Author Topic: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light  (Read 2147 times)

lethalfalcon

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Why won't insomnia leave me alone?
    • View Profile
Enjoy and eviscerate!
I don't have good days. I have great days, where I'm a magician ridding the world of all evil, or at least everything I don't like. And then I wake up, and it's back to work for me.

Recovering_Cynic

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 581
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Except vampires. Vampires suck.
    • View Profile
    • my livejournal
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2009, 07:02:27 PM »
Thoughts while reading:

Quote
For a handful of mages, the five councilors of runecasting and heads of their discipline, it signified a breach of something dangerous, yet otherwise completely unknown.

I scratch my head at this sentence.


Don't tell us about Jirath's and Tarone's history.  Just let us know that there is history.  If it is important, give us more detail later.

A lot of time in your dialogue, you tell us that your character said something.  Just have them say it.  It's more effective and builds character better.  You do this quite a few times througout the piece.

Finished.

Alright, I liked the chapter but I fealt like it needed... more.  We don't know why any of what happens here matters.  I mean, it is clear that the characters think it matters, but we have no idea why they think it matters.  The prologue has to stand on its own and make us care about what happens.  It has to be relatively self contained, a story in and of itself.  Here, horrible things happen, but we have no idea why.  We need something.

Other thoughts: Why did Aliese automatically know something had happened to her father?  It's really not clear.  Is there a psychic link?  If there is, show us.  If there isn't, then why does she automatically assume the worst for her dad?

Hmm... other than that and the thoughts I listed while I was reading, I did enjoy the chapter.  It kept me interested while I read.  I think all that really is needed to make this prologue shine is a better sense of what is going on.  For example, why was the door locked?  Why should we care that there is a man down there?  Who is this girl's dad?  How does she know he's dead?  Some of theses questions need to be answered before your reader will find the chapter really interesting.
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

lethalfalcon

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Why won't insomnia leave me alone?
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2009, 07:32:40 PM »
Hrm, so it appears I need to remove some of the RAFO-ing, because you're too lost. Part of the problem, though, is that the characters don't *know* why these things are happening, so telling the reader would be... meta-narrating. For instance:

Quote
No one had ever been able to break the wards to this room. Historical texts, written by mages generations ago implied that they had been put there by the Lirians themselves to protect the nation. From what, they didn't say.

Is there really any way I can inform the reader that the entire tower is a giant spell canon when no one around has that knowledge?

Do I really have too much history? I count 5 sentences. The first set is there to show that they're both councilors, and the second is to explain why they're running in gung-ho instead of waiting for the others. If it's too much, I can cut it, but I'll wait for the polls on this one.

I can have them speak out more. That's probably better, as you noted. I tend to be a little more passive, which isn't the best, I know.

Her father is Jiranth... but how can I show that (this is not rhetorical; I really want to know some way to do so)? Little children don't usually refer to their fathers by name. Ooh, i might know a way. Aliese knew her father would be awake because it was his night to watch over the giant rune that detects magical presence (think of it like a spell radar for the city). I could have Tarone note that as well, which would imply the connection... would that be enough?

The death... yeah, that was the snap. Mages who have children get a little bond. It doesn't give any empathic or telepathic information, but it's there, like a warm fuzzy. I could elaborate on that a bit.

Thanks for the review. More stuff to think on. :)
I don't have good days. I have great days, where I'm a magician ridding the world of all evil, or at least everything I don't like. And then I wake up, and it's back to work for me.

LongTimeUnderdog

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 304
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2009, 12:18:05 AM »
What annoyed me in the beginning was not the history.  the five sentences were fine.  What bothered me was that there was no one there to look over the shoulder of until later.  had it started with the characters, then moved to history, I think it would have been better.  that's just me though.

I could ramble about this and that but I'm sure everyone else commenting will do so.  Instead I'll hit what I do know:  the fighting.

Building up to the action was .. . boring.  It seemed like you were just trying to delay the combat to build tension by having stuff blown up.  That's not tension (though it does give us some good idea of what's coming).  Tension is "I think we're gonna die." With, "yeah, but we gotta try."  That's kinda cliche talking but I hope it makes the point.

