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Messages - Asmodemon

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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.

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: August 13, 2011, 07:19:11 PM »
I also have something to submit on monday. I think my hiatus lasted long enough :)

First line and first paragraph aren't bad, but they don't really hook me in either. Saying that 'it started' is too vague to grab my interest and the following lines introducing the character aren't spectacular either. You're telling us a lot about Tommy, but I'd much rather see that he's obsessed with books than be told about it.

"So that's it, pretty much my whole existence in a few paragraphs" and a boring existence at that, which makes the first few paragraphs boring too. That's not what you want in a first chapter, exposition about his early life, if you have to give it, should come later. 
Right now the story needs a hook, be it action or something else, but it has to be interesting. The fact that when his father gave him his first book is also the last time anyone ever saw his father is an interesting thing, instead of portraying the rest of Tommy's life I'd focus more on this, right when you first mention "Run, Jump, Ride".

The small excerpt of the book Tommy's reading hooked me more than Tommy's storyline, at this point the story from the perspective of the huntsman and his wolves is better than that of the fourteen year old bookworm. We're three pages in and we know almost all there is to know about Tommy except why we should care. Yes, he lost his father, but that's barely a footnote, even to Tommy. Now I will say that though I've been reading first-person stories more than I used to I still like third person better, when I read first person I need to get to like the main perspective soon or I'm likely to put the book down. So maybe it's just me, but to me at this point Tommy is just not that sympathetic a character to read about.

On the fourth page the story changes when Tommy is sucked into the book, however this doesn’t immediately help make things better. Tommy’s life up to this point is very mundane, a normal house, normal school, normal everything. There isn’t a hint of magic and then suddenly he gets drawn into a book for no apparent reason. I wasn’t expecting magic and there is no lead in to tell the reader that it’s possible. Now we’re entering into the territory of the Earthling falling into a fantasy world trope, which isn’t a trope I like and have rarely seen executed well.

I hope you’ll prove me wrong.

Something that struck me about Tommy, in the form of Tamaska, is that he’s surprised by what he sees around him, but apparently not by the body he’s wearing. Instead of a fourteen year old boy he’s now a huntsman, he has a bow in his hands and an arrow notched, so he should see that his hands and arms are different now, more muscular or wiry or tanned, so are his clothes and everything else, but Tommy doesn’t notice these changes which I think is odd.
When Tommy thinks “hadn’t this guy ever heard of a washing machine” I really doubt Tommy’s intelligence and how much he’s actually read. He’s in the world portrayed in the book, Reule is a hunter who hunts together with wolves. There aren’t washing machines in this setting of warriors and battles!

Tamaska does have similarities to Thomas, but it made me pause before I remembered Tommy’s name is actually Thomas. Now I’m getting the picture that Tommy didn’t take over someone’s role in the book but was added as an extra, just the way he is. Even in furs he shouldn’t have the body of a hunter – he should stick out like a sore thumb. He notes that Reule is very dirty, but if he truly fits in with the book-world so is he, so when he sees his hands holding the bow he should also see filth. There’s a suspension of disbelief going on between Tommy and Reule that doesn’t feel natural. The way he looks, the way he can’t hunt, the way he threw up when Reule gutted the deer...but Reule doesn’t say a thing even though Tommy is the last person who should be hunting.

Back in the village Tamaska has a history in that world all of a sudden, including a wife. And though he knows something is off and that ‘Tamaska’ isn’t behaving as he should Reule covers for him. During the walk Reule also said nothing. I have the feeling he should have, when the role of ‘Tamaska the hunter’ is suddenly taken over by Tommy the bookworm, who is totally incapable of doing anything to save his life, there should be more of a reaction.

What I did like was Tommy’s reaction to the people in the book – this is showing me he despises being filthy rather than you telling me stuff, like at the start of the story. Especially the end with his wife was very well done, though Reule’s wink felt off – this is because I’m expecting him to worry about his friend’s odd behaviour rather than make light of it.

All right, this is not bad a chapter, but aside from meeting an old friend it doesn’t feel like much is happening anymore. The faster pace with the night elf attack has gone completely now that Albione is doubting his faith and doing little else besides. The night elf plot doesn’t seem important anymore, the distrust against the militia isn’t going anywhere, and for chapters now Albione has been doubting himself at every turn. It feels the story is meandering along. It feels like something should happen soon.

