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aeromancer

Reading Excuses - 3/8/2021 - Bravely Defiant: Chapter 1 (5110)

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Hi all. This is the first chapter to my somewhat non-traditional but also very-traditional fantasy novel Bravely Defiant. I submitted a prologue a while back, but it is in no way required to read this first chapter.

 
Bravely Defiant is an attempt to be a more classical fantasy novel with a traditional knight as the protagonist, although the setting is a bit more detailed than your typical fantasy novel. (There are airships, for one thing.)
 
Given that this is the first chapter, I'm looking for your thoughts on how the characters are introduced and developed, as well as the worldbuilding.
 
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Nice to see you on the boards again.

Overall

There's a great story in here, buried in dialogue. I love the air ship, I generally like the characters (the doctor in particular, and the captain, and the AI) and the Arthurian mythos is always fun. I think if you could cut the dialogue down to one conversation in this chapter, with the most vital information that sets us on our quest, it would be a deeply compelling opening chapter. As it stands now, there are too many conversations for a man who can barely walk, and by the third one I was having a hard time concentrating

It's a good start! Trimming will make it much more powerful. And as always, your writing continues to improve, as does your dialogue between characters.

As I go

- pg 2: it's interesting that he sees her as a nurse but she is a doctor. This does a lot of character building with very little work

- pg 5: I was pretty on board until C says 'this is nothing' as he is trying to stand. He's a little too 'man' right now, a little too trope. I'd like just a little something to set him apart, since right now he reads like a caricature 

- pg 6: that its a racing airship is a very fine hook

- pg 8: getting antsy. Looking for the greater world stakes and plot about now, or more specifics on C's personal motivation other than having failed a woman

- pg 10: the dialogue is getting stilted through here and you are losing voice. I'm having a hard time telling the captain from C

- pg 11: I'd rather they'd gotten to the spear a few pages up. I think we could manage without a few of the dialogue pages to get right to the spear

- pg 15: too much talking. I need something to happen, either action wise or the plot moving forward

- pg 17: if C is that sick/in pain, he's doing a LOT of talking. How is he keeping all this going on when he can't even walk? Whenever I wake up from surgery and such I can barely hold my own side of a conversation. And this is his third. It stretches believability to me

- pg 20: I know it was likely discussed, but I grew weary of the dialogue and had a hard time focusing. So I'm still not sure why they need this map. Is it to navigate by? Why does C care and doesn't he want his spear?

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I was just wondering last week when we might see what follows the prologue you’d posted.  Good to see you back :)

 

Overall, I think the world is really interesting, and am excited to see where the story is going, but I think this chapter gets bogged down in the conversations.  There’s a lot of wordy dialogue, which is making it more difficult to be as engaged as I’d like to be with the characters. 

I am really excited to learn more about the world.  I like mechs and airships, and am fascinated by the machine spirits, so the setting is appealing to me and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

I’m not getting hugely attached to C at this point, since he’s falling into the same traps that I fall into with my characters far too often, where he’s spending all of his time talking about things, but we don’t get a good idea of what he really cares about.

I really like the potential for Sh, but want to see more proof that she’s competent as a doctor and isn’t just going to let her patients do things that are going to make their injuries worse.  I imagine that airship doctors probably run into a lot of stubborn patients who don’t want to spend their time recovering from illnesses or injuries even though it’s vitally important.  C trying to jump to his feet and go ask questions shouldn’t be that surprising to her, and I’d expect her to have methods of dealing with stubborn patients that still fit her friendly cheeriness.  It’s a tricky contrast to convey, but I really like the possibilities I’m seeing there.

Pg 1:

General paragraph flow note: As long as there aren’t any other characters for “he” to refer to at this point, using C’s name every couple sentences seems repetitive, and can get distracting. 

“took notice of the room’s other occupant, but not before…” Jumping back and forth in the observational timeline can be jarring.  If he notices the room right away, that’s fine, but if the other occupant is mentioned first, I’m expecting her to have been noticed first.  Having him observe the room while looking for the source of the voice makes sense, but opening that paragraph by mentioning the other person distorts the perception of what order’s he’s processing things in.

