Author Topic: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1  (Read 2662 times)

Dangerbutton

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Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« on: December 15, 2008, 08:30:26 AM »
Here's another chapter!

Frog

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 02:24:37 PM »
Oh, cliff hanger. Very good. Now I wish I was here to read the prologue...:)
First thing I noticed was that you tend to use passive voice. It would clean up/tighten your writing a lot if you could make the switch.  It's an bit ironic for me to say it, as this is something I have been working on in my own writing but I guess it is easier to see when your critiquing someone else.... Anyway, start by looking for places where you use 'was' as the verb or have the suffix -ing and try to use action verbs in the past tense.
Ex.  Instead of "As he rounded a bend, the Swiftmead Tavern became visible through the trees." try something like "As he rounded the bend, Swiftmead Tavern appeared among the trees."
Lots of new names. If you're expecting me to keep them all straight at this point...well, you would be very disappointed with me to say the least. :)
I like the color added by the songs and the dialog...and I am still trying to decide what to make of this Boone character...
And what is with the tapping? Ag! Evil authors and their sneaky subtle ways!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2008, 02:31:47 PM by Frog »
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M

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 08:49:51 PM »
I agree there were a lot of names, but I didn't get caught up by that too much.  I have little to offer in ways of a critique, so that is to your credit.  I didn't feel like there was anything sucking me into this book in the beginning.  I know a lot of emphasis is falsely placed on an opening line, but I can't help but read a book that has something that catches me.  My suggestion would be to play with that.

The whole scene with the informant and constantly paying him more money for better info was needed but felt a little long to me.  I wasn't really all that bothersome, but I don't have anything else to complain about.  I am sending you an email with a few suggestions on typos and other hang ups that I discovered. 

Overall, I think this book has a lot of promise.  I am anxious like Frog to see what happens after that well executed cliff-hanger.  Good work.

Reaves

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 01:45:42 AM »
I really liked this chapter. The whistling is looking like it is going to be a very nice little quirk for our character here. Love him!

When you mention something about how it was a "particularly dirty tune about a young maid's ankles," though, I wasn't quite sure what you were trying to say. Where you making a statement about the social and moral mores of the time? Or were you trying to say that Boone is a ladies' man? Or both?

Quote
Boone, however, knew how to play his cards. “What else?” he asked, not yet offering more money.
With this, I was a tad dissapointed. You act like Boone is some professional who knows how to get exactly what he is looking for...and then he says, "What else?" That seems like something I could have said.

There were a lot of different names. It didn't bother me, but I'm just not sure if you're making names up as you go or if you actually know your world that well.

I didn't quite understand the finger-tapping thing, and the way he "feels" energy, but then I probably wasn't supposed to.

This is looking pretty good! I'm guessing the Archelaine family is going to end up being pretty important. Keep up the good work!
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jjb

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 03:00:12 AM »
This is the book with Scriptomancy, yes? I loved the Prologue but I only like the first chapter. That's probably because nothing really happened in it, but...

And I also didn't understand the finger-tapping thing. Revealing what it is later in the book is a good idea, but the problem is that I felt like you were trying to explain how it worked. So if you were trying to explain it, go over that part again. If you weren't trying to explain it, don't give us the significance of the finger-tapping until later on or at least take out some of his 'explaining in his own mind' stuff.

wcarter4

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 10:22:07 PM »
This is currently one of my favorite stories out of the entire group.
I have to agree with Jib on the finger tapping thing. I assume it has something to do with one of the lesser birthrights, but it's currently just a pseudo-explanation.
My only other problem was  the sentence "His hopes had been that Warren have a more solid answer..." That needs to be reworked.
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

Silk

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 02:02:36 AM »
If Boone trusts the person who referred him to Warren, I wonder why Boone doesn’t even stop to consider that Warren might be right about the Galienns being involved with the kidnapping. Plus, I wonder about Warren. Obviously informants are going to be a bit underhanded in charging for information, and are going to like leading their customers on, but I imagine at some point they must get down to business and start giving out something valuable, or nobody would come to them as informants. Hard to make a business when everyone ignores you ‘cause you’re difficult. Or if you end up dead in a ditch because you’re an informant that no one likes.

It’s fine that you’re not telling us everything about Boone’s thing with the tapping, but you made a big enough deal out of it that I was expecting to see it resolved or explained, and it wasn’t. We have no idea what the tapping allowed him to do, or whether it’s one of the Birthrights, or what (though I assumed it was). I think just knowing what he got out of it in that situation would be enough to justify the time you spent on it. Alternatively, if you don’t want to tell us, you could trim that back a bit. I don’t think you need to get it entirely, but if you took that paragraph and trimmed it back to, say, “Once again, he had been able to pass the tapping off as a mere habit. Every advantage counted, no matter how small.”

Or, well, okay. Something less choppy and making more sense than what I just hacked it to. But you get the idea.

I don’t really have much else to add, except that maybe the prose can be tightened up a bit. Not something to worry much about now, but I like to keep these things in the back of my mind even while writing the first draft – just being conscious of it can do a lot in terms of readability of even a first draft, in my experience.

Still enjoying the read. Keep it up. 

Necroben

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 05:19:23 AM »
I can't really add any more to the critique than what has already been said.

So I'll just reiterate about the finger tapping:  Who does it effect?  What?  How does it do it?  I like the pacing but I wanted to know more about the "Magic".

I love that fact that they are in a tropical jungel in what seems to be a pirate cove.  Very original.

