MistbornAlpaca

11/27/17 - MasterJack - Chapter 1, Alternate(G) - 662 Words

9 posts in this topic

Glad to be here again!

 
There is some blood in here, but nothing much. 
 
You don't have to have read the Prologue or Chapter 1 to grap this story.
 
For those of you who have read those, I realize it's way too similar to the Prologue to work as chapter 1, and I'll definitely change it later. 
 
So, with that in mind, I know my phrasing is terrible, and I'd love critique on it, but this is really just me exploring this character, so try to ignore it.
 
Is this character is compelling?
 
Thanks everyone! 
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Well, this was more interesting than the prologue!

I think this character does have potential, but the biggest thing that threw me out was how S.T. acts. You state that she's already a master in the first line, but then she acts like a teenager when confronted with her master's death. F.R. calling her "child" when she's 60--eh, I know this is standard for some religious  institutions, but that combined with her age/mental discrepancy doesn't work for me. I would assume that someone with the training  to be called "master" in anything would be more mentally composed  when dealing with adversity.

Some thoughts about exploring a 60 year old woman being a main character (most of these apply to an old man as a character as well):
--What/how many things has she trained in? (I'm in my 30s, and have already spent 10+ years in at least 3 very different disciplines) What other skills can she draw on at any time?
--Does she have a relationship with people other than F.R.? How insular are these sand master disciplines?
--Does she have a family? Has she been pregnant? If she has a child, how old are they? Does she have grandchildren? How do these relationships affect how she thinks about F.T. killing off people?
--Has she killed someone before? Why/how?
--It sounds like she's part of the Council. How low has she been part of it, and why would they think she had anything to do with her beloved master's death?
--Is she scared of dying?
--You mention her getting too old to run around. What old injuries does she have? Does anything just not work right any more? How does she compensate for it? 
 

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I agree with the previous comment about the protag. I also thought the way she panicked and cried felt more like a teenager than a woman of 60. It made me wonder if the people of the world lived extraordinarily long lives, and so this was normal? 

I think you might have jumped into action a little early. The character's strong reactions feel like a distraction from the death scene. Letting us know the character before introducing the discovery of the dying character can show why the character feels she's unable to handle the task etc and the show the relationship between her and her friend so we care more about the character dying and how it affects the protag. The emotional jumps-- from shock to confusion, sadness, doubt and resolute-- felt rushed. I wasn't sure if the major character emotion was supposed to be sadness for her mentor, worry about the monastery or just worry about herself. I don't think characters have to be likable to be great characters, not at all, but I hope it wasn't the latter. 

Also, watch out for repetition of words. 'Master' is used a lot. I presume they've spent time together and may call each other by their name in such a situation. 

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Just going to chime in with more of the same here. While these two are more engaging than your prologue characters, it's an incremental improvement. I still feel thrown in to things without much of a lifeline to hang on to, and very little in the way of signposts to orient myself to what's going on.  I also agree that the way the protagonist panicked was not in keeping with a mature adult. As a character exploration it's a good start, but as a replacement chapter it still has a long way to go. Keep at it! 

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First of all, thanks for reading another poorly developed character everyone, @Mandamon@Lost Owl Needs Tea , and @industrialistDragon .

Second, I very much realize that she sounds like a whiny teenager, and I think I've found a way to fix that, maybe I'll submit that in a week or two... 

Hopefully, my submissions aren't a bore, and I'm very grateful for all of you reading them!

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47 minutes ago, Master OoklaJack said:

Hopefully, my submissions aren't a bore, and I'm very grateful for all of you reading them!

@Master OoklaJack certainly not boring. The fact that you listen to our (sometimes overcritical...) critiques and learn from them goes a long way to showing your character, and I can already see your writing getting better. Keep writing and keep up the submissions!

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Straight on to the next bit. I love catching up!

