Author Topic: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1  (Read 1772 times)

ApocRK

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July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« on: July 20, 2009, 03:50:46 PM »
Hey guys, chapter 1 of my book sorry for the late topic but some things came up. How'd you like it?  ;D

A few questions, do you like the name? It doesn't make much sense but it has a nice ring to it.

also, I'm having a real problem with things going a little too fast. What can I add to give my story more beef without adding endless lists of details?

ErikHolmes

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 11:48:50 PM »
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The crates groaned and screamed as they tried to support his weight

The crates groaned as. . . would probably be better. Screamed IMO doesn't fit.

As for slowing things down, don't be afraid too. I had the same problem with my first few chapters, they were really short. For starters, I'd slow down the whole meeting between Isaac and Alden, it too quick. Let them sit there for a big and have a conversation. "A Rider, what's that?" maybe, etc.

As is though I really liked the first chapter. It was intriguing and left plenty of hooks to make me want to keep reading. Like wanting to know the story with that little bead!

About the only thing that bothered me was the description of how Isaac trusted Alden right off the bat. I think it was mainly this part:

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Isaac felt inclined to thrust the man, he had an aura of good that he couldn’t look past even if he tried.

It didn't work for me. I'd rather you told us things about him, thing Isaac noticed that led s to believe that Alden was a good person, rather then say he has some aura of goodness.

All in all, a very intriguing and interesting first chapter!



Who the hell is interrupting my Kung Fu!

Silk

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 09:05:14 PM »
"A motley of emotions." Nice.

I'm not sure why Isaac suddenly decides to trust the man who he was chasing after in a rage just moments before, or why he seems to know absolutely nothing about the bead.

Isaac's whole spiel where he's telling Alden about how he won the bead sounds kind of stilted to me, not like real dialogue.A lot of it feels more like the author inserting himself into the dialogue. And I find it kind of odd that Isaac would give such a blow-by-blow description of the scene anyway. More likely he'd just say he helped pull someone out of a falling building.

Alden is WAY too convenient a fixture. He's someone that Isaac just randomly saw in the crowd, who he has a chance encounter with, and it turns out he knows all the answers and can tell Isaac exactly what to do.

A sailor in labour? *blinks* As in, having a baby?

Is the bouncer Teris, or Terri?

The farewell scene at the inn feels awfully drawn out for what actually happens. Isaac has one kind of angry, unhappy moment when Ned "fires" him, but other than that it's all smiles and tears and happy farewells, and it doesn't really feel like it's doing much. You could add a lot more emotional conflict if you wanted to. If you don't want to, that's fine, but in that case I think you need to trim down all the farewell stuff by a fair margin.

Good start though.

ApocRK

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 09:41:55 PM »
"A motley of emotions." Nice.

I'm not sure why Isaac suddenly decides to trust the man who he was chasing after in a rage just moments before, or why he seems to know absolutely nothing about the bead.

Isaac's whole spiel where he's telling Alden about how he won the bead sounds kind of stilted to me, not like real dialogue.A lot of it feels more like the author inserting himself into the dialogue. And I find it kind of odd that Isaac would give such a blow-by-blow description of the scene anyway. More likely he'd just say he helped pull someone out of a falling building.

Alden is WAY too convenient a fixture. He's someone that Isaac just randomly saw in the crowd, who he has a chance encounter with, and it turns out he knows all the answers and can tell Isaac exactly what to do.

A sailor in labour? *blinks* As in, having a baby?

Is the bouncer Teris, or Terri?

The farewell scene at the inn feels awfully drawn out for what actually happens. Isaac has one kind of angry, unhappy moment when Ned "fires" him, but other than that it's all smiles and tears and happy farewells, and it doesn't really feel like it's doing much. You could add a lot more emotional conflict if you wanted to. If you don't want to, that's fine, but in that case I think you need to trim down all the farewell stuff by a fair margin.

Good start though.

Ya I had a lot of trouble with the farewell scene and the part on how he trusts Alden so easily. I'm trying to revamp those scenes or introduce a new one that allows Isaac to leave the town. I noticed that in a lot of books where the main character starts off as a simpleton the drive for him to be something more is fear or necessity (ex. town gets attacked, has to go get revenge for his family, is the only one that can do blah and kill blah.) So I wanted to make my guy get out into the world because of ambition and because he wants to, but its proving to be fairly difficult to get that with a scene. 

The thing with the convenience has something to do with the bead and how it sorta pulls Isaac to what he needs. They sort of act like a compass in the beginning.

Ya its Terri, I changed his name a couple of times :P must have forgotten to go back and change. And ya as in having a baby lol, I wanted to make something preposterous and clever so I kind of put that in as a place holder and when I came back to it I just liked it so much I kind of left it :P

I'll go back and change the stuff, expecially the story scene, I makes sense to leave it short and sweet.


