Author Topic: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13  (Read 1266 times)

hubay

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July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:52:07 AM »
Here it is: the end of act 2. I think it ends alright. One of the conflicts changes shape and a new one starts up.
As a side note, in the rape scene a few chapters back, it ends with Jhuz putting Ponticae (the senator) in charge of watching over the prisoner, for diplomatic reasons. Anyways, enjoy!

7-11-11 Hubay, Lord domestic ch13 (L,V,S,D)

Summary: under Jhuz's new leadership, the Legion has finally won a battle. Last chapter they were celebrating the victory and Zaisha showed off a new metsi-powered weapon she created.

Ch13: Jhuz finally confronts the Jackal, but it doesn't end the way he expects.

Let me know what you think of the very end. I want it to have some punch – it's the last chapter of the act, after all. So let me know how successful it is.

cjhuitt

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 03:53:26 AM »
First of all, I know that I tend to find the things I don't like, and not comment as much on what I do.  There are many parts in this where my comments are sparse, so if I don't mention something, assume I liked that part.  There are a couple pages in the middle where I didn't note anything to myself to come back to later; I assume I was just too absorbed in the story for those.

I'll start with Ezlio and the quills.  I wonder how common knowledge of his quills are, since he's taking the time to explain them to Jhuz.  However, he says that conventional wisdom about the quills is whatever, and I thought they wouldn't be well known enough to have conventional wisdom.  Also, if this is the end of act two, it seems a little late (but not horribly so) for the reader to be learning more about the abilities.

Do the quills only go straight out from Ezlio's body?  They're only described as straight out in this chapter.  If so, they may not be as useful for blocking things as he thinks.

Later in the chapter, Jhuz gets mad at Ezlio for mentioning his father.  It would be neat if Ezlio is doing this on purpose to get Jhuz used to hearing it, and less reactive when it comes to his father.  Or to learn how he reacts to it.  Either one would be useful for a good bodyguard, because somehow who can be incited to act instinctively (through rage) can be harder to guard, and easier to expose for attacks.

Quote
If I were Lexio, I wouldn’t let a man under me who’s drink a drop of wine tonight.

This sentence didn't make much sense to me when I first read it.

Regarding Lexio, and the conversation with him.  Did Jhuz never think, after Lexio revealed his metsi, that Lexio was sensing his own weakness and using it to construct a reasonable story?  If not, I did, and it might make the story we're reading far more interesting.

Regarding the story of the man killed for meeting with two guilds... even with those facts being true, just them could be enough to make an Emperor cautious.  It could be just acting for the good of the people, but it could be someone setting themselves up as the hero of the people, an entirely different prospect.  And once I thought this, I would say that you have a pretty good story and worldbuilding going if I'm thinking things like that about what may have really happened in a story related from one character to another.

Ezlio seems to be at odds with Jhuz a fair amount, and seems like he should have known how Jhuz reacts to the mention of his father.  That makes me speculate about whether Ezlio is doing little things like this on purpose, and I could think of a couple cool ideas.  The best one is trying to figure out how Jhuz reacts to different situations, in order to know how to protect him better.  However, it would be even better for protection if Jhuz could be desensitized to the mentions, since if he flies upward in rage at when his father is mentioned, all someone has to do to attack him is mention his father, and suddenly Jhuz isn't (directly) protected by Ezlio anymore.

The missing egg: Is this a detail Jhuz would have noticed?  I have to assume so.  If he's leader of these men, is it a detail he should have followed up on or made a bigger deal out of?

With the moss on his armor... shouldn't Jhuz have made sure his armor is good before telling the troops to shape up?  Wouldn't he at least look at it before doing so?

For the end... in the last chapter, there was a passing reference to Jhuz seeing something that to me was an invisible person... I don't remember the exact details just now, but I read it as Jhuz knows people can be invisible.  Then at the end of this chapter, he sees stuff moved around and footprints, and he doesn't immediately think "invisible person"?

Also, I could be wrong, but an attack with a chair seems like it would be a lot less likely to succeed than many other options.  I don't know how light the chair is, or how big the tent, but to do a lot of damage it would have to have weight behind it.  The way the chapter ended, I'm expecting Jhuz to have been knocked out, or dazed at a minimum, which means it needs the weight.  That means someone is either really strong and quick, or Jhuz should have had more reaction time when the chair started moving.  A safer way for an invisible person to attack would probably have been to run around any obstacles, get behind the person, and try to choke them.  About as good would be to use the desk as a launch to send their own (invisible) body at Jhuz.

Finally, Jhuz is a commander.  I don't know how long; the text makes it sound recent, but also like he's had some training in command, so I assumed a recent elevation to that level of command.  People with experience of command in a modern army, or most historical arms I've known of, would immediately step out and call for people to capture the intruder.  Instead, Jhuz grabs for his belt knife.  That would be good if it was his only option, but there should be sentries, bodyguards, or something nearby he could use to help him.

