Author Topic: RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial  (Read 1487 times)

MannyBrainpan

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RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial
« on: March 28, 2011, 04:50:52 PM »
The latest piece, I believe this one is twice as long as the others... I tried to introduce more of Vara's character, and mystery.
Previously, Vara had been talking with Leo, a speaking lizard, who seems to know more than he should. Enjoy!
-Manny
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

Asmodemon

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Re: RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 08:47:40 PM »
The chapter is bigger than the last, but I’m not sure it’s much of an improvement. You’re trying to introduce more of Vara’s past, giving her some mystery. I’m sorry to say it’s not having the intended effect on me.  She’s not mysterious, she and her magic and the setting are confusing. Her past, in the way you present it, reads like you’ve realized we don’t know enough about Vara and now you’re applying emergency patches. I think this sounds harsher than I intend, but bear with me. I think that the short format you’ve got going makes it hard for me to get into the story and the character(s) – in other words, to find the good parts – and easier to see the flaws.

Here we still have odd dialogue, both in the way you write it and what the characters are actually trying to say.
For instance, Leo says there’s a dire need for her to know as much as she can, then he goes on a tangent about food. She’s homeless and scavenging – the lizard can see this. She gets it where she sees opportunity. So why bring this up, is there another reason food is important? Because the setting as it is doesn’t specify anything of note about food.

I like that Vara doesn’t let the lizard walk all over her, but then she says something confusing. “How did I defeat a mob of people!?!”

She did not defeat a mob of people, she ran from them. All we know, and all we saw, was a cloud of dust when she ran and a crater when she came back. That’s also what she should know of what happened.

Then back to the food issue: “I-- know that, if I can reach this fruit--- I won’t be so heavy.”

What? What does that even mean? She gets lighter when she eats fruit? So now we have a magical lizard, magical dirt, magical water, magical hair, and magical fruit? I get there’s magic in this setting, but it doesn’t make sense.

I really don’t want to sound harsh, but when I read dialogue like this: “All true, again. But there is a world of untapped skill and power that is open to you”

What I think is: “Use the force Luke. It’s your destiny. You can’t die, I love you. Blah, blah, blah.”

Good that Vara doesn’t like it either, but it’d be better if Leo spoke like an actual person, even if he is a lizard.

Satisfied with the food knowledge Leo turns to her childhood, and Vara tells us all about it. Cry me a river, but I’m not sympathetic to Vara’s abandonment. We’ve been hopping all over the place, and after a miniscule rump on a rooftop (which, since the crater is in front of the butcher’s shop, didn’t actually go anywhere…) Vara’s done nothing that makes me connect with her.

This information is simply an info-dump telling us we should care about this tragic young woman, damn it! Again, I realize it’s hard with this format, but you’ve got to show us she’s someone worth rooting for, not telling us she’s got a tragic past.

Vara also gets a little teary eyed thinking of her past and, of course, fights it so she doesn’t seem weak. All of this is pretty typical fare for a young female character. Every urban fantasy book I read had a character like Vara, so, yeah, she’s a bit on the cliché side.

Also, the hard girl, who shouldn’t be in a position to trust anyone, if the villagers are that rabid about her, instantly falls for the lizard and thinks him her friend.

Too typical and too easy. What I see is the young heroine with the special powers and the wise mentor slash magical girl cute side-kick and mascot character.

What would help, I think, is that you read some of these dialogues aloud or if you have the opportunity let others speak it aloud. I think you'll see that this isn't the way real people speak. Also, when you try to put information in don't do it as an info dump. If this was a larger chapter you might get away with a bit of dialogue exposition like that, but in this short form it stands out too much.

I also have a small request. Could you put the chapter number in your files, email subject and topic header? For me that makes parsing all the topics and files a lot easier.

akoebel

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Re: RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 10:37:25 PM »
Hi,

I've made quite a lot of comments on my version. I can send it to you in .doc or .odt if you want.

I have some real trouble with the form. This is supposed to be a serial, right?
If so, each installment should stand on its own and provide enough meat so that we want to read on. As I said before, there needs to be something at the end of each installment : discovery, humor, cliffhangers (not too much, please). If you're not familiar with Howard Tayler's work, go see what he does each day : the plot moves forward a little, and a gem is dropped at the end of each strip, so you want to read on.
When I read what you've given us so far, it feels like you're standing right of the middle between serial and long form : each episode is short, but is only a condensed version of what a full novel chapter would be. As a result, we're missing large chunks of information, and yet, we don't have the serial little gem we would need to be intrigued enough to continue reading.

At some point, you'll have to choose between short form and longer.

For the writing part, this piece is much better than the last one : I noted fewer coma issues, and less adverbs. One thing that troubles me is mostly the word choices of which I'm never quite sure if you did want to put this particular word or if it's a mistake (the "momentarily" on the first paragraph comes to mind).

Ending note on the queerness : you've started to pile up quite some strange things (Asmodemon mentioned some). I'd like to start to see some explanations, otherwise, I'll be more and more troubled (and upset) with each chapter.

MannyBrainpan

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Re: RE-3/28/11-MannyBrainpan-Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 03:21:45 PM »
Please send it as a .doc. That would be greatly appreciated. And I am familiar with Schlock Mercenary, I just haven't had enough time to really get into it. I thank you for saying that I need to decide between long and short format while still keeping it interesting, cliffhanger-ish. And as of late, my brain has been fuzzled over this, because you're right, I have been cutting back a whole chapter into a one and a half page serial. So instead, I will begin to write how I want to, and split it into smaller portions, with just enough towards the end to keep it like a serial. Thanks for the comments.  And I hope I can keep the average reader's attention, because the concrete explaining doesn't come till segment after next.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite