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TKWade

Rowan Tal'morra, A1 - TKWade - 9/11/17 - 2,877 words - (V,L)

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Again, I have some background written up in the email that may help understand some of the terminology used in the story.

I'm looking for character buy in, story and character consistency, and assistance, if you're willing to point out and explain punctuation and grammatical errors.

Thanks for taking the time to read :)

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Great to read some more of your writing. I look back and see that the last time was February. Good to have you back!

  • Candrian Road” – as a name, this should be capitalised.
  • I like the opening, I think it’s well done. I get a strong sense of disconnection from the world. I get something of a visual image of the character too, and a good sense of the local setting.
  • "she was beautiful” – This is an opportunity for some writing craft, to show the reader a picture of her. This is really a bit lame. Everyone’s beautiful in some way, and to someone. Why is/was she beautiful to him.
  • But at the end he would have his life back” – I feel there’s a gap here. Did he lose his life because he danced with the woman? We don’t know why he lost his life. We know bad things happened to her, but I'd be more invested in his fate knowing why he is in hiding.
  • pulled by large clydesdales” – some people might not know these are horses, maybe? Also, this kind of places your story in another Earth. Also, Clydesdale is the name of a bread, and should be capitalised.
  • I think you mean ‘ruckus’ in the street? I don’t know what ‘rouacus’ is.
  • I feel like there are a lot of commas missing at the natural pauses, but I’m not going to mark them. E.g. though, “As Rowan approached, the man looked up.” Some might say it’s a style thing, but to me, if you omit the comma, you read “As Rowan approach the man…” and expect the pause there, but you don’t get it, so you get this kind of flat automatic-sounding sentence, without intonation. Maybe it’s just me.
  • giving the man a wide berth
  • His forgetting the table number makes me lose a lot of sympathy for him. His whole future depends on it and he can’t remember a one digit number? It makes the character look really incompetent, which makes him harder to sympathise with, I think. If you’re going to stick with that, I think you need a good reason for him to have forgotten this. Like maybe he got badly beaten just after he received the information. Something reason for him forgetting beyond incompetence.
  • Just about every fantasy book ever has a bar scene. Filling your tavern with ne’er-do-wells is kind of underlining the cliché, but I think you can kind of carry that by not drawing particular attention to it. A man walks into a bar… deal with it.
  • Me too.” – Good line, made me smile, but doesn’t do anything to increase my sympathy after R’s incompetence. I’m pretty much at the point that I want the story to be about the lady in the purple cloak.
  • R’s reaction towards violence seems naïve. This person is his saviour. Also, when he says ”You know nothing about me” I’m forced to agree. I don’t feel I know enough to identify or have sympathy for him.
  • Not sure how he sees the rune when she’s just shoved the thing in his hand.
  • I could have done with an image of the woman earlier. I had assumed neutral and faceless, which is then wrong when we get the details later.
  • I would say you need to italicise his thoughts, otherwise they are not differentiated from narrative, and it’s harder to read them as being different.
  • The liquid in his cup is amber now – it was brown before. Not the same.
  • Of all the possessions he'd lost in the last few years, his sketch pad was all the was left” – typo. Also, the pad is not in the group of things he has lost, so the phrasing is off here.
  • Again, not knowing enough about R, his hankering after two swords seems out of context. For one thing, I've got this incompetent picture of him, so it comes across a bit as elitism or forlorn dreaming. As far as I know, he’s as useless with a sword as he is at remembering a number between one and five.
  • Just because someone drowns his sorrows in beer doesn’t mean he hates himself. He equally well or more likely hates someone else, or something bad that happened to him. Might just be depressed by life. R’s inclination to think what he does of the man does him no credit, imho.
  • eyes widened at the sight of a priest who entered.” – Phrasing off here. I think ‘the priest who entered’ would be okay, or ‘a priest entering’, but ‘a’ is generic whereas ‘who’ is specific. I think these two words contradict, hence the suggestion of going wholly generic or wholly specific.
  • couldn’t even attempt a straight line” – I would have thought this is one of the hardest things he could attempt to draw, not the easiest, which the statement implies.
  • The action was welcome when it came, and it felt realistic, which often it is not in these situations. As we get more information about what is going on, which comes across naturally enough in the questioning, there’s nothing to place R in a better light. He’s been totally duped and seems to have been too desperate to have any suspicions. It’s hard to feel sympathy, because I don’t know anything about W and how trustworthy or otherwise he might have seemed. How did R know him? Why would R expect W to help him? Lots of questions come to mind the more information I get, so the realisation doesn’t really punch as hard as it could.
  • How is the priest helping W? I don’t understand the logic of the statement. Surely the authorities were out to catch W, which is why he had R stand in. So how can the priest be working with W as an asset? This doesn’t make sense to me.
  • There no firm background to the setting and not all that much world-building, which leaves me a bit puzzled. There’s mention of a ‘totem’ here (Native American), swords after the style of Japan, horses from Scotland, and there are names that are Scandinavian.
  • I need you to die and shut up” – presumably the second is kind of moot after the first! I think this would read better the other way around.
  • Through the flame he saw the man…” – This is a nice touch. Plus, typo.
  • I think the notion that the only people who would go to see a burning were depraved is rather simplistic. Was this the case of people who went hangings in westerns, or to the arenas in Rome? I think not. People tend to act as society dictates, herd mentality in this situation, I think. I don’t believe for a moment all these people are depraved.
  • R’s transformation comes out of nowhere. There’s been not the slightest suggestion of anything special about him, so I feel unconvinced. For one thing, I'm not invested in him as a character, and was not rooting for him, so I didn’t especially care one way or another. The sudden appearance of the swordsman makes me interested in him. He has agency, prowess and bravery, none of which have we seen from R.

