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Stormweasel - 1/5/2015 - Alcheron Rising (3200) (3 different chapters, chap 10 is rated V)

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These are 3 sample chapters I am considering using a writing samples for a contest. I would like to refine all three and would appreciate reviews of any and all aspects as I want to make the best possible impression that I can with whatever revision I can do in about a week.

 

The Dinner Theatre chapter is action based and violent, though hopefully only enough to tell the story. The Dulcet's Hammer's chapter I am using as an example of descriptive language. I added a somewhat 'flowery' italic section, as a chapter header I guess it is called. I'm not sure if it is helpful, I was afraid it might be too purple but I thought it might be helpful it setting the stage for the character.

 

I thought the Dragon Hawk chapter might show my meager dialoge and character stuff to good advantage.

 

Please review any individual one or all three as time allows. All critiques are welcome.

 

Thanks,

 

Burt

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I'm during my brief lunch break, so I only had enough time for Dulcet's Hammer, sadly. I'll try to get to the rest soon, however. Also, my usual disclaimer: The below is feedback and critique based on how I'm reading the story. It's up to you as the writer to determine how to interpret my comments and what, if any of it, to accept or disregard.

Dulcet's Hammer:
 
I haven't the rest of Archon's Rising, unfortunately, but the piece works pretty well as a standalone for me, save for the ending not feeling too conclusive. I don't believe this is an issue, though, since I don't believe it's supposed to stand alone.

That being said, I don't know how I feel for the intro. It sounds like you were half feeling that way yourself. The gist of what I get from it is that people who have endured hardship and experienced many things are able to grasp how things work in life, good and bad, at least assuming we're going metaphor. It's also possible this is world-building, and that they can literally hear the sounds and obtain some kind of power. I feel like the world-building elements of it aren't bad, and it does seem to apply to Dulcet's character based off of the information provided, maybe it also acts as foreshadowing of sorts. It just feels a little too 'fluffy' for my taste however, and I don't know how much it adds the following content that wasn't already present or would be presented later.


"..of his hammers for moon flower resin and had flown into a rage afterwards." This line I couldn't follow. The moon flower resin sounds like a drug that her father took, but it wasn't entirely clear, and I'm just assuming.
Then the following sentence has "He'd be gone until he ran out and the moon wand, then...". I'm not sure if something is missing here, but I couldn't figure out what the moon wand was and the sentence just felt incomplete.

The piece overall did a good job of drawing me into caring about Dulcet, as she comes across as a breathing, multi-dimensional character in a brief window of words. We know of her hardships, get a glimpse of her absorbed into her work, crushing on Tebo, and so forth. The descriptions worked for me, as the motion in the scene wasn't too prevalent (she was hammering). A healthy amount of description on the room, and actions around it work for me as a time-passing effect. If it wasn't there, I'd probably just feel like she hit it once or twice and was done.

I would say, while I had no problems with how it currently is, it doesn't really feel like it's behind her PoV until she finishes in the third paragraph. The first two feel like the PoV of an on-looker. For being so entranced in her work, there wasn't much finite description of what she was focused on. While I don't know your experience with blacksmithing, I do feel like I'd rather have the current slight discontinuity in PoV painting a really good scene, over a forced description of the details of her smithing work.

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Thanks for the feedback. The heading was sort of foreshadowy but I confess to not being certain about using it. Dulcet will eventually discover a power related to her work.

Actually moon flower is a drug and it should have said 'moon waned' not wand. *thump on head* I was thinking the drug effects intensified based on the phase of the moon but not hardwired on this, my main point is the drug use and the moon would be an interesting way of control the ebb and flow of the druggies (but not fully formed idea in my head).