Second thing, a great big glaring issue with the actual fighting, is when Jir switches from speed to strength.  Really?  Switching from speed to strength?  I take it you're a D&D player?  Probably a little older school player I'd wager.
 
Being stronger does not mean you hit harder.  It means you move can move faster using heavier weapons.  And heavier weapons moving faster mean you can hit harder.  It's like a bullet.  the bullet is SUUUUPER tiny, but because it is moving so fast it causes a great deal of ouch.  From the text I wager the guy blowing everything up is not armored.  Which brings me to a third issue I'll get into later.

The speed of the weapon determines how much ouch it causes.  So why would he slow do to strengthen himself, just so he can swing the weapon faster?  And why is he using a one handed axe with two hands?  As a veteran of combat, Jir would know that slowing down would be silly since he can break armor better moving faster.  And if the other guy isn't wearing any armor, then that's even better.

Okay, now the armor:  If they have magic that makes them move super fast and be super strong, why do they even have armor at all?  Why not just ward regular clothes for the magic blocking and not slow yourself down with armor?

And fourth:  There are no ways to grip a weapon that are not used for blocking and striking.  Using a line specifically saying he was holding it in a way to strike and block together really says, "I, the author, have no idea what I'm really talking about, and just want to write a fight."

But since you are someone who does know what he's talking about (or rather, not a bad writer) I know that's not what you mean.

My personal opinion on it is that it is infinitely better then your previous submission.  And much more interesting.

lethalfalcon

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Why won't insomnia leave me alone?
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 04:15:02 AM »
You asked, so here are some answers, and some more questions.

An ax (more specifically, a horseman's ax) has a haft long enough to use both hands. Given that he doesn't have a shield, you usually *would* use an ax in two hands unless you were following through on a swing or an opponent has flanked you. You have more control, the ability to switch hands to  attack people at your sides, and you can transfer the control to force by shifting your top hand down the haft as you strike, just like how you bust up concrete with a sledgehammer or chop wood with an ax.

Now, I can agree that the way I convey the one sentence at the heart of your problem is a little off--technically you position your body in a stance that allows for more reaction in both offense and defense, rather than a purely offensive or defensive stance (overhead strike being an example of a purely offensive stance). So, since the whole sentence was written to show that he was being careful, would a sentence like this work better?

Quote
Jirath drew an axe from his belt before entering the room, wary of any hidden intruders.

With this sentence, I don't say exactly how he accomplishes being ready to attack or defend as the situation presents himself, which leaves it up to the reader.

As for the armor, there are several very good reasons why it's still metal. First off, a rune's durability is directly proportional to the material it is inscribed upon. Cotton doesn't last as long as metal, no matter how you slice it. Second, there could potentially be areas where magic just does not work. At least then your metal armor will still stop some things.

I will agree that I should not bother with making him stop to transfer his infusion from speed to strength. It would be far better to just let him run at the man, and then let the speed of his movement transfer into the speed of his arms by planting his foot.

D&D though? Sure, I play (3.5 edition, though, so no, not old skool), but I really fail to see the comparison. Dex really doesn't do much for speed. You can't make more attacks, you can't move faster... you pretty much get dodge, reflex saves, and some skill bonuses. You can't really switch one for the other in the system, either. I was actually thinking of it more from an engineering standpoint, specifically electrical, where you can have either short bursts of a lot of power, or longer bursts of lower power, although that argument is a little flawed anyway. Making yourself stronger would be more useful if he were, say, lifting something heavy, or crushing people. Stupid physics, making F=ma. But I digress... :)

Perhaps my build up is a little boring. I'd thought about having them walk past carnage on the base floor, but didn't really want to goo half the tower. It also would have been a more early notification of an intrusion, when really the tower's ancient alarm is the first notification they have. Perhaps, though, I want that earlier alarm. I'll have to think about it. Would walking through death build tension more, if it had enough detail to show you what they were about to come up against, instead of an exploded door and some broken traps/wards, or are you looking for something else?

