Author Topic: Crystalheart Ch. 1  (Read 5520 times)

M

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2008, 11:28:52 PM »
Would it hurt to just give it a completely original name?  Make up something.  Just a thought. 

Karl

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2008, 09:35:26 AM »
RESEARCH?!? What's that?

Okay, give it a try. I know nothing of geology. Perhaps you should look into gems and gem cutting.

Heartshards. Hm... sounds too fractured.

How about a Crystalkeeper? The person with a Heartcrystal in them? Crystalbarer sounds too much like ringbarer...

Okay, how about this: a heartcrystal is a stone you carry around, but once it is implanted in someone it becomes their crystalheart? Eh, maybe too confusing...
"When I came to this town five years ago I didn't have a nickle in my pocket. Now I have a nickle in my pocket."

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 09:38:09 AM »
Once again, I'll respond to the discussion first:

I didn't really have a problem with the crystalhearts versus heartcrystals thing. Makes sense to me - the heartcrystal is the item, the crystalheart is the man. On the other hand, I did find myself glancing back once or twice to see which it was. Hmm. Maybe it was a small problem. Heartstones might work. Edit: Then again, I'm sure we've all heard "heartstones" before.

I have to disagree with M in that we know too much now, that you're revealing too much. I think it doesn't hurt to set up potential tensions like that early on, but I also trust that there will be more coming that we don't necessarily see in the first chapter. Or see as a problem in the first chapter. Or whatever.

Someone, forget who already, said something about the character's formal greetings seemed more like informal greetings than anything. I didn't think this was a problem since I think the actual word used in the manuscript was ritual, and a ritual can be an informal thing between two friends (or whatever) as much as a formal rite. That was my take on it anyway.

Now for my own comments:

I'm not quite sure there's a scene break when Aermyst throws himself from the tower, since the scene just continues right after that. It feels like a false dramatization and undermines the actual drama of the moment.

There seemed to be some urgency in getting the crystals away without being spotted, so it seems a bit weird that they would later get into a sword fight when they're still, presumably, not THAT far away from the tower - even knowing that Aermyst talked Dantes into it. Besides, wouldn't they be concerned for the safety of these apparently delicate and valuable crystals, if they started roughhousing on  a narrow glass bridge thousands of feet above the ground?

"They had no need of secrecy now; the most vulnerable part of their journey was actually getting the crystals." The last part makes sense, but wouldn't people want to get the crystals from them whether or not they'd already been cut from the stone? It seems they'd still want to go cautious.

I'm also wondering why the rest of the crystalheart crew hasn't come along with these two.

"Aermyst knew he wasn't talking about God." Nice line. Made me laugh out loud.

I wonder what sets the crystalhearts apart from everyone else. Is it only the crystalhearts, themselves? I'm starting to get the impression that only certain types of peple can weild them. (It was the bit about "long ago men like Aermyst and Dantes would have been feasted from one end of the realm to the other" that did it.) I don't think this needs to be answered in what you've already given us, but I do think we need to know pretty soon.

I do not find Ves at ALL a sympathetic character. If that's what you're going for, then it's fine. (I didn't find him particularly unrealistic so far. If he's stlil like that in chapter two and three, then yes, that'd be more of a problem here. I'd say the problem that people are running into - myself included - with Ves so far is not that he's necessarily unrealistic or 2d - I don't think we've seen enough of him to say for sure - but that jerkish boss who is angry at everyone all the time is a pretty common device.)

Your world is convincing and I think you're pacing terms well, in terms of introducing us to the world and the characters. I think that's about all I have for you - this seems like a very beginning.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 10:46:51 PM by Raethe »

Miyabi

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2008, 08:02:27 AM »
Quote
Aermyst clung to the broken and crumbling surface with all the tenacity years of training had given him. His dextrous fingers gripped nearly invisible indentations in the wall and his feet found hairline cracks in the rust and grime of the centuries. The noonday sun beat at his back like a sledgehammer, crushing him into the ruins. On the ground such a sun would have been merely unpleasant, but up here...His piercing gray-blue eyes scanned the way above him and his brow furrowed in concentration as he spotted a small nook above. He grunted as he shifted weight, and leapt up to meet it.


