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27 Pahn Kahl

About akoebel

  1. Hi, The idea is intriguing. I've toyed with the idea of developing a writer's platform (with blogging, shop, publication to Amazon), but never thought about the writing part. The registration part seemed pretty standard, but the confirmation email took about 4 hours to come in. Since this is a beta release and you're not swamped by thousands of request, I think there is someone down the line buffering requests. You might want to look into it. The editor itself is cool but maybe too complex for a regular writer. I mean, who's going to use all those fonts, colors, ... Nice work about localization. What's nice about Scrivener is the ability to shuffle scenes around and the hierarchy between parts, scenes and chapters. Maybe that's in the works already, but I didn't see anything about that. I would have liked to see a "compile"-like function also. You've said somewhere that the text is encrypted. Some writers might be very wary about uploading their work, so this is a good thing. The next step could be the ability to have the writer use their own key (so that someone hacking your site won't be able to decrypt their work). Might be on the "too difficult for user" side, though. I couldn't test the publication part (which I really wanted to see) and the sharing part also doesn't seem implemented yet, so I can't really comment on them. The interesting point is the writing group process. You can imagine selecting a given scene and sending it to a group; then receiving their comments in the original text. I keep such comments in scrivener in notes attached to the scene, but am a bit frustrated when I have to jump between scenes and notes. Maybe you can imagine a revision mode where everything is accessible at a glance. Nice work so far (and clean coding if I might add).
  2. Thanks Robinski! I'm about to start revising it, so end of June will be great! Don't spend your entire holiday reading it, though.
  3. Hi Mandamon, I've read 'It's not my fault' and I thought it was a fun and fast read. The way you showed teenager behaviour was insightful and almost satirical. As someone who was a teenager, I can certainly relate to what's happening to Allen and see what he does wrong when he says it's not his fault. That brings me to my first caveat : I'm not sure the piece fits with the intended audience. The book feels like YA, but I'm not sure a YA will get it and its nuances. For an adult, it's a great read, but I'm not sure an adult would pick it up in the first place. Now, I don't have much to say about the first 80% of the book. Everything went smoothly and even if you had me raise my eyebrows in a few occurences (I found it too convenient that both Molly and Steeve would happen to like Allen and Judy), everything went well. My main issue is the ending which felt rushed. Rushed might not be the right word here : the plot unfolds at a good pace and then, it's "we have to get inside the factory for the finish." There was a bit of Deus Ex Machina here and even if you tried to explain it, it came out of nowhere. The climax scene was a bit confusing for me and I didn't quite picture what Allen was exactly doing and why. My big question here is why stay invisible when you could at least have one of the team produce a force field to have everyone outside stay outside. It would have freed pretty much everyone. Also, I'd advise you to research aneuvrisms : I'm not sure they work quite like that (I believe they either rupture or they don't, they don't evolve between the two states. I could be wrong on this). I'll second the earlier comment on why isn't the town swarmed with journalists. Even if there is an apparent consensus among the adults in the town, there's really no reason to have the same reaction from people outside the town. I also wonder why the city hasn't been turned to ashes also : having a group of hormones infested superpowered teenagers should result in much mayhem while what you showed was mild annoyment at best. Some of the affected teenagers should also have gone to crime and apparently, none of them did. If you have specific points you want me to address, I'd be happy to help.