Thanks for the PoV analysis. I am sill struggling with PoV as I make the transition from reading to writing. It isn't something I ever conciously considered so it is still an ill-fitting shoe. :)

Edited by stormweasel
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Sorry I see when I exported the chapters from PageFour I included a very short (couple hundred words) additional chapter "Piglio, Chatter and the Mountain" feel free to comment or ignore that one as well. :/

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Dulcet's Hammers:

Just a quick note on audio format. "Duaren" is very hard to say out loud. Don't know if this affects anything, but I thought I would throw it out there.  I liked the description in italics, but then as we've established in the epigraph thread, I like that sort of thing.  I agree with Juugatsu that it did feel a bit "on the fly."

 

Pg 3: "Moon wand"

--I assume "moon waned" (I see you caught this one)

 

Dragon Hawk:

This section does show off dialogue, but I would be careful with that one.  Murdoc's dialect might put some people off.  I didn't have too much problem myself, but some of it is a little thick.

 

Dinner Theater:

The start of this is a little heavy-handed with the all the nefarious thinking, but it flows better once we start getting into the action.  A few notes:

 

pg 15: "Any potential witnesses and he’d also arranged for all of the musicians whose playing he didn't particularly care for to be at the dinner as well as a couple of guards whose loyalty he hadn’t been certain of"

--long awkward sentence here

 

pg 17: "After a brief conversation during which Calvius carefully gestured and pointed in ways that emphasized his control and superiority (all life was, after all, a performance) he guided the pale and shaken Menistus in the direction of some tables."

--and here

 

pg 18: "rushed of"

--off

 

You switch POVs to Calvius and then to the assassin at the end, when the rest has been in the Duke's POV.  Personally, I would stick with just his POV in something this short.  The transitions were hard to follow, and I had to read a couple sentences over again.

 

Piglio, Chatter and the Mountain:

I see the rat POV made it in here. That was also pretty jarring to 1) be in a non-sentient POV and 2) switch to the person who shot it.  Not much else to comment on here.  It's not a very long piece, and doesn't really have any sort of conclusion.

 

Out of the four pieces, I like Dulcet's Hammers the best, for the poetry of it, and because it gives a coherent thought at the end.  Dragon Hawk is a close second, minding some people may not like the dialect.  Dinner Theater was good, and had a whole story to it.  Parts were a little too unsubtle, I thought.

Edited by Mandamon
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@Mandamon thanks for your useful commentary. I will review these during my lunch break to see what changes I can make to tighten up, repair and adjust. I'll also take another look at the Dinner Theatre to see what parts might be unsubtle; it was a pantsing chapter, with only a second pass after the intial rush. I had the need to add one of the points of conflict and introduce a villain and probably not as subtle as it should be. I also was thinking of introducing two mischeveous girls who were hidden and spying on the party so will do more rewriting after I try to work out a bit of a rough outline.

 

PoV continues to be the most blunted tool in my toolkit. With time it will hopefully become more instinctive.

 

Thanks again.

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By the way I imagined 'Duaren' as sounding like 'Do wahr en' or like Dwarven without the 'v' - not sure if it reads like that or not.

 

I appreciate the two comments. I'm not sure if anyone else will consider reading at least one of the chapters and commenting before the new round of writing comes in, but if you can I would be grateful. If you can't I understand - hard to find time to write and all of the critiquing as well. :)

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Sorry for the super late reply Stormweasel.

Dulcet's Hammers

I enjoyed the epigraph you opened the chapter with. Very poetic. I did note than Duaren was a little odd to read off in my head at first. This isn't so much that it is hard to pronounce, just that the 'ua' is a pretty uncommon pair of vowels in that order.

I took the mortals listening at the veil part to mean that through suffering and experience mortals could essentially alter smalls aspects of the music that composed the world, otherwise known as reality. I am looking forward to seeing how you carry that through into the story.

