Deconstruction Roundup for April 24, 2015

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who has been sick for six days and injured for one because of the sick.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Philip Sandifer: Writer

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Vaka Rangi: Vaka Rangi

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Dragondrums: Only A Plank Between One and Perdition

Last time, the antagonism against Piemur escalated to new heights, and all the adults around who could do something about it were otherwise occupied, unknowing, prevented by the narrative from acting, or actively aiding and abetting the drum apprentices in their campaign against Piemur.

As one might guess, at some point, these things must come to a head.

Dragonflight: Chapter 5: Content Notes: Attempted Murder, Willfully Neglectful Adults

Chapter Five begins with Piemur having to run a message to Master Oldive as Nabol has requested his presence to attend to the dying Lord Meron. Rokayas, the journeyman on duty, is suspicious that Piemur is always running messages, but he ships him off to collect Master Oldive’s reply. After collecting the response, Piemur heads back up the stairs to the heights.

He was halfway up the second flight when he felt his right foot slide on the stone. He tried to catch himself, but his forward motion and the stretch of his legs were such that he hadn’t a hope of saving himself from a fall. He tried to grab the stone railing with his right hand but it, too, was slick. He was thrown hard against the stone risers, wrenching thighs and hips, cracking his ribs painfully as he slid. He could have sworn that he heard a muffled laugh. His last conscious thought as his chin hit the stone and bit his tongue hard was that someone had greased the rail and steps.
[…Dirzan roughly wakes Piemur and is unsympathetic to his plight…]
“Greased! Greased?” Dirzan exclaimed in acid disbelief. “A likely notion. You’re always pelting up and down these steps. It’s a wonder you haven’t hurt yourself before now. Can’t you get up?”
[…Piemur wants to reply, but he’s fighting the urge to vomit over everything…]
“You said it was greased?” Dirzan’s voice came from about his head. The agitated tone hurt Piemur’s skull.
“Step there and handrail…” Piemur gestured with one hand.
“There’s not a sign of grease! On your feet!” Dirzan sounded angrier than ever.
“Did you find him, Dirzan?” Rokayas called. The voice of the duty journeyman made Piemur’s head throb like a message drum. “What happened to him?”
“He fell down the steps and knocked himself between. Dirzan was thoroughly disgusted. “Get up, Piemur!”
“No, Piemur, stay where you are,” said Rokayas, and his voice was unexpectedly concerned.

Freeze it.

Okay, so Dirzan is not, apparently, very smart, or his antagonism to Piemur is so strong that it prevents him from noticing something that Rokayas is able to pick up on immediately – Piemur is concussed. I doubt that Piemur is exhibiting subtle signs of his head injury to both of them and that Rokayas is using a hidden knowledge store collected from Silvina to determine this. Dirzan’s lack of concern for an apprentice in his care should raise big red flags about how he was able to become a journeyman in the first place, and even bigger ones about whether he will be able to maintain that rank in the face of this latest incident. By this point, yes, asshole seems to be the default personality, but there should be at least a little bit of practical or self-serving concern on Dirzan’s part.

“He said it was greased! Feel it yourself, Rokayas, clean as a drum!”
“Too clean! And if Piemur fell on his way back, he was between a long time. Too long for a mere slip. We’d better get him to Silvina.”
[…Dirzan complains, but helps Rokayas get Piemur to Silvina, while Rokayas insinuates Dirzan has been complicit in the bullying of Piemur…]
“He knocked himself between, Silvina, probably for a good twenty minutes or more.” Rokayas was saying, his urgent tine cutting through Dirzan’s petulant complaint.
“He claimed there was grease!”
“There was grease,” said Silvina. “Look at his right shoe, Dirzan. Piemur, do you feel nauseated?”

Yes, yes he does, and he proceeds to vomit all of the contents of his stomach when someone unwisely sits him up. Again, Silvina notices what Dirzan hasn’t or chooses not to. And yet, Dirzan persists in the face of conclusive evidence to the contrary. Like he has ignored the other signs that things are, well, getting out of hand. And in the same manner that the narrative has made Menolly unable to put two and three together, Silvina appears to be not allowed to draw on her own past experience (including Menolly) to drive to the correct conclusion until something flagrant happens that cannot be ignored.