Silk

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 10:39:04 PM »
In terms of Isaac trusting Alden, perhaps he doesn't trust him, but is interested enough to hear what he has to say anyway. Maybe he's willing to go along with Alden (as long as they're in a safely public place, like the inn) out of courtesy, or because it's better than chores.

As for the farewell scene, I think you've already set yourself up to add some interesting conflict, if that's the way you want to go. Ned "fires" him to force him out into the world; even though Isaac wants to go, he might feel betrayed that Ned has booted him out, or resentful that Ned thinks he knows what's best for Isaac, of what have you. You could put that sort of conflict into the scenes you already have.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with sending him off on the wings of his (family's? coworkers'? there's another thing it might help to clarify, within the next couple of chapters if not right now) good wishes. I just think that if you do, need to trim back the farewell scenes a bit, they just feel a bit draggy right now is all. Either way, it can easily be fixed :)

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 09:01:04 PM »
Nice first chapter.  A bit crowded, but that's all right.

I think the problem with Isaac's character right now is that he's contradictory.  He's happy with his life, but not.  He knows not to trust Alden too soon, but then he does anyway.  He treasures the bead, but he thinks it's annoying.  He wants to leave, but he wants to stay.  He's angry at being fired, but then treats it like nothing special.  In other words, he's a waffler.  Another thing- we don't know how old he is.  I'm guessing 18-20 range, but some of his reactions point to the younger edge of that.

The whole passage about the bead's origin reads more like you (the author) wrote the scene as it happened, and then all you did was put quotation marks around it to make it dialogue.  You could probably fix that just by having Isaac say, "I supposedly saved someone's life," and then make the scene a flashback, or have Alden ask leading questions.

Alden's characterization is... confusing.  More so than Isaac's.  In the beginning he's this mysterious person who randomly comes up to Isaac because of the bead, and then at the end he... up and "steals" Isaac's bag of possessions? ???  I get that it might be funny under the right circumstances, but again, we don't know how old this character is- Just from the way Isaac treated him, I was thinking middle age (enough knowledge and experience to be a good guide for a young man). 

This chapter definitely has a different feel than the first submission, more lighthearted and less drama.  In my opinion that's neither good nor bad, but I would extend the events of chapter 1 into two chapters, and start with the barbarians in chapter three.  That way, your readers can get grounded in your world before you throw them into not only a different setting, but a different tone.  Just the way I would do it though.  It's your story. :)
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Silk

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 09:45:41 PM »
Isaac being "contradictory" is not, of itself, a problem. People have conflicting emotions all the time; I can buy Isaac wanting to leave home, even though he doesn't want to leave home, for example. I do agree that this could be represented a little better, but I imagine that this will come as you get more comfortable with your story and your character, either.

So far, I don't think of Isaac as a "waffler", either, if only because does end up getting off his butt and going out into the world. And everyone waffles in their thoughts. :)

Frog

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 06:54:25 AM »
Thoughts while Reading:
Why is boats capitalized?

I'm irritated by your use of 'echo' in the second paragraph. I don't know what it means. Be careful about using confusion as a cheap substitute for suspense. You do much better in your references to the bead. I'm mentally filing that away and wanting it to be important later.

Isaac's name is overused in the first section. I do that sometimes too when I first write a scene because I want to get my own feel of the character behind the name, but it does very little for anyone else reading it. Use more pronouns and very it with more concrete details to give us a better picture of the character. It is a bit better with Sal, but this line :
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Sal was incredibly tone for his age, he had served the army for years before retiring and buying his boat, all those years in the army must have had a huge impact on how he maintained his body.
Is too long and too telly because you repeat yourself after the second comma.

Okay, besides some more setting, I'm not getting anything significant from his brief encounter with Sal. No conflict or new pieces of information. Knowing about Sal's character may be important, but I would try to do something a bit more significant with him.

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Fury was swallowed by hate and in turn swallowed by unyielding panic until it molded into a motley of raw emotions.
I think this sentence would be more powerful if you just left off at panic.

You can easily simplify a lot of these sentences. Your discription words are great, but if you over do them, they just become redundant and annoying. I'll show you a few more as I find them.

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He saw the tail of a green cloak as the man turned into an alleyway, he dove into the alleyway as he reached it.


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Isaac’s eyes never left the man, he ignored the bead as it flew towards him, he trusted it completely and didn’t move an inch.
Implied.

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The bead circled and revolved around him, glancing off the buttons on his coat with every revolution, causing sparks to fly in great sweeps.

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The crates groaned and screamed as they tried to support his weight yet they did not break. under his weight.
That they did not break is implied.

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“All that emotion, all that lack of inhibition, your you're definitely a Rider.”
Okay, fine, that wasn't technically a sentence problem, but you get the idea. Simpler sentences are the better norm with the more complex sentences added for variety and when you really want to make a point (especially in dialogue). You also are missing a lot of punctuation (again, especially around the dialogue) to the point that it distracts from the story. Slow down, maybe even read some of your stuff out-loud, to make sure you are getting the effect you want.

