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Messages - lethalfalcon

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1
Reading Excuses / Re: A couple of notes on formatting
« on: August 20, 2010, 05:03:48 PM »
Install the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package

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Reading Excuses / Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« on: August 12, 2010, 08:38:02 PM »
So, the biggest problem appears to be that the Delve just isn't understood very well. The best solution will likely be to create a prologue with a normal Delve, so that people can understand better why James is so confused inside Roethe's. And then show better why it's so different.

I was actually concerned about the second half of the chapter more, so it's nice to know that it isn't as bad as I was thinking. I like the first part better because I understand it, but others don't have all the information, so it's coming across as too confusing.

Thanks for the review.

3
Reading Excuses / Re: Progress and Submission Reports
« on: August 12, 2010, 06:29:06 AM »
I don't think telling the game your character's name is going to add much word count to your repertoire. :)

And get out of the depths of my memories, Ravenstar. It's dangerous down there!

I'm writing, too. GMing  a campaign. That definitely counts. :D And I get instant critiques in the form of "Oh man!" and "You suck!" when I slaughter characters who didn't move fast enough. Ah, the joys.

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Reading Excuses / Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« on: August 06, 2010, 08:39:23 AM »
Alrighty then.

With regards to the idea that it's "stretched", I think I might have a bit more information on it. The problem (as I see it) is that you start of with a good hook on the first sentence, but then you devolve into a lot of explanation over the next 3 pages. You talk about the people, about the city, about his servant... but other than the bit about finding the hedge-witch, you've all but neglected the initial hook. A lot of this information doesn't really mean much, either. He's leaving this city, after all, so what's the point of spending a lot of time now on explaining it?

Most of the rest of the chapter is good. I didn't have any problem with the time passing. If there's nothing interesting going on, don't waste time on it.

The only problem I could possibly come up with is that you don't give us any real indication of a bigger picture. I have no sense about what the rest of the book is going to tell me. This isn't necessarily bad... but I don't have any real reason to turn the page at this point, other than just to read more. You've wrapped up all the conflict introduced in this chapter. Given that you've given me an overall summary of your book, it's really missing anything having to do with Cumo's conflicts. So, the next chapter is going to need another big hook, just to get me interested in the present story, rather than this (which is almost a short story in itself).

An alternative would be to completely skip this. Start out in the thick of the conflict you presented in your summary: either between the two religions, or the conflict within Cumo's sect. The biggest issue is whether any of this means anything to the big picture. From what I can see, there isn't anything that happens to Cumo that could shape his life later on (he's too young to impress anyway). The only thing this chapter really shows is how despised the Polaesi are, and I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunity to show that in later chapters anway.

I liked the writing overall, don't get me wrong. As Warpig pointed out, things were believable, and that's good. You had enough description scattered throughout to give me a pretty good picture of how things were. I'm just not sure smuggling the main character when he's a few days old is all that interesting to the whole story. Keep it coming, though.

5
Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: July 24, 2010, 12:50:03 AM »
I think you missed your <sarcasm> tags. :P

So submit the whole thing, and anyone who complains can critique it over two weeks. :)

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Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: July 24, 2010, 12:04:06 AM »
Well, we don't have anyone else on the list for Monday so far, so... first come, first serve. :)

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Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: July 23, 2010, 11:51:03 PM »
I personally don't care; some might, however. Is there a good place around halfway that you can break it without making a mess of things?

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Reading Excuses / Re: July 19 - The Sword of Worlds CH 26 - Ellie
« on: July 23, 2010, 08:21:19 AM »
I think this is the best chapter I've read of yours with regards to "the big picture", so I'll give you that one. Not a whole lot happens outside of the combat, but you get people moving, which is good. It's hard to find a lot of glaring issues with motivation in combat: generally you attack people because they want you to die. :P

I'll also say that I'm glad Ellie actually participated in something this time; the previous chapters I've read felt more like she was just being dragged along.

So instead I peppered your submission with line-level edits. Hopefully that helps, 'cause I really don't have much else to say here. Sorry.

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Reading Excuses / Re: Progress and Submission Reports
« on: July 23, 2010, 06:59:46 AM »
Well, I got chapter 2 of Heartglass done and posted, but I'm going to shelve that one until I get more critiques on it. I'm not quite sure how the tone is going.

Mortal Divinity is making very slow progress; I have a lot more I could write, but I want to make sure the person I'm co-authoring with is on the same page. He's a bit slower than even me.