The big thing that I noticed was that Albione seemed like a different character at the start of the chapter, laughing at everything that was said to him without a clear reason given why. Last chapter he was particularly dreary and before that he also had little to smile about, let alone laugh. When the child leaves you make mention that he loves for the child to come for blessing. While that’s a good reason to be cheerful, I’d like to know the reason for his good mood beforehand and not afterward.

Similarly when Albione is surprised by what Charom is wearing you never explain why a formal green tunic and white pants are so odd for his brother to wear. Also, what constitutes ‘formal’ in this setting?

I don’t really understand how Aetherial the half-elf can be a friend. Albione has a lot of problems with  the militia men, it’s why he’s been so conflicted these last eight chapters, because they don’t follow his god. The half elf is one step removed from being a heretic, yet here Albione and Charom are both fine while Ferris, who follows a god of order – order, not chaos or something else evil – is despised. This is a weird dichotomy in their characters. But I’ve mentioned how I find the whole rivalry between temple and militia more than a little odd already.

I like Aetherial more with everything he says, he seems, like Ferris , one of the rare characters making perfect sense. I’m noticing a trend, neither are followers of Alazon ;) This is the first chapter where, aside from the god of the night elves, we get to hear something about a different god. Going by the story alone I got the view that there were only two gods, Alazon and the night elf god.

Finally Albione is starting to see some of the idiocy of his doctrine. The priests’ view of valour and courage is still hard for me to swallow, even after your explanation in the comments of chapter four, someone who’s not of the faith, not a priest of , is always a coward. The priesthood actively looks down on other people and especially other organisations following different gods/ideals. How is it possible the rest of the city doesn’t feel slighted if that’s how they are thought of? The priests certainly don’t make a secret of their contempt. How can anyone adhere to a priesthood that despises everyone else of the populace?

In the comments above you mention more of the pantheon, I’d like to see more mention of that in the story. It seems like their existence is a key point in the plot and it also explains much of the enmity between the temple and the militia, God of Valour versus the God of Order. Albione’s order has a large temple, largest of the city. How are the other temples in the city or are there even other temples – the story so far didn’t give me the impression there are other worships sanctioned in the city.

Aside from addressing Albione’s doubts and showing examples of what he thinks is wrong with his order  this chapter feels like a transition chapter again. For the most part I don’t have much to say other than I hope Albione is close to reaching a resolution and stop being so damn passive. After his first and rather futile ‘warning’ to the temple complex during the attack he’s spent most of his time reacting to what others want him to do, rather than take his own actions. There have been cryptic hints about Albione’s importance to the temple but I’ve seen nothing in Albione that warrants such notions.

I don’t know if publishing houses hate prologues and if the story needs a prologue than it should be there, but it seems to me (insert assumption) you’re info-dumping in the prologue to get across the setting information about the pantheon. You can make subtler mentions of different religions, for instance when Albione rushes to the temple complex you can have him run, and take note of, a temple to the god of order and have him think on the militia man he saved, a follower of that god.

Reading Excuses / Re: 8/7/11 - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter One
« on: August 08, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »
Well, welcome back to the action, so to speak ;)

I remember some of the previous version of Rebirth, which started Medora's story line a lot slower. I'm glad that isn't the case, the moment she went into action and the subsequent fallout made for a strong start.

The first sentence also managed to grab my attention, making me wonder why she would think that, who her father was and why he should've killed her. The next paragraph though made me pause, there's a disconnect between it and the first sentence. There's also no follow through later about why she wonders why her father let her live. Yes, her father killed everyone else, but why should it be surprising that he let his daughter live? She's his daughter after all.

Mostly I like Medora's character; she knows she has to act and wants to, but is wracked with doubts and nightmares, so much so that she's even addicted to a drug. Interesting choice that, I'm wondering what (aside from the obvious) the effects of tranquil are, how addictive it is, what the downsides are, what the lows are and what the withdrawal symptoms are. I also wonder if her ill conceived attack had something to do with her drug dependency - so far it can go either way. Having a character deal with a drug problem can make for an interesting read, I don't think it happens much in fantasy.

