Author Topic: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3  (Read 353 times)

Andrew the Great

  • Level 19
  • *
  • Posts: 967
  • Fell Points: 0
  • If that never happened again, it would be too soon
    • View Profile
Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« on: November 25, 2009, 03:22:57 AM »
Hey all. Me again. Sorry to submit this late, but I only just got back from Utah and now I have internet access again.

First order of business, I've tentatively titled the book Lawless. Anyone have any issues with this title that I should know about? If so, voice them now before I get too set on it. (And if it's stuff like "I don't like it" I'll probably ignore you. Unless EVERYONE says that. Then that's a problem)

So as always, I apologize for the NaNoWriMo quality of this material. I did a quick once-over, but this probably needs some major revisions before seeing the light of day.

Yes, I'm aware that the first several pages of this chapter are a large historical infodump. That needs to be fixed, and will be in the revision. So bear with me here, ok? I promise, it gets better.

This chapter is from the viewpoint of an expert Deviator, so you finally get to see the slightly more technical side of what's going on.

You also get a much larger sense of the world, though like I said, I need to kill the historical infodump.

That said, I would love to hear about what you guys think about the balance on internal thought (On the not-infodump sections, anyway.... I know the infodump is REALLY heavy on it).

Anyway, thanks in advance for the comments!
Sign on wall: "We're doing everything we can to get you to the math lab and get you help."
Random girl: "That explains so much about the way my professors have been teaching..."

"Look! I can play Mary had a little lamb on my rape whistle!"

Executor of Chaos' Opinions in the Event of His Absence

LongTimeUnderdog

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 304
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 04:38:39 AM »
The biggest problem with the Info dump is that it's a whole story in itself.  In fact, if all the opening chapters are just character intros, then we're given a huge time jump forward, why not just start at the jump forward and introduce us to everyone then? From the giant back story dump in this chapter it seems that everything else is entirely . . . how to put this . . . useless.  Start where the story starts.  Don't start in the past and give us characters that you'll immediatly pass off as inconsequential.  That's annoying.  Start where the story starts.  Make the real magic/talky part of chapter 3 chapter 1, and skip the rest.

This chapter thrived terribly on a learning curve of jargon and names that just made my head hurt.  While I didn't need EVERY idea and rank explained, what I did need was a better comprehension of why the ranks existed and what a battlemage soldier wore/carried/used.  I mean, are we talking harry potter here where everyone carries their wand 9mm in their robes?  Do they have swords/staves/plungers with which to lay down the smacky?  Why is Chaos mage the top rank?  What makes being  a mage of chaos so cool?

Pet Peeve Moment:

For those who don't read my comments or skim them, or don't care what I say, you'll probably do the same with this.  But I'm going to talk about it anyway.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LUCK IN A DUEL!

*gasp gasp*  Okay, here's the deal.

Really skilled fighters, in any sense, don't worry about luck.  Really skilled fighters know what responses their opponents are going to use.  Really skilled fighters create openings, they don't wait for them.  Now I'm not sure how Deviating works in the form of laying into someone, but I haven't seen a combat arena (that means type of combat) where these rules are different.

Very skilled people don't consider luck.  "She could get lucky," is not something the baddest of the Bad is going to think about.  He's going to think, "I've got this weakness that's easy for her to exploit, so I should not show that," or "there's no way she's going to miss that hole in my defense, she's too good."

Luck stems from unpredictable elements, like that guy you can't see whose bullet bounced off that rock and popped my enemy in the head.  that's luck. 

Aedon sounds like a chump worrying about someone getting lucky.  In fact his lack of confidence (or rather his perception of other people in general) makes him seem like a chump.    If he's really as awesome as you say he is in the text, he won't think of people in terms of skills, he'll think about them in terms of their exploitable weaknesses.  Here's an example:

Tom looked up at  Joe.  Joe was a broad man with long arms.  He would easily have the reach advantage.  Tom had seen him wrestle too, so staying in tight would be a bad idea.  He did not know how good a wrestler he was, he knew the weight class though.  Joe would just have to fall over on him and the fight would be over.  No . . .

Tom knew he would have to use his shortness.  Spring at his legs.  If possible break his knees.


