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About AuthorityHellas16

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    Authority Hellas
  • Birthday 03/16/1993

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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Writing, Reading, SCUBA

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  1. Thanks for the feedback as always, guys. On reflection, I agree with everything you guys have said. I think there can be a lot more tension built up with Atena's confrontation with the council, and there can be a better segue into her teaching. The teaching segment was meant to give the reader another aspect of her character, but it was taken from a previous draft, so there was a bit of welding going here. A couple of explanations: - Tiberius and Silvanus are meant to represent the worst of humanity. They aren't bad guys per se, but they are certainly bad people. Tiberius is egotistical and shallow, while Silvanus is a cowardly scumbag. I'm sure I can bring this distinction (compared to the sociopathic evil of Cronus) out better - The Monastery is the name of the Ordo's base. I should explain that more as well. I'll be taking a break from submitting for a little bit to work on Atena's character, as I feel there could be a little more depth and I could do with a better understanding of her myself. I hope to blow you away when I get back Cheers!
  2. Hi all, Here’s the newest chapter of the Thousand-Yard Stare. In it, we see Atena face the meddling of outside politicians for the first time (to the reader, at least), see her take a class of prospective soldiers at the Monastery, and come face-to-face with an old enemy. Aims in this chapter: New Characters: lots and lots introduced here. The other alta who make up the Council, as well as one young soldier who comes into play later in the story Existing Character Details: further explanation of Atena’s frustration with the Council, as well as some of her military philosophies. There is also a hint of feelings that Marcus may have for Atena. Is it requited? You’ll just have to wait and see... Set up: for an explosive next chapter. As usual, if you could pay special attention to the characters and pacing of this chapter, two weak points from my previous submission. Any and all other thoughts are welcome as always. Cheers, AH16 Previously… Atena fled the battle against the nightspawn, fleeing to the forests of the Mor’kai Siwatu. Despite her rather lame attempts to avoid her old friend and mentor, she was discovered and roped into a conversation about her cracking psyche, as well as her desire for the peace of death. Staying with Siwatu to recover from the mental stressors of the battle, Atena trained for a few weeks. In particular, she tried to master the Forbidden Sphere, the most powerful Forging techniques in existence, all of which were created and used by the Creator God Mor. Her attempts to master these almighty techniques fail, unfortunately, and despite her further attempts to clear her mind, she continues to find herself drawn back into the war that had dominated her life. She decides to return to her post as Field Marshal.
  3. I'm up for the 14th as well if there's space
  4. Thanks everyone, for the great feedback. I've taken it all on board, and have tried to give these chapters more of a focus. I guess part of the aim was to get away from a lot of the battle-type stuff; I've found nothing is more boring than fight after fight. These two chapters were intended to be a bit of a breather, a bit more whimsical, because stuff starts to get heavy soon (spoiler!). Of course there's a difference between light and pointless, and I've tried to rectify that, so thanks all so much!
  5. Hi all, It’s been a while since I submitted; life gets in the way of writing sometimes, unfortunately. Anyway, I’ve chosen to re-submit Chapter 3 (hopefully improved from last time) and add a new chapter to maintain interest. Usual questions (characters, pacing, plot holes, widespread confusion +/- hysteria etc. etc.) if you please. Thanks so much! AH16 Previously: Atena, the Field Marshal of the Ordo Milita, responds to a nightspawn incursion with her friend and CO Marcus and her army at her back. While the battle is a hard-fought victory, it is only the intervention of the renegade Vulcan and his warband that secures Altamar’s safety. In addition, two civilian chroniclers - sent by the Inquisition for propaganda purposes - are killed when they get far too close to the enemy. Atena blames herself for this, as she was overcome with paralysing memories as the chroniclers were murdered. Shaken by her inability to save those under her care, she requests a brief leave of absence to regroup and piece herself back together…
  6. Hi all, it's been a while since I was able to drop by. Got a lot of reviewing to do, but I'd like to put my name down to submit a couple of chapters this coming week.
  7. Thanks Puddles. As always, your comments are insightful and detailed. I particularly appreciate your comment about the learning curve. I'll ensure that the terms I use are more pronounced; it is hard when you intrinsically know what you mean but forget that other's don't because you made it all up!