So I wrote about half of the first chapter of Gods' Deceit. The one that has dragons. I figured out a lot more about how the plot arc is going to pan out, as well as the reason for The Way Things Are (tm). So I can actually write it now. I think I'll enjoy it the most.

But of course I waste my time modeling T'Garin, instead. See?


10
Reading Excuses / Re: July 19 - Daddy Warpig - When Gods War, Chap 1
« on: July 19, 2010, 07:40:21 PM »
This whole piece definitely has a poetic/ominous tone to it, as has been pointed out before. I'm not sure if it's good or bad yet; as hubay mentioned, it can get repetitive, and then it stops flowing. I'll have to see how later parts work before I make final judgment on it.

I'm not a real fan of the numbers separating sections. Makes it look like one giant list. Step 1: talk about the gods. Step 2: talk about the gods again. Step 3: hey look, a man...

Speaking of which, "Step 2" feels a little weak. I would almost combine it with the next section, since they seem intertwined, and it would get rid of the woefully short section.

Also, something that felt a little strange was the tense change between the first section and all the others. It makes sense, but it doesn't feel right. It's like the first section is a prologue to the whole rest of the chapter. Maybe it could be one of those chapter heading things, where it's in italics (Sanderson has coined a name for them, but I don't remember it offhand). In the same vein, it feels like you switch your POV a bit, too. The first three sections are third person objective† (the gods, the man, etc.), while the rest are third person limited.

Regarding "marital asset"... just use crotch. That's a socially accepted word for that area, no matter the gender. Also, crotch fits with ass better than "fundament", which sounds overly academic, given that this guy is a rugged war vet.

The actions of Karrus make sense, so that's good. He doesn't free his leg and immediately become lucid. Him having sex with the Kithian actually does make sense, in a way. She's offering, and he's already mentioned:
Quote
After long months of marching, with no women to be found, certain urges began to overwhelm, to the point they became painful
So yeah. Not a big problem for me, even if she is supposedly the enemy. She did save him after all, so she must not be all bad (ulterior motives that we don't know about aside).

However, Valkynphyre hit on another point; too much pronoun usage. If you changed the third section to his limited POV, he would know his name while escaping from the city. Even the objective narrator should know it. There's no reason to only use it once. Now, if you want to *specifically* state that he can't remember his name when he's delusional, that's great. You also don't need to use it that often; it's just to mix up the sentence a bit. You can also switch the sentence structure around a bit to break up the monotony that hubay pointed out.

All in all, I don't think it's bad; the summary in your email tells me that there's a really good story here, but right now, I'm not seeing a whole lot. The first chapter is gripping, but not in the way I would have thought. I'm not introduced to any sort of real plot arc to grab on to. The meteor storm... he can't do anything about that, except pick up the pieces afterward (this is the cause of the problem, so that's good). He solves his immediate peril (which is good for resolution within the chapter), but introducing the enemy that seems to take care of him only gives me a misty potential for a romantic or subterfuge arc. From your summary, I know that he needs to lead a group of refugees home... we need to see that main arc identified pretty quick, as it's what hooks the reader into continuing to read. "Will he get them home? Or will they all perish, lost and alone? Find out in the next 20 chapters..." If this is clearly identified in chapter 2, I probably won't have too much problem with it.

Let's see some more of this. :)


11
We're supposed to agree with one another? Oh crap. Erm...

It was good. Yeah. That's what the masses are saying.

And I agree. Darn. Well, okay, I liked the writing. However, there was one thing that felt... fake. The wine being sent with the death threat. Seriously? The only thing I can think of is that it's a joke, but if it is then no one got it. I mean, you'd have to be well-connected to be able to afford the wine (unless it's free for coming, I suppose), but then again, most of the people there are loaded, aren't they? "Cheers, enjoy this awesome wine with my poor excuse for a death threat. No hard feelings!" Or something.

Another thing I noticed is that you repeat the same things (or nearly so) a lot.
Quote
   Waves struck faster now, slamming into the woman like a sea in storm, color after color washing into her body, changing her.
followed four paragraphs later by:
Quote
The spark of anger grew brighter and hotter in Ianís stomach as he watched color after color, hundreds of different blends and thousands of Waves crashing against the dancing girlís body. Each changing her,...
From that second quote, you have this a page later:
Quote
Ian could see several in the audience ogling her. His stomach burned with anger.
You go on to mention the fury in his stomach yet again at the bottom of that page. I understand that he's angry, but you need some more variety in your elucidations.

