Author Topic: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2  (Read 2971 times)

Will777r

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May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:45:02 PM »
Hey all :)
 
Sorry this is late - Been a busy weekend. This was all done months ago, but just didn't have a chance to get to my email.
 
Chapter 1 Summary - Albione rescues a rival militia commander, but ends up losing the knight he's sworn to protet. A night elf raid has overrun the walls
 
Chapter 2 Summary - Charom, Albione's older brother, is in charge of the High Priestess' guard detail when the temple comes under attack by the night elves.
 
Thanks again to everyone who takes the time to read this. I greatly appreciate it and your feedback!

Will777r
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 09:50:33 PM by Will777r »

MannyBrainpan

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 05:18:28 PM »
So I'm not gonna lie. I didn't like this chapter as much as the previous, and that- I think- is due largely to the fact that you write from the perspective of three characters in the span of 20 pages. And you have killed two characters that you have introduced in a matter of 20 pages. I'm not saying this is BAD, I just don't get much of a character and therefore don't care much whether he dies in battle or not. The only character, so far, that I want to read more of, is Albione and that is because I want to know how his faith mixes with the fact that he is a warrior. And I think you talked about this with LTU in the previous thread,  you don't necessarily need a ton of fight scenes to catch your readers attention. Yeah, I like the idea of opening the story with a seige on the church-fortress-thing. But, this second chapter doesn't feel quite as dynamic- the High Priestess is cliche (which isn't always a bad thing either), the action is a little bit fuzzier (particularly the part about the elf mage continuing his chant and the red beam that came from one of the elf's), and the whole magic system is really fuzzy to me right now (you seem to use the words "mage" and "priest" interchangeable and I am assuming this is technically Christian fiction so wouldn't the "mage" be the baddie and the "priest" be the good guy like Albione?). Maybe I misunderstood that last bit, but I would really like to see how this spiritual magic system works- are the elves worshipers of your allegorical version of satan? Are the priests called to fight or to heal with the gifts of Alazon (why by the way is quite reminiscent of Aslan)? Also, the part where Charom and the High Priestess go into the Inner Sanctuary (the Holy of Holies?- therefore, wouldn't they be unhappy about their sacred place being defiled?), anyway, the part where they go into the tunnel gets kinda funny- suddenly all of the priests and soldiers are there. Also, if Albione is a priest, how come he is fighting? Beyond that there were a few sentences that had typos, there were a few sentences without periods (but that stuff is trivial right now.)
Wow, looking at this, I kinda cut your stuff down- but I don't mean to. I'm just letting you know some of these things that made this second chapter a bit less dynamic. But I'm still interested in the story and will make the time to read it next week also.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

Will777r

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 12:26:53 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to read this and give me feedback Manny :)

One of my biggest struggles has been the PoV change to Charom in Chapter 2. If I skip that chapter altogether, Chapter 3 seems anticlimactic. If it's written at all, it can't be written from Albione's PoV. Originally, I had it from the night elf priest's PoV. People liked that, but chapter 3 still seemed anticlimactic. So, I wrote it from Charom's PoV to build some concern for Rook-Sha when the events of Chapter 3 occur. I would love to hear any advice on what I should do with this chapter (even kill it) after I put up Chapter 3.

As far as the magic system and the storyline behind the deity's, I can explain it more. But, it comes out in the story. I had more background in my original first chapter (and prologue), but it fell into the infodump category and slowed it down a bit. It does come in later though.

Concerning allegory. I wouldn't try to look for any because if any is there, it's not intentional. My story began as a "what if" scenario many years ago, but it's lost all those elements and taken on a life of its own. But technically, as a writer, I should be happy with your guesses. They're 100% off hehe :)

Thanks again!

Will777r

MannyBrainpan

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 03:46:30 AM »
Cool, I'll look forward to the next chapter and see what I can do to help.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

hubay

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 11:24:30 PM »
I'll agree with manny that adding the two characters, and then killing them off, is a little distracting. I think sometimes authors will toss in a new character and immediately kill him/her off, but it's almost always as way to lead into a fight or introduce a monster. Since you've already led us in to this battle with albione, I feel like it looses the impact. So it should go nobody POV dies-> main Pov picks up fight, not the other way around.

Charom also come's off as pompous and vain in the first few paragraphs, when he talks about how proud he is to have this position. If that's what his character is, cool. But his actions at the end of the chapter suggest otherwise, so you might want to reword it so he seems less full of himself.

I think you've done a pretty good job balancing exposition and plot/action. We're starting to learn a bit about your world but it isn't distracting.

