Author Topic: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1  (Read 2168 times)

Eerongal

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1199
  • Fell Points: 0
  • That jaunty jackanapes with moxie and pizzazz
    • View Profile
    • Rockin' with the Erock
Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« on: September 27, 2010, 02:47:16 PM »
Synopsis: In this chapter, we meet 3 characters: Jacob "Jobber" Colgan Jr, a lowly street urchin; Zona Alloway Flanegan,  mechanic extraordinaire; and the man who approaches her with a job offer, the mysterious Thu’dane, servant of a currently unknown host.

Journeyman's Manifesto, Ch. 1 3883 Words [L]

Edit:

I'm gonna throw this up here just to help out a bit with people who don't know what some terms are, in case anyone wants to know. Note that not all might be in there (i found a few real quick though just to make sure its relevant)

Victorian slang
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 06:12:44 PM by Eerongal »
[shameless plug]
My site
[/shameless plug]

Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-R. Howard

Pie is clearly the most trustworthy. Pie for president. - Me.

Derby

  • Guest
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 05:40:42 PM »
I don't know where the story is going yet.  That's OK. 

There are a number of words and terms that mean nothing to me.  Maybe I haven't read enough stories of the era to have the knowledge I need.

What stands out on the negative side is your mix of tenses, especially when in the same sentence.

Past, then present:
Quote
Jobber stepped out and stretches his legs.

Present, then past:
Quote
She may loath dealing with customers, but by the gods she loved her work.

And there is this:
Quote
various horse draw coaches clopped by,

Eerongal

  • Level 23
  • *
  • Posts: 1199
  • Fell Points: 0
  • That jaunty jackanapes with moxie and pizzazz
    • View Profile
    • Rockin' with the Erock
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 05:55:50 PM »
There are a number of words and terms that mean nothing to me.  Maybe I haven't read enough stories of the era to have the knowledge I need.
Here ya go, that may help with this. Its just a small guide to some victorian slang. Some words I made up in the style, though, others are words that I do know, but may not be in here. If you have questions on anything in particular, feel free to ask. I tried not to go overboard with older and unused terms, but I wanted to use enough to give it a feel of a victorian setting, without alienating the reader.

What stands out on the negative side is your mix of tenses, especially when in the same sentence.

Past, then present:
Quote
Jobber stepped out and stretches his legs.

Present, then past:
Quote
She may loath dealing with customers, but by the gods she loved her work.

And there is this:
Quote
various horse draw coaches clopped by,

yeah, those are errors. This is pretty much in first(-ish) draft at this point, i've done some proofreading and re-reading but things slip by, but thanks for pointing those out. :)
[shameless plug]
My site
[/shameless plug]

Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-R. Howard

Pie is clearly the most trustworthy. Pie for president. - Me.

Asmodemon

  • Level 6
  • *
  • Posts: 175
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 09:12:44 PM »
Nice start, though with three perspectives in one chapter it's not yet clear where things are going, I can see that the characters are sympathetic. The way you're using Victorian terminology grants a certain authenticity to your setting. These are all good points, but there are also a number of things I think you should beware of.

First, you should be careful how much slang you use. It's interesting, but obscure slang can read a lot like made-up words if you're not familiar with them. If you don't explain them in the text or make them clear through context you can quickly lose your readers.

You do explain things, but they're not the things that need explaining.  I understand that a Runner is one of the fast thieves and that Bruisers beat people up without you telling me. But what is a 'dipper kid'? From the glossary you linked to I found out it's a pickpocket – no way was I going to know from the chapter itself.

Another explanation issue is also at the start of the chapter. First you get us into the action of Jobber running but then you tell us dryly, just after the Runner/Bruiser explanation, how he got there. I'd rather you show me how he tried to deliver the package and go from there. It's the difference between show and tell. There are some more instances where you give us background information, like on Zona's uncle, but it feels like an info-dump.