That's more how one sizes up an opponent.  In passing, it would be much briefer and embedded into Aedon's head how to over come his opponents.  Yes speaking about everyone in terms of their weaknesses would make him seem like a chump to, but I'm sure you get what I'm talking about.

Anyway, despite having mages, I really like the story.  The magic is actually pretty cool and I like the technical side of it.  that part was the most interesting of the whole chapter. 

Andrew the Great

  • Level 19
  • *
  • Posts: 967
  • Fell Points: 0
  • If that never happened again, it would be too soon
    • View Profile
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 06:16:24 AM »
I don't have much time to comment now, but I will say that the back story becomes important later, so it's necessary. I'll agree that there's probably a better way to work it in, but since this is a first draft with virtually no editing, I'm not to worried about it yet.

Quote
are we talking harry potter here where everyone carries their wand 9mm in their robes?
Simply put, NO. In fact, I think any sort of magical item (with the exception of the book, which is kind of an exception for reasons that can't be explained yet) just sort of makes me cringe.

And I worried that the jargon would be a little painful, at first. You'll start picking it up pretty quick, I think, but I can see how it would be difficult (hence the Deviation infodump at the end of chapter 2)

Oh, and sorry to hit on the pet peeve with the luck thing. You are, in this case, mostly right. I'm still a little bit right, though, for reasons that I can't yet explain. RAFO :)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 06:20:42 AM by Andrew the Great »
Sign on wall: "We're doing everything we can to get you to the math lab and get you help."
Random girl: "That explains so much about the way my professors have been teaching..."

"Look! I can play Mary had a little lamb on my rape whistle!"

Executor of Chaos' Opinions in the Event of His Absence

Recovering_Cynic

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 581
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Except vampires. Vampires suck.
    • View Profile
    • my livejournal
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 12:28:24 AM »
Thoughts while reading:

Okay I know it's an info dump that you are planning to fix, but you need to answer some questions even in the infodump.  Ex: How do you block someone from Deviation?  Who is the rest of this group of rebels that Rasheda was a part of?  You never mentioned another cabal of mages around.

Cutting off someone's limbs--even if you cauterize the wounds--will kill them, certainly faster than a week.

How are the oaths binding?  Up to this point, all that deviation has done is change reality or a person's perception of reality...

What are these "fewer options of how to spend each day?"  How are the mage battallion's lives so horrible?

Who are the Kreala?  You are just throwing things out left and right...

"Very convincing evidence" of the books existence?  More specific please.

Okay... are mage assassins mages?  Yet you said that the Kreala don't have mages...

How does one discover deviation if it occurs naturally in people?

The mages coming to guard the emperor's chamber materialized without any backlash...?

Okay, he uses other mages as glorified phone line operators?  "Put me through to so and so..."  Huh?

Aedon's character is sounding a lot like Quinn's.

Okay... I thought all the mages were relegated to a single "squad".  It appears that they are assigned everywhere doing all kinds of things.  This is confusing.

Second in line for the throne?  What?  The despot is planning on passing on?  He's planned a succession?  Wow.  I thought he was more egomaniacal than that...

Allright... you say the emperor is all powerful and completely in control, and yet there is another mage who rivals him within his own empire...

Again, if people can rise so high in the mage battalions, why is it such a punishment to be recruited into the mage battalions?

Finished reading.

Alright.  Please don't make me read something that rough again.  Please.  *kneels and begs*  That being said, I will comment on what can be commented, meaning, anything that wasn't the actual writing. 

First and foremost, your power balance needs to be clearer.  You describe an all-powerful emperor who then turns out to be not fully in control and actually in danger of being overthrown by a rival in his own kingdom.  You have to work that out better; the emperor dude doesn't seem to be the type to engender loyalty, so there had better be a darn good reason why the other mages don't band together and wipe him out, especially when there is one who can almost do it by herself.  26 years is a long time to be a cruel uncaring despot without someone trying to knife you.

Next, I'm not really buying the way he came to power; it just seemed too easy.  Even with you telling us how it happened, it still needed to be fleshed out more.

Last, the emperor at times seems to be Quinn--with lackeys.  There needs to be some differentiation.

