Author Topic: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One  (Read 1877 times)

Asmodemon

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February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« on: February 01, 2010, 07:09:51 AM »
Here's the first chapter for The Citadel of Thorns. Enjoy.

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 02:59:42 PM »
Well I have to admit that I liked it.  That's despite my usual disgust for cliches.

By cliches I mean the setting.  Nice quite, English or French village with cobblestones and bar wenches.  Yawn.  On top of that we have someone hiding in the city who has a history of magic and the little girl runs off at the end, having a magical power.  Its like Shannara, with girls.  The only way it could have been worse would have been if they were elves.

The stuff that I did like, however, was that the story did not putter around (yes I understand the irony of that comment).  Well it did putter about, painting for us the perfect image of a perfect little medieval village, though the stuff about the catfish made me laugh, which nothing ever happens.  Until it gets wiped out.

There just isn't much that's new here.  It was all predictable.  The awesome older sister being attacked, someone with a lot of power walking in and blowing stuff up, and the sisters telling each other to run away.  What I did not expect was for the girl to get the giant guy in her head.  While that's not necessarily new, that really was surprising.

The voice of the piece is excellent but sometimes it switches between little girl and poet philosopher.  I realize you were going for awesome prose and you certainly didn't miss that, but you have some odd voice swaps that made me giggle.

Shivertongue

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 07:44:51 AM »
I'd have to agree with much of what LTU is saying, although I have to dissent on the issue of cliche.

Yes, much of this is an oft-used formula, but while I was reading it, I didn't even notice. My second read-through was the first sign I saw of it, and that may be because the second read is where I put on my critiquing glasses. However, I feel you made the cliche work for you, rather than against. A small village, not many visitors, young girl... I knew something would be brewing, something was going to come kick in the door and shatter the idyllic little hamlet. That inevitability worked with the pacing - which I thought was handled very well -  and although it didn't quite shock me when it happened, up until the moment it did it had me wondering when. In a good way. Sometimes the scene everyone expects is the one you want to use. Preferably, though, you'll hit us with something completely unexpected in the next few chapters.

The catfish thing was hilarious, and I enjoyed the voice and prose (again, must voice agreement with LTU on the switches in personality. Was a bit odd in some spots.)

One issue I did have is with a few of the descriptions. Several of them felt out of place - the one referring to the cobblestones stands out to me most. Reading it makes me feel as if Rosalin just stopped walking and stared at the cobbles, then continued on after analyzing them for a few moments. I think it would feel significantly stronger if the description was woven more tightly with the narrative - perhaps Rosalin almost slipping on the stones to show that they're wet and slightly hazardous, or nearly being splashed by the mud. That said, this line stood out beautifully:

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"The stones were solitary islands in the muck, threatened to wash away."

The imagery there felt quite strong, doing more to help me visualize the scene than the pure lines of description that came before it.

Other than that, the only other issues I can think of are purely technical, and some likely the result of my own little borderline obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Commas where periods or em dashes felt more appropriate, some jarring repetitiveness in word choice that threatened to snap me out of the story just as I was immersing myself.
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 04:34:46 PM »
Thoughts while reading:

You are telling us a lot of things about Rosalin, rather than showing them.  E.g. 
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It had cost a pretty penny at the tannery, but it was strong and lasting. It needed to be, with all the spirited things she was up to.
and
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What breakfast lacked in imagination it made up for in nutrition, but for a young girl that was hardly comforting. After the same diet for what seemed to be nigh on hundreds of years Rosalin really hated this part of the morning.


Unless she's under twelve, she should probably understand this. 
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Only women were allowed to share a room with them, though some were as bad as the men, she had overheard her sister complain once. She didn’t understand what Sericea meant by that either.
  She'd have to be pretty naive not to.


I don't get it.  The Chittins are afraid of roses?  The roses grow wild?  And yet the farmers try to kill the roses?  Shouldn't they embrace them?  Okay, you explain it later.  Good.


Is she a morbid child?  She leaped to the conclusion that everyone was dead awfully quickly.


