Author Topic: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue  (Read 1898 times)

Chaos

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Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« on: August 31, 2009, 08:02:33 AM »
Here is the prologue for new book, Rebirth, where I attempt for "show, don't tell" with perhaps confusing effects. Rip it to shreds!

Cameos by a sapphire sword ;)
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SpaceMaster

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2009, 02:14:31 PM »
This is my first post to this forum, wohoo! :)

Anyway, I liked this text. It feels like classic fantasy reading, only that these kinds of chapters you normally find in the end of the book? It still works really nice having the story like this. However, one thing I can't decide on, either I find the description of the magic system too hard to grasp, or I am intrigued to find out more, maybe a little bit of both. Is it  just me being a bit dumb or does anyone share my view?

/Tommy

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2009, 09:00:57 PM »
*)(&%(*&^%   

Okay so I just spent half an hour making a lovely critique, and it is now lost in the annals of cyberspace.  *sigh*  Here were my ultimate conclusions:

There is a bit too much of an info dump in this first part, some of it blatantly so, e.g. "Not surprising, Haiden thought. Oh well. At least that was a fun exercise."  You are telling your reader that the only purpose of all you just said was to dump info on them.  Readers do not like this.

All of you jargon, Khabors, Cerebrance, Descrying... it's a bit hard to swallow without some background.

A little bit of "show don't tell."  For example, instead of telling us the princess was rescued from the dungeon well, put the dungeon scene first, and then cut straight to the trial.  It would be compelling.  Also, you say that the king set fire to the village.  Well, how?  Did he use a torch? a pair of sticks? magic?  Give us a picture.  Instead of saying, "Khabor, who Haiden could locate from their unusual attire, showed no outbursts compared with the crowd," tell us what that strange attire is like.

A small point on your characterization.  After reading this opening, I didn't really get  a very good idea of what makes our characters tick.  The MC wants justice, but he also acts with some showmanship.  He loathes the king.  Okay.  Why?  What has the king done that is so wrong?  Killing peasants has been a nobility pastime for generations in a lot of books and even in the real world.  What makes your story different?  Why all the horror?  I guess I just didn't have enough info on the world to make the trial meaningful.

Those critiques aside, the idea of putting a God on trial is fascinating, as is the forshadowed chaos lurking in the future acts as a good hook, although it begs the question of why the princess can't simply take over, or why the government will fail without the king.  Yes, he was their reincarnated God, but well, if they have a system for killing their gods, well that means their god can't be *that* important.

Ah well.  I hope this helps.  I have to get back to work.
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

westwriter

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2009, 09:24:43 PM »
I agree that I tried re-reading a few times to grasp the magic system.   I figure you will explain more later, but i want more now.  i want to "get it".
I was waiting for something to miraculously save the king.  You even put the question in my head of why he had been so accepting of the punishment.  I was wondering what he knew that we didn't.  Apparently nothing?
It has an intriguing premise.  I'll read more if you promise to supply a little more background.
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Chaos

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 01:03:33 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts, guys. I know the jargon is hard to swallow. In due time, it shall all make sense. Like, very soon.

I agree that I tried re-reading a few times to grasp the magic system.   I figure you will explain more later, but i want more now.  i want to "get it".
I was waiting for something to miraculously save the king.  You even put the question in my head of why he had been so accepting of the punishment.  I was wondering what he knew that we didn't.  Apparently nothing?
It has an intriguing premise.  I'll read more if you promise to supply a little more background.

I promise. It's a big plot thread.

*)(&%(*&^%   

Okay so I just spent half an hour making a lovely critique, and it is now lost in the annals of cyberspace.  *sigh*  Here were my ultimate conclusions:

There is a bit too much of an info dump in this first part, some of it blatantly so, e.g. "Not surprising, Haiden thought. Oh well. At least that was a fun exercise."  You are telling your reader that the only purpose of all you just said was to dump info on them.  Readers do not like this.