The following blocks take place after Piemur has properly passed out again from his concussion.

“How could you let matters get so out of hand, Dirzan?” she demanded, working on the astonished journeyman. “What sort of prank is that for apprentices to try on anyone? Piemur’s not been himself, but I put that down to losing his voice and adjusting to the disappointment over the music. But this…this is…criminal!” Silvina brandished Piemur’s begreased boot at Dirzan, backing the astonished journeyman against the wall, oblivious to Master Robinton’s repeated query about Piemur’s condition, to Menolly’s precipitous arrival, her face flushed and furrowed with anxiety, and to Rokayas’ delighted and amused observation.

Okay, Rokayas, you’re an asshole, too, for taking schadenfreude in this situation, instead of being concerned about Piemur.

Robinton tries to take control, and Silvina will have none of it, but she does tell everyone assembled that Piemur is not head-injured past shock, concussion, and bruises and scrapes. Modern-sounding medical knowledge in an Italian city-state pastiche is odd, especially since we haven’t really explored the damage a concussion can do at the time of publication for this book, but like so many other things, we’re just supposed to accept it and move on.

“A few days’ rest will see him right, I’m sure. But I mean rest!”[…]”Right there! Nowhere near those murdering louts in the drumheights!”
“Murdering?” Dirzan gasped an objection to her term.
“He could have been killed. You know how Piemur climbs steps,” she said, scowling fiercely at the journeyman.
“But…but there wasn’t a trace of grease on those steps or the railing. I tested them all myself!”
“Too clean,” said Rokayas, and earned a reprimanding glare from Dirzan. “Too clean!” Rokayas reiterated and then said to Silvina, “Piemur’s decidedly [an] odd man. He learns too quickly.”
“And spouts off what he hears!” Dirzan spoke sharply, determined that Piemur should share responsibility for this untoward incident.

And then Dirzan is very quickly corrected on his view about that, being forced to admit Piemur has a knack for learning, with the others understanding that Piemur probably knows more than he lets on.

Here, though, you can see Dirzan’s position cracking, partially because the narrative is now ready for it to do so, but also because the narrative cannot sustain such a persistent denial in the face of the evidence provided. Murderous is exactly the right word to use to describe this scenario, and it doesn’t matter a whit whether Piemur takes the steps one at a time or three at a time. There will be no victim-blaming here.

So, the drumheights are obviously a ways up from ground level. The steps leading up and the railings have been carved out of stone. Someone has greased both steps and rails to ensure that Piemur slips and falls. Starting with the obvious, a head injury against stone, or, for that matter, an untreated broken bone from the fall could easily cause Piemur to bleed internally or externally until he dies. Piemur could break his neck or spinal column in a headfirst strike. Assuming he survives the initial contact, head injuries have the possibility of causing brain swelling, which is likely going to be fatal if untreated, especially with the Master Healer away.

That’s just assuming that Piemur falls and injures himself and stops moving from that point. If Piemur retains momentum, or lands poorly on the steps, since the greased steps are about two-thirds of the way up, it’s possible Piemur can fall off the staircase entirely, if the rails are carved in such a way that there are gaps between the posts. (There’s no detail to this point that says how the rails and steps are carved.) Which is a very swift trip down, risking more injuries or death, depending on how sheer the drop is. Or, Piemur could bounce his way back down all those unyielding stone steps to the bottom, with the attendant risk of broken bones, bleeding, organ damage, or a broken neck with each new impact.

If you’d like to recreate the possibilities of what kind of damage an unconscious person could do to themselves with enough force, I recommend Stair Dismount as a primer – sure, it’s a ragdoll, but even small amounts of force can produce big scores if applied just so.

With the history of malicious pranks leading up to this, I think it wouldn’t be very hard to charge the apprentices with attempted murder and Dirzan with anything from negligence to being an accessory to the attempt. His paper-thin defense (“Piemur blabs!”) is a non-sequitur to the act, and even so, wouldn’t justify things rising to the level of the pissed-on furs. Dirzan intends to victim-blame, first because he believes Piemur deserves it, and then increasingly to save himself from the consequences of his own inaction.