Keep up the good work!  You've caught my attention and I want to read more.
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Manyang

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 10:40:26 AM »
Not quite as intense as the prologue but a good piece nonetheless. The pirate theme is strong with this one. Good solid setting.

I'm still at odds with the way you introduce your characters. Boone to me is a name that goes with an old pirate deckhand, with a gray beard and missing teeth. Possibly with a wooden leg. Since the name is all I have to go on in the beginning that was the image that formed in my head. When you then suddenly called him a rollicking young man I had to go back and readjust my image of him, which was rather jarring.

Having him go back to humming when he couldn't remember the lyrics is a great piece of characterization.

The heightening of his awareness of his surroundings should hardly come as a surprise to him, therefore “suddenly” can be cut.

I'm a bit torn on his whistling being “accompanied by a boisterous song”. This implies a certain harmony in sound which I'm not sure there would be. It stood out, that's really all I can say about it.

I don't really get why the word roldt stands out so much. The world seems to be teeming with all kinds of rivaling houses and nations, different nationalities are used for characterization all the time. What's so special about this word that makes it stand out in such a cauldron? Are you sure it needs that much attention?

The smugness is again good characterization.

The line in which you tell us of his tousled blond hair you briefly go from third limited to third omniscient to tell us that. If you tell us how dirty everyone looks, and then mention he learned to wash his face in Vemetha we understand all the other grime still applies to him as well.

I'm not quite sure why an informant of his caliber would hold great stock in the trustworthiness of the one in front of him. He's in fact just rumormongering, he's not actively spying himself, which would make his position far more sensitive. The point that coins go openly across the table also indicates he's not all that concerned with keeping his trade hidden.

The whole dialogue between them would be considerably spiced up if you make Boone a less seasoned negotiator, or at least stop telling us he knows what he's doing. There is very little tension left in the negotiation when we already know Boone is playing with him, and Warren doesn't appear to have a few aces up his sleeve. Alternatively make Warren far more shrewd, give them a more equal footing and the game will be more intense, and more interesting.

I agree with the above comments on the finger tapping.

I'm not sure why he would put up a masquerade in front of Warren if he is unhappy. If he wants more info out of him wouldn't it be more effective to be clearly unsatisfied, thereby coaxing him into revealing more than he intended in order to preserve his reputation? The way he's acting now makes him appear an insincere backstabber. Of course this could be intentional. If there is another reason for him leading him on and only getting back at him indirectly it wasn't clear to me.

Good ending, but how did the gun get past the big guy at the door?

Silk

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 07:59:27 PM »
Regarding Manyang's last question, I wondered the same thing at first, but then it occured to me that the guy at the door probably had a smaller gun. ::) At least, I don't remember mentioning whether the guy at the door was armed, and if he wasn't, it makes sense to me that he'd wave the scary looking guy with the firepower through.

That, or the guy at the door was bribed. Or has an alliance with the guy at the door (or more likely the guy who owns the tavern). Or something. There are a whole bunch of plausible explanations - I don't really think it's a problem so long as we get some hint of an answer in the future.

Manyang

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 09:25:34 PM »
I did consider those options but figured I'd just get a RAFO if he had thought of it. And if not, now would be a good time to mention it.

Dangerbutton

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2008, 02:56:31 AM »
Yeah, don't worry, the gun thing will be explained in the next page or two. . .  as will the tapping. . .  and the lousy informant. . .  and several other things.
Really, I had originally intended on including the next chapter with this submission, but didn't get it done on time. The second one has a lot of answers (to the things you need to know. . . )
However, the feedback I've been given has been a big help. Thanks a ton!

Karl

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2008, 10:23:02 PM »
Okay, allow me to stir the pot...

The informant was boring! The exchange between the two characters was lackluster. Actually the whole "meet informant in a dingy bar" is a bit cliche. Is there a better way to present this?

And why would a religious enforcer (Mr. Red & Black) be in a bar anyway?

And why aren't the other greedy drunks not paying attention to all of the cash being exchanged between the two strangers ever so visibly?

Perhaps you could move this scene to a more unique location, one where having the religious enforcer seems less out of place. Perhaps walking through the main street on market day? Use more subterfuge.

And if Boone is so good at getting what he wants, why doesn't he call the informant's bluff and say he is a liar? Ramp of the interplay between the two. If he's paying him, they don't have to like each other. Actually, anyone known for being a good and reliable informant probably wouldn't live very long. Is there a reason why the informant giving up this information might be hazardous to his long term health? Is there some other reason he would be reluctant to give up the information? Is this an act of desperation for him?

Other than that, I liked the snippets of characterization you give to Boone. I think I know that ditty he hums! Oh, yeah, her ankle!

Obviously I'm still reading, so 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."

Hayley

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 11:28:55 PM »
It looks like this character isn't one who is going to be quiet!

I think there was a lot of names in this chapter.... and we don't really learn much. But then, I'm sure it gets made up for later on.

The ending is fantastic. Do not touch that at all. The fact Boone thinks he's got passed them all, and then suddenly there's another one is good. Makes you wonder if they knew he was in that tavern.

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Dangerbutton

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Re: Dec 15, 08 - Birthright - Chapter 1
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 06:41:51 AM »
I was worried about how many names I was throwing out. There will be a lot of names to learn in this story, and I don't plan on changing that fact, but not all of the names brought up in this chapter are of any importance. If all goes well, mere repetition will make it clear which names are going to be important to the story (at this point, you should be seeing that the Archelaines and the Wingroves are some important names).  I guess what I'm trying to say is don't get too caught up on the names unless they are brought up frequently.
 Again, thanks, everyone, for the input.