A little bit of "show don't tell."  For example, instead of telling us the princess was rescued from the dungeon well, put the dungeon scene first, and then cut straight to the trial.  It would be compelling.  Also, you say that the king set fire to the village.  Well, how?  Did he use a torch? a pair of sticks? magic?  Give us a picture.  Instead of saying, "Khabor, who Haiden could locate from their unusual attire, showed no outbursts compared with the crowd," tell us what that strange attire is like.

Yeah, I'll probably cut the part with the descrying. Not enough consequence to it. The idea of having Medora thrown into the dungeon is quite an interesting one. I will definitely think about it.

As for the government falling... well, read and find out ;)
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ErikHolmes

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 06:58:42 AM »
To echo the others comments about the magic in the first chapter, yes, theres too many new terms. But I think you can still make it work.

My advice would be to just slow things down a bit. Right now, when you throw in the magic, you do it as if this is chapter 20 and we're already familiar with the system.

Instead of just saying he descryed, describe what he does/feels to do that. I think its still the same show don't tell rule.

Quote
Emperor Kurick’s soul vibrated wildly, drowning out all other souls in the room, even the Khabor Cerebrants guarding him.

The word vibrated bothered me. Just threw me off.

After that, I was too busy reading to really notice anything that bothered me. Other then the whole scene where he used the magic on Medora, it just needs to be polished I think.

All in all, its a great prologue. Good stuff man!

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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 10:42:25 PM »
I reiterate the idea of describing, then defining, your terms on the first use.  However... Great start!

It is odd that such a powerful man would submit to a trial and punishment, but I tend to take it for granted (given that it's a prologue) that he knows something we don't- and that it's important and has the chance of making him yet more powerful.  He seems to be shaping up as Lawful Evil or something like that...

That passage where he experiments with descrying the king serves no purpose other than to let him know the King is powerful enough to distract anyone who might sense his soul-wandering ways.  But he already suspects that.  I'd say, just skip to the part where he influences the princess- he does some checking on the king there, too, to determine if he's influencing her not to talk.

Also, I'm not clear on exactly how the princess got to the town in question.  I get that she went to, for lack of a better term, a sleepover at a friend's house, but... I'm not understanding the involvement of the parents, or why she had to sneak out.  And if she had to sneak out, why would Karen's father (himself a parent and also a noble under the King) aid her in that?  Or did she lie to him, saying she had permission?  And if she lied about that, how did she get the servants/guards/etc to play along?  And if they didn't, why didn't it ring warning bells in his head? 

You see?  It's not clear at all.

I can't say I have any other issues with what you've got right here, though.  It looks like a strong beginning to an interesting story!
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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2009, 05:37:50 AM »
"'Um, hacked?' he asked hesitantly." I thought Haiden knew all this. Why is he being hesitant about it now?

"It was as if the dam of fear broke and here came the flood." Nothing about the way she's talking, or about the way you describe her, sounds like a flood. It sounds like she's speaking very slowly and deliberately.

I'm not sure I agree that we really need to see the dungeon scene. "Show don't tell" is all very well and good, but there would have to be a reason for you to show it to us. It would need to contribute something that the trial scene does not.

I didn't feel like I was quite invested enough in the characters, or maybe that your POV wasn't quite invested enough in the trial, to make the scene meaningful. That is, I felt like I got a lot of the POVs reasoning - "The emperor is a bad man, he facilitated this massacre, he must be dethroned" but not necessarily the actual reasons why he was doing it. Is your POV really SO upset about this that he's going through the trouble to try and dethrone his god? Or is he going after the emperor for some more personal reason? I felt like it could go either way, and that I wasn't really getting the full story. If he DOES have his own reasons, I don't really need to know what they are, but would like to know that they were there. Is that clear as mud?

Divine right to rule is nothing new. I'm fine with that. I wonder a bit about a system where people are willing to dethrone their god, or where there god is willing to let them, but for the moment I'll assume there's more coming and that All Will Become Clear.

