Vreeah

12/26/2016 - Vreeah - Dreamt and Lost - Savior of Life & Always Departing (V) (2607 words)

10 posts in this topic

Hello everyone! Hope the holidays went well!

Alright, so I've made some rearrangements to the chapter orders. Last week, I submitted chapter 2 and half of chapter 1, but they didn't have enough tension.

As an attempt at solving this problem, I've switched chapter 2 and chapter 3.

The new chapter 2—Savior of Life—is the main bulk of this week's submission. It's a different viewpoint. I originally had it as chapter 3 because there's a fight, and I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to follow chapter 1's nursery brawl with yet another chapter containing a fight. The events take place at around the same time as the original chapter 2, so changing them around doesn't leave any impact to the timeline.

Anyway, I'd like to know if the tension is any better with this arrangement. If not, I'll move on to other chapters until I think of a better way to introduce the plot and story concepts.

Thanks as always for taking a look!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ch 3 is better with tension, but it still doesn't hold up the whole way through. Also, might be WRS, but who is Lothurn? I don't have a good feeling for the character.

Ch 4 has some tension with Sofia's secret, but this would be a better hook earlier in the story.

Notes while reading:

Pg 1: Much better tension to start, especially the boy calling for help.

Pg 2: tension starts to lag, as the monster is imposing, but then monologues about how he's right. Too much talking before he decides to attack.

pg 4: "Even while condensed and infused inside matter, the memory itself was less than half the age of the opposition."
--Not sure what this means.

Pg 4: blocking is unclear with the...burning house? Not sure what the memory is.

pg 5: passive voice:
"A brown bullet fired from the musket"
"Kaisan's mind was burnt and shattered"
Still feels too easy for Lothurn to defeat Kaisan. The monster says he's going to freeze all the children, but then Lothurn shoots him easily, with no consequence.

pg 6: "And yet, the townsfolk were eager to shift from misery to gratitude.They showered him with money and supplies"
--Eh. Too much. These villagers are half dead and should be asking him for extra supplies.

Pg 7-8: don't really understand the alchemist reviving and then killing the man again. Does she just lug this thing around to make a point to clients?

pg 9: "still be eating by now."
--either still eating, or eating by now.

pg 9: blue slime - is this the same stuff the alchemist was using? If not, I'd change it to something else. Right now they seem like the same thing.

pg 10: "Look, we need to come up with an explanation for why you aren't sick."
--interesting. So Sofia's immune in some sense? This would be something good to lead with in the first chapter, rather than burying it four chapters deep.

 (reading further)...ok, so Sofia is powerful, or can hold more dreams than normal? Definitely lead with this is the first fight to give us a point of interest for the char. Right now both siblings are sort of bland (as is Lothurn).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mandamon is beating me to all the subs this week! 

Overall

Loving the more treacherous dream stuff, for sure, and the tie in to Sophia. I agree with mandamon in that the characters are still pretty bland, and could use some spicing up. I think the content of this sub could move much earlier in the work, and really help speed up the narrative.

As I go

- Not a fan of your opening line. Would prefer something with more kick to it, to suck me in as a reader

- ah, finally we see what the dreams can do! Yay! This could be a stellar first chapter, even. Sets the stakes well

- page four, and the blocking is off, I think. I'm confused who is where and doing what

- the monster is vanquished... seemingly very easily? It felt a little anticlimactic, but that might be due to blocking, too

- page eight: I was super into this mistress and hunter thing, and it sort of fell when we find out his motivation is because his wife and son are dead

- page nine: ah, good connection to the blue slime!

- I'm disappointed that there wasn't some catch with Sofia and the blue stuff. Tension dipped lower there

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I say this as someone with no knowledge of the previous chapters and no idea who these characters are: 

The frozen town was a really cool image and the concept was interesting for me. I like pretty nature things so it held for me, but I do think it needed a better hook. 

I feel like the fight was too sudden, too quick, and I wanted more background of the frozen child as well as more information about this dream stuff.  Is it important at all? If there's something to establish then I would linger and let us know more. The bad guy is cool! Let him do more bad guy things!

No idea what an espirt is. Is it some kind of magic soul bullet?   

For me the mistress was far too sudden and just "hi i'm here whaddup." She seems cool but the pacing is kind of weird and I feel like there needs to be more... resolution? with the town. 

I have NO idea what's going on with the blue slime and I feel like I'm missing a lot of context with Sofia. 

I hope this helps! 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P.1

I feel like your opener, through the first paragraph, falls into a family of prose that tries for beauty but falls short of having much meaning. It's not actually saying anything. Otherwise, this is a pretty solid start, though I feel like 'the cold elements' is kind of an awkward phrasing.

P.2

'heavily unused' is not really a phrasing that goes well together. The anarch's dialogue is pretty stilted, but this is a good scene so far.

