Author Topic: 13 July - Knight on the Rim  (Read 1621 times)

little wilson

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13 July - Knight on the Rim
« on: July 14, 2009, 08:00:41 AM »
Reviews for my short, Knight of the Rim...Again, sorry it was so long. Thanks for reading and reviewing!
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ApocRK

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 08:46:59 PM »
Woah one long read :P but I liked it. There were only a few things that kind of bothered me though, mainly was the absence of their motivation. I would have liked to have known more on what his organizations cause is and why they fight with the Crashers.  Basically, a little more background on the conflict would have been nice.

Also there was one more thing that irked me, how the parents of the girl let 3 strangers live in their house for 3 days and then a few weeks later how they let them come and take their son away,  itseemed very unrealistic.

And here are some mistakes I spotted
Quote
The blonde man pointed to a set of foot-prints. “Those are hers.”
Since the characters are in a city setting with buildings and concrete it would have been nice if you added an extra detail concerning to where the footprints were. In the dust from the rubble? or were they prints on the pavement made from her dirty shoes?

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and she lived in a little city about 40 miles to the east on Long Island
instead of saying little city you can just say the actual place.

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Gabe was only eleven when it was destroyed, but he remembered the fireballs over New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Cairo, and Moscow.
It sounds like he was in all those cities when it happened, maybe if you put "seeing on tv" or something like that.

Quote
The left sleeve of his shirt was missing and his whole arm was red and blistered with what looked to Gabe to be a first-degree burn
Blisters are characteristics of second degree burns, and if they do appear on first degree burns (which they rarely do) it's usually at the end stages of the healing process

Quote
The black skyline of New York rose sharply to the west of him
Wasn't sure what that meant, were you talking about the city and the buildings?

Quote
"I don’t really want to mess with them, regardless of how boring this,” he motioned around the room, “is.”
This dialogue break sort of took me out of the action since it happened in between dialogue that doesn't necessarily need a pause.  I think it could have been better if you wrote something along the lines of:   -this is," his final words accompanied by a gesture that captured the whole room.

And during the scene where Adam and Gabe play chess and he wins the second game, I think that the conversation would have been better during the midgame and not at the end. Chess isn't something that you can lose at suddenly, you can kind of see how the game is playing out and whether or not your winning or losing. It would have been fairly obvious to spot that Adam was using unconventional methods during the midgame/ late in the opening.

Here are just a few simple mistakes I found( just a few that were kind of hard to miss). I'm going to just highlight them in red because once they are pointed out you'll be able to see whats wrong.
Quote
It tipped precariously and Gabe steadied them

Quote
He sat there, breathing and feeling the cool, yet stagnant air in the room, until Thack’s voice shocked out of his thoughts
Quote
He looked up at Adam, who smiled and said, “Check mate (it's one word.).”



little wilson

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 09:41:40 PM »
Thank you. You make some very good points and I'll be sure to go back and fix those. I'm already kind of working on the whole motivation deal (it's considerably better in this draft than the first draft...somehow I forgot to even mention why the World Order was going after the Crashers in the first...silly me), but I'll  be sure to amp that up a bit more.

Same with the parents deal....I could tell last night while I was editing/revising that it was in need of work, but I didn't have time to really focus on it...I'll fix that too.

And thanks for those typo catches. Not sure how I missed some of them, but oh well. That's what I get for editing and then not reading through it before sending it out. :P
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 10:14:43 PM »
Nice story!  Prose flows well, aside from some (a few, most of which Apoc pointed out) mistakes.

I'll join Apoc on needing more backstory motivation-wise.  Also... is this supposed to be self-contained?  As in, there's no more to this particular story?  You introduce a few characters, hint at conflict (I say hint even though there are fights, because the fights seem to be too... I don't know.  Impersonal, maybe) and then at the end the MC is a prisoner.  It feels like there should be more: like the story of his escape.  Or the story of him changing his allegiance.  Basically, I'm saying this would work as a few chapters within a larger story, but it doesn't really stand on it's own.  Remember those old plot-diagrams from middle school english class?  You ended this before it even got to the climax point.