What I liked less was that after a while the pattern of Medora seeing something, then feeling sorry for herself, seeing something else, feeling sorry again, etc, makes the first part of the chapter a little tedious. During pages two and three I lost sight of the fact that Medora and her entourage were walking through the crowds. Until I read that they marched I thought they were still waiting on the steps of the station. While she's thinking about how bad her life is the jeering crowds are still all around her, I'm guessing pressed against her bodyguards as they move through the crowd. That situation should frighten most people, but despite the fact that she's jumpy without her tranquil drug she's quite calm while feeling sorry for herself.

Another issue with Medora is that she seems like two different characters in one, thinking and doing different things. She wants to appear strong in front of the crowd, but at the same time she hides her features within the hood of her cloak. She's a consular, which I gather is a political figure, but she can't make speeches and fears standing in front of a crowd (granted the crowd wants her head, but still...if she's a politician she should at least be able to handle that much). When she says something like 'that's just...retaining the First Ministership’, that's something a politician would say, but when she speaks to Haiden the first words out of her mouth are those of a petulant child.

Which reminds me, as such a hated figure how can she have a political career with such clout that she is allowed to speak after the current leader and his expected successor have had their turns? Her father may have been emperor, but after his murder she's nothing but a reminder of those days.  A reminder no one wants to have around.

In all though I liked the chapter, looking forward to seeing where you're going to take this.

We’re not getting much in terms of new things in this chapter, but after the last Darkclaw chapter it’s refreshing to get back to the cats. Nayasar wears her emotions openly and that really helps to connect to her character. I liked seeing more of Felivas’s feelings shine through – their courtships seems feral and catlike, so that works really well for me.

On the other hand I’m also reminded constantly that these two are the Grand Admiral and an Admiral. Sure this chapter is meant to be light-hearted, once they leave her room they’re just crazy kids in love, and while I liked it I really want to see them in a different context. I keep failing to see the officer aspects of their characters. I really want to see them doing their jobs, interacting with other soldiers, to counterpoint their professional lives with their private lives.

Something different, these are cat or catlike characters, with senses different than human. So far you’re sticking with sight. It might be nice to also include some other senses, such as smell, into what the characters notice about their surroundings and each other.

The first thing I thought when I finished the chapter was that it was too long for what it tried to do. I think you can probably trim some stuff here and there to give the chapter some momentum. On the whole the chapter was pretty good, though the start was slow. I just don’t care much about Darkclaw waiting on his ship preparing and explaining every little thing. Things get a lot better when they arrive at the space station, though there are some things there that kind of threw me. I’ll get into that in just a bit.

The first paragraph about the command structure reads like a jumbled mess. While the High Lord is in command, Darkclaw is in command. What? And then he gives command to a commander. Double what? There are three commanders and they’re all in command…I get what you’re trying to say, but that’s not what you’re actually saying.

Darkclaw goes to the armoury and then you explain that an armoury holds weapons and armour. You don’t really need to explain it though, it’s a pretty common term. Like LTU I think Darkclaw focussed too much time on the armour rather than the weapons. He also kind of scoffs the use of weapons, which for a warrior is odd.

After the armoury and putting on his armour he goes back to the bridge and asks how long it’s going to take to get to the station – he’s told it will take almost four hours. This is backwards, why put on the armour before he knows his arrival time? For all he knew he’s getting all dressed up days too soon.

You’ve got a lot of different ranks in this story. In this chapter there’s commander, praetor, executor, high lord. The different ranks feel like a mix of different cool sounding ranks, without much cohesion. As an aside, praetor and executor make me think of the Protoss in Star Craft.

It feels to me like Darkclaw explains too much and he does that in the previous chapters too. When he prepares the battle plan, going over the station’s weaknesses I wondered if aside from leader and warrior he’s some kind of engineer too.

The station has no defences – it may be a library but it’s also a space station in the middle of nowhere. If all the species have fleets and militaries it’s because those things are needed. Just letting  a station float around without defences is asking for trouble. Also, there are manuscripts aboard? Really, physical books on a space station? That made me pause for a moment.

Finally there are the two things that kind of threw me out of the story.  Both happen near the end.