Pg 2:

“…red hair that…” did the hair seem familiar? Or did the woman seem familiar? Hair seems like an odd feature to find “familiar” unless it’s an unusual color for the area, at which point I feel like it would strike more as unexpected or strange than familiar.  

Pg 3:

The conversation seems to be more involved than I’d expect C to be able to manage considering where we last saw him.  On Sh’s side it comes across more as a bubbly personality, so she can get away with a little more chattiness/extra wordiness, but I’d expect more exhaustion/disorientation/pain from him instead of a casual conversation.  And bubbly can sometimes run the risk of leaning toward implications of a person being unprofessional or absentminded. There’s no reason a person can’t be cheery and competent, but it can be a tricky balance to portray to have a cheery person who maintains that even while taking their work seriously.  Especially for a doctor, whose work is going to tend toward dealing with unhappy/sick/injured people and is going to need to deliver difficult news or deal with loss in a sensitive way. 

I really like interesting contrasts in characters, and like the potential of a cheery doctor.  I’d just be cautious about making sure her cheeriness and friendliness doesn’t interfere with her competence as a doctor.  Even if she’s not the best of the best as far as doctors go, there’s a reason they hired her for the crew instead of someone else. 

Pg 4:

Her red hair…” I figured this might be where the red hair seeming familiar might be going, but if he’s only ever met one other person with red hair (or it’s rare enough to think they might be related) I think the connection would be much clearer on first glance.

Similar comments to above about the energy level of the conversation. If I was C, I’d be overwhelmed trying to follow it.

“…a few more hours…” how long has he been under her treatment? Is a couple of hours going to make that much difference?  What’s the extent of his injuries?

Pg 5:

 

“…muscle strain…” Is she saying that’s what’s wrong with him? Or that he’s going to strain himself by pushing himself too hard?  I’d expect him to have far worse damage considering the condition they found him in.  If his mech thing was destroyed, I’d expect him to have more actual wounds from being inside it at the time. Potentially stitching that he’s at risk of tearing free.  Broken bones that he shouldn’t be putting weight on. Dehydration depending on how long he’d been in there before they found him.  Concussion symptoms that she’d probably need to wait until he was awake to check.    

This seems like a good opportunity for her to show us that she may come across as friendly and bubbly, but she’s not going to give any ground when she knows what’s best for her patients.  [edit: this is especially true if they don’t need to go up to the deck, which seems to be the case since the captain already knows he’s awake.]

Pg 6:

“…no particular rush…” Why the opposite impression from Sa, then?

Pg 7:

A lot of this conversation could be trimmed back to better emphasize the characters and their personalities, and to make sure we’re just getting the key details.  I think some of it is getting lost in wordiness that makes it harder to stay engaged.

Pg 8:

“the first of my questions…do you smoke…” I enjoy these sorts of lines.  Yeah, we all know he wants information, and he’ll get there, but first things first.

Pg 9:

“It’s simply junk, now.” Does he know that?  I mean, he can probably assume that it’s in pretty rough shape, but if he was inside it, then passed out at some point, how aware of the damage would he be?

Pg 14:

“…impressed by her dedication…” What is it that impresses him? I like her, but I still want to see her taking a stricter approach on making sure he doesn’t further injure himself. 

Pg 15:

I assume M giving him the locket is significant, but I don’t have anything to tie his comments here to, so it seems out of place. Especially when there have already been so many things discussed.

Pg 16:

A machine sprirt?...” Didn’t he ask the captain to send the machine spirit down?

Pg 18/19:

I’m not entirely sure what upsets Sh here.

Pg 19/20

I like Ir a lot, and look forward to learning more about machine spirits in general.

 

Looking forward to seeing where the story goes! 

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On 3/8/2021 at 9:28 PM, kais said:

Nice to see you on the boards again.

Overall

There's a great story in here, buried in dialogue. I love the air ship, I generally like the characters (the doctor in particular, and the captain, and the AI) and the Arthurian mythos is always fun. I think if you could cut the dialogue down to one conversation in this chapter, with the most vital information that sets us on our quest, it would be a deeply compelling opening chapter. As it stands now, there are too many conversations for a man who can barely walk, and by the third one I was having a hard time concentrating

Glad to see you like the characters. Looking it over, it does have too much dialogue, so I think I'll strip down the conversations at either end of the chapter to the bare minimum so I can keep the one with the captain.

