recovering_cynic

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About recovering_cynic

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  • Birthday 11/11/1980

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  1. Again, just looking for major critiques since there will be a lot of re-writing. Chapter 1 Jimbo Casey is an ex-convict going in for drug testing, he fails the test and begins fleeing from the police. Kyle Endrasko is the sheriff and Jimbo's cousin. He pursues Jimbo who has driven into the back roads in rural Oklahoma. Akari is not human, but she works for an organization on earth that protects earth from outsiders. Akari and her squad of soldiers, who are human "replicants", detect an outsider about to break through from another realm. They get on a jet to intercept the breakthrough, but don't get there in time. Jimbo and Kyle's chase ends up at the breakthrough site. The monster that has broken through is killed by Akari and Co., but not before it tosses Jimbo through the breach into the realm it came from. Kyle confronts Akari and accidentally touches her unearthly sword, which renders him unconscious. Chapter 2 Jimbo falls into a strange world and is captured and thrown into a giant prison wagon that is pulled by monstrous creatures and driven by human. The cage is full of human-sized moths. Chapter 3 Kyle is recruited into a powerful secret organization run by a woman named Seiku that regulates interdimensional traffic on Earth. They are organizing a rescue mission to find his cousin Jimbo. Kyle volunteers to go after Jimbo and he is given an injection that allows him to understand Outsider languages. He then gets into an elevator on the way to go Outside Chapter 4 Akari is preparing for the rescue mission and we learn some of her backstory. She has been assigned an airship, The Destrian, that has been made to look like a piece of crap to disguise its technology. She clashes with Kyle at the ship and we meet the new crew, a lizard (Salashi) named Chuuk, an Avorian (moth) named Chirea, and an Avorian mechanic named Bub who wears a power-suit. Chapter 5 One of the moths makes Jimbo some clothing and the whole prison cage is taken to a giant city in the sky held up by chains. He is imprisoned inside a stone that contains a small realm. Jimbo is bitten by a macra snake and can now understand the language. His captor, a horrific being called Azaerl, plans to use Jimbo to invade earth. There is a small dispute between the wagonmaster and Azaerl, but Azaerl brushes the wagonmaster off. Jimbo is left chained inside the stone realm. Chapter 6 What you are reading now.
  2. I would also like to submit on Monday.
  3. Now this chapter, this I like. The interaction between Till and Surr is well done and believable. I wouldn't change much if anything about their interaction. I can feel the story there, and it is good. There are some other things though. In the beginning, at least, it was hard to swallow the fact that Till has created a dump just to feel nostalgia. Once his dead wife was mentioned though, it started making sense and I accepted it. Perhaps there should be a hint of sadness/memory of her built into his earlier contemplations? This isn't a huge thing, but it did bother me a little. It didn't make believable sense until the wife was mentioned. The only thing I would definitely change is the two pages worth of info-dump about the city's origins and the history of the wars. It was more confusing than interesting and it really didn't make sense for Till to be thinking about it in such great detail. I'd cut it down to a paragraph or two, the most important bits, and find a way to link it logically to either Till's recent encounter with the baker or his anticipation of going to the Rat's Remains. Good work. I enjoyed it.
  4. Hmm... Alright, I am trying to figure out what to say about this piece. I guess the story didn't really work for me, but that's just me. It's my personal preference so feel free to disregard my opinion if other people liked it. Regardless, here's why it didn't work for me: It's short fiction, which is diffcult to pull off successfully. I guess, the main problem with the story is the lack of concrete images really. The whole story is told rather than shown, which makes it hard to get into (at least for me). The whole thing felt a bit detached, like we were being related a story that had happened in some distant time past that no longer mattered. The prose is very flowery, beautiful at times, but at other times wordy to the point of distraction. I guess, when I read it, I saw words rather than people I should care about. I really didn't want to be too harsh on this piece. The prose really is beautiful in places--you write well. I just couldn't get into it for the reasons stated above.