The first happens when Darkclaw is on the station talking to the hostages. Here’s a monstrous figure whose army just killed the security personnel, threatens to kill the hostage if he doesn’t comply and the hostage is apparently shocked by Darkclaw’s callousness, and then the man says “Would you really kill us now, after deliberately sparing us so far?” Yes. They are alive because, unlike the security personnel they can be of use. The man refused and has thus outlived his usefulness. Yes, Darkclaw will kill him. There are others who will comply after the first guy gets shot. The question this hostage asks is just stupid. And then it gets worse. “You don’t seem like one who would want to kill an innocent person”. What? That’s exactly what he seems like! Who is this fool?

The last thing that bugged me was Darkclaw’s plan to make it seem like pirates attacked the station. Yes, that’s a good idea. What’s not a good idea is to leave behind dozens of survivors who have seen that the Troodons are not pirates and who know the Troodons came for knowledge. It completely defeats the purpose.   

I really liked the start of the first chapter, starting with the mystery of what Darkclaw is while he’s lying in wait in stasis, ready to pounce. When I read the name Troodon you really caught my attention, or rather my old interest in dinosaurs (nice touch with the vestigial claw). So I’m guessing Darkclaw is some kind of evolved form of dinosaur, changed by the High Lord…which means the planet they are on is Earth? Whatever the case it raises a lot of questions and I like that.

I did have to get used to the name Darkclaw and after a while reading Darkclaw and the High Lord did get a bit annoying. Writing wise I’d also include some more paragraph breaks, because there was one paragraph that was a whole page long which made my eyes glaze over.
When we get to chapter two I do like some of the banter between Nayasar and Felivas; even though they’re of such high ranks they can still act like friends. Like with Darkclaw’s name I didn’t immediately like Felivas’s name because his name reads too much like the species name Felinaris. I did get used to it though.

Continuing, I didn’t feel like Nayasar acted like a Grand Admiral should. The fact that she says she has no political understanding also baffles me; such a thing is fine if she’s a ship captain, a rank she could grow into without playing the political game, but beyond that, to be an admiral and thus in control of multiple ships, multiple officers who vie for her position, she’d need to know how to manoeuvre through the political landscape. And she’s not even an admiral, she’s the grand admiral, put there because she’s the daughter of the king. The way she acts makes me really doubt she’s admiral material, which makes me doubt the validity of her character and why she’s still in that position – the Grand Admiral is supposed to defend their realm, it’s not a position you put a wayward daughter to keep her out of trouble.

Now, I’m looking at this as if it were a human military and maybe theirs is different, but I haven’t seen the military at work so I can’t make the assumption that this is normal for the high ranks of their society. I’m sorry to say that to me Grand Admiral Nayasar falls flat. I also don’t see an admiral in Felivas – he’s more like the attendant of the princess than a military officer.

Though you do address Nayasar’s political ineptitude by having Felivas say that military leadership is different than political leadership, I don’t really agree with that statement. She can get a long way if she’s a good tactician (we’ve seen no evidence of this so far) but she still has to deal with people. Her inability to put herself in her father’s shoes doesn’t bode well for her skills. And if she’s the princess she should have had schooling in politics.

When she meets the king he says something that made me stop and re-read the section. He says “your plan sounds well thought out”. No, it doesn’t. She never told him about her plan, or did you means she told him all about her plan when she says:

“All I need is your permission to put a plan into action,” Nayasar explained. “If there are any details you need to know, ask. I have planned for every eventuality, and none of these operations would put anyone at risk aside from the teams sent to carry them out.”

I did not interpret ‘explained’ in the way that she explains her whole plan and that we just don’t get to read it. The way I see it she hasn’t told him anything. But even if he did she basically wants to go in and kill their enemies, damned be the consequences. She couldn’t have a thought out plan if the King has to inform her of several problems she evidently missed, so he shouldn’t say that she does.

A smaller thing that stood out to me is the sentence part “was still not understanding”. It just reads wrong to me. Something like “he still didn’t understand” is better.

