Author Topic: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1  (Read 1714 times)

Chaos

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Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« on: September 09, 2009, 06:51:57 AM »
Sorry this is late. Fun fact: writing while exhausted tends to fail miserably.

I can't decide whether this chapter utterly sucks or is fairly good. I'll let you decide!

And yes, I ease up on the magic in this chapter almost completely (please don't get scared away!). I still worry I'm throwing you into the world too much, though.
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ryos

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 09:27:37 AM »
It could be that I've read too much speculative fiction, or that I'm used to reading technical books that go a little over my head, but I didn't have any trouble following the Cerebrancy in the prologue.

Quote
I can't decide if it's complete crap or is one of my better submissions.

Can it not be both? ;D

Actually, this is a strong beginning, and a nice submission. I really enjoyed reading it.

Problems there are few. I thought it could have used a bit more description (not much, but a bit). The prose was fairly rough and in need of a copyedit, both for grammar and sentence structure as well as to smooth the flow. It's a lot like the early drafts of Fateless were in that regard. I've no doubt you can fix those issues right up.

I am a little curious about this one, though (page three):

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The wide, stone boulevard outside swarmed with people. Medora navigated through the congestion at the Jewel Station’s entrance, with people flowing in and out. Slipping into the northward flow, Medora

I didn't realize you were working from a damaged manuscript. I wonder how much of that paragraph is missing. ;)
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 06:50:02 PM »
Thoughts while reading:

This seems to be a modern fantasy--there are trains and whatnot, things from our world, not a medieval setting.  This kinda needs to be clear from your prologue.  When I was reading about the God king burning the village, I had a medieval picture in my head.  I don't know if you plan on re-writing that portion, but some indication that this is not a medieval setting would be nice.  The courtroom hints at that, but a trial in a medieval setting is not unimaginable.


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Medora looked at the ground. This was how her father’s legacy was dying. Not through war—though there was some, in the beginning—but unraveling. The three cultures that Kurick forged together were shattering apart. Devidans hating the wealthy Khabor natives, the Church despising the non-believers, and the educated still incriminated the Church for believing in Kurick; it destroyed everything. As people walked down the street, Medora thought that too many held that air of tension. Perhaps elitism.

Okay, I'm having a hard time figuring out from this paragraph what the "three cultures" are.  You seem to list five here, the Devidans, the Khabor, the Church, the non-believers, and the educated.  Are some of these listed twice under a different name?  I think I understood the non-believers to be the educated, but that still leaves four factions.

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How could Medora explain? She knew Daijah’s logic, but it’d been so long since she stepped foot in the capital. Legates and Consuls were being confirmed right now. Medora made the trip here for the Consulate. She wanted to see her opponents in the flesh, and hopefully, they wouldn’t get confirmed. But no, that didn’t seem right. She knew her rivals. She knew the new assembly would be tense. What she didn’t know, however, were her allies. And maybe she simply needed to know the Consulate still stood, because she needed to protect her father’s legacy.

Alrighty, this paragraph was a wee too convoluted for me to swollow.  The point you are trying to make is not entirely clear.


Medora is becoming a Legate too?  Why didn't she show up earlier to be a part of the confirmation?  Do they do it in shifts?


Okay, why "Run" whe she sees Haiden?  Running in a crowd isn't exactly subtle if she's trying to not attract attention.


Okay, so I have some questions.  To this point, this book seems to be one about political intrigue; am I wrong?  There is nothing wrong with that, although I'm not sure most fantasy readers are fans of the genre for the political intrigue (Jordan's readers dropped off when he started emphasizing that aspect).  If the book isn't one about P.I., then you need to have something in your prologue or first chapter that shows some action to hook your reader.  The destruction of the village or the rescue of the princess would be nice. 

Is political intrigue going to be your plot?  Or is there an evil overlord lurking somewhere we haven't read about, or a civil war that is iminent?  You hint at that, but it doesn't appear to be teetering on the edge of happening, so there isn't much tension if that's what the plot is going to be about.  I guess I'm really just wonering what the plot is; I know it's the first chapter, but there needs to be some hint and where it's going to hook your reader.

