Author Topic: 03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4  (Read 1087 times)

Hamster

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03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4
« on: March 09, 2009, 05:47:51 AM »
Hello Everybody!

I hope you enjoy this. Chapter 3 was written a long time ago like all my previous submissions, but my new chapter 4 I just wrote on saturday, trying to make Kale a more sympathetic character, and help you understand him and his emotions more. So please comment on that again to see if my characters are working. (but also please remember I havn't had any time to edit chapter 4, so it might seem a little unpolished, because, well, it is.)

Umm, also, I used some in world curses and such, so could you tell me if they sound realistic or not? I think they work, but hey, you guys are the ones reading.

This is going to be my last submission for a while, cause I'm going to be very far away for a few weeks, which is why I wanted to get two chapters done at once, hopefully it's not too long.

That's all folks! Thanks again!

Frog

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Re: 03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2009, 05:53:21 AM »
Thoughts While Reading:
cute map :D

Every time you start a chapter, you should have to rehook your audience and set the scene. This is a good scene, but I would play with the opening paragraph a little.

"He ignored the few beggars who cried out to him; their ribs jutting out through the tattered rags they wore as clothes."
This line makes it seem like the ribs are literally sticking out of their rib cages.

"He didn’t have the time nor means to help them, not that he was inclined to in any case."
If you delete this line the next one would seem more dramatic...

“Let me go you pig!"
Pig is the best insult Kale can come up with?

I am interested in the unknown realm. Good job.

"The scene made him want to vomit,"
This seems out of place, especially, since like you say later, he does this all the time. I really don't see why it should shock him at all.

"This wasn’t done by the Helm; it wasn’t even done by humans."
Up to this point, I was under the impression that they were humans. You introduce so many different races/creatures in the paragraph about the Seik that I personally had trouble keeping them straight.

"A loud yelling noise jerked him out of his reverie."
Reverie just struck me as way out of place.

"A beam of light caught off the iron blade in his upraised hand, reflecting in the window, giving Kale all the warning he needed."
Why does he need the reflecting light to warn him? I could tell there would be trouble just by the way the Helm were talking.

Kale's sudden spiritual seizure where he took the Helm's souls seemed off to me.... It just was a bit abstract and harder to follow. Especially since I was under the impression he needed his daggers to take souls.

Nice poem.

I think you may be overdoing it with the metaphors in this section.

I am having some trouble understanding the motivation for Covan. He seemed pretty insistent that he needed Kale at first, then suddenly he stopped caring.

Him becoming a soul taker seemed a bit abstract. I am really not sure how he managed it.

There were several little grammatical issues to clean up in the last chapter, but since you said it is a very early draft, I'll go ahead and let you go over it. I liked the scene overall, it just seemed sloppy is all.

Overall impression:
Okay, I can see some good world building and lots of potential for conflict, but I am not sure where your story/focus is yet. What exactly are your characters trying to accomplish? Along with making Kale a relatable character, you also have to give him tangible goals or your scenes, even the good ones, will come off as random. That was my biggest complaint about the dream sequence. I understand that you wanted sympathy for Kale, and that was a good scene for it, but it just didn't seem to relate to anything he was doing now. And I honestly don't know if it is enough for me at this point. I mean, you have had Kale kill person after person, children, bystanders, whatever, and you want me to feel sorry for him for the murder of one person? It just doesn't seem to compare. Especially this late in the game. Maybe you could try to put it earlier? I don't know, play around with it, because it is a good scene.
So I am still not too thrilled about following Kale around, but I look forward to seeing more of your world and getting some more of Reils. :)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 06:06:42 AM by Frog »
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Reaves

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Re: 03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 08:30:31 PM »
I liked this one much better than last chapter. Kale had to do more than just kill people :D

I think you may need to rethink some of your usage of semicolons.
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The men pursuing him had been extremely difficult to throw off; though he did manage to lose them in the forest that overlooked the city.
perhaps "off, though he had managed" ?
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He ignored the few beggars who cried out to him; their ribs jutting out through the tattered rags they wore as clothes.

If Kale is worried about people even getting a look at his face, I think he might reconsider before  killing a guard in the alley. My philosophy is, "make choices not decisions." Basically that means make Kale choose between two options and think over the consequences, rather than just doing something. So its fine if he still kills the guard, just make him think about the consequences of that action.

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It should have been impossible for one to come out this far…unless they had broken through the Wall of Muras. Which means that they could be invading.
At first this thought seemed a little out of place for the utterly self-centered Kale, but now that we know he was a general it makes perfect sense. Good job.