I'm not really sure I understand his speech at the end. "Anyone. But. Him." Wha? Okay, perhaps I'm not meant to know (certainly, I'd probably turn the page to find out), but it feels... wrong. Without knowing what Necenna is doing to anyone but Kinetic, I'm left confused. Is he saying that she should gain Influence from anyone but him? If so, it feels like the timing is a little off, or perhaps the verbiage. Maybe you could drop a teensy bit more info here?

At any rate, I liked it. I kinda feel like, if the man in the prologue is Kinetic, he's experimenting on people to be able to do what he does to Becsi. Dunno. The one thing I don't really feel is this: what's the grand scheme of things? Why are you telling this story? Is this about some personal grudge between Ian and Kinetic? That's all you've really given us so far. After the first two chapters, I should probably have *some* idea of that. I have a feeling that there's more depth to your main arc than a grudge and frequent death threats.

12
Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: July 15, 2010, 05:23:02 AM »
Okay, time to wade through my backlog of submissions. So here I am.

A lot of the friendly banter (this isn't arguing, right?) in this thread I'll have to agree with. I think I can elaborate on some things, too.

My first image of Conner was that he was someone on a horse. I saw your MC leading a horse by the reins with something like a small child on it. This actually persisted until page 3, when he flipped his tail. Then I thought, "Wait, so some characters have tails in this?" Then I read back and realized that Conner was the horse. Dang. Now, I don't personally care if your horses are as intelligent or moreso than real horses. That's fine. But this one seems to pop up too many human mannerisms. Horses don't gaze up at dragons before running. They bolt, even if they are trained. Or, they stand their ground, because they've been trained to. They have far better hearing than humans, and would have known about the dragon long before your MC did. I grew up around horses; I'd have one now if I had the money to build a barn for it. Horses act like horses, not like people. Yes, they can be trained very well, but yours is inconsistent.

Your character feels like he is narrating the story. It's very telly. Now, that doesn't necessarily need to be a bad thing (it is first person, after all), but descriptions of things just seem thrown in sometimes. It's like he's scatterbrained. If that's your intent, great.

However, the story he's narrating does not exist. You build up this huge tension in the first three lines, and then let it peter out. Nothing of note happens. Then, he walks into a tavern and spots a barbarian (OH NOES!). So, you imply tension, and then the chapter ends. As countless people have harped on in this forum (especially to me), even within a chapter there is generally conflict and some sort of resolution, even if it's not *the* resolution.  You seem to build up a run-of-the-mill adventure of killing dragons (ironic since he just poked fun about that), but the dragon herself seems to be rather... lackluster. It burninates the countryside, but doesn't do anything else? I suppose there could be (and likely are, since you defend it) reasons for her behavior, but it just strikes me as odd, and with no background of any sort to work from, it's a little annoying to see him acknowledge the oddity and then just dismiss it.

As for slipping the name in... well, some people refer to themselves in the third person, especially when talking to themselves. "Well gee, Bob, guess you really did it this time." Or somesuch. I think this is a more trivial matter, though; names don't invoke images. Stuff happening invokes images.

In the end, I really don't know anything about the story after this chapter; the character has apparently been wandering around with nothing happening for several weeks, but he's usually on assignment... from someone. No idea about his organization structure, either. Is he freelance, or hired form a protector guild? He's in the countryside (no clue where, except that it's near Kiljer Port). He's apparently had his share of stupid clients and bad luck.

Now, I don't mean this to be condemning. I'm just telling it like it is, for right now. Perhaps later chapters would give me a better idea of what you're actually trying to accomplish. First chapters kinda suck like that. So, keep writing, and I'll keep reading (eventually).

P.S. This Josh *is* the wizard. Playing healers and tanks just means people depend on you. The only thing you can depend on a wizard for is blowing stuff up and probably dying to arrows (or friendly fire).  Now I put on my robe and my hat...

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Reading Excuses / July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« on: July 13, 2010, 05:32:00 AM »
Chapter 2 of Heartglass is done (and yes, the prologue been moved to chapter 1 due to popular critique). I am including chapter 1 in this submission because there is a lot of new blood since I published it, and they're both pretty short. There are some small changes from the old version, but nothing game-changing--just little tweaks that I figured out while I was choking on chapter 2. Please be brutal. I'll honestly say that I'm a little disappointed with it; it's missing something, but I have no clue what, so if anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.

Summary:

Chapter 1: James, recently stuck in a prison mining world for theft, ends up in a meeting with a very important prisoner. The result of that meeting left him with a priceless piece of Heartglass, which he made a living "acquiring" when he was free.