Dulcet was perfect name to open with after that epigraph. A name about sound following an epigraph describing how the music of a blacksmith formed the world. It's both thematically appropriate and just a good name in general. (Also could be seen as a little humorous as it means essentially sweet and soothing, yet she's a blacksmith, a profession that doesn't come off as particularly sweet or soothing. Some good contrast there.) I will also add that despite the shortness of the chapter I felt that Dulcet was characterized well. However, there are several points, particularly early in the chapter, where the POV doesn't seem to be truly behind her eyes. Now seeing as how this was the opening of the chapter I sometimes like the POV to kind of swirl around the setting, perhaps as a leaf on the wind (wouldn't really make sense in a forge), and then settle down into the character. I know Wheel of Time does this often at the opening of each book. I'd suggest checking that out for an example if you'd like to set the scene the way you did here.

The part where Dulcet segues into talking about there being little to no news from Illia seemed a little rough and abrupt to me. I know you introduced Illia above when talking about the Guild, but the collection of lines where she looks northward just seemed off to me for some reason. I'm not entirely sure why, other than that they just didn't fit very naturally in her thoughts. It felt a little to much like introducing a plot point for the future.

Dragon Hawk

The POV kind of flits between characters in the beginning here, which makes me think it's 3rd person omniscient, then at other times it seems like you're trying to make it 3rd person limited and really show the scene from one character's perspective. Seeing as how I've been reading a bunch of semi-old sci-fi recently (ie. Foundation, Dune, etc) 3rd Person Omniscient doesn't faze me as much as it used to. Though I know for some people it's almost impossible to stand. I think it would help if you committed to one or the other.

You've mentioned that this one could show off dialogue. I think that early on the dialogue is used well, with the guard. I actually enjoy it when a character's vocal oddities are written in instead of described and left to be inferred by the reader. I was expecting more dialogue from the chapter though, as after Tebo passed by the guard there was very little. Not really good or bad, just curious on what you intended.

Page 8, line 2. ' Tebo thrilled "I see it" he said and enjoyed his discovery '

This line is a little awkward to me. Feels a little 'tellish' as you just outright say he enjoyed it. He smiles later, which to me implies enjoyment. So you might be able to cut off everything after the and. Maybe even the said-ism.

Piglio, Chatter, and the Mountain

I skipped Dinner Theater for now as I'm low on time and I wanted to read the rat POV.

The rat POV was a little odd. It felt more as if you were half-inside the rat, and half-inside a person observing the rat's behavior. Perhaps studying it. I think if you really wanted to be in the rat's POV the sentences could be short and focused. Showing simple ideas of danger, food, people, etc... I wouldn't think the rat would know what a flight response is.

This chapter had strong dialogue. I liked the little band of kids and the mountain of a young man they followed. However, I don't feel a got picture of the setting, perhaps because it was introduced during the rat POV and not with a human perspective. I think knowing a little bit more about where they were would help me get behind them each as a group of street urchins.

The name's are all great. Chatter is a perfect name for a little, show-off of a kid. In retrospect I enjoyed the contrast between the simplicity of the smaller kids names, and the more refined name that Tyn had. Helped make him seem a little separate from the rest of the group. I'm interested to know what he's planning to do with his band of urchins.

Overall, I think your description is very strong, though sometimes POV can make some of it seem loose and not tied down to a perspective. These feel more like little glimpses into a world and less like something that is following a plot. Though I do think it would be a neat idea to show the progression of some story from a massive number of perspectives that aren't necessarily a direct part of the plot.

Looking forward to reading more in this world. Wow. I wrote a lot.

Edited by Sprouts
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@Sprouts - thanks very much for taking the time to read and the detailed critique.

 

Dulcet

 

I will look at the Wheel of Time to see some examples as you suggest. Your decription of the 'leaf on the wind' actually clarified it for me.

 

PoV is a problem for me and I'll have to work a lot on this. I think I will do some exercises and describe a simple scene, then rewrite it from the point of view of everything in the scene and go from limited to omniscient until the line is clearer for me.

 

Dragon Hawk

 

I guess my foundation is in the old stuff, from a time when I probably read 2-3 books per week, so I'll have to work on PoV more deliberately.