And I'm out of time.  Sorry for all the negativity, but this draft was really, really rough.  The ideas are good though, although there are some logic flaws and questions needing answers as I pointed out above.  And now I have to run.



this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Andrew the Great

  • Level 19
  • *
  • Posts: 967
  • Fell Points: 0
  • If that never happened again, it would be too soon
    • View Profile
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 11:37:51 PM »
Yeah, sorry on the roughness of that particular scene. I've decided that I'm moving Aedon's whole plot-line back to a scene earlier, so you'll catch a lot of your questions in some of those scenes, and this actual scene will come later in the story with much less of an infodump. That should fix many much of the problems.

Reading through, you're right, the power balance is really vague. I do know the answers to your questions, and some of them should have been answered here, I just wrote with some real clarity issues.

OK, so here's the first thing. Aedon has made the other Deviators in the empire swear loyalty to him. I didn't explain the way the oaths work because it's really, really complicated. I'll get into it a little later, but there's enough info dumped in this chapter already without me going into some really complicated Deviation.

I probably ought to delve into the lives of mages more, but in the future there's a viewpoint character from the Battalion, so I won't. In fact, I'll probably go with a little less here. You're right, though, I'm still writing this with the wrong perspective. You see, most of the population dreads becoming a mage because they've only seen a very limited side of the Mage Battalion and the way Deviators are treated. Once they're actually in the Battalion, people tend to like Deviating quite a lot, along with the power it gives them. Aedon should agree with the second viewpoint more than the first. This was a mistake, most likely due to the fact that I've been writing from Khyus' perspective before this, and Khyus doesn't really know anything about the Battalion.

Kreala = another civilization, currently at war with Aedon's empire. Sorry if that was unclear. It's gonna be kind of important in the future, though, so it is kind of important that it be clearer. Sorry for that lack of clarity.

Assassin-mages are in fact mages, just not Deviators (though their magic works in a somewhat similar fashion). And the Kreala do have Deviators too, just not in the same way that the Aedonians have Deviators. So wherever I mentioned the Kreala not having mages was a mistake. Sorry!

Yes, the mages coming to guard Aedon's study materialized without any backlash. Good catch. There is a reason for this, and it's not that they're super amazing or know something that the other characters don't know. It's actually fairly simple, and you'll see it later, so don't worry about this overly much.

Aedon uses Delren as a "glorified phone operator" because he doesn't know who is with Lenalt, while Delren does. Again, sorry for the lack of clarity.

Yeah, Aedon does sound a lot like Quinn. That's a problem. A big one. I'll work on writing him slightly differently so that he doesn't sound exactly the same.  And actually, there are a couple of things in this chapter that are completely out of character for Aedon. Like the whole thing with the rebel mages. He wouldn't do that. He'd just execute them and be done with it. He might briefly make an example of Rasheda (I think that was her name), but he wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much as he seemed to in the text. I think he probably wasn't entirely clear in my mind when I wrote this, which resulted in him being this vague hybrid between himself and Quinn.

Again, sorry for the confusion on the Mage Battalion. This is one area that was still a little vague in my head when I wrote this. Most of the magi have a specific "Squad" to which they are assigned, with the ranking system continuing all the way up to Relea, the First Chaosmagi. There are a few who have posts outside the standard heirarchy, though, which is what I was writing all of the magi as. Which really doesn't work. So I'll have to fix this on the rewrite, and in future chapters before I submit.

And once again, I apologize for the really rough writing. We're deep into NaNoWriMo stuff now, and I only did a quick once-over for editing, not really changing any of the content. So hopefully we won't have anything too rough in the future. I'm still 15k away from finishing, so I'll be doing some heavy writing in the next few days, but I won't submit anything this week if I can't get it polished up a bit. Well, a lot. It doesn't do much good anyway to submit something that bad.

Power balance....yes. This is mostly just a result of really really bad writing and me not being clear enough in my really really bad writing. It goes something like this:

Aedon is the most skilled Deviator in the world. He can do basically anything that other Deviators can, and a lot of things that others can't. He's a very good duelist, though, because his reactions are almost always exactly what they should be to stop whatever the other person is doing. He doesn't make very many mistakes. He also has around 300 Deviators at his beck and call, since all have sworn loyalty to him. Most of these Deviators hold no particular loyalties, but will come because of their oath of loyalty.