Chapter 2: What you're going to read now.

Thanks

14
Seems to have been awhile since this one was posted, but then I realized that you've beaten me up three times now and I haven't gotten to throw any punches of my own. How sad. :)

I read both of them. Yeah, mostly because I apparently can't read (oh the irony). So I'm going to give you the lowdown on both of them, but will focus more on the new one.

My first continuity issue was with the shank. Where'd it go? Did she put it back down her shirt, or did she hold on to it? If it's the latter, she probably would have dropped it when she slipped, but running with shanks is bad. If it's the former, I'd be worried about it stabbing her when she fell. Either way, it's not a pretty thing to have with her when she falls.

One big issue I notice is that you like to start sentences with "As" a lot. It gets a little repetitive after awhile seeing "As <noun/pronoun> <verb> <adverb> to the <noun>..." 3 on page 4 and 2 on page 5 and 6... then it goes away for awhile, then comes back again toward the end. These are nitpicky details, but they stand out in my OCD brain. Just thought I'd let you know.

Regarding BalKon (and yes, I like his new name better): I'm not sure I really understand *why* he fostered her. Perhaps you don't mean to show me, but to me, it feels like a disconnect. In the old version, it was because his father had been his last Foster... that made sense. Now... not so much. Their relationship makes for a lot more tension, but I still have to question his original motives.

Jazua... I liked him a lot better in the first draft. In that one, he feels like more of a family figure... he's a leader, but he cares. He also played with Phay's mind.  In the second draft, he's more a cold dictator. I find that I don't really care about him as much.

In the first draft, Porish seemed too nice. His conversations were quite awkward, so with him I like the new version of him as a jerk a lot better.

I will agree that their new powers make them a lot more competitive against the Heat-touched. However, I feel that the backlash of power feels a little Sword of Truth-y. That's the first thing that came to my mind when I read it. Especially the part about how the first time was the worst. "Say Richard, go cut down that tree," I remember. It's probably fine, but I wanted to bring it to your attention. The old way reminded me of Atium shadows, though... so yeah.

I'll agree with Asmodemon about how BalKon reacts when she flows into the blade. He knew she was there, and he knows about the misdirection, so that kind of trick really shouldn't work on him at that time. And yet, it apparently does, to the extent that he acts surprised. Did he just randomly forget where he was? Or does this power grant amnesia to the beholder?

The Jagermots make for a much better battle than the quest to retrieve the escaped prince; I certainly liked it a lot better. I also liked how you found out about the weak spot of them from the connection. However, I have to ask, is this really the first time that someone's managed to connect with them without them exploding in their face? Why didn't someone connect with the one sitting in the lab? BalKon knew it was there (at some point), so why didn't he? It seems a little too convenient that our main character just happens to find the weak spot to the enemy in the nick of time.

Another thing I like (backing up a bit) is how you reveal her past. BalKon saw it, and just blurts it out to Jazua. Normally, I'd consider that very telly, but in this case it works really well. And you keep it short, so it isn't dragging on. Bravo.

Also, the ending was kinda ruined for me because I found a very big flaw with their reasoning. "You would commit treason?  Seal your fate with ours?" Well, no, not really, I think. I'm going to show you how you can beat them, so you can just kill the one you're harboring in your basement and you'll never have to worry about someone accusing you of having one anymore. On the plus side, you now know exactly how to kill them, you can win the war, and if anyone asks how you learned, you just say you found out on the battlefield. Tada! To me, that'd be a darn good way to get out of the Sun Guard. Now I just have to deal with this big lizard-goat-thing that's going to follow me around for the rest of my life. Oh well, at least we don't hate each other now.

Compared to the old one, this new one screams of "This crap just got SERIOUS". Gone is a lot of the whimsical natures, the kinda  cheesy magic and traps, etc. Instead it's a lot more gritty, real. I think that works a lot better, but at the same time, it loses something. The people are less human. Sure, I suppose war does that, but Phay's not a soldier. She's just another victim of the school of hard knocks. Perhaps this is what Silk is getting at. There's a lot less emotion spread throughout.

At any rate, I do think this could be a good setting for a full novel. However, this piece as it stands would not really work well in that novel. You'd have to break apart, expand, and fill in on both sides in order for it to work, I think. Still, some pretty good writing.

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Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: July 08, 2010, 05:53:15 AM »
I stake my claim on next Monday! I actually finished something! Now I have 5 days to play with it and make it worse.

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