Character reactions at the end of the first scene seem rushed. I see no reason for Isaac to instantly believe Alden.

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“So you want to know what it is?” asked Alden
Isaac doesn't know? Then what did he think it was? How did he get it and what does it do for him besides buzz around in circles? This is the kind of information I want ASAP. Maybe even before we have this scene with Alden so I can wait in suspense with Isaac about getting a few more answers from this new character. A scene with the fire (flashback or otherwise) would be a bit more powerful then being told about it after the fact especially since it involves your MC who we want some emotional bond with.
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“I’m leaving tomorrow, if you want to come, meet me at dawn in the stables of this inn. I’ll wait for an hour.”
It's all becoming a bit too convenient, and abrupt, though I really like the concept of a Carter.

I think you may be overdoing the internal thought. A lot of it seems redundant and a bit obvious.

The uneventful bakers scene followed by another mundane scene at the cloth merchants (and another continent gift) is where I officially got distracted by the 'shiny' internet and skimmed through the rest. Granted, a printed book tends to hold my attention better than the best digitalized one, but the point is there. 

And now, he is conveniently being kicked out of town....

Overall impression:
I am sorry that a lot of this is going to sound negative so I am going to quickly emphasize the positive. I like the carter, the possibility of the fire scene and that you seem to be making an effort to mix up the troops.
That said, the chapter is far too cluttered, goes on a bit too long and is devoid of any real conflict. The potential is there, but I never got the impression that Isaac felt trapped until someone else told him he was. I was given so many characters, and lists of mundane events that it was hard to know what to focus on or get a lasting impression of anyone. In the first chapter, you, as the author, need to show me what is important by the attention it is given. Spend time developing the things that matter (Isaac, Alden and the bead I am assuming) and let the rest fall to the background so it all becomes more natural.

Do we really need to know that Isaac has a cool coat? That he stopped to talk to Sal, a baker, a cloth merchant and got kicked out of his room after we already knew he was being fired? If your answer is yes to any of this, then by all means keep it, but please don't keep it ALL. Start late, get out early.

This is actually a chapter I would like to see again. I really do see a lot of potential even if it needs a lot of work right now.  :)
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Flo_the_G

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2009, 10:21:34 AM »
I absolutely concur that you have to use more pronouns and less names, that would make for a far smoother read, overall. Terri/Teris has already been mentioned (that's what ctrl+f is for, btw ^^), as has the relative convenience of everything that leads to Isaac leaving town and that Alden behaves first like a mysterious chap conveniently driving the plot, then like a complete nutter that Isaac shouldn't be touching with a stick.

Apart from those, I had two main issues. The first being the new concepts you introduce. You name them (Carter, Rider, Echo), but you should invest half a sentence to explain to the reader what they are and why they're called as they are. I get that an echo is a coin, but is it the official name, or just what people call it? That would be an ideal place to dump a bit of info, and would serve to teach the reader a few basics about your world.

The second is more basic, but was the main reason why it was initially hard for me to suspend disbelief. Firstly, all those chores seemed a bit as though Isaac had been told by his mum to go round by the shops, and as if he were walking along with a plastic bag or two. Most of which is caused by the fact that his actions are very much rooted in the present, e.g. ordering a set amount of fish (I would think that the fisherman would have no method of knowing how many fish he can catch the following day). Then there's the fact that it's getting late (and the inn is actually described as having few rooms and mainly entertaining patrons after dark), which to me indicates people having some method of finding their way back home after dark, which in turn implies lighted streets, etc.

The second part of the chapter works much better in that respect. Your aim should be, I think, to emphasise the differences between this world and ours (e.g. describe difficulties that are presented by it which we wouldn't have today), and not the commonalities. Maybe you could have him interact with the bead a bit more, that would also serve to emphasise its importance later on.

Overall good job and, as Silk said, it can easily be fixed.

Oh, and to not have to end on that positive note: Isaac looking at himself in the mirror and conveniently describing his appearance literally had me cringing in figurative agony. ::)

ApocRK

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Re: July 20- Sons of Keepers Chapter 1
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 07:37:13 PM »
aww thanks guys :)

I'm already thinking of shortening the scenes at the docks with the fisher (hes not important) and the scene with the baker to around the length of the smith(which i thought was enough to give you a view into Isaac's importance at the inn). Then I'll lengthen the chat with Alden at the inn allowing him to explain carters and riders a bit more and just learning a little bit more about Alden, in turn solving the trust issue,  and probably scratch the running bit at the end.

And for the mirror scene   :-[ I had removed that a little bit after I sent out the email lol. It was one of those things that I didn't like at all but I kind of put it aside. And for the too much proper nouns and internal though thing, thats a side effect that happens during the rewrite :( I always put too little of both the first time around and then try to fix it by adding too much. I guess the third time around will help me get it into the gold zone :P