Author Topic: Crystalheart Ch. 1  (Read 5658 times)

Reaves

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1226
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Crystalheart Ch. 1
« on: December 01, 2008, 03:26:27 AM »
First of all, thanks to everyone who read my manuscript. I really appreciate everyone who's made it this far!

Second of all, I know I may be jumping the gun a bit but I'm not going to have enough time to get this all together in the morning and, hey, no one checks TWG this late anyways, do they?  :P

Thanks again for reading. Even if you don't feel like you have anything to add, please just give me your general impressions. What struck a chord? What didn't make sense? What worked? What didn't?
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!

Necroben

  • Level 14
  • *
  • Posts: 633
  • Fell Points: 0
  • What use the ability to read if one never uses it?
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 06:49:35 AM »
Page 3-4:  There’s something about the way the Crystal is shaped/formed and being cut into.  I don’t see it, or have a picture of it in my head.  It kinda throws me out of the story.


Page 10:  Word use; rarer and rarer possibly changed with more and more rare/scarce.  Doesn’t flow right, jars me and I had to stop to re-read it again.

Very interesting Magic system and nice flow to story.  Already like/feel for characters: great world building with giving out just enough information to keep up interest.
I don't suffer from insanity...  I enjoy every minuet of it!

It's ok to be strange, as long as it's on paper. :)

jjb

  • Level 4
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 07:41:57 AM »
First of all, I love the concept for the magic system just as much as I liked it when you posted this chapter before. ;)

There were a bunch of grammar mistakes that need to be fixed, but for the length of the submission there were relatively few. You'll be able to find those on your own, though.

As Necro said, the cutting of the crystal isn't very clear. I don't see why D had to cut at the crystal so carefully just so he could split it in two. Do the crystals inside die if the shell is split in two before the other junk is gone?

Also, Crystalhearts and Heartcrystals might get a bit confusing for the readers. If you think about the names they make sense, but you should probably make it so they're not the same two words switched around.

The whole climbing the wall thing, when you said they sprinted up parts of it, that didn't work well for me even if it is based off of anime stuff. I just don't see how the heartcrystal would give you the ability to defy gravity in that way.

Also I don't understand why they couldn't be spotted when they were climbing the tower, but it was fine once they had all the crystals. Wouldn't they be vulnerable to attack more so when they actually have the crystals?

And the whole Ves being in charge of them thing. Right now I don't see why they would still be working for him if they hate him so much, but maybe you'll explain that later on in the story.

Karl

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 134
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Rolling. Speed. Scene one, take one. ACTION!
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 09:44:13 AM »
First off, you have me intrigued to read more. I rather enjoyed the base jump -- wasn't expecting that.

I like your emerging technology (I'm not convinced it's magic yet). But some clarification of names would help.

As others have said, this could use a good basic edit for grammar and spelling, but that can be worked on eventually.

The points that struck wrong for me are these: don't tell us Aermyst and Dantes are close like brothers, show us. Don't tell us  Markel is Dantes' brother, perhaps have it come up in conversation or as a character's observation. In short, less narrator explanation, and more actions or dialogue that flesh out the scene.

The sword fight is a little cliche.  Even the best fighters can not fight to a draw every time.

And Ves is a bit two-dimensional. I don't mind him being a jerk, just that his dialogue is stilted.

Keep it up!
"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."

sortitus

  • Level 15
  • *
  • Posts: 675
  • Fell Points: 0
  • MVP of the WORLD
    • View Profile
    • I'll kick you in the face!
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 01:11:00 PM »
The descriptions were a bit sparse in areas. About 50% of the time the descriptions were great, but there were spots that broke my flow when I got a sudden revelation. eg.
Quote
Less than two minutes and his temper was already fraying. Not good."
I had no indication that Ves was building up a temper. It seemed rather off/on to me instead of a buildup.

I don't see how Aermyst could have taken off his gloves while hanging from a ledge. That he looked across his arm to Dantes indicates to me that they're still climbing at that point.

The sword fight was a bit impossible to me. I've trained with swords. Eastern and Western, blades from 16" to 36", weights from 5 lbs to 30 lbs. If one guy has a broadsword or scimitar and the other has (what sounded like) a rapier (the descriptor "flexible" made me think of a rapier, but it could have been a jian or a katana in retrospect), the guy with the lighter sword will be dodging, not blocking, and scoring more hits. Especially if the speed difference is as great as you say between Dantes and Aermyst.
A minor mistake that jumped at me was a blade being "bared" in the middle of the fight. The sheaths were already off. I liked the alliteration, so a replacement with another b-word would be nice. ;D
This would be a good place to do the prompt that Howard gave in S1E24. Also, I would like to see more sensory info from Aermyst. The "whoosh" of a massive blade as opposed to the whipping sound a thinner and less deep blade would make. A fight is very much about sensory overload. With weapons this effect increases because the stakes are higher.
Quote from: Howard Tayler
Write a scene in which a character is performing an activity about which you know nothing. Pick an activity about which you know nothing, go to Wikipedia and read up on it, and then write the scene.
I'd go so far as to tell you to go out and learn how to use swords, but I'm crazy like that. I'm sure if you have a local branch of ARMA they will be able to show you some good Western stuff, and most martial arts schools I've been to wouldn't be opposed to demonstrating various weapon techniques for you.

