitballing here but one idea is that it's clear from the start that adults won't answer questions, but can be made to confirm guesses. So C knows from the start that she can't ask them until she figures out a bit more about what's going on. 

pg 2. Neglecting their work? That's what piques my interest and I'm surprised C doesn't ask for more information on that part as well. 

pg 3. The first line of chapter 10 is me in grad school. Ten years apart from C and in the exact same position (and I'm only half joking)

-are the adults that manipulative? So far we've really only seen it from G-M and I'm surprised C seems to accept it as a way of life. 

pg 4. In the second half of the page I got confused as to who was talking

pg 5. You and me both with the reflexive apologies, C

pg 6. I feel like C should be skeptical of more manipulation given G-M's track record

pg 8. I like the ending here 


I agree with everyone else that this is really solid. :) Which means it's time for me to nitpick and try to take it from good to great. 

On 5/31/2021 at 10:13 AM, RedBlue said:

1) Is the new version of chapter 8 better? Does it fix the problem of feeling like it was too easy?

2) Any boring or confusing bits?

3) Do the characters’ thoughts and actions make sense?

4) Any changes to your opinion on GM?

1. Yes and... somewhat. Looking at other responses it seems like I'm a stickler on this but I do still want a clearer reason C couldn't have asked this before. 

2. Nope! :) 

3. For the most part, yeah. My only point of confusion is it feels like we're supposed to trust GM here since the story doesn't make anything she does seem suspicious, but it also seems like based on her character she should be up to something. 

As an aside, I think right now the story would read the same without V and his character doesn't feel as fleshed out compared to C or GM. I often forget that he even exists. This isn't a bad thing necessarily but considering how prominent he's been so far I'm expecting a bit more from him. 

4. I don't trust her. Honestly the "I hate you" is the only thing that makes me trust her a little bit, since her honesty here seems to indicate that she's at a loss. 

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