I must say I was not bowled over by this as the opening to a story, and it’s entirely down to the main character, who I feel nothing for at all. I think you might consider the WE podcasts on the 3 character sliders. I suppose you do show R having competence at drawing, but his judgement, assumptions about people, naivety and gullibility do nothing to make him engaging.

I also felt that there were no clues to him being special, so his transformation (if that’s what it is) comes from nowhere. Is it because of the amulet? Surely, they could have taken that away from him? If not, I think you need to show that it’s still there as he burns. If it’s not the amulet then holy divine intervention from the writer because of plot things, Batman!

I hope these comments are useful. Sorry not to be more positive. I see no reason that the story could not work with some changes, but there are issue that are hurting it at the moment, especially the main character, I think.

<R>

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@Robinski Thank you for being so thorough! And I'm glad to be back, :) thanks. I took a bit of a break to step away from what I was writing and I've been dabbling with other stories and reading to try and improve my writing and character.

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  • "she was beautiful” – This is an opportunity for some writing craft, to show the reader a picture of her. This is really a bit lame. Everyone’s beautiful in some way, and to someone. Why is/was she beautiful to him.

I'm kind of upset that I did this, ugh, I think the thought process was that it wasn't worth the description because while it was an important point in Rowan's life it wasn't important to the narrative. I can see that was incorrect. I think that was the first thing Kais dinged me on too, bleh. I will absolutely correct this.

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  • But at the end he would have his life back” – I feel there’s a gap here. Did he lose his life because he danced with the woman? We don’t know why he lost his life. We know bad things happened to her, but I'd be more invested in his fate knowing why he is in hiding.

I will add something to provide more clarity here.

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  • pulled by large clydesdales” – some people might not know these are horses, maybe? Also, this kind of places your story in another Earth. Also, Clydesdale is the name of a bread, and should be capitalised.

I was really unsure about this when I was writing it. I love the look of this particular breed and wanted to provide that visualization, but perhaps it would be better to outright describe. I was just trying to consolidate my words. To another question, though, so if I reference a thing, the a particular breed of an animal, that's considered a proper noun? And if I utilize a proper noun as such in fantasy then it automatically implies the story takes place in 'another Earth'? I was kind of taking liberties here because it is fantasy, so I just assumed it would be okay.

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  • I think you mean ‘ruckus’ in the street? I don’t know what ‘rouacus’ is.

Eep! Will fix.

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  • I feel like there are a lot of commas missing at the natural pauses, but I’m not going to mark them. E.g. though, “As Rowan approached, the man looked up.” Some might say it’s a style thing, but to me, if you omit the comma, you read “As Rowan approach the man…” and expect the pause there, but you don’t get it, so you get this kind of flat automatic-sounding sentence, without intonation. Maybe it’s just me.

