Author Topic: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue  (Read 448 times)

Andrew the Great

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January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« on: January 26, 2010, 04:22:00 AM »
If you haven't got this yet, you should be receiving it shortly.

I didn't have time to polish up chapter four the way it deserves, so you get the prologue, which is kind of a cop-out, but that's ok.

Obviously this is kind of important, since it's the first thing in the book. What do you guys think? (Be harsher than usual, since this is the first thing people will see).

Thanks in advance!

Andrew
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LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 07:11:55 AM »
The dialogue of the piece sounds like something out of a b-movie anime.  And if I were to describe the entirety of the whole thing, anime would be the word I think does the best job.  Angels shacking up with Demons, God being the bad guy and demons the good guys, humans being caught up in the middle of it, reads like very amateur emo/goth fantasy.  Combine that with "throwing demon energy" and you sound like something I read in passing over some 14 year old girls shoulder or found on the internet as a back story to some lousy piece of original manga art someone did (who was also a 14 year old girl).

As far as the characters are concerned, they read as generic (see above).  Our hero did a term with the "bad guys," and finds out their the "good guys" and better behaved then the people who are supposed to be the "good guys."  God comes off as the usual dictator handing out wet work for cover ups.  Expelling people from heaven for "thinking differently."  And while these are real world theories, if you're actually going along with them then you sound preachy.  If you're not then you sound like you asked a 14 year old anime nerd girl to come up with a plot involving angels and demons.  I think I've read this about 30 times in my life between the ages 18 - 19.

The prose are good, they flow well.  I get a great sense of action when the guy attacks God, but in the end the re re re re re hashed dialogue from bad b-movie anime ("How Dare you . . .") gives me glossy eyes and makes me care for the piece and the characters about as much as I would care for a knife wound.  It's just not that interesting.

And as a side, this has a ring of "I just played Bayonetta and got a great idea," if you're looking for something recent that sounds an awful lot like this (including the three kingdoms).

The second Iliere part has some rather anti-climatic parts as well.  For example, the opening line of that, when he sees the smoldering house and starts to worry.  Starts to worry about what?   I mean, if I saw something that looked like my house was on fire, there would be a dead run with lots of screaming and being really mad and praying my wife and daughter were NOT home when that happened.  Instead we read what sounds like him noticing the smoke, thinking "oh, that's too bad, I hope its not mine," and then when he sees that it's his he's about as shocked (i know you said white hot rage, but the piece doesn't read like white hot rage) as a dead battery.  His emotional detachment (prevalent throughout the piece) is our emotional detachment.

Speaking of emotional detachment.  Sure, I'd be pretty cheesed if someone had me up on false charges, yeah.  But he's just kind of annoyed, and giving himself up that he's going to be exhiled.  And then, for whatever reason, he decides to make a shot at killing the guy.   The "Action" just seems a bit thrown in there for the "I want action to grip my readers," of it instead of character building reasons, or emotional reasons, it just seems unmotivated to me.

Besides that, out of all the archangels and God that are there, when this dude is powering up (and yes I totally had a DBZ image in my head) why do they call the weak, red-shirt guards in when I would suspect that any one of the aforementioned archangels would have a much better chance of success.  Or why, if he's powering up, doesn't anyone just throw a big rock at him, or a spear, or a knife?  That would stop him, for sure.

Which brings us to the next point, setting.

There isn't much setting here.  Okay he's on trial in Heaven.  We get, near the end of the action, that there is a gold dome.  Yay.  But we discover that when the red-shirt . . . I mean guard . . . gets thrown into it.  When did the guards appear again?

This prologue does get right into the meat of the issue, but at the same time it's a very dry meat.  No spices, no sides, just thin, dry, meat.  At least baste it for us.

