Author Topic: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11  (Read 1784 times)

ErikHolmes

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July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« on: July 20, 2009, 08:46:29 AM »
Finally got this chapter with Ellie done.

I'm kind of thinking that this chapter should go between what I have for chapter 8 and 9 right now with Kail.

Thanks for all the help!
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Chaos

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 07:59:26 PM »
This was a very enjoyable Ellie chapter. Can't say I've said that about Ellie before ;) This one made me laugh out loud a couple of times. "I hope Kail was alive. 'Cause I'd kill him", "Girls are smarter than boys". Those were great lines! I much prefer this Ellie to the old writings of Ellie. She's more likable.

The imagery of the flowers with eyes, the bug carrying a rabbit gave me a wonderful impression that this world is strange and new--and scary. That's exactly what this chapter needed. At the time I read the first page, though, I wondered if mentioning those creatures second-hand, rather than showing Ellie's initial impression of them, was a wise decision. On one hand, because we haven't seen Ellie in a while, it makes sense that she'd be summarizing a bit, but it also kicks me out of the scene slightly, too.

Now I've been writing first-person this past week, so maybe that's why I just noticed something else about your prose. Silk, in one of her critiques, said that we aren't perfectly inside the character's brains, and I must wholeheartedly agree. We are close, but we're still a few feet away from that sweet spot. I don't think this is an Ellie-specific problem (I worry that if I'm bringing this point up during an Ellie chapter, you're thinking I'm taking it out on Ellie, which I'm not! I like this Ellie, really!), though you need to tighten that up in later drafts. I actually think third-limited POV is easier, because as long as you don't make obvious viewpoint errors, people are a tad more forgiving with it. In first-person, when that sense of "presence of mind" isn't there, I feel it.

For example:

Quote
Part of me couldnít believe that Iíd just told a joke to a monster, but another part of me sure could. Everyone always told me I was a brat. What were these freaking things, demons, gargoyles?

ďWhat the heck are you anyway?Ē

Well, for one thing, the dialogue basically reiterates the exact same thing she just thought. Bad. It doesn't make that paragraph jell together at all. Also, it doesn't feel like Ellie would think about being a brat right here. She's too scared. ...On second thought, maybe she would think that general idea, but I don't think you displayed it right. As written, it knocks me out of the story.

What I'm trying to say is that I think your characters are perfectly fine. The writing needs to display them better. Does that make sense?

I enjoyed the submission well enough as it was, though. It just could be better.

Quote
ďNo!Ē I shouted, dropping the knife and crouching down next to him.  I tried to feel for a pulse, but there wasnít one. I started chest compressions on him, but he was so stiff. So I straddled him and tried to get as much leverage as I could, and found the strength I needed to do them right. Tears ran down my cheeks and neck as I tried to help him.

I didnít mean to kill him; I didnít mean to kill him . . . I ignored everyone else around me, although I could hear them moving. An acrid, rotten smell finally stopped me. When I looked up, a dark mist was steaming out of the corners of Droolfaces eyes, like smoke, and flowing out of his mouth.

I love the imagery here. You're hitting the imagery hard in this chapter, which is precisely what the scene needs. Good job.

However, this is another moment where the prose does not seem to "evoke" Ellie (the only other I remember). At the time, it seemed really unrealistic for her to immediately leap to try and save the Draken. The next paragraph explains her rationale, but I think we need her reasoning immediately as she leaps into action to make it feel more believable. By breaking up the paragraphs by topic--one being "action" and the other "justifications"--I don't feel inside the character.

Okay, that's all the major stuff. One excessively minor thing which is probably just me being dumb, Droolface. The way it was written, it seemed like Ellie inherently knew that Draken's name was Droolface, which seemed quite unreasonable. It was only until a few pages later that I realized that was just Ellie's placeholder name for him. Lol...

Also, your chapters are deceptively long! After reading Kendra's submission, I thought "oh, this Sword of Worlds submission is just 9 pages". But it's not double-spaced ;)


This is, by far, the best Ellie chapter. It was a treat to read. Bratty and scared is just how I like my Ellie in the morning.

...and I just made that sound dirty. Go me.
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Silk

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 12:27:45 AM »
You open the chapter with Ellie describing how she'd gotten lost, as something that had already happened. Instead of having her reflect on it, why not open the chapter as it happens? You don't have to go into more detail necessarily; I just think it would be a little more immediate.