I really appreciate this explanation. I'm always looking for the technical use case for commas in my writing, but I'm still learning that there are cases where it's more about style and how a sentence may sound with the pause than if it is technical or not. Thank you.

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  • His forgetting the table number makes me lose a lot of sympathy for him. His whole future depends on it and he can’t remember a one digit number? It makes the character look really incompetent, which makes him harder to sympathise with, I think. If you’re going to stick with that, I think you need a good reason for him to have forgotten this. Like maybe he got badly beaten just after he received the information. Something reason for him forgetting beyond incompetence.

This was one thing I was really unsure about while writing and I tried to liken it to myself in some ways, doesn't put me in the best light lol. But, just as an example, I'll routinely make a coffee in the morning  on my espresso machine with heavy cream and it's my favorite thing; it's a ritual really and I can't do without it, but every once in awhile I'll set my coffee down on the bar top before I head out for work and forget it on the counter top. It's one of the most important parts of my morning ritual, but occasionally my mind will just skip right over grabbing my drink before leaving. The same with my house keys or other little things. I wanted it to appear more like that and less like total incompetence.

That being said, I can totally remove it while keeping the story and narrative in tact, so that may be the better option. I forget that as reads we like to imagine ourselves as the character we're reading at times. And while characters do have flaws we don't want to read or imagine ourselves as an incompetent character. 

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  • Just about every fantasy book ever has a bar scene. Filling your tavern with ne’er-do-wells is kind of underlining the cliché, but I think you can kind of carry that by not drawing particular attention to it. A man walks into a bar… deal with it.

I was just setting the scene, but you're right, super cliche. In act three i swing back to this point and I think at that point it becomes valuable why i would point it out, but at the point of act one it could do with either a unique touch or like you say, a man worked into a bar and then maybe contrast a difference in act three when i get to that point.

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  • R’s reaction towards violence seems naïve. This person is his saviour. Also, when he says ”You know nothing about me” I’m forced to agree. I don’t feel I know enough to identify or have sympathy for him.

I understand the last part of this, but i'm not sure i understand what you mean by his reaction towards violence seems naive? The kicking the bar stool thing was supposed to read more as an internal quip and less like an actual consideration. If it wasn't taken that way then I may need to reword it.

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  • Just because someone drowns his sorrows in beer doesn’t mean he hates himself. He equally well or more likely hates someone else, or something bad that happened to him. Might just be depressed by life. R’s inclination to think what he does of the man does him no credit, imho.

I thought I kind of addressed this with my 'rough day or nightly' sentence, but perhaps not. I think if he were an alcoholic then it's more likely that a fair bit a self-loathing exists, a person hates their life, or their relationships, or their relationship with themselves, or this, or that, but often times it comes back to the persons character. There are many reasons people are addicts to food, alcohol, drugs, exercise, or whatever their flavor is. People find different ways to cope with problems, but with someone who's stuck in such a loop it's clear they're unable to cope properly with whatever life experiences they're having. I can reword this since it seems to be a bit off-putting, making such an assumption, but I don't think it's wholly untrue. He's talking about might's and maybe's. He's making assumptions about a person he knows very little about based on what that person is doing and how they're reacting to the world around them. That doesn't mean the character thinks he's better or worse, he's just making an observation. Perhaps if he spoke to the old man he'd find out a life story that would alter his perception, who knows? But he's drawing a character in a sketch pad and giving that character, the one in his pad, a life of their own. Maybe his assumption is symbolic of his own self-loathing? 

I can expand on his thoughts in the story to help more clearly define them. Do you think I'm going down the wrong path or do you think my logic above is flawed, that I'm considering this incorrectly and that I'm wrong to apply such assumption at all?

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  • couldn’t even attempt a straight line” – I would have thought this is one of the hardest things he could attempt to draw, not the easiest, which the statement implies.

Too true, I should have said something more along the lines of a 'smooth line' or some such. 

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  • The action was welcome when it came, and it felt realistic, which often it is not in these situations. As we get more information about what is going on, which comes across naturally enough in the questioning, there’s nothing to place R in a better light. He’s been totally duped and seems to have been too desperate to have any suspicions. It’s hard to feel sympathy, because I don’t know anything about W and how trustworthy or otherwise he might have seemed. How did R know him? Why would R expect W to help him? Lots of questions come to mind the more information I get, so the realisation doesn’t really punch as hard as it could.


