Majestic Fox

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About Majestic Fox

  • Birthday 09/18/1985

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    Newcastle, UK

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  1. Robo san, You've got some cool ideas and solid writing here. I feel like your prose has improved since the last time I read your work. There's a lot of tech-stuff going on, but you do a good job keep the text visceral. It has rhythm and texture, and the humour is always there, and always enjoyable. However ("damnation it, why does there always have to be a 'however'?") this chapter has some major issues for me, and I fear a major rework is needed. By far and away the biggest thing is the lack of conflict. It has the illusion of jeopardy, but nothing really happens. I find a useful way to talk about conflict is by breaking it down in down into 3 levels: internal (character at odds with themselves), social (characters' desire being opposed, or they just don't like each other) and extrapersonal (conflict with environment / institutions etc). This chapter has basically no internal conflict, no social conflict, and only a smidgen of extrapersonal conflict. You might say "But they get shot at and M's mirror explodes", but really they sail through without any problems. Nothing goes wrong, and that's the problem. Your raptor idea is pretty awesome, no doubt. When I read that I shared in M's excitement, and couldn't wait to see what funny or gripping turns were going to come of that, but page after page nothing happens with those raptors, and it left me pretty disappointed. You've got such a good sense of humour - why did it not come out with these dinos? They're far too obedient. Or if you wanted to go the serious/awesome route with them, then why not give us something dramatic? (Example below).Speculating here, but let me ask: when you were writing this, did you have an intuitive feeling of Ok, time to go off-script. The outline was wrong ? I ask because I sense that you might be saving the raptors for something that you'd planned in the outline, and felt bound to stick to it, maybe? By the end of page 6 I was starting to skim-read because I was waiting for an awesome bit with those cool as f*ck raptors, or for something to go wrong for the characters. By page 9 still nothing had happened, so boredom set it, despite the solid writing. At this point I was starting to lose faith that I'd get to enjoy any meaningful conflict in this chapter. This was confirmed when they escape the guards without the slightest of issues. And still no awesome raptor moment. M sees them in the bushes when the guards are questioning them. I thought this was the perfect moment for something to go wrong. Maybe one of the raptors rips a rabbit to shreds and a piece of dripping intestine lands on the guard's shoe, they get busted and one of the character is captured. Just an idea. Something's got to go wrong. A final point on the guards.. If they remain nameless guards we’re never going to buy that they’re in any real jeopardy. It’s like they facing low-level foes on a video game, easily brushed aside. Consider bringing one of them to life in vivid, highly specific detail. Make a force of antagonism out of them. Make us go Oh rust, this isn't just a low-level, insignificant foe, this is a living, breathing, highly capable, intelligent individual and he (or she) is on to them! On the bright side, it's clear you've improved as a writer. I'm totally convinced other parts of this story are wildly entertaining. Keep writing. LBLs emailed direct.
  2. Apologies for the late reply, Mandamon. I hope this feedback is still useful to you. First off, this is the only chapter I've read of this book. Jumping in part through is always going to be confusing, so I'm going to focus comments more on the prose than the plot. Summary From what I've been able to gather, it sounds like you've got some interesting ideas at work in this story. The mysteries of the El and the Ari, and how it all links together is intriguing, however I came away feeling like the character we subsumed to plot exposition. The writing is weighted heavily toward the abstract. There is a lot more exposition of plot and character's thoughts than there is visceral, concrete description. The description, when we get it, is often only a sentence before a hefty paragraph of three of naval gazing, which makes the story much less immersive than it could be. The description lacks specificity. It also lacks a vivid rendering of the character's experience in multiple senses, which for me is a prerequisite for enjoying sci-fi or fantasy novel, since those are a big part of what makes a story immersive. Robin Hobb, Gene Wolfe and Patricia McKillip are brilliant at this, so worth revisiting their work to study just how effective this can be. Moment by Moment P1 - My experience of E's setting is vague. All the first para gives me is that there's a tower rising above her. P2 - '...something like a sail grew out of her back, and other things began cropping up in her stomach, like tiny tumors' - More specificity would be helpful here. The phrase 'other things' feels abstract, and the thing you're describing is very unusual. P3 - 'scuttling like crabs across the bridge toward her.' - this is better. For the moment, I'm immersed. P4 - 'comfortingly similar. There was no vision, no hearing, merely familiar presences.' - What about them is comfortingly similar? How are they familiar? P5 - 'She directed her senses upward..' This para leaves me a little confused. Don't have a clear picture of what's going on. P6 - 'sphere of knowledge touched one it began crawling toward her' - Interesting. Would love for this to be rendered with more specificity. P7 - 'peering out of windows and from dark