Reading Excuses / Re: 2011 Jul 4 - cjhuitt - Second Son
« on: July 05, 2011, 10:17:40 PM »
Welcome to Reading Excuses. For starters I liked your chapter well enough, though it didn’t really hook me or jump out at me as something that I simply must read. I think that this is mostly because nothing much happens and the main character is bored for most of the chapter. When Miki’s bored it’s hard to care about what’s going on since the event is seen through his viewpoint, which is bored. The last part I liked most, when Miki talks to his sibling, and it’s where I started to like the main character a little – he’s enthusiastic and excitable, though nothing exciting actually happened as of yet.

The way the ambassador is immediately given an audience before the queen and her entire family reads counter intuitive – usually royalty lets (surprise) visitors wait or at least let minor functionaries take care of the issue first. The queen shouldn’t be at the beck and call of every visiting dignitary, it makes her appear weak. In this case the ambassador is also from an unimportant country with which Miki’s country hasn’t had any important or serious dealings in years. For a message no one knows is coming drumming out the queen herself seems excessive.

Writing wise you’ve got some passages that, while not strictly passive voice, do lend a passive tone to the chapter. Combine that with a character who is bored out of his mind and you weaken what should be one of the most important chapters of the book. I’m talking about things like “had always thought”, “had trained herself”, “had seen”, “was wearing”, “was watching”. Scratching the word ‘had’ and making it simple past tense helps relieve the sense of being one more step removed from the action.

There were also some sentences I had to read twice, such as “Miki stifled an urge to apologize to his mother for being tardy, since he had arrived in time.” Why would he apologize for being late if he was in time? The arrival of the ambassador doesn’t seem at all tied with Miki’s presence. And again, it’s seems excessive to have the whole entourage there for one minor visiting dignitary.

Like Hubay I don’t have much to add to what cjhuitt already said, which captures my points perfectly.

Some small points I do want to address. Justicars. Albione’s fear of them doesn’t resonate with me. We’ve heard nothing of these Justicars before this chapter, so when Albione reaches his conclusion the masked man in the temple must be a Justicar – and that he’s therefore in trouble – it comes completely out of nowhere. You might want to hint about the Justicars before this chapter. What were they doing when the night elves invaded for instance.

This also leads me to Ferris’s letter. For one I don’t follow the conclusion that hooded man = Justicar. So, why would Ferris, who is not part of the temples and would or should not at once associate hoods with Justicars, start his letter assuaging Albione’s fears of Justicars? It seems prophetic now, but if Albione hadn’t reached his (farfetched?) conclusion the start of the letter would just sound silly – that doesn’t seem like Ferris to me.

And a final point. Everyone in the temple refers to how special and important Albione is behind his back, while pretty much either ignoring or denigrating him to his face. The high priestess is the only one who is actually supportive. I’ve seen him do nothing that makes me think that he’s actually all that special – part is because I haven’t seen his peers, the people against whom his importance is measured and judged. Another consideration is that the protagonist being secretly important and his betters actually want to prepare him for some monumental task down the line is pretty much a cliché and that’s sort of what Albione feels like to me. 

Again, writing and style-wise I don’t have much complaints, this chapter read very easily. But just like the previous chapter there are things that really don’t make sense to me. Maybe it’s just me, mileage may vary after all.

First of all I’m not getting why Albione is being punished. I’d get it if it was for leaving the wall he was assigned to, to give an unnecessary warning, but that’s not it at all. He was up on the wall during a siege accompanying a knight. The big, strong armoured knight and the squishy (especially from a knight’s perspective) priest. And of these two the priest is responsible for the knight? What, why? If the knight was that important to warrant a personal healer/bodyguard(hah!) in the form of a single priest he either should have had more men or he shouldn’t have been on the wall in the first place.

Secondly, calling it ‘cowardice’ is really strange because Albione wasn’t being a coward. He explains it that the priests call all derelictions of duty cowardice, but I think in this case that the term ‘cowardice’ is misplaced. Albione could’ve slayed a dragon and he’d still be a coward. It would make more sense that he broke their Sacred Laws or the Word of God and that therefore he’s ‘blaspheming’ their tenets. And therefore should repent.

Later Albione thinks of the man he has saved and thinks the following:

The others would have done that. Benda was militia after all, and a commander at that. He’d be doing the world a favor by letting a man of such compromised values die.

