Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 23

Three chapters remain, plus the epilogue. Let’s do this.

Summary:

Tecker and Hatchel see the hall in the sky that Error made. They call for the lord ley express jet so they can fly up and close the portal between worlds.

Mean and Parlay battle inside the cage as it flies away from Hardpan and towards the hall. Parlay reveals an amulet that houses vein, a magic-nullifying organism. The gelatinous substance reacts to his command: forming pillars, crossbows, and sharp projectiles. Mean busts out a hidden talent of her own and flies around the cage to dodge Parlay’s attacks. If she can damage him enough, his static magic will fail; but she can’t let him directly touch her or she’ll be at his mercy.

The chapter ends with Mean ensnared in a vein web and Parlay’s hand around her throat.

Will this be enough to impress Kim? I think you already know the answer to that…. Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 22

Another solid chapter critique by Kim. However, she was a bit upset with me over last week’s post. You see, she felt that I left out TOO many of her hilarious margin edits because I spent all that blog space talking about Piccolo.

So this week I’ll make more room for Kim’s hilarious gags! I’ll just toss out this ‘Justification of Frieza’ essay. It took me five minutes to write. -_-


Summary: Mean and Dark reach the top floor of the Dhaston building. Dring comes running down from the roof. He tells them that Parlay is sending the city of Hardpan crashing into Jesice. Mean calms him down and tells him to escape with Dark.

After Dark and Dring leave through a hex door, Mean finds Parlay on the roof. She confronts him inside a large cage, and the entire thing blasts off from the roof toward the hall above.

Parlay explains how he’s going to saturate Jesice with magical energy. Then he will release the Slate virus, which will be programmed to inflict a ‘static’ effect. He will create a world of people that never change, never get hurt, and never die. And Hardpan city will fall on them, so they KNOW they’re saved.

Mean is reminded of the story of how Pinada saved Overland from a comet. She realizes that Parlay is trying to re-create the same favorable circumstances that made Pinada a hero. Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 21

The finale begins, and Kim is fired up to maximum snark-ness! She was so snarky in fact, that I couldn’t squeeze in all her hilarious edits. I apologize. :'(

Summary:

Dring meets Parlay on the roof of the Dhaston building. Tyle is critically injured. The model, Error, has been destroyed. But Parlay’s master plan is still in motion. He is going to connect the two planets with a permanent hex door: the hall! A massive hex door opens above Harpan City!

Darrow and Vornis are outside the city of Hardpan now, and they witness the next phase of Parlay’s plan: the entire city, foundation and all, blasts out of the ground and starts to float toward the hall in the sky! Holy crap!

The lords ley on Jesice are worried as they see the city fly through the hall at them. Everyone else that lives on the cliff-side city is also upset and screaming from the rooftops.

Dring doesn’t know why any of this is happening either. It looks like Parlay is going to kill thousands of people for no reason. However, Parlay is ready to fulfill his promise to heal Dring’s throat damage. Once healed he can finally have the confidence to speak to Mean in person, and he can forget about Parlay and Jesice. Dring refuses and runs away, crying.

Kim’s big problem: Now before I start with the edits I must address a most pressing concern. Kim sent me an email. She told me that ‘hall’ is a dumb name. “Please rename it to something cooler” she said. “It just sounds so small and generic.”

Kim probably doesn’t know this, but I made a post on the hall’s name before. I talked about all the names people have used for spacial gateways in fiction. Portal. Wormhole. Or for you Witcher fans, “Conjunction of the Spheres.” I just wanted to build on the ‘hex door’ theme. A door opens and closes. A hall is always open.

But I don’t think something is cool just because you give it a cool name; I think something is cool because you MAKE it cool.

I’ll use a Dragon Ball example, since Kim has watched that. The character Piccolo. Without knowing anything about him, you might scoff. “What a wimpy name! That’s a kind of flute, isn’t it?” But he starts out as one of the strongest villains. A demon king, even! The hero Goku fights Piccolo and beats him at great risk to himself, but he allows Piccolo to live. Then Piccolo is forced to team up with Goku years later when a greater evil arrives. Piccolo even trains Goku’s son and teaches him how to fight after Goku dies. He learns to care about the boy, and realizes that humans aren’t so bad.

So when Vegeta and Nappa show up and murder all the other characters, and Goku’s son is about to be blasted into pieces, what are you thinking when Piccolo jumps in front of the oncoming beam to save his sworn enemy’s child?

You’re thinking “Piccolo is the coolest name in the universe.”

So I’m not changing the name. 😛 Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 20

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas! Time for me to go to Kansas to visit my extended family.

Like always, I took my laptop and INTENDED to work on my book and blog, but something distracted me again. Is it because I have so much fun visiting my relatives and playing games? Or is it because they stick me in an unfinished basement to sleep in, right next to a furnace that rumbles like a freight train? And then an actual freight train blasts its whistle outside, carrying over the plains of Kansas and right through grandma’s windows?