Interesting that you make these powers transferable- throws a nice twist in, if even ordinary people can experience supernatural abilities once in a while.
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little wilson

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2009, 10:22:24 PM »
No, it's not self-contained...We're supposed to write 2 shorts for my creative writing class, and I have 3 pov's in the book I'm writing. One, Ashley's, is significantly larger than the other two. So I asked my professor if I could use the other 2 pov's for my shorts and he said yes....

As for this...He doesn't escape for a year...So I couldn't exactly show that...Although it IS pretty freaking intense...I do plan on submitting the book, chapter-by-chapter, once I have these done and I can start working on it again (I've been wanting to get working on it for a while, but I've had to focus on this one and now the second for my class). So you will be able to figure out the rest of the story, and find out more about the conflict.

And yes. Chaos (on IM) also mentioned about the transferable powers. Not all of them are, just the Physical, but hey, that's enough right there. Would be fun, I think.
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Chaos

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2009, 10:23:01 PM »
Nice to finally something from you again, wilson!

I'm not going to bother with sentence level issues, because ApocRK got that taken care of. I have other points to make :P

Overall, the plot and worldbuilding are strong. I like the magic system once it was explained, and Physical powers being transferable is really cool. The strong point is your magic. There are weaknesses with character development, action, and anchoring within the setting.

The beginning was okay. Slightly boring at first, but then I realized that was the whole point of that opening page: to show Gabe's boredom. That said, I'm not getting enough character to carry the piece. Gabe doesn't really have any defining character conflicts, and by the end, I mostly got from Gabe that he's a young, powerful Powered person who Nate doesn't like very much. He's more defined by his ability and his level (this goes for most of the characters) than anything internal with the character, which I find is a big weakness.

Quote
Jaw clenched, he knew he had reached his limit, a place he could count on one finger how many times he’d been in the last five years. And that time was just a test. This was real.

And he was losing.

This is the strongest character-related element with Gabe. Throughout the beginning, I got the impression that he's an extremely skilled (and therefore a valuable asset), and experienced person. This opening fight has Gabe versus Ashley, which is basically Skill vs. Raw Power. That paragraph I just quoted really gets into Gabe's head, which was great. I need to see far, far more of this than appeared.

I'm just not "feeling" your characters. I don't feel Gabe's emotions or motivations, with exception of that moment. You could build Gabe's entire character from those two lines if you wanted to, they are so powerful. We need many more thoughtshots (as opposed to "snapshots", which show action) for Gabe. Inner dialogue could be useful here. I should be seeing Gabe's vivid reactions when Nate imprisons him. His emotions need to be showed to us. The way it is now makes it seem... bland. This isn't a bad piece, but it feels bland simply because the characters feel bland.

I agree that we need some more motivation for why the World Order is fighting the Crashers. Well, maybe "more" isn't the right word, but we need it sooner. We need to know exactly why Gabe wants to go after the Crashers as soon as Thack mentions them, because Gabe certainly knows, as well as all the other characters. Show it to us, pretty please? :D We need small clues throughout the submission. Readers are smart, we can piece it together, but don't give us a huge, infodumpy paragraph telling us about it. That paragraph where the Crashers are explained was the weakest part of the submission. It does give us needed exposition and anchoring in the world, but the exposition is awfully boring being placed there, when you could have very easily placed a lot of smaller clues throughout.

Speaking of anchoring, a little more description in the areas where fight scenes take place would be much appreciated. I mean, you do give us description, but it passes so quickly that I usually had to read back a few paragraphs to get the details.

Also, in the beginning scenes, I wasn't quite sure who had what power. I didn't know why you focused so much on that chair in that first scene, but once you said Gabe has Magnetics, then it makes perfect sense. I need this clue much, MUCH sooner. If you don't mind me being prescriptive for a moment, I would like to suggest a very easy fix. There is a line in the first paragraph that reads, "Without moving, he reached out with his mind to steady the legs", which is great and all. But, you could just as easily say "Without moving, he used his Magnetics to steady the legs". This orients the reader and tells me immediately, "Oh, Gabe has power with magnetism. Got it."