On 3/8/2021 at 9:28 PM, kais said:

- pg 2: it's interesting that he sees her as a nurse but she is a doctor. This does a lot of character building with very little work

I'll keep that in, then. Originally S was just supposed to be a mechanic, but since ship's carpenters doubled as sawbones during a pinch, I decided to have her take over that role as well as kind of a historical in-joke.

On 3/8/2021 at 9:28 PM, kais said:

- pg 8: getting antsy. Looking for the greater world stakes and plot about now, or more specifics on C's personal motivation other than having failed a woman

That's going to take (checks notes) about 50 pages, I think? I intend to give the novel a more slow burn approach to the plot and stakes. Characters get introduced and developed, inciting incident and then the stakes are introduced.

Also, that's pretty much it on C's personal motivation. He's a knight. He didn't save the lady. Quest for redemption.

On 3/8/2021 at 9:28 PM, kais said:

- pg 20: I know it was likely discussed, but I grew weary of the dialogue and had a hard time focusing. So I'm still not sure why they need this map. Is it to navigate by? Why does C care and doesn't he want his spear?

Maps are very important to ships, especially wind maps if your ship is powered by the wind, and while the JH does have engines, it relies on sails for long-distance travel, so the ship is actually stuck without a good knowledge of the nearby wind currents. The Age of Exploration equivalent actually had much more complicated maps because they used both the wind and the current, and if you got stuck somewhere without either, there was a good chance you and your crew would die of dehydration on the open seas. Maps are very important. Maybe I should stress that a little more.

C doesn't want his spear for personal reasons (which get explained later), but he also doesn't want anyone else to have it (because they can use it to track him down).

Thanks for the comments. Glad to see you enjoyed the submission.

 

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

Overall, I think the world is really interesting, and am excited to see where the story is going, but I think this chapter gets bogged down in the conversations.  There’s a lot of wordy dialogue, which is making it more difficult to be as engaged as I’d like to be with the characters. 

Similar comments as @kais, then. I'll have to work on the dialogue.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

I’m not getting hugely attached to C at this point, since he’s falling into the same traps that I fall into with my characters far too often, where he’s spending all of his time talking about things, but we don’t get a good idea of what he really cares about.

He has a decent motive rant in about a dozen pages, which I suspect is just another reason to trim down the current submission.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

I really like the potential for Sh, but want to see more proof that she’s competent as a doctor and isn’t just going to let her patients do things that are going to make their injuries worse.  I imagine that airship doctors probably run into a lot of stubborn patients who don’t want to spend their time recovering from illnesses or injuries even though it’s vitally important.  C trying to jump to his feet and go ask questions shouldn’t be that surprising to her, and I’d expect her to have methods of dealing with stubborn patients that still fit her friendly cheeriness.  It’s a tricky contrast to convey, but I really like the possibilities I’m seeing there.

Very good point. I'll have to go back and add that in.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

“…red hair that…” did the hair seem familiar? Or did the woman seem familiar? Hair seems like an odd feature to find “familiar” unless it’s an unusual color for the area, at which point I feel like it would strike more as unexpected or strange than familiar.  

People from red hair are exclusively from a land called Luin in this setting, since genetic drift hasn't really happened yet in this world, though there are people from Luin who do not have red hair.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

“…a few more hours…” how long has he been under her treatment? Is a couple of hours going to make that much difference?  What’s the extent of his injuries?

Pg 5:

 

“…muscle strain…” Is she saying that’s what’s wrong with him? Or that he’s going to strain himself by pushing himself too hard?  I’d expect him to have far worse damage considering the condition they found him in.  If his mech thing was destroyed, I’d expect him to have more actual wounds from being inside it at the time. Potentially stitching that he’s at risk of tearing free.  Broken bones that he shouldn’t be putting weight on. Dehydration depending on how long he’d been in there before they found him.  Concussion symptoms that she’d probably need to wait until he was awake to check.    

