Author Topic: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2  (Read 3994 times)

Shivertongue

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March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« on: March 01, 2010, 10:46:36 AM »
You'll notice I included chapter 1 along with chapter 2. The reason for this is that there were some significant changes made to chapter 1, and some parts of chapter 2 might not make sense without them. You can basically skip ahead in chapter 1 to the point where Mia is picking the lock of the Magistrate's parlour.

Commenting on chapter 1 isn't necessary, although any and all thoughts on the changes are welcome and appreciated! Enjoy!

EDIT: Also, I'm curious as to how it compares to chapter one in terms of structure, pacing, etc - basically aspects of the writing and storytelling. I have a specific reason for asking this, so if anyone can tell me anything in that regard, please do.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 08:57:48 AM by Shivertongue »
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ryos

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 06:32:32 AM »
I missed commenting on your initial submission of chapter one, so I'll start there.

First, the hook line. It's not quite strong enough to hang out on its own. It either needs to get stronger or grow a paragraph. As it stands, it feels like a heavy-handed proclamation of its nature as a hook. I prefer more subtle approaches to hooking the reader.

The next few paragraphs aren't much better. They don't do a good job of getting my interest. I think a big reason why is that Mia doesn't actually do anything for quite some time. All we know is that some girl is sitting in a tree watching a mansion, but not why, so it's not very interesting. If you were to come right out and tell us  from the start that she's there to steal something, then we would have a mental framework on which to drape the scene and our interest would deepen. Also, if at all possible, I'd prefer a reduced density of difficult (for me) frenchy-sounding names right off the bat, as each new unpronounceable foreign name adds to my mental overhead.

Note, also, that the scenes with Jannas also doing nothing stack on top of the Mia-doing-nothing scenes and heighten the effect. These are scenes that, were this a movie, would probably occupy around 30 seconds of screen time. They should fly by, but instead they drag.

Once I get over the barriers of the first few sections, though, I had a grand old time with the story. I thought the way you portrayed Mia as a petty thief turned upscale procurement specialist was artfully done, and I liked the way you wove the bargaining with the client in with the narrative of the job. You know, you just know, that the ending will be exactly what it was; but, since it was not at all telegraphed, it's a delight when it arrives.

One major snag was the whole Santa Claus act. I'm not buying it. Now, granted, I've never actually seen the top of a chimney up close, but, at least from the ground, they all seem to have small openings on top. I don't think she'd fit. Also, it ought to have a flue, which would further obstruct her passage upwards.

Then, Mia takes care to clean her boots so as not to leave tracks, but then presses her body against the mansion, which ought to leave a big fat smudge.

On to chapter 2! In this chapter, we're mostly just getting to know the characters. I like all of your characters, and think they are generally skillfully portrayed. I don't have much to say about the chapter specifically, but the following general comments apply to it as as well as chapter 1.

Above all, I'm itching to give this a good copyedit. Since that's completely impossible considering my schedule ATM, I'll have to settle for pointing out the line-edit-level faults in a general way.

Watch out for things that ape the Wheel of Time. Several details, like the nature of common rooms, calling underwear "smallclothes", the pyrotech with an Illianer accent, etc. look to be lifted directly from the Wheel of Time. In the big, important details you're unique enough, but those little things kill.

Dial back the hyperbole a bit. For example, the client dude fainting when Janna brought out the shard was a bit melodramatic. The kid who fell in the fountain from shaking his head was also over the top; would anyone really shake their head *that* hard? There are also several other examples of hyperbole that need to be dialed back, which I should have written down as I read because I can't recall them now.

Watch out for said bookisms. At one point you have someone frowning a sentence, which doesn't make logical sense.

Lastly, watch out for portions that lack finesse. Here's one from chapter 1:

Quote
The Magistrate’s jaw dropped, and he struggled for several moments to form words. “That is absurd!” He said, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the edge of the table. “Pay you eighty gold crownes before the job is even accomplished? No, I will not give you a single copper rose until I have the shard back in my hands!”

