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Topics - Asmodemon

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Here we go with the first chapter of the story.

It’s been a while since I last submitted something. I had a lot of good critiques on the previous draft of this story (The Citadel of Thorns), which made me realize the story just wasn’t working for me anymore. I’ve rewritten most of it, though some key points remain the same. I think the story works a lot better now, but we’ll see.

You forgot to make a topic, so I made one for you.

I’m not real happy with the opening paragraph, it reads too much like a recap of the previous five chapters and I don’t think enough has happened yet to warrant a recap. The rest of it reads better, but it’s also a bit implausible, at least to me.

I’ll tell you why I’m having trouble believing what’s happening.

First, the last time Vara jumped from a high place was when she jumped off a roof. Later she’s surprised at the result, so she can’t have jumped like that often. So when Vara finds the leather ladder gone (where did she get such a thing, by the way?) why is she suddenly comfortable enough with her ‘magic legs’ to make the jump?

Secondly, jumping from that height with her eyes closed, is she stupid? I’m not sure she should’ve jumped in the first place, but doing it without seeing the ground and knowing when to relax her legs and when to brace? That’s nearly suicidal.

The first two points make me think Vara is rather stupid, and I’m sure that’s not your intent. What happens next only enforces this opinion.  She never considered that none of the villagers, who keep pursuing and persecuting her, do jumps like she does? That doesn’t give her the slightest inclination to think that maybe she’s the only one who can? And if she’s so hunted by the villagers didn’t anyone refer to her as the ‘jumping monster’ or something to that effect? Never once?

For someone who’s persecuted like Vara is and who lives as a hunter/scavenger in the forest she lacks a surprising amount of situational awareness. She doesn’t see a huge branch she leaps at, she doesn’t know how high she jumped, she has no idea where Leo is leading her though she's lived in the forest her whole life. The Barbarian should be known to her, so logically she should’ve known where the lizard was leading her. Also, she when she finally notices the lake it takes her a whole conversation to notice the supposed smell of rotting fish, the piles of bones, etc?

It's like the world doesn't exist when she's thinking - that's a serious liability.

Reading Excuses / ReadingExcuses-0124-Halo6819-ProjectStyx-Chapter 1-VL
« on: January 24, 2011, 05:24:52 PM »
You forgot to make a topic for the chapter, so I made one for you.

Aww, I already miss the girl from the prologue, and we never even got to know her name. I have to say I found her far more interesting than Gaerus, and the prologue more interesting than the first chapter. This, I think, is because I'm seeing a number of problems here that I've seen in first chapters before – mine included.

The first thing I noticed is that you have sentences that don't flow well into the next one, similar to what you had in the prologue. For instance, the first sentence and the second one. We're going from Gaerus's headache to the light creeping into the room rather abruptly. This could mesh a lot better.

The second, and more serious problem in my opinion, is that there is quite a bit of telling rather than showing in this chapter. It's understandable, you're trying to convey a lot about the setting in a short time, but I'd rather see these things as the story goes along than being told them out right.

For instance, I want to see Gaerus at his meaningless job instead of having him think about it. Since he gets to work at the end of the chapter, that's a good time for it. Before that we only need to know he doesn't want to go to work. The reason, the boredom, will become apparent once he's there and not when he's just out of bed.

The same with Lith – you tell us she's a model American, a perfect fit for the administration – but you don't show us. The only thing you've shown at the point of her introduction is her waking Gaerus up, the rest was tell. A few lines later she speaks very militaristic and precise – that shows us more of what she's like than the tell description.

When you get to the second page it's a whole description of what Gaerus does for his main income, as well as what's illegal, his protest, his weight, the views, etc. This type of thing continues throughout the whole chapter. We get a lot of terms, but no explanation of what they actually are and, more importantly, why we should care.

You tell us Gaerus's weight is frowned upon – why not show us as people give him disgusted looks on the street, or be insulting by making more room for him than is necessary, because they don't want to be near him? And if he's so overweight, let him have trouble running, getting out of breath and knocking things over where he works, that sort of thing.

Most of what I've seen this chapter is basically an info-dump with a few repeats in the few pieces of dialogue. Gaerus doesn't do anything and if he does it's one sentence. He leaves his home in one sentence, we get a whole load of background information on the setting, and when you're done with that he arrives at his job. When something actually does happen the chapter ends, and we don't really know why he's treasonous all of a sudden and why his watch gives such a warning.

The momentum you had with the prologue is going away very fast with this chapter. I was sympathetic to the girl, but I'm not with Gaerus, at all. I could be, if you showed his hardships instead of telling them, if you have his emotional response with what's happening. Right now Gaerus is a lazy bum and I'm more in agreement with his angry boss than I am with Gaerus.

Reading Excuses / January 20 - Asmodemon - Dark Eyes
« on: January 20, 2011, 07:03:32 PM »
Well, turned out I needed a little more time to get this piece finished than I originally thought. Dark Eyes is a science fiction short story of about 7,700 words, set in the near future on Mars.

In chapter sixteen the group moves on after a cold night and a failed attempt at foraging.

The second day in the mountains, low on supplies, Rosalin and the others go into a valley where they hope to replenish their supplies.

And here we are with chapter fourteen already; the great mountains await.

In chapter thirteen of "The Citadel of Thorns" Rosalin has to deal with the repercussions of making a deal with Rosen.

Chapter twelve, where we leave Overlook behind us. Enjoy.

In chapter eleven we come to the end of the first part of the story. Enjoy, rip to shreds, or hammer me down if I write all confusing again ;)

In chapter ten we return to Rosalin's point of view, caught between monsters and soldiers, only just shaken from her days long stupor.

Here we are at the ninth chapter. The time has come for Dais to act like a hero if he's to help anyone, but unexpected emotions hit him.

Well it's been quite a few weeks since I last submitted anything, or critiqued anything for that matter, but I blame my vacation for that (hopping from festival to festival in the blistering sun of Japan for a month doesn't make for a good writing environment).

Now that I'm back I'm going to try to catch up with everything as soon as I can.

In case people are wondering what happened to chapter six, I've been reworking the previous chapters a bit after all the great advice I've been given.

As such the previous chapter five has become chapters five and six, which makes this chapter seven. At least for now, I still have to do something about chapter four, so the ordering might change yet again, but let's cross that bridge when I get there.

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