Author Topic: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2  (Read 1605 times)

Argas

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March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« on: March 01, 2010, 09:26:13 AM »
The previous chapter I submitted is to be replaced by this. Events have been juggled and shifted around and I intend to stick with these two chapters because I like what I've written this time.

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 09:21:15 PM »
I'm going to assume you were going to subtle inclinations toward setting so I'm going to tell you exactly what I thought you were trying to imply, and then you can see if it's working. 

This piece feels like it wants to be Victorian.  In some ways I was expecting Huck Finn to sail up the Mississippi.  Powder in tea, his tea, makes me think of opium and it's many uses before people got smart and realized it was a stupid idea.  I still would like to know more about what people are wearing, as I think that would flesh out the world.  As far as we really see (but assume otherwise) everyone is naked save boots and cloaks.  A Victorian world of Flashers.

The dialogue, all of it, needs work.  It's not b-movie bad, but it's not good.  It's bland.  Admittedly that makes it less fun to poke at, but I have to be honest.

The jumping around in the beginning and the rest of the piece strikes me as the most brilliant way to not let anyone enjoy the characters.  Every time you have a part before a cut we, as the audience, almost get hooked by the character . . . and then he or she goes away.  In all honest, and I may be the only one to say this, but I think that if we had more of a build in character and setting, before jumping into the plot of being exile, I think you'd have a much more enjoyable story.  There's not enough people, especially with sparse and bland dialogue.  Or rather not enough substance to the people.

The rest of the story sounds like you're world building as you're writing, and then jotting down the notes of them as part of the story.  It's not a bad way to start, especially if you're what the Writing Excuses team is always calling a "Discovery Writer."


lethalfalcon

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Re: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 10:28:27 AM »
So, I'm going to make my triumphant return from a deluge of work to haze the new people. You're first. :)

The absolute biggest problem I had with this was the jumping around. As LTU said, you just start to get interested in a character, and they disappear. This makes it very hard later on to get attached to people, and it makes it very hard up front to figure out who the main characters are. I figure Matherly is one of them, simply because she shows up more fairly often.

Matherly... I can't get a good impression of her. She seems to capitulate quickly. I feel like you're dragging her through the events rather than letting her experience them. For instance, her argument with Garis. She goes from defiance to meek acceptance in two paragraphs, but I have no idea why she might have done so. I know I'd certainly be more than a little miffed at having to up and move out because one of my students turned psycho. They can drag me out kicking and screaming!

The dialog... no, I shouldn't go there. Anyone on this forum who has read my submissions knows I absolutely suck at it. I don't know that I had as much problem with it, accept for the cliched-ness of some of it ("How dare you accuse me of such a thing."). However, I will note that you're missing some exclamations. You have one in the entire submission. I would hazard a guess that arguing doesn't tend to happen in calm tones. And I do know how to argue! :D

I'm going to only partially agree with LTU on the clothing bit. Garis is wearing white robes, as illustrated on pages 2 and 3, and Esavir has a coat of some sort. Still, he illustrates part of a bigger problem. There's very little scene description at all. What does the temple look like? What's the weather outside? Is there anything going on in the streets of Tenacre, or is it deserted, as it appears now? The only time you describe something at all is when it's being acted upon. An example would be the tea in Matherly's house. A lot of the submission I was having to really guess at what things looked like. Visualization is one of my strong points, and it's something I tend to point out a lot. Going off the terms used (Duchy, lots of tea), I too get a sense of Victorian era, but without any description on buildings (besides that they're either brick, or wood-and-brick) and such, it's rather hard to accurately place it.

So, I think what this piece needs is some expanding. Show us more of this world you want to immerse us in. You have an interesting hook with Alvis killing his mother. I don't know why, and neither does anyone else it seems like. So, I want to find out why.
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Shivertongue

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Re: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 11:16:43 AM »
Well, you definitely caught my attention with that opening.

I can't think of much to say that hasn't been said already. You give the reader just enough about a character to begin to be intrigued, but like LTU said, the scene shifts before we can become hooked or start to truly have an interest in the character.

The reactions of the various people seem a little... weak. Unnamed townspeople cry for Alvis' blood, but Garis just exiles him, and this other guy gives the boy some boots. That seems a bit too lenient for matricide. Admittedly, I don't know much about your world yet, and it could be a slap on the wrist is customary for killing one of your parents - of course, if this is the case, you need to show it more clearly.

Both chapters also seem very, very short. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of these two, I want to see more. There needs o be some expanding, some further development with what is going on. Everyone seems to agree to exile much too easily - why? Is there a reason they want to be rid of Matherly? I assume there is, based off Garis' thoughts.

What I would like to see, and this is just me personally, is someone insisting throughout the scene that the boy must be killed. Matherly, naturally, would disagree, some tension can build, and then Garis comes in with his 'compromise' that kills two birds with one stone - delivers a punishment for the boy, and gets the professor out of town for whatever reason. Something like that.

Going back to tension, I felt it was missing in this chapter when there were several great opportunities for it to build. You hooked me perfectly with that opening, making me want to read more. You have my attention, but you need to do better to keep it.

The same can be said about chapter two. Much to short, and lacking in force. The dialogue, I don't know. I apparently have some issues with it myself, and I can't find anything too wrong with yours. It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. I'd focus more on setting and character before I worried to much on dialogue. You've given enough of both to be almost interesting, but it needs to be fleshed out a bit to make me really care.

Reading back over all of this, it seems rather negative, so let me clarify that I like what's there. It has potential to be very strong, but it's not there yet. For now, I say keep writing, and you can fix and expand as you go along. If you are discovery writing, then that's what you need to do - chances are you'll have sudden flash of inspiration in a later chapter, come back to chapter one and expand on whatever, making changes to everything written thus far to make the idea work.

I look forward to seeing more.
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Asmodemon

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Re: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 08:33:47 PM »
I’m going to have to agree with what the others said, your opening is pretty strong, but unfortunately it falls flat soon after. You can have something good here, but it needs work.

The biggest problem for me is the whole mess in the church, which I find both unbelievable and a bit clichéd. The clichéd part is how this is all reminiscent of religion versus learning with fanaticism in the former and ridiculously weak will on the other.

In his communion with his goddess Garin is pretty rude. I take the coldness to be the effect of his goddess on him, but he immediately starts thinking how weak she is (why, because she gave him the answer he was demanding?) and that he can reap the benefits of his ‘worship’. If I was a god I’d smite the guy as an example for the others of his kind, unless I was an evil god and went for that kind of thing.

He also observes how the villagers will be a problem in letting the murderer loose, but in the prayer hall Garin has to ‘remind them’ to get riled up about a killer. There’s also a great amount of hate all of a sudden for a kid who killed his mother. Surely there is also surprise and sadness somewhere? And why does the crowd suddenly let Alvis go, going so far as to give him shoes – doesn’t the kid have those at home anyway?

And for a meeting that’s about sentencing a murderer more attention went to a harmless professor than the admitted killer. The accusation against Matherly is so pathetically weak it’s a wonder she acquiesced so quickly

In all it’s not helping my suspension of disbelief.

Another thing is the end of chapter two. Esavir’s thoughts are a real heavy handed way to let the reader know something mysterious is going on. So far I’m also not really sold on the characters enough to actually care either. The two chapters are just too short for that to happen. You really need to expound on them and the setting – show why the church affair happened the way it did, show why we should care about Alvis, Matherly, and Esavir, and you’ll make this a whole lot better.

Argas

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Re: March 1 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1-2
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 09:06:57 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback, it's been really helpful for improving it.

Dialogue will be a problem for me for a long time. I'll have to do more reading.