It’s a bad thing to save someone from the militia and even worse if he’s a commander? Is this world completely twisted around? And Benda is not a man of compromised values, neither is Ferris. They are still defending the city though there are three times more of them than any other force. If they wanted the city they could take it, but they haven’t. When you go back to these chapters I suggest you really work in why the militia is so distrusted and not just that they are distrusted. That’s what I’m really missing, the why.

I liked the ending ceremony and Albione’s guilt over letting his charge die.

What I’m missing though with the ceremony and Albion’s punishment throughout the chapter is that they just beat back the elves for the third night in a row, and this last time the elves even got behind the walls. Yes, the elves were beaten, but I didn’t get the impression they were beaten for good. All though Albione’s out of the action I’m missing references to the fact they are still besieged. Isn’t anybody worried? It’s like it’s suddenly over.

Reading Excuses / Re: June 6th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 3
« on: June 22, 2011, 09:11:43 PM »
I have to agree with pretty much everything everyone has already said. I liked the chapter overall, but there are a couple of things that didn’t work so well for me.

I don’t think the conversation at the start of the first chapter about the militia is enough to fully ground the thoughts of treason. We get that there is tension, but we don’t get why there is tension.

What I’ve seen so far makes me think that keeping their distance from other forces isn’t that odd for a military organisation; in fact the militia may very have doubts about the knights. I also don’t see any reason why everyone sees Ferris as a villain; they may not like him, they may despise him on general principle, they may want him to be a traitor so they can hang him because he rode over their puppies, but since he’s still in command he can’t be a true villain otherwise he wouldn’t be in command at all. There also aren’t enough grounds here in what we’ve seen of the militia to justify the distrust and hate towards them.

As an aside the meaning of a militia nowadays is of a military force of citizens, not trained soldiers, though in the past it was also used for trained forces. Is the reason that they may not be that good in the defence of the city because they aren’t professional soldiers, or are they trained soldiers?

The confrontation between Ferris and Rook-Sha didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons. We’ve seen no reason for the ‘hatred emanating from these two rivals’. And why are they rivals? He’s a soldier, she’s a priestess. The hate between them could be Albione misreading things, and I hope he is, because this sort of disharmony between superiors works all the way down to the lowest trooper/acolyte which really disrupts all efforts in defending the city together. And I’ve seen no reason why it’s there in the first place! It’s one thing during times of peace, but they are besieged. I’m finding the characters very petty.

Charom’s and Albione’s conversation I liked on the level of sibling rivalry and ribbing, but there is a deeper thing that puzzles me. Albione is a warrior priest, he’s up on the walls defending the city, but apparently the knights look down on the priests, praying priests and warrior priests alike. So we’ve got knights looking down on priests and the both of them looking down on the militia. Disharmony, again. This is a breeding ground for hatred and conflict, I’m surprised the city is even still there for the Night Elves to attack.

At the end we get the conversation between Albione and Ferris. From this conversation alone I must say I like Ferris the best of all. Despite all the hostility he goes to find the man who saved his son in law. From what I’ve seen of the other characters, were the roles reversed, I don’t think they’d do the same, which makes me sympathize more with Ferris than any other character. Again I’m baffled why everyone hates him.

"Healing always tired the recipient, but continued healing also exhausted the one ministering it."

I think what Akoebel was saying concerning the magic system is exactly that – the magic user gets tired from continued use. That’s a very common drawback of a magic system and when you get right down to it not a very exciting one story wise.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« on: June 08, 2011, 09:58:27 PM »
Truthfully I found the second chapter harder to read than the first one. Some of the dialogue reads a bit stilted, such as the protestations of the priests, “What folly would bring them here?” and things like that.

The thing that really bothered me is that you’ve got three POVs so far, two of which are in this chapter, and one is a throw-away characters who dies. While throw-away characters aren’t a problem most of the time this is the wrong place to be using one. At this point in the story the reader needs to get attached to the characters, but instead you’re throwing the reader off.

On the first page you mention that for the past two nights Albione has been killing night elves on the walls. Now, unless I’m very much mistaken, the night elves will have appeared from out of nowhere on the last two nights as well, since even if you are expecting them to do it it’s still a pretty good surprise tactic. So why was the militia leader so dismissive of Albione’s warning that the enemy was already there? He must have seen, or at least heard, of the same thing happening on the empty plains the last two nights?

