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Reading Excuses July 23rd 2012 Primordial Lights - Aminar files


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I haven’t read the previous chapters yet, but this chapter definitely makes me curious about them and where things are going. So far I like the three main characters, minus some minor characteristics, which I’ll get into later. There are a lot of hints and mentions of things you may have already shown in the previous chapters (such as the dinosaur, Vivianna, Kit) that are really tantalizing, hinting of a big setting. Which brings me to the setting, what I’ve seen of it so far links magic, technology and dinosaurs and I like that, it’s different than standard setting fare, though it does remind me of Ilium by Dan Simmons – a story that also combines different ‘settings’ into a whole. I hope you can pull it off.

Here’s some things that I noticed that I didn’t really like that much, or which I think could use some attention.

Keth’s escape: Small issue, maybe due to the fact that the technology aspect wasn’t clear to me yet, but I found the 15 minutes to escape a very optimistic and unrealistic time limit. He’s still in the cell, has to find his way out of the ship and to a life boat, get it in the water, all without getting caught AND get far away from the ship. In 15 minutes.

Contradictions: You have a number of contradictions in your prose, “the blackness was more, or maybe less”, “it seemed to be transparent in a way he couldn’t describe”, but then you try describing it anyway. Keth tries to summon an element from its home dimension, but he summons it forth from where he keeps it in his hand (which isn’t its home dimension, is it?). And maybe the best, “blurred into focus”.

Bat summon: Small thing about the summon on page 1, for clarity I’d suggest switching two sentences. Start with the sentence about it being a bat, and follow with the sentence about its wingspan. In my mind it starts with a blur, then a blur that has wings, big wings and only after that do you tell me it looks like a bat. Start with the familiar first and then give specifics, such as wingspan.

Heinrich / The Grumr: You use Heinrich five times in this chapter, while mostly using The Grumr to attribute him. As such it really draws attention to his name ‘Heinrich’, rather than his title(?) The Grumr. Maybe this is intentional, but it made me pause every time I saw his name. Also, the capitalized The felt out of place.

The Grumr and curses: Maybe this was shown better in previous chapters, but the first time The Grumr cursed threw me off a bit. He sounds like an angry teenager.

Descriptions: You have some descriptions that don’t feel integrated into the rest of the story. A good example is with the cheshires as The Grumr comes upon them. Things are burning, there are chesires, then a loose segment telling the reader all about the chesires, their society, etc. At this point their way of life is not important and you’re better off showing why they’re dangerous rather than telling up front.

Was/had: There’s an overabundance of the words ‘was’ and ‘had’. It slows the whole chapter down and in most cases completely unnecessarily.

Example: “The Grumr was hiding in a stairwell near the bow of the ship. From where he was standing the Grumr could see almost a dozen chesires.”

Which could be changed to the following without losing anything: “The Grumr hid in a stairwell near the bow of the ship. From where he stood he could see almost a dozen chesires.”

Plural versus possessive: Instead of the possessive forms you have a lot of instances where you use the plural instead.

Examples are: “fighting off his bodies attempts” instead of “fighting off his body’s attempts”, “igniting the ships reactor” instead of “igniting the ship’s reactor”.

Rambling: When Keth is with The Grumr, whenever he talks it feels like he’s rambling, spewing out complete trains of thought. I didn’t like this very much, honestly.

Too forthcoming: All your characters are too forthcoming, Keth tells The Grumr everything he knows while they should be enemies at this point (though The Grumr does notice Keth is being naïve). The Grumr tells Keth all about his troubles with his organization and his boss. This is a weakness, a trained agent wouldn’t reveal this, it doesn’t serve him.

Iraisa’s section: Iraisa’s section is superfluous, nothing happens that Keth’s section doesn’t address and the remainder is information about her home, culture, legend. It doesn’t need to be there.

Understanding comes too easy: I don’t like Keth’s mind meld hand thing, it’s all too easy. A good source of conflict and excitement can lie in the difficulties for Keth and The Grumr to communicate with Iraisa and vice versa. All of that is gone since they simply mind meld and pass all the relevant information to the other.

