Jack the Halls

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Jack the Halls last won the day on July 3 2012

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24 Awakened Object

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    Reading, Writing, Books, Books, Books
  1. Considering people are constantly spending $25+ on mediocre 75 minute movies and James Patterson novels, I think that $3 is more than a fair price to pay for a few hours of really top quality entertainment and a chance to get a taste of what's to come.
  2. Thanks for the feeback, Thought! Your name is fitting since now I feel I have to think about this even more. I was going sort of for the accidental adventure. If I had to choose one of your examples, it's a White Rabbit thing. Actually, now that I think about it, it definitely is a White Rabbit thing. Anyway. James and a few other strangers get on a simple commuter train. I don't know yet if the train becomes dimensionally derailed while he's on it, or if he got on a train that wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. I'm definitely leaning toward the latter, but I'm not sure yet. Anyway, the passengers slowly realize something is wrong when the train makes an unscheduled stop at a town none of them (these people are commuters so they see the same sights all the time) recognize. When they confront the Conductor, he/she/it explains the deal. Ride to the end of the line, go back home. The three stops each have a theme, and those are (at least until I change my mind) a 1) Western Ghost Town ghost/vampire/something, 2) A single shack with a La Llarona type character (the story takes place in central/northern New Mexico), and finally 3) Something more SciFi, maybe a dystopian town or something. Anyway, at the first stop, he saves a girl who joins him on the train. She accompanies him through the other two trials, but then there is one final surprise trial. She isn't from his dimension and can't get off when he does. Sorry, didn't mean to post my whole story, but I am NOT good at brevity or skeletons, apparently.
  3. What do you guys think? Stuck in a dimensionally derailed commuter train, Jessie must ride to end of the line or he will never be allowed to return to his own reality. But will he succeed when also forced to disembark for one full hour at three increasingly surreal and dangerous villages along the way?
  4. I'm still having trouble coming up with a new story/skeleton so I can't do the character stuff yet. I'm attempting the Bradbury approach of train of thoughting a list of nouns until something catches my interest.
  5. Anyone read this yet? Great stuff.
  6. I need some plot advancement here. You can get away with an informative first chapter when it follows an exciting prologue, but by chapter two I need some outright conflict, even if it doesn't have to do with the main plot. What is the very first obstacle Fen must actively face? Right now he seems to just be reacting. Is it just me or did your style change in this one? Before, your descriptions were crisp and thorough, but now suddenly these characters are getting a somewhat vague sentence or two whereas before they were getting a paragraph. It makes me feel like, if someone or something doesn't get a long description, I don't have to remember this person or thing because they obviously not as important is that other person who got half a page. The first person train of thought on Page 3 was a bit much. It felt disjointed and unnatural. Based on the society you built here, one that goes to so much trouble to ensure the order of ascension, that the secrecy behind the King's death doesn't really ring true. I would think their first and foremost objective would be to put Fen on the throne, if for no other reason than out of tradition. Perhaps Fen can talk them out of raising him to King and waiting two weeks to reveal the death (his first obstacle?) but it should be there. Am I wrong? When Fen goes to the library, you overuse the words "book" and "bookshelf" to the point of distraction. Overall, your prose are still top notch, but I feel each submission has gotten just a little bit weaker. I've spent, basically, 30+ pages reading about this King's death and yet I don't feel like the story is going anywhere quite yet.
  7. And therein lies the problem. I'm not sure I can make it more concise, though I really wish I could. Perhaps as I write more? It's strange because I feel like he's almost coming from a completely different direction. As I write I search for that one thing that ties it all up into one or two sentences. He's saying to start from that point and move forward. I've been having a bit of a writer's identity crisis recently, and this is definitely feeding that. I'm thinking of scrapping my Nano idea and starting fresh with a more concise story idea. One of the great things about Nano is that it's the perfect time to try out different types of writing. My current project is nearing completion. Writing toward a more concise story skeleton, I think, is going to help with this final leg to no end. The one thing I've agonized over (other than not being able to find a good balance between obtuse and too subtle) in my own writing is the lack of focus. Story skeletons. I had heard of them before, but until I actually tried them I didn't realize what my process was missing. Thanks for the thread! Look forward to your... NaNoWriMo course.