That said, your magic bothers me. I think it's because you almost describe magic happening from an observer's perspective, and not from the perspective of your POV character. If you want to go for a mostly omniscient narrator, I guess that would work. But you don't seem to, so it's strange. The problem is, you have characters say words or make motions, and then the magic happens, but you don't describe how it feels to use the magic. Take albione's healing: he lays his hands on the guard, light flows, and healing happens. But that's not enough; there has to be some kind of sensation that accompanies the healing. It would be like if I kicked a wall, the wall broke, but my foot didn't feel a thing. I would expect him to feel like there's something flowing out of him into the guard, or maybe since his magic comes from a god, using it results in him temporarily feeling the overwhelming, alien touch of his god's  mind. Or something like that.

MannyBrainpan

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 05:01:08 PM »
Hubay has a great point. I was wondering what seemed odd about your magic also. He hit the nail on the head. Possibly the warmth of healing spell (prayer?) radiated from his hand, things like that.
"It's a liger... it's pretty much my favorite animal." - Napoleon Dynamite

Asmodemon

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 09:58:27 PM »
Truthfully I found the second chapter harder to read than the first one. Some of the dialogue reads a bit stilted, such as the protestations of the priests, ďWhat folly would bring them here?Ē and things like that.

The thing that really bothered me is that youíve got three POVs so far, two of which are in this chapter, and one is a throw-away characters who dies. While throw-away characters arenít a problem most of the time this is the wrong place to be using one. At this point in the story the reader needs to get attached to the characters, but instead youíre throwing the reader off.

On the first page you mention that for the past two nights Albione has been killing night elves on the walls. Now, unless Iím very much mistaken, the night elves will have appeared from out of nowhere on the last two nights as well, since even if you are expecting them to do it itís still a pretty good surprise tactic. So why was the militia leader so dismissive of Albioneís warning that the enemy was already there? He must have seen, or at least heard, of the same thing happening on the empty plains the last two nights?

Continuing we get to the actual main POV character of the chapter, Charom, a really pompous arrogant character, at least when he starts out. Such characters are hard to write, because itís hard to feel sympathetic with people who are so full of themselves. If you can pull it off though it can work really well. Unfortunately the next time his POV comes around these traits are gone and he reads a lot more like a generic duty-bound knight, which I find a shame.

A small thing in Iaonís POV, the rose at the base of the fountain. Even with the moon, stars, torches and what not, I donít see roses as gleaming, unless theyíre plastic, even if the rose is wet. Itís night right?

Iaonís POV also holds another dangerous parallel to D&D. When the elves summon darkness, which can be dispelled through prayer, theyíre a lot like the Drow.

Back to Charomís point of view. He gets warned by bells that something is going on. Excellent, so why is Albione abandoning his point on the walls again? Clearly he needs to warn no one.

The priests are stupid. ďWhy would they come for you, your Reverence?Ē Really, in a setting where magic is performed by priests why wouldnít the enemy, after breaching the walls, try and take out this valuable resource. And where better to find them and their leaders, especially a High Priest, than in the main temple?

Quote
I would love to hear any advice on what I should do with this chapter (even kill it) after I put up Chapter 3.

Like I said, I donít see the need for Albione to rush to the temple in the first place, where he arrives in chapter three to aid in the defence of the high priestess. If he doesnít need to go there, and if you decide to rewrite it so he doesnít, thereís also no real reason to have a POV during the attack on the temple, which means you could cut this chapter altogether. I donít want to tell you how to write your story, but Albione really needs a better reason for rushing to the temple.

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Concerning allegory.

I didnít really notice any allegories and neither am I surprised at fighting priests, since I still see them as being in the same vein as the Warhammer warrior priest order.† I didnít get the impression, reading about the other priests, that all of them are like the warrior priests. If so, then you might consider calling the priests who actually fight, versus the ones who only pray, by a different name.

SkyhunterCommander

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 07:03:22 PM »
I realize that everyone has said this, but the adding a viewpoint only to kill off the character felt really pointless.

I also would question why everyone is so shocked that the Night Elves came for the Priestess. She seems to be one of the most important people in the city, if not the most important. It seems obvious that they would come after her, and as such it feels a little silly when the priests voice their shock.

Again, the fight scenes were good and enjoyable, especially the last one.

And I would echo some of the other concerns people had, such as why it was important for Albione to run to warn the temple if they were warned through other means, and that the magic needs a little more something. Hubay and MannyBranpan's suggestions would definitely help to fix that problem.

One final minor issue is I felt like Charom spent too much time commenting on the High Priestess. Assuming he's seen her quite a few times before, being part of her guards, it felt a bit off for him to keep awed, and comment on her every aspect.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

akoebel

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 09:24:55 AM »
I agree with the others : dropping Iaon's viewpoint wouldn't hurt the story (actually, it wouldn't make any difference altogether). As it is, it's an unneeded distraction.