Thank you for the critique, though. I expect no less than a thorough bashing from you (which is a good thing). And I'm glad that it's infinitely better. Hopefully my reworked chapter 2 is infinitely better than this, and I can rip a hole in the space-time continuum. :)
I don't have good days. I have great days, where I'm a magician ridding the world of all evil, or at least everything I don't like. And then I wake up, and it's back to work for me.

LongTimeUnderdog

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 304
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 05:12:31 AM »
I'll bite at the bait, since it might be fun.

Quote
An ax (more specifically, a horseman's ax) has a haft long enough to use both hands. Given that he doesn't have a shield, you usually *would* use an ax in two hands unless you were following through on a swing or an opponent has flanked you. You have more control, the ability to switch hands to  attack people at your sides, and you can transfer the control to force by shifting your top hand down the haft as you strike, just like how you bust up concrete with a sledgehammer or chop wood with an ax.

You don't actually tell us it's a horseman's axe, you just say . . . axe.  Also, a trained axe fighter would not open with such a broad overhead swing on a balanced opponent, he'd thrust the axe or use a short arc on a long shaft if he's going for reach (particularly if the opponent is unarmored where he doesn't need momentum).

Quote
Now, I can agree that the way I convey the one sentence at the heart of your problem is a little off--technically you position your body in a stance that allows for more reaction in both offense and defense, rather than a purely offensive or defensive stance (overhead strike being an example of a purely offensive stance). So, since the whole sentence was written to show that he was being careful, would a sentence like this work better?

There is no such thing as a purely offensive or defensive stance.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to sell you something.   Someone out there is going to say, "What about the stance where you hold the weapon vertical over your head?"  If you think about it long enough you'll figure it out.

Also stances are transitions, they're not stone tablets.  All fighters take "postures" when they fight, but they're not really stances. 

Quote
As for the armor, there are several very good reasons why it's still metal. First off, a rune's durability is directly proportional to the material it is inscribed upon. Cotton doesn't last as long as metal, no matter how you slice it. Second, there could potentially be areas where magic just does not work. At least then your metal armor will still stop some things.

Since that's not clear in the text, I can only read the story as not making sense and question the author's research.

Quote
D&D though? Sure, I play (3.5 edition, though, so no, not old skool), but I really fail to see the comparison. Dex really doesn't do much for speed. You can't make more attacks, you can't move faster... you pretty much get dodge, reflex saves, and some skill bonuses. You can't really switch one for the other in the system, either. I was actually thinking of it more from an engineering standpoint, specifically electrical, where you can have either short bursts of a lot of power, or longer bursts of lower power, although that argument is a little flawed anyway. Making yourself stronger would be more useful if he were, say, lifting something heavy, or crushing people. Stupid physics, making F=ma. But I digress...

Combative ouching power is a different equation, something like F=1/2mv2 (that's v squared but I can't figure out superscript) or whatever the big F is supposed to be, sadly I'm not an engineer.

In D&D, the amount of ouch is determined by your strength.  your ability to hit something is determined by your strength (normally).  this is . . . flawed.

Using those term, since you brought it up:  Dexterity is the over all rating of how coordinated you are and your attack bonus is a representation of how skilled you are at hitting something, and actually breaking defenses.  Attack bonus is buffed by strength.  I say this is flawed and it is.

The amount of ouch can drop on someone in a real fight is only parially determined by how strong you are (see above equation for m= mass).  Now, when you're a very skilled fighter your body alignment is great and being desterous (able to coordinate yourself) makes that easier.   Body alignment and simple kinesiology (a science of moment) will allow you to strike more precisly and accurately, wasting less movment in the attack.  Wasting less movement means the attack has more force being directed into the target.  Being stronger does allow you to put more mass behind the attack but that mass is negligable compared to everything else that goes into the hit.  The amount of ouch you can drop into a target is determined by how well you hit something, not how hard.  Glancing blows are a perfect example of this.  Had the attacker had a more precise attack, he would not have glanced.