P.3

Yeah, both parties' dialogue is weirdly stilted here; it almost has the feel of translation. The prose is much more fluid, it's got a good feel to it.

P.4

As before, you're stronger when you're more nebulous; toward the top of the page I think you lose a bit for being a bit overly specific and definite.

P.5

A bit of an anticlimactic solution, but we're early on, things should be easy, I'm not going to sweat it too much, just, I dunno, shooting the dream monster with a gun just feels sort of unsatisfying to me. Its dispersal is a little bit sudden too, I think.

P.6

Dialogue is very consistently your weakest spot in this sub. It feels like you're trying for formality, but it's coming out just bulky and clunky. The voice on the second half, too ('amused, feminine', I think is too many descriptors) is very... expository, in addition to that clunk.

P.7

We're pretty solidly into cliche territory with this particular interaction, and you're not really bringing enough to the table with it to keep me engaged. This is a very by-the-numbers exchange, and it coming in after such a solid previous scene doesn't help a lot either. You had me at the start here but you're losing me fast.

P.8

Sigh.

It's not so much that the dead family is bad as a motivator, exactly, it's just a really common one.

p.9

I... just don't think this is very interesting.

P.10

It's a very mundane conversation, again, very high school, and I'm not sure why they're focused on hiding this and to be really honest if the slime is that toxic there should be at least some concern that it was disposed of safely. I'm really not sure why these characters so aggressively don't care about something so dangerous.

P.11

--

Overall, I mean, this has potential, and there's parts of it I like, but it keeps getting brought down with inanities and really weak dialogue writing. These pretty much never feel like real people talking. In conversation too, I'm generally finding character motivations as either really standard, or generally nonsensical. I'm not really buying in on any character.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- I like Lothurn's observation about the youth of the Frigid. It's just seemed like an interesting aside for a character to make.

- "And yet, the townsfolk were eager to shift from misery to gratitude. They showered him with money and supplies while tending to their wounded and terrified, as if unsure of

their priorities. They were locked between celebration and recovery." I really like this passage. I'm curious if this is how people normally react in this world. I'm a not a big fan of him just slipping away though. It feels a bit cliche, and perhaps even unnecessary.

- I like Lothurn and Silla's dialogue during their first meeting.

- The next chapter is good too, but the last line is a little too maid-and-butler-ish. Instead of saying they will go tell someone, it's probably better to actually show them telling someone their findings with the toxic slime. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was really fun! I rarely feel the urge to go back and catch up with these projects, but I feel like doing so with this one. It feels very Witcher/early WoT. Like there's just stuff going on everywhere. Stuff that is related to its own business and not some overarching plot. Dangerous world built for stories. 

"And yet, the townsfolk were eager to shift from misery to gratitude. They showered him with money and supplies while tending to their wounded and terrified, as if unsure of their priorities. They were locked between celebration and recovery."  - I gotta disagree with rdpulfer. This passage threw me out of it. Felt too clean and too video game. If he's going to leave the town all the same, I wouldn't mind something more apprehensive. For all that he dispatched the punisher, this guy knows the town's crime... they may not take to him to kindly. At least not all of them. Just a thought. 

Also, someone calling themselves a Spymistress is a little too silly. Spies kind of underplay, you know. Not saying she should be more mysterious or not give her name, but she could say something unassuming that Lothun knows well enough to know means top spy or spymaster, etc. 

Also, I thought the moralizing with the ice spirit was a little on the nose. But I don't have a good enough sense of the character yet to have a firm stance on how they should react before they kill him. That plus the "no big deal" makes him seem a bit too heroic/noble when a lot of the other stuff in the chapter makes him seem like he should be more Strider/world-worn. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And finally, it's time to circle back here. Thank you guys so much for the gifts of perspective!

I read these whenever they popped up, so the insights have all been a help for the bits of writing I got around to this week. Sorry my response was late in coming.

---

@Mandamon

I think this is the first time Lothurn has appeared on this group, so it isn't WRS at work. I'll see about adding more hints to his personality and presence when they come to mind.

When I first conceived the story, Sofia's secret was meant for a later reveal. However, nearly every line that hinted at it was marked as a bad line of characterization, and I think Sofia's likeability suffered from it. I'm at a loss.

The dialogue could stand for some reworking. Will do.

As for Lothurn taking Kaisan out so easily, that was intentional. Ellis and Sofia were casually using dreams the same age and older than Kaisan, so Lothurn wouldn't be much of a threat if he couldn't handle the situation with ease. The part about freezing the children is also meant to be a small bit of foreshadowing that Lothurn isn't a shining hero. He didn't care about the consequence of dying children, so he confidently took the shot.

I figured the conclusion with the townsfolk was clunky. That definitely needs reworking. I knew the townsfolk had to do something by the end, but Lothurn didn't need to be there any longer.