About the in-world curses: some worked all right, some didn't. "Darkness strike me" seemed decent, though you shouldn't overuse it. "By the Tyrant" though I did not like.

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Gritting his teeth and rolling his eyes in frustration, Kale took a step backwards and fell out the window.
When I read this I was like YESS! Kale actually interacted with another human being without killing them...it was all the more impressive because they were armed and hostile to Kale.

I thought your poem was actually pretty nice. I liked this part especially: 
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Could you kill me? The world is aflame, my soul is on fire, and all that is left is death, despair, and desire.

About the Telyan memory: it kept me completely interested the entire way through. It was very engaging and helped give Kale some roundness. It worked fine. However, don't get confused over the difference between a sympathetic character and a nice person.

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“I take it that you’ve receded on our bargain then, eh Kale.
I think you mean reneged.

Oh yeah, about the "For Telyan!" bit, I thought it was pretty cheesy :P Maybe Aragorn can pull it off. Not Kale.

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“Telyan” he whispered softly, his heart softening for a moment, allowing a few tears to fall from his face before his bitter, jaded, angry feelings pushed aside his mournful sentiments.
The "bitter, jaded, angry" bit was very telly. Also, remember we are inside Kale's head. I don't think that he would be able to so analytically categorize his own feelings like that.

Like I said, I liked this chapter much better. There was more going on and less pointless killing. (I use "pointless" in context of advancing the story. Its not that I don't like violence in books or anything like that.) You've planted seeds for what could become a very interesting plot arc, if you cultivate it right. Good job!
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!

Hamster

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Re: 03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 09:55:12 PM »
Okay, so sorry to everyone for bringing this thread up again, but I felt a need to reply to some stuff, and I just got back from long trip, ( sorry to everyone else that I wasn't able to critique your stuff). I'm not going to comment on grammar stuff or prose stuff because it's all good, I just need to clarify some content stuff.

Frog:
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Up to this point, I was under the impression that they were humans. You introduce so many different races/creatures in the paragraph about the Seik that I personally had trouble keeping them straight.
I just need to clarify this for your future reading, there is only ONE species that is non human in my world. the Saiks are non human, blue skinned, supposedly bestial creatures. The Helm is a brutal police force in Westare that was created by the late duke. I may have been not very clear, but I just need to you to know this

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Kale's sudden spiritual seizure where he took the Helm's souls seemed off to me.... It just was a bit abstract and harder to follow. Especially since I was under the impression he needed his daggers to take souls.
Ahh! rats, now I'm realizing that I have not been very clear in my writing at all. He does not need his daggers to take souls. The daggers take the souls for themselves, and are very effective weapons, but all Soul takers take the souls themselves, usually with a hand gesture over the heart, though it is not needed. The "spiritual seizure" is when the Darkness was getting a grip on his soul. Sorry again for my abstractedness, in my head it makes sense, but I'm not good at getting what I think down into my writing the right way.

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I am having some trouble understanding the motivation for Covan. He seemed pretty insistent that he needed Kale at first, then suddenly he stopped caring.

Him becoming a soul taker seemed a bit abstract. I am really not sure how he managed it.

Covan's motivation is that Kale's help would be very useful, and would save him a lot of trouble, but Covan was a very resourceful guy. I was worried about how his motivation worked, but it was just his character

Becoming a soul taker is abstract. Kale felt a huge build up of pain and anger and hate( it's always emotions that trigger stuff in fantasy books) and had to release it, and in doing so, entered the unknown realm as he unknowingly tapped in his own soul through his extreme emotions. Some people are born with the ability to enter the unknown realm, and sometimes it randomly happens, or sometimes extreme trauma causes them to 'Embark' to the unknown realm. Hopefully this makes sense.

I'm glad that you liked the dream sequence(albeit a lot of problems). When you said that
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And I honestly don't know if it is enough for me at this point. I mean, you have had Kale kill person after person, children, bystanders, whatever, and you want me to feel sorry for him for the murder of one person?
that is not what I was really going for. Yes, there should be sympathy for what happened to his wife, it certainly doesn't justify his murders, but imo you should still feel a little bad for his loss. But I was going for sympathy was the darkness of his soul. He knows he is evil, he knows what he has done is depraved, he hates himself for everything he has done, he lives in grief and depression, instead of drowning his woes in alcohol as some do, he kills people. He focuses his anger on others. And he knows this is wrong but continues with it because he can't live otherwise. He also has was you called 'spiritual seizures' all the time when pure Darkness rips into his Soul, and such. I wanted the sympathy to be with his self realization of his own depravity, but not really being able to do anything about it, and even hating himself for not changing. sorry if this didn't come across at all, I tried.


