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kais

TCS - Chapter 'Exile' - kais 12/11/17 3156 words - IGNORE EVERYTHING BUT FIRST STORY

19 posts in this topic

Please abbreviate all names (planets, people), and thank you all for going through a draft zero. It's never pretty, but always useful!

Edit: Apparently I sent the draft document instead of just the first story. SORRY! PLEASE ignore everything except that first section. Nothing else was even remotely ready to go out yet. 

Edited by kais
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@kais , I have not received your story. Will you make sure it sent/send it again? I'm not sure what's wrong.

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1 hour ago, MasterJack said:

Will you make sure it sent/send it again?

@MasterJack maybe check your spam folder? @industrialistDragon has confirmed it went through. If you DM me I can just send it to your email, if nothing else.

Anyone else not get it?

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Ooh, I didn’t expect this, it’s so… lengthy. I'm sure you used the word ‘short’ in the email ;)

Exile

  • “You look like a Terran” – rofl.
  • “three Heave Guards” – typo, x2 in same paragraph.
  • “Security had never not even taken notice” – imo.
  • “her primary task was would be searching the heavens” – she’s not there yet, right?
  • (page 4) – There’s a fair front loading of the story with domestic bliss. It’s good for conveying background and setup, but it’s a bit slow for pulling a new reader into the world. I see this opening section is circa 6 pages. I suspect on edit you could compress it a bit. I see that we go into a scene with settees (I’ll never quite get used to that word, bit it is different, which is good) flying overhead, which is a good action note to keep me reading.
  • another mention of the strawberry blonde hair seemed a bit much to me, so soon after the last.
  • On the subject of ‘uncle’, it popped into my head just there that there must(?) be a term for one’s cousin’s tal, which applies like uncle and aunt, unless it’s just cousin’s tal., of course.
  • “It was made from cotton, not rayon, like the actual HG robes” – I find this confusing. To me, this says the HG robes are cotton, I think because of the second comma.
  • “CT board members” – Now, I know what this is, but there may be readers of this story who would not. I see you explain CT later, but not here.
  • Also, with the flash of gold, I thought it was someone in a golden robe coming onto the dais, which was sort of underlined, for me, when you mentioned the president, only then is it noted it’s a craft landing.
  • ‘his brown pants and shirt a drab, wet blanket over the ceremony” – grammar.
  • The list of N’s ‘transgressions’ is more extensive than I expected from the first reference in the previous scene, where it sounded like she had just turned up at a rally. This feels a bit Agatha Christie—here’s a bunch of information that you didn’t know that directly affects the situation and changes the perspective.
  • “You can’t!” – So, I knew what was coming, but it was still a riveting read, the way everything well apart. The thing is, I struggle to generate much sympathy for N. I mean, it was extraordinarily naïve of her to think she could rail against the state and still be allowed to graduate with honour, especially since she had been censured before—or warned at least. I feel like she comes over rather bratty, especially to a new reader.
  • “If she went to space” – this seems like a huge leap for me. If they were travelling a long distance on planet, would they not still go up to a cruising altitude? It seems too soon to reach this conclusion.

Yeah, okay, a series of shorts. I get it. I’ll come back to the other pieces. As for this one, entertaining enough because I knew the background to the situation. Pretty much impossible for me to comment on it as a stand-alone, of course. I was entertained. I don’t think it’s a problem that I didn’t feel all the much sympathy for N. I felt some, but she did bring it on herself. Still, she’s an engaging enough character. I imagine it would entertain fans already familiar with Ard the stories. Others? I'm not quite sure how satisfying the arc is. For me, it reads more like a prologue? BUT, I believe that is a thing now; releasing deleted scenes and such on websites, etc. so, no harm, no foul.

I'm looking forward to reading the others, but will go do something else first!

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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15 hours ago, kais said:

@MasterJack maybe check your spam folder? @industrialistDragon has confirmed it went through. If you DM me I can just send it to your email, if nothing else.

