Author Topic: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1  (Read 3129 times)

hubay

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December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« on: December 20, 2010, 08:53:43 PM »
Hey everyone, happy the forum's back up. As I said before, I'm taking a break from the book I had been submitting, to put in my nano-book while it's fresh in my mind. I'm also submitting it in doc and docx so everyone can read it.

I don't know if this is kosher, but I thought I would put in a brief explanation of the magic in my book; i tease it out over the first three chapters, but I figured if I tell you all now it will minimize confusion. Everyone in  my world has a familiar. Men are faunimejj, and take animals, and women are florimejj with plants. There are four ways a mejj takes power from a familiar. Commejj can speak to that kind of plant or animal, Dommejj can command them. Manimejj can alter the physiology of that type of animal or plant, usually to heal it. Potemejj, generall the most "magical" of the four, can draw a sort of power that reflects their familiar's nature – a bird-mejj could fly, an aloe-mejj can heal others. Ommejj can use all four powers. They're fairly rare and tend to be in the upper echelons of society.

Anyways I don't have a title yet, but for the sake of reference you can call my book "Lord Domestic"

Chapter 1 – 3600 word. L, V


We meet our protagonist, Jhuz, the eagle-mejj Standard of the Imperial Legion. The Legion is about to engage with a barbarian army who fight with bizarre flying mejj. Jhuz himself would make an excellent warrior in the Airborne, but as the Standard he is forbidden to fight.

If I was to sum my book up in one go, I would describe it as a magical Fall of Rome, but there's more to it than that. Enjoy, and don't hold back the criticism.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 10:11:10 PM by hubay »

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 11:56:20 PM »
You open with some nasty exposition.  Not to say what's there isn't interesting, but that it's all just exposition.  You can wack all that and give it to us in the form of conversation or direct actions of others, rather then explaining:  He's a standard, he hates war, he hates the army, he doesn't fight, and everyone hates him for it.  If the officers are shown insulting him to his face, and the others in the army being meanies, it will have a much greater impact.

In yoru third (technically fourth) paragraph you explain a bit about how familiars work.  IF you chuck that in a little piece of action a la the prologue in "The Way of Kings," it will be more interesting.  Not that your magic isn't cool.

Another example is when Jhuz is talking to Gaitu.  Gaitu's fair treatment would have more impact if demonstrated against the disdain of the others, instead of just expounded as such.

As soon as I read the guy had four daggers and was going to take out flyers, I asked myself, "why isn't he using a spear or a lance.  Something momentum and gravity would assist."

As the piece got on it got better.  It was nice seeing how things functioned in the soldiers and such.  But I was surprised the fighting men did not have a more suitable defense against fliers.  I mean, if they have been fighting against people who fly for . . .ever . . . then it would make sense the infantry and such would have a defense for air support.  It's not like the air support is throwing bombs or rockets.  They're throwing spears.  I was expecting some kind of phalanx or something.  Or a larger spred in the units.  It would seem to me that dumping oil from the air would be a common occurance. Or chariot archers tasks to bust air units.  Meaning I'm surprised there wasn't a better defense against air to ground attacks.

Also, as a note, I found it strange the that people who use animal familiars would be so opposed to women fighting.  In the case of most animals, the females are bigger, stronger, and meaner then the males.

Oh yeah, and the "Marrow," reference in the guy with the spikes was nice.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 12:30:53 AM by LongTimeUnderdog »

hubay

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 03:00:01 AM »
hm, good points with the phalanx and all. I mean, that's partly because the legion has gotten into some bad habits over the years, but I still need to figure out the whole strategy/logistics of the army.
Quote
Oh yeah, and the "Marrow," reference in the guy with the spikes was nice.

I have to say, I'm a little embarrassed but it must just be a weird coincidence – I have no idea what you're talking about. What do you mean?

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 03:26:48 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marrow_(comics)

Marrow, the Murlock leader in X-men comics.  who's mutation was to grow extra bones from her body in the shape of spikes to use as hand to hand weapons or throw at people.

hubay

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 03:34:52 AM »
Ohhhh right. See, now that was my inspiration, but my xmen experience is sort of limited to the tv series xmen evolution. The way I see him fighting came from watching "spike," who never got that nickname but sounds just like marrow.  I think they wanted to update him for a younger audience or something. Glad you picked up on it, then.

akoebel

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 08:29:05 AM »
To start with the nice points :
* the story was interesting to read, and I definitely would have liked to read more
* The first line is good, though it would probably have been more powerful on it's own
* I like the one line paragraphs, they do manage to convey important moments well
* The battle manoevers are nicely rendered

Now, some points bothering me:
* Exposition, exposition, ... The beginning is really tough to read, and the peculiar nouns used do not make it any easier. This was visible even in the short introduction you wrote on this post. If you're going to keep the *mejj nouns, maybe you could wait a little more before introduce the whole bestiary. Maybe just naming them by their function at the beginning would work better (healing-squad, bombing-squad, ...)
* I feel like "Jhuz the Standard" does clash a little with the other titles you've given (Prefect Gaitu for instance). It would have felt more natural as Standard Jhuz.
* Some things seemed out of character,  especially Jhuz calling the Prefect by his name. For military types, even under pressure, I don't see them calling a superior officer by their names, and not their title.
* I'm not a big fan of swearing, and some seemed a little out of place, or too much like modern-swearing (fuckers).
* we don't feel the other men's scorn for the protagonist at the beginning, and near the end when it is really shown to us, it doesn't feel right.

