Author Topic: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2  (Read 1323 times)

Chaos

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4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« on: April 29, 2009, 11:00:09 AM »
Okay, so I know it's fashionably late, but revisions took much longer than expected. It added a good 8 more pages. I think the writing in this draft is far superior, but you can be the judge of it.

I mostly wanted to submit it as soon as I got it done because it's due 7pm tonight, so if you have the time or desire to read it before that point, thank you so much! If not, no big deal, I still want to know what you think here.

Sorry for the repeat submission, though. I'll churn out something new soon.

Old version = 3800 words long
New version = 6700 words long

I apologize for the length. It wasn't particularly practical to split it, as it's due later... today, I guess (it's not Tuesday anymore :P). Besides, I think if I split it around the 4000 word mark, you would just hate me so much.

Anywho, rip it to shreds.
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Silk

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 09:47:32 PM »
Comments for you, in no particular order:

"This Immortal was not the god who raped and murdered Samira—though Veresh was not entirely certain—" Saying definitively that this was not the Immortal he was after, then immediately following that by saying Veresh wasn't certain, reads awkwardly.

Veresh thinks of Anarax as a "merficul, trustworthy god", but seems to have a prominent distrust of gods in general, and so far as I can tell hasn't had any contact with Anarax at all until they meet at the Pit of Damnation. If you want to have Veresh pray to Anarax here, why not have him think of the service he's planning to do for Anarax in freeing him? Or, wait, he hadn't decided to do that yet. But something about how he hoped this god was less fickle than the others, since Veresh was going to him for help. Or something.

After Mithra names Samira's killer, you write, "Hassan looked into the decrepit god's eyes, almost afraid." This sentence really bugged me the first time I read it; I was going to suggest deleting it. Now, of course, I see that osmething like it needs to be there, but it reads awkwardly. I think this is because it feels almost like a POV shift here, from Veresh to Hassan, just for that one sentence.

I thought initially that Veresh went too quickly from denial to blame after learning who killed Samira; I don't think so now, but I do think the part where he moans about cruel, cruel gods and collapses to the sand is a little too over the top.

There are a couple of tiny hints in here that Mithra and Hassan are both more than they seem and that they both recognize each other, nicely handled in terms of character dynamics. I would actually like to see a bit more tension between the two of them. It doesn't have to be anything revealing - in fact I don't think it should be - but the two of them taking (what seems like) an instant delight to each other would emphasize what's already there without making it too obvious and leave us that more prepared for the ending. It would also distract a bit from Veresh's mental agony, which, while I don't think it's overdone (except where specifically cited :P), is basically all we're getting from the story right now.

Speaking of hints and preparing for the ending, in terms of Hassan being a manifestation of Rashne, I wouldn't mind seeing a hint of that earlier on. Since Hassan is the form Rashne took to prevent Veresh from losing it after Samira died, I presume that Veresh only met Hassan after his wife's death. This is never made explicit in the text, however. Even a short paragraph on how Veresh and Hassan met, presumably just after Samira was killed, with something about how Hassan stopped Veresh from killing himself, would be enough, I think.

You allude at one point to a fight between Veresh and Samira, but never get too deep into it. I'd like to see a little more of it, probably at the climax where he learns the truth of her death. You mention that she was "simply sick of Veresh and needed a change". This seems really, really thin when weighed against the fact that Rashne apparenty warned her of the consequences; I have a hard time believing that she actually would have done so. Not to mention that her shacking up with her husband's patron god just because she "wanted a change" makes her seem less than sympathetic, which I'm not certain helps you here. A little more about Veresh and Samira and what happened between them would help, I think.

I wonder a bit about the Fateless thing, particularly since you're using it as a title. There is a lot of emphasis on the fact that Veresh is Fateless early on and all the way up to the climax itself, where it basically vanishes. We find out explicity what the Fateless are, which was nice, but other than that the concept of Fateless, and the fact that Varesh is one, seems to have no bearing on the climax itself. I'm not certain how much this damages your story, if it does at all. The conclusion was satisfying in other ways; I'm just trying to decide if finding out what the Fateless are is enough to resolve that particular thread. Something to think about.

I like the Oathbound magic system. Some of the things Mithra - and later, Anarax - said sort of implied that the Gods had to speak truth (in the same way that Aes Sedai always speak truth, it seemed to me). I don't NEED this to be the case with your magic system, but if it is, it would be nice to see it made explicit in the text because I thought it was a cool idea.