 

There isn't a requirement to show a dialogue chapter, it was just my thought that I should pick three chapters that showed different strengths - but I see what you are saying. Great points here and will rework with fresh eyes.

 

Piglio, Chatter, and the Mountain

 

The rat is 'less ratty' than he was. I originally wrote it as I suggested, but when someone pointed out that I was in the rats head I attempted to pull it back a bit - and that's whhat I submitted. I only mentioned it because I hadn't really noticed in the first version that I was jumping from head to head to head. Definelty something to work on.

 

The reason it seems like glimpses into a world is in part because the story is just popping out as I pants. I have an overall story concept in my mind, but my efforts to outline have been pretty frustrating so far - not sure why but I start getting detail overload or something. (I just wasted 3 hours yesterday trying everything from Excel, to post its, to a flow chart program.) As you observed I have been dipping into the world, at different locations and even time periods, I've dropped into bits on the sort of lose timeline that exists in my mind and written individual scenes.

 

I will focus on your suggestions, on PoV and definetley need to solve the outlining conundrum. Thanks again for the detailed crit.

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I've always had trouble outlining the actual story, and oftentimes would end up writing pages and pages of back story or world info and nothing at all about the present.  Then when writing the story I would just make it up as I went and usually end up dissatisfied and/or make very inconsistent or little progress.  I grappled with that issue for quite a while.  Though recently for the Thinker I tried following a method called the Snowflake method.  Essentially it says to start with the blurb for the novel, then expand it into a summary paragraph, then expand each sentence of that into a paragraph, repeat until you have the book in shorthand.  It's called the snowflake method because of the fractal nature of snowflakes.  

 

It seems to have worked for me as it helped me move away from writing information that would never be divulged to the reader and focus on the meat of the story.  Here's the link: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

 

Maybe it will work as well for you as it seems to be working for me.  

 

I think with POV issues a good way to straighten out what should be divulged and what shouldn't be is to try to think of everything from the characters perspective and not yours as the author.  The author will always have more information than the character and if that starts to bleed through then you get the sense of omniscience that is so common in old sci-fi.  So when Dulcet is hammering it would be odd for her to see herself as a creature of legend in the glow of the fire, as unless there was mirror nearby she would only see her arms hammering away, perhaps her hair slipping in front of her eyes.

 

EDIT: I'll note that in the link I posted the author encourages using the snowflake method for all aspects of writing, from the plot, to the world and characters.  For me I find it works very well for the plot.  But for the characters I find that a lot of that comes naturally as I write, trying to plan their personalities too concretely out beforehand just gives me a headache.

Edited by Sprouts
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Thanks for the link. I had actually looked at this, and a few other methods. Still looking. Not sure why but when I try to logically break it down I lose the story, but when I just write as if I was watching it happen it comes out. So I have a lot of bits and pieces of a story that are connected  - sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. I know the overall shape, and I'm fitting in pieces.

 

 

I guess I could try laying out what I have, then try to use the snow flake method to fill in the gaps but I actually have some prewriting and chapters that are 'puzzle pieces from all corners of the puzzle.

 

Anyway I think I just have to write constantly, and I'll continue to explore the outlining on the side - even if I have to rewrite because when I focus on the outline I get stuck. It was the main reason I never started writing - and I tried for many years off and on. I seem to get stuck at the outline. Several months ago when I just started pantsing ad following wherever the story led I was writing a significant bit just during my lunch breaks. Since I tried to sort out my outlining this past two months or so I am sporadic again. But I know I have to outline because otherwise I will end up with continuity errors.

 

Thanks again. I'll sort it out eventually. :)

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Just as a followup on outlining I am trying to trick the brain - with some potential success. Will have to wait until after work to give it a good go.

