AdolinsGirloftheWeek

4/22/13 - AdolinsGirloftheWeek - Slumber Chapter 2/1.1

7 posts in this topic

This is the second/first chapter of my novel Slumber, a story of fairytale magic and heroes who need to lighten up. Upper YA in general tone, with little controversial subject matter besides moderate fantasy violence.
Based on last week's critique, I've tried to rework the first half of my second chapter into a feasible half a first chapter instead.

So my biggest question is, does it work as an introduction to the story? For those who read last week's chapter, do you like these scenes as the start of the story better?

Besides that, any comments on anything (voice, exposition balance, characterization, plot etc.) are definitely appreciated.

Thanks!

AGW

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I think I like the first version better than this one.  The first has all the issues I already mentioned, but this version has more problems with POV and how it's set up.  Because you don't have Pythia as a vehicle to explore the scene any longer, you try to condense your prologue, and it comes across as very explainy.  There's a lot of telling rather than showing. 

 

Then once you get to Ashera, there is some POV confusion.  It's hard to tell if you're writing from Pythia's POV inside Ashera's head, or from Ashera's POV.  I think if you are intending this to go after your prologue of last week, you're repeating yourself in the beginning, and if you mean for this to be the beginning of the story, then it's too general to start out with.  It sounds like you're summarizing something that we should know about.  You lose the wonder of the first few paragraphs of your chapter from last week.

 

Once again, I think the problem is your choice of protagonist.  Pythia is by definition unable to interfere, and so making her a protagonist means she must be inactive.  It would be much easier to write, and to read, if we learn about Ashera and Niko and Talvin in the natural progression of the story.  As it is now, Pythia can tell us about the characters becuase she can get in their heads.  But you don't want to tell us about the characters, you want to show us how the characters react.

 

At the risk of sounding draconian, I think Pythia's POV is a darling you need to kill.  But taking this away from the story takes out some of the mystery with your setup, and I'm not sure how much damage that will do to you story structure.  I see all the elements of a good story, but they're not in the right order yet to start it out.

 

And to immediately contradict myself, don't spend too much time on this.  Write the book first, then come back and fix it.  I'd rather see the next chapter next week (and assume the first chapter went well) than to see variations on the first chapter over and over.  Keep writing!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mandamon pretty much summed it up. 

 

Even if I still found the same likable - almost cynical - voice, the piece felt awkward.

 

At the beginning, It's almost as if you're in fast forward where Pythia explains to herself what's she's doing - it's a big tell. Things start to become easier near the end where you have some dialog, but even there, there is this frustration about knowing I'm not in Ashera's POV, yet I can see her thoughts.

 

Some elements might also have worked slightly better in present tense, but in past tense, it only sounds weird.

 

I agree with Mandamon that the Pythia POV might be a good idea on paper, but I don't know how it could work.

If you switch to another POV, you can deal with your story like in a mystery - something strange is going on; people start having strange ideas. Pythia's interference is subtle, so you can string this on for a while - maybe even through 2 acts. Then, you drop the big reveal.

Once the reader knows Pythia is pulling the strings, you can have some of her POV, but only in a few scenes, I think.

 

Anyway, you're the writer here, so you decide which way you'll want to go.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mandamon, akoebel, thank you again for your helpful comments! As always they are extremely appreciated.

 

If I do end up deciding to stick with this as the beginning, I will definitely do something about those first couple of pages - akoebel, I think you summed up the problem perfectly - it's too much of a "fast-forward" through events.

 

As for Pythia's POV, I think I will take your last bit of advice Mandamon and keep writing for now. It's hard for me to figure out how I could structure the story without it, but that's not to say it's impossible. I still think her POV might be worth pulling off, but I'll keep an eye on the problem and see how awkward it keeps making things in the next few chapters.

Edited by AdolinsGirloftheWeek
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Pythia's pov and I didn't feel confused with the merger of her and Ashera's pov. 

 

What really felt awkward to me is when Pythia explains Niko's ( why Niko for a name? its a Japanese brand name, I'd go with Nikos) previous personality and now. Its too much telling, especially about his silver eyes. Thats something you can introduce later. 

 

I think what would really help is show more of Pythia's reaction to things. Not just in witty comments, but her expressions, emotions, quirks, pet peeves. I dont know about your thoughts, but I'd imagine that I'd freak people out with all that goes on in my head. 

Edited by cetriya
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for checking this out Cetriya!

 

Great catch on the over-explaining thing for Niko, I'll make a note of it. I like your comments on Pythia's mental reactions as well - improving that might help mitigate the problem with her inaction as a character.

 

As for Niko's name, both Niko and Nikos are Greek names, but I don't love the running together "S" in Nikos Silverwing (I'm guessing most English-speaking readers won't be as familiar with Japanese culture as you are).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello. Took me a while to get around to this. Minor disclaimer, my experience with high-ish fantasy and YA is fairly minimal, so Im afraid I wont have much to say about certain aspects of the story (magic systems, etc) as I dont have the familiarity or eye for catching cliches and holes in the magic system and what not.

 

I didn't read the "first" version/chapter, but I get the feeling this will be better as a 2nd chapter than as a first, with another, secondary perspective on the characters which (I imagined) you introduced in the other version. As it stands, I agree with what the others have said above re: the inactive nature of the character. I'd like to see more stuff being done...also, like there's a lot of narrative summary that could be brought out in 'scene'.  Like:

>>I appeared to the old woman in all my “Princess Pythia” glory, glamoring myself with illusions to look ethereal and regal, and speaking in low tones about the eternal glory that awaited anyone who could rescue my city and me. The dream impressed her enough to announce the quest to hundreds of adventures at her inn.

 

This could be a cool scene. Im thinking maybe this was in the 'first chapter' I didn't read? Or not? Seems like a missed opportunity. If we had more action happening 'onstage' you'd have more little slots to slip in exposition, and maybe you could lighten up the 'explainy'-ness that seems to accumulated at the beginning. I'll just second Mandamon's words above:

"You don't want to tell us about the characters, you want to show us how the characters react."

And not to sound like I'm totally just parroting Mandamon (sorry!) but yeah, keep on writing and don't worry about the first chapter. Getting to the meat of the story will help you determine whats really going on and whats really the best way to start it all out. (I suppose there's a reason for the old saw about writers always trashing the first chapter in their first drafts).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.