Author Topic: May 16 - LongTimeUnderdog - The Canticle and the Forge, chapter 17  (Read 2038 times)

LongTimeUnderdog

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In which Jin meets a "nurse" and does the impossible.

hubay

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Re: May 16 - LongTimeUnderdog - The Canticle and the Forge, chapter 17
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 11:32:18 PM »
I've tried to describe your voice before, and I've always had trouble putting my finger on what seems off about it; I think I've finally figured it out. You alternate between very descriptive, almost poetic sentences Ė like how you start off this chapter Ė that are flowery and a bit dense at times. I think that half of your voice works. But then you also have this super-minimalist way of writing, not unlike Orson Scott Card's that you use for everything else. I think that half of your voice works too. But they don't work together, at least not the way you're currently writing. I think there's a lot of potential, because you can write concisely and clearly, but you also know how to embellish and describe. I think in terms of prose your greatest challenge is going to be marrying those two styles, and I think if you can do it successfully you'll have a really solid voice. That said, I don't have any advice for how you'd go about doing that, so, uh, good luck.

On to the story:

I really enjoyed seeing more of your story here, and I don't have much to critique you on. I like the description of the Labyrinth, and how you introduced the giant Ė before you talked about joints I thought she was just from a very tall race of people. There are a two things I'm confused about. First, did the nurse heal Jin? it seems like she left in a huff and didn't bother. If that's the case, I'd like to see a reaction from Jin or his mother, some indignation or something. If she DID heal him, then Jin should be satisfied that he's all better now.

The transition from the nurse leaving to the scene with the arcs is very abrupt, and I think this ties in to the reaction from Jin and company. It's like they've completely forgotten about the healing, or why they went down there  in the first place.

I also didn't completely understand what happened with the sparks. Everyone is impressed, which I get and like, but what did Jin actually accomplish? did he actually fix the problem, or is this just a big first step?

And lastly, I think it would make your worldbuilding/exposition go smoother if you mentioned Calorites in an earlier chapter, if only in passing, so it didn't seem like you were completely introducing a new element to your story.

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: May 16 - LongTimeUnderdog - The Canticle and the Forge, chapter 17
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2011, 12:35:02 AM »
Thanks for your response and feelings.  Gives me something to work on and confidence I'm not completely a lost cause.  As to the Calorite Comment, this is not the first time I've mentioned them.  But as is often what happens in the story, the previous mention was done in such passing, it would be easy to forget.  Probably need to stop doing that.

akoebel

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Re: May 16 - LongTimeUnderdog - The Canticle and the Forge, chapter 17
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 09:22:42 PM »
Nice chapter, I'd have liked to have much more.

The epigram is shorter this time : seems like I like them this way. It may not have been as strong as the one a few chapters back, but it was sharp nonetheless.

A few recriminations though :

* Once again, when put into a difficult situation, Jin goes off describing his surroundings (in this instance, the folds in the nurse's dress) instead of reacting to what's happening to him. It's almost like he doesn't care.

* Talvin's character has changed so much in this chapter, it's hard to believe he's not been replaced by a nicer doppelganger version of himself. I know that I've stressed in the past that Talvin wasn't fatherly enough for me, but this complete reversal to a caring father figure is quite unsettling. I get that he has now reason to be prouder of his son, but either tone it down a notch (especially at the beginning of the scene), or rewrite the earlier chapters so we can see more of this new "improved" version of Talvin.
* Now someone at last seems to care that there is a hole in the world, but it's still very very mild. Kind of like "oh, since you can do those sparks thingies, maybe you could patch this pesky hole in the universe? No rush, though." Right now, I'm not getting the feeling that anything is at risk : either I'm wrong in assuming the danger (in that case, mind the Chekov's gun here), or this is really a big issue and it should appear as one - it should affect people who know of it very strongly. As a side comment, what was Talvin's plan to patch the hole if his son had turned out to be ungifted?