What's sad is that the opening line is really good.  It reminds me a lot of how Elantris opened.  It had some good first lines.  Really good first lines.  So does this story.  And as soon as that line is over nothing lives up to it.  Perhaps if you hadn't opened with something so awesome the rest of the piece might have stood a chance.  But compared to that one awesome sauce line, the rest of the piece is just . . . . bland.

ryos

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 10:33:19 PM »
Heh, took him at his word, eh LTU? Man, that was harsh. Of course, I agree with most of LTU's assessment.

I know it's chic to turn things on their heads, but people have been using that gimmick for so long that it just doesn't stand on its own. Like any other story device, you've gotta sell it. The problem is that I don't see any more depth to this than "Oh, Heaven is corrupt and the Demons are the good guys." The thing is, demons *aren't* good (it's in the demon handbook, section 1, verse 23: "Don't be good."), so by setting them up as good, you're creating an additional barrier to my suspension of disbelief that you then must overcome.

But you don't, and I think LTU hit on all the reasons why. I haven't consumed nearly as much Japanese fiction as he has, so I'd probably draw parallels to Charmed (ugh, don't even get me started on that show), but the points are still the same.

As far as the first line is concerned, I'm not as enthused with it as LTU. It's such an obvious hook; it jumps up and down and shouts, "Hey guys look at me I'm a hook bite me!" Err...yeah. But that would be mitigated if it didn't stand alone; if it had a line, a sinker, and some bait to go along with it. Sadly, the following paragraphs fail to deliver on its promise.

(Who was in charge of revoking my metaphor license? You've failed badly at your duty, soldier.)

Now, for the last line! It falls flat because it's not a new development for this character. He didn't need to see his wife eviscerated on the floor of his home in hell to decide to kill God—he already tried to do that. So making a big deal of it now just doesn't make any sense.

I haven't read the rest of your submissions (I'll get to them, promise!), so I don't know if they're better than this or not, but this prologue does not entice me to finish the book. In all honesty, if this were on a shelf at a bookstore I'd probably put it down at this point.
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Andrew the Great

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 03:44:51 AM »
You are, of course, right. I knew the dialogue was going to be a big problem on this one, because it's the first thing I've written in a month and a half. So I apologize profusely for the awfulness I put you through there.

The second Iliere scene had many issues, in fact, I think you were pretty easy on that particular one. But I wrote this after filling out a financial aid application for 4 hours. I pretty much didn't really care about much at that point, and I was just trying to crank this out. I only did a quick revise, and as such it kind of sucks in places.

I'm glad the prose is still decent, because it means I haven't completely lost it over the last couple of months.

As to the fact that there's no real setting - I originally wrote this scene with a detailed description of the setting. When I read through it, it was extremely ponderous and heavy, and that wasn't the feel that I wanted for the beginning of the book. Or the rest of that for that matter. So i just overcorrected. I'll have to work on getting the balance right.

ryos, thanks for pointing out the whole thing with the last line. Again, this is a revising issue. In the original draft, Iliere didn't try to kill God while still in heaven, so it was a new character development for him to decide to kill God. When I re-wrote it, I didn't change the plot at all to match the new sequence of events. I'm now seriously considering ending with him being thrown out of heaven and calling that that. Do you think that would work better?

The Demons aren't the good guys in this story. They're just another group of people, one who is hardly involved at all in the main plot. Nor are the Angels even the bad guys. In fact, the prologue provides backstory that adds a lot at a later point in the story, but it isn't actually really part of the main story arc at all. I wrote it as the prologue because I thought it could be fairly interesting if done well. If the themes that appear in it (that don't really match the rest of the story) are going to annoy readers before they ever get to the rest of the story, though, it might be time to ditch it and use a different scene, depending on how everyone else reacts to it.

I suspect the preachiness has something to do with the fact that I was going for a God voice and overshooting. And that I haven't written in a while. And that my dialogue has never really been my strength in the first place.

LTU: You made a comment about why the archangels and Katrei don't just stop him. Actually, the Archangels can't stop him, though Katrei could. You're right, though, the scene would be more effective if I just had the Archangels attack him, and if Katrei didn't seem to get so worked up. I'm glad you thought the action flowed well, though.