One of the constants of Pern, however, is that you do not get on the bad side of the Headwoman unless you want the full wrath of everyone to rain down upon you. I wish it were something more like “Doing bad things nets you appropriate punishment when found out,” but that’s not anywhere close to the reality that we’ve seen so far, and that injustice will continue as we find out what the punishment is.

“Rokayas, would you help Menolly collect Piemur’s things from the drumheights?” asked the Harper. His voice was mild, his manner unexceptional but, unmistakably his attitude informed Dirzan that he had misjudged Piemur’s standing in the eyes of the most important people of the Hall.
Dirzan offered to do the small task himself, and was denied; offered to help Menolly, who awarded him with a cool look. He desisted then, but the set look in his mouth and the controlled anger in his eyes suggested that he was going to deal sternly with the apprentices who had put him in such an invidious position. When he was unexpectedly placed on duty for the entire Feastday, he knew why the roster had been changed. He also knew better than to blame Piemur.

Oh, for fuck’s sake…

Cocowhat by depizan

Robinton, why haven’t you expelled all of them on the spot? The apprentices attempted murder, and the journeyman responsible for the apprentices let it happen. You can’t get much bigger in terms of misconduct. Expulsion would be the least that you should do to them. If you’re feeling charitable, send them back home. If not, let them work out the issues of living holdless, or send them to work in another Crafthall known for hard labor and very little prestige (the farmers, maybe?) Instead, Dirzan stays in the Harper Hall, just with his customary liberty revoked, and he’s left to discipline the apprentices, which, based on what his outlook appears to be, is probably going to involve a lot of abuse, most likely physical. Because the person who is made to look bad like that, and that had let all that abuse happen already, is not likely to be above getting their hands dirty when it comes to taking out their frustration on the subordinates responsible for making them lose face.

Also, how is it that Dirzan takes away from this encounter that things were only like this because Piemur had an in with the important people of the Hall? That is skull-crushingly Too Dumb To Live territory, which, admittedly, fits Dirzan’s characterization, but someone who had enough smarts to become a journeyman and be trusted with the care of apprentices should be able to draw the correct conclusion from this incident, which had nothing to do with his social status and everything to do with the apprentices in his care trying to kill someone. Of course, it would help if the punishment met the severity of the crime – if all such murder attempts as these are only punished lightly, perhaps Dirzan has a point in thinking the greatest casualty of this affair is his social status.

It really does feel like these chapters are just gender-flipped versions of what Pona, Dunca, and the Men Girl Squad did to Menolly in the last book. The idea isn’t a problem, but the lazy execution that doesn’t take into account the previous characterization established makes this painful to read on top of all the fractal Wrong actually happening.

I don’t think we’re going to see the consequences of that decision, though, because, after some recriminations about how their advice to Piemur to be discreet put the idea in his head that he didn’t have any allies to face the bullying with, the narrative pivots immediately to the next plot point once Silvina and Robinton return to his office. Oldive went to Lord Meron, who is dying, but most irritatingly to the Harpers, he refuses to name a successor, preferring a war between all the possible candidates instead of an orderly transition of power. Also, the logistics problem we mentioned a few chapters ago about T’ron gathering gemstones collects a resolution.

“Several disquieting rumors have come to my notice. The most worrying, the fact that Nabol abounds with fire lizards…”
“Nabol has no shoreline and scarcely any friends in Holds that do acquire what fire lizards are found.”
Robinton agreed. “They have also been ordering, and paying for, large quantities of fine cloth, wines, the delicacies of Nerat, Tillek, and Keroon, not to mention every sort of mongery from the Smithcrafthall that can be bought or bartered, quantities and qualities enough to garb, feed and supply amply every holder, cot and hold in Nabol…and don’t!”
“The Oldtimers!” Silvina emphasized that guess with a snap off her fingers. “T’kul and Meron were always two cuts from the same rib.”
“What I cannot figure out is what besides fire lizards the association gains Meron…”
“You can’t?” Silvina was frankly skeptical. “Spite! Malice! Scoring off Benden!”