What I would have liked:
* This is a character with acute vision surveying a battlefield : I would have loved a more sensory-full description of the battle. I both want to feel it, and to grasp the entire battlefield, so that it feels more epic.
* A tad more information about the Chell (not the full story, mind you), but a little more discussion showing me why they're not supposed to be a threat, and another showing the incomprehension after their attack

All in all, nice first chapter. Looking forward to the next.

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 03:31:44 AM »
Firstly, good introduction in terms of having just enough of the weird stuff to keep us interested and not so much that the learning curve is the equivalent of Mt. Everest.

That said, I'm going to second a few of akoebel's thoughts; namely: use this interesting new type of magic to really show us the world your characters live in.  Let's face it, if a guy has an eagle grafted to his shoulder (which I will come back to shortly), he's going to see the world differently than your average everyday Joe Private.  Use that.

Now.  Jhuz has an eagle grafted to his shoulder.  This is insane.  Literally.  Especially since that one line- the fact that his familiar is grafted to his shoulder- is all you give us on this!  Jhuz might as well have a wooden statue perched on his shoulder for all the impact the bird's presence has on his actions.  I don't care if he can control the bird or not, that is not a safe place for either of them to be.  Think of the logistics for a minute.  Sleeping won't be comfortable for either of them.  Jhuz is going to have to have custom made clothing and a personal laundress to get all the bird poop off.  He's going to spend an enormous amount of time just keeping it fed and in good health since the bird obviously can't exercise on its own.  Eagles are birds of prey and fairly large- the bird could actually knock Jhuz out just by flapping it's wings trying to stretch them.  In a temper tantrum it could cause serious injury to eyes, ear, and scalp.

Now, you may have already thought of all these difficulties and come up with ways around them- if so, it hasn't shown up yet in your writing.  Maybe you just thought it would be cool for the familiar of the army's Standard to be grafted onto his body as a permanent reminder.  I don't know.  But I do know it's not a tenable position for either of them with what little information you've given us.

That said, it would be pretty cool if you could somehow reconcile all the difficulties in that kind of a relationship between man and beast.  I look forward to what you come up with!
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hubay

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 07:37:23 PM »
haha, alright, I might have to reword that a little bit then. there isn't an entire bird sitting on his shoulder. Just birdskin and feathers. I'm planning on going into a little more in-depth on that in a later chapter, but next draft I'll remember to make that less confusing.

RavenstarRHJF

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2010, 03:44:03 AM »
haha, alright, I might have to reword that a little bit then. there isn't an entire bird sitting on his shoulder. Just birdskin and feathers. I'm planning on going into a little more in-depth on that in a later chapter, but next draft I'll remember to make that less confusing.
Yes.  Please do. ;)  Also, I'm now laughing at myself.
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Asmodemon

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 05:16:33 PM »
I had actually forgotten I already had a written up critique for this chapter – stupid of me. For the most part I’ll echo the others, there's a little too much exposition, which would be far more effectively handled with speech or action, but otherwise not a bad beginning.

There's also some redundancy, for instance when you mention women soldiers. We get that in the Empire it's unheard of through the narrator and then we get the same thing said by Lhuz.

I'm interested in the tactics of the two armies. For one, landing flyers, which puts them at risk while they could strike from the air. A flyer with a crossbow, or a group of flyers carrying pitch to throw on the commander's tent, would be far safer on the part of the attackers and harder to counter by the defenders.

Which brings me to another tactical issue: the ground forces have no defense against flyers. Attacking the flyers from the ground can be a problem if the flyers stay out of range, but defenses against air attacks should be easier to fashion. I'm thinking of phalanxes carrying interlocking shields above their heads. I'm thinking of great wooden platforms under which the soldiers could hide.

With such air supremacy the existence of sappers and miners might also be explored. If the ground is not safe from flyers, going underground could be a viable alternative. Armies and soldiers aren't stupid, individuals may be here and there, but on the whole they are very good at staying alive and they will adapt to the situation.

I've found that when it comes to armies and their logistics and strategies Sun Tzu's “The Art of War” can be really helpful as a guide. I've got it in book form but there are free translations available on the web. It’s basically a set of rules for commanders, given certain situations, and the strategic ways of thinking one might employ in those situations. It’s a pretty insightful look into a commander’s mindset.

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Re: December 20, 2010. Hubay – Lord Domestic Chapter 1
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 10:07:53 AM »
I agree with most of what's been said here. Go for more dialogue or action to do your explaining for you.

There are also some small spelling and grammar errors, things like two instead of too, or they instead of the. They're hard to find, and I only noticed them because they threw me out of the story, but I'll sure you'll get to them in time.

I DID like how the swearing ramped up with the action. This seems appropriate to me.

Also, after reading the prologue first, I've definitely decided that all the double j words should go. There are just too many, and they're too close together, which makes them kind of annoying. I'm glad you're thinking about making that change.

And on to chapter 2 I go.
I like basketball, hanging out with my friends, reading, slamming a garbage can into a pimp or two with magical heavenly powers. You know, teenager stuff.