Author Topic: Dragonsteel  (Read 35204 times)

DavidB

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2007, 10:11:17 PM »
Thanks for the sample chapters! I liked it. If there had been more, I would have kept reading, so as a hook, these chapters worked for me.

But...you asked for criticism. I'll be focusing on the negatives, so this'll sound a lot worse than it is.

I didn't get into Midius's character at all. I don't understand the reasons for most of what he does, and his character feels inconsistent to me, somehow. For example, he was going on in the first chapter about how gullible and stupid people are, but later on he gets stage fright, has a tough time telling stories to anyone, and it turns out he's never even tried to lie to people before, he just practiced in front of Hoid. Also, I take it I'm supposed to be worried that Theus is going to kill Midius, but Midius decided to let himself be captured (the fact that he caught the first spear suggests that he could have fought off the guards if he wanted to), and didn't even try to escape (depending on how realistic his illusions are, I can think of several possible escape plans). So either Midius has a death wish, or he knew that Theus wouldn't kill him (which implies he's working with Naysho, since if it weren't for Naysho, Midius would have had him killed -- not a spoiler since this is almost certainly wrong), or he had some kind of protection that would have kept him from dying even if Jend had tried to kill him. So, my feeling is that Midius should have clearer motives from the beginning of the story.

Also, Midius's first chapter-and-a-half feels like filler, like you didn't have anything important for Midius to do, but just wanted to break up Theus's parts. I especially disliked the first chapter. Hoid is annoying and patronizing. I hope this isn't one of those books where there'd be no plot of Hoid had just told Midius what he needed to know at the beginning, because those suck. And if you took out Hoid's babbling, you could cover everything in this chapter in about three paragraphs. Less, if you started the book later, and had just Midius remember Hoid's death.

The beginning of Midius's second chapter isn't as bad. I liked the feel of the Fain; it reminds me in a good way of the toxic jungle from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds. But it's not like Midius hasn't seen it before, so  there's no reason for him to spend so much time just staring at the scenery. And he doesn't do anything else but stare at scenery in that scene.

You described the Fain as "alien" twice. The second time, I started wondering if you were doing on purpose, and actually meant to imply that it had extraterrestrial origins.

Naysho's city is sometimes spelled "Rens" and sometimes "Renz", but you probably already knew that.

After Theus lets Midius go, he has a sort of argument with Naysho. He figures he's in Naysho's debt because Naysho sent for an Aetherlin. But that's retarded. If the Aetherlin solves Partinel's problems, then Theus will be in Naysho's debt, but until then, Naysho wants the Aetherlin in the city and Theus doesn't, so it's really Naysho who's in Theus's debt. For example, Theus ought to be able to control Naysho by threatening to change his mind and turn the Aetherlin out of the city, and then telling the king of Rens that he did it because Naysho thought having the Aetherlin around gave him the right to be too obnoxious (thus destroying Naysho's career). Naysho would know that Theus probably wouldn't carry out that threat, but he'd also know that Theus didn't really want the Aetherlin around, so he might.

Yunmi was awesome when she showed up, but seemed too businesslike in her viewpoint section. I wanted her cheerfulness not to be an act, darn it.

Glimmer is going to get really annoying really fast if it keeps...speaking with...ellipses every...other word....

EUOL

  • Moderator
  • Level 58
  • *
  • Posts: 4708
  • Fell Points: 33
  • Mr. Prolific [tm]
    • View Profile
    • Brandon Sanderson dot com
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2007, 06:51:11 AM »
Great comments, all.  I'll be posting more to this thread once I'm done with the Mistborn 3 rewrite and can turn my attention back to Dragonsteel. 

One thing to note now--I wasn't very satisfied with Glimmer's dialect myself, and DavidB's comments tipped me over the edge.  I'm now thinking of going with something more like this:

   Aether. a voice said in her mind.  It was light and airy, like a voice carried on the breeze, and felt lethargic.  King
   Yunmi glanced down at the rose-colored crystal embedded into her forearm just above her wrist.  King Theus? She thought.
   Aether. the voice responded, dull, slow.  As always, Glimmer’s voice was accompanied by images in her head, filling out the single word.  This time, the image was of a dark black crystal set into a man’s hand.  Theus’s hand, which had been covered by a glove when Yunmi had met him.
   So Theus does have an Aether, Yunmi thought.  Did you speak to it?
   Unresponsive, her Aether replied. Old.  In her mind, Yunmi saw the Theus’s Aether as Glimmer did--as a thing ancient, barely capable of putting out Aetherpulp.  A thing tired, yet forced to continue living on, attached to the king’s flesh. 