  5. Okay, that makes more sense. I guess my main concern is that the characters all seem to be glorifying their past and yet none of them liked it enough to continue. I know you changed the prologue, but the version I read (I didn't get the note not to read it in time to not read it) was pretty blood-thirsty. The main character killed without remorse or conscience--and he too glorified his thieving, killing days. I don't know if this will be the theme, but it kind of kills any sympathy I might have for your characters. I did like your black mage as I said in my last post. His work ethic and responsibility made him respectible even if he was a bit abrupt and conceited. He has both good and bad qualities, but the balance is tilted toward good, so I like him. Now, toss on top of the balance his longing for the good old days of stealing and killing and that balance tips more toward bad guy. The story is still interesting at this point and I like it, even if I haven't been given a character I can really root for yet. But we need someone to cheer for at this point. Then again, if the prologue was less bloody and remorseless (and you've said you changed it), the reminiscing about simpler times as a thief might not have such dire implications.
  6. Lol, okay so I will lay off the prologue. It needed a lot of work, so I'm glad you saw that. As to the first chapter, I liked it, although I was a bit confused. What I liked: the main character was shrewd and practical, if a little abrupt. I can handle a main character like that and like them. Also, I thought the concept of what he did (what little we saw) was well done. Character and setting were good, so check. Things that concerned me: so far, we have met a thief (semi-retired), a thief (retired), a baker, and a thief (aspiring). That might be a few too many thieves for my taste, but that's my own point of view. Doh. Out of time. Will edit and continue this later.
  7. Again, just looking for major critiques since there will be a lot of re-writing. Chapter 1 Jimbo Casey is an ex-convict going in for drug testing, he fails the test and begins fleeing from the police. Kyle Endrasko is the sheriff and Jimbo's cousin. He pursues Jimbo who has driven into the back roads in rural Oklahoma. Akari is not human, but she works for an organization on earth that protects earth from outsiders. Akari and her squad of soldiers, who are human "replicants", detect an outsider about to break through from another realm. They get on a jet to intercept the breakthrough, but don't get there in time. Jimbo and Kyle's chase ends up at the breakthrough site. The monster that has broken through is killed by Akari and Co., but not before it tosses Jimbo through the breach into the realm it came from. Kyle confronts Akari and accidentally touches her unearthly sword, which renders him unconscious. Chapter 2 Jimbo falls into a strange world and is captured and thrown into a giant prison wagon that is pulled by monstrous creatures and driven by human. The cage is full of human-sized moths. Chapter 3 Kyle is recruited into a powerful secret organization run by a woman named Seiku that regulates interdimensional traffic on Earth. They are organizing a rescue mission to find his cousin Jimbo. Kyle volunteers to go after Jimbo and he is given an injection that allows him to understand Outsider languages. He then gets into an elevator on the way to go Outside Chapter 4 Akari is preparing for the rescue mission and we learn some of her backstory. She has been assigned an airship, The Destrian, that has been made to look like a piece of crap to disguise its technology. She clashes with Kyle at the ship and we meet the new crew, a lizard (Salashi) named Chuuk, an Avorian (moth) named Chirea, and an Avorian mechanic named Bub who wears a power-suit. Chapter 5 What you are reading now.
  8. I'm up for Monday. I've made a rule for myself; if I add to my buffer, I can submit a chapter, but if I don't, I have to wait. I still have about 12 chapters buffer, which is good, but by doing it this way, it encourages me to write, which was my whole purpose in doing this anyway. Thanks for reading.
