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Ernei

Reading Excuses - Ernei - 17.04.17 - SM, Chapter 3 - 3000 words (mild L)

7 posts in this topic

Chapter 3 is the last world-building one - I try to hint at K.'s past here, and also a couple of rules of wizardry. Let me know if anything is confusing/disjointed from the rest of the text. As always, comments on linguistic are welcome. I know that for you they often seem like minor problems that can be easily solved in a revision, but the thing is, I always revise a chapter before submitting it, so whatever grammatical problems there are, they went through my mind unnoticed at least once already. My English will hopefully get better in a few months, before I revise the book again, but there's no guarantee, either. I mean... I understand that this is not exactly what a writing group is for, and I will welcome any feedback you give me, but if you could also take time to point out lines that are problematic linguistically - even just a couple of them - then it would be a huge help :)

Summary in mail.

Since one can't be too careful, may I ask you to abbreviate names of the characters, please? :)

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Overall, I liked this chapter. We're starting to get into the plot. I still don't have a good feel for K's character yet. She's 17, but reads as a lot older sometimes. There are some things she does that I don't really understand the reason, especially in her interactions with others. She almost comes across as autistic sometimes, to me.
Also, might be WRS, but do we know why she's so good at magic already when others of her age are just learning?

I still have some other questions about Witch vs. Wizard, how they learn, and how they are viewed by the rest of the non-magic population. I can wait a couple more chapters, but I'd like some worldbuilding to start fleshing out pretty soon. 

(Edit: just read through what you have above. I definitely want more on witches and wizards. I don't really understand the difference at all. If this is the last world building chapter, I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot more questions going forward.)


pg 1: "For each their own, pick the version you liked better."
--I'd leave this out. We already know the students are picking sides.

pg 1: "They were never on speaking terms with each other"
--for not on speaking terms, D is talking a lot.

pg 2: Probably WRS, but have we heard anything about Shademist before now?

pg 3: "Ha, ha, K thought."
--This is strange. Is she laughing at the bad joke, or planning to beat someone up?

pg 4: M and K are training together, and all the students have split into groups, and there's a change between M speaking to K and speaking to the whole class. Need some more blocking to differentiate the two.

pg 5: "If she didn’t make it home before Shademist"
--worldbuilding comment: does this town provide sleeping arrangements standard for when people can't travel? What if people work late and can't get home?

pg 8: "Technically, I’m after work for two hours"
--Unclear. It think this means her shift has been over for two hours?

pg 8: “Not a radio car"
--A squad car? Haven't heard the term "radio car" for a police vehicle before.

pg 9: the job offer is a little strange--coming out of the blue from a detective. Are witch/wizards a hot commodity and needed in law enforcement? How rare are they compared to non-magical folk?

pg 10: "to bare with"
--bear with

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Glad to see another chapter. Off we go!

  • Maybe it’s WRS on my part, but how would Shade mist devour her memories? Maybe we heard that earlier, but I forget.
  • “you don’t need to pull your punches – figuratively, of course” – But you also don’t need to pull them physically, if the participants are protected.
  • The usual language stuff, mostly around tense and some word choice; nothing a good solid edit / LBL critique would not sort out.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the training scene, although it was a bit cursory. I wouldn’t call it gripping, but there was some tension, and I liked the promise of a future encounter between Ker and the red-head where these spells will be used in anger. The call to the police was logical enough. The shade mist, heh, well it’s difficult to not make a Sanderson comparison, but maybe it depends more what you do with it. Certainly, I think it’s important to think of as many ways as possible to differentiate it from Brandon’s mist. I can see the reason for Ker to be enlisted by the police, but I’m not sure I'm sold enough on them putting a young person in danger on the basis of one encounter. Ker might have been lucky, or had unknown some help.

Interested to read more.

<R>

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20 hours ago, Ernei said:

As always, comments on linguistic are welcome. I know that for you they often seem like minor problems that can be easily solved in a revision, but the thing is, I always revise a chapter before submitting it, so whatever grammatical problems there are, they went through my mind unnoticed at least once already. My English will hopefully get better in a few months

Sorry, Ernei, I'm struggling for time at the moment, as I'm critiquing a novel at the moment, and have started on a sequel to TMM. When I get through the alpha (beta?) read, I will put more work into grammar grammar comments on your submissions :) 

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17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Overall, I liked this chapter. We're starting to get into the plot. I still don't have a good feel for K's character yet. She's 17, but reads as a lot older sometimes. There are some things she does that I don't really understand the reason, especially in her interactions with others. She almost comes across as autistic sometimes, to me.

I actually picture K. as having sociopaths tendencies, and I'm kinda surprised that nobody called it in the previous chapters. I don't think that it's the same as autistic, though, or at least this is different from what I've seen of an autistic person in real life. Either way, K.'s reaction are supposed to be off, as long as they seem consistent.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I still have some other questions about Witch vs. Wizard, how they learn, and how they are viewed by the rest of the non-magic population. I can wait a couple more chapters, but I'd like some worldbuilding to start fleshing out pretty soon. 

(Edit: just read through what you have above. I definitely want more on witches and wizards. I don't really understand the difference at all. If this is the last world building chapter, I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot more questions going forward.)

Hmm, so there still will be world building details as we go on, just they won't take a whole chapter anymore.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 1: "For each their own, pick the version you liked better."
--I'd leave this out. We already know the students are picking sides.

Fair.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 1: "They were never on speaking terms with each other"
--for not on speaking terms, D is talking a lot.

Ah, that was supposed to be the reason why K. isn't responding to him - to her, he just came up out of nowhere, and suddenly treats her like a friend. I'll try to make it clearer.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 2: Probably WRS, but have we heard anything about Shademist before now?

