Author Topic: Spejoku's Nightlife  (Read 3947 times)

spejoku

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Spejoku's Nightlife
« on: December 15, 2008, 10:58:58 PM »
Put your questions here and I'll try to explain as best I can.  I still need to find where I put my character descriptions, so those are on their way, but everything else put it here. 

A brief summary of the story before this chapter:

Jared (POV character) lives in new york.  he has 4 older brothers.  His family is also enchanted.  Jared had his birthday about three or four days before this chapter, where his dad explained the "Family Heritage."  Then this chapter starts.

...I need to flesh that out a bit...
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Reaves

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 01:46:47 AM »
I didn't receive this chapter.
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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!

Frog

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 04:30:10 AM »
Me neither...:(
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Chaos

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 04:54:07 AM »
Neither did I.
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spejoku

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 05:46:06 AM »
stupid gmail.  let me re-send it.

edit: re sent!  I sent the first volley off at school, so that's probably why no one got it.  sorry for being so late!

Oh, and the thing is 17 pages long. Don't feel pressured to read it all!  only read what you like.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 05:50:58 AM by spejoku »
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Chaos

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 05:51:43 AM »
I received it :P I'll get it critiqued... soon!
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AvalonDreamer

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2008, 06:09:59 AM »
Haven't gotten to read yet, but I noticed it was chapter 3. Does it have a synopsis with it?
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jjb

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2008, 10:03:57 AM »
I liked the chapter and I think I'm going to like where you are going with this, but the problem is that I wasn't into it until Trohls? showed up. (And in the subway Caleb said Trohl was "a werewolf, instead of us shapeshifters.")

The whole warring mythological factions in the modern city theme can potentially be a very interesting read (the only other one I remember having read is "The Green and the Gray" by Timothy Zahn and I loved the book).

Not having read the first two chapters, though, isn't going to help our critiques very much. If we don't know what has already been explained, we won't be able to tell you some of the problems.

Reaves

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2008, 08:49:38 PM »
Yay! I got it!
Quote
“Hey Jared,” Caleb whispered through the door, “I want to show you something, meet me on the fire escape in five, okay? And bring some shorts or something.”

I know this is how people talk, but it doesn't read all that well. Take out the second "something" at least.

When they both fly off the roof and started changing into dogs/wolves, I was like WTH??!! I guess you'll explain that in chapters 1 and 2?

However, I don't quite understand why Jared was afraid of dying if he knew the changing would make him survive.

That line about "the average Joe's ability to ignore the obvious" is a good line. But unless you have some serious magical explanation for why people ignore talking dogs, take it out.

When you put in lots of modern slang and song references, it is good and everybody understands. But in a year, two years, five? no one will know what you are talking about and it really dates the book. Every read the Pendragon cycle? (not arthur. I think it started out as a teen-level series.) the author put in a ton of common slang and words but when I read it ten years later I was laughing at the archaic phrases. Something to think about.

alright now I am about halfway through but I am afraid I have to go pick up my bro and sis from school...I'll try to finish this post later. Sorry.

EDIT: alright, heres the rest.

Quote
I started walking off into the tree(s) all sneaky-like. That smell had something that made it, and unless it was all wolfy too, I didn’t want it seeing me. 

I don't understand why he would assume that an "oily" smell is bad or dangerous. Its a city. He's been smelling things all day.

Quote
Trohs laughed, a silver sound
what is a silver sound?

Trohs is pretty cool, but if you want him to sound intimidating don't let him say things like "anyhoo" and "Hold still now."

Quote
Like a classic villain, Trohs was still gloating when I struck. 
yes. that is very true. Hes been holding Caleb for long enough to say
Quote
"Snip snip, mutt", “Thinking of escaping on the train?  Too bad pets aren’t allowed”, and  “Better hurry or you’ll miss it!”
Plus any number of evil, sociopathic grins, chuckles, and razor-sharp smiles.

Overall it looks pretty good. Good characterization and setting, pretty good for details and descriptions. It feels like you are giving away waaaay too much in this first chapter though. Make us keep on reading to find out what this is about. Don't give away so much about their abilities.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 09:49:54 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!

Necroben

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 12:36:02 AM »
The only thing that I can really add is about the wolf/dog/mutant thing.  Which is it?  I could see Caleb and Jared as wolves and Trohs as a werewolf but that added mutant thing kept throwing me out of the story.  I would suggest pick one are run with it.

I was disappointed when I got to the end and there was no more to read.
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spejoku

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 04:47:32 AM »
Quote
When you put in lots of modern slang and song references, it is good and everybody understands. But in a year, two years, five? no one will know what you are talking about and it really dates the book. Every read the Pendragon cycle? (not arthur. I think it started out as a teen-level series.) the author put in a ton of common slang and words but when I read it ten years later I was laughing at the archaic phrases. Something to think about.

Quote
Trohs is pretty cool, but if you want him to sound intimidating don't let him say things like "anyhoo" and "Hold still now."

Thanks a lot for all your help.  You're right about the slang and Troh's dialogue; I need to change those up.  I have a weakness for plot dumps that I need to get over too. I should maybe split some of the reveals into earlier chapters. 
when I wrote this, I wanted to cram as much as I could, so the people who read it (you guys aren't the first ones, sorry) would have a better idea of what he could do for the fighting scene.

What happened before all this is that 1, Jared had his birthday and his dad revealed what the family could do.  2, Jared freaks out and tries to forget all about it.  for the most part his family lets him be.  3. Caleb comes in and this chapter happens.