Relea is a very skillful Deviator. She is mostly happy with her position as First Chaosmage, but if she saw the opportunity to overthrow Aedon, she would. Her oath of loyalty prevents her from directly trying to kill Aedon, but Aedon knows that she will do anything she can to work around her oath if it means she gets the book. It is also important to note (which I didn't in the text, which is a big mistake) that Relea's oath of loyalty was not the same as the other magi. I should have explained this and how it happened that way, but I totally missed it in the text. I'll try to catch it later on. Anyway, once Relea has the book, Aedon thinks she will be powerful enough to break through the Deviation that makes her oath binding, and overthrow him. This is actually supposed to be Aedon being paranoid, guarding against all possibilities, but it came across as him being afraid of Relea. Relea doesn't actually rival him, but she could possibly beat him in a duel if she got lucky (sorry LTU [can I call you that? It's so much easier]), as she's skilled enough to hold her own for a few minutes, and random circumstances sometimes change the outcome of a duel (as will be seen later).

The power balance issue is mostly a clarity issue, and my current problem of not mentioning what characters can't do, making it sound like they are all super-powered.

On the re-write, I'll flesh out the Emperor's rise to power, but I'll probably do so a little more gradually than this "BOOM - 90 pages of backstory" approach.

And I just re-read this. Wow. It's pretty bad. Sorry everybody. If nothing else, the length of this post (all of which is explaining things that should have been clear in the text) is a testament to the quality of work submitted.
Sign on wall: "We're doing everything we can to get you to the math lab and get you help."
Random girl: "That explains so much about the way my professors have been teaching..."

"Look! I can play Mary had a little lamb on my rape whistle!"

Executor of Chaos' Opinions in the Event of His Absence

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2009, 03:37:55 AM »
Well, Andrew, you know I like you (you're my theoretical buddy after all) but I can't even begin to tell you how much I disliked this particular submission. I honestly felt most of it, if not all of it, was an infodump and the plot/conflict you outlined seemed... well I hate to use the word 'cliche' (just another way of saying you don't care for it while pretending to be professional about it IMO) so let's just say 'typical' instead. Now understand that for me, this is NOT a problem. I read lots of fantasy because I like the basic formula and see originality as being in all the little twists and details. The problem I was having here is since you are not going to hook me on plot at this point, your style/character need to be just that much better. It was just rough, as you seem to already know at this point, and if this is going to be a POV character, you really need create scenes to show him at his best advantage and weed through a lot of this that seems to be more important for you know and have then for us to read at this point.
I'll admit to skimming a lot in this section so I really don't have a lot of line edits, but I'll just add that I too was was screaming at you for Rasheda staying alive past the point where I could medically dispense my disbelief.
Good luck with Nano. It seems like you're getting through the word count just fine. I would love to see more of this when you have some time to edit. :)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 05:16:05 AM by Frog »
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Andrew the Great

  • Level 19
  • *
  • Posts: 967
  • Fell Points: 0
  • If that never happened again, it would be too soon
    • View Profile
Re: Nov 23 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Ch 3
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2009, 04:44:49 AM »
Yep. I'm at 38k right now for NaNo and I plan to get another 3 or 4k in before going to bed tonight.

After I finish, I've decided that I'm going to redo this chapter, starting back a little further in the story. This point in the plot will be moved up further. I think the new writing will work out much better. That will be my next submission, probably later next week, since I'll miss the Monday deadline due to NaNo.

Sorry again for the rough quality.

On the plus side, later when I actually have you interested in my story, if you feel like torturing yourself a little, you can glean some information that I didn't mean to give you just yet from this chapter. Though if I actually manage to interest you in my story enough for you to do that, I would be far too happy to care.

Oh, and if makes either of you feel better, I'll make Rasheda die much more quickly in the rewrite, when I get to it. If she's there at all. I'm actually considering an alternate plot that allows me to cut down the backstory a bit. I haven't reached the point yet where I have to decide, though, so we'll get to that later.
Sign on wall: "We're doing everything we can to get you to the math lab and get you help."
Random girl: "That explains so much about the way my professors have been teaching..."

"Look! I can play Mary had a little lamb on my rape whistle!"

Executor of Chaos' Opinions in the Event of His Absence