Author Topic: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS  (Read 2546 times)

fireflyz

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Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« on: January 10, 2011, 01:48:41 PM »
A small sidenote...I've enclosed the prologue and first two chapters for any that might not have read them yet.  I've made some minor content changes, taken out some things and left others.  The wordcount is 5700.  If you want to comment, you can under the original posts.  The third chapter is new to the group, although I tried to include some of the info the original flashback chapter had.  Finally, I've changed the title from To Fulfill a Promise to Written in Blood.

 

 

 

Previous Summaries:

Prologue:  In Media Res
  The prologue introduces us to Mathieu Bragadin, the protagonist.  As the title suggests, the reader is thrown into the midst of the conflict.



CH1:  What Does a Man Do?
  Mathieu is finally returning home with the army.  His entire life has been spent serving in the armies of the Doge.  The Doge's daughter (Doga) has recently made peace and is calling the army home to be mustered out.  As his comrades celebrate, Mathieu finds himself questioning his future in this new era of peace.


CH2:  Two Mistresses. 

Mathieu reacquaints himself with Servenza.  He seeks out his best friend, a prostitute named Cassandra. 



CH3:  The Flower of Battle

 Despite misgivings, Mathieu begins his new life as a civilian, training young nobles in the art of dueling.
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RavenstarRHJF

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Re: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 05:32:16 AM »
It's been a while, hasn't it?  Updates, I mean.

Anyway, first off: dialogue.  You keep inserting these little foreign expressions, but the rest of it is straight American English.  As a result, I stumble every time I see a "non," or a "perdon."  If you only want to use a few easily translatable foreign words, that's fine, but change the phrasing of the rest so that we know the speakers aren't native.  Otherwise, just lose the foreign interjections, and we'll assume from the names that the setting is foreign and they're speaking in their native language, conveniently transliterated for us readers.

I'm still a little confused about how humors work, exactly.  You've mentioned colors and physical sensations both, but I'm not sure how those combine to create different personality traits, talents or skills, and physical appearances.  For example, you've mentioned both fighters and merchants usually have red humors, but that the Maestro is mostly yellow.  It would make sense for Mathieu to wonder (or speculate, if he's come across something similar in the wars), right there, about how qualities common to yellow humors would impact the effectiveness of a fighter, or trainer, right there while we're still talking to him- and incidentally, also informing the reader of the differences.

I would think, coming from a poor background, that Mathieu would be a little more reluctant (or suspicious, or even inquisitive to the point of rudeness) to let such a large sum of money go into the hands of someone who he doesn't personally know, and who deals in risky but lucrative trading, emphasis on the risk.  The whole exchange comes across as the wolf fleecing the young and tender lamb.  Sure, the lamb will be tougher the next time around, but he'll still be short one fleece.  And, on top of that, for him to turn right around and contemplate spending yet more money sleeping with his best friend?  When he's already worried about how little he has to live on?  Yeah, I'm gonna need a little more active motivation.  Even the fact that the Mistress of the House wouldn't let Cassandra spend time with anyone (particularly a male) without money up front would be enough.
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fireflyz

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Re: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2011, 02:06:10 PM »
Hey Ravenstar,

Thanks for the feedback!  Yeah it has been awhile...I had some requests from agents and now based on thier feedback I'm revising this again.  Hopefully you guys can help me out.

I just wanted to respond to a few things you mentioned.  I'm not sure if you read the second chapter or not, but there are two characters with yellow humours and it's mentioned how they are artists.  Then I have Mathieu comment on how:  It was said that if one wanted to learn to kill then any school would do.  If one wanted to learn the art of ending a manís life, they went to the Flower.

Perhaps I need to broaden that out a little bit so its more obvious to the reader.  As to humours and how they work, I don't want to give it all away at once.  I prefer books that reveal portions at a time.  Humours are roughly based off of the Greek idea that the body had different colored humours.  In this world, those different colored humours give different physical and mental attributes to the people.