There you go.  A bit long, but it seems you've had a wait for it anyway, so hopefully this is worth it.
Caleb

hubay

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 05:12:35 AM »
Hm, some good points.

I did the thing with the chair because it seemed more dramatic, but I think you're right about it being ineffective.

Also, don't worry about focusing too much on the bad. As much as we all like to be told about our good work and have our ego's validated, the reason we should be in a writing group in the first place is to find and get rid of all the flaws in the book. So I don't mind at all.

Thanks for going that indepth, as well.

Will777r

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 09:09:02 PM »
Finally made some time to read this.

Overall I liked the chapter. I thought the ending was excellent as it requires me to keep the pages turning to find out what happens. There's no way a reader could put the book down, shut off the light, and go to bed at that point. That's what we're shooting for isn't it?

I also liked the switcheroo pulled by the scene with the Jackal. I was expecting that exchange to go very differently. I still don't trust him, but it threw an interesting twist into the mix: Can I trust him? That's what Jhuz is wondering and so am I as reader, so great job at making me feel what the character are feeling.

The opening felt a little like an infodump disguised as dialogue. Some of it was interesting. Other parts felt forced. If Jhuz is any kind of officer, I'm shocked he doesn't know more about Ezlio's kind. Yes, a sniper officer might not know all the intricate details about artillery, but he should have a working knowledge of how each part of the armed force works together. It sounded a bit too much like Quill fighting 101 to me. I would think that with Jhuz's training under a Chell, he'd have some more understanding.

Now I say that only because that's how I felt as a critiquer. As a reader, it didn't bother me. But a lot of the stuff writer's say you shouldn't do doesn't bother me either. So, take that however you want heh.

My first thought during the end scene was "It's a Chell". But, he's still alive, so I am curious as to who the invisible person is. The chair attack didn't bother me. Yes, going behind to choke him might have been more efficient, but we don't know the identity of the attack or the motive behind it. Maybe the attacker doesn't intend to kill? If so, a chair might be reasonable (and more dramatic). I've never been hit with a chair before, but if someone swung one of my dining room chairs at me when I wasn't looking, I imagine I'd be knocked out. Maybe that's the goal of the attacker? We won't know till later I suppose.

I did find it odd that he was alone in his tent and no one heard the sound of him being attacked with a chair. If there's not a good reason for that, then you might want to rethink it. Or if the attacker is going to kidnap him. It doesn't make much sense then to sneak into the tent invisibly and then make a racket with the chair.

Oh, and wouldn't the Jackel sense the "weakness" in the camp since Jhuz is knocked out? Is that a precursor for a rescue? Or is he behind the attack somehow?

Will777r

akoebel

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 11:18:30 PM »
As always, the chapter was quite interesting and a fast read.

I do have some concerns about the placement of the scene with Lexio. If this had been placed just after the battle, I could have believed the Jackal's explanations (they do make a lot of sense, even if this reeks of deception). However, when placed this far apart, my expectations have built up that this is going to be a violent scene (which you've led me to believe). As it turns out quite differently, I'm left a little disappointed (no one gets even punched in the face, and all the tension falls flat). I'd have preferred a cleaner resolution rather than being left like this with a supposed traitor still roaming around and me cursing the lead character for being a complete fool (seriously, who could believe Lexio right now?).

For the act's ending, I'm also left with mixed feelings. You provided a neat cliffhanger, but this didn't feel like an act's end.
(note : You said it was the end of act 2, so by the wordcount (40k?), this will not be a 3 act novel (unless the novel is 200k and this is the end of act 1). I will try to treat this as the end of act 1 in the traditional 3 act structure, but I could be wrong).
The opening conflict (the Nothroi) has evolved into something bigger (the Chell), and the main character has started to take things in hand, so we have our first act threshold  : things are bigger than we think. By this reasoning, the end of act 1 should be the end of the battle. If you do need the cliffhanger, I would suggest bringing it closer to the battle, to bring a more powerful moment (right now, things are looking better for the army. Losing their new commander right after the battle would have been much worse, and much more powerful).

Some comments on the chapter itself:
* Ezlio and Jhuz's discussion is nice (if a little too technical), but I don't feel it's at the right place. They're rushing to remove Lexio from the play, and this is no time to discuss Ezlio's particular fighting techniques.
* For Ezlio's fighting style, I would expect him to be a clumsy swordsman and use only thrusting moves, never slashing ones (stick them with the pointy end). Fencing is half foot placement and half wrist position. As Ezlio cannot use his wrists to change his attacks, he should have a hard time fencing. If the quills are weak at the base, why do they not bend, making them useless for parrying?
* I  liked that the Jackal can feel weakness thing, though I also expect Jackals to work in bands, not alone.
* I agree that giving a list of the empire's mistakes was a bit too much. About Jhuz's father, when I read it, it felt like Ezlio knew what had happened and wanted to tell Jhuz, but couldn't speak up when Jhuz flared. I never considered Ezlio was testing his new commander.
* I agree with the others. After seeing the footsteps, Jhuz should have raised the alarm.


hubay

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 03:28:12 AM »
Good points, all around. I'll have to rework some parts of this scene based on what you've all told me.