Anyone else not get it?

It's not in my spam folder ethier. I didn't  get @Robinski's ethier, I'll PM him and see what's up. 

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10 hours ago, Robinski said:

BUT, I believe that is a thing now; releasing deleted scenes and such on websites, etc. so, no harm, no foul.

This is so true! My theory is that, with the new trend, esp in SFF, to keep things snappy and moving along, we cut out a lot of the 'home' moments. But readers still want those things, and most of us end up writing them, even if they get cut later. A number of authors have found that people will revisit the world just for the shorts and cut scenes (I guess this holds for movies, too, eh?), hence, this book.

The tricky part for me will be still making the sections arc, and making them accessible to readers unfamiliar with the world. I was hoping to find a balance similar to Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina, from the Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe series. But I don't know how well I will pull it off. Shorts like this are fundamentally a mixture of cut scenes and author fanfic. Should I pretend it is anything more than fan service? Input much appreciated. 

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4 hours ago, MasterJack said:

I'll PM him and see what's up. 

@MasterJack you should also PM @Silk, as she moderates the list.

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Exile short 1

Like the sibling banter, but the first page and a half to two pages is very redundant. it's difficult for me to stay interested. 

 

Not digging the mom. She reminds me of my maternal grandmother, who I was told I was supposed to like like despite the fact that to child-me she looked scary, smelled bad, and apparently enjoyed taking people on guilt trips. I do not find her very sympathetic at all, and thus am having a tough time being invested in N caring so much about her. 

Ne is really channeling So from Foxfire here, from the answering the aggressive mother while looking at the floor, to the "of course this is what will happen" daydreams during the graduation ceremony, to responding to stress by crossing arms. It feels very So cosplaying Ne. Maybe after you've gotten a few more Ar stories under your belt and are fully back into space lesbians mode, come back to this one for a rewrite? 

The ending felt rushed. I'd rather spend more time on the ceremony, capture, and arrival than basically all the lead up. I also question whether the space-taurs section was necessary. You've got a decent ending with a potentially big punch if you play up the realizing-its-a-spaceship and the associated loss from that.  Not a happy or hopeful one, but, well, this is not a happy or hopeful part of the timeline for the protagonist. Don't pull the punch it just 'cause it's a downer ending. Downer ending's are why short stories were invented! 

I also agree with @Robinski that this story is rather heavily relying on prior book knowledge to give it internal context, emotional impact, and emotional buy-in. I don't know how stand-alone this short collection is intended to be, however, so I can't say whether those things are in need of correction or not. I feel like it needs some amount more just to hang together better as a story, but then again, if the focus shifts to the interesting bits, maybe not? 

 

Bar short 2

 

Again, feeling a lot of Foxfire in this, though maybe less than before. I have less of a hard time believing cowed Ne in this situation than I did in the previous one. But still. Could use a pass for disconnecting  intermingled protagonists.

 

", his face had chanced into incredulity."  ...this had better be a typo... :angry: <_<:lol:

 

"on the lamb"  -- lam.  On the run from authority is lam. Young fuzzy ruminants are lambs. But to continue to quibble, "on the lam" is usually in reference to being on the run from the police, who actively want to chase you. It has the implication of flight (from pursuit). Ne is neither really running, nor being pursued.  "Forced expatriation" might be another glib option. "Involuntary Journey year." "Ersatz Journey Youth." "Life of the solo diaspora."  "Exploratory mission of one." I could probably keep going... :3

 

Yo appears to be acting rather randomly here. The argument in the alley is confusing me a lot. Part of it is the sentence structure, but part of it is that this is so very random. He's accosted her, harassed her, chased her down and belittled her and then offers her a job? That's like, borderline abusive? And what is the point of the poker game? "Interesting woman" also doesn't make a lot of sense here; I think that easter egg belongs in a Yo POV story. I feel like this is the confusing Yo from the early betas of bk3, before you'd really gotten a good grip on his character...