It's been mentioned, but this is the first chapter in which I elaborate on it more. This is part of the world building here.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 3: "Ha, ha, K thought."
--This is strange. Is she laughing at the bad joke, or planning to beat someone up?

This was supposed to be internal sarcasm, but I see that it doesn't work, so I'll cut this out.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 4: M and K are training together, and all the students have split into groups, and there's a change between M speaking to K and speaking to the whole class. Need some more blocking to differentiate the two.

Will do. Thanks!

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 5: "If she didn’t make it home before Shademist"
--worldbuilding comment: does this town provide sleeping arrangements standard for when people can't travel? What if people work late and can't get home?

Well, Shademist is 99% times forecast, so people know that they should not stay at work late, and I suppose that there are some sleeping arrangements just in case, why not. And yes, this paralyses emergency services and many other things for a few hours, and people die because they can't receive help during Shademist.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 8: "Technically, I’m after work for two hours"
--Unclear. It think this means her shift has been over for two hours?

Yes, that's what she means. I'll correct it, thanks!

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 8: “Not a radio car"
--A squad car? Haven't heard the term "radio car" for a police vehicle before.

I kinda googled the translation, but well, if it doesn't work, then I'll change it. I liked this one, though, because it gave me a reason to let the reader know that Sh.'s car has a radio too before it became relevant =.=

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 9: the job offer is a little strange--coming out of the blue from a detective. Are witch/wizards a hot commodity and needed in law enforcement? How rare are they compared to non-magical folk?

Hmm, I hope it's partly WRS, because I tried to let the reader know that Sh. is interested in K. in the first chapter, but I'll try to put the proportions of magicians to ordinary people somewhere.

17 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 10: "to bare with"
--bear with

Will correct, thanks! :) And thanks for feedback, it's precious as always :)

 

26 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Maybe it’s WRS on my part, but how would Shade mist devour her memories? Maybe we heard that earlier, but I forget.

So no, this is the first time it's mentioned. This is part of world building this chapter, and I see that I need to make it clearer. Perhaps I need a little more telling here after all =.= 

26 minutes ago, Robinski said:
  • “you don’t need to pull your punches – figuratively, of course” – But you also don’t need to pull them physically, if the participants are protected.

Yes, but it's there to show that wizards don't think much of physical fighting. Glad that you caught it, though - hopefully it'll work well enough as a foreshadowing :)

26 minutes ago, Robinski said:
  • The shade mist, heh, well it’s difficult to not make a Sanderson comparison, but maybe it depends more what you do with it. Certainly, I think it’s important to think of as many ways as possible to differentiate it from Brandon’s mist.

I know, right? I'm doing this comparison all the time, actually, but I really think that what I do is well, different. Hopefully enough so. Will see.

26 minutes ago, Robinski said:

I can see the reason for Ker to be enlisted by the police, but I’m not sure I'm sold enough on them putting a young person in danger on the basis of one encounter. Ker might have been lucky, or had unknown some help.

Hmm, so I see your point, but I think I'm going to live with that for now. Perhaps I'll come up with a way to justify it better, but for now nothing comes to my mind =.=

19 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Sorry, Ernei, I'm struggling for time at the moment, as I'm critiquing a novel at the moment, and have started on a sequel to TMM. When I get through the alpha (beta?) read, I will put more work into grammar grammar comments on your submissions :) 

No need to be sorry, I was asking for an extra anyway :) Thanks for reading and feedback!

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Overall

I'm left feeling kind of underwhelmed. I didn't get much of a sense of tension, and I still haven't connected with K at all. I need more emotion from her, and purpose, and drive, or I won't care that she's being offered a police job at 17. I need buy-in, first, before I can really get involved with anything else.

I see @Mandamon had similar comments on K, and I agree with @Robinski that I don't buy the police taking on a 17 year old just based upon what we have seen so far.

 

As I go

- page one: gossip should not have an 's'. It is both singular and plural already

- page one: 'a toad to classes' doesn't quite work. 'Would bring toads to classes' or 'Would bring a toad to class' 

- page two: any emotions to go with the memory of beating up two boys? She doesn't react to it or the possibility that she is getting her memories back

- page three: I'm getting a very Elantris meets Hogwarts vibe here

- page four: I'm not connecting with K at all, and I think that is because she isn't reacting to anything. These events keep happening but she isn't showing any actual emotion. I have no reader buy-in right now, so her magic training isn't doing much for me

- page five: referring to someone as 'the dark-skinned woman' tells the reader that everyone in this book is white unless otherwise stated. If you're going for that, it's okay. Otherwise, you might consider discussing other skin tones on people, and/or not making it such a blatant call out

- page six: ah, we do get a light-skin call out here. Better

- page eight: being called to the police station didn't seem to accomplish much? K knows about another murder but I didn't get anything in the way of tension from this scene

- we don't call them 'radio cars', unless this is a specific term you made up for your world

- page nine: why is she being invited to work with the police? WRS? Has she shown some high competency I'm not remembering?

- page ten: you give an explanation re above, but I do not remember getting the feeling of strong accomplishment from the chapter where she dealt with the wizard. Some further discussion is needed here I think

- page eleven: have we had a solid breakdown yet about the differences between witches and wizards?

 

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- I like the start of the duel - as Karisa and MIranda start to duel. It's also a clever way to build your magic system without boring exposition.

- Though I kind of wanted the demonstration to carry on further rather than Karisa be pulled abruptly out of class.

- "I wish you have a good evening" can be shortened to "I wish you a good evening.

- Shayna's offer is very interesting, but I agree with kais - it's a little out-of-nowhere, especially because they could be potentially endangering a minor. 

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