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Paladar 09/04/17 Paladar Chapter 1: Raiders V1.2 1419 Words

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In an effort to build character and get to the point quicker, I decided to give this initial chapter a new go. Had to break it up.  Here is part 1. Looking for anything you notice or feel I need to hear.  Thank you,







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This is better than the first time around, but still has a lot of adjectives and extra words. I think this sets up the inciting incident, but still could be cut down to get there. A sparring session when we don't know the characters doesn't tell us much about them, and the first three pages or so are just P recovering from getting knocked out. The last couple pages of this work well, and I don't think a reader would miss anything from starting on page 4 or so.

Notes while reading:

first paragraph is pretty awkward, especially "shouted half a falling man’s cry." I'm not really sure what that means

pg 1: "Hearing silvered bees?”
--do what?

pg 3: "Landon wasted no time"
--you suddenly change from "his uncle" to "Landon" here, and don't introduce his name.
--Also, most of the text between him falling on his face up to here doesn't really add anything I can see.

pg 6: "contubernium"
--I have no idea what this is. Needs a couple words of explanation. Is it a machine? an animal? a group? a person?


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Good on you for persisting!


I'm in agreement with @Mandamon. Better than the first time by far, but a lot of extra words and wandering. Starting on page four or so would make this snap better, which is definitely what you want in a cold open chapter. Nice work. Keep it up!

As I go

- what is 'half a falling man's cry'??

- woah, adjective heavy again. Suggest a self-imposed limit. One per sentence.

- some spelling and grammar errors throughout as well. Spell check should help

- page five: I have fighting fatigue. This battle doesn't seem to have a purpose other than training, and as such I am not invested in the characters, so the battle doesn't much matter to me right now

- page 5: write out your numbers, don't use numerals

- Are you intending to write in 3rd omniscient? 



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- I actually like a "failing man's cry". I think qualifying it as "half" is the first problem. The second problem is it could use some descriptions, particularly in the second part of the sentence to reinforce it. 

- What are "silvered bees"? What does silver sound like? Do you mean shivered bees or is this a world-specific term. Either way, it's confusing.

- I do like the action of the first paragraph. I like that our first image of the protagonist is him epically failing at something.

- I can't really see sprites damning anyone. You might need a better action word for a sprites' curse.(unless you meant spirits all along, which makes a bit more sense).

- The ending feels a little abrupt. I'm curious where it's going, but Landon's last line doesn't feel like the best place to end a chapter. 


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Hey Matt, glad to see another submission. Let’s crack on with the comments!

  • The title “Training”, kind of fills me with dread. The training section of any story about a young person is a real cliché now, I think. In fact, it’s mandatory in YA or Middle Grade now, is it not? I’m not saying don’t have it, but that coming right out a calling chapter that is kind of inviting the reader to roll their eyes.
  • half a falling man’s cry” – took me a couple of goes to get the intended meaning of this.
  • a smith’s hammer” – possessive.
  • And Uncle Land’s laughter” – here’s me advocating capitalisation, lol, but it is the title of a particular uncle.
  • Easy lad.” – without a comma, this read as a lad who is easy.
  • There are a few instances of missing commas, I reckon. These are in places where I would say there are natural pauses. I think you would pick these if you read the piece out loud. For e.g. “For a moment, Land said nothing
  • he’d yet to develop his man’s strength” – seems simplistic in phrasing, like it’s missing ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ – a more adult and mature phrasing, indeed. I know it’s his voice, but it makes him seem younger than I thought he was.
  • a Holy Knight and intermediary between the people, the Empire and the army” – there’s no mention of the bishop here. Isn’t he the intermediary between the bishop and something?
  • He’d seen no one make his uncle sweat” – something about the phrasing seems off. ‘No sparring partner had even made his uncle sweat.’ - ?
  • nodded his chin” – doesn’t he nod his head? This sounds like his chin moves independently.
  • His uncle attacked with so much speed and force that most strikes, even blocked would leave Pet bruised” – Indirect phrasing can take the punch out of the action; like this, compared to something like ‘His uncle attacked so quickly and forcefully…’ – Maybe just personal preference.
  • I'm finding the description of the fighting a bit disjointed. I’m not really feeling excitement or energy. It’s quite analytical.
  • Did someone sent word?” – typo.
  • at the 7th gatehouse” – if this is the name, I would capitalise ‘Gatehouse’. But otherwise, I would say it has to be ‘seventh’. Personally, I think it’s okay to use numerals for complex or large number in SF, but in fantasy, or in any genre for small numbers, I think it’s a no-no. Would say, “Yes, he’s over there, 3rd soldier from the left.” ?
  • tracker on ‘em by now” – it’s a contraction. I think you have to have the inverted comma.
  • What’s a ‘contub’? For that matter, what’s a ‘contubernium’?
  • I’m finding the naming a bit confusing. M/C’s name is P e t e o r, but his uncle calls him Petro, which seems like a different name. Is it meant to be a contraction of P e t e o r? There is a typo in there too, where it’s in as Peter.
  • At the giants knuckle” – consistency. Name needs capitals, and it’s Giant’s (possessive).
  • Land watched Pet run” – there’s a pretty jarring POV shift to Land at this point.
  • This changes things” – Some of the dialogue hits my ear as a bit clunky. This sounds maid-and-butler. I don’t think that Land would need to say this to another soldier, and he explains that it changes things, so this seems redundant to me, anyway.
  • At least 3 wielding swords” – No, really, this just ain’t right. Go to any book you’ve read and find me an example of a numeral being used in this context.
  • but there might be one or two that the farmer counted twice” – What does this line do, by which I mean what does it bring to the story? You’ll hear the WE folks say how important it is for sentences to do double or triple (treble?) duty, to add to plot, character, setting, whatever. If a line is not contributing anything, I believe it has to go or be changed until it does.

