Author Topic: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2  (Read 624 times)

lethalfalcon

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July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« on: July 13, 2010, 05:32:00 AM »
Chapter 2 of Heartglass is done (and yes, the prologue been moved to chapter 1 due to popular critique). I am including chapter 1 in this submission because there is a lot of new blood since I published it, and they're both pretty short. There are some small changes from the old version, but nothing game-changing--just little tweaks that I figured out while I was choking on chapter 2. Please be brutal. I'll honestly say that I'm a little disappointed with it; it's missing something, but I have no clue what, so if anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.

Summary:

Chapter 1: James, recently stuck in a prison mining world for theft, ends up in a meeting with a very important prisoner. The result of that meeting left him with a priceless piece of Heartglass, which he made a living "acquiring" when he was free.

Chapter 2: What you're going to read now.

Thanks
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Valkynphyre

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Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2010, 05:56:34 PM »
First two paragraphs of Chapter 1 were adjective overload. After that, everything was good. It drew me in, like heartglass. Voice was good, Tone was good, Characters were interesting. I liked it. I liked it a lot.


Speaking of Heartglass, I have a type of crystal named the same in my book. Totally different in color and application, though.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 04:15:39 PM by Valkynphyre »
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Chaos

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Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 08:02:13 PM »
Okay, quit complaining, falcon :P

The primary issue is that the Delving doesn't seem important, as little information is unveiled to us. Sure, we figure out that Roethe knew his way around the Consulate, but that's heavily implied in chapter one. We know he was important. So, the Delving didn't reveal much that was necessary.

No, your goal with showing Delving here was obviously to display it early, because it's going to be important later. You wanted us to see that Delving was cool. But its less cool and more disorienting. I was always fairly clear on what the external action was (see below at the line edits), but your explanation for why James couldn't leave the Delve were lackluster. I think what you meant is that the trance Roethe was in to protect himself from the torture prevented James from leaving, but I'm not certain that actually makes sense.

Roethe, in that first memory, placed his mind in a trance. This has the effect of him being okay. I'm not understanding how this forces James to experience it. Such transferrence seems almost counterintuitive. Also, the phrase "He took himself into the Heartglass" almost gives the impression that the real Roethe placed his entire mind into the Heartglass, in effect still being alive. The sentence "Follow Roethe" supports this notion. Since there's no other evidence of Roethe being "alive", I'm fairly sure this was not the impression you wanted to make.

And then, once in a more peaceful memory, James could escape, I guess? Yeah. Delving's "cool" logic is in fact, very confusing. (Mostly, the two paragraphs here pulled me out of the story in a "what?" moment: "A trance. He took himself into the Heartglass. That cheap bastard. And he was stuck here, to experience everything Roethe never had. He wished the knife he'd stabbed Roethe with had been dull.
   An idea crept into his head. If he couldn't get out, maybe he could go deeper. Follow Roethe. Surely he had gone to a more peaceful memory.")

I don't know enough about the mechanics of Delving and Heartglass to see the significance of the inconsistencies James notices, like being able to focus away from Roethe and the extra clarity. It less sets up an intriguing mystery and I am left with a passive "that's nice". Everything here could be interesting, and I'm vaguely intrigued, but you'll definitely need something fantastic in the next chapter or two to pull the reader totally into the story.

For positive things, your blocking is quite good. Most always, the principal action is perfectly clear (see line edits for the few unclear ones). The parts in prison are the clearest and most immediate, so its no wonder that I liked that segment of the chapter better. The prison scene had consequences. The Delving, not so much.

There's not a lot of character voice from James specifically, but that does not make him less interesting to read. I just focus on the external events more. Since there is tension (at least with the prison), this works. Good job on the character front.

Line items:

The first page is slightly disorienting--which I know is your intention--but I think it could be clearer by replacing some of the "he" with "James". One or two of those would clear things up considerably.

Instead of "It had streaks of pink Aerendai blood spattered against it." use "It had streaks of Roethe's pink Aerendai blood spattered against it." I reread Chapter One, too. We could use more reminders that Roethe is not human.
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lethalfalcon

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Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 08:38:02 PM »
So, the biggest problem appears to be that the Delve just isn't understood very well. The best solution will likely be to create a prologue with a normal Delve, so that people can understand better why James is so confused inside Roethe's. And then show better why it's so different.

I was actually concerned about the second half of the chapter more, so it's nice to know that it isn't as bad as I was thinking. I like the first part better because I understand it, but others don't have all the information, so it's coming across as too confusing.

Thanks for the review.
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Flo_the_G

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Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 11:00:20 PM »
I didn't read your earlier prologue, so I'm coming at this without any baggage from that.

I liked your beginning. Interspersing the flashback with the current plot worked very well, told me what was going on without detracting from the immediacy of current events. This goes pretty much for the entire rest of the chapter, and for chapter 2 as well. It was a good, well-paced read.

A handful of minor niggles:

The capital D in Delving irritated me to no end, because I don't really see the necessity for it. Just saying. ;)

When Roethe mentions years, I immediately asked myself which years he means. Alien years? Human years? Some sort of GalStandard? That isn't really a good place to delve (tee hee) into such intricate (and irrelevant) details, though.

I'm not entirely sure whether you actually described what an Aerendai looks like in the first chapter. This occurred to me early in chapter 2, so I paid attention when the description of the receptionist came along, but that didn't really cut it, information-wise. The description of the Yan, on the other hand, was easy to remember, because of the whole gorilla deal.

Another thing that threw me off slightly was the prisoners' reaction to the announcement that Roethe is missing. I would have expected the first thing they assumed to be that he had escaped. I can see how the thought wouldn't cross their minds if the place was extremely dreary and hopeless, though, but it didn't really feel very different from any other prison. The complete hopelessness of escape wasn't as prominent in my mind as it must have been for the prisoners.

Also, the fact that James couldn't keep his mouth shut when he first met Roethe made him slightly unlikeable. It didn't really fit in with his later behavior, either.

I didn't mind the delving episode, although I do agree that the whole concept of delving into the stone, then delving into that same stone's representation within the delve is somewhat counterintuitive.

Now go back to the second paragraph and read the good stuff again.

Chaos

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Re: July 12 - lethalfalcon - Heartglass - Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 11:32:54 PM »
The capital D in Delving irritated me to no end, because I don't really see the necessity for it. Just saying. ;)

For disagreement's sake, I quite like the capitalization notation, because it signals to me this is more magic than necessarily technology. I'm a big fan of capitalizing the name of magic systems :P

(Whether or not its magic or technological in this universe, it functions like magic, so sue me!)
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