Author Topic: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1  (Read 761 times)

Shivertongue

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I've put Essence on hold for the time being, and instead have been working on this. Wavepainter is an idea I've been percolating for several months now, and only recently got the spark I needed to begin writing it. I'm approaching it differently than most other projects... but I'm not telling you how. Not yet, anyway. It might colour your view of the story. Or something.

The prologue is pretty short (and I might be cut, I'm not sure. That's one of the things I'm hoping to get some feedback on.) Both are unedited, for the most part, and quite unpolished and rough. The prologue was actually typed up in the last fifteen minutes, and hasn't been edited at all XD

Some quick summarizing...

Prologue: Too small to summarize. It's like, 600 words.

Chapter One: In which an exhibition is attended.

Please, tell me anything you can about this. What works, what doesn't work, what I'm doing well and what i can improve upon. I'm really excited about this project, and want to make it the best story I can.

(And let me reiterate: Give me the good as well as the bad. Pure negative or pure positive is the same as giving me nothing. I need both in order to improve.)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 10:36:31 AM by Shivertongue »
This propaganda has been brought to you by High Priest and Occasional Pope Archbishop Shivertongue Von Slamdance VI, of the Vibrating Purple cabal of POEE (Paratheoanametamystikhood Of Eris Esoteric). All rights ignored. Salvation not available in Idaho. Hail Eris. All Hail Discordia. Fnord?

Comatose

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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2010, 06:29:01 PM »
Very creative idea.  The magic system of influence and waves was very very interesting.

I say Keep the prologue.  I thought it gave a sense of forboding, and made Kinetic's exhibit later on more sinister than I think it would have been without the prologue.  At least, that's how I felt about it.

I also thought you had a good balance of showing the action and holding information back.  For the most part, my attention was held, and  I definately want to read more.

Some suggestions: the part with the wine dragged a little bit.  I thought the subtle differences between their world and ours, like the color of wine, was a nice touch, but it seemed to me you went on about the kinds a little too much.  Maybe just cut a few sentences of that, and I think you'll be fine.  Of course, you may want to wait for a second opinion.   Who knows, maybe it's just me.

Now this may have been intentional, but I'll mention it anyways.  The death note.  The way you wrote it made it seem as if it was from Kinetic.  However, to me this makes no sense.  Why send a death note with copied and pasted letters to hide your identity when your identity is so easily revealed.  I didn't make sense to me.  If this was your intent though, and there is more to come regarding this, never mind that comment.

All in all, great start.  I look forward to more.
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Renoard

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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 03:38:21 AM »
Okay, Two files, it just felt more natural to critique them separately.  The fact that the first is a prologue even a short one, simply reinforces that impression.

Prologue:

 In general this is a good teaser. There are some technical issues with use of language and characterization that may be a problem or may just be an oversight.  Itís got a lot of Hollywood theatrics to it which is not necessarily a good thing but seems increasingly inevitable.

One bright note that stood out was the fact that, despite the obvious sensuality, she is not there for a tryst.  So the reader is in for a surprise twist but it isnít so far out of left field that it causes a cynical response.  Deftly handled.

The consistent use of the same phrase; "the Man," to refer to the-- man; was a bit pedantic.

Quote
Her breath was released in a soft moan . . .
This is a passive voice.  She's shiver and hoping with excitement, then suddenly her breath was released. This is awkward at best.  At worst it sounds like someone stuck a sharp pointy into her to let the air out.

Chapter 1

So if Absinthe is the Green Fairy, I'm assuming Amsum is the Red Gnome. :P  This was well plotted and while some of the character interaction was overly conventional, the characters assumed the mantle of superficiality rather than the author/narrator.  You rolled out the meaning of Wave painter and answered the questions raised in the prologue in a very organic way that never felt forced or lecturing (except when the hapenny critics were exchanging boorish analysis, but then that was just characterization  ;D ).

Some notable flubs included:
1) the excessive and inappropriate us of upon.  That did tend to reflect badly on the narrator.
2) use of sentence fragments outside stream of consciousness or quotes.
3) use of inelegant or inappropriate descriptives like "lurching eyes" or "amount of grace" "would have been ... to have tasted"

Over all a very strong submission.
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Silk

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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2010, 08:27:02 AM »
There's some nice setting detail in the prologue. That electric lights are apparently such a rarity is telling.

Some of the words you use, such as "main chamber," "dining areas," and "sleeping quarters"--as opposed to say, "living room," "dining room," and "bedroom"--sound a little archaic (especially when there's also a "studio," which sounds more modern). Since the electronic lights are such a rarity I assume that you intended it this way, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that phrases like "dining areas" and "sleeping quarters" make it sound like you're talking about a very large building, when in fact you've already described it as an apartment.

I know that she's excited, but Lemila strikes me as, well, just a little bit of a ditz. I don't find her annoying thus far, so this isn't a criticism unless that's not what you intended.

Not much to say about the prologue. It looks fine to me. Can't say I see any reason NOT to keep it at this point; I assume it'll be relevant to something later on.

Why is the steward so surprised that Ian doesn't want to drink the wine, if it came with a death threat?

The steward's anger seems a bit sudden. It was one thing when he just thought Ian was kind of ridiculous, but all of the sudden that escalates into--apparently--an active dislike.

I'm very interested in the unveiling now that I know a little more about what's actually going on (now that they've started talking about Kinetic's art). There's just enough information here, (and this was a strength in the prologue too) that I get the sense that this has to do with magic as well as art. In that sense it's very well done. I would have liked this conversation to happen sooner, though. Before I felt only vague sense of curiousity about the unveiling, since I didn't know what it was. (I'd thought maybe this was a wine party or something, since there's an awful lot of it about.) Now that I have a slightly better idea I'm much more engaged.