This seems like a good opportunity for her to show us that she may come across as friendly and bubbly, but she’s not going to give any ground when she knows what’s best for her patients.  [edit: this is especially true if they don’t need to go up to the deck, which seems to be the case since the captain already knows he’s awake.]

C had been in a mostly-catatonic state for the past three days. He has no obvious injuries, nor any kind of fever. And, yes, he should be a lot more injured, but the mech he was in did a very good job of protecting him from any injuries, which is due to lore reasons that have not been stated yet and will not be stated for quite a while. Reason being that C is the only one who knows them and he isn't talking about that at all.

That said, I can certainly have S give a proper medical diagnosis.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

I assume M giving him the locket is significant, but I don’t have anything to tie his comments here to, so it seems out of place. Especially when there have already been so many things discussed.

The locket needs to be foreshadowed, but I can actually have it brought up later so I'll probably cut that scene out. Although that is the only time that M's name gets dropped in the chapter, so that will have to be moved somewhere else.

19 hours ago, C_Vallion said:

A machine sprirt?...” Didn’t he ask the captain to send the machine spirit down?

C is surprised by her appearance, not her presence. As he explains, he's not used to them appearing quite so human. The ones in the northern kingdom mostly manifest as inanimate objects (like armor or weapons) and don't really move around that much, which, as Ir puts it, is because she's of a higher quality than they are. Though most of the machine spirits in the south are more like Ir. This because the south has much, much, better technology than the north does.

Thank you for the comments as well. I'm glad to see you enjoyed the submission.

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I have similar thoughts to @kais on reading this. I think there's a good story in there, and this already shows some good characters and setting, but I think this chapter wanders a bit too much and doesn't really settle with a solid ending. Some trimming and condensing the conversations and descriptions would help.

Overall, an interesting story though! Interested to see where this is going.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "every time he tried to figure out if he could move a part of his body"
--repetitive with the previous sentence. I think you could cut this.

pg 2: "stopped moving entirely"
--except he can't move...

pg 3: "Instead, his expression was locked into a more neutral tone"
--there's a lot of this, where you show something, and then tell it again in the next sentence. You can remove the second sentence and it has more impact.

pg 4: "I wonder if the two of them are related."
--did they also look similar? Because hair color is not a good indication if people are related...

pg 6: “I warned you.” 
--uh, no, she didn't She just asked how his eyes were.

pg 7: starting to get a little slower through here. Could probably cut some of the walking and talking getting to the captain.

pg 9/10: There's a lot of back and forth through here and then a minor backstory infodump.

pg 15: "to throw sharp objects when the ship jerks"
--Usually things are stowed very securely on naval vessels. I'd assume it would be the same on airships...

pg 17: "That explains a lot … and yet, also quite so little."
--except it doesn't really explain anything to the reader as we don't know why she's different. We find out a few paragraphs down, but maybe the order of this needs to be changed around.

pg 19: This part is sort of going off into the weeds. I'm losing the thread of where the story is going.

pg 20: Not really a strong ending to this chapter. I'd prefer a bit stronger arc, with some hint of where things are going from here.

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Overall:

I really like the general story setup here. The airships are cool, and I can piece together how this is setting up the plot. Something tells me that the quick detour to get maps won't be as simple as C thinks it is... But like everyone else is saying, there's a really strong foundational plot here. I also do like the characters, especially S, even if she can be a bit much for me at times. 

A couple comments, though. First, C's defining personality trait is that he failed M, but we don't get a lot from him about what that means. Which means, for me, the main reason I was turning pages in the story didn't actually get me anything. I think the easiest way to help with this would be to give just a few details about M so we can see how much she means to him. They can even be pretty basic ones (aspects of physical appearance, common activities, ect.) if you want to save hard-hitting plot stuff for later.

Second, since C's immediate goal is to help these people out and get the wind charts, I think we need a motivation that's stronger than "Well I have nothing better to do." Is he the type of person who always repays debts? Even knowing something like that helps us feel for him more when he decides to help these people out. 

