Author Topic: July 13 , Sons of Keepers  (Read 1583 times)

ApocRK

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July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« on: July 13, 2009, 10:40:51 PM »
Hey guys, post what you thin here I guess :)

I'm not too good at grammar but I'm seriously trying to learn. So if you could point out the most reoccurring mistakes and the most obvious ones that would help me a lot :)

Also can you tell me how you interpreted the setting and people? I was going for a barbarian/Beowulf sort of thing in this part of my world

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 10:43:58 PM »
Ok, I pin-pointed the source of my bad mood and dealt with it suitably (but politely). ;D

Overall: You're not showing us much, if any, character motivation.  Yes, there's action, and it's interesting in terms of getting the plot going, but as the characters are all acting insensibly, it kinda leaves me going  ???

Some examples of this are the messenger boy not knowing about King Heldon's inexplicable dislike of being touched, who Yoren is and why he is in line for the throne, why Gebron doesn't like Stitcher when (apparently) he's been trying to avoid the role of Heir for quite some time, why exactly Stitcher hates the nobles (there's gotta be more to it than their filthiness and greed), and why he would jeopardize his disguise of "harmless idiot" simply to offer polite help to a nonentity right after glaring at servants who simply dared to smile at him.  Once again...  ???  Internal narrative could be very useful for clearing these things up.

Other than that, the descriptions you give us could be streamlined a lot more.  Take your introduction of the Ounman, for example.  You start by calling him a man, build your descriptions on that form, and then at the end of the paragraph label him a monster.  Why not start the description with the phrase you used at the end of the paragraph: "a monster, something resembling man but it would never be mistaken as one."  Suddenly, the whole paragraph flows a lot better.

As for setting: to some extent you hit the "barbarian" theme dead on, though it could definitely be emphasized more: lack of napkins, old stains on rich clothing, stench, dim dank halls, small rooms, smoking torches, rushes on the floor, etc.  You put a lot of that in the first few paragraphs, but casual mentions of things like that throughout the narrative will help underscore the impression.

I'm also getting the idea that the countries surrounding the Red Fields are much more "civilized," with the distinct impression that they want some barbarians to do their dirty work for them.  Not sure if that's the message you wanted to send, but that's what I'm picking up.

Pretty good beginning, plot wise.  Look forward to reading more!
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 12:22:10 AM by RavenstarRHJF »
A crown does not a King make, nor the lack of one a commoner.

ApocRK

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 02:17:24 AM »
oh thats perfect, just the stuff i needed to know :)

I already have some great ideas on how to fix the problem with the messanger boy, the Ounman description, and adding some internal narrative to clear up Stitcher's motivation. The thing about Gebron and Stitcher's hatred is that a lot of it is related to Stitcher's mother. And since she is such a vital part to how he is as a character if I mentioned her at all it would have either become an infodump or it would have just sparked more questions.

Also the part with the servants, do you think that if I made the smiles mocking and sort of an insult then introduced an innocent character, the messenger, it would work out better? Since Stitcher is going to have an inner conflict to help someone who hasnt caused him harm but also the need to keep up his persona?

And yah, civilization outside of the Red fields (which is kind of enclosed by a river) is much more civilized. Someone is trying to take advantage of them, there are a lot of driving forces behind the decision to use them that I plan on revealing slowly. Also There is this fruit that I'm trying to introduce in chapter 4 that's native to my world, its a sort of secret ingredient thats helped propel civilization outside the Red Fields a lot, almost to a Renaissance type of time. (they can make everything from the fruit, preservatives for food, cures for diseases, paint that keeps houses cooler, things like that. It gives the world a new dimension.)

Thanks for the help!  :) I'll be sure to fix the stuff and add more details like the ones you mentioned, it will certainly give this chapter more depth :)

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2009, 03:08:56 AM »
Making the servants mocking would help explain his reaction, but in my humble opinion, there's still a contradiction.  You can't do both, you see.  You can make him pretend to be an idiot raised with an exaggerated view of his own importance- that would explain the arrogant glare- but then he wouldn't bother helping a nobody errand boy.  Or, you could make him a simpleton too dense to understand when people are mocking him, and that would fit with innocently helping a little boy who's fallen down.  But you can't have it both ways, because that would betray him to the servants, and servants talk.   :-\

Either way you do it, though, internal conflict will definitely help us understand his actions.

That fruit of yours sounds intriguing...
A crown does not a King make, nor the lack of one a commoner.