The formal greetings are a good concept, but they seemed very much like the normal speech of the characters at times. The part where you say that it's a ceremony is especially lacking in ceremonial sounding language.

I really liked the fear they had for the Sacremency. Sounds accurate to what people would feel toward a school of supermen.

These are my opinions, and I understand we're going no holds barred here, so I didn't mince words. Now is the time I say that I really did enjoy reading this section. It flowed well for the most part and the world is intriguing as are the characters. The magic system is definitely a strong point. I would read this book to the end for sure just because of the promises this excerpt gives.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 01:13:15 PM by sortitus »
Hero of Ages: Impressive Regality Over Niceness, Y'all
좋아! This time with more ecstatic! 좋네!!! I'll say it again in french! Trois fois voiture!!! Ça va. C'est vrai. C'est bien.
High Knight of the Grand Pie of the Holy Order of Pie, The Left Hand of Pie

Karl

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 134
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Rolling. Speed. Scene one, take one. ACTION!
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2008, 05:53:27 PM »
And if you can't find an ARMA group, there are often SCA groups around too. Check out www.sca.org.

That's my particular flavor of armoured combat.
"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."

Dangerbutton

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 122
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2008, 10:04:13 PM »
I liked it. The world was intriguing, and the action was fun, especially the free-falling. That was definitely a part that grabbed my attention. I was able to get a decent visual of the environment, as well.

Most of the problems I noticed have already been brought up. I had trouble seeing the size/shape of the crystal they found. I didn't see why it wouldn't be a problem if they were seen on the way down. The climbing parts made me wonder, as well. The first thing I noticed was that you described the surface as crumbling, and yet you pointed out that they had to rely on barely visible hairline cracks. Unless these towers are of incredible workmanship, which it sounds like they may have been, I fail to see how that would be considered 'crumbling'.

While most of the dialogue, in my opinion, was good, there were moments when it didn't seem real. I agree with whoever said that their 'formalities' didn't seem all that formal.

Still, it was a very good start to a story. It got my attention. Well done!

M

  • Level 4
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2008, 10:30:14 PM »
As one who does not read fantasy, magic, or epic-fantasy-type novels, I was very impressed by your work.  The story is very interesting and it caught my eye.  The story seems very original (although like I said, I'm not into that genre so I don't know what is original and what is overdone).

Great work on the characters and description.  I felt the description was a little thick at first, but the more I read the more relaxed your story became and I enjoyed it more.  I see no apparent pitfalls or errors that already haven't been addressed. 

Here is my only opinion, take it for what it is worth.  It seems like the reader already knows everything there is to know about the characters, plot, world, ext. from just the first chapter.  Are you saving anything for later?  Seems like you revealed so much in the beginning chapter that there is little for the reader to experience.  For example:

"Aermyst had heard of a time, long ago, when crystalhearts were respected and honored by even kings and princes. In such a time men like Aermyst and Dantes would be feasted from one end of the realm to the other. Their opinions would be sought in disputes. They might have been sent as ambassadors of peace to nations embroiled in war. Now, they huddled in a tent in the desert, beholden to men such as Ves."

Maybe you could save this and reveal it later.  That way, we don't know all the history of the crystalhearts in the very beginning.

Another example:

"Knowing the condition of the team's crystalhearts was vital. Tax the crystal too much, and it would simply snap, like a wooden stick strained to the point of breaking. Flexibility was good, even neccessary in a crystal, but bend it too much and it would be forever weakened. Bend it past that, and you would die. Aermyst had once seen a man whose crystal had actually exploded inside his body, needle-sharp shards of it throughout his system. He hadn't survived."

Just an idea, you could save this bit of info for later and shock your readers by revealing how fragile the hearts could be.  Like I said, just an idea.

Another thing, in my opinion (and I'm no author or English major), I would not include the reader in your sentences, such as:

"Bend it past that, and you would die."  Instead, maybe say, "Bend it past that, and the bearer would die."  Just a thought.

Now for some praise.  I absolutely loved the base jumping part.  It really hooked me.  I also like, what I assume from just one chapter, the plot of this book.  You have a talent and I look forward to reading chapter 2.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 10:32:57 PM by M »

Reaves

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1226
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2008, 11:12:47 PM »
Wow thanks for all the responses guys! I promise you I will take all your comments into account.
Quote
I like your emerging technology (I'm not convinced it's magic yet). But some clarification of names would help.

teh heh heh...you say that like its a bad thing! But what do you mean clarification of names?

And hmm...Ves still doesn't seem realistic. Phooey. I guess I haven't had any irritating, overcontrolling bosses in Real Life...
Okay, Story Time. I'm a student, so I was working over the summer. At the end of just 3 months my boss gave me 4 movie tickets as a going-away gift!! Great lady.


Some great advice from Sortitus on swordfighting. Before I say anything else I want you to know that I am not getting all my combat experience from movies and video games lol. I've been taking foil fencing for the past year now. I know, not the most pertinent weapon for the type of stuff I'm writing, but hey.