Alright, the body-switch scene is very confusing.  I'm having a hard time understanding what is going on.  I couldn't distinguish who's voice was whose and whatnot.

Finished.

Okay, so  I read everyone else's comments, and I will Ditto them.  I liked your setting, and I knew it was going to get destroyed, but I liked it so much, that I didn't want it to.  That is a job well done.  I especially liked your MC, although you need to cut out the telling in the beginning.  Most of what you tell us is info that we learn later by seeing it, so let it go.

Also, there at the end with the mind swap thing, it really isn't clear what happened.  Did Rosalin invade the giant' smind?  Did he invade hers?  Did she grow or did she just switch bodies?  It was very hard to tell who's thought were who's for a while.  Maybe I'm the only one who had this problem, so hold off on fixing it until you get further input.




« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 04:36:49 PM by Recovering_Cynic »
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Argas

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 02:48:30 AM »
Can't say much that the others haven't said already. I really liked how you introduced things in Rosalin's life just to tear it down. The 'normal life' bits don't drag on for chapters, so that's definitely good.

I think the change in perspective is fine. While it is a bit confusing, it shouldn't be a problem if an explanation for it comes quickly in the next chapter. Maybe have Rosalin in the giant's body see her own body? That should clarify things for the reader a bit if they're confused without having to explain much about how or why it happened.

Asmodemon

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2010, 11:23:51 PM »
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By clichés I mean the setting.  Nice quite, English or French village with cobblestones and bar wenches.

I wrote the almost stereo-typical, archetypal kind of village of Thorn like that on purpose. Being what it is it has to be that way of necessity (yes, I know that sounds really vague). The nature and some of the town’s aspects will become clearer later.

Shannara, really? I hadn’t looked at it that way yet.

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again, must voice agreement with LTU on the switches in personality. Was a bit odd in some spots… I think it would feel significantly stronger if the description was woven more tightly with the narrative - perhaps Rosalin almost slipping on the stones to show that they're wet and slightly hazardous, or nearly being splashed by the mud.

You’re both right and that's a pretty good suggestion. Those bits do have more of a feel of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ come to think of it. And like Recovering Cynic also noted there are ‘tell’ bits I can, and should, get rid of as well.
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Unless she's under twelve, she should probably understand this. She'd have to be pretty naive not to.

She’s around that age, but she’s also pretty naive in those matters. I can’t really go into why she’s so sheltered yet, but it should become clearer in time – though a full revealing will have to wait a number of chapters.

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I think the change in perspective is fine. While it is a bit confusing, it shouldn't be a problem if an explanation for it comes quickly in the next chapter.

There will be somewhat of an explanation of what happened in the next chapter, though it won’t cover everything. Nevertheless I’ll rewrite that scene a bit to make things clearer. The prologue was also confusing in places, so getting the confusion out of the story is really one of my biggest priorities.

Thanks guys, your comments are really helping me out.

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: February 1 - Asmodemon - The Citadel of Thorn, Chapter One
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 04:09:50 AM »
Soo, Rosalin is cute, though Sericea is a bit too... nice... for being an older sister.  Sure, some sisters get along just fine- witness myself and my sisters, for example.  But the relationship you're describing here is one between two sisters who are adults, not one who is an adult (or nearly) and the other who is still a child.  Just something to think about.  And it might just be that we're seeing it through Rosalin's eyes- who obviously worships her sister.

I feel like I have to remark on something though.  First we have Black Rose, Rosen, and then Rosalin- all variations on the name Rose.  I'm not saying it's wrong and you should change it, just that they come very close together.  You do have plenty of other names in and around them, and they don't stick out to terribly much, but I did notice it.  (I do like the flower names, and plant imagery in general, btw)

Overall, everyone else pretty much hit the mechanical points... I will agree that the transition between the giant and Rosalin is very confusing to read.  So confusing that I actually went back and read it again a couple of times instead of reading on, just to see if I could figure out what actually happened, there.  But it's been a while, so you've probably already worked on that.
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