More precise blows are going to pierce armor better (working around as it can be said the curves of the armor), strike important organs, and make moving into the next attack all that easier.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 05:15:39 AM by LongTimeUnderdog »

lethalfalcon

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Why won't insomnia leave me alone?
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 05:42:12 AM »
Ah, yes, KE=(1/2)mv2 (superscript is that little icon that says "sup" on it, or you can use ^ to mean power). Either way, if his velocity is already high, he can directly impart that to the ax by stopping himself and letting the ax continue forward with momentum. It makes sense, where stopping does not. I concede this point and will change it.

Being stronger does not allow you to put more mass behind a blow, though. A 500 lb. fat computer gaming blob has more mass than a 260 lb. body builder, but the 260lb body builder will hit you harder with a weapon any day. Now I *could* say that he infused his arms with more mass, but the amount would likely be inconsequential in the equation. It's far better to just go faster (because it's squared).

And I'm not saying that there's absolutely no defensive possibilities of an overhead strike... just that it leaves you really wide open and is fairly predictable, which generally reduces its effectiveness in battle.

And amen, D&D rules make absolutely no sense if you're going for realism. If you want that, go for Rifts, or GURPS. Or better yet, invent a time machine and go back to the 1400s. You'll just need to make your own magic. :)

What about my other question, regarding the tension? I'm less concerned that you don't understand the entirety of my magic system by page 8 (with regards to metal holding runes better), and more concerned with your boredom in the Prologue (where I need to get you hooked).
I don't have good days. I have great days, where I'm a magician ridding the world of all evil, or at least everything I don't like. And then I wake up, and it's back to work for me.

LongTimeUnderdog

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 304
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2009, 05:49:01 AM »
Tension, in this sense, I think would come from the characters worried about their imminent death.  Likable Characters about to die, or seemingly to, makes us the reader, tense.  So if there is more character, there will be more tension.  That's what I think anyway, especially if they see the risk of them dying and make it known to the reader.  That's what I think anyway.

Chaos

  • Administrator
  • Level 36
  • *
  • Posts: 2170
  • Fell Points: 3
  • The Original Hero of Ages
    • View Profile
    • Eric Lake
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2009, 08:55:18 AM »
There's lots of flashy lights going on here, but not much character. The description works, but it isn't good enough to make up for a lack of character--I don't think you can compensate for lack of character anyways. I know a little bit of Tarone's past, but it really doesn't matter, except for letting me know why he is where he is. That doesn't cut it. The switch from Tarone to Aliese... well, prose-wise, I don't feel any difference. I don't feel like I know Aliese or Tarone enough to care.

I don't really like your first paragraph. It gives the impression of an omniscient viewpoint.

Stilted dialogue. It doesn't give the sense of tension that first paragraph promised, especially if these people are councilors and recognize the danger.

Is the lack of him feeling the magic (page three) because he's blind, or is it just because, you know, the runes are being negated. Okay, on the next page I see it is indeed damped. It still kind of feels weird the way you said it originally.

"He gave no thought to whether he lived, only that he stayed alive long enough to get rid of the threat." This line really doesn't make sense in context. You were just saying how he's going to crush this intruder. How does that relate to whether or not he cares if he lives? Also, if he made no thought to it and we're in his viewpoint, how can we know about it :P

"What will da be doing, now?" This is also another weird thing to think when confronted with a noise in the tower, and not much is done in the next paragraphs thinking about Dad at all. (Also from a grammatical standpoint, I think "da" should be capitalized. If you said "my da", then cool, but it's a proper noun right now.)

Speaking of Dad... "The tower wasn't that far away from the house, and she couldn't sleep. Her father would be awake at this hour, she knew." I read this and it gave me the impression that she was leaving the tower (because she just said she wasn't supposed to be out of the tower, making it seem like her home) going to her dad's place at this house. Yet, from what I gathered, he's in the tower and dies. Slightly confused here.

So, I mean, the action is acceptable, but not great by any means. Without characters to get behind, I feel no impact. So... yeah. If I picked this prologue up, I wouldn't continue. There's no real mystery to intrigue me, or characters to intrigue me, either.