Thanks everyone for the advice on descriptions. I guess part of it is that I can see everything so clearly in my head and I have trouble translating that to words.

As for the "formalities" it wasn't supposed to be all that formal. More like a "what's up" type thing. I'll have to fix that.

Also, wait: plot? What plot? The plot really jumps in in chapters 2 and 3... what did I say that you guys thought was plot-related?

Again thanks everyone for your thoughts, I appreciate each and every one!

EDIT: Also, does anyone have any good ideas for a title? Cause you gotta admit, "Crystalheart" sounds pretty lame.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 11:52:25 PM by Reaves »
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!

M

  • Level 4
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2008, 12:04:02 AM »
I should clarify.  I did say plot, but I probably should have said "General Direction" of the story.  I obviously have no clue what the main plot is, but I think you have given us a sense of what realities, limitations and barriers your characters are going to be faced with.  Does that make sense?

sortitus

  • Level 15
  • *
  • Posts: 675
  • Fell Points: 0
  • MVP of the WORLD
    • View Profile
    • I'll kick you in the face!
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2008, 12:27:58 AM »
Ves seemed to be more of an insane person than just a controlling boss. I don't know if that's what you were going for, but that's what I got. :P

Foil is good, and most of its techniques are somewhat similar to rapier techniques. I say somewhat for a reason. They are still very different weapons. If you're fencing as part of some sort of group, you should be able to convince somebody to show you saber and epee. Those will give you a good start, but remember that fencing is a sport a couple hundred years removed from actual sword fighting. The rules observed are for safety and ease of scoring, but you should be able to adapt the techniques across. Write what you know. :)

Note that many films have excellent sword fighting scenes that are accurate. I was going to use an example, but I can't remember the film it's from. A guy with a rapier fights somebody with a larger sword (A claymore? It's been too long since I've seen it.) and scores over and over again. When the killing blow is about to be inflicted, the big sword guy grabs the blade of the rapier and pwns the rapier bloke with his massive sword in one hit. Anybody remember that one?

"Crystalheart" is a fine title IMO. Once I read more a better title could crop up.

I agree with M. The story has potential. It could go many places, and all of them have promise.
Hero of Ages: Impressive Regality Over Niceness, Y'all
좋아! This time with more ecstatic! 좋네!!! I'll say it again in french! Trois fois voiture!!! Ça va. C'est vrai. C'est bien.
High Knight of the Grand Pie of the Holy Order of Pie, The Left Hand of Pie

Necroben

  • Level 14
  • *
  • Posts: 633
  • Fell Points: 0
  • What use the ability to read if one never uses it?
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2008, 01:08:44 AM »
Note that many films have excellent sword fighting scenes that are accurate. I was going to use an example, but I can't remember the film it's from. A guy with a rapier fights somebody with a larger sword (A claymore? It's been too long since I've seen it.) and scores over and over again. When the killing blow is about to be inflicted, the big sword guy grabs the blade of the rapier and pwns the rapier bloke with his massive sword in one hit. Anybody remember that one?

Rob Roy (1995) Liam Neeson
I don't suffer from insanity...  I enjoy every minuet of it!

It's ok to be strange, as long as it's on paper. :)

sortitus

  • Level 15
  • *
  • Posts: 675
  • Fell Points: 0
  • MVP of the WORLD
    • View Profile
    • I'll kick you in the face!
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2008, 01:09:47 AM »
Rob Roy (1995) Liam Neeson

That's the one!

EDIT: Oh, it looks like it was just a basket hilted broadsword after all. I suppose the memory just made it more extreme. :P
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 01:20:48 AM by sortitus »
Hero of Ages: Impressive Regality Over Niceness, Y'all
좋아! This time with more ecstatic! 좋네!!! I'll say it again in french! Trois fois voiture!!! Ça va. C'est vrai. C'est bien.
High Knight of the Grand Pie of the Holy Order of Pie, The Left Hand of Pie

Karl

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 134
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Rolling. Speed. Scene one, take one. ACTION!
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 06:03:01 AM »
For your 'technology' (since it seems to be the remnants of a high-level society after its fall), it would help to clarify some of your terms. Crystalheart is a person? and Heartcrystal is what's inside them? The words are so similar and their usage is not distict enough for easy understanding. Corecrystal? Hm...

I would be less concerned about the disparity of the weapons the two fought with. There is a Scottish master who demonstrated how to take on claymore, halberds/glaives, pikes and wot not with just a short sword and buckler. Don't recall the name of his treatice, but it's out there.
"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."

Reaves

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1226
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Crystalheart Ch. 1
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 11:25:07 PM »
it would help to clarify some of your terms. Crystalheart is a person? and Heartcrystal is what's inside them? The words are so similar and their usage is not distict enough for easy understanding. Corecrystal? Hm...

Okay. I think you're the second person who mentioned that crystalheart and heartcrystal are too similar. Would offend any geologists out there if I use "stone" and "crystal" as synonyms, at least when referring to the ancient crystals? Heartstone might work.

What I really need to do is some research into crystals, gems, etc.
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!