Reaves:
Glad you liked this chapter, I was getting bored of having Kale kill people anyways.
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About the in-world curses: some worked all right, some didn't. "Darkness strike me" seemed decent, though you shouldn't overuse it. "By the Tyrant" though I did not like.
Glad that some worked. My favourite is still 'Saik's teeth', and I actually like 'By the Tyrant', as you are going to find out, it is actually symbolic. Those who are fighting against King Riel call him a Tyrant, they view him as a bad guy who is intruding upon their kingdoms, so only those opposed to him will use this curse. It's a good clue to those who are loyal to him or not.

I'm also glad that both of you liked the poem, it took me a while to figure out how to write it without making it cheesy or too cliche, so thanks!

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However, don't get confused over the difference between a sympathetic character and a nice person.
Oh don't worry, kale is definitely not going to be a nice character(as you all have seen), but again, he might become a better person throughout, I'm not quite sure where his character is exactly headed yet.

Okay, so thanks to both of you for your advice and criticism, glad you liked a non 'Kale kills everybody' chapter, which is good, because most of his super rampaging is done for a while. Again I'm sorry if bringing this thread back up annoys anybody

Silk

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Re: 03-09-09 Hamster Soul Taker Chapters 3-4
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2009, 08:30:26 AM »
It could just be because I'm not getting much connection to Kale's character just yet, but his callous killer act is starting to feel a little overdone. He's the dark, brooding killer who doesn't just the kill the guard but kicks the corpse contemptuously down the street, etcetera.

I lose track of what's happening quickly after Kale is confronted by the Helmsmen in Asper's home. Kale is studying someone pathetic in front of him--one of the Helmsmen? I would assume that he's referring to the barfing guys, except there are two of those. Then he turns away and you write that "the unruly Helmsmen were gone", but just after you finsh that sentence one of the helmsmen addresses Kale.

Glass showering overtop of Kale's head should give him a fair few cuts.

We have no idea what Kale's escape from the castle entailed or how long it's taken him to get where he is now.

I find it odd that the two disappeared/drunk Helmsmen didn't stay to help their fellows. Alternatively, if they were that frightened, why didn't the just buzz off when they had the chance?

Since as far as I can recall you didn't use chapter headings at the start of any other chapters, this poem at the top of chapter four sticks out a bit, especially because of its length. It's not a huge problem, but it still might be better to keep it consistent. You may also be able to conve y what you want with a smaller excerpt, which would probably feel less noticeable.

I'm starting to wonder a bit about the Darkness: how quickly does it go through Taken souls? is it a sentient being? These aren't questions that I need the answers to right now, but at this point in the story, wih the magic being so prominent, we need to start getting some information fairly soon.

The dream/flashback sequence seems a little too easy as a revealing device; partially because it's--well, not overdone necessarily, but done often; and partially, I think, because of the quanitity of information we get here. It still reads a bit like an infodump, and if nothing else dreams aren't usually that coherent. Nor do we necessarily need to get all of this information at once; you can string us along for a long time on bits and pieces provided that they're the right bits and pieces.

Speaking of the right bits and pieces, some of the information here raises some interesting questions. The most prominent one in my mind right now is just who the heck is Kale, if these guys have come to him asking him--expecting him--to reignite a war. Again, this is a question that doesn't need to be answered right away--in fact, in this case, it's probably better if you don't.

Still in the dream sequence, Kale seems to take a rather quick turnabout from angry defiance to "yes, I'll do anything". Since I get the impression that he was genuinely resisting at first and not just spewing defiance for form's sake, his sudden switch to obedience doesn't ring true. All they did was grab his arms--at least have them rip off his wife's shirt or something. :P

Another thing i'm starting to wonder--what are these peoples' views on an afterlife? Specifically, I'm wondering how these people view the afterlife for those whose souls have been Taken. This isn't information that I would put in the absolutely-must-have camp for right now, but it would be nice to give us some context for the death of Kale's wife.

I'm still not there with Kale. Probably because I'd already figured on him having a tragic, tortured past (and as Frog pointed out, we've seen him commit atrocity after atrocity by this point). While I see that this is an important part of him, I would rather know more about his motivations and feelings now, at the time the story takes place, since that's something we know almost nil about.

I had the same comment as Frog did about Kale's becoming a Soul Taker--I don't really understand the mechanics behind it, or even if there are mechanics behind it at all.

I also agree with Frog in that by this point, I want a greater sense of the story's direction. I don't know where it's going or what the major conflict is; don't really even have much hint of it.

That's about all from me, hope it helps. :)