Also, I don't like Glimmer's name, so consider that a placeholder right now.
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

dawncawley

  • Level 11
  • *
  • Posts: 462
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2007, 06:25:08 PM »
I like that better. The images and the lack of .... will make that flow better, and it helps keep misunderstandings to a minimum :)

DavidB

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2007, 10:17:27 PM »
This is definitely better than the Shatneriffic dialect it replaces, but it does carry two potential pitfalls (which can be avoided with some creativity): The new speech gimmick might slow down the pace of the story, since it forces you to describe an image every time Glimmer says something; also, it's similar to the gimmick that Midius uses to tell stories, so it might feel recycled.

Here's another dialect suggestion, which you might consider using either instead or in addition. I noticed that in the sample you posted, Glimmer uses no verbs. You might make this a hard-and-fast rule, so that I don't understand human humor, for example, becomes, No understanding of human humor. This would takes some creative phraseology to keep it comprehensible, but might be alien enough on its own to  make Glimmer's speech distinct. (I think it's sort of reminiscent of Yoda's dialect, except that you'd be doing away with the verbs entirely instead of just moving them to the end.)

Incidentally, I don't blame Glimmer for not understanding human humor in the above quote, since the joke that it follows is way too forced to be funny.

firstRainbowRose

  • Level 18
  • *
  • Posts: 867
  • Fell Points: 1
  • So pretty!
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2007, 04:25:11 AM »
My thoughts mostly are just that Midius' name reminds me of the king who touched something and turned it gold.  I do agree though that his character seems a bit... unorginized.  He has diffrent sides and rather than flowing from one side to another he hops.  I also don't fully understand why people think all stories are lies, so the feeling towards him is a bit extream.  But maybe that's something that's explained a bit later.

I also was slightly turned away from the story by the amount of cruelness we see from the king at so early of a point in the book.  I think it may be that his logic isn't revealed until the end of the situation (which I wouldn't change), so it was quite a bit of a shock.  I hope though that the reasoning behind his brutality is explained a bit more.

Anywho, please update as soon as you get done with MB3... :D
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'. We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui. For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'. So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"

Peter Ahlstrom

  • Administrator
  • Level 59
  • *
  • Posts: 4902
  • Fell Points: 2
  • Assistant to Mr. Sanderson
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2007, 12:39:34 AM »
EUOL's comment from the other thread:
Quote
In a related note, you may be interested to hear that I've decided to start Midius's viewpoint in Dragonsteel (once I can get back to it) with Hoid already dead, as a certain person suggested in their comments.  (I almost did this the first time I wrote the chapter, and it turns out I should have done that in the first place.)
I remember liking the imagery of how the poison was spreading under Hoid's skin (er, if my memory is right), so I hope this can be kept in a rememberance or something.

But anyway I'm just wondering what imagery you'll start the prologue off with now.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

dawncawley

  • Level 11
  • *
  • Posts: 462
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2007, 03:56:35 AM »
I think it will be fun to see the changes made to this one, as well as the changes that are going on in your other books. :)

Rainbow, I know that the king seems really cruel, and that his judgements seem needlessly harsh, but I found comfort in the fact that it really seemed to bother him, the cruelty he had to commit to keep the kingdom prospering. I may have read it wrong, but his internal thoughts and wrestling with himself made that seem less like cruelty and more like something that HAD to be done for the good of the city to me. Until that point though, I thought it was just cruelty as well.

I don't know, I guess I can see both sides of it though.

firstRainbowRose

  • Level 18
  • *
  • Posts: 867
  • Fell Points: 1
  • So pretty!
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2007, 02:44:26 AM »
I did see that, and I did get to like him a bit more, but you don't get that until a while after, so I was quite shocked.  I see how it's needed, but I also don't fully understand his brutality.  I can't connect with him as well as other characters.
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'. We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui. For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'. So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"

dawncawley

  • Level 11
  • *
  • Posts: 462
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2007, 06:28:01 PM »
I understand that. Thank you for explaining more fully.