Hmm. . . . I'm not sure about this.  I read it and it makes me think the rest of it will be full of heavy words and I might have to crack a dictionary to read it.  Maybe break it up and make it not feel so heavy.


Quote
Dantes removed his soft fingerless gloves and massaged the flesh of his hands, then put them back on.


Wait, aren't they hanging from a cliff?

Also, it's talked about as if it were dirt, then it's talked about as a sheer metal cylinder. . . it's inconsistant.  The way it was described at frist made me see cliff, then suddenly you say it's metal and it's confusing.


Quote
air was still dry and stale, but the sharp breeze


If the air is stale, then it's not moving, so there would be no breeze.

I feel that there is just too much going on too fast here.  It's nice to get everything out and explained right off the bat, but it's just combersome as a reader.


Quote
Put simply: if Dantes and Aermyst were to be attacked, they could defend themselves. In fact, they could very well become the attackers. Unless, that was, the attackers had crystalhearts themselves. In which case the two had better just run. Aermyst smiled inwardly. Us? not likely.


The sudden shift to second person is jarring and threw me off guard.

The word queue just . . . feels wrong.



General notes: 

You tend to repeat yourself a lot.  i.e. using epitomize twice on the same line.  Think of different ways to describe things.

You use large or uncommon words to describe things or say things where a simple word would actually function better.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 08:04:44 AM by miyabi »
オレは長超猿庁じゃ〜。

wcarter4

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2008, 09:26:04 PM »
I like your story. A lot. It has a good sense of the familiar and the new in it as was mentioned on several WE episodes. My main problem  is Ves seems a bit too much like Caemon from Mistborn, but he doesn't quite work since he seems to lack the diplomacy a good merchant would need to survive. The heartcrystal/crystalheart thing is something to change, but it doesn't have to be done right away, working titles don't have to be final. The only other glitch I see right now is probably a 1 minute fix-the word leapt is not real, and "treacherous ground" is not a good way to describe a man-made tower.
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

Hayley

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2008, 01:36:25 AM »
Okay, I've very briefly skimmed the discussion, but I'll write my thoughts...

Within the first 4 pages, you use 'finally' 3 times to close off a process... not sure if there's perhaps another word you could use to replace it?

Also, word repetition again.... in the first page, Dantes calles Aerthyst 'friend' twice in a row... but doesn't seem to do it for the rest of the chapter? Is it something D would usually call A?

And then  there was just one sentence I didn't like...

They fought on the otherworldly, glasslike bridge, wind racing around them. This city was theirs.

Not sure what it was.... but it's just my opinion.... could maybe do with a bit more description... show the reader the fight, rather than telling us it took place.

But overall, it was a good piece :) You seemed to get more into it towards the end after they got back to camp. Not sure what it is... but it seemed a lot more fluid as you got to that point.

Looking forward to Chapter 2 :)
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Reaves

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2008, 01:51:50 AM »
Bleh, word repetition. Thats something I find myself doing unconsciously so much in my writing...not even just words, but whole phrases. I guess it has to do with how my brain works, I'm still thinking about what I just wrote. Or something.

And yeah most of the first half remained unchanged after I wrote it, except for the "practice match" between Aermyst and Dantes. The second half I rewote a lot, so its a lot better.

As for the fight, I originally wasn't even going to put it in there, but I realized I should probably give the reader some idea of what crystalhearts are capable of, besides the jumping.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Karl

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2008, 08:34:22 AM »
The only other glitch I see right now is probably a 1 minute fix-the word leapt is not real,
Quote

leapt [lept, leept]
–verb a pt. and pp. of leap. 

leap [leep]
verb, leaped or leapt, leap⋅ing, noun
–verb (used without object)

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006
"When I came to this town five years ago I didn't have a nickle in my pocket. Now I have a nickle in my pocket."

wcarter4

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2008, 04:28:49 PM »
Huh, it showed up wrong in every spell check and my  style book, but I've been wrong before
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 04:33:47 PM by wcarter4 »
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Karl

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2008, 05:45:59 PM »
"Leapt" is more of a British form, whereas in the USA we'd probably use "leaped". This applies to just about any past tense words ending with "t" -- slept, kept, spelt, etc.

The spell check for this forum doesn't like "leapt" and advised me to change it.
"When I came to this town five years ago I didn't have a nickle in my pocket. Now I have a nickle in my pocket."