(Of course, it is much better than your last submission, as at least something of importance happened. ;) )

-----------

On the matter of the axe:

Quote
An ax (more specifically, a horseman's ax) has a haft long enough to use both hands. Given that he doesn't have a shield, you usually *would* use an ax in two hands unless you were following through on a swing or an opponent has flanked you. You have more control, the ability to switch hands to  attack people at your sides, and you can transfer the control to force by shifting your top hand down the haft as you strike, just like how you bust up concrete with a sledgehammer or chop wood with an ax.

Well, then say what kind of axe it is. Specificity is always good.

About Cynic's comment and falcon's response:

Yes, there is something missing here. Cynic got close, in saying that there was something missing and we don't know "why". But I think it's that we don't know why we should care. We don't need to know why something is attacking or whatever, but I do need to be invested in the characters. There is nothing about the characters that "hooks" me, so to speak.
www.17thshard.com - The Official Brandon Sanderson Fansite.

Oh SNAP, I'm an Allomancer.

Frog

  • Level 13
  • *
  • Posts: 578
  • Fell Points: 0
  • "Have a popover, Froggie!"
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2009, 07:45:26 PM »
My biggest problem with this piece is while most of it was technically fine, it felt a little lifeless. Some passiveness and very little emotion. Characters were a bit flat, dialogue was especially awkward and I don't feel any connection to them. Not a lot of tension because you are not explaining the situation at all (nothing to anticipate which you need for any kind of suspense) and your narrative pace seems leisurely. It just felt very glazed over. Cynic is right about needing to show rather than tell the interactions using direct quotes.

And when they see the guy in the tower, they just attack. I don't even see a lot of provocation besides that he is obviously trespassing. I mean, some explanation/motivation/tension and a lot of other things could easily be accomplished just by letting them shout at each other for awhile. Show me why what he is doing is so important.

You do need to tell us who Aliese's father is for any of her transitional thoughts and connection to him to make since. She may not think of him by name, but you might be able to work in his position. Or if he knows he is about to die, it would make since that he would think of his family and her by name.

So, while there are improvements here, my overall critique is going to be exactly the same as last time. World is fine, now show me why I should care. :P

Good luck.
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Silk

  • Staff
  • Level 31
  • *
  • Posts: 1798
  • Fell Points: 0
  • ...no room for someone in second place...
    • View Profile
    • Beyond Impossibility
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2009, 12:55:52 AM »
Jirath seems a lot younger than Tarone when he first appears, though Tarone's reminiscence about their previous battles seems to belie that. Then again, maybe I shouldn't be judging Jirath from one line of dialogue?

I'm not really getting the sense of urgency I'd expect from a guy whose enemies are OMG INSIDE THE CASTLE, MAN. Tarone seems more annoyed at this whole stupid war for making him actually have to do something about it.

I also didn't get the indication that he was moving very quickly (though I suppose that would make sense) but he's wheezing by the time he makes it down the hall. Probably just saying that he IS running, even though he's old and out of breath and out of shape (or whatever) will probably do a fair bit to increase the urgency right there.

So you're wandering through the castle that's under attack by a mysterious force. Where the heck IS everyone?

What's in the storage room whose doors have been blown up? Apparently it's pretty strongly warded, which suggests that there's something important in there. Yet after the initial, "oh noes, who could have done this" Tarone moves right past it as if it's inconsequential.

Tarone moves into another rune with a bunch of complex runes that he doesn't recognize and notes that he can't feel any magic here. Is that normal for this room? Because he's so worried about his inability to sense magic and because he doesn't recognize  the runes, I'm halfway to thinking that the runes were drawn by the enemy and that the inability to feel magic is a side effect of that. There's nothing that explicitly suggests that, though. By the same token, there's nothing suggesting that Tarone's seen this room or felt this effect in it before. If he lives in the castle, you'd think he would have.

Alright, so this part of the prologue wasn't bad, but it didn't quite have the tension that I think it should have. Mostly because it's hard to get tension out of a scene where a couple of dudes wander aimlessly around a tower--a tower which seems practically empty, by the way. (Which isn't to say that it can't be done.)  I also didn't understand what was going on in terms of the attack, which made it hard to feel too worried about it.

