akoebel

July 22nd - akoebel - Shrouds Chapter 9

7 posts in this topic

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.

 

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Ah. I'm sad your stopping to submit this. I only started reading in the last few chapters and with this last installment you really caught my interest. I really like the combat system of the shrouds. It felt very different from things I've read before, but it is easy to visualize so doesn't drag on.

 

One thing I found a bit odd although it was eventually explained is that nobody recognises anyone else in the scene. Mahau opens the door to his room and sees a women lying on his bed but he doesn't recognise Neda she doesn't realise its him when he is on the  floor and they don't recognise their attacker is the missing god till right at the end. The idea of the shrouds distorting things works but I think it could do with having attention drawn to it. If you just indidcate that Mahau can't see the figure on the bed clearly because of a faint haze or something like that then that would avoid the confusion. Unless you mentioned that shrouds do that in an earlier chapter and I just missed it in which case it's fine.

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I'm fine with some character building and instrospection, but the first few pages come across as too much.  It feels like you're trying to cram all the backstory you couldn't get it earlier to these pages.  For example, you could have dropped a sentence in earlier that her aunt used to be the head priestess, and use it as a reference here, to make the introspection stronger.

pg 4: "She wasn't prepared at all for what stood on the other side of that door."
--This is a bit too much of a "And then she..."  It seems artificial.  I would take out this last line and let the tension of her going into the room stand by itself.  We know something's going to happen.

pg 5: "even the twinge of pain in his hip forcing him to limp went unnoticed."
--it's not unnoticed if you just called it out.  

pg 5: "He would have to lit a fire in his chambers if he ever wanted not to be turned into an icicle"
--this sentence is awkward and passive (also light for lit). There are some other senteces like this as well--watch for them when you edit.

pg 5: "As much as he distasted antagonising his head priestess"
--disliked

pg 12: I get the feeling Mahau is crawling along the floor because of the time shroud and he's moving in slow motion, but you never really say this, and you don't say he ever sped back up.  I was also a little confused that no one recognized anyone else.  a little more shroud description would be good.

pg 14: "She was usually the strong one and seeing her frightened like this disturbed Mahau more than he could explain."
--Watch for telling instead of showing. There's a bit of it in this chapter, especially around Neda.

pg 16: "Mahau soon noticed the dagger buried deep in the assassin's side."
--wait, so the god with half his body cut away needs to/can stab himself with a dagger and kill himself?  First, if the cutting away half his body hasn't killed him, I don't think a dagger will do it.  Second, I doubt he's going to be able to even move, or he would have aimed the dagger at Mahau.

pg 17: Why doesn't Mahau know what the other gods look like?  This seems a very bad position to be in, especially if the gods fight each other all the time.

Overall, a good chapter.  I like the progression of the story.  We now know about all the missing gods, and the plot has thickened.  The middle action of this chapter drew me in and captured my attention.  There were some minor things, but nothing detrimental to the story as a whole.  It's a good end to the first act.

 

I was going to say I was looking forward to finding out more, but then read that you plan to stop posting.  It is harder to get good comments on the middle and later portions of books, especially if people haven't read the first part (as I found out myself with Seeds of Dissolution), but at the same time, I think if, as a forum, we can keep interest in a book going all the way through then it will give some better comments on the overarching plot.  I know posting an entire book will take ages, but what would others say to posting summaries or specific chapter segments to help critique character arcs, plots and endings?

...I may need to make this a poll or some such. This is probably not the right place to bring it up!

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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.

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Yes, there is a dropbox set up for full reads (the link is in Silk's Welcome to Reading excuses thread under Reading Group A).  The problem is there's no real notification on when something is put in there.  Maybe we should have a thread for Alpha read notifications?

 

I'm in the same situation as you, Akobel, having gotten a lot of good feedback on Seeds of Dissolution, but needing alpha reader for the finished book (which I'm 1/2 through editing).

 

I'd be willing to swap and do an alpha read with you, focusing more on plot, pacing, and arc.  I think the synopsis might be good for plot holes, but won't convey much of the useful (and exciting) information about the book.

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I'm sorry to say I haven't picked up on Shrouds, I think you had just posted Chapter 5 or 6 when I joined, and I was a bit nervous about offering comments on something that I hadn't followed from the start.

 

Having a post on Alpha Reading is a great idea. Presumably it would be easy enough to 'follow' the post to get notifications when a novel had been put in the dropbox. I guess it might tend to take some readers away from weekly submissions, but there would obviously be longer timescale involved in alpha reading anyway.

 

I's sign up for alpha reading.

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I liked the insight into Neda that came from talking about her aunt, but I did think there were too many pages of introspection at the start, unbroken by description or action. I also didn't feel that the characters' emotions were evoked all that strongly. It's something I also struggle with, and so can't put my finger on why I got this impression, but it was there.

 

Why doesn't the attacker do anything while Mahau's stood in the doorway preparing his shroud? I know the attacker had a plan, but surely once he saw Mahau pause in the doorway he must have known it wasn't going right, so why didn't he try to respond?

 

The missing god as an attacker was an interesting twist, and made me intrigued about where this would go next.
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