Finally, to answer your previous comment, I'm told you have to say things three times if you want your readers to acknowledge something, so add more instances!

Asmodemon

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Re: May 16 - LongTimeUnderdog - The Canticle and the Forge, chapter 17
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 02:07:29 PM »
Again, this chapter was quite good. I liked the fortresses in the mist and that itís a separate world/realm/thing that contains everyoneís fortresses and is not just inside Jinís head.† Jin stood up for himself a bit and he did something spectacular with his magic, even if itís still unclear what exactly he did, and he didnít fail this time.

To me this chapter does suffers similarly to chapter sixteen. One problem is internal coherence. After the nurse leaves in a huff neither Jin nor Talvin pay her any more heed. This is just like with Chalinae, out of sight out of mind. Another issue is that the behaviours of Jin, Talvin, and now the nurse donít always make sense. At least they donít to me.

My first impression of Jin here is that he speaks differently when talking to the nurse in the mist. Heís far more collected, assured and mature. Take ďThatís a matter of some disagreement between usĒ for instance, and then he practically sneers at the nurse when he tells her who his father is. Itís almost like heís a younger Talvin. This isnít a bad thing, I liked that Jin showed some backbone and maturity since heís supposed to be culturally mature and fearless for being a Calorite. But it is different from the last chapters and in terms of continuity that isnít so good.

A small thing that occurred to me, I donít recall seeing any signs that there is disagreement between Jin and his mother about him being male. Now she didnít have much screen time so far and I could be remembering wrong, but you could show such a disagreement or some resentment in the mother earlier in the story so Jinís remark has a basis.†

On the reaction of the nurse for Jin being a Calorite, I think itís a bit extreme, especially given what we know about the Calorites and what you explain in the remainder of the chapter. This knowledge is quite limited right now. In the summary of the book I see that in the prologue a Calorite killed Traxisís wife, but you never submitted a prologue to the group, so all I know is what the summary says.

Subsequently the word Calorite is never mentioned in Karemothís part, which is a good 30,000 words, and might be too long to remember the significance of the word. The submission format doesnít really help either in remembering things that happened chapters and weeks ago.† In Jinís part itís mentioned once in chapter 12, when his mother makes his hair into a Calorite braid and again in 13 again with respect to his hair. Itís subtle, saying that no one wears their hair like a Calorite, but other than that evidently the Calorites are pariahs thereís nothing to say theyíre dangerous or particularly feared in the present day.

Without the prologue these two mentions are too subtle for the reaction of the nurse. And the nurseís reaction, if the Calorites really have fallen into stories, comes across as too extreme because of it. On the other hand, given the nurseís reaction, if the Calorites are so feared and loathed as the nurse suggests why would Jin (be allowed to) wear his hair like one? Even if only a handful of people believe in Calorites it puts too much attention on the boy Ė thatís the last thing Talvin would want, given Jinís magic.

Which brings me to Talvin. Before the nurse came he was in a rage, ready to practically kill Jin. Mere moments afterward, his behaviour is turned around 180 degrees. Itís not just because heís proud that Jin managed to do something, because Talvin was already acting nice the moment the nurse left them. Itís like Talvinís mood is on a yoyo, up and down, up and down. You say there is a reason his behaviour is inconsistent, but by this point a reader is likely to have put the book down and so will never know. You donít have to spill the beans on everything, but if you make it clear to the reader there is an in-story reason Talvinís behaviour is odd that will create a mystery rather than an authorial error.

Finally, Talvin is proud of Jin at the end of the chapter. Why exactly? To Talvinís perspective Jin made bigger arcs and made a purple light flare. True, this is more than he has done up to this point, but itís purely a visual effect. Talvin canít manipulate the Shroud and thus has no idea whether Jin did anything to it or not, not without people like Zarfar singing next to it Ė unless Talvin can sense or manipulate the Shroud. Now what would that make him?