Author Topic: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress  (Read 3071 times)

HntrLuc

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Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« on: June 28, 2007, 12:15:28 PM »
Hello all! New here (found my way over from Brandon's site) and I was hoping on some unbiased critique on a novel I've just started.
I'm only a few chapters in, but thought I could use some fresh eyes to take a look at it and offer some opinions.

It's a fantasy novel, leaning towards a YA audience.

The main idea of the story is:

   Rin has lived his entire life in the lower lands. Born to a blacksmith, Rin has had a relatively normal childhood. When he makes a trip to the Flying Empire with his father to lobby for a business license, the capital is attacked by a notorious group of sky pirates. Separated from his father, Rin soon finds himself a member of the aforementioned sky pirate crew. With no way to return home, and building tension between the lower lands and the Flying Empire, Rin quickly takes to the sky pirates way of life. Eventually finding himself as a pivotal figure in the war to come. 

I'd GREATLY appreciate any help on this, so if anyone would be willing to read the first couple chapters (and more as I write them) I'd be eternally grateful :)

That said, anyone willing to look them over give me a shout, and I can post them up or email them out.

Thanks!


Skar

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2007, 04:58:10 PM »
So, I must say the first chunk of your summary made me cringe, "backwoods boy, son of a blacksmith..."  But the rest sounded interesting and like a different take on the standard cliche so overused by Jordan, Brooks and so forth.

I don't have time to read actual chapters right now, I apologize, but as long as you don't have a "mentor" figure who refuses to tell the main characters important information for obscure reasons it sounds like the concept is a good one.

Good luck!
"Skar is the kind of bird who, when you try to kill him with a stone, uses it, and the other bird, to take vengeance on you in a swirling melee of death."

-Fellfrosch

HntrLuc

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 03:38:26 AM »
Haha, now that you mention, that first part does sound pretty bad.  Hopefully it's just a bad summarization and the story itself doesn't come off quite as cheesy.

I figured I'd probably have a better chance of snagging some help if I make it easier on everyone, so here's the first two chapters:

http://huntermortenson.com/other/Chapter%20One.rtf
http://huntermortenson.com/other/Chapter%20Two.rtf

They're still first drafts.  So if anyone does give them a once over, please bare with me on the grammatical errors.

Thanks again!

Robert_Boyd

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2007, 06:18:17 PM »
I started reading the first chapter and my major problem was one of boredom.  The plot just seemed so standard and cliche that I felt like I was wasting my time reading it.  Maybe it gets better later on, but unless the reader is a personal friend of yours, they're not going to keep reading in the hope of getting to the good part, they're just going to set the book aside.  You need to hook the reader right off and unless your writing style is fantastic, ordinary peasant boy who stumbles into adventure isn't going to work.

My recommendation would be to start the book later in the story.  Maybe start out right when the main character joins the sky pirates or soon after that point and give the reader all that background information about him later on, after the reader already cares about his character because they've seen him do cool sky pirate stuff.

Shi

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2007, 07:47:46 AM »
I have to agree with Robert_boyd, the beginning just doesn't cut it. I myself will stop reading a book if the first few pages don't interest me, and I know a lot of people are the same way.

You have to start out with some action, and I'm not talking about some big fight scene or anything, just something that pushes the story forward. The first chapter felt like it didn't so anything for the story but give a lot of background information. And the second chapter only hinted at something more, with the character Elly, but that's about it. Start farther in the story, because we don't really need to see the main character wandering around doing chores for five pages. And you're not the only one who's done this, I couldn't get past the first couple pages of 'The Macig of Recluse' because of it. 

What really bothered me though, was the use of show and tell. It was a lot of telling, whether you were discribing something about his father, hawk, or just how he goes to look for the girl he likes, it feels like the story stops, and then it gives of this explination about a lot of stuff that could easily be told in in a few sentances, either in normal conversation, or through events themselves.

Sorry if that sounded harsh, but the fact is that, other than the opening, the rest of the story sounds like it could be really interesting, so if you can find a way to kick start the beginning that would really help. I'd like to continue reading it, if you don't mind, I'd like to see where it goes.

Alan Knight

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2007, 07:36:06 AM »
The final scene in chapter 1 created some tension and intrigue, though I nearly caught ADHD getting to that point. I agree with the feedback already given. The story has the feel of a vehicle starting forward then jerking to a halt. It needs to compel us, driving us smoothly forward in anticipation. Other than that, I believe the concept is great. Just find your hook. It's there somewhere.

AK

Kristal

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2007, 07:17:30 PM »
The bottom of page 11 would be a better place to start.  Where the brothers just arrived at the festival.

"The two brothers excitedly made their way through the crowded streets.  The whole city seemed to be out...."


And then I combine what was left of chapter one with chapter two.  Though I didn't read very far into the second chapter.




Kristal

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Re: Unbiased opinions on my novel in progress
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2007, 07:40:59 PM »
Ok, I finished the second chapter.  It is better than the first.


There are a few cheesy moments in there in the fight scene, but that can be fixed in edits.  And I'd end it just a bit sooner.

Rin gave a weak shrug and stepped past Henry.
“Right, another time then.”


Cut it off there.

I think the explosion is more significant than it seemed in this chapter.  I think that would be your key to making the reader want to go on. But you need to make sure that is more intriguing, maybe a bit of internal dialog from you main character or something, pondering the significance of the explosion.

I donno...just some thoughts

If you cut out all of day by day and step by step stuff (the boring parts) it's really not bad, especially if this is your first draft.


Good luck!