Author Topic: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5  (Read 2243 times)

Will777r

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June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« on: June 27, 2011, 09:09:53 PM »
Hey guys,

Here's my next chapter. As always I appreciate the suggestions and feedback.


Chapter 5 Summary - A messenger delivers a dangerous package to Albione's room. When he opens it, the nightmare gets worse.


Here's the summary's for the first 4 chapters.

Chapter 1 Summary - Albione rescues a rival militia commander, but ends up losing the knight he's sworn to protect. 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.

Chapter 3 Summary - Albione rescues the High Priestess and accompanies her and his brother Charom to the wall. What he finds is completely unexpected.

Chapter 4 Summary - Albione is summoned to a meeting with his immediate Superior to face the consequences of his actions on the wall.

Will777r

cjhuitt

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Re: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 06:37:24 PM »
Hurrah!  One in which I've read at least one previous chapter.

I'm going to start with a very minor nitpick -- at the start of paragraph 3, "acolyte's" shouldn't be possessive.

Speaking of acolytes, I'm uncertain as to what is expected from their behavior.  Again, this may have been covered by previous chapters, or it may just be the worldbuilding you've done contrasting with my usual expectations, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as it's consistent.  That said, in the third paragraph Albione refers to acolytes thinking discipline would make him an early riser.  Would acolytes think this?  Or more importantly, even if they thought it amongst themselves, would they change their behavior to their (presumably) superiors?  This is also shown a bit later on, when the acolyte that delivered the package to Albione sighs when Albione questions him.  To me, that doesn't seem like something one would do to their superior.  This might be explained by an increasingly negative opinion of Albione himself, but if so you might need to provide some contrast and support; acolytes being helpful to others and resisting or ignoring Albione would be one way.

One sentence, of confusing form, the Yoda Arrangement, appeared in the text.  OK, more seriously at one point Albione is thinking of the painting of his family emblem, the sentence describing it was really confusing to me.  "One, of his family emblem, the Silver Gauntlet, hung on the opposite wall."  I had to read it a few times to parse what was being said, then I couldn't help myself but to make a comment in similar form to refer to it.

How much information about the murder of Albione's parents to we need to know?  I'm not suggesting taking any of it out, exactly, but wanted to make sure that it plays a part in the story, and particularly here.  Looking just at this scene, when he's thinking of his parents, it might be more effective to just refer to their untimely death instead of providing more details.  On the other hand, if the information helps drive Albione's actions later, or is even more important somehow, it's good to get a glimpse of it early, and we're still early enough in the story to absorb background information as needed.

Justicars.  I assume there are rumors about them and how they work.  That said, Albione seems very certain about what happens when Justicars get involved.  If the people just disappear, however, how does he know what interactions they have with the Justicar beforehand?  Albione may fear that this is what is happening, but it is written as if he knows for a fact that is how they do things.

After reading the note, Albione thinks that this is how his temple service will come to an end.  To me, this overboard unless supported by previous chapters.  Would merely getting an invitation to a banquet of honor, or receiving a horn trophy that he had not sought, be enough to have him removed from the temple?  Surely his superiors wouldn't punish someone quite so severely for another's actions, even if his own had enabled them.  It especially seems overboard to me in that he has the option he immediately takes, of showing it to his superiors and explaining that he didn't seek it and doesn't plan on going.  I think it would be more effective to detail the specific punishments he might be likely to receive.  Especially if he then decides to show it to Brother Pate not to avoid the punishments, which he might decide he could live with anyway, but because he believes it his duty to expose the agents in the temple.

(As an aside, it would be great if for some other, more important reason, he ended up at that dinner anyway.  It'll be tough with a vow of seclusion, but make his life horribly harder after.)

In Brother Pate's office, Albione says "I did not solicit this Superior".  I was initially confused what Superior referred to, thinking it might be a class of invitation to banquets of honor, or the horn, before I realized it was addressing his comments to Brother Pate.

Brother Page laughing doesn't seem to be in the same character as I recall in the previous chapter.  Of course, maybe the previous one had him more severe than earlier in the book, due to the necessity of punishing Albione.