alleyways' - I like that we’re in the guts of a sci-fi city, but want to know what that’s like. ‘Dark alleyways’ could be any city in any genre or time frame. P8 - 'It was so unlike the tension and pain she’d struggled through with the assassins, with I missing, even dealing with S.' - How? P9 - '..she found trees missing from planters along the street, hanging baskets empty, and even a chunk taken out of a System Beast.' - This is better description. You could make it even more immersive with specificity and multiple senses, but actually I quite like the rhythm and economy of the sentence. If you traded some naval gazing for more of this kind of thing then the text would be much improved imo. P11 'The shops beneath were crowded in twisting ways, designed to make passersby stop and gawk and buy things' - If you're going to spend precious words picking out a world detailthen I would hope for it to be something unique to that setting, as experienced through the unique lens of that character. This sentence could apply just as well to a description of almost any modern city. 'In__ exited the wall with W__ W____, shaking.' - This is the only line of description we get before some substantial naval gazing. I'm floating in the abstract here.. help me out. 'through butter.' - If I had a pack of butter for every time I saw the word butter being used in a simile then I'd have enough to make my own swimming pool, through which I would dart like a knife...through butter! P12 'kiss away all the terror in his brain' - Kinky. P13 - 'Few were as severe as what V was going through, likely because she had been separated from BP through so many cycles.' Interesting. I like this. P15 - 'There was a cavern of deep hurt and betrayal within.' - Conveying emotion can be tricky, can't it? I've used this cavern thing in the past. Can feel overwrought, but if it's YA, then maybe this level of emotion is just right, I'm not sure. Who is your audience? P16 - 19: There's some cool ideas and description here. I quite like what you're doing. One thing I came out wondering was how emotionally connected is our character to these events? Do they have any direct, personal connection to any of these places, and have we as readers shared in that during a previous chapter? If the answer is yes, then I can imagine this being quite a moving sequence.
  3. Thank you for the feedback everyone. Useful comments as always, and I really appreciate you taking the time. Also, my apologies for submitting a longer piece. For those who decided to read the whole thing - thanks a lot for putting in the extra time! For those who stopped part way through, please don't feel under any obligation to read the whole thing - I included the whole story so people would have the option to read it all if they wanted, but I gather from Silk and Robinski's private messages that this isn't the Reading Excuses way, so apologies for that. Also, it seems like as though I wasn't not on the RE mailing list at the start of the week. Silk has put me back on now, but I haven't received any of your work so if you would like feedback from me, please send me a PM and I'll make sure you get it : ) Hope the writing is going well for everyone. Thanks again.
  4. Thank you, sir! Much appreciated.
  5. Hello all, Here's a short story for you. Any feedback welcome, especially reader experience as comments in word. It's a little over 7k words - sorry for that. Hope you enjoy the tale. ~ Fox
  6. Hello friends. How are you all? Hope everyone's writing has been going well. Feels a bit cheeky dropping in without having posted anything or given feedback in a long while. I'm claiming fatherhood for my extended absence. Harder to find time now, but the writing is still happening. Would it be indecent of me to throw a short story out for feedback next week?
  7. No problem. Thanks for writing a story with attitude! Was a refreshing read. Good luck with the James White submission!
  8. I had quite a lot of critiques for this. Have sent them by email, as comments in word. The story has some good things going for it - the voice is strong and it made me laugh, but I think it has some issues. Robo-san, feel free to post the doc I sent here, if others want to see those comments. I'll leave it up to you.
  9. Just wanted to say thank you for everyone's feedback on this. I really do appreciate it.
  10. @Alderant, you've put careful thought and useful insights into this feedback. Thank you. I really appreciate it. This was really useful to know. If anyone else gives feedback, I'd very much appreciate it if you would tell me what your interpretation of the story is. Spoiler: < The demon and the narrator are the same person. If anyone gets that from this first draft I'll be impressed. > I entirely agree. If there's a moral, what would you say it is? I'm not sure if I'm going for a punchy ending with this one. I've only read one flash fiction piece that had me thinking about it the day after I read it. It's really difficult to write a story lingers in the reader's mind, but that's what I'm trying to do with this one. If it's felt more than understood logically, then it will have done its job. Normally I'd agree, but there's no way to do what I want this story to do without shifting perspective (or if there is, I don't know how). It might be that I'm asking too much of a story less than five hundred words long, but it's good to experiment : ) Good point. Thank you. I'm very sympathetic to this point. I'm always harking on at other people to show more, tell less. I'm sure I can do a better job of it here, but with a five hundred word limit I have to chose when to tell and when to show. I'll try to improve those decisions on the second draft. It makes sense. Not at all. This is one of the best crits I've received. Thanks again.
