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Jan 20 2014 - The Goat- Piercing The Veil Ch.2 Liaf

The Goat

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Okay, this is the second chapter Piercing The Veil. This was originally the first chapter. I went back and added Tarrito's chapter later, and I think the new chapter 1 still feels like an add on. 


If you missed that first chapter, this is what happened- Tarrito, an assassin, went to a ritual sacrifice in order to receive a message from his contact. The contact was a higher up in a religious order, and the Tarrito killed him after the message was delivered- leaving his body in the middle of the central plaza. Then he went on to meet with another man named Galen, who was going to steal a book from the Library of the Gods which could possibly prove the Queen was a fraud and help the people who oppose the Queen.


I'd like feedback on the normal stuff, what's cool, what's confusing, what's boring, especially in regards to Liaf. Are you interested in what he does, do you care about what happens to him? If you lose interest, try to pinpoint where - even if it's the first sentence. And please, don't be afraid to shred it to bits if it needs it.


Thanks a lot.

Edited by The Goat
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pg 2: "Orik signaled for Liaf to go let up the opposite staircase, while Orik went up this one."

--a little awkward.  Maybe "Orik went up the nearer one"


Overall, it held my attention.  You have a good tension in this piece of writing; better because it's short, and it makes the reader want to take part in the chase.


I'm torn on whether I like Liaf or not.  On the one hand, this reads almost as a  side POV, with two guards chasing a thief.  "Hey, what's that noise?"  "Where'd the other guys go?"  "Let's go chase something unknown into the darkness."  It's a cliche, and you expect the guards to get picked off by the heroic thief, who might be Tarrito, based on what's known from chapter 1


on the other hand, and depending on what you do with the character, this could be a well-done reversal of the trope, but if that's what you want to do, I'd "hang a lantern" on the most obvious parts so the reader knows, and maybe even include the stereotypical references, like it's the senior guard's last week on the job, or Liaf just came from his father's fishing boat the other day and has wanted a job in the city guards his whole life.  Then when/if he survives, it's a surprise to the reader.


In summary, I'm not sure whether Liaf will be around much longer, so I can't invest in him as a main POV yet.  This chapter doesn't give a whole lot of new information, except we see someone thieving and learn some about Liaf's backstory, which is the only thing making me think he's not going to be instantly killed off.

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This may be a symptom of not enough caffeine this morning, but I struggled to form an opinion on this. It didn't grip me but nothing leapt out as particularly wrong either. It just felt a bit flat, which given the action towards the end is weird. I wish I could say something more helpful, but I'm struggling to put my finger on what didn't work. Maybe there wasn't enough making me care about Liaf?


Two small details that did catch my attention.


I liked Liaf's wonder at the number of books. It was a characterful detail and more interesting than a lot of the familiar guard stuff that had characterised him up until then.


You might want to cut back on the commas. You use them more often than you need to, and for me at least that disrupts the reading experience.

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Overall, I enjoyed the chapter. Some detailed comments follow on things that stuck out for me, however I had an issue with the content, as noted below.


I'm not sure you can have ‘a beg’ since beg is a verb, I think ‘plea’ is a better word, or just ‘...more like begging’.


‘ran’ sounds like flat out, but I'm picturing more of a jog.


I became puzzled at the point when they go up the stairs when I learned they weren’t supposed to be there. At the start of the pursuit, I presumed that they were supposed to relieve the guards, or be relieved by them, either way it seems that whatever they are guarding is now unguarded while they go ‘off piste’. It seems that they have deserted their post.


‘...as silently as...’


I have no quibbles on this piece. The writing is solid, the events are tense and suspenseful in the library, then the chase is afoot, and the pace of that part is good too, but the section is very short and very little actually happens. I would feel a bit cheated by that as a chapter in a book I was reading – although I would presumably have the book, so I just keep reading of course!


My point, I suppose, is that while it’s well written, there is no real ‘wow’ factor in this 2,000 odd words. In Tarrito’s chapter there was conflict and controversy. We learned something of the situation and some of the characters. In Chapter 2, we don’t really learn anything, and nothing happens to advance the story, which makes it feel a bit flat, hence my feelings about the chapter as a whole. At this length, you could submit two chapters at a time – and after being underwhelmed with Liaf so far, what I really want is more Tarrito.


Reading the other comments now – and your own introduction to the thread (suppose I should have read that first), I have to disagree about Chapter 1 feeling like and add-on, I think it’s a much better opening than this would have been, because Chp.1’s conflict and controversy grabs the attention.

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Sorry for the slight delay, I've been busy and now I'm playing catch-up here...


I kind of dug this. I dunno, the prose and the pacing seemed to give off a much more assured story-telling vibe than the previous installment. Maybe that has to do with the simpler story that it has to tell. But the descriptions were lithe, crisp, easy to follow. Cool stuff.


Personally, at this point in a story, I'm not sure I care about whether I "like" a character or not. I know I'm probably different than most people in that sense, but I'm really just concerned whether the writing grabs me. One of my favorite quotes about writing that I've read is this: "The start of a story should assure the reader that they are in capable hands." I'd say that goes the same for the start of a chapter, the start of a scene, the start of a paragraph. If the writing's good enough the character doesn't have to be "likeable", you can make a totally unlikable character interesting if you do it right, hell, you can make a dreadfully boring character interesting if you do it right. How to do it right is the hard part, of course. But I think this chapter does a good job with Liaf. So there's my two cents...

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