In all I enjoyed reading the chapter. You’ve got some good things going for you, though there are the above points to detract from the whole. Looking forward to more.

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Hello, time for some feedback! :D

First of all I have to say that I really liked the idea of the setting, though it might run the risk of being a bit all over the place. Still, dinosaurs and nuclear tech = win.

I felt that the pacing for the chapter was good over all. A lot of things happened but it didn't get overwhelming, and it kept me reading. :)

That said there were some things that brought me out of the story:

The Grumr

The use of "The Grumr" feels a bit awkward -- especially when its Grumr's P.O.V.

It just felt a bit unnatural -- even when used outside of his P.O.V. It might just be that I lack some context but I think it's use could have been toned down in favour of Heinrich or simply the Grumr -- and even 'he' in some places.


Now, I don't mind info dumps I just feel that they could have been smoother. Having them be coloured by the situation and the P.O.V character. This should make the info-dumps feel less like exposition and more like the thought of the character -- even if it's done for the readers benefit.

And trust me, there were some really interesting concepts thrown in to this chapter in the info-dumps so the last thing I want to do is to say that you should get rid of them -- I would just like them to be more personal :)


There is a lot of repetition in the text. Often you mention something in one sentence and repeat a version of it in the following sentence. It kind of messes with the flow of the text, i feel. Good news is that it's something that's easily fixed in revisions ^^

Some examples:

Keth lay there, quietly listening to the sounds of the ship; letting his headache slip away. Dex was humming

soothingly, wearing the headache away like fresh rain on a dirty window, Keth wasn’t sure if Dex was humming on

purpose, he was prone to random bouts of song when bored.

Dex laughed, "Funny how they always seem to do that, it's almost like they want you to escape."

Keth didn't bother responding, he was focused on one thing, escaping the ship.


Grumr's constant cursing seems very forces. I tend to use curse-words a lot in real life so I'm not bothered when others do it, but cursing in every single sentence makes it seem forced to the point that even I felt a bit annoyed by it.

On a similar note he did seem a bit moronic when he started going at it with the female cheshire. A few moments earlier he seemed to think his luck had run out as she came upon him and then he goes and insults her -- just felt really strange to me. Now it might be that they aren't as big a threat as I thought they were but in the context I had this felt a bit off to me.


How does Iraisa know Keth's name in her P.O.V?

Maybe this is mentioned in an earlier chapter, but the way she thinks of him as she wakes up (see below) makes me thing that she wouldn't know his name. Is this due to the mind melding?

I found a P.O.V "error" at the end of Iraisa's part. You state what Keth does after stating that she passed out. It could be fixed by saying that "as she slipped into unconsciousness she could feel him letting go..." so I don't really call it an error but still something you might want to take a quick look at ^^;

The Language

Lastly we come to one thing that actually drew me out of the story. The language of Iraisa's people.

The language itself is interesting but some of the descriptions rubbed me the wrong way.

Would flashing light words not be public or less vague? I mean anyone should be able to read it, in that regard it feels like it should be no different from verbal communication.

I do like the lampshading of her text conveying emotion though! -- as it is generally thought, if not necessary always true, that text is only about 7% of the total message.

My only wonder about the simultaneous transmissions is that if they can have a two person communication with more than one transmission they must have pretty quick minds to pick up and translate text that goes as quickly as they describe it. Which would make her P.O.V really interesting ^^

Learning the Language

Might have missed this as I haven't read the previous chapters, but Keth's understanding of the language feels very convenient and sudden. He basically seems to learn it in one paragraph, though we do get hints that he has at least studied it some. The same problem is made in reverse when Keth gives her speech in no time at all.

By contrast look at the original Star Gate movie, it takes a long time before Daniel figures out how to communicate with the natives, despite being well versed in a very similar language. The reason he does learn is that he basically finds another Rosetta Stone. Of course Keth might already have been close to understanding the language in previous chapters and the mind melding provided the last piece that made it all start to make sense -- in which case I think it could use some clarification but it no longer feels sudden, nor out of the blue.