Continuing we get to the actual main POV character of the chapter, Charom, a really pompous arrogant character, at least when he starts out. Such characters are hard to write, because it’s hard to feel sympathetic with people who are so full of themselves. If you can pull it off though it can work really well. Unfortunately the next time his POV comes around these traits are gone and he reads a lot more like a generic duty-bound knight, which I find a shame.

A small thing in Iaon’s POV, the rose at the base of the fountain. Even with the moon, stars, torches and what not, I don’t see roses as gleaming, unless they’re plastic, even if the rose is wet. It’s night right?

Iaon’s POV also holds another dangerous parallel to D&D. When the elves summon darkness, which can be dispelled through prayer, they’re a lot like the Drow.

Back to Charom’s point of view. He gets warned by bells that something is going on. Excellent, so why is Albione abandoning his point on the walls again? Clearly he needs to warn no one.

The priests are stupid. “Why would they come for you, your Reverence?” Really, in a setting where magic is performed by priests why wouldn’t the enemy, after breaching the walls, try and take out this valuable resource. And where better to find them and their leaders, especially a High Priest, than in the main temple?

I would love to hear any advice on what I should do with this chapter (even kill it) after I put up Chapter 3.

Like I said, I don’t see the need for Albione to rush to the temple in the first place, where he arrives in chapter three to aid in the defence of the high priestess. If he doesn’t need to go there, and if you decide to rewrite it so he doesn’t, there’s also no real reason to have a POV during the attack on the temple, which means you could cut this chapter altogether. I don’t want to tell you how to write your story, but Albione really needs a better reason for rushing to the temple.

Concerning allegory.

I didn’t really notice any allegories and neither am I surprised at fighting priests, since I still see them as being in the same vein as the Warhammer warrior priest order.  I didn’t get the impression, reading about the other priests, that all of them are like the warrior priests. If so, then you might consider calling the priests who actually fight, versus the ones who only pray, by a different name.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 23 - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 1
« on: June 08, 2011, 09:21:46 PM »
I’m with LTU on the ‘action, action, action’ advice, it means that something should happen, be it violence or something else completely. The reader needs  to get attached to the book, through a character or situation, and you can’t do that if nothing happens.

I also got the feeling of Warhammer when I read this chapter, more than I thought of D&D or Warcraft. The name Night Elves made me think Warcraft, their actions made me think Warhammer. And nothing screamed Warhammer so much as Albione, who I also pictured as a Sigmarite warrior priest with a really big warhammer. Now maybe that’s because I’ve been getting back into Warhammer recently, both with the miniatures and the novels, but since LTU also felt that way it’s not just me.

This isn’t naturally a bad thing, the Warhammer setting and its vibe is a good one, and if that’s what you’re going for, you are achieving it, but I do miss the thing that differentiates your setting from other dark fantasy settings. Beating on the comparison further, so far I’m seeing an order of Sigmarites, specifically warrior priests as LTU mentioned, and Dark Elves fighting on city walls. A name change would definitely help, since what I’m getting from the description doesn’t sound like elves at all. But the name “night elves” sticks stronger than the description, so after a few times I’m slowly seeing them more as traditional dark elves than what they actually are.

I’m also a bit weary when I read they wield scimitars. Drizz’t wields scimitars…dark skinned elves with scimitars, you really don’t want that association.

Aside from  these issues I found the rest of the chapter well written. You don't bore with infodumps and things are happening that show us Albione's character. The prose can be sharpened here and there, but whose doesn’t? Now there are things that make me frown, but most has already been mentioned.

What I did find jarring is that Albione had to notify runners to warn the temple. Fireballs are spewing into the air, night elf screams sound outside the walls and on the walls, people are fighting and dying on the walls, and there is no one who sees this happening? The runners, who I assume take messages back and forth from the walls to other strategic locations, are nowhere near the walls so they can see things are going to hell? And really, runners? Worst case scenario by the time a runner reaches his target locations the night elves are just a step behind him. It’s such an inefficient system while something like light signals and sounds from horns travel either by the speed of light or the speed of sound.

It gives me the feeling the only reason it’s there is that you as the writer need a reason for Albione to go from the walls to the temple, nothing more.

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