 

I am imagining a storyteller who is telling the overall story to an audience, then answering questions about specific characters ie. "and what about's Dulcet's part in the story" and by writing this as a scene, at least in a quick test before work this morning, it seems I can engage the creative side of the brain without getting into logic / analytical mode. If it works I will then have my outline.

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To summarise before going into more detailed comments, I really enjoyed all of these pieces. I’ll repeat, I think you have pleasing and comfortable style that is very readable, and a real knack for establishing characters effectively and economically. This is only your second submission that I’ve read and I’ve been engaged by both. Because of the nature of them, they have been a bit fragmented, episodic, and I would really enjoy reading several submissions of yours with a progressing narrative and plot.

 

Potted impressions of each piece:

 

Dulcet’s Hammer – lovely establishing portrait of the character, I want to learn more about her.

Dragon Hawk – great sense of wonder when the ship appears, nice detail on Johnny.

Dinner Theatre – excellent arc with nice twists that almost could stand on its own as a short story. Rathstone is a good villain, put me in mind of Frank Underwood, but probably ‘cause I just finished House of Cards S2.

Piglio, Chatter and the Mountain – good teaser trailer of a scene, strong characters, nice dynamic and an excellent hint at a depth of plot (the sigil and the duty) that demands for the reader to read on – if there was more.

 

Dulcet’s Hammer

 

“graced with the... ability”?

 

I like the description of Dulcet, it strong and positive, not flowery and clever in its detail – like the bead of sweat running down her neck. The word legend bothered me a little, it jarred for me, like going a bit too far.

 

The second paragraph is very poetic, but I thought it diminished the effect of the first, I thought you had clinched a very strong impression with that firsts paragraph and I felt that second was unnecessary – gilding the lily.

 

The makes an interesting comparison with your first submission, which I’ve just read. In my opinion (please disregard at will, as this going beyond critique), this would be a better opening for your story. There a very effective description of a strong character and we learn about the setting, i.e. where we are and a hint at the socio-political situation. Personally, I think Dulcet is your most interesting character. Fleet-footed thieves(?) and inscrutable assassins are ten-a-penny in modern fantasy.

 

“Something had happened Illia two years ago which had left everyone nervous” (about what?)

 “...and the moon waned,” (I guess?)

 

I gather her father beats her or something on those lines? This just makes her all the more interesting as a character.

 

“unconsciously picking” sounded contradictory to me, maybe “unconsciously taking”? If she picked it, that would be a conscious act, would it not? (Am I being excessively pedantic? I think I am!)

 

Dragon Hawk

 

Does Tebo know he has a small intestine?

 

Again, for me, Johnny is so stark against names like Tebo and Murdoc, etc.

 

“...lumbering ox” – unless you have created a different creature for your story

 

I found Murdoc’s accent being so thick a little distracting. It’s like no one else (across the two submissions) has an accent (which they presumably actually do, although more subtle, then suddenly there’s Murdoc.

 

Very effective description of Tebo going up the stairs and the stairs – I was there. And, LOL, “good” books – ouch, that’s cutting!

 

Enjoyed the reveal of the Dragon Hawk – nicely done, building the excitement.

 

Johnny is a very interesting character. Hardly the only (apparently) ‘simple’ character in fiction or even fantasy, but it’s not all that common a trope and marks your story out from a lot of others.

 

A very good section, I though, it left me wanting to read more. Between this submission and your last one, I feel a bit unsettled – like these are scattered fragments of a novel that I definitely want to read. I guess maybe this reflects your earlier comments about being happier writing characters and less directed on plotting and arcs. If you could conquer that, I think you would have a really good story here – centred on character, which I think is the only kind of story worth reading.

 

Dinner Theatre

 

Intriguing start and hints at what might be going on. Good sense of character straight away. I'm picturing an ornate dining room, but that’s my imagining, I don’t really have any blocking to go by.

