Author Topic: Midnight Sun chap. 1  (Read 2912 times)

spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Midnight Sun chap. 1
« on: January 05, 2009, 04:21:21 PM »
Okay, tear it apart!  Bonus points if you can name my idea source.
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

wcarter4

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 105
  • Fell Points: 0
  • I didn't do it I swear.
    • View Profile
    • technight
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 06:48:51 PM »
Well, It has a sort of anime meets X-men academy meets Hogwarts feel to it, and I certainly hope we get some explanation soon I want to know why that poor red-skinned monster was accosted by the white one.
I really like Thomas so far, he has a personality I could easily attribute to several of my artist friends and he seems quite believable (if foolishly brave).
Some descriptions of the monsters and their actions need work such as
Quote
.  The creature tried to spew those black bullets of shadow stuff, but the figure dodged those just as easily.
tried doesn't need to be in the sentence if it did shoot and black bullets of shadow stuff sounds like the narrator is confused about the description more than that Thomas is.
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

M

  • Level 4
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 07:11:09 PM »
Ok, time to tear. 

I too felt like I was reading about a new recruit to X-Men.  If this is your source, I would seriously consider changing the plot, cause it's been done.

Ok, I like to start off with the 'nit-picky' stuff first, grammar, spelling, structure....

Your internal dialog of the character needs to be more obvious, here are a few times when you could maybe put his thoughts in italics to help the flow:
Quote
Oh right, everything was at the dorm
 
Quote
Why had they picked him, of all people?

Ok, I had several problems with the story.  I know that I usually tell people to get to the conflict quick so you can hook the reader, but in your case I would SLOW DOWN.  (just me, others might disagree).  I really like how it started, the MC is great, I like him.  I like how he comes in and waits at the airport...but the whole monster/shadow thing happened so fast that I was left feeling...well...I didn't like it.

Here are some things that bothered me. 
Quote
Amazingly, the monster backed away a little bit.   They could be hurt!
  I never assumed they couldn't?  Are we supposed to assume that they are invisible? 

Quote
It screeched, almost sending Thomas to his knees.  Almost, but not quite.
- Almost but not quite?  You just said before that it "almost" sent him to his knees? It is redundant to put that last part in.

Quote
It seemed that the smaller shadows at least couldn’t go through doors.
  Once we are left to assume that the shadows can penetrate things?  I must have missed something.

Quote
Anise turned and smiled at him for an instant before going back to swinging with the extinguisher. Thomas could feel himself blush again.
  This part and the end when he gets her number was wayyyy to rushed.  They are flirting in the midst of a monster chasing them?  The last thing they would be thinking about would be flirting and getting someones number.  Make this a traumatic event, not an everyday occurrence.  This girl seems like she is only part of the story because you want  a romantic interest for your MC.  Remember in Writing Excuses they talked about this pitfall.  Give the girl more depth and THEN make your main character fall for her. 

Quote
Thomas’ mind gibbered
Gibbered?  New word for me...but...I liked it...if it is a word.

Quote
The creature tried to spew those black bullets of shadow stuff
I agree with wcarter4, this description needs serious work.

Quote
With no more apparent effort than picking a grape, it pulled.
Didn't care for this personally.

Quote
“Come on, we should get out of here before people come to look at the destroyed door.”  Anise said.
  Why is she worried about that?  They just got attacked by a monster...seems trivial to be worried about that.

Ok, this really bothered me:
Quote
Well, there was that mass hallucination, but that wasn’t real, and he got a girl’s number out of it.  He wondered what chemical they put in the ventilation system to do all that.
  Your MC writes off the whole thing WAY to quickly.  I was really bugged by that. 

Ok, this was probably the hardest critique I have given, and I apologize if I came off negative.  I like the story, don't get me wrong, but it was just too rushed.  I liked the idea of this kid who is supposed to be smart, but he doesn't see it.  Maybe work bringing in the whole mask thing later in the story.  Just have a monster attack them in the beginning, but make it vague.  Leave your readers wondering, "what the heck was that?".  Don't over describe the monster, you leave us to no imagination. 


spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 08:45:56 PM »
hmm.  I need to figure out how to get the abilities in later, then.  my planned second part after this is slow, where he meets some of the other main characters.  was it obvious that time had sort of paused?  Because only during that sort of limbo time is when they can use their abilities. 