I think that for me it basically boils down to it being a bit out of the blue. It feels like you created the culture and the unique language and then realised it would hamper the story telling so you basically pulled a "a wizard did it" to solve the problem. Granted this is done quite a lot in scifi with translator gadgets but for some reason I didn't really feel like it worked here. I'm not really sure why sadly. I mean its basically the same as how they solve the problem in Farscape but for some reason it never bothered me there :/

I think it might be because there are a period were the audience gets to understand the language barrier problem and thus the payoff of them being able to communicate seems like an achievement. We want them to learn cause we want to know what is being said. I never really felt that here. Maybe in part due to how quickly it was resolved and maybe in part because I had already gotten a P.O.V from the girls perspective so I already knew what she was thinking and feeling. I don't really know if I can be more specific :/

Sorry I couldn't be of more help :(


I liked the story, there are some things that I felt got in the way of the storytelling but nothing plot wise, and nothing that can't be fixed. Looking forward to your next submission!

Best Regards,

The Sad Dragon

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The number of people liking my setting makes me smile. From there I plan on moving all chapters from The Grumr's perspective to his first name but then keeping the characters calling him Grumr or The Grumr based on context.

When I started this my grasp on the setting wasn't very good. The infodumps were on the spot creation that do need a huge cutting down. My editing notes have about 2/3 of the thing highlighted for one reason or another. Same goes for repetition. I'm glad you guys noticed.

I'll have to go over Iraisa's section, but from what I remember part of the magic in Keth's hand forced a mindmeld that allowed Iraisa to bypass alot of the cultureshock that would come from mingling such different cultures quickly. That isn't the point of my story and would have just slowed things down so I plot-mcguffined it away.(Although that Mcguffin is one of many hints towards a greater set of motivators) Same goes for Keth's learning of the language. Comes from the mindmeld.

On perspective issues. I occasionally bust those. I know the rules, but I'm unwilling to let them restrict some knowledge.

On Cursing. HELP! I suck at it for now. I've never been comfortable with it to the extent needed for The Grumr's surliness.

And I'm off to Wasabi Con for the weekend. Stalk me at your own peril.

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Most of my review is "stream of thought" just stuff I noticed as I read through it. Sorry it isn't as organized as everyone else's!

I still enjoy listening to Dex, he still reminds me of Bartimaus, but that might be because I'm looking for it, and that was my initial feeling about him. I laughed when Keth fell, it feels like he is a bit clumsy but I like that he isn't perfect.

I like that we're getting a better feel for the magic system in this chapter. I'm not certain that I understand entirely how things work, but I get a great feeling for, okay, elements, personalities that reflect element, move on and figure it out later.

Ohhh emotion from the Grumr, I like it. That small reference to the bag added a whole lot of character, more like that would be great. It felt a little infodumpy with the cheshires, I felt that something along the lines of show instead of tell would go well here.

I'm still wondering about the reason for the Grumr to help Keth and the girl, but that might have just been me missing something. Oh, there are some explanation, I guess being patient was good.

The idea of downloading from her memory was great, probably an aspect of their linked magics that helps connect the characters.

This seemed to draw to a very satisfying conclusion, I very much enjoyed the three characters and how they interacted.

Things I liked:

All of the things I listed above, and your style. The voice of the characters was very distinctive and I could easily tell whose perspective we were in at each time, even without the not at the beginning about which perspective were in.

I'm curious where the story is going, I don't know who the big bad enemy is, except for the MIA, who I see as a shadowy corporation that is going against those who practice magic. I wonder if it is too early to reveal who the main enemy is, because I haven't gotten a feel for it just yet.

The magic systems seem to be identifiable, he uses summons, she scripts things, multiple things at the same time. I still haven't identified costs, although the summoner having potential to go insane seems like a sufficient cost. I wonder if there is more other then the binding of summons.

I would like to see more of the Grumr's magic, I don't see how they hunt summoners as they do but I'm sure we'll find out why they are set up to defeat summoners' magic.