Keep up the good work! :) 

As I go:

pg 1

-The idea of failing her is more interesting to me than C's physical condition, since it hits at the emotional core. I know we ended with that in the prologue but I think that should be the opener here (not to be too perscriptive)

pg 3

-I think it does matter, C. Don't you dare hide this from us! For real though that's the thread I'm following here. Everything else is sorta in my peripheral vision. 

pg 4

-Think this can be trimmed a bit since it's not moving the story forward too much

pg 5

-Was the doctor not able to tell he wasn't strong enough to walk before he tried or was she letting him try for her own amusement?

pg 7

-More cutting potential here. We already know a lot of this.

pg 8

-Okay so he has some shady knowledge about wind charts? I'm intrigued and expecting this to go somewhere. 

pg 10

-This is the core of his personal arc right now so I'd like to see him emoting a bit more here

pg 13

-All right, so our friend has nowhere to go. I'm expecting an inciting incident soon at this point. 

pg 18

-So they're going to head to the mining town most likely and C will find something important there... that's what I'm imagining, anyway. 

 

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Overall: Off to a good start! I thought the chapter's structure was pretty sound, though I do think there is room to trim some of the conversations, etc. that happen over the course of it to get us to the end.  I’m not totally bought into the characters yet—I felt a much stronger connection to the captain when he was the POV character in the prologue than I do to C here, and S seems … a bit odd. I’m not a hundred per cent sure her portrayal is working for me, but I can’t put my finger on why. That said, I’m not unwilling to spend more time with them.

I think the biggest thing that was missing for me was a greater sense of the overall stakes. As framed, the chapter seems to be presenting C’s relationship with S and maybe the wider crew as the most important thing. C doesn’t seem to have a goal or direction quite yet, he doesn’t seem to think that anyone will come after him, and there doesn’t seem to be any tension inherent in trying to recover the maps, so I don’t have any sense of what’s next when I read the next chapter. Obviously I don’t need all the answers but a general sense of where the next conflict might come from would be helpful.

As I read:

“his bed suddenly pitched wildly” Is this supposed to signify that he’s still on a ship? Because it makes it sound like the bed is moving independently. Also, OUCH.

P2 “sat on a chair by the room’s only door, sitting” some repetition here

P3 “You thought you were dead?” I’m not entirely sure how she came to that conclusion? It’s not the impression I was getting from C’s POV either.

P4 “I wonder if the two of them are related.” This seems like a huge leap to make based only on red hair.

P4 “if he’s awake enough to have a conversation with you” It doesn’t necessarily follow that he’s awake/uninjured enough to walk to the bridge. Based on this comment, the first mate seems like a bit of a jerk.

P5 “I warned you.” I feel like an actual warning would have been along the lines of, you know, “It’s really bright outside” :P

…I somehow did not realize that the ship was an airship from the prologue. I thought it was, you know, a … water ship?

Who is Ir?

Edit: Actually, I think this might be WRS. The ship spirit, right?

P8 “Wind charts? I know where some are.” I’m finding a lot of C’s interjections to himself a little clunky – they often seem to be there for clearly for explanatory or foreshadowing purposes rather than feeling like a natural evolution of his thoughts. I think it might be a case of over-emphasis.

From this conversation between C and the captain, I’m having trouble determining how common giant mechs are. From the captain’s words, and also the prologue, I get the impression that it’s not very, but C is explaining it like it’s common knowledge. I do have a hard time imagining how something like that could be kept secret.

P10 “You’re quite good at evading my questions…”  By saying that he doesn’t know how to answer them?

P11 “Suppose we found such a spear and decided to leave it behind…” Feel like there’s some contradictions happening here. They can tell he’s alive by using the spear, but it doesn’t have enough value for them to go back and look for it? Wouldn’t that information be valuable?

Since the airship has an independent power source which allows it to fly, why are they so dependent on the winds?

P13 “I was joking… I meant with your thoughts” I’ll admit she got me too, I just had to delete the sentence I wrote along the lines of “shouldn’t they just tie their stuff down better?” :P

“She’s the first mate, right?” Wait, I’m confused. C’s met the first mate (ish, heard their name anyway) and this isn’t them.

“She’s a plant in her spare time” I don’t know why, but I love this.

I’ve noticed it a handful of other places as well, but a few of the lines in the last few pages feel read as though they’re not necessarily from C’s POV – that is, they could be coming from an observer as easily as C himself. It’s clear there hasn’t been a POV switch, so it’s not confusing, but it’s something to look at if you’re going for a tight third-person limited (which has been my overall impression).

