Author Topic: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue  (Read 666 times)

hubay

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July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« on: July 26, 2010, 04:42:14 PM »
Well hey there, this is Hubay / Dylan, trying this out for the first time. Sorry its a little lengthy, but I figured (well, silk did, really) that it would be be best to keep it all together. Thanks for reading!

Fathers of Gods, Prologue

6100 words, SL (V and D in later chapters)

Overall summary

Every year less than a hundred Polaesi are born, and when they turn eighteen they can bend reality to their will and are worshiped as gods – but when they turn nineteen they die. Now one Polaesi has broken the cycle and can live past his appointed time. While attempting to survive a budding war with a rival religion, he must also fight against jealousy and ambition within his own sect.

Chapter summary

The proglogue deals with the birth of my protagonist, Cumo. Told from the perspective of Cumo's father, it shows his flight out of a city that wants to kill his son as soon as he's born.

Valkynphyre

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Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2010, 12:48:37 AM »
There's only one thing I don't like and It's not something I can easily put my finger on. It feels stretched, like...

I think you said everything that needed to be said. You listed problems that would need to be addressed, you addressed them, you got them safely there. The story was good, I got a taste of the character, but the passage of time throughout was very... fluid until the actual day of departure. It felt unstructured.

Most of the information dumped was dumped well, and entirely necessary and interesting. I just can't help but feel that the entire thing could be shortened to just the battle, interspersed with flashbacks. Condensed, distilled, and then I could figure out for myself what motivates the character instead of being told over several months that pass in a few pages.

Then again, my opinion is less important than yours, so take what you wish and ignore the rest.
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Daddy Warpig

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Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010, 05:36:44 AM »
This is my first writing group critique. I'm not educated on what things to pay attention to, so I'll just list my reactions.

I wasn't bored, despite the length, but it seemed like it could be tightened up. Not to the degree Valkenphyre suggested, but just tightened up a little here and there.

The characters didn't act in bizarre or incomprehensible ways, and their motivations, even those of minor characters like Rose and the hedge-witch, are relatable and comprehensible.

The power and age of the gods is displayed, "they really kick ass" is amply demonstrated.

The magic and mythos are not derivative (so far), though there is a slight echo to Elantris (which is probably unavoidable, and doesn't need changing, it's distinct enough to be different.)

The primary situation is clearly described and established. (Or seems to be. If later chapters diverge greatly without explanation, it may need to be "fixed in post.")

And yes, IMHO, this material needed to be kept together even though it exceeded the 4000 word rule of thumb.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 01:34:45 PM by Daddy Warpig »

hubay

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Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010, 08:57:24 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback so far. It probably would be a good idea to condense some of the introductory events, or conversely add more meat so that the time doesn't fly past as quickly. I'll probably wait to see how the rest of the book feels so I can get a better idea of what kind of tone I need for the prologue.

I should probably mention that none of these characters will be coming back; Cumo's the star of the show and I just wanted to show how he was born and smuggled to Shipolitae. I'm not sure if that would change the way the prologue reads or not – what do you guys think? Again, I probably will need to check back on it in the context of the entire book before I can know for sure what I should do.

lethalfalcon

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Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 08:39:23 AM »
Alrighty then.

With regards to the idea that it's "stretched", I think I might have a bit more information on it. The problem (as I see it) is that you start of with a good hook on the first sentence, but then you devolve into a lot of explanation over the next 3 pages. You talk about the people, about the city, about his servant... but other than the bit about finding the hedge-witch, you've all but neglected the initial hook. A lot of this information doesn't really mean much, either. He's leaving this city, after all, so what's the point of spending a lot of time now on explaining it?

Most of the rest of the chapter is good. I didn't have any problem with the time passing. If there's nothing interesting going on, don't waste time on it.

The only problem I could possibly come up with is that you don't give us any real indication of a bigger picture. I have no sense about what the rest of the book is going to tell me. This isn't necessarily bad... but I don't have any real reason to turn the page at this point, other than just to read more. You've wrapped up all the conflict introduced in this chapter. Given that you've given me an overall summary of your book, it's really missing anything having to do with Cumo's conflicts. So, the next chapter is going to need another big hook, just to get me interested in the present story, rather than this (which is almost a short story in itself).

An alternative would be to completely skip this. Start out in the thick of the conflict you presented in your summary: either between the two religions, or the conflict within Cumo's sect. The biggest issue is whether any of this means anything to the big picture. From what I can see, there isn't anything that happens to Cumo that could shape his life later on (he's too young to impress anyway). The only thing this chapter really shows is how despised the Polaesi are, and I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunity to show that in later chapters anway.

I liked the writing overall, don't get me wrong. As Warpig pointed out, things were believable, and that's good. You had enough description scattered throughout to give me a pretty good picture of how things were. I'm just not sure smuggling the main character when he's a few days old is all that interesting to the whole story. Keep it coming, though.
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Flo_the_G

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Re: July 26 - Hubay - Fathers of Gods, Prologue
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 12:04:16 AM »
The bad (-ish):
My experience when reading was similar to lethalfalcon's. The exposition in the beginning is far too much. We don't yet know how much of it is relevant for the story, nor have we had a proper chance to become invested in the characters or the story at this point, not to mention that it would have been a bit much at once even if there had been time to get to know the characters beforehand.

The infodumping was my main quibble. You continued to do that for a while, and while much of it may be interesting to you, a first-time reader probably doesn't need to know it yet. ;)

One instance where I would have wanted more info, on the other hand, was when you mentioned the mirror-smith. That sounded relevant somehow, yet it wasn't really elaborated on.

The good:
You managed to juggle infodump and story perfectly when you mentioned the strangle-blade. The name is highly suggestive, of course, but I still found that I wanted a description to see whether my idea was in any way accurate. Instead, you gave me another paragraph of story, leaving me on the verge of comically shaking my fist in frustration - and then you delivered aforementioned explanation. That was very satisfying.

I also liked the greek-inspired style (at least that was the vibe I got), that was refreshingly original.

Miscellani:
"Diplomatic immunity," both as a term and as a concept, seems very modern to me.

Also, historically, rockets were used before  cannon, and those were truly terrifying. The Koreans apparently had a sort of missile shield (i.e. a shield consisting of missiles ;D) that deterred any and all potential attackers. It was even on Mythbusters.