Author Topic: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF  (Read 1456 times)

RavenstarRHJF

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July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« on: July 06, 2009, 01:34:26 PM »
Let me know if anyone didn't get the email- I think I updated the list with all the new people.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

EDIT:  I just noticed that I apparently randomly switched the spelling of Taq's name in this submission.  Just to let you know it's not supposed to be T-A-K, and that it's been changed in the original.  Sorry!  :P
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 01:37:47 PM by RavenstarRHJF »
A crown does not a King make, nor the lack of one a commoner.

ApocRK

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 02:04:48 AM »
I felt like this chapter wasn't really fitting well with the rest of the story, Meles and the Twins are fighting for their lives and the characters that have the power to help them are kind of sitting around and talking. This early on in the story  I think it would be better to have a little more things being done by Taq. Then have the slow moving parts of the story happen when the characters are not in danger (or when the characters in the slow moving parts don't know that others are in danger). I just didn't feel the urgency Taq must have been feeling when I read this.

Also something I noticed is that alot of your names have the letter K at the begining or at the end. Not sure If your doing this on purpose but I'm getting the feeling that its just 1 person making the names up and that they are not byproducts of the culture like they should be.  Also im not sure if others have noticed but Qwerlik's name sounds a lot like Qwerty and that just keeps jolting me out of the book and back into reality. Its like having a character named Microsoftlik, it reminds me of something that should only belong in our world and It just yanks me out of the story.

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 03:26:42 AM »
Thanks for the critiques- you're definitely right about the lack of urgency.  I'll work on that.

About 'Qwerlik'... LOL!  Your description just made me laugh.  I don't know if I'll change it, but it's good to know that it's a problem for you (would it help if I changed the spelling?).  Names in general are pretty fluid at this point, except for the main four (Taq, Meles, Kodak, and Kreel)- and yes, there is a method to the madness there. 

Again, thanks for reading!
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Frog

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 12:18:00 AM »
Another late critique by Frog :P

Thoughts while reading:
How does one look for ephemeral cords?

Somehow the word 'constable' seems out of place in your world....

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Tolan had to preside over the closing ceremony
I might be interested in knowing more about that... If it ever relates that is.

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“You put me in an interesting position- I had to find a way to combine two different sets of classes!”
“I am sorry, Adele, things… aah,” he sighed as he sat down for the first time since the Council meeting that morning.  “Things have been… interesting,” he finished. 
“So I hear,” Adele replied.  Her posture was relaxed, but by no means uninterested.
Word choice. And a lot of the internal thought following this section (or rather, explanations of the characters actions) seem unnecessary and very telly.... Add in a few more concrete details instead. I still want some help visualizing everything.

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“I am pleased to meet you, madam,” he said, noticing that she hadn’t given him her name.  “Meles is an excellent student, I’m very…”
This seems off. Meles' current condition would seem a more appropriate topic to me than his school progress.

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“The Council is in an uproar, and I am told it has something to do with my son.  I want to know why you let him do anything that would put him at odds with the Council!” she demanded.  Up to now she had kept her emotions in check, but with that her eyes began to tinge pinkish.  Extremely annoyed then.
This, and other similiar places in this scene, is a great opportunity to completely get rid of the dialogue tag.

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Tak was getting more enraged the longer he talked with this… female.
This is an great emotion. Show it, don't tell it. The dialogue in this section overall seems overly long. People, when they are upset, don't make a lot of speeches. They make quick statements, interrupt each other and use a lot of body language which might be especially interesting since these are lizards. At the very least, tell me what Taq is doing while this woman is yelling at him.

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But the interview with Meles’ mother, his realization of an ingrained distaste for questioning authority, the Council’s reaction to the information that the Junction might be active, as well as their total disregard for the health of his students, the shock that Tolan had collaborated with the Council to keep the Boundary up- taken individually these things would have had little effect on him, but combined they irrevocably changed his worldview. 
To just tell us the change in Tak character outright like that cheapens the significance to me. There has to be better ways for you to show this and do it artfully. I really want an emotional attachment to your characters and I don't feel I have that quite yet.

I did like how you ended this scene though. What is Taq going to do?  :o

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arguing with a distraught female a deep orange color, almost a red. 
Who/what is a deep orange color? Take some time to reorganize that sentence.