 

I believe you only need to capitalise duke or lady, when used in junction with the name, i.e. a particular duke or lady. So “Well, if something happened to you, duke, where would we go...” Please forgive my presumption in commenting on grammar, I know it’s frowned upon by the Critiquers’ Guild, but it’s something I'm really quite passionate about.

 

Nice analogy to the seals and your quick sketch of the assembled nobles was perfectly adequate for me to form an impression.

 

Ah ha, and now the suspected slaughter begins, casually alluded to by Rathstone (good name) with his comment that someone was going away. Regur demise is a gleeful mockery of gallows humour, and I think it’s always important to have a counterpoint – total slaughter would be less interesting, so the Defence Minister’s resistance is rousing, giving a little doomed hope before it is snatched away in a truly gruesome way. Rathstone is gloriously cold-blooded and effective.

 

I did think that naming Othram so late was a touch disorienting, as you had established him in my mind as the Defence Minister. I felt a real pang when he fell after such spirited defence even in the face of his certain doom.

 

night’s work”

 

Oh, so scheming that he only hired the second best mercenaries, I thought that was a clever touch.

 

Ha-ha, and then construct the alibi, it’s fantasy PR, spin of the highest and darkest order – nice idea.

 

The duke’s name changes from Rathstone to Rathbone. Given the choice, I’d stick with Rathstone, as Rathbone could lead to a connection with Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock Holmes in a long series of movies in the forties with Nigel Bruce as the hapless Waton. He was the Holmes that I was brought up on (re-runs!) and, despite the wartime propaganda speeches at the end of the some films, he was a noble Holmes, full of guile, but not afraid of resort to fisticuffs or a service revolver.

 

I thought that Calvius’ murder of Menistus was obvious, but still a worthwhile note. I though it added a dimension to the staging affair, but more importantly, allowed Calvius to observe that Menistus’ death would most likely only serve to make him more famous. What a clever and melancholy note, that even in his moment of victory, Calvius knows that he is almost certainly sealing his rival’s fame and consigning himself to spending posterity in the man’s literary shadow. It’s not exactly how you’ve left that encounter, but it’s how I choose to interpret it.

 

Unsure how I feel about the ‘stream of consciousness’ representing the final killings.

 

I enjoyed this section of the story a good deal. I presume it’s part of the wider

 

Piglio, Chatter and the Mountain

 

So, there are actually four chapters?

 

Captain Pedant reporting for duty – no apostrophe when “its” is possessive, the apostrophe is used for the contraction of “it is” – sorry.

 

That’s the best insult I think I’ve ever heard – “Your grandmother was a lucky shot” – LMAO.

 

I like Tyn as a contraction of his full nickname, and I like the establishment of the characters. Most have a snapshot description that gives the reader a working image straight away. I think it’s more proof, if it was needed, of your ability to sketch good, distinct characters. I think that’s a real strength.

 

I like the set-up too. It’s got familiar elements, the new boy in town; a loaner; a quiet one; a picked-on one; token female (oops!); a training trope, but for me you’ve put them together in an interesting and pleasing way. It’s not Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen, receiving their training from an educational establishment, I like it.

 

There’s a lot of talk about “knuckle bumps”, for one thing that’s a modern thing that brings me out of the story, and it comes up a lot. I’ve assumed that we’re still in the same fantasy setting though, so maybe I'm wrong. Also, there must be another word for “knuckle bump”, it’s a rather unwieldy expression, maybe the youngsters on here will know – I'm just not street enough to advise on that.

 

“smouldering”

 

“set off at a jog”

 

Nooooooooo! What happens next? I really enjoyed this, you established some good characters with a nice dynamic between them, and a mystery in the sigil in Tyn’s pocket. I love the phrase “unyielding face of his duty” that’s an absolute cocker – well done.

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Wow. I wrote a lot.

 

:)

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On some of the other comments, I agree with Mandamon on sticking in the one POV in Dinner Theatre.

