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Messages - akoebel

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I too liked the ending, even if it seems a bit extreme. I guess I don't know enough about this world's culture to judge the weight of Jin's transgression.

The first epigram paragraph didn't work for me. I kept feeling that the wording and tense were wrong for memoirs - things are too urgent there to come out from someone recollecting past events.

The rest of the chapter was good, without the dragging I found in parts of your previous chapters. I too find Jin's plan too convoluted. Frankly, if someone had asked me to steal a flower, I would have tried to steal the flower (using stealth), not trying to barter for it.

I've send you my annotated version, as there were a number of spelling errors and small questions.

Reading Excuses / Re: April 11 Hubay Lord Domestic Ch 8
« on: April 13, 2011, 10:17:33 PM »
Shame completely avoided, I would say :-)

This was actually a pretty refreshing piece : nothing "boring" about it.

Yes, it's only exposition, but it comes at a point where you can afford to put some, especially if it's displayed with dialog.

What I liked the most was the "real" feel of the conversation, with shifts of topics that you can find in every real conversation : that was well done indeed. The military life is depicted well. I can totally see soldiers talking like that around a camp fire.

The part about Ela and her powers is a very good idea. The beginning of that section didn't seem clear to me on the first reading, I don't know why. After re-reading the piece, I don't see what bothered me, so it was probably only my attention wandering. I'm just mentioning it in case other people think the same way.

There were a few grammar errors and weird word choices : I can supply my annotated version if you want.

Thanks for the comments, Hubay.

For the "one day, one day", I've put it mostly as a joke on her. She dreams about doing a lot of things, but she's not ready to actually do anything to change her life. She's a little resentful towards her boss, but it's not really hate. Maybe I should remove the reference, it's maybe too early to point at Ciera's failings now.

For Onmk's explanation, you're not the first to point this, as I've been having problems with that paragraph from the start. The thing is, his explanation is just a cover up he's devising on the go (that's why I wanted the text to feel a little babbly here), but it never came out quite right. I'm seriously thinking about having him say that he doesn't know what happened to him, but first, it's not in character for him to say that he doesn't know something, and second, the cover up sets up his arc. You're probably right, and I should keep the same lines while doing it shorter.

A few words about the social order, since you won't have much more before act 2 :
For the men/women relationship. It's not actual oppression at play here, but you've seen the situation from two very biased characters (Destra comes from a very minor part of the women population, and Lorn was practically raised by his sister outside the law). The general feeling women have towards men is that they are a little like children : cute at times, and needing directions if you want them to do anything useful. As a result to that "benevolent" attitude, there is no real will in the men population to have things change, and women have demonstrated time and again that they excel at administration and war. If they look to other kingdoms, men from this place feel like they're not that ill-treated there. The real question about how to treat men is actually asked by women and a large faction pushes for more men rights. This is actually a big political issue of the moment. You're in luck, one of the characters is heavily involved in politics, so if you bear with me, you'll get to see that.

See how I babble when I talk about my book?

Again, many thanks for your input.

In fact, it is the accumulation of sudden (seemingly random) plot changes that bothers me.
I was willing to forgive them at first, because I wasn't sure if it was something about the world or the writing. Now, after a few chapters, I begin to suspect that it's not a world feature, and I feel frustrated that I still don't see where the story is going.

I think it's good that you start to plot the whole story and then split it to form the chapters : this should give more unity to the whole and relieve some of my objections.
I'd still argue that you need to take slower turns and take a little time setting up some foreshadowing. I know you don't have much space to do that, but at this size, even a 50% wordcount increase, with 50% more details won't hurt the format that much.


I already posted about my problems with this short format and the missing pieces in the narration.

What's starting to bug me more and more is the apparent lack of continuity in the story : I feel like I'm watching a story entirely submitted to Brownian movement.

Either you don't know where you are going from one episode to the next (which I would understand, given the serial nature of this writing), or you don't put enough foreshadowing to prepare the reader for what's coming and you don't take enough time to introduce changes.
The result is that each plot change feels like it falls out from the sky and there is no real continuity to the story.

I'll cite as an example the point where Vara's mind is assailed and two lines after, she asks the lizard why it's talking. There doesn't seem to be a continuous development in the story here, I feel like I was just thrown into another story in the space of one line.
Not to mention that you completely broke my interest : I had a character in a difficult situation. I could have felt something for her, and suddenly, it's all gone, no explanation given, and the new direction the story takes is MUCH less interesting.

So maybe you could rush a little less between segments. It would allow the reader to enjoy the payoffs and would allow you to setup a little what's coming.


This is the third 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. Lorn feels
responsible for Destra's death.

Chapter 3 : Inventory day at the library with strange findings.