I agree, Anise is a little flat here.  But he's thrown in with her and things are sort of rushed in both their minds.  I'll take out her number bit and add some more rational stuff.  I like to think of the pov character as the narrator, so it's essentially first person in third.  I don't think there's enough confusion about just what the monsters are, so that's probably where the confusion over whether or not they can be hurt (in retrospect, Anise is attacking one, so I'm not quite sure where the doubt came from.)  Thomas is also very precise in the way he sees things, so that comes through to the narrator.  I guess I'll overdescribe maybe the mask thing (because it comes to play later), not mention anything else about it, keep his ability from popping up (the light guy), and have them escape by waiting the time thing out. 

Thomas writes things off because he doesnt want to accept them, so sorry if his denial isn't that clear.  Maybe I should have him get a cut and try to ignore it or something.

and "gibbered" is a word.  I looked it up.
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 10:20:54 PM »
I personally don't think it's a problem if you want to go X-men. Most basic plots have been done, but individual writers have a tendency to add their own twists and styles that keep it fresh. So do what you love and leave it at that. :)

Thoughts while reading:

Okay, I'm not big on the first sentence hook, but at the very least, don't use passive tense. Even a simple sentence like 'The plane was late' would have drawn me in better.

Some of the sentences seem way out of place. Like this one: 'His dad had been so proud.' What does his dad have to do with anything?

I'm seeing lots of chances for internal thought which would break up your writing and characterize Thomas better. Like this one: 'Why did he have to travel in his uniform?  Oh right, everything was at the dorm.'

I liked the description of him trying to sketch and getting  frustrated. I can already emphasize with the guy.

Things got bizarre rather quickly. I got confused and had to reread your action bits a few times before I go them, but I got into the flow again when the girl, Anise, showed up, so good description and intro to her character even if the flirting seems a bit out of place. 

And now I'm lost again... just so much stuff going on. His magical/special abilities (that I'm not sure I understand) seemed to have appeared rather suddenly and conveniently....

Wow, all that weird stuff happened and he's seems pretty collected; only concerned about his sketch book and getting the girl's number. Weird.

Overall impression:

Pacing seemed way off on this one. It starts out slow and then shadow monsters attacks and all this crazy stuff happens and we're back to 'oh, hum time for school.' You probably plan on explaining it all later, but right now, it seems like a compete story on its own. An extremely rushed story, but still a complete story. Interesting creatures and a good MC, but it really needs some organizational help, because I really have no idea what just happened and don't feel a lot of draw to read the next bit. 

Good Luck!
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 11:19:38 PM »
I realize this forum's knowledge of (awesome) jrpgs is deficient.  This is not based on x-men.  at all. 

Anyway, I have lots of problems with pacing.  in general, I find pacing hard.  if every chapter needs a certain number of plot points in it, I'm not sure how many should be in this chapter.  This chapter needs to introduce the time stop thing and Anise, and that's pretty much it. 

the shadows and Thomas' abilities are secondary, probably better off delayed.  The time stop thing would confuse Thomas enough to send him wandering through the airport, but I'm not quite sure what dramatic thing would make it more interesting than "oh hey, time just stopped.  that's weird."  The time stop needs to be established here, and Thomas needs to meet with Anise, to establish that some people can move during the phenomenon and some people can't.  and that's pretty much it.

Oh, Thomas isn't causing the time stop.  it's something else.

any tips?
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2009, 12:02:13 AM »
Well, since you asked, I'll see what I can do, even though I can't claim to be perfect in this area either...

If your main plot points are time stopping and meeting Anise, I think you can leave it at that. I know I may be in the minority here, but I really don't think you need monsters attacking every five seconds to keep your book interesting (that's what Saturday morning cartoons are for). You just need conflict, a good character and a few unanswered questions.

So you got your character, you got some unanswered questions (why did time just stop?) and as for conflict, besides the typical conflict of being a young person trying to find your talents and your place in life that we all can relate to, what do you think would happen if time stopped for everyone but you and a new girl that you just meet? I can think of lots of crazy, but believable, stuff and none of them involve monsters.

Is your character one that would take advantage of being the only moving object? Are there a few objects that still move without an animated person to control them? That might make life difficult if we had a escaped train on our hands... When time restarts, does it start without a hitch, or does he have to find/do something to make it restart? Will he have a lot of curious people following him around wondering how he moved 40 feet in what seemed to be one second to them? What about this new girl? What's her reaction to the time stop? Maybe she knows more about it than our MC and we can have some dramatics as he tries to question her. It might even make more since to go ahead and keep some flirtly romantic tension now that the monsters are out of the picture. Either way, they can play off each other and make it more interesting.