Quote
However, I don't quite understand why Jared was afraid of dying if he knew the changing would make him survive.

Jared, besides knowing the whole shapeshifting thing, has no clue what abilities come with it.  He doesn't know what he can live through, and Caleb intends to show it to him.  in this chapter the point was to show what he can start to do, and to introduce his fear-smelling ability.  Each shapeshifter character will have a different specific ability; Caleb's is near precognative reflexes. 

Quote
The only thing that I can really add is about the wolf/dog/mutant thing.  Which is it?  I could see Caleb and Jared as wolves and Trohs as a werewolf but that added mutant thing kept throwing me out of the story.  I would suggest pick one are run with it.

Trohs is a werewolf, rather than a shifter.  The thing is that werewolves here get their power from the new moon, rather than the full one, because of plot.  Werewolves are infectuous; they can make people one against their will.  Shapeshifters, along without having the bipedal ape form, is stuck within a family.  The only way to make someone who is not a shapeshifter into one is for the family to adopt them and for them to get some blood from a shapeshifting person.  It's complicated.

Most shapeshifters, along with the other family based magical creatures (there's more, trust me) regard Werewolves as freaks, mainly because they aren't bound to bloodlines.  It sort of became instinctual for the "regular" magic beings to dislike Werecreatures, which is part of why Jared thinks Trohs is freaky.  the other part is that Trohs really is freaky.

Jared sees Trohs as a mutant, that's the only reason he's described that way.  I'll take it out.

Quote
I don't understand why he would assume that an "oily" smell is bad or dangerous. Its a city. He's been smelling things all day.

the fear scent gives Jared bad vibes.  I need to make that more clear.

Quote
That line about "the average Joe's ability to ignore the obvious" is a good line. But unless you have some serious magical explanation for why people ignore talking dogs, take it out.
I'll add a sort of natural "shroud" ability to all the magic characters in a later draft.  If the presence of magic makes regular people hallucinate normality, then it makes everything much easier.  I'll keep the joe line until I really have to explain the shroud.  Caleb would lie to Jared just for a cool line.

...I have a problem with lame non-fight scenes.  I need to add some family tension or something to make things more interesting in the non-combat parts.

Quote
I was disappointed when I got to the end and there was no more to read.

Thanks!  ;D That helps a lot.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 04:52:14 AM by spejoku »
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little wilson

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 07:29:58 PM »
Other than what's already been said, the main thing I saw was too many vague descriptors. Like "kind of," "sort of," "somewhat," that kind of stuff. If it was in dialogue, it wouldn't be so bad (I would still say take most of it out though, because even though people talk like that, like Reeves said, it doesn't read very well).

I agree with the giving too much away too early. It almost feels like there should more build-up to it. More mystery. I don't know what's in the first 2 chapters, though, so maybe there is enough build-up, I don't know.

It's a compelling story. I'm looking forward to reading more of it. Good job.
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Frog

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2008, 10:40:03 PM »
Here we go with the dreaded frog critique:

I really liked your first person narration, but by the end it was a bit...overwhelming? If that makes since. I just wanted a few more concrete details rather then all judgments just so I can make a few judgments of my own and really trust the narrator to tell the whole story.  No one wants to be that far in someone else's head. And some of the judgments, we simply don't need. Like if your going to say in the dialog that Jared thinks they are going party crashing, we don't need it in the narration before hand. And please try to avoid directly addressing the reader, especially twice in a row with the same phrase ("don't ask"... Of course I won't ask. He really isn't there to ask!). So I would tone that down a bit.

I understand that Jared is young, but how old is Trohs?  All that 'pleasant' dialog before he decides to kill him (Jared obviously isn't so imitated by him that he can't have an Q&A session with him), and then his tantrum at the end...He just seemed a bit too immature to be the real threat. Maybe a flunky that loves to play the bully. But if that is what your looking for, good.

In the same token, I'm a sucker for good dialog and yours was good (just watch the slang like someone else already said).

Another thing that confused me a bit: It seemed like there was a clear transition between his new hearing and his new smell, when I think they would all be coming at once. I mean, it may be a bit harder to write about that way, but you can't exactly say, 'hey nose, turn off a sec while I play with my new ears...okay got that. New nose, go!' This was especially hard because it seemed like not only did my narrator do it, but so did his brother in his explanations, like he already knew the hearing would be the first thing to be explored...weird.

So that's it from me. I liked it. I want more and a little annoyed that I had to start in the middle...grr...
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spejoku

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 02:22:33 AM »
Hearing and smell would both come at the same time, but as both are really important (smell moreso) right now I don't think I'd be able to have them both hit at the same time and make things clear of what he can do.  Most likely I could have him simply ignore one of them... but I don't really know how that would work effectively. 

Caleb just was observant of what Jared was doing.  he didn't know what order they'd pop up.  I really wanted to put in the gameshow bit though.  too bad I'll probably have to take it out.
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Frog

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Re: Spejoku's Nightlife
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2008, 02:57:56 AM »
You're right. That is a good line. Let me think about it again...
It was the line right before it I had the real issue with.
"Well, now that you’re done with the hearing overload, I think it’s high time for the scent experience."
It kinda makes me feel like he's in Jared's head. But if you just used different transition, I could easily see Caleb pointing out the garbage on his own; setting himself up for that line and giving Jared a hard time just for kicks.
And for the rest of the senses, I'd be satisfied with just one line or two that told me they hit him all at once, and then you can go ahead and separate them.
I think making a few simple adjustments like that would probably fix most the issues, so please don't take anything I said too hard.
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