Other than that, your world building is very good.  I have a pretty good idea of what is going on here, and the world seems real.  Your characterization is also exemplary and well done.  You've given me some thoughts on my own characterization :)
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Chaos

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 08:11:12 PM »
Problems there are few. I thought it could have used a bit more description (not much, but a bit). The prose was fairly rough and in need of a copyedit, both for grammar and sentence structure as well as to smooth the flow. It's a lot like the early drafts of Fateless were in that regard. I've no doubt you can fix those issues right up.

I see what you're saying. Mostly, I worried I was putting far too much description and establishing in, so I probably skipped over some things that I can expand upon.

I am a little curious about this one, though (page three):

Quote
The wide, stone boulevard outside swarmed with people. Medora navigated through the congestion at the Jewel Station’s entrance, with people flowing in and out. Slipping into the northward flow, Medora

I didn't realize you were working from a damaged manuscript. I wonder how much of that paragraph is missing. ;)

The hell?  ??? ... That's, um, weird.

This seems to be a modern fantasy--there are trains and whatnot, things from our world, not a medieval setting.  This kinda needs to be clear from your prologue.  When I was reading about the God king burning the village, I had a medieval picture in my head.  I don't know if you plan on re-writing that portion, but some indication that this is not a medieval setting would be nice.  The courtroom hints at that, but a trial in a medieval setting is not unimaginable.

Right you are. Modern fantasy. I'll strengthen up the prologue a little more in that respect.


Quote
Medora looked at the ground. This was how her father’s legacy was dying. Not through war—though there was some, in the beginning—but unraveling. The three cultures that Kurick forged together were shattering apart. Devidans hating the wealthy Khabor natives, the Church despising the non-believers, and the educated still incriminated the Church for believing in Kurick; it destroyed everything. As people walked down the street, Medora thought that too many held that air of tension. Perhaps elitism.

Okay, I'm having a hard time figuring out from this paragraph what the "three cultures" are.  You seem to list five here, the Devidans, the Khabor, the Church, the non-believers, and the educated.  Are some of these listed twice under a different name?  I think I understood the non-believers to be the educated, but that still leaves four factions.

I see what you mean.



Medora is becoming a Legate too?  Why didn't she show up earlier to be a part of the confirmation?  Do they do it in shifts?

I wouldn't answer a question like this normally, but since it's important, I'll say this. Confirmation occurs in the period of a week or so. Read and find out.

Okay, so I have some questions.  To this point, this book seems to be one about political intrigue; am I wrong?  There is nothing wrong with that, although I'm not sure most fantasy readers are fans of the genre for the political intrigue (Jordan's readers dropped off when he started emphasizing that aspect).  If the book isn't one about P.I., then you need to have something in your prologue or first chapter that shows some action to hook your reader.  The destruction of the village or the rescue of the princess would be nice. 

Is political intrigue going to be your plot?  Or is there an evil overlord lurking somewhere we haven't read about, or a civil war that is iminent?  You hint at that, but it doesn't appear to be teetering on the edge of happening, so there isn't much tension if that's what the plot is going to be about.  I guess I'm really just wonering what the plot is; I know it's the first chapter, but there needs to be some hint and where it's going to hook your reader.

Other than that, your world building is very good.  I have a pretty good idea of what is going on here, and the world seems real.  Your characterization is also exemplary and well done.  You've given me some thoughts on my own characterization :)

Political intrigue is a large part of the book, but not all of it, so in this respect, if you think it's about political intrigue, that means I've done something right! That's precisely what I'm shooting for. Though of course, lots of stuff does happen :). Have some patience. If you're intrigued at this point, then fantastic.

My characterization, exemplary? Well, that is certainly a nice change of pace!
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 08:50:15 PM »
Quote
Political intrigue is a large part of the book, but not all of it, so in this respect, if you think it's about political intrigue, that means I've done something right! That's precisely what I'm shooting for. Though of course, lots of stuff does happen . Have some patience. If you're intrigued at this point, then fantastic.

Well, I have mixed feelings about political intrigue.  Keep in mind that everything I'm about to say is my own personal preference and many other readers will disagree with me.  Here goes:

I don't mind political intrigue, it can make a plot intricate and beleivable.  However, that being said, if political intrigue takes center stage, well, I start falling asleep.  Part of the reason I read fantasy is to get away from the ordinary, and if I really want politcal intrigue, CNN and CSPAN are on 24/7.  I like political intrigue when it serves as a backdrop rather than an important plot aspect. 