I think is better, but can be better yet. I like that the training episode is short. I reckon it would add to the tension and make the section more active, if the rider interrupts the training, instead of his arrival being conveniently timed with when they’ve just finished. Anything that can be done to bring things into the present will make them more active, I think. For example, when Pet is thinking ‘that could have gone better’, he could be thinking this could be going better.

I think the rider’s arrival worked pretty well for tension building, but it tends to lapse into detail about weapons. I know it’s important, but it could be punched up to concentrate on the threat, and less on design of the weapons.

Don’t ever be disheartened. Any piece of writing is going to go through a bunch of edits before it gets nearer where it needs to be. I bet you could sub Neuromancer on here and we’d try to rip it to shreds :lol:

Glad to see this again.


Edited by Robinski

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Thank you @kais, @Mandamon, @rdpulfer and @Robinski. As before, I appreciate your patience as I work my way thorugh this. 


It seemed everyone had an issue with the openeing line.  I imagined it to be the fall a person makes when they fall unexpectedly...but cut short. 

Silvered bees-a bit of world building that I tried to incorporate and didn't seem to work.  It =  a faint metallic buzzing.  

Contub-Contubernium - It is the smalled grouping that the romans used (eight man squad).  This story carries some Roman undertones throughout.  It is not in common dictionaries though and I'll have to rethink how I incorporate or define the squads.   

@rdpulfer  When you say the ending feels abrupt...You'll actually see a: # and then the story carry on from P's POV right afer. 

I'm curious about the POV shift near the end. I needed ot have that bit between Landon and the solider, and don't know if I need to break the scene more formally to do it.

 @kais regarding adjectives.  In the course I just finished up wiht David Farland, he told me to target one adjective for every two nouns.  Does this seem ecessive? Perhapds my counting is poor.  It is hard for me target these issues with one concrete example where you find it heavy. 


Ah the numerals...I get my computer to read my chapters out to me...and of course it reads 3rd like third...Need to remember that. 


  • “a Holy Knight and intermediary between the people, the Empire and the army” – there’s no mention of the bishop here. Isn’t he the intermediary between the bishop and something?

In this world the Clergy is the Empire. But I probably need to bring that out better. 

@rdpulfer  I can't really see sprites damning anyone. You might need a better action word for a sprites' curse.(unless you meant spirits all along, which makes a bit more sense).

Good point. I was playing with some in world curses and this one doesn't work. 


pg 3: "Landon wasted no time"
--you suddenly change from "his uncle" to "Landon" here, and don't introduce his name.
Good catch. 
Thanks to everyone for your help this week. 
A bit curious now. 
What fantasy authors do you four read?

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11 minutes ago, M.Puddles said:

What fantasy authors do you four read?

All of them? ;-)

(Looking through my Goodreads list...)

Recently, I've read Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal (of course), N. K. Jemisin, Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion, Becky Chamber's Wayfinders series (which is space opera), Jim Butcher, Nnedi Okorafor's Binti series, The Expanse (SciFi again...), V.E. Schwab, Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway, Charles Stross, David Levine's Arabella Series, Max Gladstone, Marie Brennan's Lady Trent series, Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities...

And many others...


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On 9/10/2017 at 2:40 PM, M.Puddles said:

Does this seem ecessive?

For a new writer, yes. You use them so heavily that you need to cut back first, then sprinkle them in once you get used to not using them.

For fantasy authors, I read Anne Bishop, Lynne Flewellig, Anne McCaffery, and Seanen McGuire most frequently, with others sprinkled in as they come out. In YA fantasy, I adore Garth Nix.


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