   “Then our discussion is over,” Jannas said, rising to her feet. She brushed out the sleeves of the white blouse, lifting one hand to summon a serving girl to remove the empty cup and saucer. “There will be no arrangement, and the acquisition will not be made. Perhaps you will have good fortune, and Magistrate Renécheric will decide to keep your secret and tighten his hold over you. You must have some final shred of dignity he can remove...”

   She looked him in the eye with a flat stare. “Or, you can hand over that bulging purse on your belt and finally have the matter done with.”

Jannas talks too much here. It seems more in keeping with her personality if she were to stop at "Then our discussion is over." Keep staring at him, tap your fingers impatiently. He'll break down.

Also, he balks at 80 crownes but later forks over 100. Simple continuity error?

That's it. Nice work overall on this. I look forward to the next.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 02:04:35 AM by ryos »
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lethalfalcon

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 12:14:36 PM »
I also missed your initial submission (stupid work), so I'll do both here as well. Guess it's a good thing you attached your rewritten chapter 1. :)

Okay, I'm going to agree with most of what Ryos said about the beginning, but I'm going to do it in my snarky way. So here's exactly what I was thinking as I read it:

The air is shaking? What kind of phenomenon... oh, it's a clock's bell. And she thinks she's late for something, but she's not. (Cliche)
Holy description, Batman! Well, no problem with that... oh geez, more description... (scroll scroll scroll) No, I'm reviewing this, can't skip parts. (scroll back). Okay, so I can see everything around her, but nothing's *happening*. Now when is the heist going to start?

And yes, I knew it was a heist from the beginning, but only because your title gave it away. However, unless you want to bore your readers to tears for the first 3 pages, cut most of the description. I get the feeling that some of the reason it's there is to establish scene, and it also does a good job of showing how meticulous to detail she is, but almost all of it is pointless because it never plays any role. We don't need to see what's making Mia bored enough to doze off to know how it feels; most of us have been bored before (like most of my college classes).

As for the chimney, it isn't happening. Given the technical level of your society, I'd imagine they would have figured out how to use dampers, which you are not getting past. Flues are also usually smaller than a person. Also, rain caps are common in more modern chimneys, which would make it practically impossible to get out of. So, unless your fireplace is about 10' wide (that's about how big the entrance would need to be for a flue big enough for a human to fit through) and there's no damper at all, she's just not getting out that way. The chimney on my house has 3 flues, each of which I can barely fit my hand down.

As for the split POVs... well, I'm not a particular fan of breaking it apart that much, but I can see how it could work, because it keeps the two scenes very temporally aligned.  Except that it doesn't. You have the scene with the negotiation interspersed with the robbery, but the robbery took place 45 minutes before the negotiations... which really makes it seem weird at the end. Now if they were happening at the same time, I think that would be *really* cool. Have Mia walk in and dissolve her Silence right after he asks, and give him the shard. "Here you go, job's done. Quick enough for you?" Awesome.

On to chapter 2. This is definitely building character and world, and I don't really have a problem with that. We have to learn about the characters somehow, right? I'm going do disagree with Ryos a little bit: smallclothes did not originate from WOT. The term's been around in the real world since 1759, according to Webster. People understand what you mean with it, and it's a lot older than the word underwear. The nature of common rooms was the nature of common rooms. There's no reason to make them different just to be unique. It'll just stand out as weird to most people who *expect* that a common room of a tavern/inn is like that. It's not like Robert Jordan didn't get his ideas from somewhere, too... a lot of the time, it was based on real-life.

Hyperbole is a bigger issue, though. Don't overact your characters. You have something real good here, and I don't think comic relief in boys falling in fountains is necessary. If you want him wet, have him staring at her and not paying attention, and trip into the fountain instead (for example). That's at least more natural of someone staring at an oddity.

Speaking of which, why are the Dronari gawked at? You never really explain why. You mention their skin, hair, and height as being somewhat un-normal, but there's got to be more than that. Were they beaten in a war and driven off? Are they generally slaves of some sort? Or do they have something more unnatural about them than different hair and being taller? I just feel like I'm missing something there.