  • (Page 1, Paragraph 1, Line 1) – I haven’t read your post: I like to go into subs clean, but I will do before I put these comments up. I presume from the title that you propose this as an alternative to the climbing scene? If that’s the case, my opinion would be not to have two scenes with old people together in dusty old rooms. Having the young people in peril, but struggling against the elements is far preferable to this alternative, which I guess then would come after Chapter 1?
  • (1,1,3) – “her Masters’ Master’s side” – singular possessive, not plural possessive (if you see what I mean).
  • (1,3,1) – So, Shy is old, but Fla is her master, so even older?
  • (1,5,1) – “It’s too late for me, child.” – comma required, because there is a (slight) pause before the form of address (or a name, in the same situation). Like in (1,9,1), where you do have the comma at the start of the sentence.
  • (1,5,3) – The names ‘Sand Council’ and ‘Sand Lord’ are rather simplistic. These are opportunities for world-building, for depth of setting, creating a sense of history, geography, language, etc. but these names are rather generic, and don’t take advantage of the opportunity. Your character names do go towards achieving that, which is good, but I would like to see more in the other terms. It does mean change everything, but consider doing more building.
  • (1,9,2) – the word ‘master’ appears ten times on the first page. I was getting a bit fed up of seeing it and reading it. I’d look at thinning them out a bit.
  • Also on the first page, Fla is very talkative for a woman with a spike through her chest. I think you would find there is no way she can vocalise that well. Think of the death scenes you’ve seen in movies. Vocalisation requires breathing. How well do you think you could speak with a spike through your chest?
  • (2,1,1) – You don’t need a dialogue tag after every piece of dialogue. Also, I like how Shy is resisting this. She’s being very selfish in this scene, considering that her master is dying. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, unless you don’t intend her character to be that way, but it could be a good thing if you played it up as a character trait.
  • (2,5,3) – I like learning Shy’s age, but I'm not sure this is the place to reveal it. I’m not sure how relevant it was here.
  • (2,6,3) – Ooh, yes, there’s that selfish strand again. All about Shy.
  • (2,7,2) – Hmm, why does she fall to the floor again? That really is very weak. Also, the line about telling people what to do is simplistic. I would look for more accurate, almost more mature ways to phrase things. This is a 60-year-old woman, after all. She might think something like ‘She had finally gained a measure of authority over the others.’ for example. I think the simpler phrasing is fine for the teenagers, btw. Much more in character.
  • (3,1,1) – I'm puzzled how she’s the only one. Also, I'm not 100% confident of the time line. You said Fang did the dead yesterday, so haven’t they found the bodies? Maybe not, it just seems a long time for the murders not to be discovered.

Summary: Interesting enough scene, and quite compelling, but I don’t know if I feel enough for Shy to be particularly invested in her being raised to master, or all that convinced by her emotional reaction. You’ve promised conflict and politicking however, which is good. I think I would have like to see more depth in the scene though, an explanation of the circumstances that led Shy to the room. How does this room relate to the other room? Maybe Shy could find the bodies that Fang left, and then come across her fallen master. I just felt it needed something more.

Ah, so I've read your comments now. I wonder if in fact you could have this as a second part of the prologue. There are no rules at all, if you do whatever you want to do well, and certainly nothing that says you can’t have two POVs in a prologue. I think this would elevate the prologue, and give is someone (Shy) to latch onto for going forward into the main story.

<R>

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On 27/11/2017 at 11:12 PM, Lost Owl Needs Tea said:

I also thought the way she panicked and cried felt more like a teenager than a woman of 60.

Yup, totally agree. More practice writing old folks required! :) 

On 27/11/2017 at 11:12 PM, Lost Owl Needs Tea said:

I think you might have jumped into action a little early. The character's strong reactions feel like a distraction from the death scene.

Another excellent point. I think this goes to my comment about depth. There is a good opportunity to build some background and world around these people before forging ahead, especially since the scene as written is so short.

On 29/11/2017 at 5:19 PM, Master OoklaJack said:

thanks for reading another poorly developed character

Not poorly, just needs work. Keep going :) 

On 29/11/2017 at 5:19 PM, Master OoklaJack said:

Hopefully, my submissions aren't a bore

Not boring. I think you've got some good potential and are really going to improve quickly if you've just started out. Having a good direct style at the beginning, I think, is a great place to start, and an easier place to improve from by adding depth and detail as you gain experience. Have the listed to the Writing Excuses podcasts? Are you signed up to David Farland's newsletter? Or listened to Brandon's online lectures? (YooToob) These are good sources of sound advice on writing, and really will get you thinking.

On 29/11/2017 at 6:09 PM, Mandamon said:

@Master OoklaJack certainly not boring. The fact that you listen to our (sometimes overcritical...) critiques and learn from them goes a long way to showing your character, and I can already see your writing getting better. Keep writing and keep up the submissions!

Secondly, most heartily :D 

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Apparently this got buried in my email. Whoops! I need to get back into the swing of things here.

Overall

I see that most had the same reaction as I did, so I'll not get back into it. In general, much more interesting, but your sixty year old is behaving too young for her age. Would love to see how this story evolves. Keep at it!

On 11/27/2017 at 5:16 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I still feel thrown in to things without much of a lifeline to hang on to, and very little in the way of signposts to orient myself to what's going on.

Yup. I also had this issue

 

As I go

- first paragraph I'm already much more invested in this story. You never get stories about aging female swords masters. I want this woman's story now

- oh, she's dying. Boo. Was hoping for more than just last gasping breaths

- this 60 year old woman is acting like a ten year old orphan. With that level of age comes experience and steel. I'd find it much more believable if she took a moment of silence, we got some internal monologue about loss of friends and ephemeral nature of life, then she picked up a sword that was fine in her prime, but now a little too heavy but darn it she's not going to let that stop her, and she goes out into the night, seeking vengeance and also some tea

 

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