The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

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c_nordlander
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:23 pm

Up to p. 89:

Carol's shocked reaction to Eduardo giving her the pendant is quite realistic, and I'm glad Eduardo stopped her from getting too panicky about it (because I've been in situations like that myself). I would never have got the Jânio Quadros reference, so I'm glad you explained it, because the joke made me laugh. "I did so because I wanted so" sounds like the perfect translation.

I feel like Daniel is showing a lot more layers of his character in this chapter. Their conversation at the snack bar hit very close to home for me. Yeah, Dani, I can relate to that feeling of people around me trying to tell me what to do, with all the best intentions for sure, but never giving me a moment to decide what I actually want. I like that Lígia spoke up for him.

Nice to see Débora talking with Rita, too. The feeling of there being a gap between "child" and "older teen" (even if one is only a couple of years older than the other) feels realistic: I definitely saw things from Rita's perspective when I was about her age. Again, very well-written interactions and dialogue.

Will keep reading when I can.


Grammar checks:

"in a fighting game" is a bit off. "At" or "playing a" would be better.

"makes poor Rita mad for talking shit about her." "for" should be "by."

"I get no will to introduce any girls to you" sounds really odd (possibly that was the case in the original Portuguese, too). "Desire" rather than "will," maybe?

Missing word: "how would approach them"
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:40 pm

I have to admit I do a little cheer every time you saw how relatable those scenes are. ;D

I suppose Dani does get quite a bit of the spotlight in this chapter (there's more before it ends), but I really liked writing that scene, not just to expose his reluctance, but because of the "bro attitude" of his friends trying to encourage him to get lucky. It's interesting to see where's the limit that separates helping a friend overcome their insecurity and pushing them to the point of discomfort.

(just now, remembering how Lígia stands up for Daniel, I believe I have to take a deeper look into her characterisation throughout the story, because she's just such an absolute sweetheart all around--at least I see her that way--and I don't wanna fall into the trap of the "perfect girl" or anything.)
"This is the scientifical truth, which is much better. You shouldn't let poets lie to you."
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:09 pm

I like it, because it's clear that his friends want to help him, but sometimes, people don't need to be helped.
SirMustapha wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:40 pm (just now, remembering how Lígia stands up for Daniel, I believe I have to take a deeper look into her characterisation throughout the story, because she's just such an absolute sweetheart all around--at least I see her that way--and I don't wanna fall into the trap of the "perfect girl" or anything.)
If it's any help, I don't think she is. She's nice, but like a regular person.
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:19 pm

Final part of "The Fifth Day":

The little conversation between Rita and Débora is nice. It not only shows a lot of Rita's personality, but also how her development, listening to Débora and learning to take things less seriously. And her swearing at the end is funny.

Emergency driving lesson... made me tense, which is good. It's all well written. I like how Carol's narration doesn't show Daniel's thoughts, only his outward reactions.
Spoiler
It's possibly that you could cut the driving scene a bit shorter: the bit where Eduardo tells him how to park the car at the house feels a bit long, now that the tense bit is over. But that's just my taste; feel free to ignore.

"The road seemed to end in complete darkness, which was the street to the lagoon." I know what you mean (I love that effect when near the sea at night), but I think it could be a bit more smoothly written. (This is a stylistic nitpick by the way, not a grammatical one.)

Rita being upset over the event is again appropriate, contrasting with the more happy-go-lucky attitude of the older characters. All in all, the last few scenes of the chapter advance the plot nicely.

I'm interested to see where the ending scene of the chapter is going.

Still good, with nice characterisation of everyone and a decent bit of tension in the driving scene. I'm pretty impatient to see what will happen with the ants plot, but that's a good sign; it means you've caught my interest. So I'll be happy to keep reading.

Caught a few grammar problems, but I'll communicate those to you later.
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:52 pm

Thank you again for the commentary, Chris! Your thoughtfulness really helps me put things in perspective.

I think you have a fair point with the length of the driving lesson. I'll have to check it again, but you're very accurate regarding the things Daniel experiences.
Spoiler
I have mentioned in chat that I might end up doing changes to the text, but, as far as I can tell, it's nothing plot related, so it's not like you'd have to reread the thing to get the differences. It's mostly in the characterisations, the way they speak and act, and maybe in some minor details of how the events happen. I can assure you that, in the chapters that have been published so far, no significant changes will be made. The following chapters, yeah, those might demand a bit of work, which is why I haven't posted anything yet. I've been rethinking some of the character arcs and some plot points, but, well, all will be done in its due time. I hope.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:10 pm

You say a lot of wise things. Of course, the line between "normal" and "abnormal" ways to express emotions is tenuously thin (because it doesn't really exist).