Same with Thack. It would be nice to know what his power is a bit sooner so I'm not having to guess at it. Gabe knows what Thack's ability is, so why can't we know it, too?


I actually liked the ending. But then again, I'm a fan of sharp endings. Yes, the story goes on with Gabe (obviously), but it's not immediately important to the story being told.

Wilson, if you want this story to be self-contained, I need Ashley's reason for joining the Crashers. If you're inserting these Gabe viewpoints into the Crashers manuscript, well, then I'm sure it will be explained, but as it is, it feels really sudden. At the very least, Gabe should feel surprised she joined the Crashers so quickly.
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 10:50:31 PM »
Yeah, I also thought it was a bit of a sudden move: Ashley joining the Crashers.  The way you've set things up in this submission, it seems like Powered individuals have no choices- they either join the World Order or the Crashers; basically whoever can get to them first.  Aren't there any rogues out there?  People who don't want to join either side- just want to be left alone?
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little wilson

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 11:13:46 PM »
I'll explain this stuff here, since there's no way it's all getting into the short...maybe into the book, but not the short. Some of it's irrelevant for that part of the story...(although I will try to make it a little more evident in the short why Ashley joined them...)

Theoretically, people would be able to choose between the sides, or pick neither. There are rogues out there. People who aren't affiliated with the Crashers, but don't help the Word Order either...The government knows who these people are, but they're not going to force them into their service....

Since the powers come at such a young age (between 12-18 depending on the level), lately (because of the Tech Fall) the powered individuals haven't been able to choose 'no side' (the World Order tries to grab them before the Crashers can, and vice versa), especially when they're strong, like Ashley. She doesn't know what's going on, and she can't control it. She wants help, and she's ready to take it from whoever. The question is who gets to her first.

She actually has a friend who's a Crasher (she was unaware of this, just like he was unaware she was powered until her birthday), so that's another reason why she's attached herself to them so fast. She doesn't agree with some of the things they do (which is why she only let them capture one person instead of five), but they're helping her. So she's with them. For the time being.
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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2009, 05:17:51 AM »
Might as well point out that according to SFWA anything over 7500 words is a novelette, not a short story. It probably doesn't matter all that much, but it does bear mentioning. That said, onto the fun stuff...

"He reached out and pulled a cup from the bar on his right, flipping the faucet on with barely a thought. When the cup was full, he flipped the water off, and brought the cup over to him, catching hold of the cool metal with his hand when it was close enough." I'm assuming that Gabe is using magic here, because it mentioned him doing so earlier, but the phrasing here isn't as clear as it could be.

It feels like it took a long time for us to get to the main event--Thack telling Gabe to get ready, they've got a problem--we're at the bottom of page two before this happens. In a novel, you might be able to get away with this, but in shorter pieces you don't have that room. I think the problemi s only partly the length, though. More it's that we don't really learn anything about either Gabe, the world, or the situation for those first two pages; it just feels like filler.

It's not a huge problem at the moment, but there's something about characterizing someone's power by levels (this girl who's a level one, for example) that feels kind of video game-ish.

The first time the girl broke off a big chunk of building to drop it on people, I didn't have a problem with it. The second time she did, it made me wonder, at least because you described the men as "waiting" beneath the building. If there's all this chaos, and especially pieces of falling building which the men can presumably see, then why on earth are they just standing around?

For the big deal that Gabe and Thack made of it earlier, they now seem to be taking this girl awfully calmly for someone who's been throwing buidings around and presumably killing people. They're just calmly talking about giving her an explanation. Likewise, they don't seem particularly alarmed that she's vanished.