  4. Mandamon, I'll insert it into my reading queue. I should be able to start reading it in early November.
  5. Thank you so much Mandamon! Your comments are much more detailed than I expected. I wonder how you can take notes while reading at a reasonable pace. I guess I'm going to need a third detailed draft to fix some issues. One point I'd like to know is about the ending (spoilers following). In the original draft, I had Mahau cut off Arlon's leg as part of the trick against him and after the trial, they sentenced him to have both his hands cut off. After my primary alpha reader went through the book, she felt that it was too much against Arlon (who is basically a likeable character even if he's an antagonist). I agreed on the leg thing (because it was a bit out of character for Mahau to cut it) and I cut back (so to speak) the sentence to fingers instead of whole hands. I'm a bit conflicted about that last change because removing his hands was the perfect punishment for his crimes; on the other hand, it was a bit too graphic for this book. Now, as you read it, did the sentence bother you and do you think it would have been better not to change that part? For your comments, a few explanations about my goals with this book: * Description, foreshadowing, explanations : check. Nothing much to say here. * About the mystery. I feel like it's a promise I never intended to keep as I wrote the book (discovery writer here). I always knew that the book was (in my head) more about finding a way to godhood for Neda than finding out who did it and why. That's why unmasking Arden comes at the end of act 2 and not at the end. I also wanted to explore Arlon's downfall once he came to believe his father wanted him. As a result, it's not a mystery through the end, but I kept advertising the book as "God PI" as you said it. Now, I'm not sure how I can fix it. I need the mystery (obviously), but I don't have yet someone else to point the reader at. Smells like a major rewrite is needed. * About the magic and gods. I wanted to separate the magic from what makes a god, so from the start, I set up the system so that regular humans (even if those are rare) can be of equal or even more skill with Shrouds than gods (Arlon for instance is very bad at Shrouds). I get your concern about limitations : I've limited Shrouds on size (might not have mentioned it in the book) and the mental focus necessary to form them (which causes fatigue). I've also added another limitation on the number of actions one can perform in a given place (which works kind of like your own limitation on the Symphony). The thing is, I kind of broke that limitation during the climax fight. I'll have to revise it on this point. * About the arbitrary numbers of gods vs greater gods. I wanted to add the notion of balance (separate from the Shrouds) to godhood and that's where I set a rule that there should be a multiple of 12 number of gods with 1 greater god per slice of 12. Now, that number might be arbitrary (and I don't have any logical reason to back this number), but it's no more arbitrary than, say the value of the electron electric charge. I look at it as a characteristic of the world and I'm not sure I can explain more than that. I can have Mandos comment on it, if you think that will help. Once again, thanks for all the useful comments.
  6. And I'm done with Seeds of Dissolution. I'd like to begin by saying that overall, I found it was a good book. I've bought published works that were less interesting or had much more typos in them. I usually only read during my commutes (so twice 45 minutes every week day), but for this book, I read in the evening as well. This is a good sign that the book was good and held my interest. What I liked most : the setting and the plot were engaging. I didn't find the learning curve to be that hard (Ok, I can stomach Erikson, so I might not be a good judge on that). Some characters I liked very much (Rillan, Sam and Enos). Ori isn't very sympathetic but I think you wanted him to be this way. Slow parts : the beginning (before the rocket launch), a couple of places like the tailor chapter (usually a couple of pages), and the epilogue (more on this later). Overall, you set a good pace throughout the book. Now, the parts I have questions about: * As a physicist, I have trouble imagining someone creating a wall of air without some heat being produced (If you imagine reducing air to one hundredth of its volume to produce the wall, the heat generated will at best bring the air to a temperature of 1600°C, so yes, it will become very hot very fast -- and the fastest you compress the air, the hotter it will get). You said something about heat in the climax chapters, but it wasn't near hot enough. Speaking of pressure, I expect different planets to have very different gravity fields. Masses on Earth, the nether and Methiem seemed to be all the same to me - which is a strange coincidence. I had also some troubles with your depiction of the capsule landing : chairs don't just start to jump around under large decelerations ; they are all torn out at once. I got a bit weary in the starchart scene but it was handled well (some points there were more characters ignorance about astronomy than errors). * The nether frightens me (and it should frighten Sam a whole lot more) : the thing gets into your head and translates. What makes people think they can trust the translation? At least Sam should be very worried. And if the nether translates the ideas, why do people have accents or strange expressions : you should be able to hear others speak as if they were talking in your own language. I know that introducing those language quirks was nice (even if Ori talking could get a bit annoying), but the very presence of the nether should remove them. One point I liked is your usage of gender neutral species and the pronouns they use when speaking. Speaking of language, I was expecting Sam to be unable to understand anything once he got away from the Nether and I got very frustrated when I discovered he could. The explanation "magi can understand everything once they get through the portal" felt a bit too convenient to me. * Aside from the houses of communication and healing, the real uses of the other houses are a bit unclear to me. We see some examples in action, but I still don't understand the core of the other houses abilities. The ones I understand come from viewpoint characters, so I guess it's normal to understand them better though. * Sam's reaction to the Aridori seemed a bit too strong at first. He hasn't been around long enough to have all the bias of the other species, so why did he fear Enos so much? And on her part, I thought she forgave him way too easily. About her : I thought she wasn't pushing much for the group to retrieve her brother in the ending. She looked worried about it but I expected her to drag them all to her brother's rescue once the drain was gone. * Is the book a SF book masquerading as a fantasy or the other way around? It started very SF, then turned fantasy for almost the whole length of the book, then ended in a SF way. I think either is good, but you should know for yourself what kind of book it is. * Do you intend to write a sequel? You seem to have left room for one (the voice in Sam's head, the brother to save). If not, I will need those points resolved! About the ending: I think the ending works well (minus the epilogue), but that it wasn't as powerful as it could have been. It's all very well until Rillan makes her gateway and then Sam's story separates from the others until the very ending. I think the emotional payoff would be better if the two stories were told in parallel at this point. About the epilogue : it is mostly you cleaning up some loose ends in a very passive way. I didn't really need the information in the epilogue and its presence toned down the whole ending. I'll stop here for now (just finished reading, so I might have missed a few things). If you want me to elaborate on some parts, I'd be happy to.