ApocRK

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 03:34:59 AM »
Making the servants mocking would help explain his reaction, but in my humble opinion, there's still a contradiction.  You can't do both, you see.  You can make him pretend to be an idiot raised with an exaggerated view of his own importance- that would explain the arrogant glare- but then he wouldn't bother helping a nobody errand boy.  Or, you could make him a simpleton too dense to understand when people are mocking him, and that would fit with innocently helping a little boy who's fallen down.  But you can't have it both ways, because that would betray him to the servants, and servants talk.   :-\

Either way you do it, though, internal conflict will definitely help us understand his actions.

That fruit of yours sounds intriguing...

Yeah I was trying to go for the latter of your examples but by accident it seems that arrogance seeped through into his faux personality.

And yeah the fruit plays a very crucial role, the economy and state of countries in a way depends on it. Instead of trading daughters and sons to marry foreign leaders to strengthen treaties, they trade formulas for making medicine/ all sorts of goodies with the fruit.

I thought that adding some sort of magical element that can be controlled by governments and businesses (the forumulas) will allow them to be more independent from the actual magic guys that I'm introducing later.

Silk

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 07:12:53 AM »
The second paragraph in is basically all infodump. It's a fairly minor infraction as infodumps go--normally I wouldn't be worried about it, except for its placement; the second paragraph isn't the time to be loading your readers down with all that stuff. At this point, I'd almost rather you just say "They had all sworn allegiance towards his father a year ago after a nation past the river threatened to take over the Red Fields" and tell us what the Red Fields are later, if it's important. Of course, I'm treating this as a chapter one, since this is the only chapter I have in front of me. Still, it might be worth considering; I prefer information in bits and pieces rather than all at once, usually, that way it's easier to keep the momentum going.

"He put on his most arrogant look and ignored them; he had heard the rumors about him. He didn’t care." Nice characterization here. In fact, I think this is the most we;ve seen of Stitcher yet.

"Stitcher quickly learned that nothing delighted him more than to see the scum of scum uprooted from their most comfortable position, sitting." Haha.

"[the swords] occasionally dragged along the ground causing a distinct screech that was a trademark of the army’s elite. They called it the devil’s hiss." Nice detail.

I thought the place you ended the chapter was a good place to leave off.

This isn't something to worry about in a first draft so much as it's just worth keeping in mind, but stylistically I think you'd to well to vary the length of your sentences some--you have a lot of sentences that are basically the same length and it does get noticeable after awhile. Again, not something that I'd worry too much about right now--I mention it because personally, I find it helpful to keep these sorts of things in the back of my mind while I write, even if I don't actively spend a lot of time on them. Maybe it will help you too.

At this point, my biggest criticism is that I haven't seen enough of the characters--particularly your POV, since he's the only one so far that I can say with any certainy will be important--but it would be nice to see more characterization not only of Stitcher, but of some of the others, at least of Heldon. And my biggest compliment would be the easy humour that comes through in some of these lines; it doesn't feel forced at all, and doesn't detract from the overall more serious tone of the piece either.

I don't have much else to say at this point, save for "keep going". The story seems just begun.

In response to other comments, I think Ravenstar mostly nailed anything I might have brought up. And yes, I also feel that the Beowulf/Nordic setting could use a little reinforcing.

Frog

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Re: July 13 , Sons of Keepers
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2009, 12:35:26 AM »
Thoughts while Reading:
Quote
Expensive furs and leathers were draped over their corpulent figures, they didn’t care for when food fell on clothing that could feed families for years if sold.
Awk sentence.

It is very telly in the beginning.

How is Stitcher related to Yoren?
Quote
A little boy in the green shirt associated with the army’s messagers came running in. The little boy ran straight into Stitcher and tripped on his leg. The little boy sprawled on the ground beside him, Stitcher bent down and help him up. “I’m terribly sorry,” said Stitcher. The little boy stared wide eyed at him and then started to back up, heading towards the kings chair, then started running towards him.
You have a tendency to repeat yourself with the internal thought and narration. This is just one example.

Quote
“Why of course I did!” Defended Yoren, apparently shocked at the accusation
Implied.

The action is harder to follow because it is a blow-by-blow discription within a very long paragraph.

It seems really odd to me that the beast would talk like that. No apparent accent or alternate phrasing, just the same method everyone else is using.

That seems like a very weird way to break it.... Personally, I would leave off the last paragraph and stop where you have the line.

Overall impression:
I liked this chapter a little better than the last one, but basically my criticism is going to be the same as the others and my last critique. Good concepts, just needs some execution work is all. And yes, I was definitely getting 'barbarian.'
Good Luck! :D
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