I feel like this one is lacking bits, especially at the beginning. We're not given a clear idea of Ne's circumstances, or how much time has passed since the first story. Again, I think her dire situation needs to be emphasized, a lot, to have it make sense as to why she'd take a complete stranger up on his random job offer after a string of demonstrated abuses and assaults. This is, again, not a terribly happy end, but once again, it's not a terribly happy part of her story. it's getting there, but that's the spice surprise bonus for previous readers, the knowledge that things get better for her. 

 

Nick short 3

Yay, nick! Uhm... the rest of this? Is this stuff that's supposed to be in here? Are these finished? I don't know what kind of comments I can give on half-finished stories...? 

Edited by industrialistDragon
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1 hour ago, industrialistDragon said:

Yay, nick! Uhm... the rest of this? Is this stuff that's supposed to be in here? Are these finished? I don't know what kind of comments I can give on half-finished stories...? 

Ummm... did I send the working document??? Darn it all. Sorry everyone! Please just read the first part and ignore everything else! ARGH!

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12 hours ago, kais said:

@MasterJack you should also PM @Silk, as she moderates the list.

Yeah, I've copied Silk in to the PM.

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12 hours ago, kais said:

But I don't know how well I will pull it off. Shorts like this are fundamentally a mixture of cut scenes and author fanfic. Should I pretend it is anything more than fan service?

I'm not really qualified to comment since I've read the first book. I knew what was coming and appreciated it as a fan. It still had tension because I didn't want it to happen!! Trying to detach myself from my prior knowledge, it's clear at the beginning what's happening in a broad sense (the 'investiture'). I think you could clarify some of N's political activities. Not really stress them or expand them, but clarify her attitude a bit and specifically, its target. For fans with knowledge of the story, I think this would be a much wanted episode, and is satisfying because of how well it ties into the books. How well would it work for a newbie? Not sure :) 

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Very cool! I was glad to get back into this universe.

Generally I agree with @Robinski and @industrialistDragon, but hopefully I have a few new comments...

Notes while reading:

pg 1: was this Ne's name now? When did it change from At?

pg 2: Heave -> Heaven (several times)

pg 2: "her uncle’s religion"
--did it change under her uncle, or did he just inherit it from the previous high priest?

pg 4: Ah, this explains the Ne vs. At name.

pg 5: then she refers to herself as At. here...some confusion, or is she transitioning from one name to another?

 

Overall, I think this explains more about Ne's past than the first two books! I was glad to finally experience this story, since we've heard about it in the books, but as Robinksi says, I don't think this would mean nearly as much to one who hasn't read Ard.

I also thought Ne's personality was a little off for the first couple pages, and I think IndustrialistDragon has pegged it--Ne's channeling So.

As to where this is going, I'm wondering how viable this is as a full book vs. releasing bonus stories on your website or as a reader magnet. 

23 hours ago, kais said:

I was hoping to find a balance similar to Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina, from the Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe series

I looooved that book so much, exactly because we got to see what was happening behind the scenes. It was one of my favorite SW books. But would I have loved it if I wasn't a fan of Star Wars? No. Even if I had just seen the movies, but didn't love them, I don't think I would have appreciated the stories. It's a book for a fan.

Similarly, this could be a book for your dedicated fans, but (I'm guessing) wouldn't sell as well as the main novels. My suggestion would be expanding from short stories to novelette or novella-length stories to get more buy-in from new readers. Or maybe have a long feature at the beginning to get readers interested, then follow up with some short stories.

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1 minute ago, Mandamon said:

My suggestion would be expanding from short stories to novelette or novella-length stories to get more buy-in from new readers. Or maybe have a long feature at the beginning to get readers interested, then follow up with some short stories.

Yes! My current plan is to have shorts at the start (mostly origin stories and how the crew met), a few secondary character stories, and half the full back half of the book be a novella for 'one year after'. I think that strikes a good balance? I don't know, but hoping you all will tell me after we slog through it all!

