Author Topic: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2  (Read 1489 times)

Chaos

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Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« on: October 19, 2009, 02:12:31 PM »
At last, it's done. You'll learn some more about Cerebrance, and some more about my inability to write action (not to mention my glacial writing pace ;) ) You'll also learn why sapphires are cool. Beware, there's violence.

I'm pretty sure I at least finished all the paragraphs this time, unlike that one last chapter. So it can't be that terrible, right?
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sortitus

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 12:43:53 AM »
I like the blade. It's yummy. Especially with blood on it. Very cool mental picture, if a little gory. :-* :) :) :)

Do the priests not prepare acolytes for the possibility that they may have done bad things in previous lives? Tav seemed pretty shaken by what he saw.

Does drawing on the soul's power really destroy it? If so, can it regenerate some, or do all souls that ever use Cerebrancy lose potency permanently? Is it just physical powers that drain the soul? I was surprised that Tav would be so horrified at someone using Cerebrancy when he himself has been training in it for four years.

I wanted more connection between the past soul and Tav. The loyalty and protection aspect was good. I just wanted more. Also, if he's completely locked into the time and place of the memory, would he hear his thoughts as well, or is the mind more of a book to look through once he's there?

I liked the camaraderie between the characters in the first bit.

One thing that threw me off is the differentiation between Tav and his past self. Can't he get the name? I mean, I can see keeping it mysterious, but Tav grabbing related details about the battle from his past mind made me expect him to be able to get more than that as well. Also, why was he trying to run? Didn't the priests tell him that he couldn't change history when he went back?

The ending blindsided me a little. I was expecting it soon after the return from the past, but the comment from his friend made me expect a little more lingering.

The action was actually pretty good. The same overarching criticism from last chapter applies to this one: I would like to see less literal speech (more metaphors).

The characters were more consistent, even if I felt myself wondering about why Tav's training was apparently so incomplete. Four years in a temple is a long time. Also, do they just allow attempts every year to become a Denyer until you succeed? I'm assuming that Tav hasn't attempted before because of his age. Hence the "big two-zero" attitude from his friends.

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ryos

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 10:17:31 AM »
Quote
Tavaris did not think looking into his soul would be a good idea.

Strong beginning. Me like.

However, in the following paragraphs, I had a hard time connecting with Tav. It's hard for me to point to any one thing that makes it so, which frustrates me. Just...the dialog and descriptions failed to set the mood.

Perhaps it's that I didn't get a strong sense of what it was Tav was so nervous about. I mean, on the one hand he doubts the utility of looking into his past, and fears to corrupt his present self with his past. On the other, he feels impelled to succeed because, for some reason, it will be bad for his family if he fails. Add a touch of peer pressure to succeed for good measure.

That's all there, all the ingredients for a fat Emotional Punch Sandwich. Only, somehow the meat is on top, the bread in the middle, and the mustard is dripping all over your shirt. It's scattered and lacks cohesion and fails to deliver.

Waaaugh. Someone revoke my metaphor license before I hurt any more of them.

The way you presented the memories of the past didn't work very well for me either. Most such scenes I've read before present it like a literal viewpoint, without interjection. I think it works better that way. With the reactions interspersed, we can see that Tav remains his present self, as can he. What if his past…resonates? What if he doesn't just recall enjoying the slaughter, but he actually does enjoy it?

His reaction, his revulsion, his self doubt; they all become stronger. Also, doing it that way would force you to compress the exposition into a few hints during the vision, then a bit more during the reaction; it would make it briefer. As it is, it's a bit much for me.

That's it for negatives for me. I thought your action was fine, though as I mentioned above, I feel it would be much improved sans interruption. I'm intrigued by the magic system you're creating here, and if I've not yet seen enough of the world to get intrigued, I'm sure I will with time. As an aside, the soul-expending aspects of Cerebrance seem, well, evil to me. A dark power, a forbidden fruit. I find myself wanting to see a "good" philosophy or branch of the magic that does not expend the soul, perhaps even deriving its own strength or power from that.
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Chaos

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 01:19:47 AM »
Sent the Prologue and Chapter One to Andrew and Shannon. Anyone else want it?
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Flo_the_G

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2009, 07:53:15 PM »
As I understood it, the "good" philosophy that ryos wants to see is what regular Cerebrants follow, and only the heretics, i.e. the Potencers, use up the soul itself. It seemed quite clear to me when first I read it, but now that I've read the critiques and gone back to read it again, the passage explaining the system seems somewhat confusing.

Anyway, to begin with the bad, there are some words and phrases in there that seem out of place ("no, I'm good", "cool" used not to describe temperature, "in one fell swoop").  I would also agree that you should tone down Tav's thoughts some during the memory scene, although I do think it's a good place for exposition, and you handled that nicely.

What bothered me more about that scene was that the descriptions of the setting came a bit too late. I initially assumed that the lord was part of the besiegers and not the besieged.