I will fix the issues surrounding his relationship with W. Thanks!
 

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  • How is the priest helping W? I don’t understand the logic of the statement. Surely the authorities were out to catch W, which is why he had R stand in. So how can the priest be working with W as an asset? This doesn’t make sense to me.

So, I may not be executing this properly. There is a reveal in later acts as to why the priest is protecting W, but I want it to be clear that he is protecting him and that it's R who is taking the fall to clear W's name with the church. The Why would come later, but i'm not sure what I should do to fix this.

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  • There no firm background to the setting and not all that much world-building, which leaves me a bit puzzled. There’s mention of a ‘totem’ here (Native American), swords after the style of Japan, horses from Scotland, and there are names that are Scandinavian.

This kind of circles back to horse comment above. At what point does fantasy allow the mixture of cultures? Am I wrong in how I'm approaching this? This isn't 'another Earth' fantasy, it's its own universe based off the little snippet I supplied in my email.

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  • I think the notion that the only people who would go to see a burning were depraved is rather simplistic. Was this the case of people who went hangings in westerns, or to the arenas in Rome? I think not. People tend to act as society dictates, herd mentality in this situation, I think. I don’t believe for a moment all these people are depraved.

I agree, this is a poorly handled scene. I was going for this feeling that people in this universe have lived in this particular society for many years and so they're comfortable with these types of exhibitions and have even grown fond of them as a way of forgetting about their difficult lives. Almost like entertainment in a sick kind of way, but I think you're right. I need to rework their reactions.

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  • R’s transformation comes out of nowhere. There’s been not the slightest suggestion of anything special about him, so I feel unconvinced. For one thing, I'm not invested in him as a character, and was not rooting for him, so I didn’t especially care one way or another. The sudden appearance of the swordsman makes me interested in him. He has agency, prowess and bravery, none of which have we seen from R.

The transformation coming from nowhere is by design because it's an innate power that he didn't know about. Maybe it will help if i fix some glaring issues with the character buy in above and maybe find someway to foreshadow the power that he's unlocking without applying it directly to him. Like, 'so and so use to exist many years go, but no longer do for x, y, z reasons and the church, blah, blah, blah'

I'll have to check out that particular pod cast!

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I also felt that there were no clues to him being special, so his transformation (if that’s what it is) comes from nowhere. Is it because of the amulet? Surely, they could have taken that away from him? If not, I think you need to show that it’s still there as he burns. If it’s not the amulet then holy divine intervention from the writer because of plot things, Batman!


It's definitely an intervention on my part to showcase his abilities. He doesn't know what he is, so i'm not sure how to properly foreshadow that to the readers when the knowledge is available from that character's POV.

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I hope these comments are useful. Sorry not to be more positive. I see no reason that the story could not work with some changes, but there are issue that are hurting it at the moment, especially the main character, I think.

Your comments were super helpful. I didn't address them all, the ones that I didn't address directly you can assume I agree with and will fix them in my story. The punctuation and phrasing comments were especially helpful. It gives me a focus to think about while writing so that I can pinpoint those errors.

Thanks again!

Edited by TKWade
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I think @Robinski covered this pretty well (especially the grammar, so I will refrain on that point)!

I did enjoy this, however. I think the overall intent was good, if a couple of the plot points weren't quite there.

Character buy in: I think you have the start of a good character. Like Robinksi, I had trouble with him suddenly forgetting one number when he's gone over the plan so much. I think that could be removed to raise the "competence" slider, even if he's a bit naive.

Story and character consistency: I'm not sold on the plot yet. Is Warren getting gullible marks to "turn in" forbidden magic items? Why can't Warren just be a magical bounty hunter and turn them in himself? Why does the priest feel the need to burn innocent people when claiming the artifacts? He as much as said he was burning R for show, and I think we need that information in the story to have the plot make sense.

R's magic powers at the end: I don't mind this as much as Robinski. We often see "the chosen one" manifesting strange powers, even if that trope is well-used. As long as we get an in-world explanation fairly soon, I'm ok with it. You could also seed something in with the magical artifact information about how the magic here works.

The bar scene: Yeah--can take it or leave it. There is a lot of opportunity to make it something more interesting rather than relying on old tropes.