So pick something or think of something else that fits your story and go with it. Not every conflict needs to be life or death, just important enough to our characters that the readers can feel involved in the cheering and booing process. And as for the end, I just need some indication that this was not a once in a lifetime occurrence and some more fun stuff is just around the corner....
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 12:04:32 AM by Frog »
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

M

  • Level 4
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2009, 12:25:28 AM »
I think Frog nailed it on his critique and answer to your question.

IHO, cut the monster part all together.  It didn't make sense.  Cut the mask thing too.  Start with the time stopping and go from there, just slower than you started. 

My two cents.  Good luck!

spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2009, 05:10:57 AM »
...the thing is, the MC and Anise aren't the only people who can move.  eventually the villain(s) realize what they can do and start killing people they can find who can use the time stop so they have it to themselves.  and this whole thing just seems to be localized in the city.

The time stop only happens at exactly midnight on some nights, and the main characters don't know which night.  it usually needs some sort of trigger to stop, though (someone dying or the villains giving up or something).  Since the police can't catch the villains, the MCs need to find a way to trap them or something.

This is a magical effect, rather than scientific.  It could be that the world stops every night, but only those sensitive enough can remain mobile during the stop, and the city itself amplifies that sensitivity.    Those people would or could develop abilities, but I should probably rework them.  they'd work better in a comic anyway, how they are. (clairvoyance would be nice, but kind of cheap as well... hmm.)

I repeat, this is an unnatural phenomenon.  No one can control when it happens.  Thomas and Anise and the other MCs can only use the Witching Hour, not create it.

The shadows are up for debate.  I think eventually they'll pop up.  just later.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 05:13:06 AM by spejoku »
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2009, 05:43:20 AM »
I wasn't trying to predict or suggest that you change your story in anyway. I was just trying to give you some ideas on how you could simplify the scene at hand to just those two main plot points while keeping it interesting and building up to everything else, which I thought you were asking for. Obviously, because you know your story and I don't, you are going to have to come up with your own solution.
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2009, 06:31:07 AM »
oh, sorry for any misunderstanding.  I'll most likely cut all the monsters and the fighting, but I still can't think of something good that keeps Anise and Thomas talking.  Probably just commenting on the situation, I don't know.  Thomas would panic and Anise would try to raid the vending machines, probably. 

It'll probably just end up in a discussion on why they think time stopped.  And Anise wondering how the whole stopping thing works (why does it suddenly move if I'm touching it?  Would water freeze in midair?  Here, try shaking this soda and let's see what happens!) I'm not quite sure how to do it, though.
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2009, 06:42:51 AM »
All of those seem like good ideas to me. Just keep experimenting with it and see what happens. :)
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Reaves

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1226
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2009, 10:28:19 PM »
Wow, this is really bizarre!! And I'm loving it!!

The first couple paragraphs could maybe use a better hook, but now I'm about halfway through reading frantically. Your style flows very well and I like Thomas. I'm not sure if he's in high school or college, though my guess is high school. Might want to make it a bit clearer.

Quote
Also, now it was red and had spines, along with the scale-like fins sprouting along the body
You probably shouldn't start a sentence with also.
Quote
Amazingly, the monster backed away a little bit.
   They could be hurt!
the paragraph break here seemed out of place.

It feels like the part after the monster dissapears is really rushed. You could maybe add some humor at the end; the two of them just survived a crazy bizzare monster attack and so he asks for her number.

edit: as for idea source... the only jrpg i can think of is devil may cry 4.  Which is pretty much the only jrpg I have ever played, so...yeah...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 10:33:55 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!

spejoku

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Insanity isn't all that bad really.
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 12:02:10 AM »
Technically, devil may cry is an action game.  No, the series I'm talking about is the Persona series, specifically Persona 3 and 4 (it almost completely rips off P3.)  I've only ever played P4, but it's awesome enough.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_4 <--- the wikipedia page.

Anyway, when I made this part I was still unsure of wether or not just a short story would satisfy my story hankerin', so I blame that for pacing problems.  Thanks for liking the bizarre, cause this story is gonna have a LOT in it.  my villain is fun to think of  ;D
Tacos: the food of choice for awesome people

Reaves

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1226
  • Fell Points: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Midnight Sun chap. 1
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 12:04:23 AM »
Yeah...I was going to go back and delete that comment about dmc4...cause its really not an rpg at all  :P Don't know what I was thinking...
At least its japanese.
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!