When with his superiors -- and I haven't really seen him with his peers much yet -- Albione sure isn't very talkative.  Many times you refer to his mind going blank, or words deserting him.  You might want to use different phrases, or just cut out some of the specific references and have pauses in the other person's speech.  I get the impression that Albione is overwhelmed to the point of not being able to do anything when he is with superiors, and I doubt that's the impression you want, although it might be.

Also during dialog, and especially with Brother Pate, you have a lot of minor movements scattered throughout the dialog.  Individually, all of them read just fine, but taken together I wonder if some could be removed, and trust to the reader to supply natural motions along with the dialog.  You'd want to leave some especially characteristic ones, and those that have a bearing on the dialog or scene, but many of them didn't seem to do so.  Here, while talking, Brother Pate:
Quote
frowned, set the letter down, raised an eyebrow and laughed, placed the letter under a stack of other documents and stood, narrowed his eyes, walked around the desk and crossed his legs while he leaned on it, held Albione's gaze and shook his head, frowned and leaned back against the desk again, stepped to Albione's side and crossed his arms, walked back to his desk and selected a quill pen, smiled at Albione, scrunched his face and squinted at Albione, and sat in his chair and cleared his throat.
  He also:
Quote
turned his face to stone and held up the letter, leaned closer to Albione, pointed the pen at Albione, and wrote on the blank paper he had placed in front of him.
  To me, the last set conveys more about the scene and story than the first set does.

Things I think could be good foreshadowing: Albione forced to decide to heal a night elf for some reason, Albione forced to break his vow of seclusion for some reason, and bad things happening during Albione's seclusion period (since he interpreted Rook-Sha as saying it will go well, when she said it will be more successful than he thinks).

The middle section, with Brother Pate talking to Ernan.  I wondered how much of it was truly necessary.  It's kind of nice to see that they've got their own plans for Albione, but it might introduce more tension otherwise.  I guess it's hard to saw without reading the rest of the story.

The last bit of the middle section confused me.  It seems as if they thought his nobility was a bad thing, or a cause to make him defect, when it seems like it was a family tradition to be in the temple.

In the last section, summaries usually arrive rather that come, unless they can move on their own.  Also, how seriously did Albione want stories and songs of his exploits?  If he was serious, he should probably be less dismayed than he is.  If he daydreamed about it, however, I would expect a different word than wanted.  Or a softening, like he thought he wanted.

Is Albione used to fancy settings and fragrances?  If not, they would probably emphasize the unusualness of where he is, rather than make him relax.  Unless there's a little added something to the incense.

Charom taking him through Rook-Sha's quarters:  Are the couches important?  If not, they seem an odd detail to note.  Also, Charom pauses in front of an open hallway to announce that Rook-Sha usually receives visitors here, which to me means the open hallway, which would be odd.

You describe specifics of what is on the table before saying it all blurred together for Albione.  If that is the case, you might emphasize one aspect of it, like the colors, while leaving out the forms and identifications.  Otherwise, it makes it seem like he was suddenly overcome by something.

Two servants enter to serve food, but only one does anything before they leave.

Why does the table appear larger?  Is it actually larger than it first appeared?  Or is he feeling the effects of some sort of soporific that is making his senses wacky?

Finally, I'm left wondering if everything the Mouth of Alazon says is actually true, or if that's Albione's cultural thoughts.  It could be both, of course, which would be even more fun.  By this point I really look forward to things going wrong during his seclusion.
Caleb

hubay

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Re: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 05:14:50 PM »
I don't have a ton to add to the critique above me.

Mainly, I'm a little concerned by how narrow your focus in setting has been so far. We don't see Albione talk with anyone – or even have him hear people talking – besides people directly related to his current problem. So far it's as if your entire world is the wall and the temple grounds of your city – and to be honest, at this point I don't really remember the name of the city. The mention of his father's estates is the first glimpse we have at a world outside of the city. It sounds like they're somewhat engaged in a battle with the night elves, even if they're temporarily at a ceasefire of sorts. Shouldn't they be concerned with help from other temples, or cities. You don't have to drown us in worldbuilding, of course, and you've done a good job of avoiding long exposition. But right now both your world and the life of your character seem very small. I would like to see it bigger.