Cultural appropriation: This is a touchy subject.
1) Clydesdales: I'll admit I was pulled out by this as well. I think naming them specifically would make it take place on Earth, simply because it's a very specific type of horse with a history of how it was bred. If you want to say they were huge draft horses, bred for strength, and R was always awed the size of them, that could work because you establish a history for them.
2) The same sort of thing happens when you take a bit from Native Americans/Japan/Scotland etc. Without showing a history behind them. Katanas are cool, but that's because of our culture's fascination with Japan. Why are they cool in this world? More to the point, who made them and why? It may be okay to have the same type of item that exists on Earth, but there needs to be a reason why besides "I saw it in another culture and it was cool."


Notes while reading:
pg 2: he can't remember what to do about the tables, then top of page three he runs through the instructions. Sounds like he doesn't have trouble remembering.

pg 4: thoughts need to be in italics

pg 4: "Of all the possession he'd lost in the last few years, his sketch pad was all the was left"
--could just say that the sketch pad was his only possession left.

pg 5: "R wasn't sure who he was supposed to be meeting here,"
--wait, what? All that planning and they don't actually know who he's meeting?

 

In all, I did enjoy this, and I think it has a lot of potential!

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5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Cultural appropriation: This is a touchy subject.
1) Clydesdales: I'll admit I was pulled out by this as well. I think naming them specifically would make it take place on Earth, simply because it's a very specific type of horse with a history of how it was bred. If you want to say they were huge draft horses, bred for strength, and R was always awed the size of them, that could work because you establish a history for them.
2) The same sort of thing happens when you take a bit from Native Americans/Japan/Scotland etc. Without showing a history behind them. Katanas are cool, but that's because of our culture's fascination with Japan. Why are they cool in this world? More to the point, who made them and why? It may be okay to have the same type of item that exists on Earth, but there needs to be a reason why besides "I saw it in another culture and it was cool."

Understood on both points and I'll address both. Thank you for the explanation and that makes perfect sense. Thanks!

Thank you for taking the time and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll definitely be hammering out some changes and I'm going over those pod casts so I can review my MC' sliders and adjust them accordingly.

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I almost wish you hadn't mentioned this was from a DND game. You did a good job of explaining the unfamiliar terms in the text, and I didn't really need the background on the world ( and if I had needed the info, it should have been in the text anyway :P).  Role-play games are a great source for story ideas, but the trouble with with them is that what sounds good aloud around the gaming table and on a character sheet often sounds hackneyed, random, and even problematic when written into a narrative format. It often takes a substantial amount of massaging to turn character sheets into characters and encounters into story beats.  Even then, savvy readers can often "hear dice rolling in the background," as a friend used to say. How many dice before it becomes intolerable is a matter of preference (I can handle a good deal more than my friend could, for example)!

 

Having said all that, this story is *almost* there.  The parts @Mandamon and @Robinski mentioned -- the bar out of Central Casting (and that katana!) and the lack of lead-up to the magic powers -- are the most "dice-rolling-est" parts for me. 

 

As I go....

 

"He couldn't recount the times" -- did you mean the more common phrase "he couldn't count the number of times?" This one isn't wrong, but it did strike me as a little odd. 

 

"He couldn't recall a time" -- this one, by contrast, reads just fine to me. :)  

 

"crowd throwing rotten produce and screamed obscenities" *screaming. To go with "throwing"

 

"d religious law dictated consequence in" did you mean "consequences?" Maybe "harsh consequences?" 

 

"d have his life back" -- in order for me to be invested in this, I feel like I need a bit more of the  why or how he got into this predicament, and maybe a bit of what drove him to such dire straits. Maybe not all at once, but enough that I care about him, and enough to make me a bit anxious about what is supposed to be a tense moment for him, too. I'm just not quite there. 

 

"clydesdales..." Yeah. Seconding "draft horses."  That's as useful a shorthand as the specific name, and one to which a few added sensory details would work very well (Have you ever been around one? Everyone says their hooves are big as dinner places but it never seemed real to me until I had to clean the hooves of a horse that was only part draft horse. They were monstrous! And purebreds are bigger!) 

 

In this section you're using the curse word for manure both in the literal meaning as here with the horse, and then shortly below in the metaphorical expletive sense. It's not wrong, but it sounds off to me to have two different uses of the same word in so close proximity. The use here with the horses also strikes me as cursing for the sake of using the word, and not because of the story. It doesn't really benefit the story much.