Really, Robinton, that’s not hard to guess, in both cases. If someone is buying up large quantities of things, but nobody there appears to be benefiting from them, there are a few logical conclusions to start with:

  • They’re being stockpiled in the belief that those goods will become rare and valuable (which Robinton would likely already know about).
  • It’s an attempt to monopolize the market so that everyone must buy through them (which is unlikely, given the way the Crafthalls scatter themselves).
  • The goods are going somewhere else as their final destination, likely as a smuggling run.

So Meron is acting as the fence, the launderer, and the middleman for the exiled dragonriders. Except, of course, people don’t like and are suspicious of Meron from the last two books. Surely someone else, other than Piemur and Silvina, has come to the correct conclusion or suspicion. Maybe not F’lar, but Lessa-of-Dragonflight certainly would, since that kind of subterfuge was her trade for many years. And with someone being suspicious, they, or someone else, should be able to connect the dots about a story involving an extortion run with regard to gems from the miners and some merchant making a big sale to another that paid in gems. Or any sales at all that are paid in fire lizard eggs, since those are officially rare and tightly controlled objects. Meron would have to have a very impressive network of merchants to obfuscate the transactions enough that suspicion about what he is doing doesn’t connect immediately.

Or, there’s a significant amount of Holders, Crafters, and possibly even dragonriders in the North that are sympathetic to the South and either directly aid them or deliberately don’t care where their goods are going or how they are being paid for. That’s the possibility that Robinton is worried about, and he’s going to send Piemur in to listen at Meron’s Gather. That’s conveniently being held at the same time as the Fort Hold Gather where the new music piece that started this book will be premiered.

That’s how Chapter Five ends – Piemur unconscious, having survived a murder attempt from his peers, Dirzan likely to perpetuate the cycle of abuse that’s endemic to the Harper Hall on those peers, and Robinton, under the guise of empathy at Piemur’s voice change, ready to send Piemur back into dangerous situations as soon as possible. Have I mentioned lately how much this world really should have no reason at all to appeal to people?

Writer Workshop April 22nd, 2015

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

This week in the Slacktiverse, April 19th, 2015

(posted by chris the cynic, sorry for being so late, written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

  • chris the cynic wrote:
    • The only post that wasn’t about distressing aspects of real life that I had this week, was in response to Fred Clark’s call to avoid getting distressed in light of Walmart’s distressing closure of five stores on false pretenses by imagining a more interesting, less “crush the lives and souls of workers,” reason for the action.  Thus I wrote a fiction fragment doing just that.
    • On the distressing parts of real life, I wrote an update to say that I got oil, but things were still bad money-wise, things did get less bad in that I will not starve but, as noted in the post about not starving, the need to pay for previous food out of non-food-related savings has put me significantly behind already.  And when I got to my regularly scheduled begging for money once a month post I noted structural problems, the fact that last month I missed that post because I was too distressed about money problems, the history of the month of April, and stuff like that.
    • Then I wrote a post simply entitled, “Fuck“.  More about hopelessness than money, there.  Fun fact though, I did eventually have get my medication.
    • Not my best week ever.  Hope most of you had a better one.  For those who didn’t, my sympathy.

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

No submissions this week.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for April 17, 2015

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is less than a week after the death of a dear pet.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Amarie: Amarie’s Dreamjournal

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

InsertAuthorHere: Um… InsertAuthorHere

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Philip Sandifer: Writer

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Vaka Rangi: Vaka Rangi

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Dragondrums: Stan

Last time, Piemur was run out to play listening ears at a Gather, and was then taken to a Hatching at Benden Weyr, where he got to see Mirrim Impress a green dragon, despite not standing as a candidate, the consequences of which have yet to be seen.

Dragondrums: Chapter Four: Content Notes: Premeditated Malicious Pranks, Neglectful Adults

Piemur’s return to the Harper Hall, after a restful sleep, is greeted by Clell and a gang in the dining hall. (Finger-snapping optional)