Asmodemon

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Re: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 07:37:13 PM »
Like Hubay I don’t have much to add to what cjhuitt already said, which captures my points perfectly.

Some small points I do want to address. Justicars. Albione’s fear of them doesn’t resonate with me. We’ve heard nothing of these Justicars before this chapter, so when Albione reaches his conclusion the masked man in the temple must be a Justicar – and that he’s therefore in trouble – it comes completely out of nowhere. You might want to hint about the Justicars before this chapter. What were they doing when the night elves invaded for instance.

This also leads me to Ferris’s letter. For one I don’t follow the conclusion that hooded man = Justicar. So, why would Ferris, who is not part of the temples and would or should not at once associate hoods with Justicars, start his letter assuaging Albione’s fears of Justicars? It seems prophetic now, but if Albione hadn’t reached his (farfetched?) conclusion the start of the letter would just sound silly – that doesn’t seem like Ferris to me.

And a final point. Everyone in the temple refers to how special and important Albione is behind his back, while pretty much either ignoring or denigrating him to his face. The high priestess is the only one who is actually supportive. I’ve seen him do nothing that makes me think that he’s actually all that special – part is because I haven’t seen his peers, the people against whom his importance is measured and judged. Another consideration is that the protagonist being secretly important and his betters actually want to prepare him for some monumental task down the line is pretty much a cliché and that’s sort of what Albione feels like to me. 

akoebel

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Re: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 07:43:54 PM »
Overall, I really liked this chapter. It read really well and fast; I reached the end without even noticing (shoot, no more pages?).

Now, I feel a little unhappy about a couple of things :

* Albione's mind always seems empty. On numerous occasions, you describe his mind as numb, empty, blurry. It's very hard for me to sympathize with someone who has that little emotion inside him. He can have emotions and not show them, but here, I feel the character is really just an empty shell, a mindless automaton. The only emotions I get from him are fear to be discovered or expelled. I really hope he gets more in the coming chapter. This wasn't such a problem in the action scenes, but now...

* I was really looking forward to the interview with Rook-Sha, but I only got a small diner scene with very few dialog. The bits about her knowing what was inside his mind were certainly interesting, but really, what was the point in her inviting him to have diner? I expected her to go at length about his actions (both in the temple and on the walls), or to tell him that she was interested in his future, but I only got cheap mentalist tricks from her. A little disappointing. Really, your main character gets to see the high priestess and all they do is eat?

Now, some small things:

* She uses a large fork. Unless this is an unusual item to eat this type of food, Albione shouldn't even think of the fork as large. I'd drop the fork reference altogether if it's the case.
* "When he reached for his own food, the table appeared larger and the distance slowed his heart rate down a bit" : that sentence confused me. It looks like the table is actually growing?
* "A middle-aged man with a receding hair line stepped into the room." : Ernan should know Pate really well. He should recognize him on sight.


Will777r

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Re: June 27th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 5
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 05:05:58 AM »
Hi all :)

Sorry I haven't replied until now. I've been out of town celebrating my 15 year anniversary with my bride :)

I really appreciate all the time you 4 took to read this and give me feedback. Sometimes you bring up things that I was already concerned about, but wasn't sure worked. Other times you throw stuff at me I'd never thought of. I'm grateful for it all. I've always been a little concered about Albione's "loner" mentality and all of you seemed to share concerns about that as well. While Albione's friends/associates come into play very soon, bringing them in earlier in the story is something I'm going to seriously consider when I come back here for my next round of edits.

To address the one thing Hubay mentioned about the battle with the Night Elves. That is ended. It was a series of raids designed solely to distract the city of Elueria from their main objective: Kidnapping the High Priestess. It was not a large enough force to constitute a war and now that the night elves failed to get her out, the plans are scrapped. Rysok takes one on the noggin in God-land and Alazon gets bragging rights at the next party :)

Thanks again guys!

Will777r