Author Topic: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3  (Read 2159 times)

hubay

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January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« on: January 10, 2011, 05:49:21 PM »
Lord Domestic – Chapter 3 – 3000 words (L,V)

Ch 1 – Jhuz, the eagle-mejj Standard of the Imperial Legion, is forbidden to fight because of his station. instead, he's forced to watch as his army is slaughtered by invading barbarians and the supernatural Chell.

Ch 2 – Jhuz interacts with other officers, and is called to a council of war.

Ch 3 – We meet the Jackal, see rations cut, and Jhuz works as a human target for Zaisha.

fireflyz

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 03:56:30 AM »
This is the first chapter I read so I'm a little late to the party. I don't have much in the way of complaints.  The biggest issue is the noticeable lack of description.  I felt like there were two or three people talking, but the world around them was a hazy mass of...I couldn't tell you what.  If I recall correctly your last novel (elemental stuff?) was the same. 


Your dialogue and the writing itself is good.  Not a lot of import seemed to happen in this CH, outside of the J guy being shown to have some serious talent and being interested in the Z girl.  For all of that, I read it quickly and it held my interest.  Because the writing was good.   :)


I think you really need to work on the description, making sure it's a scene and not talking heads.  In that chapter that was the only element missing.  I'm interested to see where this is headed.
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akoebel

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 08:59:56 PM »
Well, that is going to be a tough one to critique for me, since I didn't find much I didn't like!

Seems like I'm finally getting used to the mejj* words, though I still don't fully understand how that magic system works.

The only part I found confusing was this passage :
"He was a good six and a half feet tall; the only man in the camp to rival him in size was Ezlio. "
I had to re-read that phrase 3 times to get the meaning right. It might be better to simplify it to something like "He was the tallest man in the camp, except maybe Ezlio." Your choice here, I'm picking on a very small thing.

For Fireflyz's concerns, as I'm not a very descriptive writer myself, I had no problems with the descriptions as they are here. As long as I have some interesting characters and dialogue, I'm happy.
I suppose that point will vary according to the reader.

Overall, I really liked that piece, especially the part with the lady in it : I could feel the history between those two at work here.

Very, very nice work, please keep them coming!

Asmodemon

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 05:26:05 PM »
You’ve lessened the exposition a lot in this chapter and this helps the pacing greatly. The descriptions of what the characters are doing are good, in my head I can see them doing those things, only they do it in a void for the most part – a little more setting the scene would help a lot. Jhuz also finally shows a little bit of spine and skill at the end of the chapter, I like that.

Now, onto the slightly more negative aspect of this chapter, which is the discipline of your military force, or rather the distinct lack of discipline anywhere. Why are the officers telling the servants all about the reduced rations solely on the basis of a rumour? Servants talk, the presence of spies amongst the servants is not unlikely, so they’re broadcasting their wretched state to everyone.

I also noticed that the servants, as well as seemingly non-commissioned personnel like the bodyguard Ezlio, have a surprising amount of freedom in terms of speaking their minds and being privy to what I consider confidential information.

Another issue is Terze and the Jackal showing their mutual loathing in front of their lesser – subordinates and servants alike. The officers may not like each other, but to show this in front of others is just not done. What will the squads think if their officers want to see each other dead? Will any squad come to the aid of another? This is completely devastating to morale and troop cohesion. Let the officers duke it out in private, but it should never be done like this, in front of servants and lesser ranks.

Another issue of this is when Zaisha says she wants to convince the infantry to use ‘manuballista’ and Jhuz is very derisive in saying she’ll never convince them. She’s higher in rank, she doesn’t need to convince them, she needs to order them and the infantry had better get used to it. And if the infantry is not hers she should go to the infantry commander and let him give the order. Soldiers want to live, I find it hard to believe they’ll decide not to use a weapon if it means winning a battle.

I do find it interesting that soldiers won’t use ‘peasant weapons’. From what social class or caste are soldiers drafted? Usually the peasants form the body of armies.

All of this sums up to one word: discipline. If I’m to believe this is an actual sophisticated military force and not a ragtag bunch of barbarians I’m going to have to see some discipline.

hubay

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 10:35:48 PM »
You've mentioned the obvious discipline problems in all your critiques so far, and I think you're spot on. See, my story is set during the Fall (that is, the fall of my pseudo-roman empire). One of the factors that often tears down armies in this sort of situation is poorly-selected officers – people who were promoted for reasons of class, nepotism, or other sorts of corruption. So discipline has slowly fallen to the wayside. Also, Gaitu was terrible at training, but I haven't mentioned either of these things. I probably do need to change some of the situations so they're a little more plausible, and I also need to explain the discipline problems better. It's just, with everything else going on in the story I'm worried about an infodump (which i've already done a couple of times, as you pointed out). So on a re-write i'll explain it better – though I had actually planned to toss in an explanation next chapter, so maybe that'll do.

I guess my point is, you've given great feedback – you've pointed out several things that aren't quite believable, and I need to fix them – but the discipline thing is at least partially intentional. Some of the actions will make sense if I give more context, and some still won't so I'll have to ditch them.

Anyways, Zaisha commands the Immunes, who aren't regular soldiers, so she doesn't have any direct jurisdiction over the regulars. Also, like rome, my empire's army is actually based upon land-owners, with auxilians who hope to earn citizenship. because of the slave economy they didn't have the same sort of peasant structure as other nations might.

fireflyz

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 11:34:33 PM »
Hey hubay, quick comment on the discipline issue.  I would reccomend taking a look at Edward  Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.   The entire work is massive (I'm only 12% through according to my Kindle and I've been at it for over a week), but he describes in the very beginning the work ethic of the Roman Army.  It was simply incredible.  One of the first things to go with the Empire is the Army.  (first being relative as he takes up the narrative several hundred years after its birth with Caeser). 

Anyway, the Army begins to degrade for a number of factors.  First, is the increasing foreign content in the army.  Eventually the Army has so few true Romans in it that their allegiances are very weak.  Also, the practice of giving donatives  or bribes to the army weakens their allegiance.  With Emperors barely lasting a few years (in some cases a handful of days), the army's allegiance is bought with gold.  The tenuous grasp on the Empire allows the Army to lax in both their discipline and their preparedness.  When competing leaders use their own legions to fight for the throne, it really is the end of the Roman Army as it most think of it. True, for a time some Emperors managed to reverse the trend, but overall, it was over.

I'm mentioning this because I think it gives you a number of options to slip in to explain the lax in discipline and also give the reader the feeling that this is an Empire on it's knees.  An Empire that's been crumbling for some time and with this surge in barbarian opposition, it's strong facade is crumbling. 

As a side note, if you want a good idea of what the Roman Army was capable of in its hayday, read Julius Ceaser's Commentaries, simply amazing stuff.  (and nearly free on the Kindle).

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!

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hubay

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 04:27:38 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I just took a glance at it in google books and yeah... wow. It might be a while until I get through that, but at the very least I might start referring to it for research. Thanks.

Dark_Prophecy

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Re: January 10 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch3
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011, 10:50:35 AM »
Please Please Please give us more setting. I only ask because I am some sort of Crown Prince of Fail when it comes to setting. I'm awful, and you're already better than I am at it, but please give us something to root us to the scene.

Now, you can tell from my childish begging that I actually like your story, and I'm rooting for it, so YAY for you! :D
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.