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: April 10, 2011, 05:00:27 PM »
I have my next chapter ready for tomorrow : no need for shame when you have set deadlines :-)


Thanks for the comments.

In fact, the pacing of the chapters is a recurring problem I'm facing. As a discovery writer, I'm writing myself into each new chapter, so that each one is really two parts : the warm up and the real meat. Each time I'm submitting, I try to rework so that the piece feels more like a whole, but maybe I should be more violent and scrap every chapter beginning.

I'm glad you people are emphasizing with Lorn, because some of my alpha readers had an epidermic reaction to him : when they got to one of his viewpoints, they would put down the book. One of them even told me that he was an evil character.

For the comparison with Ciera, Lorn is a much simpler and active character (even with his problems). Ciera has heavy childhood issues and is defined by her flaws at this time, so she's much more unidimensional at this time. She fleshes out as chapters go, but I'm a little concerned that you guys do see her as a flat character. I'll have to think of something to remedy to that.

@LTU : the second break should be removed, sure. For the first one, there is about an hour between the two parts. Do you think that's not enough? For the modern talk, do you have more examples? I should really edit those out.

Thanks for the comments.

That's why I can't write short stories : it takes me 3300 words to say "Ciera went to work" :)

For the colon thing, I'm afraid this is a bad habit I picked at work. In the later parts of the novel, I switched to dashes, but I'll be better off using periods, I think.

Onmk is pronounced with a silent "n". I don't know if that helps with the pronunciation or not.

Some of you have raised a very good point about whether this chapter really has a place here, since it's only character exposition. At first, I told myself that it was all right to have just one chapter like that, but I'm starting to doubt. My only problem by cutting off this chapter is that I'll have to rebalance the viewpoints and the timeline. New perspectives for rewriting...

Once again, thanks for the comments.

Once again, thank you for your comments.

Thanks for the comments Manny, that was very nice to hear.

I'd be happy to have your version, or maybe since there are only a few, you could post them here for discussion.

Reading Excuses / Re: RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial
« on: March 29, 2011, 10:37:25 PM »

I've made quite a lot of comments on my version. I can send it to you in .doc or .odt if you want.

I have some real trouble with the form. This is supposed to be a serial, right?
If so, each installment should stand on its own and provide enough meat so that we want to read on. As I said before, there needs to be something at the end of each installment : discovery, humor, cliffhangers (not too much, please). If you're not familiar with Howard Tayler's work, go see what he does each day : the plot moves forward a little, and a gem is dropped at the end of each strip, so you want to read on.
When I read what you've given us so far, it feels like you're standing right of the middle between serial and long form : each episode is short, but is only a condensed version of what a full novel chapter would be. As a result, we're missing large chunks of information, and yet, we don't have the serial little gem we would need to be intrigued enough to continue reading.

At some point, you'll have to choose between short form and longer.

For the writing part, this piece is much better than the last one : I noted fewer coma issues, and less adverbs. One thing that troubles me is mostly the word choices of which I'm never quite sure if you did want to put this particular word or if it's a mistake (the "momentarily" on the first paragraph comes to mind).

Ending note on the queerness : you've started to pile up quite some strange things (Asmodemon mentioned some). I'd like to start to see some explanations, otherwise, I'll be more and more troubled (and upset) with each chapter.

I would agree about the point on common crew not knowing the full plan (this was already stated on chapter 1, I think), but the instance I pointed out was refering to common knowledge, not specifics of the plan. If the crew are as proficient as they are handling the ship, they should already know what a space station is.

For Darkclaw's reasons to get to the station, I didn't pick on the fact that the High Lord had asked for him to go in person. I read the line, sure, but going in himself seems like a too litteral interpretation to me. Maybe you can add some thoughts from Darkclaw before he gets down to make sure we know why he goes to the station.
And yes, I did pick up the "Star Trek standard" break the first time (which I appreciated). It's why I was a little disapointed to have him go down anyway in the end.

Hi all,

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

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to prevent men chasing her from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a librarian wants to get to work, but events conspire against her.

Chapter 2 : A man tries to come to grips with his involvement in a woman's death.

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: March 27, 2011, 12:48:40 PM »
I should have my next chapter ready for tomorrow.

Just a few notes on the pacing.

The first part (conversation between Jin and Talvin) was nicely done and entertaining (even if I had to re-read the paragraph about animal bones twice).

The second part started good and began to drag and drag and drag. I mean, there's lots of exposition here with little action (and the action I found here wasn't that interesting). I was tempted to skip entire paragraphs at this point, however well written. I also noted Hubay's comment on the make-up.

The third part (after the voice comes in) renewed my interest. I found myself reading faster there, since there was some (verbal) action. I was intrigued by the whole idea and got to the end before I realized it.

I would have preferred having a shortened middle section with much less exposition : this would have lead to the meaty part much faster

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