The question then is whether to start with the shorts or with the novella. I've seen it done both ways and wonder if the origin stories make sense first because they fill in gaps? Or lead with the novella and have the shorts as a treat at the end? I'd love to hear people's thoughts.

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On 12/12/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

three Heave Guards

I don't know why I do this. I drop that darn n off almost every time. @Mandamon used to joke about it in line edits.

 

On 12/12/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

There’s a fair front loading of the story with domestic bliss. It’s good for conveying background and setup, but it’s a bit slow for pulling a new reader into the world.

This is the consensus. I've change the intro to this short entirely, and this is now a much slimmed down middle section. Will resubmit on Monday and see if it's any better!

On 12/12/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

must(?) be a term for one’s cousin’s tal, which applies like uncle and aunt, unless it’s just cousin’s tal., of course.

I made one but for the life of me can't remember it. It's in one of the books though!

On 12/12/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

This feels a bit Agatha Christie—here’s a bunch of information that you didn’t know that directly affects the situation and changes the perspective.

Hah! I've dealt with this, I think, by adding a front section. Will see next week!

On 12/12/2017 at 0:14 AM, Robinski said:

it was extraordinarily naïve of her to think she could rail against the state and still be allowed to graduate with honour, especially since she had been censured before—or warned at least. I feel like she comes over rather bratty, especially to a new reader.

Hmm. I was going more for that sort of native privilege of upper class youth. Sort of an 'occupy wall street' mentality. She's used to being untouchable because of her uncle. Hopefully the new intro to the short will help. I feel like I'm pinning a lot of hopes on this new intro now.

Thank you so much! Excellent comments, as always.

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17 minutes ago, kais said:
On 12/12/2017 at 3:14 AM, Robinski said:

three Heave Guards

I don't know why I do this. I drop that darn n off almost every time. @Mandamon used to joke about it in line edits.

Ha--I held myself back this time.

Although given your recent experience with skiffs, I can only think about what the Heave(n) Guard pilots do in complex maneuvers.

(Hurp....hrrgl...hmmrgh...).

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44 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Although given your recent experience with skiffs,

I was not forewarned that this Alaska trip would involve mandatory boat rides across ocean. Skiffs are tiny and I think I have well established my issue with boats and motion sickness. It was a hard, hard week. 

Bonus, while I did lose consciousness during the trip, it was not from knocking my head against the wall of the skiff due to choppy waters. I was warned that could happen ahead of time. o_O

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2 hours ago, kais said:

while I did lose consciousness during the trip

:blink:

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11 hours ago, Robinski said:

:blink:

There was an unfortunate incident on a wet boardwalk in a spruce forest. The antagonist was a pointed wooden post about six inches off the ground.

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On 12/12/2017 at 5:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

The ending felt rushed

Hey hey, I finally got back to this! Did version two clear up the rushed feeling by chance?

On 12/12/2017 at 5:07 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I don't know how stand-alone this short collection is intended to be, however, so I can't say whether those things are in need of correction or not.

I don't know? I don't remember Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina having much backstory either, but every story had the same end point, so that was different. I don't know what to do here, except that this book of shorts is quickly becoming a N origin story novella, for better or for worse. Ah well. I'll keep writing and see how things shake out.

On 12/13/2017 at 10:54 AM, Mandamon said:

was this Ne's name now? When did it change from At?

I had some name typos in this. Apologies. Her actual name is 'Daughter of the....', but generally they're all known as Ne. I think the new draft cleared this up a bit? Maybe?

On 12/13/2017 at 10:54 AM, Mandamon said:

but (I'm guessing) wouldn't sell as well as the main novels.

I think the current plan is to use this as a launching board for perhaps another trilogy, if the sales go okay. There's going to be a 'one year later' novella in the back that starts setting up new conflict. Well, in my mind there will be. I'm only 20K into this new book so who knows.

Thank you both! On to this week!

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