One other thing at this point... now that you've introduced two different types of magic, I wonder if you shouldn't introduce a type of magic other than magnetics first. You might save yourself a couple "this just looks like Mistborn magic" comments that way.

At the beginning of the scene you mention that they've found out the girl's identity. How'd they get this information? This isn't something that necessarily has to be answered right away, but I think it should be addressed at some point during the story.

I'm curious to see why Gabe is so ostracized, and why he just sits around and takes the abuse, as it were. But as I keep reading, I think it had better be a darn good explanation, since he's apparently been sitting in the same spot for three and a half days. I'm willing to roll with it for the moment... but it stretches credibility. I think we need to see why exactly Gabe is willing to wait around, apparently, for three and a half days in the same spot with no orders and no words.

"The left sleeve of his shirt was missing and his whole arm was red and blistered with what looked to Gabe to be a first-degree burn." I'm no medical expert, but can you tell the degree of a burn just by looking at it? And perhaps more to the point, can Gabe?

I found this bit of dialogue: "Course not. They stranded him in Europe after the Tech Fall. I hear it took him almost a year to get back home after that" problematic. At first I wanted to say infodump, but on second thought I don't think that's really why it bothered me. The actual reason it irritated me was this: From Gabe's reaction, he already knows Chris. Thack shouldn't need to tell him this.

From the explanation Gabe gives Adam, I'm a bit confused as to how the magic actually works. I'm unclear what parts of the magic are Adam's own and what are the powers that other people are--giving him? Like I said, it's not quite clear enough. And of course I have no idea how or even if this is related to Gabe's own powers, though I'm willing to wait on that one.

"He looked back at her, and saw the girl from the college, laughing playfully at him, with a taller blonde boy next her. She watched him for another moment and then they both turned and ran off, catching up to their friends." At this point, I'm having a hard time visualizing what's going on. I thought that the corner was somewhere away from the exit, and yet she and the other kid run right out the door as if it's right there. Gabe and the others make no attempt to stop her, which is a bit weird, and shouldn't they just be able to Phase away anyway?

We have absolutely no reaction from Ashley on seeing her brother there, unless I missed it. Come to think of it, we don't get a great deal from Adam either.

The ending is abrupt, yes. In fact, it doesn't really feel like an ending. There needs to be some sort of resolution, and I don't necessarily mean a what's-happening sort of resolution. But there needs to be some sort of character arc, and I'm not really clear on what that is. So basically my comments are that this is a good start. But that's what it feels like--a start. I don't think you have a complete story here. As others have said, there's a distinct lack of information about the two groups. To be honest, I didn't even notice the lack until I started skimming the rest of the comments here--but I think it's part of the same problem, that this isn't a complete story yet, so I still feel like I could wait for the rest of it.

That's really ab out all I have for you... hope it helps.

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Re: 13 July - Knight on the Rim
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 09:11:44 AM »
Good story, kept my interest.

In line with what everyone else has been saying about character flaw, one specific place where Gab didn't seem right was in his reaction to Ashley throwing a pipe at him. His easy going acceptance of Nate's ordering him around and his, in his mind, violent reaction seemed to clash.  It's not just that his personality seemed to change, it's also that he and Nate or whoever else was there thought his violent pipe-throwing actions were inappropriate. It's seems to me that enemy sides would have no problem throwing metal at each other. They are trying to defeat the other side, right? But even Ashley seemed to think the violence was too strong with her comment that she hadn't really expected the pipe to hit him.

I also think you need to be more clear about the levels of power. It wasn't very clear why they knew that Ashley's brother's power would reveal itself when he was 16. One of your comments on this thread explained it a little bit, but it needs more explanation in the story. You don't need to write paragraphs about it. Just make comments about people's ages when they gained their power and what level they are. I'm assuming that people gaining their powers at 18 are level 1, 16 are level 2, 14 are level 3, and 12 are level 4 or something like that. But think this because of the thread, not the content in the story. The knowledge of level ages isn't essential in the story, but I want to know why the good guys know that Adam would gain his powers at age 16.