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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/03/2012 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Personally, I don't think the naked above the waste thing is a big deal. You're writing YA, not Middle-Grade. Let's face it. If a YA reader's mommy is still making sure the content of the book is "not too mature for my baby" then... Well, that's not the type of reader you should be writing toward anyway, right? What I find somewhat hilarious about our society is that this chapter is full of violence, and yet what draws the red flag? One line describing a warrior woman's clothing. It reminds me of a time when I was watching some really bloody war movie with a man and his small daughter. I couldn't believe they were letting her watch it, what with heads exploding and stuff, but she seemed used to it. When there was a KISSING (not sex, not nudity, but kissing) scene, the man covered his daughter's eyes until it was over.
  2. 2 points
    Yep, and you shouldn't have to be a philosopher to grasp the differences between theories and laws. If one remembers that science in its inherent nature falsifies things, and that the next thing science proves will be its first, you'll be of the right mind. Theories are the crowning jewel, things that have stood up many, many attempts at falsification. Next, the removal of dark matter/energy as simple placeholder values to explain the universe as we want it to work.
  3. 2 points
    So we have John the Firstborn and Edna the Firstborn. John has a baby with Georgina the third born. Their Firstborn gets a blade. If John and Edna have a kid would Edna's firstborn get a blade? Otherwise the society would likely not allow John and Edna to have kids right? Or could John use his blade for the firstborn and Edna for the secondborn? I'm assuming only Firstborn children can get Blades. How does that work with childhood deaths and miscarriages? Why is the Emperor 'only' calling for the Firstborn? (This is the gamer in me looking to understand all the rules, Brandon Sanderson style)
  4. 2 points
    Have you played Diablo 2? The very beginning reminded me(in a really really awesome way) of the cut-scenes from d2. You should make the chains something not metallic, a metal god trapped by chains that might be metal threw me from the story for a bit. Wood has some significance in chinese myth, crystal would look seriously awesome, ice could be fun. From there I have some story questions. A: Do you have reasons behind the cultural idiosyncrasies. The Firstborn being the military is odd, especially given the apparent violence of the time period. Some of your later political discussion is a little wonky. It likely needs to be split up a little because it feels rushed. Now, I cannot wait to read what these sword things do. They sound exceptionally awesome.
  5. 2 points
    So I usually wait to read any comments posted until I've made my own list, just so I don't have a tainted persepective, but all the exact same points I jotted down had already been said here. James, even in your first post you noted one of the first things I wrote down, which was the stilted dilogue. So I guess my review becomes a sort of reinforcement of what's been said: Unnecessary prologue with way too many adjectives Stilted dialogue Uninteresting main POV (Aiden) A couple other points I saw were: Comma usage. It seemed like there were commas left out, especially in dialogue. There were several other instances like this. One other thing that caught my eye was Maybe it's just the wording, but can't there only be one firstborn per family (I guess barring twins, though even there one is born first...)? I would also agree that you should put a flashback from 23 years ago as a prologue. It would give us a lot more to care about when the marriage/trason subject comes up. At the risk of sounding snooty, if you're discovery writing and you're only on chapter 6, I would suggest writing until you think you have about half the book. Then look back. At that point you should be able to tell a lot better what parts are not needed for the story so far, what's redundant, and what looks like it adds to the narritive. At that point, the overall outline will begin to come together in your head. I already noticed the adjective use went way down after the prologue, and chapter 2 is definitely better than chapter 1, so it seems like you're on the right track.
  6. 2 points
    I have the power to read my own mind..
  7. 2 points
    Yeah i like theories and proofs and the logical arguments that support them. Also choosing cake as the food to dislike should have given me a 50/50 chance of gathering support for it. It'd be better then me admitting that i don't like bacon. Oops.
  8. 1 point
    How often do these Blade Wielders go mad or suicidal. I would think that anybody who kills lots would eventually have suicidal guilt issues...(Now that could be really fun to explore as far as a cultural deficiency, which you seem to have laid groundwork for.) What stops houses from full on murdering other houses(Ala the beginning of Homeland by R.A. Salvatore.)and taking their now inert blades? Even if they themselves don't pick up the blades to avoid the guilt issues they could easily barter with them and the like.
