Author Topic: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2  (Read 2668 times)

akoebel

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March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« on: March 28, 2011, 09:41:52 AM »
Hi all,

This is the second chapter from my first novel, The Fifth Compendium.

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to prevent men chasing her from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a librarian wants to get to work, but events conspire against her.

Chapter 2 : A man tries to come to grips with his involvement in a woman's death.

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

MannyBrainpan

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 05:07:33 AM »
This was a great chapter. It seemed to reveal a lot and pushed the plot forward while showing that this is a really nice guy forced to live/do awful stuff. I definitely felt sorry for the character. The chapter didn't drag and there were way less typos in this than the previous chapter. If you want I can send you a version with my annotations but really there were only like four things that I marked in red. I have noticed that you really like prepositions, which makes some sentences bulky and I have noticed that you sometimes end sentences with prepositions, which not necessarily wrong, but absolutely awkward. Anyway, I'm interested in both of the characters you have set up right now and I find the reverse male dominance thing interesting too.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

akoebel

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 07:45:08 PM »
Thanks for the comments Manny, that was very nice to hear.

I'd be happy to have your version, or maybe since there are only a few, you could post them here for discussion.

Asmodemon

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 02:04:00 PM »
Again I like this chapter more than I did the previous, just like chapter one was better than the prologue. Not because the writing has improved as such, since I still see all the same issues, but because the new character is more enjoyable and feels more fleshed out – like you’re learning with every character point of view you write.

Lorn has a lot of problems on his mind and while the prologue hinted at the fact that he and his men are not simple it’s good to see this is actually the case. He also wants to do something about those problems, which is better than Ciera’s avoidance of confrontation and Destra’s mindless hating.

Now, on to the issues. The passive voice: “He had targeted”, “had been a gamble”, “he had done this”, “had lost”, “had failed”. These happened in and around a single paragraph right at the start. I can’t stress enough that passive voice weakens the power of your writing. As the writer it can be hard to detect sometimes, but it’s well worth the effort if you can weed it out and believe me there’s a lot to weed out.

Again you use ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’. Loose is the opposite of tight, it’s also an adjective. On the other hand lose is a verb for suffering loss or to miss. In general you’ll probably use ‘lose’ a lot more than you do ‘loose’. Case in point, every case of ‘loose’ in your work up to this point should actually be ‘lose’.

The chapter also feels more bloated than it should. The first four pages of the prologue were mostly exposition, while Destra ran for her life. The first four pages here are exposition on what’s happened before while Lorn lies in bed sulking and planning. Sulking and planning is not interested, executing the plan (or doing anything at all really) can be interesting.

As such the chapter gets better in the latter half, starting from around page six, when Lorn starts doing things and interacting with people. We just had five pages exposing his guilt through telling, while the better option would be to show us the guilt he feels through dialogue with his friends/culprits.

LongTimeUnderdog

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 04:40:48 PM »
The biggest and most blaring issues is the use of the word "had."  As Asmodemon mentioned, it creates a passive voice.  To put it simply . . . you used "had" Way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way  too much.

Another big issue, for me, is the use of modern voice.  Normally there would be nothing wrong with that, it's a fantasy or whatever, after all.  But in the piece, it seems tossed in and mixed with more "period" ways of speaking.  Such as "this would bring in way too much money."  the change in voice from period (or whatever) to modern was like rubbing my skin with a cheese grater.  It hurt that much.

The line "worth opponent" . . .makes me wanna kill myself.

And finally the chapter breaks.  They seemed . . . oddly placed.  A break like that implies, or is meant to, either a big change of scene or a PoV change.  Usually they are used to elapse time.  In All cases in this piece, there did not seem to be any of that.  More like . . . you felt like  you had to have a break, because that's what chapters have.  I, obviously, don't know what you were thinking when you wrote it but that was impression I got.

akoebel

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 06:45:41 AM »

Thanks for the comments.

In fact, the pacing of the chapters is a recurring problem I'm facing. As a discovery writer, I'm writing myself into each new chapter, so that each one is really two parts : the warm up and the real meat. Each time I'm submitting, I try to rework so that the piece feels more like a whole, but maybe I should be more violent and scrap every chapter beginning.

I'm glad you people are emphasizing with Lorn, because some of my alpha readers had an epidermic reaction to him : when they got to one of his viewpoints, they would put down the book. One of them even told me that he was an evil character.

For the comparison with Ciera, Lorn is a much simpler and active character (even with his problems). Ciera has heavy childhood issues and is defined by her flaws at this time, so she's much more unidimensional at this time. She fleshes out as chapters go, but I'm a little concerned that you guys do see her as a flat character. I'll have to think of something to remedy to that.

@LTU : the second break should be removed, sure. For the first one, there is about an hour between the two parts. Do you think that's not enough? For the modern talk, do you have more examples? I should really edit those out.

fireflyz

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 08:25:10 PM »
I have been incredibly busy with new job and my current novel, but I'm trying to catch up with feedback.

I liked this chapter.  It took me a few seconds to realize that it was the men from the night before, but definitely pulled me back into that scene.  I liked the juxtaposition, being able to see the encounter from another perspective.  Unfortunately, this chapter was very passive.  There was some info dumps, though not too bad or enough that I lost interest.  But the chapter focuses soo heavily on the main character's internal thoughts that at times I did waver.  I think that the male/female relationship is very interesting and more focus on that could definitely liven the chapter up.  Also, trimming back the exposition and perhaps having this information conveyed through conversation would help.  There were a lot of minor typos, but this is a draft so it's not too big of a deal provided you're aware of it (which I think you are).  Overall, I really liked this chapter.  Even though it was slow, I'm intrigued by this society and can't wait to discover more.

An example of tell/show:

As the first rays of light came through the thin drapes covering the window, Lorn decided he should get up and do something before he completely surrendered to guilt and despair.

-This is too much telling and not enough showing.  It would be enough to end the sentence at the comma and have him throw his legs over the side of the bed and sit up with a sigh.  He didn't want to get up.  Already, he felt that familiar emptiness filling him.  Just like last time.  He shoved himself to his feet.  Shoved away the despair threatening to overwhelm him.  Now was the time....

Just something to consider.

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akoebel

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Re: March 28th - akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 2
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 01:02:23 PM »
Thanks for the comments Fireflyz.
The part about show vs tell is very educational.