She carried the body with her to prove she had the power of revival, instead of having to rely on claims and promises.

Yep, it's the same blue slime. I tried to imply that the eye from the first chapter was from silver fur dream, since it has some large and empty eye sockets. Not sure if that got across.

Gotcha, need better character leads. Might need a different opening, then. Sofia's abilities can't be seen by anyone except Ellis, since a public revelation leads to other points of plot progression.

---

@kaisa

Yeah, unblanding these characters is currently the highest priority. Can't have as good of a story if the characters can't carry it on their shoulders.

Better opening line, eh? I originally led with how Lothurn was carrying around a nightmare in his heart, but I thought it might've been too heavy. Maybe worth reconsidering.

Glad the one on one dream duel sat well!

Blocking? Oh, is the acting character muddled at these parts? I'll be sure to fix that. I suspect the passive voice that Mandamon pointed out also might be involved. I'd better draw a map of what's happening in the fight beforehand and figure out a better visualization.

Ugh, I don't think I can do much about the motivation without altering a pretty big chain of events. I'll keep going for a few chapters and hope the details help, but if not, it'll take some rethinking.

Yay! Connection noticed! ♥

Ah, yeah, might have been suggesting the wrong stuff when I emphasized the blue slime. I meant to imply that it was extremely deadly, but mostly to highlight how different Sofia is and how much trouble all the other blue slime victims were in. I'm considering inserting a glimpse into the medical ward.

---

@r.topaz

It was a big help, R.topaz! Thanks for coming and reading ^_^!

A better hook? Yarrr, that I do. Got a couple ideas, some old and some new. I'll play around with them.

Ah, sorry, the bad guy this chapter was mostly an introductory device. It was a melting pot where I showed how dreams strengthen by age, Lothurn's competence, what permanent effects might be left by dreams, how dreams have an obsession with what caused them to be born in the first place, and Lothurn's personal baggage.

Oh, esprit is a word meaning spirit and liveliness of intellect, and I use the word to represent the energy that forms these dreams.

Yeah that was my bad. I got so into the events of the town and I realized that the town resolution was less satisfying. Improvements planned.

Oh yes. The blue slime got on Sofia in one of the previous chapters, and I was using the end of this chapter to show what was supposed to happen when an average person gets a high dosage of the stuff.

Thanks again!

---

@neongrey

Hm. I did intend the opening lines to have meaning behind them, but having them give off that impression is troublesome.

-The first line about the glow of dawn was to imply the time being morning, so that this chapter is confirmed to be happening at the same time as the first chapter's morning awakening.
-I referred to the town as being like shambles to show that the town wasn't at the heart of civilization. I wanted it to seem like the outskirts of society, much like how Lothurn had removed himself from others.
-The memory in his heart is the weapon he uses later, as well as his motivation and history.
-The cold wind is the enemy he is vanquishing today.

Though I do intend to rework the opening to have a better hook, I still want to imply all the things above.

Ah, but "cold elements" does fall too far outside the norm. I'll fix that.

Stilted is the complete opposite of what I was going for, so that's another big problem. The anarch is meant to be materialized resentment—wild and narrow-minded. Half its matured mind is permanently obsessed with whatever thoughts led it to be born in the first place. I'll see if I can break up his speech pattern some more and get a touch insane in terms of how much he resents the townsfolk.

Lothurn, on the other hand, should be gruff and stoic. Narrow-minded in his own way, and a victim of tunnel vision for far too long. That also doesn't seem to be coming across, so it'll be a work in progress.

Drat. Is the non-nebulous writing too clunky? Or too sharp of a contrast?

I think I emphasized Krisan's power too much. I meant to show how powerful a dream of this age can be, while also showing that Lothurn is far above it, but a lot of people expected more from Krisan.

Yeah, it was intentionally formal, but I'll see about slimming things down.

Ah dang. Which cliches am I hitting? I'll do what I can about that.

Rebirth and revival are central themes, so death is rather important for me to keep, but if it's killing the story then I'm more than willing to sit down with the outline for a few weeks.

Character remains the top priority, but these are all dangerous problems to watch out for. It's giving me some nervous excitement.

---

@rdpulfer

The resolution at the town is one of my big holes right now. I spent so long on the first half and didn't built up much closure.

I'm considering a quick visit to the medical ward on that chapter. Might work out better.

Silla and Lothurn working together is really important, so I'm happy it landed well for you!

---

@Yados

I certainly am in love with the setting of the story, and can't wait for the characters to move away from their starting points. That said, there is a plot that covers all the characters so far, so I'm sorry to say that it won't be completely separate. It's more like a couple story paths that keep converging in on each other, mixing, and then bursting apart.

The idea of declaring her position was mostly meant as an olive branch. I wanted the offer of employment to seem as genuine and friendly as possible, despite the extent of surveillance that will be shown very soon.