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The female was showing all the signs of barely controlled panic- turbulent eye-colors, nostrils pinched almost shut, and evidence of flaking around the aural membrane and eyes from stress-induced shedding. 
Great details in the section....

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Seems to think he should concentrate more on the family business than…
We already know this, so you can skip it here.

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I thought that surely his teachers would know if they’d been in classes today, but the secretary wouldn’t let me talk with any of them!”
How did Meles' mother get to his teacher so easily when she can't? And no effort was made to contact any of these women before they had to go barging off to the officials?

Overall impression:
Now, to go along with ApocRK a little bit, I am going to tell you that while I enjoyed these individual scenes, so far the most exciting thing to happen in your story happened in the first few pages. I am not one that needs nonstop action to enjoy a book, but your action and tension should be escalating and I worry that you are allowing it level off here too much. My suggestions are that you take some more time to develop your important characters and society (especially the school since it seems to be your focus) before Meles breaches the boundary so we can move through them faster now that all our focus is drawn to the trio and the boundary breach.
Try to combine minor events and characters so they all have multiple uses and your scenes seem fuller (for example, do we really need two mother freak out scenes? Can't you combine them or have one happen off screen?).You have a lot of POVs, which can be fun, but I worry about doing it so early when I am still waiting for a strong connection with just one or two characters. Show me where your focus is. Honestly, unless you have a way justify it, I would suggest completely dropping the Tolan scene and putting more into the Taq scene so we can get a strong emotion bond to him. Meles' mother interested me more than the twins' (more conflict there. :P).
Thanks for sharing progress. I really like your story concept and look forward to seeing more.  :D
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 01:54:14 AM by Frog »
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Silk

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 08:41:34 AM »
I'm glad you mentioned the inadvertent spelling change to Taq's name... I'm so tired by this point that I thought I was hallucinating. Also, I'm not going back and changing the spelling in my crit, because I'm lazy.

'When the Academy had first been built... Tak’s office was on the second floor..." The beginning of the paragraph  I quoted seems a bit infodumpy, but it's a pretty minor infraction as far as infodumps go. You cuold probably smooth out this transition simply by switching parts of this paragraph around; describing the revelent bits of the Academy's engineering after you've established that Tak's office is on the second floor and that he's going there, etc.

"The more he saw of this woman, the more he finally understood Meles’ need to prove himself." Tak's thought, but I'm not sure it really needs to be said.

"But the interview with Meles’ mother, his realization of an ingrained distaste for questioning authority, the Council’s reaction to the information that the Junction might be active, as well as their total disregard for the health of his students, the shock that Tolan had collaborated with the Council to keep the Boundary up- taken individually these things would have had little effect on him, but combined they irrevocably changed his worldview." A couple of things here; I had a bit of trouble keeping up with all the clauses in this sentence, and the last bit, where Tak comes right out and says that his worldview has been irrevocably changed, seems a bit off.

Brita leaves the room with this line: "'Mothers,' and left it at that." You have a scene break after it. I don't think you need one.

Juana says, "I made them promise to at least leave us a note with basic information- where they had gone..." The "basic information" part sounds stilted and awkward. The rest of ths line is fine, though.

"...he said hastily as [Juana] began to sway against her support..." Her support? Is she leaning against something? Or did you mean to say “his” support, meaning Tolan’s, and I missed it?

Since I'm out of things to say (miracles do happen) I'm just going to go through the other comments and quote them so it looks like I'm actually doing my job. ::)

I think ApocRK is right--there could be a greater sense of urgency in this chapter. And helplessness, maybe. It's fine that Tolan and Taq don't know how to help the others--at least for now--but there should be a great deal of frustration and fear that comes with that.

Frog quoted this line, "I am pleased to meet you, madam...Meles is an excellent student, I’m very…", saying that it seemed off, and that he would more likely say something about Meles's condition. I disagree. It's an awkward, uncomfortable situation, one that he's not going to know how to deal with, so I can't blame him for beating around the bush. Aside from which, it's not exactly a good way to greet someone when you don't know them, don't know what they know, and have no way of guessing what their reaction will be.