  9. 1 point
    Yeah, sorry for putting topless in quotes, I think I read through it and mistakenly had the incorrect phrasing in my mind, so sorry about that. I see that you weren't trying to sexualize her in the fight scene, and I support that, It just threw up a warning flag for the YA tag is all. If it were targeted towards a slightly older audience (Maybe I'm misappropriating the YA tag to be younger then expected) then this scene would work perfectly and the scene wouldn't have even sparked a bit of concern. I'm not sure how I would go about changing the scene because it feels like no matter how you spin it, most readers would find a woman fighting topless in the first chapter and it would throw up red flags for them. Unless you shifted the description and maybe neglected to mention how she was dressed? Maybe the main character sees people all dressed this way so it wouldn't be something they would notice, but because he is about to get beaten to a pulp he'll notice her muscles in her arms, or maybe callouses on her knuckles, evidence of a long history as a feared brawler. Perhaps a shift away from the clothing, If women fighting topless is common here, or if it is just customary, maybe he gives a nod to them being dressed according to tradition, "Both stepped into the ring, armed with naught but their fists and the traditional black trousers of the Watch." Something like that might give a nod to their attire while avoiding explicitly describing her. Maybe "His eyes were drawn, not to her figure, but to the callouses on her knuckles, and the lean, ropey muscles in her arms" That might also provide a bit of preparation for the fact that he is a gay protagonist later in the chapter, and make the scene between him and the other boy a bit less forced, as one of the other commenters mentioned. James
  10. 1 point
    - I like that you open with a dreary scene and then do a couple switches right in a row by a) having him fight a girl, and then having the girl be a bad chull. First I think, based on the world "girl" that he doesn't want to fight her because of a Rand al'Thor type reason, but then we see that he doesn't want to fight her because she will destroy him. Nice. - Another good touch was having him make a fist the wrong way. However, this begs the questions, what kind of Watch is this that just lets in anyone who fights one of its members? By the end of the chapter, you make it clear that they don't even have to win. There is no training program? I think it would be much more believable if you had to work your way up to the fight. - I don't like the blow-by-blow nature of the fight. The first part, where his fist hits him when he tries to block, is great, but after that... I imagine she would basically destroy him before he even knew what had happened. And he definitely wouldn't feel each individual pain as it happened. In fact, I imagine he'd be down and out cold after the second blow, if Irna is really as good as is implied. - Why does she help him up? She's showing off up until she kicks his chull. Based on that, I figure she would have just walked back to the other watchmen, getting high-fives as she went. He certainly didn't do anything in the fight that would have gained her respect, unless not backing down counts (and I don't think it would with her, from the little I know of her). I don't know. It doesn't feel true to her character. - The arrow was surprising, but then it gets confusing. Are they just standing around where arrows might fall randomly? Why are there only two arrows? It all becomes quite muddy here and I don't know what is actually happening. What are the other guardsmen actually doing? Perhaps you meant to do this, to keep it muddy because Coil's mind is muddy (like the guy in white) but... I don't know. Where did the arrow come from? What is this wall? How did he get into the Watch if he lost? Confusion abound. - Another thing was him recognizing Irna. What? Why didn't he recognize her sooner? - I didn't get a feel for the setting either. Basically, I was picturing Castle Black, but I'm not sure if that's what you were going for, or if it just came across that way. - Why wouldn't Hael tell Coil about how Boar will take a fall?
  11. 1 point
    Yados hit the major points. I don't feel like either of the chapters has a focus. I like what Brandon said about determining where a chapter begins and ends. Ask yourself, What does this chapter accomplish? What is this chapter FOR? Furthering the plot is not enough to justify a chapter. I'm told that the world is horrible, but I don't see it. I kept asking myself, Why is that there? Like the tapestry that A doesn't notice but that we get a detailed description of. And why is Z even present at this conference that could be considered treason? I highly doubt, in this bloodthirsty world you describe, that the entire conversation in chapter 2 would happen in Z's presence at all. Not to mention, it seems like it's already decided that Dalen is coming to teach Z, so why do they talk as if it isn't already decided? Something else that threw me out of the story were the adjectives, especially non-specific ones like "great" which you use about 10 times in the first few pages. It's hard to really critique further because I'm not sure what the scope of this story is yet, or what your planning to do. I feel there is probably information here that can be held back until a later chapter, but I can't pinpoint it at this time. For all I know A and Z both have huge and different character arcs, and both princesses as well. Based on this alone, though, I don't see the need of A at all, or the barren princess. Another thing I have to point out is the redundancy. For instance, considering the length of the chapters, you only needed to explain that the firstborn gets a Krathsteel sword once.