 

"over the rouacus of the busy" I thought at first you meant "raucous" but then the sentence doesn't make sense, so I second "ruckus" ;) (although you could add a noun to raucous and make it work then)

 

I don't have a problem with the initial forgetfulness. It struck me as someone choking under pressure and made me smile a bit. The bar stool seems a little extreme, though, I suppose it could be fighting words to the right kind of person...

 

"Me too." Gonna need some aloe for that burn, ouch! ;) 

 

The second bit, where he's trying to pick a table, I had more trouble with, though I can't quite place why. Too long? Not interesting to me? I don't care enough? The tension's gone? Something's off with it. Sorry I can't be more help.

 

 "Of all the possession he'd lost" -- this phrase confused me.  It doesn't seem to be used in the way the character intends, as it's implying he's lost his sketchbook (it's one of "all the things" that're gone now) but then he goes on to talk about how it's the Most Important Thing he still has left. 

 

That katana. I wonder at the use of a katana rather than any other kind of sword, since katanas invite all kinds of samurai, ninja, and weird oriental fetishistic tropes that seem to have very little to do with the rest of the setting or story.  Mentioning a katana also implies the character has the highly specific knowledge needed to actually use it, which doesn't seem to fit with what else we know about him so far. There are plenty of other types of swords he could covet that would be more in line with the European-ish fantasy setting and more in keeping with the character's perceived class and social status. 

 

" an elder man" an elderly man?

 

All the assumptions he makes about his sketch subject feel a bit superfluous to the story. Also, he's assuming an awful lot just from appearances. It makes me think less of him when he goes around making wild guesses about a person's character based solely on how they're sitting at a table. 

 

" he would know when they showed up" --  "know him when you see him" is super cliche. Also kind of awful planning. It makes the character seem very gullible to me that he wasn't at least a little suspicious of being repeatedly drilled in this cloak-and-dagger details and then to be given "you'll know him when you see him" for the important hand-off contact.

 

The action is good, but the priest is not very believable for me. I get that he's protecting W, but he seems really to be just evil for the sake of being evil. There's no reason to immolate someone just for possession of an artifact, especially since the other consequences to having magic paraphernalia mentioned in the story is just being pilloried.  

 

The powers, as i mentioned above, don't have any foreshadowing or lead-up, so they feel pretty random to me. If this is part of a larger work, it might be better to end at the burning since it's a good chapter-end cliffhanger, and pick up the next chapter with an explanation of why he's not dead. 

 

I enjoyed reading it and think it's a good start to something longer. Looking forward to the next part!

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Welcome back!

Holy wah, @TKWade! Your writing has improved in bounds since your last submission! This piece was engaging, the pacing good, and I enjoyed the story. Nicely done! Only a few minor quibbles below.

Character buy in

Well I don't much care for our MC, but I'm engaged enough in the world to keep reading, certainly. I have feeling he's going to be a berserker type, and I don't do berserker type, but if there are neat supporting characters, I'm cool.

Story and character consistency

Seemed alright? It's only first chapter, so not much to go on here.

20 hours ago, Robinski said:

I’m pretty much at the point that I want the story to be about the lady in the purple cloak.

YES. I'm hanging my hopes on her being the lead secondary character, or another POV character.

20 hours ago, Robinski said:

I also felt that there were no clues to him being special, so his transformation (if that’s what it is) comes from nowhere.

I agree with this as well. The specialness comes from nowhere. More foreshadowing!

15 hours ago, TKWade said:

I think that was the first thing Kais dinged me on too, bleh

Truth. We meet again, lackluster description!

12 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Cultural appropriation: This is a touchy subject.

Yuppers. And taking parts of a marginalized culture and using it in your western centric fantasy will not go over well with readers.

 

 

As I go

- 'beautiful' isn't a great descriptor, just FYI. As the genie says in Aladdin: "Pick a feature."

- you've got some pretty heavy redundancy in these first few pages. I suggest reading your text out loud to yourself. That usually helps me catch these things

- I giggled on page three. Nice burn!

- katanas in western medieval fantasy is pretty appropriative, and also, katanas are not great swords. I'm sure @industrialistDragon already hit on this, though, so I'll defer to her links

- page five: 'worked his way inside figure'? What does that mean?

- and I... don't really have any more comments. I was engaged!