  8. Hey Puddles, Excited to read what you've got. I have no doubt that it will be thoroughly enjoyable. I'll try and provide good feedback. Overall thoughts: I like the characters: you seem to have stayed away from some of the tried and true archetypes and have created characters that are both interesting and have room to grow. Some writers lay everything about their character on the line in the first few pages and leave no reason for us to be interested in them. You give just enough insight to know who we should sympathise with and who we should hate, while stringing us along looking for more. Well done! I especially like Landon's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde vibe and look forward to how you tackle this character A few clumsy bits aside, I like your prose. It got better as I read, but by and large it seemed to flow I don't understand why Landon was in his comfy slippers if an entire constabulary (plus some members of the higher echelons) were after him. I hope this will be explained The fight scene was good in places, and a little confusing in others. Nothing a little read-over won't fix, though. I'm looking forward to reading your next submission As I go: Landon Immediately I like how you describe Landon. You give him very relatable, understandable emotions; agonising over a letter sent to (I presume) a loved one is something that many readers would have done and you describe it quite eloquently. Well done "...research in his legacy, but could he handle what he found?" This just screams full stop. Try and keep the sentences punchy when you're aiming for impact You set up the conflict well, but I'd use something I learned from Patrick Rothfuss (who, incidentally you MUST read if you haven't already!!) One thing he does wonderfully is use all five senses to set a scene. If you delved into how quiet the scene was before he first heard the thunk, the impact would be much greater "Landon shouted, and then he darted at the men." Again, long, flowery phrases have their place, but when you are writing an action scene, you want it short, sharp and brisk. Otherwise the writing lags and the reader loses their sense of pace. "Landon's left hand ached." This is the sort of niggly thing that is most effective when it's only noticed after the battle. When a man's adrenaline's running high and they are focussed on surviving or protecting someone they love, people tend not to notice these little niggles. A few word choices in the fight scene could be improved. For example, Landon "jamming his pelvis" into the constable's gut? That conjured a rather inappropriate (and hilarious) mental image The fight scene where Landon has to try and save his daughter sucked me in, which was good. I like your prose and descriptive talents. I do think Landon swung from enraged, to meek, to enraged again perhaps a bit too quickly, but given the circumstances, it was acceptable. The whole thing could do with some wordsmithing here and there, but overall, I liked it Raist "He'd never seen that before." Implied by his disbelief that Landon withstood two blasts I don't have much of a feel for Raist's character. He could be a good guy who is just unpleasant (a hard character to get right) or he could be a bad guy. He seems to place a great importance on discipline, but his comment about framing the scene so bandits could be blamed gives him a shifty feel. Wish I had more insight into his character here Reynauld Interesting that Raist calls Reynauld "my Lord." He seems like a slothful, drunken character to me, one that someone as iron-willed as Raist would quickly dispose of (perhaps he's a loyal attack dog who does not question his station?). The image I had was of Mr Gibbs from Pirates of the Caribbean, when he's introduced sleeping with pigs in Tortuga! Ah, the introduction of marbled floors and layered silks make me change my image. Perhaps include that earlier; it would be an interesting juxtaposition I have to admit I was struggling not to skim through the sections of exposition at the start of Reynauld's second chapter. You're dropping in a lot of names without much context. I'd like to have some idea where all these places and who all these people were. So now Reynauld is "your Grace," rather than "my Lord?" To quote the Duke of Wellington from Blackadder III "WHERE WERE YOU EDUCATED, THE DAGO DANCING CLASS???" Joking aside, ensure that you keep these things consistent, or if Reynauld has more than one title, perhaps list them in his introduction, like they do in Game of Thrones I'm not sure how to imagine the Protectors. In my head they're heavily armed, elite guards, but I don't think I saw that anywhere. I'm getting a real Pope and Swiss Guard vibe to these characters. I'm not sure who's talking when Raist and Reynauld are discussing Lord Barryl. Perhaps clear that up a bit It appears my earlier thoughts of Raist being a loyal attack dog were premature. If there's no reason for him to be so subservient, why does he? From what you've shown us, he could clearly knock this alcoholic boob off his feet in moments. Some context over why he holds such a thin sway over Raist would be good I do like how you handled Landon's daughter's fate. A delicate way to broach (what I assume was) the death of a child. Be wary of the whole "women in fridges" argument; it's a trap I've fallen into myself Borrowing from the Writing Excuses podcast, I think the ending would be more effective if you revealed what state Landon was in before ending the chapter. As it is, it comes across as a little anticlimactic.
