a remarkably ugly set of venice-related chapters done. on to milan.
looking ahead, there will be a fair bit that can come out of the later chapters, and one subplot might have to go entirely, since most of its purpose is now moot. starting to feel a little hopeful after all. when in doubt, go linear.
in other news, i had a remarkably thoughtful critique of a short story by leah bobet. i wish she hired herself out as a beta reader. so many folks critique the language and the structure, but can’t talk about the story itself save how they react to it as readers (they liked it/hated it/were moved by it/didn’t buy it/etc.) which is all fine and dandy, but it’s rare that you find folks who can look critically at the story: about the expectations it creates, the questions it raises, how it establishes authority. myself least of all, it is perhaps what i am most blind to in my own work. i feel lucky to now have two such people, even if the bobet experience was a one-off. i need all the schooling i can get on this.