  12. 1 point
    You say there's no sexual content, but I sort of agree with James on this one. While nothing is overt so far, I think this would definitely be ranging to the upper YA area with a first chapter topless reference, and with the obvious relationship between Coil and Hael. That part sort of felt forced to me. Maybe it's just that they're already on the "L" word in the first chapter, rather than developing their relationship. YA is all about relationships growing, not about ones that are already formed. If Coil and Hael are already together, where do they have to go in a relationship except toward the sexual? Ok--you can have them grow as people, but that misses out on the "falling for someone", which I always find is the best part. In the YA I've read, even if two characters know they're going to get together, the plot is still about them finding out how to have a relationship. As to the macro/story part, I liked it. Setup, tension, characters, and dialogue were all good. It feels like you took time to plot things out well. Some more nitpicky things: The setting was a little light. I wasn't sure where the characters were in the circle vs. where the attack was coming from. There's a wall, there's a village (that they've all lived in their whole life, I gather), but is the wall right there, in case arrows coming is a BIG threat, or is the village a little ways off and the wall can hold things off for a while? I also felt your early hook contradicted the later story. Coil was going to fight a girl, then you turn it around and the girl is a nutso who's going to knock his teeth in. Great, except he knew this person as a little girl? Everyone else knows she's psycho? Most of these people seem to come from the same place in childhood, so how dense is he? Usually girls like that have a reputation that precedes them. This ties back in with the setting. If I know how far the Watch is from where people live, it becomes more reasonable for him not to know about Irna, and for him not to even know how to make a fist, when these people obviously have some pretty real threats facing them on a daily basis.
  13. 1 point
    I like the premise, and was very immersed until the second page, "chained forest" was a bit of a block. I had to stop and make sure I didn't miss anything, then was trying to find if something was mentioned in the next paragraph. It might be that I'm just reading it strangely and it makes perfect sense in context, or it will make sense later. But content, not typos right. Other then that disconnect (And a single word missing, right as the arrow fire begins) the premise was set up very well. There was a good feel for the setting, and the aspirations of Coil trying to enter into the Watch. I thought the sequence with Coil learning that he could have just challenged Boar to be quite funny. Some other thoughts/suggestions. Perhaps introduce earlier the reason he wants to join the Watch, or hint that there is a good reason for him about to enter into an arena and get beaten to a pulp. Maybe somewhere in the dialogue the comment could be made about how this was a dumb idea, but that his friend understood why he was doing this. I didn't get a feel for the setting, just that he was about to fight for a place in the Watch. You mentioned in the note about this place being one of the last kingdoms of men, maybe some feel for that could be introduced? It didn't feel like I was very attached to the scenario, that it was somewhere cold but could have easily been tribal battles, or a rite of passage into adulthood or some other setting. The fight scene was done very well, I liked the realism, that someone with no experience couldn't stand up to someone who is much more experienced. And the disorientation experienced by a person getting beaten up was quite realistic. Irna seemed to have a bit drawn out dialogue while she was beating up on Coil. It sounded like a thought he could have had, that this was his fate brought on himself. Maybe if her sentence was broken up by blows, maybe light taunting hits meant to humiliate and make Coil realize just how big of a mistake he has made would fit her personality. I liked the switch, instead of "He closed his eyes and called on some well of unknown magical power, stunning her and blasting her back" which is what I was expecting, opening his eyes and seeing arrows was excellent. It was almost like I was expecting the 'Hero draws on wells of power under stress' trope, which I don't have issue with because it can be done really well, but I was expecting trope and got the reaction of "Hey, that's just life favoring this character." Also, if you're aiming for a YA audience, and this is the first chapter, the tension, story and all work great, except for one part, and that was describing Irna. If this is young adult, some parents might read this and want to recommend this to their kid, or read the first chapter to test for content and see if it works. I know some parents who would, upon seeing the description of the female as topless would close the book or not recommend it. The other side of that is that the sex appeal of that is innocuous enough that some might overlook it, and some younger readers might go "Hey read this, there's a topless chick in the first chapter". Maybe that could be changed/moved to later, if it's part of the culture maybe introduce it later in the book, or if its necessary for the fight scene keep it, but "topless" could be "Both wore only a pair of loose fitting trousers, leaving their arms unlimbered." It conveys the same meaning, and uses more words, but doesn't carry the same connotations as "topless does" Those are my initial thoughts and I might have more later, if/when I do I'll post them up. James
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