If you do want to keep this part as a flashback, you don't have to keep using the past perfect (I'd, I had, etc) in every sentence. Transition into the flashback with one or two "I hads", then slide back into past tense. Signal the end of the flashback with another "I had". It's clear enough--you see it all the time--and it's less cumbersome to boot.

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this chapter, I'm afraid. I enjoyed reading it. Her encounters with the Drakken and the other various scary things in this world were great to see.

My sense has always been that you're more comfortable writing Kail than you are Ellie, but you seemed much more comfortable with Ellie this time around. I still feel like you're not entirely secure with Ellie, for reasons that I can't quite put my finger on, but now at least you're almost there. (This isn't to say I thought Ellie was badly done before, or anything like that; you just don't write her with the same confidence as you do Kail, but this chapter seemed much more confident.)

I have to disagree with Chaos where he points out that Ellie leaping on the Drakken seemed unrealistic. I didn't think so at all. It makes perfect sense to me that she would  try to help the Drakken without even stopping to think, and from what she said before attacking Droolface, it couldn't be more clear that she didn't want to kill any of them (at least in my opinion) if you'd gone ahead and said it outright.

Speaking of Droolface, there's another thing I don't agree with. You did mention that Droolface was, well, drooling, before Ellie actually gave him the name, and we're well aware of her penchant for assigning placeholder names anyway (remember Sicko)?

Because groups like this just wouldn't be fun if everybody said the same thing...

(In fact, if I wanted to keep disagreeing with Chaos I could also point out that I don't think writing in third limited gives you much or any leeway in terms of POV and so on. Of course, if I were to do that, I would be doing it outo f plain old contrariness, since that has absolutely no bearing on your submission. :D)

Chaos

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 12:47:38 AM »
Speaking of Droolface, there's another thing I don't agree with. You did mention that Droolface was, well, drooling, before Ellie actually gave him the name, and we're well aware of her penchant for assigning placeholder names anyway (remember Sicko)?

I am fully aware that this is probably me just being a bonehead during reading, but boneheaded reactions to the submission are still reactions, so in the critique it goes ;)


(In fact, if I wanted to keep disagreeing with Chaos I could also point out that I don't think writing in third limited gives you much or any leeway in terms of POV and so on. Of course, if I were to do that, I would be doing it outo f plain old contrariness, since that has absolutely no bearing on your submission. :D)

I'll stand by my statement, even if it's hastily worded! :P

...Looks like we're entering the boxing ring a bit early, eh? Only it's the cerebral, instead of physical, form!
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ErikHolmes

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 02:26:48 AM »
Watch out, I think she'd take you. Her dads a Biker.
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 09:58:29 PM »
*Edit* I'll revise when I have something constructive to say.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 10:02:41 PM by RavenstarRHJF »
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ErikHolmes

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 01:40:50 AM »
Haha, does that mean that what you said at first, wasn't constructive?  :D
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 02:15:05 AM »
Heh.  That means that when I posted before, I was in a grumpy mood, then felt bad about the way somethings came across, and decided to wait until I was in a better mood to say what I need to say.

Which is to say... I'm sorry, but I don't like Ellie.  Quite likely it is simply a personal problem, especially since no one else agrees with me, particularly with this submission, in which I found myself more in sympathy with her attackers than herself.  Sorry.  Like I said, it's more of a personal preference than anything else.  I still like your story overall. :)
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ErikHolmes

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 03:19:36 AM »
Honestly, I was expecting that some people would not like Ellie. She's kind of a goody two-shoes, and I knew that would turn some people off. I guess what I'm hoping is that my readers will either love Ellie, or Kail. (Both works too :D ) Which is why I made them so different.

Could you maybe tell me what it is you don't like about Ellie? I do feel that I am still haven't got her down right yet, which hopefully I'll correct soon. Any comments on the rest of the chapter?
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 04:29:41 AM »
Well... you call her a "brat" a lot- in a way I'm sure is meant to be endearing.  I have to admit, I've never been fond of "brats."  Also, she comes across (to me) as less of a goody-two-shoes, and more of a ditz.  Maybe it's the first person narrative style that has her speaking to the reader more often than not.  It seems to me you do this the most with her than with your other POVs.

None of these things is totally the reason, but they all contribute.  I just find myself reading her portions and thinking to myself, "Really?"  I did come the closest to sympathizing with her in this section, though.  I dunno.  Maybe she'll grow on me as the story continues. 

