Author Topic: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1  (Read 1941 times)

SkyhunterCommander

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« on: May 02, 2011, 05:13:16 PM »
I don't have much more to add here that I didn't put in the email, except a quick apology for the length, which probably does nothing here...

I hope you enjoyed and I eagerly anticipate feedback! :)
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

akoebel

  • Level 5
  • *
  • Posts: 123
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 03:37:22 PM »
Sorry for the late feedback.

I enjoyed this piece, especially as it grew towards the end.

I don't know if you want this story to be on the original side or not (a story doesn't have to be original to be good). If so, I would worry a little about the "street urchin discovers he has hidden magic powers" story (unless you plan to twist it after).

I liked the fact that everything was seen through the character's lens (the grays/browns was a nice bit to add).  The magics are also just hinted in the right amount, so nice work.

What also worries me a little is the pacing at the beginning : it takes 7 pages to start some real character action (the catapults throwing boulders do not constitute sufficient action).  Things really start to kick on page 14 until the end of the chapter. So basically, you have 3 equivalent sections (doing nothing/saving woman/meeting soldiers). I would rather have an inflated third section and a deflated first one.

The section about explaining the weapon-sirat and the boy-sirat didn't seem clear enough to me. The part about him remembering how the wall was built also seemed stilted (Overuse of "had" there - one of my own afflictions).

Some things to consider:
* one minute seems on the low side to recharge and fire a catapult (you estimate 6 catapults and one shot every 10 seconds).
* A rapid calculation tells me that over 1600 projectiles have been fired this far. Where there that many rocks available?
* the "Sirat" dagger has a fully retractable blade with an 8 inch blade. This means that the handle itself it at least 8 inch long (probably closer to 9). That's quite long for a knife handle.


SkyhunterCommander

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 08:10:49 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.

I would agree that I could trim the beginning down somewhat. I wrote this now because I needed writing for a class, and I had a page count I meant to hit, so I'm sure I overinflated some parts.  :-X

And thanks for the notes about the catapults. When I wrote the chapter I didn't spend too much time researching, so I just made up the reload times. Should be easy enough to change now though.

I plan to write more of this at some point, though once I have time again I'll probably spend more time on my other story while I outline this story and worldbuild more. Although, I have found that I write this much faster than I write my other story, (possibly because this was technically for school, or because I don't feel the need for this to be perfect right now-I wrote the last 13 pages in a few hours) so I would not rule out another chapter or two springing out one day while I'm taking a break from my other story.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

LongTimeUnderdog

  • Level 9
  • *
  • Posts: 304
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 08:53:19 PM »
Sorry I'm late as well.  Youdid me a turn by reading mine, I should have done the same long ago.

My first big complaint, which likely taints everything else, is that our hero, Sirat doesn't care.  Because he doesn't care, I don't care.  Much of the tension or whatever a siege should have with it is lost because of it.  Put another way, I have no emotional investment and everything is really really boring.

Quote
Fool woman, Sirat thought. You should have fled to the other side of the city with

everyone else. Nearly all of the people living on this side of the city had fled to the other

end before the siege had begun.

This is a really odd two sentences.  First off, Sirat mentions that everyone fled to the other side of the city, then he narrates that everyone has fled to the other side of the city.  I'd cut the narration and just leave the thought.  that's all you need there.

And Akoebel is totally right.  You expound way to much.  The following paragraph you have Sirat narrating how much he feels the need to help children, then he goes out and does it.  You can cut all the narration and just demonstrate an eagerness to help the child.  And that can be done as easily as:

There was a second scream, more of a cry then a scream, if he was being honest.  A sort of high pitched, blubbering hiss.  "Shatter it all," he cursed under his breath.  "You just had to have children, didn't you?"

I would not suggest using those words exactly, as I'm sure you could write something for more in character and just better written in general.  It could probably be taken a step or two further, but I'm sure you'll figure out something better.

At the end I'm not really seeing his motivation for fighting and running.  I get he doesn't like the soldiers, nor care for service, but they have only hinted at something and to me it doesn't really sound like conscription.  Sounds more like they got an escape plan.

Everything about Sirat annoys me.  He's so self centered it makes me want to punch him.  He's so annoying it makes me want to punch him.  The officer and the soldiers were more interesting a group to me and while Sirat is trying to flee them, I'm cheering they catch him and break his arms. 


SkyhunterCommander

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2011, 03:59:11 AM »
Don't worry about it. Late is fine.

I get what you mean about Sirat's not caring, but that was really where I needed him to start. By the next chapter he won't be so apathetic any more. As in he doesn't care now, having grown up caring only about himself, but now that he's forced to be involved, he won't have the option of being apathetic any more.