  7. Thanks for setting it up Mandamon. I'll read your work as soon as possible. I've put the whole draft 2 of Shrouds in the Alpha Readers Dropbox folder. I fiddled a bit with InDesign to make it appear as a real book (it's a B trade paperback format, so printing to A4 or letter might be difficult) - if someone wants a more printable format or an ebook one, I'll be happy to provide one. The whole is 420 pages long (a bit over 130k words). I'm looking pretty much for the same input Mandamon asked for. Points I'm interested in : * does the ending work (I've already toned it down once - maybe it wasn't a good idea, I don't know) * consistency in character voices * any point which would be unclear I'd like to have a finished work for World Fantasy (start of November) : so any input arriving before mid October would be very useful.
  8. I'm very pleased with Scrivener. I've heard of it at a con from a couple of professional writers and can't live without it now. I use both the Windows and Linux versions depending on the computer I use (I have lots of computers) - my stories are all stored on dropbox (and Google Drives - Just in case) so I can access them from all my computers. When I travel, I use pages on my ipad (I own an ipad keyboard) : it's not nearly as good as scrivener, but it keeps my luggage weight to a minimum. I used to keep a wikidpad to store my notes, but found out in later books that it was much better for me to simply put the notes in "character" or "setting" folders in Scrivener for easy access. I can even put pictures there (I cast my characters and keep some photos of some places).
  9. Thanks to you both. It's amazing the stupid bits I allow to pass through edits. It's nice to see you were interested in the story enough to be frustrated when I stop submitting. On my decision to stop submitting this book : there is a point in a book where critiquing chapter by chapter is becoming less useful (not to say there are diminishing returns, but...). At this point, I think finding plot holes and pacing problems become more important than seeing if the character voices are right or the world building believable. This means the "chapter critiquing" format for the latter parts of the book isn't the best one. This leaves me with two options : submitting the synopsis (which are very tedious to read and understand) and giving the whole book to alpha readers. I'm close to finishing the second draft (should take me between 2 and 4 weeks) and would be very interested if some of you wanted to be alpha readers. I think some of us did setup a dropbox system for this sort of situation. I'll have to dig up the posts talking about this.
  10. This is Chapter 9 from Shrouds, a fantasy mystery. This chapter closes act 1. Brief recap: Mahau, a god of vengeance, and his priestess Neda have been asked to investigate three gods disappearances which turned into murder investigations. The third body is yet to be found when other gods disappear, menacing the balance of the whole pantheon. I intend to stop submitting the book there. I might submit the synopsis later. If you have special comments on this last installment, or questions about where the book goes from here, don't hesitate to ask.
  11. Hi, I'd like to submit my next chapter next Monday - which will close act 1 for this book.
  12. Thank you both. Very interesting comments - not something I would have thought about on my own.
  13. I just re-posted it. Thanks for noticing it.
  14. I'll agree with everyone else on my two main issues: * Grammar : not only did the various errors draw my reading to a crawl, but at some point I even started to question your words when they were right. When a reader doesn't trust a writer anymore, strange things can happen. * Setting : at some time, I even wondered if the dog would start talking and tell us he was a dead sorcerer. If you want to go in the same vein as Butcher, you'd better have something really cool to show and show it really early. Aside from that, the voice at the beginning was strong enough to engage me and I thought you added some nice touches in the worldbuilding (like the mistbarrels).
  15. Yes, on July 1st. I even received it from the list myself. I can send it directly to you if you want or re-post it if others haven't received it.