 

The rat's POV also seemed a little odd, but how else do you do that? Imagining film footage of the scene, you probably wouldn't be seeing through the rat's eyes, but watching it scuttling around from another perspective, i.e. the narrative rather than a character, or maybe from Chatter's perspective, but just without any cues that show it's a person watching until that pebble is launched.

 

There's a really good episode of Writing Excuses on POV, it's an early one S2 or 3 maybe, where Brandon gives the Writing Prompt, which is to write four short scenes in the same particular setting (I used a town square)each one from a different person's POV. The point was to illustrate that different characters will notice different things in a setting. In my town square, a hawker would see how many potential customers there were around the square; a nobleman might notice the condition of the place and whether there were any comfortable lodgings to be had - I honestly can't remember what my characters were, maybe I'll post it up here. Point being, it was a good podcast on POV and a good exercise.

 

As for plotting - I think the snowflake method or a version of it, is probably what most writers would do naturally. "I'm going to write a fantasy story where a kid finds a ring and it rocks the world and threatens humanity" then break it down from there. If you don't have that first very high level idea, then you don't know where you're going.

 

I wonder if your creation of numerous strong characters is working against your plotting and outlining, and that concentrating on one or two who would drive the plot and letting the others be secondary would make any difference? For my current project, Waifs & Strays, I deliberately created four strong characters at the start with the intention that they would be the core of the story. What has occurred is that two have formed the active core and the other two have been somewhat marginalised. That said, at 90,000 words, the second two are, I think, about to come to the fore, or certainly much more to the foreground.

 

Also, I had a 10 page outline and I've diverged from it several times, so it's really only a tool, not a straightjacket.

 

I'm sure you'll get there. I am really keen to read an extended narrative with your characters.

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I'll post for at least the first chapter, and will do more later if I get around to it. I'm not used to this, but I'll give my thoughts as I read, so a critique of my critique would be nice. Here we go;

.

Dulcet;

I agree with Sprouts on the epigraph, very poetic. I would say that, personally, the break here-

Quote

"...and so are graced ­- or cursed - ­with the..."

did just that, it broke the flow and poetry of it all for me. Now, don't go changing it just because my opinion. It's a well written epigraph and you clearly know what you're doing, so I just wanted to draw your attention to it for a second.

blacksmithing and and thoughtlessness = burns and bruises. Swinging without a thought wouldn't be wise haha

I like the descriptions a lot here. Who hasn't zoned out and watched dust float in sunbeams? It makes it feel more real once I have something to attach an experience to

I like all the references to blacksmithing and musical notes. You might already know this, but even a lot of modern day blacksmiths buy their anvils based off of the sound they make when struck.

"...this young woman hammered and polished by the events of her life, as one of creation's bright notes." I think? Nice that you used 'hammered and polished' fits the smithing vibe.

moon wand, you've got that though.

"Dulcet sighed then stepped onto the street, while pushing her calloused hands into her pockets." I think this works better as; 'Dulcet sighed. She pushed her calloused hands into her pockets as she stepped onto the street.' Idk though.

You were the one to tell me to show don't tell with emotions, and here is the reason why! You said nothing about her feelings, yet we now know she likes this person, and at the same time we learn more about her as a person(that she's likely shy or bashful). Great advice and great example of it in practice.

Really not a lot to critique with this one, great work here. But since that was so quick I'm going to at least start the next; looking over this, I have a lot of nit picky things, if you like hearing it or don't please let me know!

Hawk;

Ice tinged gust; I don't know, I think its the word tinged that bugs me. Icy winds might be a good replacement in my head.

short loping steps; short means short, loping means long and leisurely. Maybe hurried would work better than loping?

the pack; this again is probably just me- The pack is yet to be mentioned, so my brain would rather it be 'his pack' instead of the.

lightly trafficked; I don't think there is anything actually wrong, but I'm just putting down all my thoughts so; "The traffic was light this morning due to the hour and the cold weather" is a lot easier on my mental ears.

