Reply To: Showing Internal Conflict

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Hey, everything’s good.   I appreciate your candor, euphemisms and beating around the bush never helped anyone. I really hope all my betas respond like this, I want to know their exact thoughts and dislikes so I can weigh them all against each other and find a good solution.

Whew, that’s a relief. I was overthinking it from the second I posted it 😉 I still struggle with giving critique sometimes.

Also, I wanted to say I really appreciate how well you’re taking critique, it makes this whole project a pleasure to work on.

I know it can be really overwhelming and discouraging to get that much critique and one almost always has a “this is going to be so much more work than I thought” moment. I know I definitely had that after my first critique.

So, I wanted to add that your book is good. It really is, you have a lot of potential and you’re absolutely on the right track. But, of course, it’s a first draft, it’s going to have issues, but you’ll totally figure it out.

Okay, so Tristan is not all supposed to be that way, so I must have messed him up pretty badly. xD I did not at all mean for the inn scene in chapter 35 to be construed that way, so I’ve fixed that one, but can you give me some more instances of Tristan being disrespectful to women or just plain out acting like a jerk to them (he is not supposed to be that way)?

As I mentioned before, it’s really hard to pinpoint. It’s really minimal, if it weren’t for that instance in 35, I probably wouldn’t have brought it up.

I’ll skim though the parts I remember and comment when I see something. I didn’t want to comment on it before because as I said, it’s subjective and a matter of perspective.

First off, I finally have met another teenager who uses the word accentuate instead of “emphasize.” Accentuate is so much better.

It is! I like how it looks, I like how it sounds, it’s just a pretty word! (I get very excited about pretty words XD)

Anyway, to the point. Yes, this is a problem of mine. I have a habit of re-describing facial features, hairstyles and colors, clothing, and builds (of both men and women). My sister got onto me about this, in particular for calling Delphine’s face pretty like 5 times and Hugon’s hair blonde like 6. xD So yeah, I’ll go through it can cut out a lot of the slender forms, beautiful faces, blonde hairs, and lean bodies.

I definitely noticed that, so yeah, that’s something to work on. You did apply it to everyone, so it’s not a specific issue to anyone. It’s one of those writerly quirks you don’t notice until someone points it out XD (I had the problem with all my characters nodding and raising eyebrows every. single. conversation XD)

I would agree that this introspection scene as a whole was unnecessary (so I’ll probably remove it), but knowing the mind of men, a woman can be acting petulant or angry and still appear quite attractive. I think we’re discussing the same thing, but correct me if I’m wrong.

We are, and I would agree with you on that introspection scene. It isn’t something he doesn’t already know.

I get what you mean, but my point is that it’s putting her attractiveness over her emotions. It’s more important that she’s mad/uncomfortable about something than how she looks feeling it.

It’s hard to articulate, I hope you get what I mean 🙂

Delphine is a bold, overly curious, almost prying woman for the first half of the book, so much so that one of my other betas biggest complaint about the whole book was that they thought she was overly annoying.

Okay, I think this is where our differences come in.

loved Delphine. She’s one of my favorite characters. She’s in an interesting role, she knows what she wants and works to acheive it. I think one of the issues was that I never saw her curiosity/prying as a flaw. It’s a habit she acquired to function.

Think about it, she’s the daughter of a castle lord, she doesn’t have much to work toward besides getting married. People don’t tell her things. I can imagine she’s often out of the loop, since people are quick to dismiss her.

She isn’t content to sit around and let other people fix the issues, so she makes sure she knows what’s going on by asking endless questions. It annoys other people because apparently, they don’t think it’s her place.

Now we’re on that note, Delphine has a lot of potential, and you aren’t using much of it. Think about how her brother’s death affected her. Even if she was really young, it impacted her environment in a major way. The heir suddenly died and her father was left without anyone to become castle lord after him.

How did she take it? How did it change her, because it should have.

Basically, that’s a direction to think in if you want to deepen her some. (Because she needs it, I can already tell she’s going to be a love interest and if you want your readers to ship it you need to give both depth.)

I think this comes from that you have to see the situation from both character’s POV, as if each one thinks they’re the main character.

I think that may be why I resented Tristan, because I saw his behavior as irrationally irritated because I was on Delphine’s side the entire time. I can still see where he’s coming from, he has a lot on his mind and he doesn’t trust Delphine just because of her family. I just wanted to bring it up so you can see why I thought that.

Also, even though Delphine is attracted to Tristan, being so constantly dismissed and ignored would probably rile her up, considering her personality. You don’t have to make them all-out enemies, an eye-roll here and there and maybe a few snappish remarks from Delphine’s side would virtually fix your issue. If they clash a little at first the development will be more interesting.

I like Delphine, she’s spunky and determined. You could however work on making her stand on her own more. You may need to add more internal motivation for her to be there. You don’t need to give her a full arc, but use her backstory to explain why she’s acting as she is. That would probably also fix your issue that people think she’s annoying. Characters are mostly annoying if you don’t understand them.

In my opinion, there is a difference between someone who is far from a nice person in a book, and a person who comes off as a complete jerk and has no depth. I hate the latter, but I’m fine with the former. The former is what Hugon was supposed to be for a lot of the book, but it appears you feel like he coming off as the latter.

He has depth, I suspect one of the reasons why he’s coming off as frustrating now and then is because you aren’t tying his behavior back to his backstory enough. You do it a couple times, but now and then there’s a blip where he just comes off as annoying. You’re like 70% there, there’s just some polishing to do.

I think this may be coming back to an issue I’ve noticed throughout the book. You don’t have enough introspection. You mentioned in this thread that you think you have too much but I’d argue the opposite. It isn’t a massive issue and it is getting better near the end of the book, but it wouldn’t hurt to add more.

This is the main point I would actually like to argue with you (all that other stuff was just me presenting my thought process). I’m pretty sure one is not supposed to argue things with their betas, but I can’t resist on this one point, so here we go

Nono, you’re not arguing, you’re presenting your thoughts as you were writing it so we can pinpoint the issue.

Do those points makes sense? Did I not present them well enough if the book? Is this all in my head and am I going mad? xD

If you put it that way, I can see what you mean, but in that case you need to mention those points in-story as well, otherwise it seems quite irrational.

Other those two times, are there any others? I very much would like to either fix them or ask other women about them.

As I mentioned before, it’s really nothing blatant and it’s not going to ruin your book, it’s just something I picked up. I can’t think of a specific instance, but I’ll skim sections I remember and see if I can show what I mean better.

I have four other teenage women reading it (Cathy included), so I’ll definitely be getting their thoughts on the female characters and the scenes you mentioned. Thanks again for taking the time to write all of that!

You’re totally welcome, I was doubtful on whether it was actually necessary, but I wanted to throw it out there so you could judge for yourself.

It’s not for TTD.  I’m brainstorming and outlining a series, and two of the character are Jews or were Jews, so to research I went. So thanks for the sources and answers!

Oooh, that’s SO COOL!! Please tell me they’re a main character or at least an important character, I’ve never read it in a Medieval setting and I’d read it in a heartbeat! What have you got about the series so far? It sounds really interesting!

Also, if you want to research culture, a good starting point is to see if they’d be Sephardic, Ashkenazi, or Mizrahi and work from there. (It’s the three major regions of the diaspora, with Ashkenazi being Europe, Mizrahi North African and Middle-east, and Sephardic in Spain and Portugal.)

The three have very different cultural views, and once you figure out where your character would fit you can go from there.


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