That said, I enjoyed the action very much. That might not be saying much, though, as I pretty much love everything that features a bayonet charge. ;D

By the way, will you be addressing the issue of there not being enough souls if the population increases? That was one of the first things that occurred to me when I read about the whole reincarnation deal.^^

Andrew the Great

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 05:49:32 AM »
I like it. A lot.

I personally didn't have any issues picking up on the system. It seemed really clear to me, and it made sense to me as well why Tav was horrified at his past self.

The phrases that Flo mentioned as seeming out of place were about all that really took me out of the action.

I like the descriptions of how the Potencer feels when using his soul to fuel his body. Tav's reactions sometimes fell a little bit flat, though. It was like, past self does something, then Tav goes "Oh no! That's awful!" I'd change Tav's reactions up just a little bit, because as is, it seems like he's just saying the same things over and over again. If you want that feeling, great, but as is, he's very repetitive. Or, as an alternative, you could have his reactions grow stronger as the scene progresses. You mention towards the beginning that the potencer either has an incredibly strong soul, or he's desperate. Yet, later in the scene, when the potencer draws on more of his soul, Tav doesn't express any disbelief that he's using still more of his soul. Make sense?

The action was great. Just the right level of detail for me.

And I want to know, what's the deal with sapphires, anyway?

Overall, very good though.
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 11:43:05 PM »
My one real complaint (other than grammar/word choice stuff that can be cleaned up in post) is that the chapter did not seem to have a resolution.  It seemed like there needed to be be more said before the chapter could be properly resolved.  After the MC comes out of his introspection, not much really happens.  I'd assume that after an experience like that, he would have quite a reaction.  Shock, fear, horror.  Well, wouldn't the other characters react to this?  If this kind of reaction was normal, well, shouldn't the denyer person be telling him that it it's okay, these sorts of things are normal?  Doesn't anyone ask questions?  Who were you in your past life?  What did you see?  etc.  It seems that it would spark a natural curiosity, wouldn't it?  IF the questions are taboo, then someone should inform the reader of that.  In sum, there needs to be more at the end of the chapter because it ends too abruptly. 

The action was fine, the dialogue was good.  I really liked the chapter and it certainly catches your reader's attention.  In fact, you might move this up closer to the beginning of the book.  It acts as a really good hook.

Oh, one other thing that occurred to me: at the beginning, the MC has doubts that looking into his soul is a good idea.  Why?  Why would this be a bad idea?  Has he had dreams?  Has he felt hints that something dark lingers there?  If it's just nerves about going through the process, well, that's to be expected, but don't phrase it as being a "bad idea".  You need to make it clear as to why the MC is so hesitant.

Anyway, as I said, I really liked this chapter.  Keep on writing!
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Re: Oct 19th - Chaos - Rebirth, Chapter 2
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 03:56:58 AM »
The scene where Tav views his past incarnation didn't really work for me. At least, it didn't really work for me insofar as shedding any light on how the magic system actually works. It seemed that there were points when you were tossing around a lot of jargon (and not much explication). Not that you should slow things down to explain every technical term, but to me, at least, there was enough jargon in there that I had a bit of trouble picking it up from the context. (Since it's been so long since I read the prologue and first chapter, it is also possible that there's stuff I'm simply not remembering and that's why it doesn't seem clear to me.) The other thing that I'm stumbling against a bit here is that it seems like you're throwing all this stuff in just so you can explain it, not because it's stuff that Tav would necessarily be thinking at the time. I would rather be immersed in the scene, have HIM immersed in the scene, than have it become a Magic Instruction Manual.

Speaking of immersion: I wasn't quite clear on whether Tav in this scene was a disembodied entity (which seemed to be the case at first) or actually in the body of his former self (which is what the later lines seemed to indicate).

Does Tav's alter ego have a name? It might be useful to squeeze it in somewhere, and give you an easy way to differentiate between Tav and his, uh, alter ego.

I second (or third, or whatever) that the action itself was fine. I think Flo is spot-on in suggesting that some of the descriptions come earlier. I had a similar thought; wasn't sure who was the beseiger and who was the beseiged.

As Recovering Cynic had noticed, the scene at the very end after he comes out of his trance seems a little skimpy, at least insofar as it took me by surprise. I'm not sure that it NEEDS to be longer, though; it does kind of have a punch to it the way it is. I'm on the fence about it. It may depend on how you deal with the later scenes.

I don't think that there's any reason for Tav not to think that looking into his soul would be a "bad idea". Seems to me like the sort of thing that you might eawsily think if there was something that you were really, really nervous about,

I think Ryos is right in that you could up the emotional ante in this scene. You could, as Ryos suggests, have Tav feel his alter ego's emotions as if they were his, without any differentiation. Another thing that might be really interesting is to have his past incarnation's emotions bleed into his. What if he couldn't sort out for sure whose emotions belonged to whom? That's got to be disconcerting in all kinds of ways.

Just a thought, of course...