As to Mathieu's spending, he's with one of his best friends whom he trusts, even if he doesn't trust Venier.  Mathieu isn't perfect and I wanted to show his flaws/mistakes.  Because he is poor he's elated at the chance to gain money and so rather than prudently waiting to spend said money until he's actually acquired it, he goes off and splurges.  Also, Mathieu's been away for over a year with no sex.  Speaking from experience, when a soldier comes home from a tour, they are preoccupied for the first few weeks, lol.  Also, Mathieu mentions that he wouldn't even pay Cass because it's not about money, but she has to give money to the Madame and to the physikers to keep from getting pregnant.

Normally I don't like to respond point by point because I don't believe I should defend my work as criticism is what I'm looking for and a reader's reactions are thier own and therefore infalliable.  I  just wanted to point out some of the things you've suggested I've already done in either earlier chapters or in different sections of that chapter.  If you did read the earlier ones then maybe like I said I need to highlight those points more.

Thanks again, feedback is always appreciated.
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akoebel

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Re: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 10:03:11 PM »
Hi,

First, thank you for including the first two chapters : It would have been a shame not to read them.

As I didn't find the previous threads, I'll put in some remarks that may apply to any of the three chapters.

The three chapters were very well written, especially the introduction which hooked me really fast. You're managing the exposition really well, giving new pieces at a regular interval (humors for instance) : just enough to keep me turning pages.

Now, what bugs me, nothing egregious, simple turn-offs:

1 - As said before, the interjections in Italian keep throwing me off : at first, I had to go back to make sure the words were in the same language (As I wasn't aware that "non" was an Italian word too, I was asking myself if one character was speaking Italian and the other French). It's OK to keep Italian words for some objects and places, but I wouldn't put anything more.

2 - The parallel with Venizia is too strong for me, with too many similarities to convince me it's fantasy (Maybe I read too many historicals...)

3 - For the first chapter, I don't like the use "in media res" as I feel it's a cheap trick to get the reader to read on (and I've seen it done so much that it makes me sick). What worked for me in that chapter was the contrast between the lover and the killer. The fact that I knew that at the end of the chapter, we'd be hitting the reset button (tm) was a big turn off.

4 - For the second chapter, the position of the flashback didn't work for me and managed to cut a scene that was actually working in two distant parts. I was like "why a flashback right here? I want to know how the messenger reacts!"

5 - For this third chapter, the only thing really bugging me is the fact that the man is spending like crazy (new outfit, ladies, investments) without a second thought. I can understand his need to see his "friend", but why not save up just for that?

6 - Is the character that naive? If so, I'm not interested in him anymore (kidding here). You know, "take someone that wants something for nothing and give them nothing for something"? I had alarm bells going in my head as soon as I had that finance guy on screen : why isn't the protagonist more careful? Why doesn't he propose (or even think) to invest only half?

7 - If I see another mirror scene, I'll scream. Two is enough, and they're too close from one another for me not to notice them.

Once again, really nice piece(s) of writing. I'm anxious to see the rest.

fireflyz

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Re: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 02:43:16 PM »
Thanks for the kind words and the suggestions!  I hope you like the rest of the story as much as the beginning.
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halo6819

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Re: Reading Excuses-0110-fireflyz-WrittenInBlood-CH3-VLS
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 04:37:01 AM »
I am enjoying the story very much, however a few things keep poping me out.

1. as a french speaker, the combination of your protags name ( a french spelling) and all the chars saying "non" the first "Si" threw me for a loop, and continued to for a while until i got into the flow of the story ( though i still think of Mathieu as french)

2. the language, i am far from a prude, i swear worse then a sailor and have corupted my poor wife. however the language just rips me from the stroy somehow. Perhaps if you put it in italian as well.

3. personaly was not a fan of the quick future tense scene, especialy because it came to fruition only a couple of pages later. also, the scene with the Doga, could not tell if it was happening in reality or if the Doga contacted him in a dream.

4. cant get a grasp of the world as a whole, seems like there is some magic with the humours but other then that it seems like earth, with italy fighting france....

i like how you keep sprinkling what i assume to be the magic. the way you present it is very natural as it all comes from the Protag's musings.

as i said, the story has me drawn in, cant wait to read more!
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