I think that's all. Hope this is in time enough to help with your assignment.

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 10:10:00 PM »
Good job!  Very well fleshed out from the original.  Really, the only things I noticed that needed changing were a couple of places where you appeared to leave out a word or two, and some places that needed rephrasing.  

I really liked the change to Rashne's motivation, and the bigger part you gave to Hassan.  Also, the ending feels right in a way the other didn't- good job foreshadowing!

The places you left out words:
Quote
...Veresh saw such divine power almost daily, but that two months ago.
Quote
“I believe you will be suffice for what we require,” Hassan said.
Quote
Veresh had no idea to free Anarax

Places that need rephrasing:
Quote
The god manifested himself into an old man.
"as" instead of "himself into"

Quote
Veresh's momentum brought him through, tackling into the god. The two flew back almost to where Hassan stood, moving a distance that felt impossible, like the Immortal weighed nothing.
I'd combine those two sentences.  And "tackling" is a very modern word that detracts from the setting.  "flying leap" would probably be a better choice.

Quote
“I knew you would attack me sooner or later, Fateless. Fateless have a tendency to do surprising things like capture Immortals.
The second use of Fateless should be changed to something like "Men like you"

Quote
Veresh violently slapped Hassan's hand away and struck him in the skull.
... and punched him in the head.  Skull is very specific and makes me think Hassan doesn't have any skin... :P

Quote
Of course Rashne performed the crime.
Crimes are something you commit, more than you perform.

Quote
That must have been Veresh's true motives. Somehow, Veresh deluded himself, pushing that thought to the back of his mind, content in thinking he needed Anarax for the power of Sight.
Replace "Veresh" with "His" and remove the 's' on "motives" and you'll have it right.  Veresh is thinking to himself here- and there's no prior evidence that he does it in third person. ;)

Quote
...because then I might just do something so insane for vengeance.
or crazy...

Quote
Veresh did not respond.
Um, ok.  Mithra's next sentence indicates that he didn't respond because he was depressed because the task was impossible, but... we don't really know.

Quote
If he had just a little more time, he could have fixed things.
Either "If he had had" or "If he'd been granted"

Quote
you don't need to do anything you do not need to do.
repeating yourself.  "You don't have to do anything you do not need to do."

Quote
In return, I wish to free release, Your Reverence.
Free you, or release you, but not both

Quote
for any oath I take is will be opposed
delete 'is'

Quote
Rashne's face melted into terror.
Perhaps better to say "expression" than "face"

Like I said- good job overall.  I'd like to see some more of the conflict between Veresh and Samira- something more concrete than "she got tired of him"  Why did she get tired of him?  And why choose to sleep with his patron god?  And how many know such a thing is even possible?  Veresh was his priest, yet only saw him once... what was Rashne doing over at Samira's anyway?  Trying to get her to go back to Veresh?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 10:17:15 PM by RavenstarRHJF »
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Chaos

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 10:28:54 PM »
Dang it, I was trying so hard to not have these awful sentence gaffes! Curses!

If the ending felt right, Ravenstar, then I think the story, overall, is a success. Makes me happy :D

I think I know exactly what to do. It seems that the Veresh/Samira collapse needs to be more fully realized, which shouldn't be too hard to do. I know exactly where to enhance it.
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Renoard

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 10:04:46 AM »
You certainly succeeded in changing the genre from myth to short story.  You also managed to handle a lot of the foreshadowing well.  That said, I didn't like it.  The switch in genre' was accompanied by a weaker writing style over all.  Where the myth was poetic, the poetic elements in the short story tend to hurt rather than enhance the narrative.

I would reiterate the language issues that Ravenstar mentioned and would add the following:
immolation in something external and overpowering.  I can see the need for a strong word to describe burning but immolation calls to mind someone burning at the stake and I expected it to be debilitating, and produce something visible.

"That brought a tear to his eyes. "
This sounds like an old man reminiscing about the good old days on the grid iron, not a vengeful killer contemplating his motive.