At the end he was fighting an running simply because he wants to be left alone and not drawn into a war older than he is. He knows he of age to fight, and he's seen others get conscripted before (one of those things I knew and meant to put in the chapter, but forgot to it seems). He is perfectly safe where he is, in his opinion, and does not want to be forced to leave, even if people are (at least thinking they are) helping him.

Thanks for the feedback, though. Hopefully when I get around to editing the chapter and tighten it all up it will drag less, and as I said, by the second chapter Sirat will start caring.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

SkyhunterCommander

  • Level 3
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 09:21:08 PM »
Sorry to double post, but I had a quick question, and since editing my last post wouldn't notify anyone that the thread had new content...

So regarding your problem with Sirat not caring, do you think it would fix the problem in this chapter if I make him less apathetic and more 'I just want to be left alone'? Part of what I wanted to show about him was just that, that he wants to live his life apart from a war that is pointless, in his opinion.

That way he would have a motivation while still maintaining his lack of care about the different  armies.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

Asmodemon

  • Level 6
  • *
  • Posts: 175
  • Fell Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: May 2- Skyhunter Commander- Earthmover Chapter 1
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 12:16:07 PM »
Like Akoebel and LTU have already mentioned, the pacing of the chapter is too slow, especially in the beginning. It gets better when Sirat’s on the move, trying to do some good – he actually seems to care at that point.

But at the start you still have Sirat in hiding and he’s not doing anything interesting for the first couple of pages. The fact that he doesn’t seem to care much what happens, to any and all sides, makes him feel detached from the action going on around him. He could die, but if he does it doesn’t matter to him. If it doesn’t matter to Sirat why should it matter to the reader?

Another issue with the slow pace is the passive voice: “had been”, “had to guess”, ”should be”, “had lasted”, even more “had been”, “had seen” . You can scratch a lot of ‘had’ without losing anything significant while gaining a sense of immediacy.

You also use a lot of tell, especially in the first part where Sirat is hiding. You tell us he heals fast, after the pain in his arm suddenly disappears. I’d rather see more of his healing than be told about how bruises fade, etc.  You then tell us he’s a foundling and that’s why he’s inclined to help children. Even later you tell us he’s impossibly strong, moments before he does something with that strength.  All of this is tell, not show.

The impression I got from the screaming woman, which Sirat could hear over the sounds of the siege and the walls of his shelter, made me think she was right outside. Though he might not have been able to move fast the fact that she’s minutes away makes it really unlikely he could’ve heard her.

I’m not really sure what Sirat thinks he’s going to do by pushing the debris away from the top. The whole setup seems unlikely. Up to this point Sirat has shown no feats of super strength, either to us, or to himself, so he shouldn’t have any reason to think he can push the block away.  To me it doesn’t seem likely he should even try. Get the kid out perhaps, even though that’ll saddle him with a child, but not do something convoluted to save the mother.

Up on the roof I’m having real problems envisioning the scene with the block, how it’s positioned, angled, etc. The way I’m envisioning the block in order to accommodate it being near a chimney, crush the roof and block the entrance, means the block is quite tall and angled perhaps 80 degrees or so with respect to the ground – otherwise the entrance of the house wouldn’t be blocked.

Now, the position of the chimney and the block. Either the chimney is at a side, so Sirat can push the block sideways, or it’s in front of the block so he has to push it back. Since the block falls back to Sirat this has to be the option. So Sirat has to tip it over, first back to ninety degrees so it stand straight and then past that point to have it fall away from the house. He’d need a lot of force to manage that.

Or am I reading the situation wrong? In either case, the scene might do with some clarifying edits.

Also, Sirat’s conclusion that because the house has a chimney means the owner is wealthy is one thing, but the house doesn’t have to be hers, she doesn’t have to have any money left even if it is. He sounds pretty naive thinking he’s going to get paid for this.

Sirat is not his real name, he took his name when he was eight. Maybe it’s just me, but for an eight year old to know enough about weapons and assassins to see significance in the weapon is a little odd to me. Maybe it makes perfect sense in your setting for children of his age to know, but not at this junction.

Sirat also seems to grow younger as the chapter progresses. At first his dispassionate demeanour makes me think he’s a man who’s seen too much. Then in the middle of the chapter he acts like he’s an adolescent, while at the end when he’s being chased and called boy I’m thinking early teens. Very confusing.

To answer your question, I think it would help if you made him less apathetic. When he’s chased I’m rooting for him to escape. At this point I do care what happens, but it’s only at the end of the chapter. So I wonder at how effective “I just want to left alone” is going to be, because the end result is still that he isn’t doing anything other than hide for the first couple of pages.