Of course, I know that I may be in the minority on this (Robert Jordan thought that the political intrigue portion of his books was the most interesting portion), but for me, I'm only interested in political intrigue really if there are heads being cracked/people being knifed in the shadows behind the facade of the legitimate government, e.g. Warbreaker by Mr. Sanderson.  Lots of political intrigue in that story, but only as a backdrop for the characters to play against (frequently quite violently).  Mr. Sanderson promised me quite early (see the scene at the beginning with Vasher and the sword) that this book would have plenty of action, so I was willing to see where the intrigue went.

this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Hamster

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 11:19:42 PM »
About easing up on the magic, I was kinda disappointed by that. I was looked forward to finding out more about Cerebrancy, cause it sounded really interesting in the prologue, but I guess I'll just have to rafo in your next submissions...

This was a really good follow up chapter in my opinion, but a little confusing at the start. I read about the train, and then quickly reread it to make sure I got it right, so it confused me alittle at how modern the world was: I almost thought it was a long, long time after the events in the prologue. But I was soon set straight by reading the rest, it was just the initial paragraph or so that was confusing.

Also, I don't really mind this, but I felt like you introduced a lot of new/made up terms and names for a first chapter, and that might scare people off. Personally I love reading worldbuilding stuff, but I just noticed a lot of new terminology that isn't really expanded on. At a few times it felt like you just use a name without explaining anything about it and move on, expecting the reader to know what's going on. Not a huge deal, but like I said, it felt a little much for a beginning.


I like the political intrigue, but I do hope that we get some good old fashioned action at some point, preferably in the first few chapters, just to rehook me again.

While your characterization is definitely well done, I felt like the word and motif of "monster" was overdone a bit. I would have liked maybe a different word or few that Medora used when describing either Kurick or Haiden.( Or maybe this is just me being sick of that word because I just overlistened to a song called Monster in the last few days). Either way, I would like some more variety of thinking from Medora that rehashing over and over that her father was good, wait, no he was a monster, wait, but he did good things: but still a monster"  It's a good internal struggle, but I felt it was overdone in one chapter, and especially if it carries on throughout the book, it's gonna get old real fast

Still, fantastic chapter, good pacing and character development, awesome worldbuilding and good promise of things to come.

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2009, 06:31:28 AM »
First question: Why would the beggars not want to be seen? Isn't that kind of counterproductive?

I'm getting the impression, I'm afraid, that Daijah isn't all that bright, or maybe that she's just particularly ornery or something. I could probably forgive her some for scoffing at Medora's hood, since it's been ten years, but despite the fact that Medora obviously wants to hide she goes ahead and makes a scene with the priest they bump into.

You seem to be  missing at least a couple of sentences somewhere on page three. I tagged the spot in the actual document.

You've implied here that Medora is a drug addict. That would be ...interesting, to say the least.

Daijah, however, seems to have made an abrupt turnaround: Her comments about the hood from earlier indicate that she wasn't that concerned about Medora being recognized. Here, Medora and Daijah have completely switched sides. I understand that Medora is doing this against her better judgement, but it doesn't make sense that Daijah changed her mind so suddenly about Medora being recognized. (Actually, I suppose it's possible tht Daijah doesn't want Medora going for her own reasons. Like, she doesn't want Medora getting her hands on this serum that she may or may not be addicted to. But that's pure speculation on my part. Doesn't seem to be much basis for this in the actual text.)

Question: Are the Khabor black?

You describe the Consulate as "follow[ing] Khabor design, yet...still reminiscent of ancient Devidan temples". The symbol of unity thing is kind of nice to know, but as visuals go, a description like that is going to be more or less meaningless to us.

If Medora used to live here, and the Consulate is such a big deal, why does she seem to knows so little about it? Especially as the daughter of a monarch.

Medora telling Daijah to run, since there's no indication that Haiden's actually seen her, just seems stupid. It strikes me as a very poor way to avoid being noticed.