The same goes for the magic system. I didn't have any problems with it for the moment, mostly because I'm assuming that, again, All Will Become Clear.

I kind of agree that his use of it in the courtroom felt a little bit pointless. You could probably fix that with a little bit of reworking, or alternatively, you could just take it out. You're not obligated to show the magic in action from the Very! First! Chapter!.

Or prologue. Whichever =P

The story is of course just begun, so I don't have a lot to say. Interested to see where it goes next time.

Frog

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 06:20:32 AM »
Thoughts While Reading:
Quote
Then again, most key witnesses weren’t eleven years old, and no one witnesses were the offspring of a symbol so worshiped.
I didn't understand this sentence at all.

Quote
Poor princess, Haiden thought. You must have done something terrible in your previous life to deserve this.
This I found very jarring for whatever reason.

Quote
Courtroom drama would move oh so faster if it was all conducted via that method.
Your narrator seems far too formal to use 'oh so'

There are so many new words and things going on in this section. I think you may have to slow down with worldbuilding. Especially with the internal info dump right before
Quote
Not surprising, Haiden thought. Oh well. At least that was a fun exercise.
Makes me think that all of that was completely pointless to the matter at hand and I will likely forget it while reading.

Mr. seems a bit too modern in this setting. Is that the only title he has?

Again, this section has so many names and new things going on that I feel like I am coming in too late in the story to be anything but confused.

The final scene worked well though.

Overall Impression:
I like a lot of the concepts here, but I really feel that you need to simplify the scene or expand it to the point where it just isn't so much all at once. I wasn't getting any real character or emotion from our MC, almost to the point that I hope that he isn't going to be the one we are going to follow around all novel. And the biggest questions I have is why would an all powerful god incarnate need to hide his actions from a court? Can't a divine ruler carryout divine punishment? And in such a way that he wouldn't have to get his own hands dirty? And why was there a way set up to dethrone him in the first place if he was already seen as sinless/holy? I don't think they would have even thought of that possibility in this kind of set up. It just seemed remarkably simple for the large scale ideas you seem to be wanting to bring out at this point, but maybe it will be clearer in later chps. I would probably still give you the benefit of a doubt and see where your story actually is with the first chp.

Good Luck! :)
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Miang

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2009, 07:52:10 AM »
I think the concepts here are fascinating. I want to see more of the world and setting. That being said, Haiden did not draw me in as a character. I don’t entirely follow his motives in this. Was it personal? Anti-religious? Was he truly after justice for the killed? Nerida says something about this making him one of the richest men in the land and I have no idea what she is referring to but it takes away from the sense that he was acting out of noble ideals. Also, in several places it seems to me that Haiden doesn’t like blood and violence. In fact, it seems to me like the very thought of it makes him sick – and yet he is happy to be witness to the execution.
I have a lot of questions about the emperor’s actions but they’ve been brought up by others so I won’t reiterate them. Most I think are going to be explained somehow later in the story anyways; at least that is the feeling I got from this. There’s a lot of vocabulary here that is slightly distracting from the scene. I think the pacing is almost right but the overall needs to be tightened up a bit. I can sense that you have a good, solid world concept but trying to take in the setting, magic and motives of the character here all at once is a bit much.

I'm sorry this is so short right now -- I'm really tired. I'll try to add more specifics tomorrow.

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Re: Aug 31st - Chaos - Rebirth, Prologue
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 01:10:34 AM »
Hmm... Haiden is straw. The king is mysterious. Blood has something to do with the magic. I'm guessing the "Necromancy" part. If you kill someone in a special way, do you feed your own soul?

That's about all I got out of this after reading the next two pieces. They get progressively better. I think this is a little... meh. It feels a bit long for what it's conveying, and deals very little with the impact of events. They are hinted at, but need more flesh. Perspective is hard to pin down at times. The emotions were confusing at best. Show, yes?

It's above average writing, but coming to it from chapter 2 is tough. I enjoyed chapter 2 too much. :P

No offense intended with the snippy wording. It's all I have time for.
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