coa//009 moves to the head of the class

14 04 2013

New readers — welcome! This blog is where I set up feedback threads for the latest draft story in progress. Every week, I post new scenes! Right now I’m up to story #9. You should probably start at story #1, though.

Current readers — We continue today with handful of new scenes, but they’re meaty ones indeed, continuing the twin tales of Jonny’s band and Penelope’s new life scenario. There’s even a cameo from an old friend!

I may be doing some revisions to these later, but not to drastically skew the plot in a new direction. What I need is more character description. I’m terrible at that, because it never feels like the right moment to step back and do some vivid depiction of a character; you need another character observing them, and you need the narrator bound to the observer, or it feels awkward. But without that, you lose an important attachment to the character, who otherwise is only a name and a pile of dialogue lines.

For instance, Ellie has no description yet despite this being a key scene (her introduction). Similarly, Destiny (who shows up in Penelope’s story) is one of the few persons of color I’ve put in the series, but that’s barely acknowledged. I always regretted making Cass white; that was a perfect opportunity, one which I will talk about in the author annotations to 004, which you can read in the Kickstarted City of Angles book! $$PLUG$$

Something to think about, anyway. Meanwhile we’ve got all sorts of story busting out all over, and I’d love to hear your reactions and ponderances! Things really heat up when we move into Act 2 next week — when we have our first real-world celebrity cameo APPROVED by the celebrities in question!

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6 responses

14 04 2013
K. Willsen

I like this. Especially putting up a fake “I’m listening” feed while getting on with more important things. Teacher regurgitating book is probably the single most boring and useless educational method going. Also one of the most popular.

It’s interesting that Penny sees journalism as training for leadership. Certainly a better training that school politics. I look forward to learning more about the band, and how they get on at the Lucid Dreamer. I like that you’ve given Penny a reason for being there that goes beyond “I just happened to drop by”, without having to drastically alter her musical tastes.

14 04 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’m figuring tele-learning in the City is a lot like college courses — prof at the front spouting from slides, students passively absorbing. (There are more interactive classes in college, but most I attended were like that.) Public schools, which WILL be making an appearance later in this volume, are more interactive but more prone to disruption and apathy. Very much a haves-and-have-nots situation.

The plan all along was for these two stories (the band and Penny) to converge. I’ll admit I haven’t fully planned out how they’ll crash into each other during the interview, though. In the end the actual climax at the interview may be the least important part of the story. We’ll see.

14 04 2013
Sean

Here’s what I noticed, all typos, presumably. I’m not touching style or story direction. It’s fun just to sit and enjoy the ride.

In the waiting room of a slightly shady free clining in a tenth floor walkup at the edge of town sat a row of hard plastic seats.
In the waiting room of a slightly shady free **clinic** in a tenth floor walkup at the edge of town sat a row of hard plastic seats.

That feed her up to wander around her bedroom
That **freed** her up to wander around her bedroom

They were announcements of fandom alliegance, positioned to declare self-identify visually to those who chat with you online.
They were announcements of fandom **allegiance**, positioned to declare **self-identity** visually to those who chat with you online.

It took a few moment for it to sink in.
It took a few **moments** for it to sink in.

14 04 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Typos help too! Thanks — I’ll make these edits for the next draft update.

The ones a spellcheck can’t catch (like ‘moment’ vs ‘moments’) are especially great; I do a read-through of the stories to try to catch those, but sometimes they slip through…

15 04 2013
TheEyes

If you’re looking for a place for character description, you could possibly do it at the beginning, where Johnny is picking Ellie, though it might mess with the flow of that section. Or later, when Penny first sees her?

15 04 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

You hit on why I didn’t do it right away — it’d mess with flow. It’s important to have the lengthy description of Jonny’s trip home, followed by the sudden impact of the attempted suicide without any description of what he saw. Describing her hair, face, clothes etc. wouldn’t be appropriate right there. Similarly I can’t do it when she wakes, because that scene is strictly from her viewpoint (complete with voices) and she isn’t looking at herself.

I’ll definitely be able to fit it in later, when Penny first sees her. In fact that may be the best place for it… see a true impact in the eyes of someone who isn’t familiar with her.

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