Author Topic: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial  (Read 1951 times)

LongTimeUnderdog

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RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« on: April 11, 2011, 08:11:11 AM »
Since it wasn't posted.  I thought I'd just post here.

Soooo . . . . it was actually better then the other parts I've read.  Something I'm noticing is that your work might be suffering from . . . well . . . the format.  I'll try to explain.

This short, serial form seems to lend itself more toward quick, short action.  This means each installment requires its own action flow between start, build, climax, and resolution (or cliffhanger as is more likely the case).  To conserve the space for this rising action and such, it seems you're skimping on the details.  Our heroine is talking to a lizard, but the lizard seems to more behave like the Geico gecko instead of a lizard.  If that's what you want then great.  But I think the pieces would benefit more from details about his behaviors and her behaviors.  This compares, interestingly, to dance.  I hope this helps explain it.

If you've ever watched a good ballroom couple, let's say, dancing a competitive samba.  You can find numerous videos over the internet to see what I'm talking about, if you don't know personally.  Ballroom is essentially broken down into steps.  Left foot here, right foot there.  There is nothing about the arms.  When you watch dancers, they step and step and step, but what makes things look good are the arms.  A good dancer lets the arms do their thing and doesn't push them around.  But the arms are there, and they are what really brings the steps to life.  Your piece is, essentially, missing it's arms.

akoebel

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Re: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 08:58:06 PM »
Hi,

I already posted about my problems with this short format and the missing pieces in the narration.

What's starting to bug me more and more is the apparent lack of continuity in the story : I feel like I'm watching a story entirely submitted to Brownian movement.

Either you don't know where you are going from one episode to the next (which I would understand, given the serial nature of this writing), or you don't put enough foreshadowing to prepare the reader for what's coming and you don't take enough time to introduce changes.
 
The result is that each plot change feels like it falls out from the sky and there is no real continuity to the story.

I'll cite as an example the point where Vara's mind is assailed and two lines after, she asks the lizard why it's talking. There doesn't seem to be a continuous development in the story here, I feel like I was just thrown into another story in the space of one line.
Not to mention that you completely broke my interest : I had a character in a difficult situation. I could have felt something for her, and suddenly, it's all gone, no explanation given, and the new direction the story takes is MUCH less interesting.

So maybe you could rush a little less between segments. It would allow the reader to enjoy the payoffs and would allow you to setup a little what's coming.

MannyBrainpan

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Re: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 05:30:11 PM »
Thanks, I apologize for not making the threads, I have had some internet connection problems.
@LTU, I am suffering from the format, but I am beginning to write as a whole story and split it up. I am having problems fitting the details. I intend to go back and rework everything soon.
@Akoebel, I am not sure what has changed that disappointed you, could you specify so that I can work on that or make note not to do that again.  About Vara asking Leo to speak, I goofed there, I will cut those two sentences in between.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

akoebel

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Re: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 08:19:54 PM »
In fact, it is the accumulation of sudden (seemingly random) plot changes that bothers me.
I was willing to forgive them at first, because I wasn't sure if it was something about the world or the writing. Now, after a few chapters, I begin to suspect that it's not a world feature, and I feel frustrated that I still don't see where the story is going.

I think it's good that you start to plot the whole story and then split it to form the chapters : this should give more unity to the whole and relieve some of my objections.
I'd still argue that you need to take slower turns and take a little time setting up some foreshadowing. I know you don't have much space to do that, but at this size, even a 50% wordcount increase, with 50% more details won't hurt the format that much.

MannyBrainpan

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Re: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 09:31:08 PM »
Okay thanks, I get what you mean, but the story is only ten pages in so the plot hasn't been obvious yet. It is coming in the next part or two.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

Asmodemon

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Re: RE- 4/11/11- MannyBrainpan- Untitled Fantasy Serial
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 01:30:21 PM »
Yes, the formatting remains a tough point. Itís really hard to keep things interesting and flowing well with only some 500 words per part. Thatís really only half the difficulty your piece has, the other is continuity, as Akoebel mentioned.

It seems you donít have a grasp of what you want with the story. In some cases, like the very first sentence, as well as with the concept of digometres, it seems youíre writing a parody. But then you seem to forego that for a couple of parts and write something serious.

The first time we meet Vara weíre in a story thatís about a girl persecuted by her village. Then out of nowhere we get a talking lizard. Out of nowhere we get strange instances of a magic system. Suddenly nothing of the previous troubles matter anymore, the focus on the irate butcher now seems completely superfluous. Then Vara discovers she has magic too, but a part after that discovery she suddenly uses that magic as if sheís born to it and she follows the lizard to another place entirely. And in that place is swamp with a barbarian. Consider that the story is not that far along, yet youíve been changing things around so much already. Every part introduces something so different from what weíve already seen itís impossible to form expectations and get a handle on the type of story youíre writing.

Take this chapter for instance, a water beast with a gaping maw tries to eat Vara. She get in her boat in time and from that moment the water beast is gone as if it never existed. Itís gone from this chapter and, getting ahead of myself for a moment, the next couple as well. Continuity, where is the water beast? You can scratch the water beast and still Vara wouldíve acted the same to miss the swamp water and get in the boat. The beast doesnít add anything to the scene, but once itís there it should do something.

Getting back to the barbarian issue of last chapter, you make it clear that Vara doesnít know about the barbarian, stating she heard just a bit from the village children. Iím guessing the barbarian lived pretty far from her tree, otherwise sheíd know about a swamp and a character with enough of a reputation to be known by the village children. Itís hard to judge the travelled distance when Vara jumped from branch to branch last chapter.

Some odd physics happen with the boat. Vara overshoots the boat after jumping four digometres high. Since the distance she needed to travel is horizontal and not vertical her leap will primarily take her forward. The fact that her trajectory is four digometres high should mean she exceeds that distance horizontally by quite an amount. Yet she twists in mid-air, can suddenly see far enough ahead in the fog to see the boat, and then manages to both grab it and drag herself in without touching water. This seems more than a little unlikely to me.

Varaís question when the boat is pulled along isnít the first that would come to my mind in her position. Asking why the lizard talks is secondary to what the shapes she sees are and what the noises mean. These are things that can potentially, and for her perspective most likely, take her life. Just second before she was almost eaten by a water beast.

I think itís a good thing youíre going to work on consistency and continuity, since its lack is starting to hurt your story. And perhaps you might consider changing the format. I know you said to your friends you were writing it this way, but youíre the writer, you can change anything if it betters the story.