On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

He's a knight. He didn't save the lady. Quest for redemption.

This could certainly work as a motivation, but I think for it to propel us forward we need to have some idea, fairly early on, of how he's going to do it. 
 

On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

That said, I can certainly have S give a proper medical diagnosis.

This would help. He seemed to go from "very injured" to "recovering quite quickly" and I never quite figured out exactly what was going on. 

On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

As he explains, he's not used to them appearing quite so human.

I think moving this explanation up in the conversation would help. 

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I love the concept and you have a great cast of characters (S and her awkwardness and jokes is my favorite), though I admit, I did like the captain better when I was seeing from his point of view than when I was seeing him through someone else's point of view. There were times when the dialogue seemed stilted or people said a little too much, but otherwise, this story is off to a good start and I am looking forward to reading more. 

p. 2

"A nurse’s bag was slung over one shoulder and there was an elaborate leather belt with a holster for what seemed to be a spot-welder" Is she doubling as a nurse and mechanic? 

"“Vitals are weak, but there. You seem to be in good health,” Sherry said. “Which is good.” It seems like she contradicts herself here.

P. 3

"You’re the one who found me, then?” Nice clear connection to the prologue.

"Alright. If you want to keep to yourself, I guess that’s fine." He did give part of an answer. 

"I remember now. Her red hair " I wonder if you really need to switch to first / italicized internal thoughts. Why can't this information just be part of the narrative? sometimes italic thoughts can work, but here, they seemed unnecessary, distracting, and slowed the pacing down. 

P. 4

Sa sounds  like a jerk. 

p.7

This is one of the areas where the dialogue felt sort of stilted and clunky, especially when the captain is introducing himself.

p. 8

I was getting a little confused in the dialogue about where they are

p. 13

I was getting a little confused when  they were talking about charts. 

This area is another place where the dialogue could use some work.

P. 15

"I was joking," S sighed and placed..." I love S. I would be so confused if I were one of her patients, but that is what makes her funny and a great character. 

P. 17

A machine spirit? That explains a lot … and yet, also quite so little. I'm not sure I get it.

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Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, "ballistae bolt" Pretty sure this should be ballista, no -ae unless it is plural. It follows the 1st declension feminine noun rules from Latin

Pg 1, "he has his goal back on his mind again" Since you just said "his mind" in the last sentence, I'd mix it up. "Now that he was reminded of his goal again" etc

Pg 1, " An infirmary?" Well, hopefully not an evil laboratory for experiments.

Pg 2, " there was an elaborate leather belt with a holster" slung over her shoulder as well, or around her waist?

Pg 3, " we’re no ferryman to the dead, no sir." 10 points to you for a smashing voice for S. Very distinctive. Good job!

Pg 3, " salvage right now. - You're missing a quotation mark at the end of this sentence.

Pg 3, " something kept him from it" You know, I feel like I'd be a lot more maniac finding out I was alive after some kind of battle that involved ballistae and giant robots. They might as well be having tea here. I'm missing the emotional response. 

Pg 4, "you heal fast." Magically fast? How long was this guy out for? Like, he hasn't even mentioned anything past the first paragraph on how he feels.

Pg 4, "it’s the same color as C" Red hair must be really rare if he's wondering this. 

Pg 5, " just use me as a brace" No crutches in the infirmary? 

Pg 6, "The ship was a beautiful airship, triple masted." Getting Treasure Planet vibes and I am down for that.

Pg 7, ", he must be welled traveled" Welled?

Pg 8, " it's been slow going." 

Pg 10, "for him to tell over to the captain" Odd phrasing.

Pg 13, " escorting our guess back" Guest

Pg 14, "a few days" Dude's been out for a few days and he hasn't been crazy hungry or thirsty or having to pee like a racehorse? The whole multi-day coma may fall into the "convenient coma" trope. "No matter how long the coma, a fictional character who awakens from one will usually be up and about and walking normally by the next episode, perhaps getting tired more easily for a short time. In real life, muscles atrophy, tendons contract, and a patient may need years of rehab and surgery to be able to walk again, or even to sit up on their own or use a wheelchair."