“You’re going to get it from Dirzan!” A pleased smirk crossed Clell’s face.
“Why should he get it from Dirzan, Clell?” asked Menolly, quietly coming up behind the drum apprentices. “He’s been on Harper business.”
“He’s always getting off on Harper business,” replied Clell with unexpected anger, “and always with you!”
Piemur raised his fist at such insolence and leaned back to make the swing count in Clell’s sneering face. But Menolly was quicker; she swung the apprentice about and shoved him forcefully toward the main door.
“Insolence to a journeyman means water rations for you, Clell!” she said and, without bothering to see that he’d continued out of the hall, she turned to the other three who gawked at her. “And for you, too, if I should learn of any mischief against Piemur because of this. Have I made myself perfectly clear? Or do I need to mention the incident to Master Olodkey?”
The cowed apprentices murmured the necessary assurances and, at her dismissal, lost themselves in the throng of other apprentices.
“How much trouble have you been having in the drumheights, Piemur?”
“Nothing I can’t handle,” said Piemur, wondering when he could get back at Clell for that insult to Menolly.
“Water rations for you, too, Piemur, if I see so much as a scratch on Clell’s face.”
“But he…”

Umm… that’s unexpected. Not the “poor communication prolongs plot points and causes unnecessary pain” part, but those three years as a journeywoman have clearly changed Menolly. The apprentice in Dragonsinger was reluctant to pull her rank as a noble daughter to take command of the Mean Girl Squad and put their efforts to better use, or even to try and shield herself from the worst of their excesses. This journeywoman has zero hesitation at pulling rank on the apprentice and assigning discipline to him over backtalk. (Not that it’s effective discipline – in the dining hall, Piemur notes the other apprentices smuggling food for their disciplined comrade.) Now, it could be that Menolly could see the brawl about to develop, with Piemur exercising no subtlety about his intent to punch out Clell, and stepped in so as to prevent it, but that’s a significant change of characterization for Menolly. The security of her rank must be contributing quite a bit to this. Too bad we didn’t get to see any of it.

After food, where his normal choir companions ask about whether he’s doing well in the drumheights, Piemur returns to his lessons, and the need to polish the drums, and then finally to his quarters… to find that the other apprentices went into his room and pissed on everything he had there. Since he’s been gone, it’s also had an extra couple of days to ripen and add fragrance to injury. Dirzan allows Piemur to take it all to the washing room, where Piemur plots revenge, even if he has to suffer a month of water rations for staining new clothes. The unexpected laundry attracts Silvina’s attention.

“What are you doing in here at this time of day, Piemur?” asked Silvina, attracted by the splashing and pounding.
“Me?” The force of his tone brought Silvina right into the room. “My roommates play dirty jokes!”
Silvina gave him a long searching look as her nose told her what kind of dirty jokes. “Any reason for them to?”
In a split second Piemur decided. Silvina was once of the few people in the Hall he could trust. She instinctively knew when he was shamming, so she’d know now that he was being put on. And he had an unbearable need and urge to release some of the troubles he had suppressed. This last trick of the apprentices, damaging his good new clothes, hurt more than he had realized in the numbness following his discovery. He’d been so proud of the fine garments, and to have them crudely soiled before he’d worn some of them to acquire honest dirt hit him harder than the slanders at his supposed indiscretions.
“I get to Gathers and Impressions,” Piemur drew a whistling breath through his teeth, “and I’ve made the mistake of learning drum measures too fast and too well.”
Silvina continued to stare at him, her eyes slightly narrowed and her head tilted to one side. Abruptly she moved beside him and took the washpaddle from his hands, skipping it deftly under the soaking furs.
“They probably expected you back right after the Igen Gather!” She chuckled as she plunged the fur back under the water, grinning broadly at him. “So they had to sleep in the sunk they caused for two nights!” Her laughter was infectious, and Piemur found his spirits lifting add he grinned back at her.

And it’s good to have a moment of levity, but I don’t believe that the stated reasons are true for a second. This really is the Spear Counterpart of the Mean Girl Squad in the last book, but the reasons there were just as spurious and dismissed as low-grade jealousy as they are here, and both sequences are escalating in the conflict despite nonaggression from the people being victimized. The parallels should be far too uncomfortable for Menolly, even with her limited exposure to the details, to bite on the proposed explanation, since it wasn’t the case for her that ignoring them would make it better.

If this is supposed to be a commentary on how “they’re just jealous” absolutely sucks as a justification, then brava, certainly. Because, no matter how often the adults use that as the excuse, it isn’t. As someone who regularly got pranked by people in the same Boy Scout troop, it was never about jealousy. It was about making someone be an outsider because they were different and “weird” and “not like us”. And really, really, Menolly should be having alarm klaxons the approximate decibel level of a plane taking off right next to her ear sounding off.