  9. Sorry I'm a bit late to this, Hobbit; weekdays usually aren't that free for me (as you may have noticed) Overall, I liked the style of this submission a lot better than the last one I read (don't think it was the most recent one, however). It flows better, and the characters seem to be more alive. I always think that giving characters an existence outside the linear plot makes them feel more like people; after all, real people don't live in a single story! As I go: "Auren choked." Not the word I'd use to describe incredulous laughter without something to choke on. I'd use "guffaw" or something similar, or have him drink from a waterskin before laughing I like the general trend of this conversation between Auren and Telethas a lot better than last time. Given the presence of these trials, or games, their conversation seems to have meaning, direction and context. It sets it up nicely. I'd be careful not to languish on it too long, however, lest your reader take a page from the book of Monty Python and start yelling "GET ON WITH IT!!" As a general rule, I'd try and include more descriptions on what your characters are doing. Humans have constant facial expressions, even if that expression is "blank." Where relevant, show us these changes in expression, body language, tone of voice. Again, it makes them seem more real rather than like bad actors on a stage "Jerk": a small quibble, but this word broke my immersion slightly. I'm a big proponent of free choice in the style of language in a book; in a fantasy setting, language may not have evolved in the same way as ours, so having pseudo-medieval language in a pseudo-medieval setting is not a must (though it is easier as it plays to our preconceptions). But you MUST be consistent, lest you break the reader's immersion One of the things I like most is the care you've taken to reveal Selnest's crimes. Previously, you had the characters talking about it using some of the dreaded "as you know" dialogue. Now, you've made the reader and Auren approach the issue from the same point of view, which is much more effective. Well done. I would caution you against being too Anvilicious (look up TV Tropes if you're not familiar with this) about him beating his wife. While a terrible crime, don't have your characters go overboard with it, because it may sound like you're on a soapbox. I don't understant why Auren feels he can discuss Selnest with the Elder's Circle, especially since you've made it abundantly clear he's not yet considered a man. Am I missing something? Selnest seems like a real bastard Again, why does Auren feel that he, a not-yet-man, can barge in and demand to speak to the Elder? If you're trying to establish that he's impertinent, I'd advise mentioning this in passing, like saying he was "ignorant of his own impertinence" or something similar. Just so I know I'm not missing something, or that you've thought this through I guess the main issue I have with the ending is that I don't know the significance of the separate punishments and thus have no ability to visualise or quantify how bad they are. Sure, you make it sound bad, but unless I missed something, a lot of the dialogue surrounding the Southern Lands and the Northern Peak is rather vague. It'd be like me saying "He's been sentenced to eat fifteen hundred rothleberries" without explaining what "rothleberries" were (NB. I just made them up ). If you were to insert a little descriptor somewhere, I think the impact of the conclusion would be exponentially greater. Overall, I liked this version a lot more than the last one. The characters seemed crisper, the community setting seems more alive and I'm more interested to see what happens to Selnest and how it affects the plot. Again, more of a "future advice" thing rather than a criticism, but I'd avoid some of the group tropes that have come up in high fantasy stories before. I know I mentioned this last time, but I couldn't help but draw correlations between three of your main characters (Auren, Telethas and Kaltus) with the trio from Wheel of Time (Rand, Perrin and Mat respectively). Just wanted to give you a heads up so you can avoid falling into well-trodden territory. Looking forward to more!
  10. Thanks as always for the feedback, everyone. Really appreciate it. I agree with almost all of what you've said, and will work towards tweaking this chapter accordingly. Don't think I need to burden you all with a resubmit, though (which I'm sure many are happy about )
  11. Hello all, Thanks for reading, as always. Chapter 3 follows on immediately after the end of chapter 2: Atena has won the battle against the nightspawn (with a little help from her old ally Vulcan), but all that is on her mind are the deaths of the two chroniclers, which she feels responsible for. She asks Marcus for a period of leave, and travels to her other sanctuary, Niumbaani’s great forest. Here, she meets her mentor, the god Scrios. There are two main aims I had when constructing this chapter. The first was to introduce Scrios, a major character in Atena’s backstory, playing the part of her mentor, and to examine Atena’s PTSD in a little more depth. The conversation between the two aims to shed some more light on why she continues to fight despite barely making it through each day. Accordingly, I’d like to know if I’ve achieved these “chapter goals” with this rendition, and how they could be achieved better. I’d also like to know if the plot is a little slow to advance, as I’m worried I may be focussing too much on the characters and world building. As always, grammatical, plot-related, wordsmithing and any other comments (both positive and constructive) are always welcome! AH16