Yeah, it’s because I spend too much time playing video games, ha,ha.

Summary:

Trisk has destroyed Tyle’s artificial arm and leg, but the art swap has left her unconscious. Tyle crawls over to the hex door and warps in some new limbs. As Darrow stands in one place, Vornis arrives. Tyle warps in a Staccato rifle and blasts him through a wall.

Under Hardpan, Mean and Dark are still in Dring’s tunnel trap. Dark’s momentum alone isn’t enough to wear down the hex doors, so Mean flies alongside him. They drain the door’s power, escape, and head up to Hardpan’s ground level.

On Jesice, Tecker and Hatchel requisition a fruit harvester so that they can approach Error unmolested. Hatchel jumps onto Error and destroys its A.I. Dring activates the remote override and counterattacks. Hatchel is wounded, but Tecker is able to smash Error against a tree. Despite their efforts, ‘Program Zero’ is launched toward St. Tra City.

Tyle sees all this happen from the monitors in Hardpan. He goes to collect Vornis’ corpse to help convince the Jesians that magic is evil. But Vornis is still alive, and he fights back. The two are both taken over by instinctual programming, and Tyle’s own automatic reflexes end up dooming him.

Whew! That’s quite a long chapter. Let’s get started; Kim has been bugging me to finish this. I mean, holding me accountable. 😉 Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 19

It’s party time! Kim has completed her critique of the entire book! She started out slow, but I just knew the pure wonder and fast-paced plotting of Abandonment Party would spur her onward to the end!

As she read through the finale, I could feel her excitement coming through her late night Facebook messages:

Two A.M.? She miiiiight have been a bit delirious from reading at such an hour. I’m sure those chapters are fine, heh heh. But we’ll talk about those parts later. It is now time for chapter 19: Disillusion!

Summary: A flashback reveals that Tyle gave up his crippled limbs willingly for the good of the company.

In the present, Trisk and Tyle fight. Tyle grabs Trisk and holds her against a support pillar.

Mean and Dark are still trapped inside the tunnel, with a hex door at each end that sends them back into the middle of the tunnel. Mean comes up with a cunning plan to overload the battery by tossing Dark into the hex door repeatedly.

On Jesice, Tecker meets up with Hatchel and learns his secret: ALIENS! Tecker’s an alien. But he knows magic, and he has enough power to stop Error. (The bronze machine.)

Trisk is still being held in place on that pillar. She switches out of her static art to her ‘tearing’ art. She rips apart Tyle’s mechanical limbs, but switching arts drains her magic and causes her to faint.

Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 18

Kim is still a couple of chapters ahead of me with her edits. She seemed to think she was starting to get ‘too snarky’ with her latest edits, so I’d better hurry up so I can see how much she’s learned from me, the master of snarks.

Summary: In this chapter Mean, Vornis, Trisk, Darrow, and Tome drive to Hardpan City to find out what Parlay is up to.

After reaching Hardpan, Mean and Dark split off from the group to explore a strange pit dug up on the side of the city. It leads to a tunnel, where the two become trapped. Dring has rigged hex doors at the each end of the passage, that, when triggered, puts the victim into the middle of the tunnel again.

Trisk goes to the Dhaston building, where Vornis sensed Parlay and Tyle. Tyle meets Trisk at the ground floor. He’s guarding the hex door that leads to Jesice. It’s time to finish this! Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 17

In this chapter, titled Error, Parlay sends a magical robot through the hex door to Jesice. This nameless machine moves toward the cliff-side city on a secret mission. The police and military attempt to stop it, yet they are powerless against the bizarre technology it commands. Guns can’t stop it. Rocket launchers only make it angrier. And fighter jets have their energy cannons’ blasts redirected at their allies.

Now, this is the kind of stuff I love. Wanton destruction! Chaos from an attacking alien force!

However, Kim has sensed a problem with my explosion-fest:

Either add some kind of stakes so we care about the officers winning against the machine (but it you want to keep the machine’s purpose a surprise, might not work), or add more character to the scene so the reader cares about the characters involved. Doesn’t have to be a lot, just little bits of development to get the reader attached to them. Otherwise, there’s a lot of shooting and explosions, but it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. Or maybe just condense the whole scene to a few pages.

Now, she has a point. None of these cops have a large role in the story beyond this chapter. But I don’t want to shorten the scenes that much, since I DO think it’s important to show how the Jesian forces fail against Parlay’s robot. Because when Hatchel and Tecker come to the rescue later, I need the reader to believe that those two rapscallions are the only hope of stopping it.

