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Messages - akoebel

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Thanks for the comments LTU, they are very helpful.
I'm actually blushing about the maid/butler part. How could I not see that?

Listeria may not be my Darth Vader, but she is certainly my Palpatine.

Thanks for the comments Fireflyz.
The part about show vs tell is very educational.


This is the fifth chapter from my first novel, The Fifth Compendium.

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to prevent Lorn and his men from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a librarian, discovers the book while doing inventory and finds an old friend in
the process. Lorn discovers that the book is still hidden in a library he can't enter

Chapter 5 : Ciera's sister Listeria deals with problems of her own.

Note : this is a chapter I just wrote in reaction to readers requests for more information about the setting. I also wanted to introduce this character earlier than in the first draft when she appears in act II.
I'm very interested about your thoughts on this chapter's placement or overall interest.

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

Sorry about the long delay, but the length of the piece threw me off. I just realized that I only needed to read the last 3 pages.

While I'm at it : the introduction to the whole text brutally breaks the fourth wall. I would be very attentive about that. Especially since it doesn't reappear later : it feels like a cheap joke as it is.

For Part 9.

The beginning was a little fuzzy to me (remembering school). I don't know if you plan to re-use the bits of information you've inserted here, but if not, you've opened more questions in these few lines than you answered.

The part about the barbarian's family are essentially filler : nothing very interesting here, and you leave us dangling without the answer to the last question. It was a little frustrating.

For the history lesson, it was OK. Of course, discovering she's a princess doesn't surprise (I don't think you intended it to). Be careful about the cliché, though.
The poem, though nice, didn't bring me much information, as its contents felt disconnected from Vara's personal story. Right now, I'm tempted to toss the poem aside, since it feels so irrelevant.

Final note on Vara's continuing comments that Leo seems familiar to her. You've put that bit at least 3 times before (I'm not going back to do an exact count here). I hope you unveil that one pretty soon, because every time I see this mention, it gets on my nerves.

Sorry for the late feedback.

I enjoyed this piece, especially as it grew towards the end.

I don't know if you want this story to be on the original side or not (a story doesn't have to be original to be good). If so, I would worry a little about the "street urchin discovers he has hidden magic powers" story (unless you plan to twist it after).

I liked the fact that everything was seen through the character's lens (the grays/browns was a nice bit to add).  The magics are also just hinted in the right amount, so nice work.

What also worries me a little is the pacing at the beginning : it takes 7 pages to start some real character action (the catapults throwing boulders do not constitute sufficient action).  Things really start to kick on page 14 until the end of the chapter. So basically, you have 3 equivalent sections (doing nothing/saving woman/meeting soldiers). I would rather have an inflated third section and a deflated first one.

The section about explaining the weapon-sirat and the boy-sirat didn't seem clear enough to me. The part about him remembering how the wall was built also seemed stilted (Overuse of "had" there - one of my own afflictions).

Some things to consider:
* one minute seems on the low side to recharge and fire a catapult (you estimate 6 catapults and one shot every 10 seconds).
* A rapid calculation tells me that over 1600 projectiles have been fired this far. Where there that many rocks available?
* the "Sirat" dagger has a fully retractable blade with an 8 inch blade. This means that the handle itself it at least 8 inch long (probably closer to 9). That's quite long for a knife handle.

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: May 08, 2011, 03:13:51 PM »
Ready to submit chapter 5 tomorrow.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 2 - kwkak37 - Paper Boy Part 1
« on: May 04, 2011, 09:12:44 PM »
First, I'd like to mention that I have never read a comics script before, so I'm a little fuzzy on pacing for this format. As I also don't know what length you're aiming for, it's difficult to judge if you have enough space to introduce the characters or not.

That being said, I found the beginning of the strip slow (both in narrative and in comics panels used). The first real bit of dialog comes in at the end of page 3. Even after the dialog starts, we don't find anything really interesting until page 9, then nothing until page 13.

I agree with the others that kicking someone with a knife is a pretty stupid thing to do (well, I'm a big adept of "the best way to get out a knife fight is not to get into one"); though I can attribute that glitch as just a kid showing off to another. For the math part, I have some doubts about the quartic equations solving being easier if the X^2 term is absent, so check that out.

As a general comment, people who study everything tend to come out as people who aren't passionate about anything (not to mention that nobody likes a know it all). I think you want people to like your character, right? So maybe reducing his number of fields of interest might be a good thing; even a superhero needs flaws and problems.

Talking about problems, I would have liked to see some issues raised about the character (having a voice in his head is not a big enough problem). Maybe he's picked on by other kids (though this would push the cliché even further). Maybe teachers don't like him, maybe... Give us something to like. Right now, we don't have much besides him being funny-ish.

Not much to say about this piece overall. I liked it despite its dark atmosphere.

For the usefulness of the interlude, right now, I can't say if what I just read will help me in the following chapters, as there was nothing obvious (which is a good point). I guess interludes have to be judged after everything is read, as those are the glue holding different parts of the book together.

As I haven't read the first chapters of the book, I didn't know the characters. I'm grateful that you included an enhanced description of the whole book in last week's comments : I would have been lost without them.

Just one question : I suppose that the headache comes from someone writing on his forehead in the real world. You mentioned that this was done with charcoal. If Traxix was to look at his hands in the interlude, would they be stained (as he touched his forehead when the headache began)?

The more I read your chapters, the more I do find them interesting!

As usual, I would have liked a much lighter epigram (the short one you did a few chapters back was especially good). That being said, this one was interesting. I liked the very last image very much.

