Hi again sound!
Ooh we finally have a confrontation between James and the guy hunting him. I felt bad for the horses in the first part of the chapter D: but that scene does show James’ drive/ desperation to escape. Alexander comes across as being scary at first when he’s “grinning” but a lot of his dramatic monologue and James’ mental comments on it kind of tickled me, so that balances it out xD Alexander does come across as a theatrical sort of antagonist.
As for James, this line makes me wonder if there’s a story behind his eyesight issues:
Not ever since his eyesight had begun to deteriorate.
The way it’s phrased and the place it is in in the chapter makes it seem kind of important, anyhow.
Glows – What I liked
I like how the general set-up of the scene is done, because it helps to build the tension of a shoot-off/ confrontation. James scaring away the horses felt pretty believable (though I’m not super familiar with horses in real life), because of details like:
Singling out the most jittery horse, James cracked the whip at its feet, and it jolted away.
I like that this thought describes a specific intention he had, which was to send a horse running really far off as a distraction. It makes him look like he knows what he’s doing, and that conveys the gravity of the scene to me.
The man knew James was here because of Elliot, but he didn't know where James was in the grass.
The set-up of him being in the grass was also neat. It shows James’ cleverness in knowing to hide there when there was seemingly nowhere to take cover.
Another thing I liked to do with characterisation was this bit:
His smile didn't reach his eyes, and something about his careful, deliberate movements made it seem he was moments away from doing something unpredictable.
This line caught my interest, because it made me think ‘hmm, that’s no ordinary bounty hunter’. I’d expect a bounty hunter just focusing on the kill would be more serious and dynamic, looking around for James, but this slowing down and focusing on Alexander’s expression tells me there’s something else going on there, and indeed there is. It also shows a contrast between Alexander’s personality and James’ personality – James is hardly a smiley person, even if Alexander’s smile is a little ‘fake’ here as well.
Grows – Ideas to consider
I’m not sure what the paragraph describing the grass was doing there. I get that there’s a need to show the grass is thick because James is then able to hide in it, but there seems to be more to it than that? For example, I’m not sure why James does this:
His calluses caught on one of the spindly blades, and he snapped his fingers around it, breaking off the edge.
Or why he thinks this:
Some of them were sharper, more like sticks than they were grass. Together, they seemed to compensate for each other, and both were so close in tones of light yellow and brown that you could barely tell the difference.
Is it supposed to be a metaphor? Or am I missing something here? ^^’
Also, in some ways, this paragraph came across as being more purely scenic, with long sentences explaining the grass, compared to other setting descriptions in this part. It felt like an odd change of pace for a mostly action-focused scene, when James is trying to figure out how to deal with Alexander. The long sentences slow down the pace even though a few lines later, the narration comments:
Time was running short.
I think having some kind of description of the grass texture could def work in this scene’s favour, only perhaps the tone might need to be altered a bit so that it matches the rest of the chapter.
Additionally, I think James’ thoughts towards the end may not need to ‘explain’ his conclusions as much as they do? It’s not super disruptive, but if you’re looking for places to cut out, I’d suggest:
James knew he could take the bait and make a shot, but he still didn't know if he could make the shot.
Then again, he definitely wouldn't be able to make the shot if it was too dark. Well. At least, not dependably.
^ The “Too afraid” line before this is clearly baiting him, and the lines preceding that already mention the impending darkness.
Bounty hunters didn't have a habit of speaking on behalf of the Moonlight Kingdom and bounty hunters with no emotional stakes in capturing him didn't waste their time taunting him.
^ I thought I could come to this conclusion from Alexander’s previous line, and he also directly mentions the Moonlight Kingdom in a later line of dialogue as well.
Meanwhile, I really liked and think lines like the following should be kept:Where did the kingdom even find this guy?
^ This is a nice bit of comic relief that doesn’t detract from the scene’s tension too much, and also puts together all James’ thoughts about the guy being from the Moonlight Kingdom and also kind of strange, etc.
I’m finding the conflict between James and Alexander quite interesting to read about. Alexander seems to be motivated by a desire for personal glory, which is very different from James’ desire for survival. I only really have some revision-phase suggestions at this point: watching the tone and maybe thinking over some of the internal thoughts lines. Otherwise, I enjoyed the standoff and am interested to see what happens next!
Hope this helps – let me know if you’d like more specific feedback!