So, I think it's pretty good. I like the steampunk-ish atmosphere (I hope you're going for that), and the magic system seems simple to grasp, although I will start to nitpick on how it works if I don't see some deeper explanations in the next couple chapters. Given that you're using magic to solve problems, you'd better have some hard and fast rules on its limitations, or I'll wonder why your character doesn't start doing overpowered things with it. :) Keep up the good work.
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Shivertongue

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 12:33:24 PM »
Damn, two mentions of the chimney. I apparently didn't do enough research on them. (Actually, this page is the extent of my research; I figured, just make the chimneys a little bigger, and while it'll still be a tight fit, she could do it.) However, extended research after ryos' post revealed to me the existence of rain dampeners - which explains some things; I always wondered how fireplaces didn't go out when it was raining. Back to the plotting board with that one again, I guess...

Yeah, the shaking air thing I don't care for myself. It seemed cooler when I thought of it, but everytime I've read it since it seems dumber and dumber.

Quote
As for the split POVs... well, I'm not a particular fan of breaking it apart that much, but I can see how it could work, because it keeps the two scenes very temporally aligned.  Except that it doesn't. You have the scene with the negotiation interspersed with the robbery, but the robbery took place 45 minutes before the negotiations... which really makes it seem weird at the end. Now if they were happening at the same time, I think that would be *really* cool. Have Mia walk in and dissolve her Silence right after he asks, and give him the shard. "Here you go, job's done. Quick enough for you?" Awesome.

Ooo... I do like that better. Would also help solve the feeling of 'Watchmen rip-off' a friend of mine pointed out the other day.

Quote
Speaking of which, why are the Dronari gawked at? You never really explain why. You mention their skin, hair, and height as being somewhat un-normal, but there's got to be more than that. Were they beaten in a war and driven off? Are they generally slaves of some sort? Or do they have something more unnatural about them than different hair and being taller? I just feel like I'm missing something there.

Ah, right... that was explained a bit better in the prologue, which is now non-existent. Essentially, you are missing something, mostly because I haven't explained it in-story yet. With the possible exception of a few mentions of the Blood Sand. There is something more about them (two somethings actually, but the second is a completely different can of worms) but it's not a physical unnaturalness. I can't really think how to say it better without giving anything away.

Maybe I should put the maid scene back into the first chapter. Might spruce up the boring early scenes and prevent confusion... *ponders*

Alright, that's all I wanted to address. More, please! XD
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 12:41:28 PM by Shivertongue »
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ryos

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 07:42:41 PM »
Quote
Speaking of which, why are the Dronari gawked at? You never really explain why. You mention their skin, hair, and height as being somewhat un-normal, but there's got to be more than that. Were they beaten in a war and driven off? Are they generally slaves of some sort? Or do they have something more unnatural about them than different hair and being taller? I just feel like I'm missing something there.

I didn't have a problem with that. Based on the assumption that this city/country is pretty ethnically homogenous, different ethnicities stand out. I got gawked at plenty on my mission for being a tall white guy in a Nicaragua full of short brown people. ;)
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 02:59:41 PM »
Since I've read chap 1 and commented already, I won't be doing it again.

Chap 2, alternatively, i will do my best to give you something constructive despite my daughter keeping me from sleeping more then 3 hours a night.

Cream, black, and green . . .really?  I'm gagging just thinking about it.  The dude in my is like "Whatever," but the designer in me is like, "Blasphemy."  Or more appropriately, I would look at some color schemes and fix that or your woman is going to sound like she's written by a man.  Yes, that color scheme drew me out of the story.

Also if everything around her is uninteresting (like the people you mentioned) then why is she envying them.  To envy someone is to find something about them interesting.  I get the whole I like pants of dresses things, but part of me just quizzically raised an eyebrow at that mention, and the mention of shorter skirts.  I did appreciate the time line of fashion tips she gave but I, personally, had trouble convincing myself of the motivations behind it.  To explain further, you use a lot of common terms used in history, you've got people dressing like people from those time periods, you've got steam punky tech but no steam punky clothes.  Which means I have the feeling of a more historical setting, a familiar one at that, then I do more "unique fantasy setting."  That means I expect things to fit a certain mold.  Because her reaction to trousers does not fit that mold, I'm a little put off by that.