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22 hours ago, TKWade said:

but occasionally my mind will just skip right over grabbing my drink before leaving

Ha-ha, lol, yes, I do this all the time, but... (a) your MC can be permitted to have a better memory than you!!; (b) you forgetting your coffee is not a matter of life and death, whereas his meeting seems to be close to it; (c) your primary purpose in the morning is to get to work, not remember your coffee. MC's main purpose is to sit at the right table - so it's his main task, not a secondary one.

I take your point about forgetfulness; it really is because it's the main thing he has to do.

23 hours ago, TKWade said:

i'm not sure i understand what you mean by his reaction towards violence seems naive? The kicking the bar stool thing was supposed to read more as an internal quip and less like an actual consideration.

I understand being offended by smugness. It would maybe have struck me less odd if he'd thought how he'd like to dump her on her c h u l l, wipe the smug smile off her face.

23 hours ago, TKWade said:

He's talking about might's and maybe's

Yeah, but he doesn't really seem to consider any other reasons why a person might drink. Self-loathing totally is one, completely accept that, but grief, guilt, boredom or just because you like the taste - or are addicted, all valid reasons to be hunched over a glass.

23 hours ago, TKWade said:

"It’s hard to feel sympathy"

I may have overplayed this a bit. I should have said that we do not of course need to feel sympathy with a character right away, although it can be a bit risky to go that route. I would have felt much more connection with R if he was acting to the best of his ability, maybe knew he was taking a risk working for W, but still had to do it because it was his only option, he had no choice, all other avenues were closed; no family to help him; no resources to fall back on. So, he doesn't look naive, but 'just' desperate.

23 hours ago, TKWade said:

R who is taking the fall to clear W's name with the church

Yeah, I didn't really get that, because the priest seemed to totally know W was guilty. So, the priest was guilty too?

23 hours ago, TKWade said:

He doesn't know what he is, so i'm not sure how to properly foreshadow that

It's that I want him to earn it somehow, not just be special at random. Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider. Iron Man gets blown up. The Fantastic Four get irradiated with cosmic energy. It's why I never liked Superman, and I think it's why all those other people who don't like Superman don't like him. He's just naturally super - it's really, really boring. If there's something weird about him, I'd like a trail of tiny tell-tales right through before he starts transforming. How you tune those to not make them too obvious, but make the reader go 'Darn, I thought there was something strange going on...' is all part of the joy of writing. You dropped one with the old blind man looking at him, I presume? I almost commented on that being done before. You could make it a blind young child instead, for example; or a blind dog. Anyway, those little clues... maybe there were others I didn't spot.

I would totally read this again after it's had a make-over. :) 

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13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I almost wish you hadn't mentioned this was from a DND game. You did a good job of explaining the unfamiliar terms in the text, and I didn't really need the background on the world ( and if I had needed the info, it should have been in the text anyway :P).  Role-play games are a great source for story ideas, but the trouble with with them is that what sounds good aloud around the gaming table and on a character sheet often sounds hackneyed, random, and even problematic when written into a narrative format. It often takes a substantial amount of massaging to turn character sheets into characters and encounters into story beats.  Even then, savvy readers can often "hear dice rolling in the background," as a friend used to say. How many dice before it becomes intolerable is a matter of preference (I can handle a good deal more than my friend could, for example)!

LOL, yeah, sorry :P

It was supposed to be a simple story origin with just a few paragraphs, but I decided to have a little fun with it. I'm not really sticking to the DnD standards, instead, I'm letting the character's and story go where it wants, so I'm taking some liberties with it instead of keeping it strictly in the realm of DnD class system/combat realism.

13 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

That katana. I wonder at the use of a katana rather than any other kind of sword, since katanas invite all kinds of samurai, ninja, and weird oriental fetishistic tropes that seem to have very little to do with the rest of the setting or story.  Mentioning a katana also implies the character has the highly specific knowledge needed to actually use it, which doesn't seem to fit with what else we know about him so far. There are plenty of other types of swords he could covet that would be more in line with the European-ish fantasy setting and more in keeping with the character's perceived class and social status. 

 I'll fix this. I'll shamelessly admit I just love the look of Katana's for their cool factor, but as it's been pointed out as not being a good enough reason for legitimate use. I do love Japanese culture, I'm a huge Anime nerd, but I clearly need to do more research and setup a reason as to why I would include the culture in this particular story if I am to do so. It wouldn't be Japanese per-say, if I did, but it would be similar, and obvious. I'm not sure how to make that work, but maybe I'll be brave enough to give it a real try at some point.

