Author Topic: 20 July - Invasion  (Read 1677 times)

little wilson

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20 July - Invasion
« on: July 20, 2009, 07:01:11 AM »
Critiques for my short, Invasion.

It doesn't matter, but this short takes place in the same world as the other short that I submitted last week--Knight on the Rim....same world as my book.

Thanks for reading!
"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

jjb

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 03:52:20 PM »
I'm sorry, but this critique is going to be mostly negative. The writing (grammar, voice, etc.) was good, but I was not interested in the characters at all. I realize with the low word count it is harder for the reader to get into the characters, but if the reader doesn't get them, what's the point?

The whole flashback scene didn't work either. It didn't add any information. I already knew that Jena had dreamed an invasion and going over it again in the flashback didn't add anything. It was also very abrupt.

How did Jena get separated from the group anyway? Weren't they all together? And Arielle said she would help Jena if her vision was wrong. That help never came about unless you were referencing that Arielle knew an escape route. And if that was what the help was, then it seems much less helpful than what I thought Arielle meant.


ApocRK

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2009, 04:48:15 PM »
Here are just some simple things to change

The part when the gaurds died was a little weird, I think you should have focused more on how 6 men had just died and hadn't jumped right into the self guilt. After something like that happens it usually takes a little bit for the person to experience much else but complete shock or anger depending who they are.

on the fouth page you say "Her sisters were gone" then a few sentences later you say "Two started pulling her away, down the corridor, away from the exit. Away from her sisters" How would she know if she was being pulled to or from her sisters if they aren't anywhere in sight. Like jjb said, the whole part with the separating needs a lot more work, for a few paragraphs I was wondering if she was under another flashback scene since everything drastically changed so quickly. Also why were they taking her to the courtyard?

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They were there to take the castle. Jena had seen it almost two months ago, just like she had seen there would be no bloodshed
the bolded bit is a little hard to understand.

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Her heart pounded in her chest, and she breathed in slowly a few times, trying to calm herself
That sentence felt a little like a list, maybe instead of saying how she breathed in slowly you can describe the breaths themself. for example - her breaths came in slowly, or something like that.

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The outside force neared the courtyard, and leaned closer to the window, looking down over the area below
This sentence is pretty confusing, you mention the outside force which makes me think of the army but then you mention the window which snaps me back to the MC, I couldn't understand what you were talking about here.

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And started pulling her back toward the courtyard.
this sentence was a little awkward in positioning.

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She glanced out a window on the other side of the tower and noticed the lights on in the library
since its a castle and an army with swords is coming I'm assuming they don't have lightbulbs yet, so that means that the library was well lit at night with a lot of torches. It seems a little dangerous to have so mch fire with so much dry paper, you would think they closed the library at night or used single candle flames to light the way at night for midnight reading.
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She flipped around, and saw five men run out of a passage into the courtyard.
the five men thing sort of threw me off, its like saying "He walked out into battle field to fight the approaching army of five thousand six hundred and two men." In a life and death situation, exact number counts seem akward. A simple 'few' or 'many' or 'half a dozen' usually works well (even though it specifies an exact number it still sounds nicer)

Overall it was pretty well written just that I need a little more from the characters and plot to make me more interested. Then there is the plot hole that kept on nagging me, if she thought it was all so dangerous and risky to stay in the castle then how come they didn't just leave the day before or something? Or at least send the women and children out just in case and the men could stay to defend.

It takes place in the same world? wasn't the other one like in present times?

little wilson

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 08:17:18 PM »
First, thank you. I'll definitely be taking the advice and fixing those parts....And I know my characters are weak. It's a failing in my writing, and something I'm trying to fix. I have no problem coming up with plot and worlds, but characters kill me....Frustrating to say the least...

It takes place in the same world? wasn't the other one like in present times?

Yeah, it is...Present times, kind of....There are reasons this has a seemingly medieval setting...They don't matter within the confines of the story though (the short, anyway...it's relevant for the book...but not here)....
"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

Silk

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 09:28:30 PM »
 If they're waiting for an army to take the castle and don't plan on fighting for it, why don't they just surrender?

I liked how the flash of violence in Jena's vision was handled. It felt choppy and panicked. Effective. However...

I'm going to say the same thing to you that I said last week: That I don't think this story is complete. You need an arc and I don't really see one here, not yet. I'm not saying that you can't have a story that's open-ended, in that the action (in this case, what happens during the invasion, whether they live or die, etc) is not resolved, but you do have to build to some sort of resolution. A character arc counts. But I need to see Jena travel somehow from a point A to a point B.

You set up her visions, and then nothing ever really came from them. In the beginning I expected to see some sort of resolution in regards to that, what effect her visions had on the outcome of the invasion, what this did to her character, stuff like that. That's probably the most natural place to take this story, though you can, of course, take it wherever you want. But the long and short of it is, you have to take it somewhere. :)

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 09:19:13 PM »
I agree with Silk in terms of story arc.

That said, it does seem kinda stupid to stay in a castle you know will be invaded.  Even stupider to not try and defend yourself.  The only mitigating reason would be that Jena knows what they want isn't worth fighting for.  But since that seems to be her own life... yeah, I'm not really buying it.

The visions were well done, though.  The only scene that felt out of place was the interlude with the flapjacks.  That made absolutely no sense to me.  Weren't they just sitting in their room, three princesses in hiding?  And then- Let there be Pancakes!  ... What?
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ErikHolmes

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Re: 20 July - Invasion
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2009, 11:59:25 AM »
All in all, I thought this was a good first draft.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to end up as. It is just a little short something you wrote for the hell of it? A chapter for a book, etc? Knowing would help me offer better advice.

Things to improve:

If her dream showed that the couldn't stop the coming army, then they need a reason to stay. One of the sisters is sick. The Dream showed that they might be able to just give them what they wanted and then they'd move on, etc.

When she is grabbed, instead of just telling us that her sisters are gone. Tell us instead that she had a vision and got left behind.

Right now the flashback serves no purpose. If it was me, I'd have her brother there during the vision, convincing her that it will be alright instead of Arielle.

I'd like to see the visions play a more important role. Even if its the standard, 'if it wasn't for the visions this wouldn't have happened'

Good stuff though!
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