Eli sounds far more like a goofy side kick then an annoying person.  IF Eli is someone she's been working with for a bit, I find it odd she's only now trying to decide whether or not she likes the way he looks.  That's sort of the thing you do with someone you just mean.  "Is she hot . . . or not?"  Or in her case,  "Is HE hot . . .or not."  While that particular run was fun to read, hearing later that he was her "back up" for several jobs before made me raise an eyebrow.

Why are there no firearms in this world?  Since you're dealing with a heavier steam tech, I start to question where the guns are.  Jannas concealing knives in her sleeves, for example.  I'm not sure what the tech date/country is, but with things like goggles, clockwork, and other mentioned things, it would seem to me that Jannas would be better served having two derringers in her sleeves then knives.  They're smaller and have a longer reach.

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2010, 08:21:32 PM »
Why are there no firearms in this world?  Since you're dealing with a heavier steam tech, I start to question where the guns are.  Jannas concealing knives in her sleeves, for example.  I'm not sure what the tech date/country is, but with things like goggles, clockwork, and other mentioned things, it would seem to me that Jannas would be better served having two derringers in her sleeves then knives.  They're smaller and have a longer reach.

A very good question. Are there firearms at all on this world? To be honest, I'm still deciding that. I've had some ideas, but they would happen to fall under 'RAFO'.

I did consider them, however, for this scene, and in fact the initial writing had her with a pair of something akin to derringers. I decided against it, however, for a number of reasons. Derringers also have only one shot each, two at the max, with the level of technology they have access to. They're also much noisier. Knives never run out of stabs, can be handled quietly, and are easily replaceable.

Also... I know knives. I collect them. I'm not quite knowledgeable on firearms, and need to do much, much more research before I get to the point where I include them.

Thanks for the points about the fashion and Mia's thoughts on it, although I think you might have misread some of it (or I just didn't write it clearly enough; likely the latter). The derringer thing, however, was the only part I felt the need to comment on.
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2010, 07:40:30 PM »
I'm done!

First Chp was really hard to get through. I didn't buy the hook line and then there was a lot of unnecessary description. You seem to be telling me all the wrong things, essential details (like how a dronari looks different from a human and some good character motivation) are missing, but then all the colorful details that would be so nice in moderation are on overdrive.

I am afraid that you have fell victim to a pretty classic blunder that is also one of my biggest pet peeves, so it is going to be harder for me to be nice to you (This is your cue to ask me when I've ever been nice. Then I would look all sheepish and admit that I can't think of a time that I was nice either). You have traded actual suspense for cheap confusion. Suspense comes from being able to anticipate something (Don't go in there, because I just know you are going to be attacked by an ax murderer!) and then if you can still surprise us later, so much the better (the ax murder is her boyfriend -duh, duh, dunnnn!).  In this chapter I didn't have any indication of looming trouble nor did I know the players well enough to care either way. Then you cut the scenes so often that even though nothing much was happening in either scene, it was hard to keep straight and at the end we find out you are a highly unreliable narrator that 'lied' to us from the first as far as the timeline goes. You are allowed to show only pieces of the puzzle at the time, but to outright lie ruins your credibility. I'm also not sure if what you reveal at the end is worth all the trouble.

To fix the first chp I would recommend you take Falcon's suggestion as far as the timeline goes, cut down the number of breaks you use and smooth out the remaining transitions, and cut some of the extra description in favor of more character and details more vital to the story at hand.

The next chapter was actually a bit better for me, but I think it would work better if you showed the two leaving rather then telling us father the fact. I know you have some future deal as your big hook at the end, but I would like some hints within these two sections on what your overarching story will be and that there are more layers to your characters to uncover. Something to let me know that there are tons of good things on the way.

More details of your magic system would be nice too (especially if you can show it, not have someone just sit and explain it).

I don't think all the old English added much to your story and would rather you went without since by necessity there are already weird words a plenty. But Ryos, I think, is giving RJ FAR too much credit. If there is no reason to make your common rooms or slang more colorful then the norm, please don't bother. 

