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Messages - akoebel

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First off, I'm going to point out that this is the first chapter I read of your book, so things are probably going to be more difficult for me, since I'm missing a large quantity of material.

My, what a hefty chapter that was!

Now, the one thing that emerges in my mind after reading it is confusion, especially in the two combat scenes where I have a really hard time knowing what's going on.

Some sentences did seem to plop out from nowhere. For instance, the cake comment in the middle of a battle? Even if it has been setup before, putting it here only pulls the reader out of the battle scene.

Aside from the very end, this is a single sequence with no break (you might want to add some), and the transitions between sub-scenes do appear as very abrupt (there is a attack on the village, the attack stops, and right then, it's off to the trial?). I would have liked smoother transitions (or scene breaks at least).

Now, from a character point of view, I found it hard to believe that the protagonist wouldn't think about his trial until after the attack on the village was done. I even think that the impending trial would have an effect on his behavior during the battle (he might have gone to prove that he was useful, or tried to get himself killed, or something else). Yet, not even a single thought on the matter until after the attack is over.

On a side note, you might want to do some research on riding apparel for disabled people. I have a hard time believing that you can grab any mount , and have it working without some sort of device to help the rider stay in (there have to be balance issues to solve at least)

Reading Excuses / Re: December 27, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic, Ch 2
« on: December 28, 2010, 11:25:38 AM »

Another nice chapter to read. Here are the few points that worried me:

* The first phrase "the battle of Sanction, as it came to be known" doesn't ring right for me in third limited. It would work in omniscient or first person, but in third, how can I be inside the character's head, and that character have knowledge of events occurring after the action ? I realize that you might need to setup the name of the battle ("Sanction") as people are wondering later in the chapter if the battle had been a sanction or not. Maybe just dropping the "as it came to be known" would be enough to smooth my POV concern, though I believe it might leave some questions.
* I still have difficulties about the familiars. Are they separate entities from the human hosts or not? At times, it feels like yes (the familiars do the hunting?), but how can they do that if they're a bunch of skin and bones attached to someone's shoulder.
* The purpose of the meeting seems a little off for me : I think the prefect has been receiving constant casualty reports since the battle, so why go over them now? (Feels a little too info-dumpy).
* The way I see bodyguards, they're pretty proud people. I think one would rather blame his own failure at not dispatching enemies quick enough (thus preventing him from protecting his charge), than blame the guy who happened to be there and whose job it wasn't to protect the prefect. I think one would even be shamed that someone else saved the prefect's life. But that could be just me here.
* I re-read the ending of the first chapter and couldn't find anywhere mention of the prefect authorizing Jhuz's use of force.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Reading Excuses / Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« on: December 21, 2010, 08:29:05 AM »
To start with the nice points :
* the story was interesting to read, and I definitely would have liked to read more
* The first line is good, though it would probably have been more powerful on it's own
* I like the one line paragraphs, they do manage to convey important moments well
* The battle manoevers are nicely rendered

Now, some points bothering me:
* Exposition, exposition, ... The beginning is really tough to read, and the peculiar nouns used do not make it any easier. This was visible even in the short introduction you wrote on this post. If you're going to keep the *mejj nouns, maybe you could wait a little more before introduce the whole bestiary. Maybe just naming them by their function at the beginning would work better (healing-squad, bombing-squad, ...)
* I feel like "Jhuz the Standard" does clash a little with the other titles you've given (Prefect Gaitu for instance). It would have felt more natural as Standard Jhuz.
* Some things seemed out of character,  especially Jhuz calling the Prefect by his name. For military types, even under pressure, I don't see them calling a superior officer by their names, and not their title.
* I'm not a big fan of swearing, and some seemed a little out of place, or too much like modern-swearing (fuckers).
* we don't feel the other men's scorn for the protagonist at the beginning, and near the end when it is really shown to us, it doesn't feel right.

What I would have liked:
* This is a character with acute vision surveying a battlefield : I would have loved a more sensory-full description of the battle. I both want to feel it, and to grasp the entire battlefield, so that it feels more epic.
* A tad more information about the Chell (not the full story, mind you), but a little more discussion showing me why they're not supposed to be a threat, and another showing the incomprehension after their attack

All in all, nice first chapter. Looking forward to the next.

Reading Excuses / Re: Your Background
« on: December 19, 2010, 11:38:39 AM »
Hi all, I'm Arnaud from Paris (France).

I'm 39, and have a PhD in Physics, though I don't work in that field anymore : now, I do software architecture for an IT company.

I've been reading fantasy for a long time, and come to love mostly political intrigue  found in GRRM, Robert Jordan, Steven Erikson, and Lois Bujold. I also like historical fiction (love Bernard Cornwell) and would love to write in that genre one day (though right now, it's too much research work for me to consider it). I don't usually read SF (except the Ender's series) and don't plan to write in that genre (If I did, it would have to be hard SF, and that too means lots of research).

I started to write pretty late (last year) for reasons yet unknown to me. Well, listening for hours of WritingExcuses probably had something to do with it :-)

In that year, I wrote a fantasy novel (130k words), a short story, and started a new fantasy/mystery novel (currently at 45k, should end up at 125k).

The short story experience taught me that I really need to write in long form; how can-I show a new world in less than 10k?
Writing comes pretty easily to me, being a discovery writer, but I found out that I'm lousy at revising, either I don't want to kill my darlings, or I don't see what's wrong in them, so I need your help!

I plan to workshop my first novel with you when the last draft will be completed, probably in early February (waiting for alpha readers comments to get in).

I'm also looking forward to read your chapters and offer whatever comments I can, so I'll see you all around!

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