  11. Hello everyone, I'm submitting something a bit different this week. It's a flash fiction story, only 461 words. Edit: A summary of your interpretation of the story would be immensely useful. Thanks. Other than your general impression, I'd like to know what the story makes you feel (if anything). If you're left cold or confused I'd also like to know. Finally, it would be interesting to know if the story stays with you at all, after you've finished reading. Thanks.
  12. Thank you for the feedback, all. I really appreciate it. @Mandamon - You're right about the ending. I've re-written it based on your suggestion. Thanks for that. Your instincts were right. (I've attached @kais - Yes, the cape is gendered haha. Don't know why but it made me laugh. I also didn't want to refer to the cape as 'it', and having the cape as a 'she' felt like over doing the feminism which is already at the heart of the story. The goat at the end of latest version (attached) is also male though. This goat could have been female, and I might even change it, though male goats tend to larger and perhaps less likely to run away when two humans randomly fall out of the sky (originally the goat was a sheep, but I changed it for this reason). @Robinski Thank you for your thorough feedback, Robo-san. I believe I gave a warning about the roughness of this draft, but even if I had time to go over it, I still wouldn't have picked up on everything you pointed out. You clearly have grammor skillz. I agree with everything you said, with possible exception of this: I'm not attached this, but to me 'Yeh' sounds different to 'Yeah', and for some reason it felt more true to the character to write it that way. I'd be curious to know if anyone else thought this was a misspelling, or if it felt odd. @industrialistDragon Fair point. If anyone does read the revised draft, then jump off from the bottom of page 8, since only the ending has changed. Thanks again. The Girl Trickster and the Living Cape - draft 2.docx
  13. I'll join Mandamon next week with another short story if that's alright.
  14. You've got some good things going on in this chapter. I'd say the most compelling thing is the idea you're working with - they definitely piqued my interest. There's also quite a good balance of dialogue to prose, which helps the pacing. Here are some things that might help you improve on the next rewrite. Chapter opening (first page) did not draw me in. It didn't immerse me in E's emotions/state of mind or her immediate surroundings. It didn't make me want to know what was going to happen next. I felt outside of the character - a step removed. Some sentences feel like they're trying to do too much, e.g. D's robe—E wouldn’t call her a majus, not anymore—drifted up in the air with each bounce, but her boots went high enough on her legs that none of her scaly skin showed. Exposition is crow-barred in and feels awkward to me. E was familiar with that skin. She had changed herself into a Ssn before, when they visited the insane Ari in Gloomlight prison. She'd unwittingly worn the skin of those who had subjugated the only remainder of her species. Is this a recap? Wondering why it is at the beginning of the chapter. Is it essential? Passive voice and repetitive sentence structure are the main problems with this bit, and they crop throughout the chapter. I like how D speaks. His phrasing makes him feel distinct. “Me, I can blindfold you if you wish. I can stop your ears and your nose. But you came voluntarily. Your brother, he did not." This is good. I’ll gather what information I can, and then I will free myself. She didn't plan on being here long, if she had any say in the matter. Her brother had been injured and was still shaking off the effects of the conglomeration of Ari in the Gloomlight prison when he was captured. E had come prepared, and of her own volition. She could do better. This bit is meant to establish her motivation, which is good, but it feels a bit distant from E’s emotions. I don’t really feel her compassion for her brother. I don’t get any sense of her emotional state, since we’re being told, not shown. Feels removed. The chapter is roughly 90% abstract (character thoughts, exposition, showing instead of telling, dialogue etc) and only 10% description. When we do get description, it often lacks specificity, movement, and sensory depth. I won't bang on about this since you're already aware of it, but I think this is one of the main reasons I don't feel as immersed in the story as I'd like to. When I'm reading this work it feels to me as though the author’s voice is stronger than the character’s voice. I don’t get much of a sense of who E is as a person - her attitude, manner, opinions, style, weakness distinctive traits, hopes, insecurities, burning desires, her unique way of thinking and experiencing the world. This is another main reason why the story is not compelling me as much as I hope for going in. I like the ending - what happens there is interesting and it does a good job of making me want to know what's going to happen next. The ideas in this story are definitely strong enough, and if you can make the characters more vivid and the prose more immersive then I feel like the novel will be vastly improved. Hope there's some useful stuff in there.
  15. Something a bit different this time.. A fun little faerie tale about a girl who wants to become a trickster. It's a first draft so apologies for typos and any roughness that slipped in. All feedback welcome.