Maybe I’ll come up with something as I go through Kim’s margin notes. Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 16

In this chapter the crew meets Vornis, an organically modified human. He’s Parlay’s friend from the old days, you see, and he’s got a story to tell about their friendship. In fact, Vornis’ tale was so long that Kim thought he sounded like a video game NPC that you meet inside a house.

I started to protest, but realized that I do agree with her: Having a setting that fits the conversation is one of the lessons I learned from the Aeon Flux commentaries. I talked about this a while back, but I’ll go over it again. It also gives me an excuse to reuse this image of Trevor:

See, in the episode titled The Purge, Trevor Goodchild has a philosophical discussion about conscience. At the end of the episode he talks with Aeon. The setting for this finale is on a stage with an audience full of people. It’s around this point in the commentary that Peter Chung says:

Well what happened I think is that the discussion about the value of conscience and morality became–it’s such an abstract thing. You can’t help but address it using a lot of dialog and I just hate having scenes where people are just in a room talking. And the way to kind of–push it onto a stage and exaggerate it. Because if Trevor had to give these speeches in a normal situation it would come off as being incredibly declamatory. But in this setting he can say very declamatory things. And it fits.

The episode also has interesting things going on in the background so even if you don’t understand all the dialog you can still be entertained by dancing girls and mask-wearing cactus beverages.

Now, back to my chapter, where Vornis is talking to everyone in a single room of Parlay’s house. How can I make this conversation more interesting? Move the group throughout the various rooms of the mansion? Like a tour? Since the discussion is about Parlay’s life, it would make more sense for Vornis to bring up different events as he passed by Parlay’s old stuff.

So that is my mission! I’ll spice up Parlay and Vornis’ backstory by having the characters move through the mansion as he speaks! No cactus juice boxes though.

Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 15

Oh dear, Kim had quite an email for me after she finished this one. Scathing stuff. Worthy of that picture above. But first, here’s the chapter summary for context:

Mackaba is going through his day in Hardpan City. He’s pacing the halls of Police Headquarters, telling himself how noble he is to stay and defend the empty buildings.

As he reaches the lobby window he notices that a billboard outside has been vandalized. He flies out in a rage to find Mean standing in the streets. A seven-page battle ensues. It’s totally amazing.

Mackaba is defeated and Dark comes out of police HQ with Parlay’s DNA sample.

Now here’s what Kim told me in the email:

  • The fight scene goes on a bit long. Could trim by a couple pages to help keep the action flowing at a fast pace.
  • There aren’t really any stakes to the fight. We don’t know why Mean’s fighting Mackaba or what will happen if she loses. We find out later she’s distracting Mackaba so Dark can find the case, but during the fight, there’s a slight lack of suspense.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t want to hear this. I LOVE my fight scenes. I told Kim that she’d have to try harder in order to convince me to change it. So she DID try harder. She called me on the phone and told me how she was counting the pages until the end because the battle was dragging on and on.

Oof. BUT–! Lesson time! That’s the first rule of taking criticism. You gotta put your ego away. Even if it’s a chapter you’re proud of. So I did. And I listened.

Because you know what’s next? After you’ve humbled yourself at the feet of the teacher, you get to follow the second rule of criticism: Bring your ego BACK out to fix the problem! Tell yourself “I can do this! I can find a solution! I am the greatest storyteller in the entire UNIVERSE!! HAHAHAHAHA!”

So that’s what I’ll do. First I’ll add a quick scene at the start, with Mean and Dark walking toward Hardpan City. They’ll discuss the distraction plan and they’ll see the birds flying around the buildings. They can also mention changes to the grounds by the walls which will come in handy during the finale. This will also match up with the scene that Thomas Hugo painted for my cover: it depicts Mean and Dark staring at Hardpan City. I hate it when covers depict events that don’t take place in the story, so now I won’t be a hypocrite.

As for the battle with Mackaba, well, I’ll think of something.

Continue reading

Kim Roasts Abandonment Party: Chapter 14

A short chapter, but Kim still has a few good ideas to talk about. Including one idea of hers that I ignored from the previous chapter, ha,ha.

But first, here’s the summary:

After the confrontation in the Pinada wing of the Brinkland National Museum, Mean and her buddies use the hex door A.I. to search for Parlay’s house. They eventually find a promising result: a run-down mansion. The group pops on over.

Mean reveals that she can use one of Tenny’s arts to fly now, and she zooms across the garden with Dark. The two have a bit of a talk where Mean promises to reveal the secret of her origin. Of course she doesn’t get the chance since they’re interrupted by Darrow. Man, I hate it when that happens in OTHER stories but I’m sure I have a really good reason for delaying it.

The mansion, however, is locked. Forcing the door open will only bring doom upon them. So of COURSE the only option is to go to the Hardpan Police Department to pick up a sample of Parlay’s D.N.A. that was obtained with the help of a cryogenic root beer mug. What? I set it up in the prologue! It makes perfect sense!

Continue reading