I definitely want, and need, to do more research on how to properly include different cultures into my writing. I think it's so easy to do off-hand'ishly because of growing up in America, in my generation, where everything is just kind of a melting pot of cultures, and appropriation has already happened and so it's just become kind of an acceptable norm. Especially with the internet. It's easy to pull from other cultures without regard to the development or significance.

14 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

If this is part of a larger work, it might be better to end at the burning since it's a good chapter-end cliffhanger, and pick up the next chapter with an explanation of why he's not dead.

I will give this some thought for sure. It is the first act of a five act short series, so maybe I just chose to end the first act in the wrong place.

11 hours ago, kais said:

YES. I'm hanging my hopes on her being the lead secondary character, or another POV character.

Sounds like I'm going to need to make sure she's included haha

11 hours ago, kais said:

- page five: 'worked his way inside figure'? What does that mean?

Maybe I'll to reword this. When I draw i typically start with a really light outline of the figure i'm drawing, to get proportions, and then i may embolden a few lines before working inside the light silhouette and fleshing out the details, shading, and highlights.

Thanks for the great feedback @kais and @industrialistDragon!

 

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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

Ha-ha, lol, yes, I do this all the time, but... (a) your MC can be permitted to have a better memory than you!!; (b) you forgetting your coffee is not a matter of life and death, whereas his meeting seems to be close to it; (c) your primary purpose in the morning is to get to work, not remember your coffee. MC's main purpose is to sit at the right table - so it's his main task, not a secondary one.

I take your point about forgetfulness; it really is because it's the main thing he has to do.

Point taken, and wholly agree.

3 hours ago, Robinski said:

I understand being offended by smugness. It would maybe have struck me less odd if he'd thought how he'd like to dump her on her c h u l l, wipe the smug smile off her face.

Ah yes, I was trying to find the right phrasing to make it sound more like an errant thought, but knowing it was just thought and not a valid course of action. thank you!
 

 

3 hours ago, Robinski said:

Yeah, I didn't really get that, because the priest seemed to totally know W was guilty. So, the priest was guilty too?

In a sense, yes. The overarching story has two plots and a couple of antagonists.

 

3 hours ago, Robinski said:

It's that I want him to earn it somehow, not just be special at random. Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider. Iron Man gets blown up. The Fantastic Four get irradiated with cosmic energy. It's why I never liked Superman, and I think it's why all those other people who don't like Superman don't like him. He's just naturally super - it's really, really boring. If there's something weird about him, I'd like a trail of tiny tell-tales right through before he starts transforming. How you tune those to not make them too obvious, but make the reader go 'Darn, I thought there was something strange going on...' is all part of the joy of writing. You dropped one with the old blind man looking at him, I presume? I almost commented on that being done before. You could make it a blind young child instead, for example; or a blind dog. Anyway, those little clues... maybe there were others I didn't spot.

I see your meaning now. I will work on this throughout the first act to see if I can't improve upon it. His abilities are innate, but I wanted to get across that it was his pain and suffering, both the pain from the pyre, being burned, and the sense of betrayal of W, the realization that W never intended to help him, that finally unlocked those innate abilities. I'll try to do this better in my revision.

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- "the thumb of the Arbiter cannot be escaped" sounds passive and awkward.

- I like the intrigue, and the action as it goes from plot point to plot point.

- The priest's reaction is a bit one-dimensional, if that matters.

- It might be good for us to actually meet Warren, even if it's in a small flashback, to establish his character, instead of Rowan randomly describing them after his betrayal.

- The ending feels a bit muddled. Maybe it's because of the confusion Rowan is supposedly feeling, but it doesn't work for me for some reason - it feels a little too short. 

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I liked the piece, minus the fact that the whole amulet thing is not exactly clearly explained - or ad least it skips my understanding (maybe because I have no DnD knowledge?). In my opinion it needs more detail, it bugs me that I dont have this sorted, as it feels I'm not really getting what is happening.

Since I'm late to the party and others have underlined many issues, some of which I agree, I will not insist too much. I think it needs cleaning and focusing, but all in all the set action is good and can be interesting to follow.

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