Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #22

TITLE: House of the Adepts
GENRE: Mystery

After spending her birthday picnicking with friends, Chara comes home to her embittered kinswoman.

When Aimer saw Chara home it was late, and she was tired but happy. Chynane was still up. She sat by a candle plaiting reeds.

“Greetings, Chynane! Did you enjoy the festival?”

Chynane smiled sourly, “Festivals can make no difference to me. While you were gadding about with your fine friends I was working. Some one has to keep this place up. As you won’t help, it falls to me.”

Chara knew better than to argue.

Chynane saw Chara’s pouch with the presents in it, and her eyes gleamed. “What’s in the sack?”

“Just some odds and ends,” said Chara. She’d have to keep her treasures up at the House so Chynane wouldn’t take them. “Are you making hats?” When warmer weather came Chynane added reed-woven hats to her stock.

“I am. The least you can do is cut those reeds for me.”

Chara was not at practiced at weaving as Chynane, but she sometimes she helped gather and dry reeds, and she knew how to trim and split them so they could be woven. She settled herself on the other side of the candle and began. “Did you find the gifts?” she asked.

Chynane snorted. “What good are those things to me? What I need is coin, girl.” Chynane went on, “You make such a fool of yourself. ‘Did you find the gifts?’ Talking like quality or trying to when you are nothing more than a servant. How stupid is that? Do you really think you fool anyone?”


  1. I found this to be a little confusing, I had to read it twice to be sure I understood the transition of the conversation from Chara's gifts to the gifts it seems Chara left Chyanne. I think a smoother transition here would help, though the confusion could likely be due to the excerpt being taken out of context. I also found it odd that Chara would bring her gifts in with her, when she remarks later that Chyanne might take them. It seems like it would make more sense to hide them from her in the first place so she wouldn't know they existed.

  2. By the time I was done reading this section, I was determined to dislike Chynane, who is quite effectively drawn as a crabbed and unlikable soul, determined to look at things in the most negative possible light.

    I was also a little puzzled by the transition to a conversation about other gifts (the ones that Chara expected to have been found), and hope that context clarifies. I wonder what about the gift conversation spurs Chynane to see Chara as speaking above her social station.

  3. I agree with the previous comment, and also that maybe the confusion is based on the excerpt?

    I do think you might be setting up a one-dimensional villian here (although again, hard to tell just a short scene!) I especially thought that the last bit of dialogue didn't ring true. I'd rather see her disdain in actions of through a few subtle bits of dialogue then have it be so overt. But that's subjective too!

    I was intrigued by the dynamic.

    Hope this helos :)

  4. Based on voice and dialogue syntax, I assume this is a historical? Very interesting. :) I had some trouble following what was going on, but a part of that was due to both characters names (which are unusual to begin with) starting with "ch."

    I tripped over a few unproofed sentences with extra words, so please go back and reread for errors.

    I was a bit confused that it's Chara who comes home, yet she asks Chynane about the festival. This threw me off, especially since the festival made no difference to her. If she was working the festival, why would Chara ask if she enjoyed it? The exchange just felt off to me. And "someone" is one word.

    When Chynane's eyes gleamed at seeing the pouch, I assumed it was a reaction of pleasure. But her sour attitude reveals the opposite so her reaction to the gifts is at odds with her demeanor.

    ...not "as" practiced at...

    There's an extra she in the next sentence.

    I thought it was Chara's birthday so why did she give Chynane gifts?

    I'd like to see Chara react to her kinswoman's sour grapes. She appears to ignore the digs, but why? This dilutes the tension. The drama becomes flat. I think more emotion from Chara will help round out both characters more.

    Good luck with this!

  5. Sorry, I was also confused with who was giving gifts to who, and why. Hopefully this would be clearer in the overall context, rather than in just this short excerpt.

    For me, the dialogue didn't ring true - too over-the-top narky for me - and I didn't get any sense of what Chara is thinking or feeling about any of this. If Chynane is always like this, then I would like to see Chara's dismissive thoughts and frustration/anger/annoyance coming through.

    I'm not sure what the significance of the hats and reeds is. Even in such a short glimpse of the story I was left wondering why you are 'telling' me the Chara helps gather the reeds and that she knew show to split them, but wasn't any good at weaving them. If this information is important to the storyline I'd rather you showed me her doing these things.

  6. I had questions, too. Aimer sees Chara home, she goes inside and sees Chynane. Then later, she's going to bring presents up to the house so Chynane can't steal them. If she has to go to the house, where is she now? I assumed that was the house. I also wondered why she lives with a person who would steal from her (which may be evident somewhere else.)

    I also wonder what the purpose of the scene is. It comes across as idle chatter here because Chara doesn't react to anything Chynane says or does. Is she angry, disappointed, hurt by the things Chynane is saying and doing. Let the reader know.

  7. I'm confused and after rereading I continue to be confused. I couldn't differentiate the characters. The sound too similar and the names add to the difficulty in differentiating.

  8. I also think the names are too similar. I like the tension in the scene.