Frog also brought up whether we need two "mother freakout scenes", and my answer is, well... maybe. What the two different scenes do so far as I'm concerned, is not just show us the family freakout scene, since the families ought freak out, but it establishes two very different characters. I would argue that we need to see Meles's mother, as we need to see what's driving him (though you can probably take out some of the lines talking about how horrible she is, or how she obviously drives Meles to be the way he is; we get it). And the contrast between Meles's mother and Juana is nice. But... do we need it? The contrast is already kind of implied, since we know that Juana makes the twins leave her a note. (Um, that was in this version somewhere, wasn't it?)

My instinct is still to keep it. I think it's nice to see the contrast made explicit (though again, you could probably cut some details here--we already know that Juana makes her sons leave a note) and the details you included in this scene were nice. More than that, you're taking her to be with the boys. I don't know if this is going to be plot-important--right now, I actually have the sense that it's not--but since I don't know yet, I'm reserving judgement. Besides, even if it doesn't end up hugely impacting the plot, having the mother there could do a lot to add the urgency and the tension that people are missing. Of course, then you have to be careful that you're not just using her as a cheap device to maintain tension; she'd have to have some sort of purpose, even a minor one.

Then again, if you particularly want her in the infirmary I suppose you could just have Tolan drag her there after she's collapsed or whatever. Decisions, decisions...

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2009, 04:00:02 AM »
Decisions indeed.  I decided to put my appreciation of your tireless work criticizing my story here, on the last submission, rather than continue replying to every thread.  Saves time.

Some of this was written when I didn't have a completed outline.  Now I do.  I think we need to see both of these characters, but now I know I can do that in other places and have it work just as well.  Some of these issues, particularly the introspection and stuff were more me, the author, figuring out what's just happened in this scene.  Probably not something you'd want to include in a rough draft, but I will admit I'm still learning- this being my first serious attempt at writing a complete book.

That said, these problems have made it onto the list and will be addressed in first re-write.

And thank you!  Very much! ;D
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Silk

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2009, 04:12:04 AM »
Well, I wouldn't say tireless. I was pretty braindead by the time I finished critiquing all those.

Of course, anyone who knows me could tell you I'm braindead pretty much all the time anyway. ::)

I dunno, a rough draft seems like a pretty good place to me for figuring out what's happening in a scene. Way better a place for it than the final draft. :P

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2009, 04:43:02 AM »
Well, I wouldn't say tireless. I was pretty braindead by the time I finished critiquing all those.

Of course, anyone who knows me could tell you I'm braindead pretty much all the time anyway. ::)

Braindead?  Naaahh...

I dunno, a rough draft seems like a pretty good place to me for figuring out what's happening in a scene.

Well.. perhaps not one you're submitting for other people to read and criticize. ;)
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ErikHolmes

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 03:12:18 AM »
My biggest piece of advice after reading this chapter (and I've recently started learning this lesson myself): Show, don't tell!

I'm sure you've heard that before, I know I have. But I still catch myself doing it a lot too. The biggest example I can can of is when we are told that Taq's entire worldview has been changed. I know something like that can be hard to show, but I'd rather see his thoughts, and get that impression myself, then to just be told that's what happened.

Also, I have to agree with the others about the sense of urgency  and tension in this chapter. Frankly, I don't know if I can buy that Taq would even go to his class with all of the things going on (although you did mention that he wanted to go to the working room, if thats at the school (I forget) then I could see this happening.

Even still, maybe it would be better to have him head right for the working room, and have everyone from the chapter come searching for him down there? It puts him right where the readers want him, and the mothers and the Lik interrupting him could add to the tension.

All in all, I'm still enjoying reading the story! Hell, if I was reading this as a book I'd just bought, none of the above would really bother me honestly. I'm just trying to think of things that could help make it better.

And I've been reading all Jim Butchers The Dresden Files lately, I can't put them down! I've read like 4 of them in the last two weeks. If you want to see good examples of urgency and tension, he might be the best in the genre!
Who the hell is interrupting my Kung Fu!

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 6th, The Junction, Chapter 3/4- RavenstarRHJF
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 04:33:50 AM »
Thanks for the advice.  I haven't read any of The Dresden Files.  But I think I know what to do to heighten the urgency here...

And you guys are all right about Taq's change of heart.  It's an important moment for him, but it needs some serious work.  Thanks for all the criticism!
A crown does not a King make, nor the lack of one a commoner.