I think that is all the big things and I'll be sending you the rest of my line edits. Let me know if you have any questions on any of it. Keep it coming. :)
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2010, 04:18:34 AM »
I'm done!

First Chp was really hard to get through. I didn't buy the hook line and then there was a lot of unnecessary description. You seem to be telling me all the wrong things, essential details (like how a dronari looks different from a human and some good character motivation) are missing, but then all the colorful details that would be so nice in moderation are on overdrive.

I am afraid that you have fell victim to a pretty classic blunder that is also one of my biggest pet peeves, so it is going to be harder for me to be nice to you (This is your cue to ask me when I've ever been nice. Then I would look all sheepish and admit that I can't think of a time that I was nice either). You have traded actual suspense for cheap confusion. Suspense comes from being able to anticipate something (Don't go in there, because I just know you are going to be attacked by an ax murderer!) and then if you can still surprise us later, so much the better (the ax murder is her boyfriend -duh, duh, dunnnn!).  In this chapter I didn't have any indication of looming trouble nor did I know the players well enough to care either way. Then you cut the scenes so often that even though nothing much was happening in either scene, it was hard to keep straight and at the end we find out you are a highly unreliable narrator that 'lied' to us from the first as far as the timeline goes. You are allowed to show only pieces of the puzzle at the time, but to outright lie ruins your credibility. I'm also not sure if what you reveal at the end is worth all the trouble.

To fix the first chp I would recommend you take Falcon's suggestion as far as the timeline goes, cut down the number of breaks you use and smooth out the remaining transitions, and cut some of the extra description in favor of more character and details more vital to the story at hand.

The next chapter was actually a bit better for me, but I think it would work better if you showed the two leaving rather then telling us father the fact. I know you have some future deal as your big hook at the end, but I would like some hints within these two sections on what your overarching story will be and that there are more layers to your characters to uncover. Something to let me know that there are tons of good things on the way.

More details of your magic system would be nice too (especially if you can show it, not have someone just sit and explain it).

I don't think all the old English added much to your story and would rather you went without since by necessity there are already weird words a plenty. But Ryos, I think, is giving RJ FAR too much credit. If there is no reason to make your common rooms or slang more colorful then the norm, please don't bother. 

I think that is all the big things and I'll be sending you the rest of my line edits. Let me know if you have any questions on any of it. Keep it coming. :)

So, uh... was there anything good or that you liked?

And could you also specify what the old English you're referring to is? I don't recall, off hand, putting any in...
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2010, 06:03:11 AM »
So, uh... was there anything good or that you liked?
Oops, sorry. I know I pointed out a few positive things, but they didn't seem to make it from my line edits to the forum at large. It wasn't a bad start. Though I am not fond of the way you currently formatted the first chapter, it has some good potential as a scene and you did have a lot of good details about the world and magic system that if given in more moderation or shown throughout the scene would have been great.

I think the main reason I might not seem overly enthusiastic about your story right now is that I usually go for the more character and emotionally driven stuff and there simply wasn't a lot of that in these two chapters. In an effort to be more mysterious (I think) you hid most of your character's inner workings and just showed us their current function and abilities. For me, that makes the characters seem more bland, but others may prefer it that way. So I guess it is just up to you to decide what sort of audience you are writing for and adjust accordingly.

And could you also specify what the old English you're referring to is? I don't recall, off hand, putting any in...
Colour instead of color, favourite instead of favorite, crownes instead of crowns... things like that.
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2010, 06:30:10 AM »
So, uh... was there anything good or that you liked?
Oops, sorry. I know I pointed out a few positive things, but they didn't seem to make it from my line edits to the forum at large. It wasn't a bad start. Though I am not fond of the way you currently formatted the first chapter, it has some good potential as a scene and you did have a lot of good details about the world and magic system that if given in more moderation or shown throughout the scene would have been great.

I think the main reason I might not seem overly enthusiastic about your story right now is that I usually go for the more character and emotionally driven stuff and there simply wasn't a lot of that in these two chapters. In an effort to be more mysterious (I think) you hid most of your character's inner workings and just showed us their current function and abilities. For me, that makes the characters seem more bland, but others may prefer it that way. So I guess it is just up to you to decide what sort of audience you are writing for and adjust accordingly.