@akoebel – As for the act structure: I'm probably going to beef up act one, but part of the reason this seems so short is it's only one character of three. I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but after Jhuz's story is over there are two more characters with related stories; the reason I'm setting this up this way is because it allows me to focus better when I'm writing. But yes, Jhuz should really take charge sooner.

SkyhunterCommander

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 05:49:30 AM »
Coming to this as late as I am, I feel like just about everything I would have said was mentioned already.

I enjoyed the chapter, it read well as was engaging. I liked the surprise about the Jackal, and I look forward to reading more about him. Whether or not he was telling the truth here, I want to see more of him. His ability is very cool, and I'm just enjoying him overall. (Personally, I hope he was not lying, because if he ends up betraying them, we would see him less, if he survives at all.

I will agree with what other have said regarding the scene of Ezlio talking to Jhuz, I felt like it didn't need to take place when it did, with the whole thing with the Jackal being what we want to see.

Apart from that, I don't have much more to add, everyone else was pretty thorough, and repeating things won't add much.

Now I just want to find out who the attacker was.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

Asmodemon

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2011, 04:01:18 PM »
I liked parts of the chapter well enough, such as that Jhuz and Lexio finally confront each other, but there are a number of things I did have problems with.

I don’t like explanations about what a character can or can’t do very much, I want to see Ezlio get tired if he uses his quills as projectiles, I want to see him have trouble with deflections or have  foes hit him where the quills are ‘less real’. You telling me this just doesn’t have the same impact as coming to realize as a reader that Ezlio can’t use projectiles during a fight since it’ll wear him out.

I had mostly forgotten about the Jackal, the fears that he’s a turncoat were important at the start of the story but in the recent events he hardly had a role, except one in passing when Jhuz took command, but only in passing.

In the segment with Lexio he’s explaining his metsi powers. That’s twice in once chapter now, you’re more telling us what metsi are and what they can do rather than show us. Also the metsi are far too free in explaining just how their abilities work, removing any tactical advantage they might have by keeping their power secret. Lexio and Jhuz don’t like each other, it doesn’t make sense for Lexio to spill the beans like that. To explain how he knew Manto was dead he could say that his metsi allowed him to tell, but he doesn’t need to tell them he can detect personal flaws in people. It’s more tactically sound for him not to reveal that ability at this time.

It also makes me wonder about what they taught Jhuz at the Academy; it’s not weaponry, it’s not engineering, and apparently nothing about metsi either. What good is an academically trained officer who doesn’t know the abilities of his special forces?

Ah, so Lexio used to be a raider and thus an enemy of the army. I can see where the distrust comes from now – I’d like to have known about this sooner, since before this reveal the whole distrust against Lexio seemed completely unfounded and strange in the same way that everyone derided Jhuz at the start of the story but it was actually under orders.

This sensing weakness ability seems very powerful, why wasn’t he present more at the strategy meetings before Jhuz got in power?  Such an ability is too valuable to waste on leading a single company.

Cliffhanger at the end wasn’t as effectual as it could be. The chair already got mentioned by others, an invisible opponent has better means available than a chair. Jhuz is already on guard, the moment the chair was lifted he should’ve/could’ve shouted for help and that’s not something an assassin wants. Stealing your target’s breakfast and messing up his tent also isn’t a good way to remain undetected. An assassin would probably have silently killed Jhuz in his tent, then rummaged through his stuff to get what he needed  while no one was the wiser.

I also saw your comment that you’ve still got two POV characters to introduce. To do that so late in the game when we’ve read all this stuff about Jhuz is risky. There are authors who do this well, such as Steven Erikson who can have you read 200 pages about one character than switch to completely different ones for hundreds of pages, but it’s not an easy thing to achieve so be careful there.

hubay

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2011, 05:09:25 PM »
Thanks for the feedback!

I think there's a little confusion on what I said about the POV characters. This only my first write, so I decided it would be easier on me to focus on one POV at a time. So once I'm done with Jhuz' story I'll start writing Lisu's, and then Duko's. But the finished product won't be read that way; it'll go much  like a standard epic does – I'll have one Jhuz, then one Lisu, then one Duko, and then start over. So if you got this far in the finished book, you would already have read a 12 or so chapters of the other 2 characters. Does that clear things up?

Asmodemon

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Re: July 11 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch13
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2011, 04:23:03 PM »
Ah, all right, that does clear it up. Carry on :)