This ending was significantly weaker than the other one.  Several character issues that in turn translate to plot  issues:
1)Rashne changed from godlike to codependent.
2)It is difficult to believe that the sight could at once lead Varesh to repent of his vengeance, forgive Rashne and turn suicidal in such a short time.  Even if there were indications that he was suicidal from the beginning, that would not fix this issue, because the forgiving spirit and suicide are antithetical mind sets.
3)After such a long time contemplating vengeance, why isn't his vengeance simply turned toward this "Lord of God's" who coerced the oath to kill a God's lovers?  Why kill the lover and not abort the fetus, why not prevent conception in the first place. Power to change for, but not make oneself sterile?  Difficult to accept or believe.
4) Rashne just sits and twiddles his thumbs after Anarax's apparent suicide and doesn't take action to prevent that power from Varesh?  All the pleading? Not Godlike.
5)Consciousness bound to power, existing in a cloud of tessellating particles, but it leaves a corpse behind?

Over all not as good as the last effort, though fixable with rewrites.  I suspect the desire to drive home the concept of guilty suicide and a defense of the adulterous wife distracted you from the basic rules of writing. Soapboxes can be slippery platforms. :)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 09:55:05 PM by Renoard »
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Chaos

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 02:43:39 AM »
Thanks for reading, Renoard. That was a very helpful critique.

However, could you tell me how you felt the writing was a soapbox? I'm not entirely sure I understand what you meant there. Could you point out specific examples of that?
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Renoard

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 02:54:16 AM »
I'm sorry that was supposed to inject a bit of humor to soften the blow.  What I meant was that the tone of the concluding scene had a slightly preachy aspect, and that the moral argument trampled the narrative.  It sort of summarizes the previous points.

It's not easy to deal with such a negative reaction from a reader, and I don't mean to be discouraging.  I was just trying to give my honest reaction.  Sometimes trying to tell the same story in a new genre, doesn't work the first time through.  What was inspired in one genre' takes sweating blood to slog through in another.

None of my comments were intended to go beyond this one version of this one story, and the author who died as soon as he hit send on his email client.
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Chaos

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2009, 03:07:55 AM »
Oh no, I'm not discouraged. I was really afraid that everyone would find the ending appalling--I expect bad critiques! I really do appreciate your feedback, and I hope I didn't sound condescending in my last post. That was not my intention at all. I just wanted to ask for clarification because your entire critique was very well thought out and made every bit of sense with exception of the soapbox comment. It just threw me off a little.

More to the point, I'm really wondering in what ways it felt preachy to you. I can partially see where you are getting this, but I have no idea how I was preaching, or even what I was preaching. That's what I was trying to ask :P

Seriously though, negative reactions are extremely helpful and I'm very glad you could provide that viewpoint. It really brought up a few things that I need to look at more closely.
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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 08:23:55 AM »
I agree with Ravenstar; I think Veresh was granted the means at just the right time, when the fire of revenge had sort of lost its meaning. In that moment, I'm willing to believe that he was capable of doing exactly what he did. However.

(There always is one, isn't there?)

I'm not going back on my earlier statement; I still think the ending works. I would, however, like to add a qualifier. Now that I think about it, it seems to me thatthe ending works for me on an intellectual level and not so much a visceral one. Not that I rebelled against it, either, but upon reflection I do think you could make it click in more ways than it does currently.

Maybe there's an opportunity in there to show us the moment in which it all comes together - the truth of his wife's murder, the realization that Hassan is not what he thought, this sudden, unfamiliar power he has - in a way that's so overwhelming he simply has no choice. The moment of decision, I suppose.  (I realize that he's been entertaining suicidal thoughts all along, but that's nowhere near the same as committing to it.) Maybe that will help fill the hole Renoard is noticing.

And all of that is probably much easier said than done. Hopefully it helps...?

ryos

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2009, 07:12:46 AM »
Better in some ways, worse in others, still not quite there.

I very much liked the change to the story of Samira's death, and Rashne's motivations. It made things much more satisfying. I did not, however, really care for the suicide, and Renoard helped me put my finger one why.

The mythic feel is missing from this draft of the story. Veresh's suicide is not caravan campfire story material. What if, instead, he swore an oath to prevent the copulation of mortals and gods, that none other might share Samira's fate?

I also agree that Samira's motives for what is effectively suicide were a little weak. What if she wanted to stick it to Veresh? To forever taint his relationship with his god, which devotion had ruined their marriage?

This draft muddied the waters of why Anarax needed a mortal at all. He dies well before Veresh takes the power; why didn't he simply surrender his consciousness long ago?

Finally, many language issues persist. Would you be interested in a line edit? It would be a few days before I get the time for it...
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Chaos

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Re: 4/29/09 - Chaos - Fateless, draft 2
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 05:10:13 PM »
Thanks for reading, ryos! I think I got the line edit issues sorted out, for the most part.
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