Though the scene played out fine enough, it hasn't done the characterization I planned. I'll weed out the sense of nobility as I come across it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Vreeah said:

Stilted is the complete opposite of what I was going for, so that's another big problem. The anarch is meant to be materialized resentment—wild and narrow-minded. Half its matured mind is permanently obsessed with whatever thoughts led it to be born in the first place. I'll see if I can break up his speech pattern some more and get a touch insane in terms of how much he resents the townsfolk.

Lothurn, on the other hand, should be gruff and stoic. Narrow-minded in his own way, and a victim of tunnel vision for far too long. That also doesn't seem to be coming across, so it'll be a work in progress.

Yeah, they're both coming across very unnaturally, I think. Neither of their dialogue is really reflective of actual speech, or even of more formal English dialogue. Just glancing it over again, I feel like the best thing I can compare it to is that it's similar in feel to a fan translation of a visual novel, like it's working with a different underlying language with different conventions of speech, and then translated in a way that holds too close to the literal meaning of the source text. Something like, eg, 'They can't be flamed for failing to save.' is, I mean, I think that's probably grammatically correct (save is a verb that requires an object, though it's not necessary to state it if one is implied), but it's also not reflective of any natural usage of the language.

20 minutes ago, Vreeah said:

Drat. Is the non-nebulous writing too clunky? Or too sharp of a contrast?

Mostly it's just very bland. Mundane. Doesn't hold my interest or attention.

22 minutes ago, Vreeah said:

I think I emphasized Krisan's power too much. I meant to show how powerful a dream of this age can be, while also showing that Lothurn is far above it, but a lot of people expected more from Krisan.

I think maybe trying to convey that terrible power in a scene that is basically here to introduce the character and show us how badass he is is not the best idea; either it'll come out really anticlimactic, or it'll undercut any tension in any future scenes, if we already know he can trivially handle these things that have been built up from minute one. I'd probably focus less on telling us how powerful it is and just convey a sense of power and menace. Let how you frame the encounter create the tension in the scene, and worry about 'yep old dreams are Real Powerful' later.

31 minutes ago, Vreeah said:

Ah dang. Which cliches am I hitting? I'll do what I can about that.

Mostly this is just a very by-the-numbers encounter. Mysterious employer/benefactor hires person and/or adventuring group for mysterious reasons, spends encounter being mysterious. Could see this scene in any noir film, or in a lot of tabletop gaming groups at the start of a new campaign. It doesn't strain credulity beyond pretty much everything relating to the journal or anything, it's just a scene that has been done countless times before and doesn't bring anything new to the table. Mostly it's her showing off how powerful and mysterious she is.

(as far as the journal goes, maybe the spymistress labels her notes on the cover with who they're about (though this seems like terrible opsec), but putting his former profession on there feels a lot more like really awkward exposition. and letting him just have the thing, even if it's an expurgated duplicate, I have trouble buying her as being in the position that she says she is in)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so this is the new Chapter 2.

  • I like encountering something dark as a counterpoint to the almost completely bubbly and colourful opening. Nothing wrong with that, but a whole novel of little kids dreams and bright colours, might get a bit much for me after a while.

  • The action is so chaotic and unpredictable that I find it a bit disorienting to read, to process, like I can’t keep pace with the visualisation so I start to skim a bit. I still get vivid images, but perhaps not precise ones. Maybe that still serves the text.

  • I like Loth humility in the end and the way he slips off in the face of the townsfolks humility, The length / pacing of the encounter felt right to me also.

  • “some of its head-sized eye sockets were eerily empty” – good image.

  • “A shorter woman stepped out” – shorter than what.

  • I found the encounter with Sil effective and entertaining, I enjoyed the display of alchemy. It was satisfying to see something different from the dream magic. I think because the alchemy somehow was finite, it had boundaries that were clear and understandable. Oh, man, am I arguing for prescribing your dream magic? No, I don’t think so. I think the contrast between the two works well.

  • Perhaps more importantly is that Chapter 2 (3) provides us with a very clear and unequivocal plot signpost, which is absent from Chapter 1. I also think Loth is a more interesting character; he displays some personality, he has ‘proper’ conflict in the sense that there is threat, which I don’t really feel in Chapter 1. For these reasons, I would consider making this the opening of the story.

Chapter 4

  • I don’t understand why Sof not falling ill is an issue. Why didn’t she fall ill? Magic. It seems irrelevant. And she didn’t know the stuff was toxic, where’s the harm? Thus, the discussion kind of leaves me cold.

  • Yeah, this chapter just leaves me kind of confused, and confirms that I don’t really feel anything for Sof and Ell. They are like children, closeted in a nursery, disconnected from a much darker world and therefore feeling kind of divorced from the story I want to read about more, which is Loth’s.

Interested to see where this goes, because I’m now conflicted between the two POVs and have a clear favourite.

<R>

0

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.