Pg 16, " I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow may bring"

Pg 16, "to breathe since you woke up, so I suppose it's fine"

Pg 17, "coughed discretely." Discreetly

Pg 18, “Is she… um…?” Do you mean "he"?

Pg 18, "He is not dead" 

Pg 19, "Having an understanding of human thought"

Pg 20, " ser knight" Sir?

 

I'm not going to comment on the dialogue since it appears, reading through everyone's comments, that you have already noted it. I'm suffering from a lack of emotional connection to C currently, but I like S. Although it appears her accent comes and goes? Either way, totally pumped for this world. 

On 3/10/2021 at 5:24 AM, aeromancer said:

That's going to take (checks notes) about 50 pages, I think? I intend to give the novel a more slow burn approach to the plot and stakes. Characters get introduced and developed, inciting incident and then the stakes are introduced.

IMO, 70 pages to get to stakes is way too long. However, that doesn't mean you can't add in small stakes until you reach the Big Boy. You already have two stakes: C getting found by the people who want him dead (which you solved) and that they are off-course (although they are aiming for maps). You could set up two small stakes right now, probably decently simply, one internal, one external. Example: External: The J has to get back on course asap otherwise she isn't going to make her quota. Internal: C needs to hide information from the captain, because if he is found out, the captain will dump him off in the middle of nowhere. Stakes tell the reader which way the story is going and gives a signal for why they should keep reading and what they should be tense about. Having a lack of stakes is a lesson I have learned the hard way... 

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Nice to see this story again! 

I agree that the dialogue goes on a bit too long. I don't dislike the wordy banter, I think it has a solid place in the right context, there is just too much of a good thing here for me.

A few things that caught me as I read:

"It sent him back aches" at first read it seems like any movement makes only his back ache. 

"Now he has his goal" tense shift

"S introduced herself" not really needed since we get this from the dialogue.

Taking his pulse: the wirst or his neck would be a much better place to check than his forearm, especially if his "vitals are weak". It also takes a good 30 seconds to a minute to get an acurate pulse. I'm not sure how far you want to go into medical here since it seems from his actions that your MC is just fine aside from some bruises and dehydration, but I'm happy to help if you want any info on basic assessments or symptoms. 

"Just C" felt a little awkward compared to the usual verbose replies.

"His expression was locked into a more neutral tone." Feels like a POV shift

Highlander. Great title, but I will be picturing Adrian Paul swinging a sword around to music by Queen every time I read it :-) That's just a personal problem though, symptomatic of the 90's. 

I really like the flavors your are developing with your world building, thanks for sharing!

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Yo this is pretty sick imo. Love the mecha Gundam vibes. Definitely got me interested from the start.

as I read:

pg 1: Definitely intrigued at what's happening here. I’ve failed her, the thought rose unbidden into his mind. And with that, more pain. But now he has his goal back on his mind again, and with that, he opened his eyes. I feel like there shouldn't be a change of tenses here. The bed he was sitting up in took up most of the room, no doubt was pressed into service for whoever needed it. This sentence confused me.

pg 2: “Vitals are weak, but there. You seem to be in good health,” S said. “Which is good.” This seems somewhat contradictory. The pacing is good and I like how you introduced the doctor.
“Why, how else did you expect that you ended up here?” I think using a different word than expect would work better here. Maybe, how else do you think... 

pg 3: I feel like you could mix more beats into your dialogue. Nothing's wrong with it, but it does drag a bit.

pg 8: I'm surprised at how fast C recovered, though I'm sure there's a reason behind it.

pg 14: Why did S introduce herself with her full name if she only wants to be called by her shortened name?

 

Okay, so overall I think it's great, definitely will be reading this story as you submit it. THe biggest problem I see is with the dialogue, not the dialogue itself but the sheer amount of it. It bogs down the plot and my attention starts to wander because it's all tell and no show. There was nothing here that put me on the edge of my seat but there was a lot that perked my curiosity and made me want to read on. It sounds like a redemption story, and I can see how it has all the trappings of a classic fantasy story but it's dressed up enough to not feel cliche. Great work :) 

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