So, now that Silvina knows, Piemur has a confidante, but Dirzan is apparently unwilling to make the changes, or is being narratively prevented from doing so.

Afterward, Piemur thought that if Dirzan had ignored the mischief the way Piemur intended to, the whole incident might be forgotten.

It wouldn’t. Really, Piemur, it wouldn’t. And you, of all people, probably know that at heart.

But Dirzan reprimanded the others in front of the journeymen and put them on water rations for three days. The sweet candle cleared the quarters of the stench, but nothing would ever sweeten the apprentices toward Piemur after that. It was almost as if, Piemur thought, Dirzan was determined to ruin any chance Piemur had of making friends with Clell or the others.
Though he did his best to stay out of their vicinities, he was constantly having benches shoved into his shins in the study room, his feet trod on everywhere, his ribs painfully stuck with drumsticks or elbows. His furs were sewn together three nights running, and his clothes so frequently dipped in the roof gutters that he finally asked Brolly to make him a locking mechanism for his press that he alone could open. Apprentices were not supposed to have any private containers, but Dirzan made no mention of the addition to Piemur’s box.
In a way, Piemur found a certain satisfaction in being able to ignore the nuisances, rising above all the pettiness perpetrated on him with massive and complete disdain. He spent as much time as he could studying the drum records, tapping his fingers on his fur even as he was falling asleep to memorze the times and rhythms of the most complicated measures. He knew the others knew exactly what he was doing, and there was nothing they could do to thwart him.

Because, when you have no allies anywhere that can help you, eventually you learn to shell up and ignore the things that are happening, instead of telling people about them. And you stop giving a shit about what other people think of you, too. Which Piemur’s choral mates pick up on and try to get Piemur to talk to them, or to anybody else, about what’s going on. Which he doesn’t. And, as Piemur does, you stop talking to the people who really should be able to help you. Piemur wants to tell Menolly about what’s really going on, but Menolly will only tell Dirzan, and Dirzan has already repeatedly pointed out, in very certain terms, that he has no interest at all in stopping what is happening to Piemur. All his interest apparently lies in not having to see what’s going on, so that he doesn’t have to do anything about it.

Piemur could see clearly now that his well-founded reputation for mischief and game playing were coming back at him when he least expected, or even less, deserved it. He’d no one but himself to fault, so he’d just have to chew it raw and swallow.

This is another issue with the characterization in this novel. The Piemur we met in Dragonsinger was a bit mischievous, who liked to bargain hard and who would scam extra bubbly pies for his friends (and then from his friends), and he always liked to know things and appear in places where he wasn’t supposed to be, but there was never an indication that Piemur was in any way a kind of person that was indiscriminate with his tongue or the knowledge he had – he might use it to better his position or help his friends, but he never comes across as someone who does things without thinking about them. How Piemur has managed to garner his reputation as a blabbermouth would have to have occurred in the three-year interim. If it did, we have yet another case of an informed ability or characteristic appearing, like Menolly’s newfound confidence. This is not good storytelling – things can be time-skipped around, but if things change in that time, there should be some method by which the reader can be signaled that things have changed.

The escalating damage in this scenario is rather far too close to reality, though. The other boys continue to torment the newcomer, the person who should be noticing and stopping it is turning a blind eye, and there’s nobody around that seems to have much of an interest in protecting or listening to Piemur. It’s breeding in him the kind of personality that will be absolutely useless as a Harper, if, that is, one thinks that a Harper is supposed to help others and keep an ear out for discontent or other issues with regard to how the world is operating. If we’re training Piemur to be a member of the senior staff here at the Hall, or even apparently, some of the junior staff, then things are working out just fine.

Admittedly, at this point, it’s now a balance between Poor Communication Exacerbates Problems and All Adults are Useless. Neither is particularly a good way of instilling drama by themselves, and with Menolly right there, it rings extremely hollow and false that Piemur would be going through all of this in the first place.

Chapter 4 closes here, but we haven’t hit the bottom of this yet. The worst is yet to come.

Writer Workshop April 15th, 2015

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!


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