For the chapter itself, it does get more and more interesting, but a couple of things bug me:

I find Talvin's character to be too unidimentional. The man's always angry and shouting at his son. The more I read about him, the less I like his attitude. I get that he's disappointed about Jin, but he never explains why nor does he do anything to correct the situation (besides shouting, that is). I know this is written from Jin's perspective and that the boy - as smart as he is - is essentially clueless, but I would like to see a more "fatherly" attitude from Talvin. The mother for herself feels much more balanced, even if she has way less screentime.

Jin is too easily distracted.
First, his friend was beaten, yet he worries little about her well-being (at most an off-handed comment once, but his mind jumps to something else and he never gets back to her). I feel like this should have really been a big issue for him (right now, he come out as really selfish).
Second, his propension to be distracted seems greater than his survival instinct. The boy has been in a very tough spot and is under close scrutiny. If that was me, I would be VERY self-conscious and would do anything to escape notice. Jin on the other hand goes on looking at books and daydreaming. It feels like he doesn't even care what will happen to him : he's under probation for serious charges, but for someone who wouldn't have read the earlier chapters, it feels like he was caught with his hand in the preserves jar. Maybe this is really his character not to be bothered by the future, but it feels off to me.

Other than that, everything feels fine : I'm waiting for the magics part to kick in any chapter now!

Reading Excuses / Re: April 25 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch 9
« on: May 01, 2011, 10:02:56 PM »
Though the chapter is enjoyable, I do find that something is missing there : I didn't feel like I cared about what happened to the characters, that there was no emotional impact on me.

It was like I was watching the scene from outside through a window where everything came to me muffled.

My personal theory about it is that you wrote something so intense on the beginning of the chapter that you toned down the rest. As we don't get to see the powerful part yet, all that remains is the emotionally stripped down part. This is just conjecture on my part, I realize. Those people just came through some awful fight with their own soldiers. They should feel way badder than they seem to.

The dressing down Manto gives his officers didn't look right to me : why did he even bother? Troops did something wrong and the officers had to act. That should be the end of it.

About the "message in a bottle" part in the end, I fail to understand Jhuz's reasoning. It seems obvious the Chell are involved. Why does he presume they will grand his request?

I hope I'm not making this worse than  it is : I'm still very interested. That part just seemed blander than your usual.

Thanks to LTU for emailing me this while the site was down :

"He had been unable . . ." - Should be fixed.  That "had been," is like a big rock to trip over.

In fact you seem to use "had," a lot.  I recommend you find a better way to say things without resorting to that word.

One of the things about this story is how much I'm expecting something grander then "I've got to find the book."  That, is all honesty, is probably me just wanting things to be bigger.  But then . . . your story spends a lot of time wondering the plot of "find the book, save the boy." It feels like there is a major climax coming now that he's aware the book is still in the library.  Because I don't think the whole thing is going to be ten chapters or whatever, I am sitting and expecting something much bigger to come out.  And that expectation is leaving me a little impatient.

Now "slow" does not mean boring.  I'm not saying the piece is slow.  I, personally, feel like I'm just waiting for something to happen.  Your story seems very plot driven at the moment.  Not a bad thing, please don't misunderstand.  It is because it is plot driven that I have the above expectation.  Like something is going to explode and everything is going to go really really really really really wrong.  And that anticipation is both enticing and annoying.  I feel inclined to read more, but I feel cheated at the same time because the carrot in front of my face keeps moving.


This is the fourth chapter from my first novel, The Fifth Compendium.

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to prevent Lorn and his men from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a librarian, discovers the book while doing inventory and finds an old friend in the process.

Chapter 4 : Lorn explores the riverside in a desperate attempt to solve his problems

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

This chapter makes a much better read than the earlier parts : it feels smoother on the story part and doesn't have the incoherences which afflicted the earlier pieces.

The man with three mouths is certainly a fun aspect, but I would worry a little about writing him. So far, you've managed three distinct voices for the same character, but it's pretty difficult to maintain (especially if those are only three mouths sharing a single brain). As a result, you've chosen to silence two-thirds of the character, which is kind of sad.

I don't know if "the average mouth" was an intended pun, but it made me laugh (the joke works on many levels).

The shadow shrinking to show only a regular-sized man felt a little cliché to me.

So, once again, congratulations on the efforts you've shown. Keep doing it!

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: April 23, 2011, 08:41:47 AM »
I should have my next piece ready by monday. No Easter for writers :-)

This chapter was actually the fastest read of all the pieces I got from you.

The epigram is strong (and short, thanks) : it makes for a powerful introduction.

I enjoyed Jin's depiction of his gaol and Chalinae's entrance. Her cursing was very much in character.
I got to see some use of the magic system, which was also nice.

I have some issues about the way Jin is saved by his parent's. It just feels like rich parents went down to the police station and bailed their pampered child out of jail. In the previous chapter, it was hinted that the whole family was at risk, and here, it's all forgotten, Mother is still very much in power, and the only visible consequence is Jin having to do some community work. This feels very disappointing.
I don't know what you intend to do with Chalinae, but I think that having Jin actually witness what's being done to her would have been much more powerful than just hearing some cries. That would have been a visible consequence. Right now, it's just some screams happening backstage. It's not enough to bother the reader.

On the typographical side, the voice bothered me a little. I mean here that it's difficult to see the difference between unquoted dialog (from the voice) and regular dialog. As you didn't put an attribution here, it was a little disorienting when I first read that part. It also forced me to pay too much attention to the presence or absence of quotes in the following sentences. I think that putting attributions or italicising those portions would have greatly helped my reading.

This chapter has really sparked up my interest. I'm looking forward to the next piece.

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