  9. So, the homeless guy jumps her on the subway and is beating her senseless, then the business guy "stood up to confront the attacker. 'Woah, woah, woah pal! You need to calm down and step away from the girl' The hobo stood scratching his head furiously before replying. 'Ain't your fight! You let it go so I can be about my own business.'" This seems off. In a situation like this, people don't really talk. This is violence. It seems like the businessman would jump on the homeless guy, hit him, grab him, kick him, or react physically somehow. He might say something while doing so, but he wouldn't wax eloquent, nor would the homeless guy. There doesn't seem to be any emotion here, and violence breeds emotion more than anything else. Then after that, "Outside the windows the rushing walls shifted into the view of the next stop. The cars jostled as the subway halted and her attacker lost his footing. The professional caught him, locked his hands behind his back, and smiled mischievously. 'What's this world coming to; a pretty thing like her can't take the B-line without getting attacked.'" Again, he smiles mischieviously? Really? After witnessing a homeless man trying to beat a girl to death? And then again, he flirts with her, knowing he is grapling with a deranged and dangerous person. It doesn't fit for me. This particular bit also leads to what could be a potential plot hole. The businessman dies as a result of their interfering. Wouldn't that alter the timeline. Doesn't that mess things up? There were some problems at the fountain too, but not as much. The hobo climbs up on top of the statue in the middle, which seems like it would be really obvious to everybody. How could anyone miss it? Also, I got the impression that this fountain was particularly tall, which would make it both difficult to climb and difficult to jump from, plus it would give the girl ample time to notice him coming. You describe the sound around the fountain to be the "soothing lap of water" which doesn't seem like it would mask his aproach well. The homeless guy was able to hear her crying quite easily, so why didn't she hear him climbing on the fountain? Also, when she first approaches the fountain, you just say that she sat, which gave me the impression that she was on a park bench looking at the fountain, which is what I thought was going on. It wasn't until my second reading that I noticed that she was actually sitting on the edge of the fountain, not on a park bench, but you don't mention this in the story until you switch to the homeless man's perspective; I would mention it earlier. Anyway, those were the bits of dialogue and action that didn't work for me. They are easily fixable and I think they can be quite powerful. As to the ending, yes, it is horrifying that these people are messing with the past, but that little twist makes the story about them, not Lizzy and Richard, and really, the way it's written, the story has been about Lizzy and Richard, not the jerks from the future. I think that's why the ending doesn't work for me. It takes your two important characters and trivializes them. Perhaps if the exchange between the two future-jerks was witnessed by Lizzy, and we get to feel how it impacts her, then it would mean more. It would also be more horrifying. As it is, Richard kinda witnesses it, but all it does is "badger[] at his once tranquil isolation" which lacks punch for me.
  10. Alright, I just finished it. First things first, it needs a good line edit. There were quite a few times when grammar or structural errors drew me out of the story. Second, your characterization was good, creepily good at times. I had a good sense of both MCs and they were interesting, if disturbing. Third, the subway scene wasn't very believable. There was some dialogue there that didn't really fit and the actions felt off. Also, there's no way the man could have changed clothes wihout being caught by the police, especially if he was wearing layers of filthy clothing already, that is, unless he put the suit on over it. And finally, I get the ending, but I didn't really like it. It felt cheap. There was soap opera once that ended in the final episode by doing a panoramic withdrawal only to reveal a snow globe, implying that the entire soap opera had taken place within it. It was widely panned as one of the worst final episodes in history. This isn't quite so bad, but it feels somewhat similar. It trivializes everything that happened. To make it a little better, I think it needs to be foreshadowed a bit more. If it were my story, I might have Pieterre let slip something like, "If we're going to win this, then you have to . . ." or something like that. Yeah, Pieterre had difficulty articulating a reason why the girl was so important, which tipped me off that something was afoot, but when I found out what it was, I was like, "So what?" I guess, the whole story ends up being about the two jerks from the future screwing around with how people's lives end. That is what the story is ultimately about, and yet the events that unfold ultimately don't affect that aspect of the story other than a snarky, "You lost, dude," or the essential equivalent. Now, if you made the story somehow have some meaningful effect on the future characters, I think I would like it better.
  11. Yes, I got that vibe as well, but what bothered me was that Barryl seemed pretty indestructible in this version, which made me wonder why he bothered with stealth at all. Now that Yados has explained it, it makes more sense, but from the way the story is told, by the end, I wondered why she was brought along at all.