  8. The prologue makes this chapter stronger, and for that reason I think you should keep it. Also, giving us Link up front is good because it gives us someone to contrast with Fen. I'd play up the differences subtly, for the reader's sake. I feel like the character of Fen starts with direction but slowly looses it as the chapter goes on. At first, he wants to be a different type of rule than his father. That's great. He wants to keep his wife in his life forever. Sweet. But as he goes on thinking, I can't help but feel Fen is simply acting based on his own daddy issues, especially since he has no reason to want to spend his whole life with his wife that I can see. Considering how the chapter ends, I would play up the fact that his entire way of thinking is based around his father so when he finds out about his father's death, it can hit him to his core and cause him to reevaluate his entire life (though maybe not all at once). This shift being your focus. As the chapter stands, however, I feel like the character loses direction to the point where I'm not sure he has any before he finds out about the death. Instead of changing the direction of a human being that existed before the story, I feel like the death is an attempt to give a brand new character direction where there was none before. Like the character wasn't interesting until the story started. The dueling scene mixing with thoughts of Loriyya can work beautifully (at least it's worth a shot trying to make it work, imho, because it's one of those things that, if it does work, it could be awesome) but the Loriyya parts need to be stronger. Maybe if you talk about her less throughout the rest of the chapter and then showcase her here? Just a thought. One thing I felt, especially early in the chapter, was that the description was better than the dialogue and action. The description was neat and professional, giving a full picture and really helped me visualize that scene (which few writers are capable of) but sometimes it felt like those parts were so good that they outshine that which they surround, like you spent more time on them. Not saying this is true. Perhaps you spent far less time on them and are just a description guru (in which case I hate you--not really) but there is some disparity there. Toward the end of the chapter, I barely noticed it, and by then I might have just been imagining it. I like the way you balance the normal with the strange. The prologue starts with an assassination and strange crystal swords, but then we get a few humorous pages of realistic family bantering that helps the reader settle in. The chapter seems to lose focus as it goes. I'm never really sure what this chapter is about, except that it introduces a bunch of people and concepts. There's too much information given that doesn't pay off in this chapter. I think it's okay (even good) to introduce stuff that doesn't pay off till later, but space it out a bit.
  9. 2012 NaNo - Ten years after the beautiful people apocalypse, hoping to cure the sterility problem that plagues the remnants of the human race, a troupe of traveling minstrels and their bodyguards seek out a rumored "lost tribe" of survivors. But will they succeed when there is a haunted forest, an ex-military killing machine, and an army of very angry undead between them and hope for humanity's future? Current Project - Roman and Jo, two people with very different backgrounds, but both runaways, find themselves on the same starsway rig, both on the verge of being sent home to hum drum lives they so desperately wish to avoid. But what will they do when they find out they are both prophesied to play a part in a catastrophe that will affect the galaxy, and possibly the entire universe? I was going to do the multiple options, too, but coming up with one for my current project was so hard that my brain now hurts. I'm really glad I did, though. It's given me perspective and I think it will help me focus it a bit more. Thanks for the link!
  10. I'll try to add to what's already been said... One thing that bothered me was the fact that this was such an easy ambush. Considering the situation and the easily ambushable surroundings, you'd think he would prepare for it more and not allow himself to be taken so easily. There is a half-page description of the dauntehr, but nobody reacts to it in any way. I figure people would react to any sort of wild animal. If these people were in our world and they randomly ran into a bear, they would react, it would react. Reactions would be going on. Did somebody die from an arrow wound to the shoulder? In addition to pleasing crystallographers, you have to think of what type of weapons would have evolved in this world. I, like those before me, assume there is no metal (or it's so rare that it is unusable). So, if crystal is your best bet for an edged weapon, and everyone knows that one level of crystal can easily defeat another, would weaponry ever have evolved into swords? As soon as I saw the effect the king's sword had, all I could think was why they had swords at all instead of, I don't know, throwing knives or something. I disagree with Link's decision to leave archers behind. This ties back to the assassination being way too easy. I mean, Link can literally stand back and watch, that's how easy it was. I think it was a very solid beginning. I'd focus on what is going on in the prologue and not bother talking about the past as much (except for a couple hints to tie things together, if needed, of course). The assassination attempt and the mystery behind the sword and magic, I think, are enough to keep the reader interested. I didn't dislike Link (except for the Zelda thing) but I didn't agree with two of his decisions (leaving the archers behind and not helping kill the king) and that makes me think he's a bad leader. But, that's okay because maybe he's supposed to be a bad leader. It's only the prologue.
  11. Spoiler for Book 13
  12. One of the things I didn't love the first time through was their time with Luca's show, but on the reread, those were some of my favorite parts of the book, primarily because it was the first time we got to see a healthy helping of humor.
  13. This is the book where I started getting really sad when plot lines were tying up because I knew the end was coming. It made me really miss Crossroads, lol.
  14. I agree. That chapter has to be one of my favorites in the entire series, or in all of fantasy.
  15. I have a feeling we still have couple big Dark Friend reveals coming in the last book. You're right on about Ingtar, Shiv. I was totally blown away my first time through and had to go back and re-read that whole scene in the alley to make sure I wasn't going crazy. PS - Should I assume everyone has read all the way through the series? Like should we not talk about stuff to come in later books that is foreshadowed here? There is one specific thing that happens in this book that isn't revealed until book 13 that I want to at least mention.