I was much more with you on the second section of the prologue, the one with Aliese. That one had the tension that the first section lacked, as well as the added advantage of looking pretty cool (what with the read light and all). I think it would help you to make it clear earlier on that she's from the castle; it ups the ante a bit if we know that this landmark building that is doing strange things is also her home. It will also make it clear instantly, when she wonders what her father will be doing now, that he's IN the castle.

I'm tempted to suggest that you make Aliese's section and her section alone the prologue. It's more comprehensible and certainly more tense. But I don't know how important the information in the first bit of the prologue is, and I certainly think that the first bit can be made to work. Basically, it's a question of ramping up the tension and helping us understand the stakes a little better. You would probably have an opportunity to do that, and up the ante a little bit, if you put some people other than Tarone and Jirath into that first section. THe castle is under attack, isn't it? Nobody really knows what's going on, but they know that the alarms are going off. How do they react? What are their speculations? That sort of thing.

I'd actually assumed that Aliese's father was Tarone, because he was the viewpoint character. The change that you suggested here might be enough,I would have to see it in action to answer that, I think. :P

By the way, there's a reason we don't debate D&D physics. Anyone who's been playing long enough knows that certain aspects of the D&D system are inherently broken. :P

That being said, it was entertaining for a geek like me to read. XP

I disagree with a couple of Chaos's line-level quibbles. The line referring to blindness was perfectly clear in context as far as I was concerned, and this line, "he gave no thought to whether he lived or died" etc, makes sense because it implies that Tarone thinks that eliminating the threat of this intruder is more important than his own life.

lethalfalcon

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Fell Points: 0
  • Why won't insomnia leave me alone?
    • View Profile
Re: Dec 21 - lethalfalcon - Mortal Divinity - Prologue - Pillar of Light
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2009, 01:32:06 AM »
Yay! I think...

Jirath is younger than Tarone... by about a decade (which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but it's there).

You're right that I need more urgency, but wrong about Tarone's thoughts. There isn't supposed to be a war right now, at least not this far north (but you have no way of knowing this on page 2).

Heh... about those people... yeah, I've already started rewriting the prologue (because I'm OCD about getting *something* right), and there are more people now... but still none on the first floor.

The storage room itself wasn't warded. Just a normal door. It wasn't a storage room in the past, but that's long before Tarone's time, so he wouldn't know. Been that way since he got there, and all that. It's the (no longer) sealed door *inside* the storage room that's important... so maybe I need to spend a little more time on it. I thought the half paragraph was enough.

The other room he's never been in before. No one in the tower has. It's been sealed shut for a very long time. So you're right, he hasn't seen this room before, nor would he have experience with runes that can hide other magic (although the room actually has a lot of other properties to it, none of which are known at this point in time, certainly). For simplicity's sake, the room was warded against scrying, which was possible a long time ago, when this room was actually used last.

I'm surprised you liked the scene with Aliese... a lot of other people didn't. Part of this I attribute to my lack of ability in getting inside the head of an 8-year-old girl. I don't understand females at all, let alone young ones (which is exactly why I chose a female protagonist... to torture myself, and hopefully learn a few things).

And I obviously screwed up how I described where she lived. She lives in a manse about 1.5 miles away from the castle/tower (the tower was built first--the castle was built off of it a couple decades later). She's going *to* the tower to see her father. I'm going to have to spend some time on this part. I understand it because I see it in my head, but nobody else does. :(

I think I'm going to end up writing a few different versions of this prologue, to see which I like the best. I may do one with just Aliese, and flesh it out a bit, although it's somewhat important that you understand what goes on in the tower (which you already don't, so I need to work on that anyway). I *might* be able to hint at what it is through Tarone... he's been around enough that he might understand the concepts of a spell canon, even if he would have no clue how to create one. He does understand the spell that is released, though, so I could definitely build tension by informing the reader of its destructive capabilities (and give you more reason to keep reading, to find out what actually happened because of the spell).

I won't post these revisions here, because I don't think people want to read slight variations of the same thing for four weeks straight. I'll release something new before then (which might end up being a different story, or something farther along in this one, since my other submission needs rewriting as well).
I don't have good days. I have great days, where I'm a magician ridding the world of all evil, or at least everything I don't like. And then I wake up, and it's back to work for me.