Which brings me to another 'tell' in your story so far, the character descriptions. You use the list format and this is not such a bad thing occasionally, but you've done it with all characters so far. It's like the story is going along and then someone takes you aside, hands you the grocery list, which you scan dutifully, and then you're sent back to the story. It doesn't fit seamlessly and that hurts things.

There are more subtle ways to do descriptions and most of the time we don't need to know specifics because it's too much to remember in one go. Better to decide, for main characters, on a couple details and remind us periodically.

For example, Zona's hair is usually greasy. Instead of telling us it is along with all the other details you can have her handle something greasy and then carelessly let her take her grease-stained hand through her hair.

Some smaller issues are grammar and spelling issues ('get away' should be 'getaway' for instance). Your tenses switch here and there, sometimes in the same sentence.

Quote
and in about 3 seconds

Small numbers should always be written out.

Your sentences tend to be very long and have a lot of commas, which make them feel jerky, which cuts into the flow of the story.

fireflyz

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 143
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 11:36:56 PM »
I'm just going to echo the others.  Slang, when used properly, can help pull the readers into the story.  In this case there was so much slang that it left me confused.  I haven't read alot of the genre you're writing in so perhaps its possible that those who have would pick up your terminology immediately.  I would suggest cutting back on the slang.  A few words are enough to give the reader a "flavor" of your world.  If this is to be a novel, then slang can be introduced at a much more gradual pace.  As it is, it makes the learning curve very steep in the beginning.

The tense changes are really murdering your writing.  Every time there is a change it pulls the reader out of the story.  Also, you seem to be slipping in and out of third person limited.  I think you need to decide one way or the other, and stick with that POV. 

You tend to describe things overmuch.  For example, you wrote, "This left Jobber the few scant moments he needed to swipe the box and dart out of the gang’s snoozer."  I would write, "This left Jobber the few moments he needed..."  or better yet, "Temporarily forgotten, Jobber swiped the box and darted out of the gang's snoozer."

Your sentences are overlong and tend to be passive.  A good rule of thumb, IMO is to strive for sentences of no more than ten words.  Short, concise senteces tends to equal better sentences. 

I liked the story, I hope I'm not coming off as harsh.  I think with some editing, focusing on tense, description, and sentence length, it shows a lot of promise.  Just my two cents.
Follow my journey from aspiring author to published phenom.  Along the way we'll discover the dos and don'ts of successful writing!

http://twitter.com/ryanvanloan

RavenstarRHJF

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 339
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 04:52:50 AM »
Everyone else seems to have said what I wanted to comment on.  I didn't really have a problem with the slang, though... that's something I guess.

I will reiterate because it is just that important: work on the tenses.  That was probably the most jarring thing.  The dialogue in Zona's section needs a bit of work, too.  For example, Thu'dane starts every new thought with an apology.  That might be part of his characterization, but right now it doesn't come across that way.  I also don't have a clear picture on Zona's character and who she really is- whiz mechanic and orphan is obvious, but what makes her special?  What are her quirks?

In all, it still needs work, but it's got promise.
A crown does not a King make, nor the lack of one a commoner.

Stormblessed

  • Level 10
  • *
  • Posts: 380
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Sept. 27th - Eerongal - The Journeyman's Manifesto Ch. 1
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 01:26:21 PM »
Especially at the beginning you want a fast pace. Short sentences are a start. Short paragraphs also work. Also, take this line here:
Quote
dank, smelly back alley
It comes from the first sentence. You probably only need one adjective here, like 'dank alley'. Creating long lists of adjectives slows down the pace.

Other than that, and what has been echoed above, I really enjoy reading this. I find the worldbuilding quite interesting. I can see that the slang and social structure has been well thought out. Unfortunately a major problem with fantasy books is that you need to explain everything that you have made up, but you don't want to spend time just sitting and listing things. I struggle with this a lot. But don't worry about this now. Get a rough draft out, then worry about cleaning it up and moving things around.
"You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me!
 -- Darkeyed Soldier