The stuff posted by Asmo I agree with. I wasn't as thrown out by 'was and 'had' but I did get thrown out by an adverb somewhere. I've been avoiding them like the plague in my writing, so maybe I'm just more aware. I also didn't like the use of 'likely' but that's just a personal taste problem.

Keth did ramble when he talked, he also should have kept more back from the Grumr. It works as setup, but unless he always talks like this, it feels a whole lot like "Let's get all of these thoughts out to setup the characters before the real story."

The infodump on Cheshires was problematic, noting that they can shift their bodies is enough, their society problems can come later.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm currently mid rewrite of this section. I'm wondering if I don't need a bit more transition here. Maybe a short clip from a doctors perspective of Iraisa first waking up on the ship and a meeting between The Grumr and Viv in her office. I had one of those a long time ago, but its lost to the bowels of file hell somewhere. I'm thinking maybe a total of three pages.

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I don't really have a lot to add over the other comments, but I wanted to reinforce that the setting is good for me as well, and at this point it looks like you have the pieces and backstory for a decent story. The various magic systems are fun as well. I do want to echo one worry, which is that everything seems to be happening a little too easily. I'd suggest referencing the WE episode on try-fail cycles. (I can't remember which one. Maybe it was a Q&A?) This is something I have a problem with also. For example, Keth tries to escape and fails here. That's good, but he doesn't have to try again, really. Due to nothing of his own doing, he's still headed in the direction he presumably wants to go, with what appeared to be an antagonist (from his POV) helping him out. The Grumr doesn't even seem to fail, although that part of it may be due to his hardened-agent status. Even so, it would be good to see him have a plan that fails somehow, causing him to try again.

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That said I do feel Keth has done much more failing than succeeding so far.

I think he has. There are two potential problems. The first I mentioned before, where he doesn't have to try again because something else moves him toward the goal he wanted. The second potential problem is that his failures haven't had much lasting detrimental impact, at least not that I can tell. True, his hand has changed somehow, but so far that has appeared mostly as a benefit, since it allowed him a stronger shadow person thing summons, and to communicate with someone "speaking" a totally unknown language. True, he was captured, but here it is one chapter later and he's loose and being assisted by his captor.

As I said before, I have something of the same problem at times. My main character will set out to solve a problem, encounter a setback, then set out to solve the setback, encounter another one, set out to solve that, etc. The problem is, somewhere along the line the original goal gets lost, and when everything resolves at the end, it seems to neat. Now, I think that sort of thing can work as a subplot of a longer story, but I don't know if it can hold a main plot. Not for my stories so far, anyway.

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I guess to an extent that's true. Some parts of that are the level of interference from some higher beings.(See prologue for super vague hints.) The episode is season 2 episode 7 right? It sounds like a good thing to look over. And I'm sure there's a point where I can edit in something along the lines of a try fail cycle. I can't think of a good one though, unless you look at his use of the shadow summon as one and I expand on it some...

-Just listened to the episode

Listening to it, I might need to have Keth and The Grumr try to get Iraisa to the portal under Aldriu and fail instead of realizing it won't work. The way my story moves the try fail cycle doesn't especially apply on a micro scale like that.

The way its explained is that your character needs to try and fail at the goal a few times before the book ends. Well the goal is getting Iraisa home. Unfortunately that winds up more difficult than waltzing back to the portal and dropping her off. It also exposes vast swathes(but nowhere near all) of the world and hints at a much larger goings on than just getting her home. They form plans and fail. They try other plans and fail. Actions they start put others on the right track for information. Things work, but in a way they still failed. There's a lot of try fail at the initial goal on a macro scale.

One the micro scale I'm still session 1 of the campaign party gathering. We have Keth, Grumr, and Iraisa here, working to get her home. I still have two more POV characters to nab. I still have the heroes running like hell because this isn't a small scale event.

Now to plot out that attempt....

As to detrimental impact, well Keth's battle has always been more a mental one(being a summoner and all). For starters there are suggestions that his mind is far from his and Dex's now.

Edited by Aminar
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