I have a similar comment about the setting. It's much more clear and vivid now; I would have liked to see a bit more of that a couple pages ago. At first I thought that it was just Ian and the steward; then I realized that Ian had a couple of friends with him; then I realized they were at some sort of social event; and only at some point after that did I clue into the scope of it. So again, by this point the setting is fairly well-described, but I want to see more of it sooner. (The larger setting would also make the steward's anger above make a little more sense, I think. My initial assumption was that this was Ian's steward and therefore someone he knew well; the scene makes a little more sense now that I know the steward was some random guy who probably felt Ian was harassing him. In fact, the conversation about the poisoned wine makes much more sense as well).

Ian's speech seems to get more formal now that he's doing his Art Critic For The Masses act. Is that somethng he does when he's showing off? Nice detail, if so. The magic system is very cool and very vividly described; well done there. There's a creepy quality to it as well that I'm kind of hoping you'll capitalize on later, but for now...

There's some potentially interesting conflict between Ian and Kinetic in this scene as well. I say "potentially" because I don't think we know enough about your characters yet to get the full impact of this. What's the relationship between Ian and Becsi? Is she his friend, girlfriend, sister...? Knowing a bit more about her and the relationship between the two of them mioght help us undertand the gravity of the insult that he's been offered.

I feel the same way about the relationship between Ian and Kinetic, though to a lesser extent--I think that perhaps that is something we can wait for. (Actually, in retrospect, given Ian's earlier criticism of Kinetic's work, that might be the basis for this insult right there). Another thing that would be interesting to know more about would be Kinetic's position in the world at large. Is he dangerous, either personally or politically? Might this insult be larger than the two of them?

Again, I think that's something we can wait for; some hints might not go amiss but you definitely don't want to reveal all that at once. I'd like to just reiterate my earlier point about Becsi. In fact, knowing just a bit more about the relationship between him and Becsi might help us understand (by implication anyway) a little more about what Kinetic is after here.

One bright note that stood out was the fact that, despite the obvious sensuality, she is not there for a tryst.† So the reader is in for a surprise twist but it isnít so far out of left field that it causes a cynical response.† Deftly handled.

Seconded.

Man, I was patting myself on the back about writing a short critique and I STILL managed to talk more than anybody else. Sigh. :P

Chaos

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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 01:55:32 AM »
The fantastic success of this submission is that the setting, marvelous in its own right, flows directly into character and therefore the action of the piece. It's beautiful, it's functional. The world feels distinct yet realistic due to it. Once we get into the exhibition, everything flows into awesome. It was done like such a pro you have me entirely hooked.

The dialogue was done excellently, too, at least when it dealt with character interaction. Tharle made me laugh. Ian and Necenna's banter heavily implies they were intimate at some point or deeply caring for one another. If that's the subtext you were going for, A+ for you. The dialogue was also entertain to read, which helped a great deal. The only negative thing about the dialogue is the Ian-Art-Critic mode, which went a tad too long. It's characterization, but since we don't know what he's talking about, you could probably cut 50% of it and retain the same effect.

You open with an awesome opening line, but then the piece kind of hits this terrible slump. When you start with "It was the third death threat this week", it sets up two things: 1. Who is doing it, and 2. Why is he getting death threats. If all you were going for was "he's an art critic, so he's getting death threats", I don't buy it. Sure, sometimes Roger Ebert says some things that make me want to slap him, but I don't send death threats to him. The fact that there's this hook and the rest of the chapter feels totally unrelated with what is actually important, the relationship between Ian and Kinetic (and with a dash of Necenna), was a big let down. We got a bit of discussion about who sent the death threat, but what I really wanted to know is, why is Ian getting death threats?

It feels like you are holding a bit too much back from us when it comes to character. It worked with that Ian/Necenna dialogue (though I'm confused how Necenna would get any Influence from this exhibition, accidental or otherwise, but that's a tangent), but I don't have enough information on Ian and Kinetic's relationship to really buy Ian's reaction at the end. Kinetic did a good job, but why is Ian taking it so personally? I don't understand how what Kinetic did directly insults Ian. In a revision, we absolutely need this information. Not the whole story, but I need enough to believe that the exhibition was a personal attack to Ian. At the moment, I don't.

Side note: I strongly suspect Kinetic is the Wavepainter in the prologue.

The prologue also suffers slightly from the "neener neener I'm holding things back" syndrome. I'd really like to know why the girl is even going there in the first place. Who is this man's name. I don't want too much additional information of course, but I would like some more clarity on what's going on.
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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 11:13:59 PM »
Because groups like this wouldn't be fun if we all agreed with one another...

I honestly didn't feel like the prologue needed any more information than what you gave us. You didn't TELL us why whats-her-face was there with the Wavepainter, but I had just enough to make my own assumptions, and that works for me for now. I'm with Eric insofar as I think that Kinetic is the Wavepainter from the prologue. If nothing else, that line "I will make you beautiful" is quite noticeably repeated.

I don't feel that the death threats need to be resolved immediately (that is, within this first chapter). You've given them enough prominence that I DO feel that they need to be resolved, though, and by the end of the chapter they do feel a bit forgotten. By the author, not the character. I can buy that Ian has forgotten by the end of the chapter, since they seem to be commonplace and there's other stuff going on between him and Kinetic which he seems to be much more wrapped up in. But I don't want to be thinking that YOU, the author, forgot.

lethalfalcon

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Re: June 21 - Shivertongue - Wavepainter, Prologue and Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2010, 06:26:51 AM »
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.
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