Peter Ahlstrom

  • Administrator
  • Level 59
  • *
  • Posts: 4902
  • Fell Points: 2
  • Assistant to Mr. Sanderson
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2007, 09:15:59 PM »
Much like Hrathen, I doubt he's meant to be a character you connect easily with at first.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

DavidB

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2007, 10:02:51 PM »
I'd like to see a scene between him and his wife.

EUOL

  • Moderator
  • Level 58
  • *
  • Posts: 4708
  • Fell Points: 33
  • Mr. Prolific [tm]
    • View Profile
    • Brandon Sanderson dot com
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2007, 06:08:34 AM »
DavidB,

Scene with Theus and his family is the next one I was planning for him.  I might try to move it up.

My goal with this book, actually, is to start with chapter one (or the prologue) actually being a scene from later in the book.  (Midius about to be executed by Theus.)  Then, I'd jump back in time.  I've never done this before, and I want to try it.  I'm not sure if it will work for this book or not, but we shall see.

As for these chapters, I'll have revisions up eventually, and I'll let you all see them.  Right now, I'm planning to have the Midius chapter begin with him sitting quietly and contemplating Hoid's death, trying to decide if he wants to try and fill the master's shoes or not.  I'm going to have him decide on his own to head for Partinel, and will have had Hoid know about the problems there beforehand.  This, hopefully, will give Midius more direction as he goes intentionally having decided to try to help the city. 

(I will have Hoid having been working on the problem, in seclusion, of Partinel's shrinking trune ring.  The assassin killed him before he could solve anything, but Midius has his notes.)
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

firstRainbowRose

  • Level 18
  • *
  • Posts: 867
  • Fell Points: 1
  • So pretty!
    • View Profile
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2007, 06:48:33 PM »
I think that may make his character a bit... fuller.  Right now he seems like he's two characters crammed into one situation (and sadly reminds me of a friend of mine who is exactly like that.)j

As for the flashback/time skip thing, I could see it working really well with the story.  I would love to see a full story where all the major points are revealed through flashback/time skips, because it would make for an intresting perspective as well as leaving the reader guessing (Similar to the journal from Mistborn).  How the modern characters would figure it out I'm not sure though...
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'. We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui. For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'. So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"

EUOL

  • Moderator
  • Level 58
  • *
  • Posts: 4708
  • Fell Points: 33
  • Mr. Prolific [tm]
    • View Profile
    • Brandon Sanderson dot com
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2007, 10:25:55 PM »
Folks,

I've turned my full attention back to this book, and have done a heavy rewrite of Chapter One, which helped me pound out who Midius is (in my mind at least.)  You can see the effect your comments had.  Here's the new version.  As always, comments are welcome!

New Attempt at Liar Chapter One
http://www.BrandonSanderson.com

"Technically, I don't even have a brain."--Fellfrosch

Parker

  • Level 12
  • *****
  • Posts: 531
  • Fell Points: 1
  • Well, what if there is no tomorrow?
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Re: Dragonsteel
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2007, 11:05:45 PM »
I enjoyed it.  This was the first time I'd read any of the drafts, so my eyes were fresh.  The beginning felt a bit rough--it took me too long to actually get into the story.  Some of that may have to do with the phrase

Hoid, The Liar, Jesk and Lightweaver

I couldn't tell if those were four different people, or one.  Thus, I felt for a bit like I was getting too many names, and I was having trouble keeping them straight in my mind.

The joke about talking to a corpse went on about one time too many for me.  It was fun at first, but use it more sparingly, IMO.

Lightweaving: how can someone just be starting out with it and already know its greatest secret?  That seems a little contradictory.  The magic is still very much fuzzy in my mind, but I'm assuming that's intentional.

Overall, though, you present a character that is intriguing, with a clear cut goal to what he wants to accomplish.  By the end of the chapter, I'm fully engaged in the book, and ready for more.  Now, I ought to get back to my homework.