  12. I wasn't going to submit this week, but if no one else is going to....
  13. As always, thanks for the wonderful feedback, everyone. I'm thrilled majority of it is positive, and as usual, you all raise some great points. As always, I take all of it in, but I'll discuss the one point that seems to have evoked a bit of discussion, which is Atena's request for some leave. Without spoiling much, I'll say that I had the same idea as kaisa and Ernei and have incorporated it into Atena's background; a while ago, she abandoned her post and left her people behind. Subsequently a cataclysm befell her home and she still feels guilty about not being there to defend it. That's why she continues to fight, and when things get to the point where she starts faltering, she takes some time to piece herself back together just enough so she can get back to the fight. It's a major part of why she is so damaged, as well as a big part of why she is so close to Marcus; because he understands her pain. As always, thanks for the feedback. And special thanks to Matt; I really liked your great attention to detail while keeping an eye on the bigger picture. I'd love it if you stayed on for the rest of this crazy journey. P.S. For Matt and Ernei, I've attached the first two chapters below in case you would like to get caught up. If you have any burning critiques, feel free to message me. Reading Excuses - 08.08.16 - AuthorityHellas16 - The Thousand Yard Stare - Chapter 1, Resubmit [V, L].docx Reading Excuses - 08.08.16 - AuthorityHellas16 - When Good Angels Do Nothing (redux)- Prologue [V, L].docx
  14. Welcome to Reading Excuses. I'm sure you'll get heaps of great advice here. First of, you've picked a tough topic to tackle in mental illness. Having incorporated proper depictions (rather than Hollywood psychology) of mental illness in my own work, I can attest to how difficult it is. So I'm interested to see how you go with this. Overall: I'm sure you intended for this, but this is an incredibly disturbing piece of work. The characters pain is very visceral, and the detail you have gone into makes me think of personal experience (my sincere condolences if that's true). While it's well done from an awareness point of view, as a narrative, it's hard to get into because it's so overwhelmingly bleak. I think you need to be very careful to avoid Tyler becoming a Sympathy Sue, that is someone whose life is so relentlessly, superfluously tragic simply to gain sympathy from the reader. He's teetering on the edge at the moment. As I go: The initial section is a little meandering. You give good descriptions of the main character, but without much sense of purpose. If you're trying to capture the aimlessness of your character, then I think it works well "About as thick as an earthworm." I like this description, because it prevents you having to resort to numbers, which are hard to visualise There's a repetitive focus on how the character lacks joy, how he could vividly remember his scars, how he's not taking care of himself, how he can't sleep. While these are all potential hallmarks of mental illness, the far greater marker is not sadness but apathy, a complete lack of feeling anything. People with major depression lack hobbies, energy, the will to eat (which makes the weight gain thing a little odd; perhaps make him skin and bones?). You have a golden opportunity with the dirty room to comment on how the character may want to clean the room in a cerebral sense, but can never be bothered to/muster up the energy to do it. Not only would this be an interesting frame of mind to capture, but it would also help dispel the widespread (and damaging) belief that depression is simply being really really sad. Oh, MetaHuman. This got interesting! A well done twist. An interesting potential here (and it's quite common in the real world too) is to have Tyler unaware that he is unwell. In medical terms we call it a lack of "insight" into his condition. I mention this for a couple of reasons: the repeated mentions of when Tyler was "happy" and how he's "mentally ill" do come across as a bit heavy handed after a while. Having him unaware of his illness would force you to be a bit more subtle with this aspect. It would also be a good source of conflict; how would Tyler's parents and Brent react to him slowly tearing himself apart, but when they talk to him he's unable to comprehend what they're worried about? I reckon Brent should really have to drag Tyler over if you want to illustrate his anhedonism. The offer of food shouldn't be enough "Math class. Also known as the bane of my existence." After vividly illustrating how cruel and bleak Tyler's life is, the usual schoolyard drama seems a little pale by comparison. "Apparently another side effect is sarcastic conversations with yourself." It seems your going for an internal monologue in places here. An interesting choice, but this style is quite hard to pull of when you have to describe what the character's doing. And the shift between the usual first person perspective and the internal monologue can be jarring in places. "James Hurley." While it's a fact that kids with mental illness do tend to get bullied more (which fractures their already fragile mental state) again, it all seems a little trivial compared to Tyler's existential crisis "Ms Frizzle." Kudos for the Magic School Bus reference (loved that show as a kid!) As someone with two autistic brothers, I think your portrayal of Dylan is bang on. When I first read he was "autistic," I was readying myself for another "rainman" knock-off. But Dylan is just like my little brother; relentlessly positive and happy and able to express himself and emote even if he can't form words. But at the same time, that makes him no more or less of a human being than anyone else. Kudos to you, good sir. I like your description of Brent's powers. The forest walk is very interesting, and a nice break from the bleak, but again, it does take away from Tyler's dark life if he can be so readily cheered up. This was hard to get through, if I'm honest. The writing was fine, but the subject matter was very very dark. You did a good job of achieving that, but it did make it difficult to engage. I'd be interested to see what you did when you fill the story out; I hope that Tyler gets some direction in his life.
  15. Hi all, So, for the second straight week, I’m resubmitting a chapter; this time it’s chapter 2. The main reason for this is that I’ve been told a few times in the past that the battles lack consequences, or that Atena seems to win too easily. While this was partially deliberate to show how good she is at her job, I did take it a bit too far, to the point of removing the credibility of the nightspawn altogether. I’ve tried to address those issues, as well as a few questions brought up in previous chapters, with this one. I also took the chance to introduce a new character, Vulcan, who I intend to be a counterpoint to Atena, as a man of few words who is soft-spoken and considerate, rather than the emotional responses that our protagonist regularly exhibits. He only gets a cameo here, but let me know what you think. Thanks again!