Manyang

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2008, 02:57:09 PM »
Good stuff. The setting reminded me of Nausica a bit. Your character introduction works very well.

Your opening sentences are too long with too many uncommon words. This makes it slow to read and your story hard to get into. Shorten one or two of them and replace a few words and it would be easier to read.

“A pair of piercing, gray-blue eyes…” whose eyes are those?

The tower is inconsistent. If it’s decaying that strongly why can’t they just dig their fingers in? Also, how do you spot, and why would you, hairline fractures on a rough surface.

The friend remark was already made. You could use it as a trademark word for him, although it does remind me of ‘Kolo’ too much actually.

The part where they reached the top of the tower till the bridge was great. You showed us their character without too much telling. Well done. Also, the heartcrystal/crystalheart thing was never a problem for me. Though I am reading an updated version so if you fixed it, you did it well.

The otherworldly bridge jarred me. To me it seems a realworld reference. The whole story takes place in another world, is the bridge supposed to not fit in that world either? If so they would notice it more.

The fight continues to establish character. The draw might be unlikely, but it does help to establish their equality. The truce part however seemed forced. You could have Dantes say that since he appears to be the more sensible of the two anyway.

As they left the bridge I got confused with the setting. I had assumed the bridge to be at ground level. I wasn’t expecting the city to continue further down.

The ritual worked fine for me. Although you could just use habit to take the formality off.

From then on the story slowed down a few paces. You use far more tell-constructions and even tell us things about their friendship you’d already established earlier on. For me the first half of the story was the best part. I also wonder if you couldn’t establish most of those things through showing. The spotter for example is already mentioned when they are atop the tower. If you’d have him proudly fondle his bracelet when they show up and praise its qualities when they return with the loot, you could tell us the same you do now without using that tell.
I suppose you are already low on the tell tally, but the part where they travel to the camp till when they reach the tent is too slow for my liking.

Ves as the immoral businessman works for me. He has other priorities so he would always seem distant and uncaring.
The discussion with Ves did blur the characters a bit for me. You’d established Dantes as the more sensible one but in here their personalities became indistinguishable for me.

I don’t think you told us too much about the world in this chapter. The only reason I could think of for cutting some of it would be for pacing.

*dropping my attempts at objectiveness*
I love this stuff :D

Reaves

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2008, 11:59:57 PM »

“A pair of piercing, gray-blue eyes…” whose eyes are those?

Wait, what? At that line the only character you knew about was Aermyst. Not to mention that Dantes is black...

Was that confusing to anyone? I thought I described him pretty well...one thing I hate is when authors try to be all politically correct and not say straight out that a character is black.

*dropping my attempts at objectiveness*
I love this stuff :D

Yay!! thanks.
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RJF: "AHA! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Cairhien, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a warder when he is only the distraction! Get him Rand! Buzzzzzzz!

Manyang

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2008, 12:36:01 AM »

“A pair of piercing, gray-blue eyes…” whose eyes are those?

Wait, what? At that line the only character you knew about was Aermyst. Not to mention that Dantes is black...

Was that confusing to anyone? I thought I described him pretty well...one thing I hate is when authors try to be all politically correct and not say straight out that a character is black.

The confusion didn't stem from that actually. It was the nonspecific reference  'A' pair of eyes. Since we already knew Aermyst I assumed it was the introduction of an onlooker. It did become clear later though. Simply using 'His' piercing eyes would solve it.

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2009, 07:47:31 AM »
Chiming in at last! 

First, off, I enjoyed this first chapter in your novel. Thanks for sharing it with us.  It reminded me a lot of Mistborn due to the post-apocalyptic world, and the fact that humans gain power and strength through gems. (Although in Mistborn it was metal, of course).  It also had a strong anime feel to it.  As a matter of fact, when I logged on just now to reply here, I saw your avatar is Cloud from FFVII.   I can totally see that connection, especially with having a big dark-skinned companion. :)   Anyway, IMO, mixing Mistborn and Final Fantasy isn't a bad thing at all.  :-D

Several people on this thread have commented on your typos and repeated words already. Those are easily fixed, and I'm sure you'll get them.   All I'd add to those suggestions is that you may want to do a general Thesaurus pass and see if you can find ways to up the level of description and word usage.  It's not that what you have isn't good, I can just tell this is basically a first draft and I have a strong feeling you know you could take it a notch up.

