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wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




I don't remember if this comes up in the series, but what happens to people born with the "Guild talent" who don't want to join the Guild? I remember that (fifth book) some people with Sight magic are passed off as Guild members but this is kind of the reverse.

Since the world has people of varying talents they wouldn't necessarily be shut out; they could be just as much a member of society as someone who has barely enough Fire to light a candle. But do they hide it? Is there stigma? And how do Guild members feel about their role in society? Do they resent being pigeonholed into their roles? Do they see themselves as separate and elevated from normal magic?

Another thing that I always wondered is how Spirit is treated by society as a relative newcomer. In your chronology the empire was ruled by a Fourfold Blending just 75 years ago; that means there are people with a living memory of a world with (apparently) only four magics. What does that look like? Are there old government buildings constructed with beautiful fourfold symmetry that needed a hastily added fifth wing? Are there classic works of art that feel outdated or prejudiced? Academic theories that prominent historical Guild leaders were actually Spirit practitioners in disguise?

These things probably aren't too relevant to the story about Lorand you want to tell, but I just find them frustratingly unexplored in the source material. (At least in my memory.) If nothing else they seem like an opportunity for foreshadowing a hidden sixth magic.

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wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




You can do it! Think of us as little spiders and birds, cheering you on from a distance.

I like the idea of Lorand saving Delin from something in the Deep Caverns using magic, given that your character notes have his father doing the same thing using political influence. Seems like a good opportunity to draw a parallel.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




I thought that was great to read. If you removed a few worldbuilding details and other exposition that serves mostly to establish stuff for later chapters, I think it could be offered up as a solid standalone short story.

I have some notes on individual lines that I might leave when I'm at a computer rather than a phone, but honestly I might just be making them for the sake of making them. I've got no experience in assessing drafts, I'm just a reader.

But as a reader I liked it. Your influence from Brandon Sanderson shows. From just the first few paragraphs I knew I was in for something more exciting than Lorand walking outside and contemplating the sun as a giant ball of fire magic.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




quote:

Questions for you guys:
- Do you feel cheated that I skipped over Lorand's demonstration of Healing?
- What did you enjoy the most?
- Where did things drag or feel off?

I didn't regret the omission; I feel like it would have been a little anticlimactic after the drama of the previous two tests. And skipping past it to narrate over the results is fitting with the characterization of Lorand's power never being in question. (Though maybe that strays more into telling than showing?) I do feel like it would be nice to see Healing in action though.

My favorite part was the moment where Mollit slams the desk and breaks his slates. It's an error entirely of his own making but it only serves to make him madder at Lorand. At that point I was fully expecting Lorand to try to reassemble the slate with his own power and get rebuffed, compounding Mollit's frustration.

I felt like some of the language choices were a little wordy, in particular Camil's statements toward Lugal at the end of the chapter. If they were to be spoken aloud I imagine they'd sound kind of like this scene, which is my favorite delivery in all of cinema:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY3eH5wvkrY

The other thing that felt the most off to me was Talitha catching up with Lorand after he fled from the test. I had to read that conversation three times before it sunk in what had happened. Even with numbing himself, it felt like Lorand was far too flippant about breaking his leg. But I guess maybe that's just how you are when you have access to instantaneous magical healing?

Question: was Lorand planning all along to Heal himself as a demonstration for his exams? Was he not expecting Lugal to provide him with an opportunity that didn't involve self-harm?

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




quote:

Based on this feedback, I should have filled out more background information in that dialogue exchange. I was worried because I knew I was going to have a big infodump about Grami shortly after and I wanted to practice conveying these two characters through dialogue only (with the intent to avoid butler and maid dialogue). As a result, I kept back a lot of the details I had worked out in my head: like how Healing is not the best skill to demonstrate when you're going for exams, since you're very limited in what you can demonstrate. Deliberately causing a serious injury for examination purposes, then placing the patient at risk of further injury or potential death if the person taking the exam messed up, would cross some moral and ethical boundaries and in the rewrite canon, the powers that be aren't as callous with citizens' lives.

So the answer is, anyone going for Healing usually ends up demonstrating on an injured animal that they provide themselves. Lorand hadn't planned on breaking his own leg–he was supposed to heal one of Phor Riven's cows (Willowbloom) that had gone lame–but once he did, he tried to capitalize on the situation because he guessed (correctly) that successfully Healing an actually broken human leg would be more impressive. And because he's a cocky idiot, he somehow convinced himself that exacerbating his injury to make his Healing demonstration even more impressive would be a great idea, because everyone's been telling him he's this genius talent.

Oh, that makes sense now. I was also thinking it would be a little grim when I asked whether Lugal would provide an opportunity for Healing.

I think the main thing that confused me about the scene was that it was tied to Lorand's flight from Mollit, so I thought the "convenience" of the leg break must be related too. Like I thought that Lorand was expecting a beating from Mollit's crew and that maybe they'd show mercy if he was already hurt. But I guess knowing that he could easily be Healed might just make them more aggressive.

You are probably not looking for giant rewrites at this stage, but here are some random unsolicited suggestions for alternate scenes:

-Replace the essay-writing scene with Lorand searching for his cow and getting injured in the process. (Hey, you wanted humor, how about slapstick?)

-Mollit does catch up with Lorand and beats him hard. Lorand drags himself to the testing station against Talitha's advice and Heals himself there.

-Lorand is never injured and brings the cow to the testing station as planned. He gets an unexpected opportunity to Heal when the wildcat goes out of control and mauls Mollit and/or bystanders.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




I finished chapter 3 today. It felt very grim, between Talitha being intensely aware of all the men in her life sizing her up and Lorand seeing taxes devastate his farm. Not to mention an ailing grandmother. I definitely did not leave the chapter feeling upbeat.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




Leng posted:

Questions for you guys:
- just the one really: what have I gotten wrong about writing from a fourteen year old boy's perspective?

I was going to say "needs more awkward horniness" but then I got to Jovvi's introduction.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




You remember how I said the Sanderson influence was strong in your earlier chapters? This one, uh, diverges from his style a bit.

I like the reactions to Spirit magic as invasive and creepy. Purely a personal thing, but that helps address the worldbuilding musing that I was doing earlier.

One minor thing wasn't quite clear to me: what does it mean to "tie someone's ability to speak to their breathing"? The way both you and Lorand describe it sounds very clinical and special, but functionally it doesn't seem different from making someone mute.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




The US Thanksgiving holiday and family life in general has really done a number on my schedule so I am something like 4 chapters behind now, but I want to echo the kudos. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and there's no question that it's better than Green's stuff. I think it's different enough to stand well on its own, not just in reference to her work.

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wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




The ebook was actually very helpful, thanks! I am on a mobile device rather than a computer most of the time, so popping it into my kindle app helped me get through the last four chapters rather than dealing with google docs. (The default iOS Books app completely choked on the epub, by the way. It only displayed the first and last two pages of each chapter.)

Maybe it was because I was reading them all at once, but these chapters felt like they went by a little fast. There was a lot of “two weeks later....” that I felt like I wanted to dwell on more. I know one of your common criticisms of the original is that Green zooms in too much and describes day-by-day action in excruciating detail, and I felt like this may have swung the pendulum a little hard in the other direction.

Finishing the book just reinforces the opinion I had earlier about this being a significant departure from Green’s work. You’ve taken the basic idea and put your own twist on it until the plot is entirely your own. I’d call it a success. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo!

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