Ah, thank you. A little bit of good always helps me take the more negative critical aspects a bit better. I've had overall mixed reactions to the characters - some say what you have, others say the opposite. Something that I've, hopefully, managed to fix in my edits since..

And could you also specify what the old English you're referring to is? I don't recall, off hand, putting any in...
Colour instead of color, favourite instead of favorite, crownes instead of crowns... things like that.
Quote

Oh... that. That's actually just how I write those words. Colour and favourite and the like just seem misspelled to me without the 'u'. I've done it so long I don't even notice it anymore.

In any regards, thanks for taking the time to look through it. I look forward to the aforementioned line edits.
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2010, 02:25:13 PM »
Ah, thank you. A little bit of good always helps me take the more negative critical aspects a bit better.
Believe me I understand. I am quickly getting to the point where I can only send my WIP to people who will lie to me and tell me it is perfect just so I can get it done (through the first draft) without ripping it apart myself. It's just that the forum at large usually prefers I am brutally honest and it comes pretty natural to me (more natural then the creative process unfortunately). But if what you need most is more of a cheerleader, I can try to do that too.

I look forward to the aforementioned line edits.
I thought I sent them to your email as an attachment already. Are you saying you didn't get them?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 02:54:56 PM by Frog »
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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2010, 07:00:15 PM »
Ah, thank you. A little bit of good always helps me take the more negative critical aspects a bit better.
Believe me I understand. I am quickly getting to the point where I can only send my WIP to people who will lie to me and tell me it is perfect just so I can get it done (through the first draft) without ripping it apart myself. It's just that the forum at large usually prefers I am brutally honest and it comes pretty natural to me (more natural then the creative process unfortunately). But if what you need most is more of a cheerleader, I can try to do that too.

Not a cheerleader per se. The brutal honesty is good, but what is most effective for me is to know what I'm doing right as well as what can be improved. If everything comes across as critical, it lends the idea that nothing in the chapter (or, as I learned how to critique, the painting/sculpture/drawing/etc) is any good, and it's better off to scrap the whole thing and give up. I don't think that's what you meant, but... well, I've heard it before (again, see aforementioned art-related crits).

Basically, what is most effective for me is to know what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. I'd be asking "so... um, did anything suck?" if you'd come in with  review that was glowing.

I look forward to the aforementioned line edits.
I thought I sent them to your email as an attachment already. Are you saying you didn't get them?

I got them now. There was a problem with my email, and it wasn't showing me new stuff. I fixed it though, and I have 'em. Thanks ^_^
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ErikHolmes

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Re: March 1 - Shivertongue - Essence of Silence, chps 1 and 2
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 12:14:26 AM »
Ok, so I read chapter two and thought that it was really well written. I'm liking both of the characters that we are seeing so far.

At this point I feel like its hard to give comments on the story. The writing is solid, its just the story and plot that might concern me, but its too early to tell so far.

I will say this, I think a thief type story is hard to write, it will take a lot of work on your part to pull off correctly. There are a lot of them out there. You really need to dazzle us with how clever or skilled Mia is. And more so from Jannas.

Personally, from what I've seen so far I think you can pull it off. Maybe not in the first draft (I don't think I could either, I think a great thief story takes some rewrites) but I think you'll pull it off nicely.

The only thing that slightly annoyed me in chapter 2 was the ending. They are supposed to be a secret group but they've already been found out this early in the book. I'm more then willing to read past that and see where it goes from here, but it did irk me slightly.

(And I know they were only found out by the freaking king, but still. Isn't he the main person you'd want to avoid as an illegal group of rogues?)

Seriously though, I'm really enjoying the story. It's very well written. The characters are great and I think we are learning about the world at a good pace. I just really like thief type stories and would like to see this one shine.

If you haven't read it yet, you have to read The Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd recommend a few of the Vlad Taltos novels too.

Keep it coming!
Who the hell is interrupting my Kung Fu!