There is this recurring reference to "evil" approaching. I very much doubt that night elves are evil to the man. Their leader might be, and some of the soldiers too, but you make it sound as if every night elf is evil - by virtue of being a night elf. I'd like a little more balanced description (as well as some explanation about why elves and humans are ... at odds).
On the same point, the "priest(ess) senses evil" sounds too much like the D&D spell. You could say that her god sent her bad tidings or something like that.

When Kase came back, Charom sent her to the healers. The temple is under heavy attack and you send a standing fighter out? That didn't make sense to me (especially coming from priests who should be a little more fanatical about defending their temple than regular soldiers).

I liked that you described the priestess's impact on Charom as a woman. It felt very manly for Charom to feel this way.

What is starting to bother me is your use of magic. Right now, it's mainly lights of every color doing some things. As you're showing this magic quite extensively, you're going to have to explain quite a lot about how it works. I agree that here is not the place, since the viewpoint character isn't an actual user himself (he should see only pretty lights, sure).
As we don't understand how things work, the duel between the mage and the priestess falls flat.

Will777r

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Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 01:34:27 AM »
As always, I really, really appreciate the feedback here. A lot of you are asking questions about why certain things are the way they are. There is an extensive backstory for all that, one I originally included in long infodump details hehe. But that wasn't working at all. So, I'm trying to decimate bits and pieces as the story goes on. Enough to make someone curious without stopping the story completely to reveal backstory.

I am pretty set on dropping Iaon's point of view scene completely. It's probably sufficient to show Albione in Chapter 3 arriving at the carnage outside the temple doors. Or I could replace Kase with an injured Iaon and thus not kill off a PoV character. Any thoughts there would be appreciated :)

Hubay, I really appreciate your thoughts on writing the magic from a deeper PoV instead of so detached. That's something I'm going to hit hard when I go through everything for the 3rd pass.

I'll try answer a few of the questions brought up here. Maybe some things will make more sense and you can help me to decide on whether or not changes are necessary to clarify this early in the story.

Asmodemon - The reason the militia commander doesn't believe Albione is because he feels assigned to a useless place on the wall. For the last two nights, the night elves have hit the southern and western walls of the city hard. The Militia controls 2/3 of the city and really is the driving force in that part of the land (not the Temple of Alazon). His assignment was switched to here tonight "for his safety" since he's Ferris' son-in-law. In his mind, not much has happened here and the temple forces were just exaggerating any attacks that came this way. I can't really show any of this w/out being in his PoV or giving an omniscient infodump. 

As for the priests being stupid - It's a suicide mission for the night elves. They might kidnap the high priestess, but it's way more likely they won't get close. Even though the night elf priest almost kills her, that's not his mission. He only chooses this route because he knows he's dead already. Much better to face Rysok (his god) having done something than nothing. If a direct assault simply to defeat the temple is the mission (as the temple priests assume), it's absurd. They might suprise the courtyard guards and achieve a few victories  at first, but when the temple brings even a fraction of its full might to bear, they'll be slaughtered. When Rook-Sha reveals their true intention, that at least makes a bit more sense.

Concerning the bells, they aren't a magical alarm or anthing. When Kase breaks away to notify the High Priestess, he sends someone to sound the alarm. The temple is actually quite some distance from the walls (Elueria is huge). As for Albione going to warn them, well, he's just late heh. When Setio sends him, he doesn't know the runners are dead or that this heavy frontal attack was simply a diversion to get an elite force into the city. Even so, Albione is bound to follow the orders, so he leaves himself. Maybe not the brightest decision, but Albione's a man who gets caught up in his emotions - He kind of goes with what he's feels is right, even if it doesn't always make sense. I'll be honest though, your comments on this really made me think a lot about whether or not the sequence is believable. I appreciate that because I don't want readers to get frustrated and put it down because it doesn't make sense.

Akoebel - I like your questions about the night elves being "evil" to a man. This subject actually a theme in the story :) However, there are deep prejudices against the night elves because they fought a lengthy war against every human nation in the world years ago. And the night elves took it to levels that changed the way war took place. In fact, magic was never used prior to this war in battle. But that's probably more backstory than you care for. Suffice it to say, there's not a single member of the temple who thinks there is any good at all in any night elf.

As far as Kase being sent to the infirmary, the temple has plenty of soldiers to fight and he's badly injured. I need to do a better job of showing both those things.


Thanks again guys! I'm editing the middle of the book right now, but I can't wait to return to this chapter and do some surgery to it :)

Will777r