A sudden metallic clink of chain mail reminded Tebo that the City Watch was about, and though they probably wouldn’t see him very well in the thickening fog.

His feet He skidded on loose gravel as he came to a as quick as stop, as he could manage with the heavy pack's momentum pushing him forward.

"He stared down at the wicked blade of the {half pike} aimed in the general direction of his small intestine at his heart and gulped." don't ask me why, but my mind went to a 'halfpipe' for some unknown reason. Calling it a spear might be more instantly recognizable, and half pikes are a type of spear I think right?

I like the old guards eyebrows, funny line. I'm not a fan of spelled-out speech quirks. I prefer a mention of slurred or non-enunciated speech and then just normal quick to read dialogue. I can use my imagination for the specifics.

I like the use of Harrumph in a sentence, I use it way too much in real life though haha

Great job with the top of the tower scene. High, slick and slanted, just the thought makes me a little uncomfortable. My neck tightened and I was mentally telling Tebo to just sit down so he won't slide off and die haha.

You said 'tumbled stone' when describing the parapet/johny, that made me think it/he had fallen to the ground.

Bulwarks- Had to google this to picture the boat, I don't know if a bulwark is common knowledge or not.

I might read the next section when I wake up, its like 3:30am here

Good stuff, I'm interested to learn more about Tebo's spots and the lady smith's veil-power-thing! Everything up there^^^ is just what would have made things easier for me personally, so take it with a big grain of salt!!! keep righting, I really enjoy the way you can paint a setting with such ease.

Edited by LerroyJenkins
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I can tell you need your sleep from you telling Stormweasel to "keep righting" - lol - go to bed!!

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@Robinski First off - thank you for such a kind,  detailed and well thought out critique.

 

You raise so many good points that my response to your critique would need to be twice as long as my submitted material to do it justice. I'll have to limit myself to a simple thank you and assuring you that I am going to eagerly review my material based on your insightful comments.

 

I will say I am having a go at the outlining and high level concept. The chapters have always felt a little too much like individual loosely connected scenes as I have written them. There is an over arching story, but I have just been dipping into the stream at different locations. I do need to push the story along.

 

I like your suggestion about leading with Dulcet, I'm going to put some thought into that. As I mentioned I think I am in love with too many characters and will have to either trim that way down or learn to write a story with multiple characters effectively - I lack the skill right now but I did note that in the final Wheel of Time book Brandon Sanderson\ Robert Jordan, especially in the final mega-whumping battle, effectively juggle a large amount of characters effectively. I can't handle that but maybe I can learn enough to keep a few, or perhaps two couples .... anyway once I do get the outline I may see that one character can do it all - so I will try to break the wall I've built for myself.

 

I haven't read any of your writing yet but look forward to doing so if you are still posting (it sounds like you are pretty far along at 90k).

 

Thank you.

 

-------------

 

@LerroyJenkins - thank you. I"- or cursed" You are right. I actually trimmed that section a little and lost the break. Nice catch. You actually picked out several stumbling words and phrases and I will revisit them all on a rewrite. Like I said to Robinski, your crit probably deserves an equally long response but I will just say thank you and use your suggestions to get back to work. :)

 

3:30?! That's dedication. Thank you very much. :)

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keep righting, that was on purpose  :D  :unsure:  haha...

 

well do keep writing, I want to see more of this, it is really enjoyable!

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I am making a list of all suggested changes and sitting down to begin an editing pass on this chapter. I am also going to consider the fight scene some more - it was an experiment and I may rewrite it a few ways to see what works best. I also noted a couple errors myself - for example the assassin pulls an axe out of the back of one of the bodies and kills the mercenaries but - duh! - someone might find it suspicious that one of the attackers weapons was used to kill several of the attackers. I'll need to use the Duke's or one (or more) of the other noble's weapons.

 

Thanks again for the detailed critique. It makes it easy to parse out a list of items that I can review, and would have missed myself.

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