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JWerner

5/20/19 - JWerner - The Scarlet Saber, Chapter 1 (~3670) (L, V, G, S)

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4 hours ago, Robinski said:

Hey, @Alderant, I'm looking forward to you reading some of my stuff. Top quality critiquing, super thorough, I like it :)

NEU Oblivion was next on my docket.

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1 hour ago, Alderant said:

NEU Oblivion was next on my docket.

Cool :) 

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Hi, @JWerner! This is going to be my first crit for Reading Excuses, so I hope you find some of what I have to say helpful.

Overall, the chapter was successful in making me want to learn more about the world. Why do the people on C. think F. is a "children's story," why is C. called the Cursed Continent, and so on.

That said, I had a hard time feeling invested in L. I could at least feel some sympathy for P. having been forced into the marauder gang, but L. struck me as...somewhat cold, I guess? We know she wants to get home, but we don't see her worrying about the people she left behind, the outcome of the military campaign she mentions, or anything that would give us an emotional connection to her.

Throughout the chapter, I was curious as to why all of L.'s dialogue is in italics. From the quotes around “speaking,” I assume she’s using some non-standard method of communication, but I don’t feel like I’ve been given any clues to figure out what it is. Telepathy’s one possibility, though it seems like that would require more effort with P. looking away, since some settings have eye-contact being necessary for mind-reading. He flinches when she first speaks to him, but that could be just that he’s scared of her. I’d like to get some more indication of whether her mode of communication is surprising or unexpected to P. (That could tell us something about your world too—is this ability something the general populace knows about, or something believed to be mythical, etc.?)

There were a couple of details I really liked in your descriptions of L.’s armor and sword. First, that you mention her plate armor only protecting her down to the navel. This is pretty realistic, since most armor would be designed to let the wearer pivot at the hips. Second, you note that she’s only digging her sword point into the ground because it’s the only way she can keep upright, and she knows this risks blunting the blade. A lot of fantasy stories seem to have characters stick the sword in the ground while resting or to make some dramatic point, even though that would damage the thing they’re counting on to keep them alive in battle. I like that you put these extra bits of realism into your story.

I was a little confused by the repeated references to P. as a “boxer” before L. learns his name. I know boxing as a sport has been around for a long time, but it felt oddly modern for some reason.

 

A couple of line-level comments:

“L. didn't bat an eye at the deafening flash”

“Deafening” probably isn’t the best word to describe a visual stimulus. (Unless you meant for it to be describing the thunder that comes after the flash, but in that case, the sentence should be modified to make that clearer.)

 

““Can we can we canwe canwe?” the sharp-toothed one pleaded. A well-aimed slap from his leader—rhe man with the club—silenced him.”

I thought the sharp-toothed one was the leader? The previous paragraph makes it sound like the guy with the sharp teeth is also the one holding the club.

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Hello and welcome! I'm playing catch-up after quite a while gone, and Life kicking me when I'm down means I'm not quite up to regulation yet, but I did read this sub.

I see most of my issues have been covered already. Like the others, I found this to be very heavy into generic-seeming tropes. And while Tropes Are Not Inherently Bad. They're also not inherently GOOD, either. They're tools, and shorthand, and some are far more problematic than others. Tropes can be deliciously subverted, or comfortingly met. They can be horrifically overused and terribly written, too. Any way they are used, though, the author should be aware of them and their implications in the work. I did catch a few worrisome implications here, but since I'm so late and since I think this sub has been supplanted by a rewrite, I'll leave it there. This has good bones on it though, so I am interested to read more. 

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