More description of the world would be good, yes. I'm not sure how far back into history trains go. It does bring to mind a rather more contemporary setting, but nothing else about your work struck me as an urban fantasy. Some research into that might be required so that you can more specifically set (and then describe) your story into the time period it needs.

I don't really havea  great deal else to say at this point, I'm afraid. Keep it up.

sortitus

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 11:55:22 PM »
I'm finally going to post to your Rebirth threads. I promised to give you some feedback on it, so here goes. I haven't read the prologue or chapter 2 yet, so I may be giving useless junk.

Starting from the bottom, does Medora pant out the last line because she's going through withdrawals of calming serum? If it does what the label says, what's bad about it? Just the principle of being addicted to something, regardless of its usefulness? Does she run (illogically, as others have pointed out) because of this? I don't think that the chapter needs that line to end strongly. Yes, it adds a little bit of action, but we don't get to see what happens. If she got away successfully, please let us know. Conversely, cut it as soon as she sees Haiden.

Why did she think that she had to fight Haiden? Does the Confirmatio0n involve physical or verbal sparring? I didn't understand why she was so afraid of the guy. He hasn't seen her in ten years, and she's still young, right? Would he recognize her? How was/is he trying to destroy everything?

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Medora could practically feel that Haiden's voice repeating it.
I felt that this should be a metaphor (eg. Medora felt Haiden's voice echoing from her childhood, crushing her in a landslide of uncertainty...). I wouldn't point it out such a specific instance, but I think that the entire chapter could use less directness. IMO, cutting down some of the extraneous sentences and inserting more (I know there are some :)) powerful metaphors, extended and simple, would make this passage not only publishable, but top-shelf character-driven fantasy. Depending on where the rest of the book goes, of course. ;D

I don't know why Daijah, Medora, and Haiden feel/act the way they with each other. What's their history like? What makes their relationships the way they are? Haiden/Medora seems pretty clear, but I don't know what makes Daijah and Medora so close.

Having been a princess, would Medora have dismissed the idea of a conspiracy so easily? She seems pretty paranoid, but her massive swings in logic (or swings from use to disuse of her mind) don't make sense to me. I found myself wondering throughout if her mercurial behavior was related to lack of serum. If she thinks/acts this way without it, maybe she needs it more than she thinks. ;)

I saw the swords, but the sheathes were in the way. ;)

Why does Medora seem so surprised by Daijah's offer to help if they're BFFs?

Quote
“...I prefer my Me’ra alive and well. Personally speaking.”
I was a bit weirded out by this. She refers to Medora possessively, which hit me in the side of the head like a brick. What? Are they lovers, or is the kind of discussion they've been having more intimate to them than it seems to me? "Personally speaking"? If she's referring to Medora in the possessive form, does she need to add that she's talking about Medora her friend, not Medora the politician?

Her undercover name doesn't seem to undercover.... Is it pride? Is the name actually different from her real name in meaning? Is the name more like a commoner's when she adds the contraction? Is it not supposed to be a false name?

Random aside: how do these girls live? Obviously, the people in their district at least like Medora (hence her election), but how does she eat? Is she a career politician? If so, are they common in this world?

Daijah grabs a dude's wrists! I was expecting her to throw him! Alas, no kung-fu for me. ;)
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Chaos

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Re: Sept 7th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 1
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 05:10:10 AM »
Interesting feedback, sortitus. I have a special question for you, since I'm fairly certain you were the only reader who went straight to Chapter One and skipped the Prologue: did the chapter seem complete enough to start the book off directly? Does the prologue add essential information, or is readable enough from here?

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Her undercover name doesn't seem to undercover.... Is it pride? Is the name actually different from her real name in meaning? Is the name more like a commoner's when she adds the contraction? Is it not supposed to be a false name?

It's a term of endearment, in the Khabor fashion. Read and find out for the rest of your questions ;)

I'm pretty amazed, though. Plenty of the questions/concerns people have are strangely planned to be revealed in the very next chapter from my outline. For example, the issue about lack of action? Done in chapter two.

Rest assured, many questions will be answered not late in the book, but nearly immediately. (Just make sure if there are questions that you absolutely must know to make the story work, let me know!)
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