As for the rest of the chapter- I like the variety of your jungle!  Giant bugs, and demon bikers (at least that's what I pictured).  Nice.  Oh, and let's not forget the gigantic red-furred wolves. (evil grin)  Nice touch with him digging the grave in about three seconds flat.  I also like that she's feeling some of the effects of the rings and, I assume, close contact with the sword.

One of the things I did notice, is that while she's narrating, she sometimes repeats herself.  And I'd much rather you either started us off right after she leaves Kail (present tense, instead of past), or summarize the beginning section more concisely.  It's a little ramble-y as is.
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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 07:06:13 PM »
Ahh great Ellie chapter :)

Before I was on the edge with Ellie but after this one Im anixious for her chapters.

Not much to say that hasnt been said already so i'll just mention some goods and bads. 

I liked how the wolves and the draken have some history, it gives a feeling that the forest is a complex hierarchy that she is just starting to discover.

I didn't like the burial scene, It might just be personal preference but it seemed kind of boring and I didn't like how she spends her time digging a hole for someone who was going to rape and kill her while she thinks her friend is dying on hill far away. 

Other then that it was a good start to what felt like the beginning of Ellie's story.

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Re: July 20th - Erik Holmes - The Sword of Worlds: Chapter 11
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2009, 01:15:02 AM »
Thoughts While Reading:
Quote
Something was hunting me.
It hadnít taken me long to get lost.
I didn't have a huge problem with tenses before, but this really jerked me out. You go from present to past within two unconnected sentences and it is really jarring.

Quote
Kailís big knife
:D

Quote
the excitement of being on an adventure out of a fairy tale had died before Iíd walked a dozen yards into the forest.
I don't remember her ever being all that excited, or at least, I wouldn't have expected her to be. She came through here after tons of people were shot including a friend she thinks is dying. What's exciting about that?

Quote
Ever come across a big, nasty looking bug, one that youíd never heard of before? You start to wonder if itís poisonous, right? Does it bite? That sort of thing.
Huh? Be very careful of directing rhetorical questions towards your reader. Big temptation to say 'no' and roll my eyes just to be difficult. And it is also unclear to me at this point if she is trying to give an analogy to explain her freaked-out-ness (Yes it's a word :P) or explaining something that actually happened.

Quote
But every time Iíd start to feel myself begin to cry, Iíd think of Kail.†
That seems rather pathetic. Not the act in itself. Tears are good. They show emotion, but the phrasing seems too casual for me to buy this as a tear jerking situation.

Quote
Itís hard to keep track of time when youíre getting chased by a monster. But I just kept on going and going. It took me a few minutes to realize, that Iíd been running, non-stop, for a few minutes. What I mean is, I think it had chased me for a few miles. And I just kept on running; I dashed through the trees, leaping over little bushes in my path, never slowing. Every minute that I ran, the beast fell a little farther behind me.
Redundant, long and RUINS the tension/ pacing.

Quote
Part of me couldnít believe that Iíd just told a joke to a monster, but another part of me sure could. Everyone always told me I was a brat. What were these freaking things, demons, gargoyles?
These sentences don't seem to flow into any sort of paragraph. The first line I'd put in by the quote and the others I'd ax. Oh, and never have your character think something they are just about to say. There really is no point.

Are they really that hard up for chicks in this world? There has to be easier prey around if that is all they are after. Really, mostly what I am having a hard time buying the dialogue. Complete sentences and no proper jeering at her bluff? Doesn't seem to fit the beast mentality of there actions.
Quote
Wherever I was, I hoped it was someplace my mom couldnít see.

There's the pathetic factor again. Guilt, fine. Worried about mom, not fine. Looks like a joke, which is fine in the right moment, but if you put it places like this it cheapens the experience and the writing.

Okay, I think you may be trying to make a point with Ellie's character with her insisting on burying her attacker, but I don't buy it. No mention of Kail, no worry about the other men left dead on the other side of the portal, but this monster is going to get a burial.

Overall impression:
I like your world building and I am hopeful for the emergence of a plot, but you really got me worried with characters which is a HUGE deal to me. Kail comes off as a shallow pig and Ellie comes off as ditzy and pathetic. I am not saying they can't have flaws. They should, but they are coming off as very one dimensional and boring without any inner conflict. I think you need to get to know a few more sides and details about your vitally important MCs and give them more to work with. Also, watch the one-liners. Some of them are very clever and help your writing, but others seem to kill any possibility of any real emotion. And since both characters have a tendency to make them every few seconds, it makes the narration of both of them very similar. Nice wolves, nice gargoyles, now fix your characters and get to the plot. ;D
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 01:23:35 AM by Frog »
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