  12. Alright, so I read all your background information, but this is the first chapter of your book I have read, as such, I was more than a little lost and cannot really give story-line or character critiques. I had some moments where I was confused, although that might have been related to my not having read the prior chapters. There was one point where a character walked into the makeshift camp and started talking about the other soldiers, which made me assume that this was a command tent that was part of a larger army, but as I read on, this didn't seem to be the case, nor did the camp seem to be official enough to be a command tent. All in all, I thought the ideas were interesting. Some of it I didn't understand because I've missed a lot, but the world had a distinct and unique flavor, which I liked. There was one instance of telling where I'd wished you'd shown instead. You told us that your MC flew to the top of a tree to survey the area. You might have already described the process by which he flies a dozen times, so that might have been all you needed to say, but for me coming in fresh, it lacked any kind of visual detail. It might be an issue, but then again, it might not.
  13. If you are planning on expanding this into a novella, I'm not sure you need to simplify it at all. There is certainly enough fodder her for a book/novella. Just expand it all, perhaps a bit slower. I didn't feel like I mostly understood the world/setting/magic until near the very end and by then the story was over so I didn't get to enjoy it. If you were to keep this a short story (which I think can be done), I would recommend honing it down to a fine point. As it stands, you have political intrigue coupled with becoming a god coupled with being outcast from home coupled with a heist coupled with a nutty demi-god bent on destroying the world. That is just too much for a short story and your reader has to come to grips with all of it since all of it is foreign to them. What do you really want it to be about? It's too busy right now, so figure out what you want it to really be about and focus on that while eliminating or greatly reducing the other elements.
  14. Alright, there are a lot of brilliant ideas in this piece, which I think is its greatest downfall. It is very clear after reading it that this comes from a larger work, and that helped muddle something that was already a little muddled. Let me explain. You tell the story out of order, which makes your reader have to work really hard to figure out what is going on. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it adds some delicious hooks, but add on top of that a steep (nearly vertical) learning curve regarding the setting, and reading this story felt more like work than it did pleasure. IMO, you need to change one or the other or both to make this work as a short story. There is a lot of history/culture details packed into the story that could be eliminated or simplified so that your reader can focus more on what is going on than trying to figure out why all of it is going on. To be honest, I still don't understand why they were breaking into the prison or why the elf was important or any of that. One other (unrelated) problem I noted was why the god needed an apprentice in the first place. The arrows couldn't hit him and he seemed to be pretty adept at doing about anything he wanted (leaping tall buildings, punching through doors), so I don't quite understand why your MC needed to come along at all. This leads to what I think is the biggest problem with the piece; clarity is fixable with some editing and simplifiying, but by the end, I felt like there was something missing. The girl is the MC, and yet most of the end is not about her at all. In fact, by the end, her personality seemed to have changed completely and she became a psychopathic god killing everything around her. I didn't get a sense of satisfaction from the ending. Anyway, that's about the summation of my macro-level critiques. I love all the ideas, but I had a hard time sorting through them in the form they are presented. As to the micro-level, I wanted more descripiton and more clarity of description in this piece. For example, when they jump to the corridor where your MC becomes ascends, I had a mental picture of a narrow hallway and that's about it, but then there are suddenly 20 archers. It seemed to me that there wouldn't be room for them and most of them wouldn't be able to do anything since they couldn't see down the corridor. Also, if there are only three candles, how the heck do they see anything at all? I was confused by this part. Another part that confused me was where your MC gets off the train in a bustling city, eats at a cafe, sees the sights, and then one paragraph later, she's in a cave. I thought maybe I had missed a page or something, but that's what actually happens. I still don't understand the transition. Anyway, to sum it all up, I love the ideas and the creativity, but I had a hard time with clarity for the reasons stated above. This piece has a lot of promise and it could be awesome