Author Topic: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1  (Read 1905 times)

Argas

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February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« on: February 15, 2010, 08:40:08 AM »
Not much to say that hasn't been said in the e-mail so I'll just summarize them here.

I've been having trouble writing a start to the novel. Rather than editing it before I've even written a first draft, I've decided to write 2-3 chapters as if they were the first chapter. This is just the first. I've been told that my writing tends to be on the short side so if you have any tips on writing longer sentences or getting more out of short stuff, please tell me.

Shivertongue

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2010, 09:06:58 AM »
Well, it's much shorter than I expected.

Probably because there was no attached file. If this is some kind of hook, I'm afraid I need it explained to me...  :P
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Chaos

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2010, 01:23:45 PM »
Also, in the future Argas, please have the subject line of your email be consistent with the format outlined in the Welcome to Reading Excuses topic :)
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LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 02:53:38 PM »
Well that was . . . weird.

Not a bad weird, but just . . . not what I was expecting.  Reading through it, I found myself surprised, pleasantly, that we were not dealing with 1100 England or France.  However, aside from the dialects and the unbrella, there really isn't much to place the setting . . . or the characters . . . at all.

While the sort of "World words," like professor, and that goddess were enough to tell me I was dealing with "not Earth," I would have liked to see more then people walking in the rain and talking.  See more like . . . what their wearing (cloak aside) or what the streets are like.  OR what the building looks like.  How it's decorated, are their horses.    Given a clearer view of the actual setting it would actually require less description in the future (unless you're writing something really . . . different) to maintain that setting.  I'm trying to do some imagination to visualize it all . . . and I just end up with black blurs, wearing square cloaks and carrying an umbrella, for the vast majority of the piece.

When Esavir shows up, the situation and blocking play out like something I've seen in about six or seven movies and read in just as many books.  Boy comes in, gets in trouble, guardian steps in to save him, guardian learns that she's saving him from someone she knows (or he knows in some cases).  That, however, is not a bad thing.  People have to meet somehow.  What made it all feel . . . odd .. . was the substance to these encounters.  And by substance I mean the lack of it.  And by lack of it I mean . . . I want more then something I can fit in my pocket.

The piece took me along rather nicely at first.  We see the boy trying to pray, not getting an answer and being dismissed.   He makes plans for the future then sets about to achieve those plans.  That's good stuff.  The characters themselves are not enough to drag me along, however, because they have about as much substance to them, at the moment, as a crater.

It all feels as if you wanted to put something there, something interesting, but thought that by adding things, you would be taking away from other things.  What those other things you thought you would lose are, I have no idea.  I  can assure you, however, that you won't.  In fact by giving us a bit more meat you'll probably solve most of your problems right there.

Shivertongue

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 04:27:58 PM »
I'd have to agree with the assessment above, especially the ending paragraph. While I came out of this chapter wanting more, it wasn't the wanting of "I need to know what happens next" but the feeling of "something more should have happened here. My feeling was that there needed to be some kind of conflict to fully draw me in. The beginning felt like it was shaping up for something, but then petered out, and the very brief fight was not nearly enough.

I need something to carry me into the next chapter, some reason for me to keep reading on. As LTU said, the characters aren't enough for that at the moment. I don't care why this kid wants to become a professor, or why it's important. (As it is, I don't find myself liking him too much yet. What little I've seen, he strikes me as kind of whiny and depressing.)

Another thing was that the bulk of this felt, in some ways, more like a 'chapter 2' than a 'chapter 1'.  I don't really know why it felt this way, but it did. That's probably not too helpful.

It did flow rather well, however, and was pretty easy to get into. With that ability to draw in the reader, it would make sense to give them something stronger to hook them fully.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 04:30:41 PM by Shivertongue »
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Aginor221

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2010, 04:56:32 AM »
Hey Argas, I just got added to the email list, so could you email this to me? I also have a hard time with the beginnings of a novel, I'd like to see how you handled yours. Thanks.

Recovering_Cynic

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2010, 06:48:33 AM »
I will second everything that has been said, but I will try to elaborate.  First of all, we need more setting, especially in the very beginning.  Yeah, he's in the temple, and there are flowers that aren't blooming, and there is a crowd of people, but that's all we see.  Show us the temple!  Show us the village when he walks out!  To pull us in, you're going to need to give us something we can see.  Right now we can't see your setting.


On to character: Because we have no idea what is going on here, meaning, what went before, we really have no idea what kind of people these are.  For all we know, the boy accidently murdered his mom, and if that's the case, he has an under whelming amount of remorse, which makes him kind of creepy.  The trick is, we just don't know.  As to the professor, we know nothing about her.  She could be a good guy, bad guy, or anything in between.  We really don't know anything other than the fact that she's called a professor and has failed at something (that wasn't explained) in the past, and that she is some sort of mentor to your MC.  The guy they met in the mill, well, other than the fact that he's awfully suspicious and can grab knives by the blade with his bare hands and not cut himself, we don't know anything about him either.  None of them have a distinct voice, so to speak.


And now we come to plot, or the lack there of.  There is no conflict here.  I mean, yeah the boy is getting exiled, but we don’t know why.  He doesn’t even seem really upset that he has to leave.  We know his mother recently died, but we don’t know why and he doesn’t seem too terribly shaken up about that either.  He’s leaving town to start… something… but we don’t even know what that ‘something’ is.  Without some sort of hook to draw your reader on, some hint at where all this is going, they aren’t going to keep turning the page.  Tell us what’s going on, at least a little bit, so we are engaged in the piece and wanting to continue and find out where the rest of it leads.  Essentially, all of your conflicts in this chapter are resolved in this chapter: boy is not forgiven, boy is exiled, boy meets strange man who attacks him, boy finds out strange man is actually friend of a friend.  These were the main conflicts, and yet none of them continue past the end of the chapter.

Sorry to be so negative, but there really needs to be more of everything (plot, setting, character) to make this piece shine.  It needs to be enriched.  Make it so :)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 06:51:27 AM by Recovering_Cynic »
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Argas

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Re: February 15 -Argas - Heaven's Call Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2010, 08:31:52 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback. This is the sort of thing I need to hear so that I know what I should try to improve or change.