The Three Kingdoms - I made up on the spot and can easily change. I have no attachment to them whatsoever, and in fact, thinking about the way the rest of the plot connects with this, it would almost work better if I just used the Kingdom of Heaven.

I'll clean it up a bit and see if you like the revision better. But first, on to chapter 4!

Thanks for the comments. And as to harshness, this was actually just what I was looking for, if not slightly harsher. It's pretty hard to hurt my feelings, and even when you do, I tend to just get pissed off and try to prove you wrong. Which in this instance, wouldn't be a bad thing. So keep the criticisms coming.

LTU - sorry I haven't said anything on your last 4 submissions. I'm getting there. ryos, you don't get an apology until you do my other stuff, but I'll get to yours eventually too.
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LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2010, 03:59:37 AM »
Quote
I suspect the preachiness has something to do with the fact that I was going for a God voice and overshooting. And that I haven't written in a while. And that my dialogue has never really been my strength in the first place.

Actually the preachiness is from what i suspected was a similar plot vein to the movie "Legion" which is another story running this plot line.

Quote
The Demons aren't the good guys in this story.

Well you did just kinda make them out to be.

Quote
sorry I haven't said anything on your last 4 submissions.

Why does everyone keep apologizing for this?  if it's not interesting enough to make you want to read it you don't have to force yourself to.

ryos

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 04:11:00 AM »
ryos, you don't get an apology until you do my other stuff, but I'll get to yours eventually too.

LOL, fair enough. ;D
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ryos

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 04:14:47 AM »
Quote
Why does everyone keep apologizing for this?  if it's not interesting enough to make you want to read it you don't have to force yourself to.

Can't speak for others, but in my case if I'm apologizing, it's because I haven't even looked at it yet.

Interest hasn't often been an issue for me in this group. Generally speaking, the quality of stories we get here is exceptionally high (when you factor in that we're all unpublished and sending first drafts).
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 01:28:05 AM »
Okay, so I enjoyed it, but then again, I'm not up to date in my fantasy reading *at all*.  If the other readers say it's cliche, I'll tip my hat to them.  The prose is good.  You wrote it well.  It was predictable, however, which means that it is indeed cliche.

My advice: make you characters more original, more memorable, then twist the plot so that it's not quite so trite (I know, easier said than done).  Anyway, I'll write more later, but I have to run right now.
this is the way the world ends,
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Andrew the Great

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 02:02:08 AM »
LTU - I'm apologizing, like ryos, because I haven't even looked at your submissions yet. I'm actually quite interested in your story, it's just that I have little to no spare time right now. Hence the 25 or so unread reading excuses submissions in my inbox.

And I need to make one important point - the prologue is from the point of view of a character who thinks of the demons as the good guys. This does not mean that the rest of the characters in the main story think of the demons as the good guys. However, you make a valid point, that anyone reading the prologue is going to immediately think that the demons are the good guys. I might to better just to keep the demon references to a minimum.

Cynic - I'll see what I can come up with that will keep it interesting. I knew this would be fairly predictable, but it was just the first thing that came to mind for a prologue. I haven't made any effort to change the plot up at all like I have with most of the rest of the story. A little thought should yield something slightly less predictable.

Mostly, I'm just glad to hear that my prose is still decent after two months of not writing. Thanks for the comments everybody!
Sign on wall: "We're doing everything we can to get you to the math lab and get you help."
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ErikHolmes

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Re: January 25 - Andrew the Great - Lawless Prologue
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 12:45:16 AM »
I'll have to agree with everyone else. The writing was good. But the Story cliche and the dialog needs a lot of work.

If it was me I'd start with just changing the names. Call the angels and demons something else. Make them more unique.

Other then that I wonder about how well thought out the story is. They are accusing him of giving the demons information that could be used to destroy them. So what do they do? They exile him. Won't he just go give the demons the info they need to destroy him?

Then he tried to kill god. In front of everyone.

His punishment seemed . . . less then terrible.
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