Yeah, the last point is why I only start translating my writings when I think I've got the finished version. I'm looking forward to seeing what the finished form of this novel will look like...
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sat May 08, 2021 9:44 pm

Up to the bit where
Spoiler
:

Well-written in general, as usual, and the "ant" plot progresses nicely with the research at the library, building up my interest in finding out what's beneath the rock. I got a pretty good feel for the settings, like the bus station and the library, despite there not being any long descriptions, and Rita's research feels realistic. It's fun to see how she and Ralf play off each other in these scenes. Ralf playing around with the computer while Rita is reading gives off a strong Bart and Lisa dynamic. :)

"What if there’s a humongous ant hill under it?" This line really cracks me up for some reason.

I'm interested in seeing how they're going to get through the rock, but I'll save my thoughts until I get there.
“Tired of doing what? Nothing?”
“Actually, yeah,” he replied, trying not to get angry, “because I didn’t do shit in here.”
Another good pair of lines.

Nice point about Rita not wanting to talk to Carol about the mystery, since Carol seemed to want to hide the note from them.

The kids finding themselves without enough money to get home... yeah, I could feel my throat tightening up. Not a fun situation to be in, and you describe their reactions well. Rita is good in this chapter: we've seen how her intelligence is an advantage, but the scene where they're stuck in Torres shows how her rigid personality and fear of being berated also give her more problems. I do like how she's able to admit that Ralf helped her in the library, even as they're fighting.

"Truth is, asking for Eduardo’s help was almost as bad as not being able to go back home." I can really relate to her here.

"Her self-control was only enough to argue with Ralf. As soon as she put her mind on the situation they were in, fear took over." I get the meaning, but the first sentence feels a bit clumsy (at least in English). It might be possible to write it in a clearer way.

"couldn’t even censor his swear word" is a bit of an odd way to put it. In English, you'd say "censure" (if you mean that she'd criticise Ralf for saying it), unless you mean that she would literally censor his cursing in her brain.

"A mixture of fright, worry, disbelief and annoyance flooded Eduardo." Feels a bit like telling rather than showing. But that's up to you.

I also like the scene with Eduardo and Dani driving off. Eduardo's speech about how Dani needs to make sure Ralf behaves has lots of little subtle touches, like how Eduardo admits he was worse than Ralf at that age but that he still wants Ralf to stay away from alcohol.

"I’m just saying this couldn’t put you in big trouble, and I... we need to trust you." This looks like a typo. Should it be "this could've put you in big trouble"?

"Cost" is an irregular verb, so it should just be "cost" in the past tense as well.

A few more grammar/translation problems, but I'll PM them to you.


Will come back with more opinions when I've read more. It hardly needs saying, but I really like this chapter so far: good character interactions, some nice advancement in the ants plot, and being stuck unable to take the bus home will always be tense.
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Sun May 09, 2021 2:50 pm

Thank you for the very in depth analysis and corrections, Chris! I'll incorporate the corrections you pointed out and figure out a change to that "show, don't tell" critique, which is totally correct.

For me, this was one of the most satisfying chapters to sort out in this version, because this idea was already present in the very first version, but it never felt fully realised, and the rearranged order of events means I could increase the tension more steadily through the next chapters. Also, much of the writing in the second half came just straight from the gut. I never lived that kind of situation myself, but there's still something strongly personal about much of that.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sun May 09, 2021 10:55 pm

SirMustapha wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 2:50 pm For me, this was one of the most satisfying chapters to sort out in this version, because this idea was already present in the very first version, but it never felt fully realised, and the rearranged order of events means I could increase the tension more steadily through the next chapters.
I honestly don't remember the order of events in the first version, but this version does build up the tension very nicely, so it sounds like you made the right choice.

Also, glad I could help!
Welcome to our little town
Why don't you settle down?
Here, just fill out the paperwork and you can look around
We work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work and then we work
And then we end up in the ground.


- The Stupendium, "The Fine Print"
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