The chapter started off pretty well.  You picked a great moment to start the story.  I love the idea of the first moments being literally on the edge of a cliff (errr... wall).  I also loved the imagery of the sun rising glimmering over the city just as they arrive at the top of the tower.   

With regards to that first part of the chapter, I agree with the person who posted and said that it felt odd for one of the characters to remove their gloves while hanging onto the wall. 

Put me in the camp that was confused by "heartcrystals", "crystalhearts", and simply "crystals".  By the end of the chapter, I got the difference, and I think I understnad.  So it might be okay afterall.  But frankly, it frustrated me as I was reading, and took me about 12 pages to feel comfortable with those terms.

The fight on the wall didn't work for me at all for a few reasons.  First, few actual actions were described. You wrote:

Quote
Dantes was raw power. His sword was built like he was; strong, heavy, thick. It was made for one thing; to be brought to bear on the enemy with as much force as possible.
   Preferably lethal force.
   But where Dantes epitomized strength and brutal crushing force, Aermyst epitomized skill. He preferred grace to power. He too mirrored his blade; slender. Flexible. Quick. The two were counterweights to each other, perfectly balanced. They were equals.


Show us. Don't tell.  Let's see some action verbs!  :)  The above paragraph told us things we already knew.

The second reason the fight didn't work for me is that it served no purpose in the story that I could tell.  It didn't really tell us anything about the characters, other than they were proficient with swords.  We already knew they could jump and move far better than normal people.  And it didn't really advance the plot itself'; it didn't have them fall into any traps, or reveal new skills, or show us any character moments.  Honestly, if you cut the whole fight entirely, nothing would be missed.

That said, I LOVE the line:
Quote
This city was theirs.
 

For this paragraph from page 10:
Quote
Aermyst looked across at Dantes, keeping one eye on their surroundings. The two could not have been more physically different. While both were tall, Aermyst's fair skin contrasted with Dantes' dark ebony skin. The big man's black locks were tied in a queue at the shoulders, as opposed to Aermyst's fine, scarlet hair that came to his neck. Where Aermyst was knife-slender, Dantes was big as a boulder. The two had been friends for nearly fifteen years.

It seemed like you were trying to use this beat in the chapter as a good time to describe your characters.  There was no need to. Every single bit of info in that paragraph except the last sentence were things we already knew. Perhaps consider using this moment in the chapter to give us a little more insight into those 15 years? Or their nature of their friendship?  (By this point in the chapter, I was more interested in how  they knew each other rather than what they looked like)

Also on page 10:
Quote
As they reached the edge of the ruined city, Aermyst drew his attention back to the task at hand.

What exactly IS the task at hand?  They already got the crystals. You had not stated exactly where they were going.  I felt like that sentence implied I (as the reader) should know where they were headed, and I did not.

RE: Ves.  Eh.  I wasn't convinved. He was pretty flat.  At first he was described as being a man of few words. But shortly after that, he has veins popping and is yelling?  Generally speaking, IMO anyway, people who yell and are self-centered like Ves aren't going to be men of few words. Men of few words are good listeners.  And Ves is NOT a good listener.  At least, it didn't seem like you intended him to be?  If the anger is important to his character, then consider adding a little more build up before he pops. :)

Page 12... Dante tosses the crystals onto the table.  This moment felt weird to me.  The crystals had been described as soft and fragile things that were handled with such care earlier.  Now he tosses them casually on the table?  Consider clarifying.

Page 13:
Quote
Aermyst was more blunt. "Ves, you are bloody insane. "

There is no need to tell us he was blunt.  The line of dialogue should convey that in and of itself.

Last thing... I get the sense that you have a great story you want to tell.  More than just the action and magic. I get the sense that you want to tell a story about Aermyst and his struggles to find his own identify. That's great.  I look forward to the themes and conflicts ahead which I assume you started to plant here in chapter 1. :)

Onto chapter 2!
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Reaves

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Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2009, 01:12:24 PM »
Thanks so much for commenting! I hadn't really expected anyone to bother after so long! I found this critique very helpful.
Quote from: VegasDev
RJF: "AHA! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Cairhien, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a warder when he is only the distraction! Get him Rand! Buzzzzzzz!