Author Topic: July 11th - Akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 7  (Read 1508 times)

akoebel

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July 11th - Akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 7
« on: July 11, 2011, 06:40:17 AM »
Hi everyone,

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

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to
prevent Lorn and his men from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a
librarian, discovers the book while doing inventory and finds an old friend in
the process. Lorn discovers that the book is still hidden in a library he can't
enter. Onmk tries to help Ciera perform her library's inventory.

Chapter 7 : Lorn finds a way into the library.

Note : I changed one of the side character's name (Morn to Darl) because the name clashed a little with Lorn.

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

cjhuitt

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Re: July 11th - Akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 7
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 03:44:12 AM »
I'll start off by saying I thought this chapter was easier to follow than the last (one of the drawbacks of jumping into the middle).

Right off the bat I got various details that intrigued me.  The first was a watchmaker/repairman being one of the main characters, partially because it places the time period a little later than I had previously assumed.  The next was that the Mother's body talked to Lorn.  I'm sure this event was covered previously, but it made me take closer notice.

Dialects in text can be hard.  For me, Darl's was a struggle to read with all the dropped 'G's in his sentences.  This mostly struck me at the beginning of the chapter.   I think you did less of it later on.  On the other hand, I thought Fit's occasional use of "me" instead of "I" was well done.  (I think it was Fit speaking those times.)

Speaking of those two, there were a number of places where I got confused as to which of them was speaking.  This was usually because you would have one speak, describe the motions of both or just the other, then have the first speak.  Alternately, I think once you described the motions of the first, then had the second speak.  In each case, both dialogue texts would be in the same paragraph.

Along similar lines, there were a few places I thought text could be rearranged or cut for better effect.  Almost all of these came as actions interspersed with the dialog, to the point that, for me, the dialog was slowed down too much and didn't flow well.  If you would cut what you can and group the actions and thoughts together more where you can, I think it would be improved.  (One example is near the beginning, where Lorn thinks the two are loyal, but not thinkers, says what the Mother must have done, then thinks again about the two of them not surviving long without him.  If instead the parts about the two others were together, then the revelation, it would make more sense to me.)

Fit saying "we can't go through the gate", phrased like that, made me think he was just repeating the obvious.  Perhaps that's what you want, but I would guess you might want something more like "we can't even get through the gate".

Also in that section, Fit and Darl look down often.

How do they know they'll need a written map before they know how much detail there is to the sewers?

I liked the paragraph with watch details, but I personally thought there were a couple unnecessary details; for example, what happened to cause the watch to rust.  To me, it's enough that it has rusted on the inside, but nobody will care how much gets changed as long as it looks the same.

At the end of that section, Lorn's introspection seemed a little off to me.  I've started using the character responses I learned about from Jim Butcher's blog at http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/2880.html and I think it has helped me do better with them.

Darl and Fit return to a common room, which immediately makes me think of an inn, although I doubt they would be plotting (or Lorn repairing watches) in an inn.  I could be wrong.

I wondered how common iron grates over sewer outlets were historically, and if a city would install them as mentioned.  After all, if everything is falling a couple yards/meters/spans before hitting the sewer pipe anyway, why worry about fishes?  Also, the word "conduit" is very modern, to me, which didn't help immediately after thinking about grates.  Later on, I also wonder why there would be two grates on the end of the pipe.

Dialog tags.  It was most obvious with Darl, who (besides said) mocked, answered (x2), laughed (x2), and replied (x6).  I know the others did a lot of this as well.

Finally, Lorn climbs into the library and cuts his hands all up -- with sewer slime on them.  To me, this seems like an instant recipe for infections and illness.  I hope something goes wrong because of it.

Caleb

Will777r

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Re: July 11th - Akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 7
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 05:59:46 AM »
Good chapter! I read the first five chapters to get caught up, so I've got a better grip of the story now.

I definitely like Lorn as a character. He's painted as the bad guy up to this point, but he's incredibly sympathetic. He's not just a bad guy. He's a guy doing some "wrong" things because he wants to save his brother's life. Plus, he's a man, and especially after reading Listeria's chapter, that makes him sympathetic because of the way men are treated in this world. He may not end up being the bad guy after all. But, he strikes me as a very deep character which draws me in.

I loved the opening scene where he's working on the watch. It was perfect in my opinion to have him comment on the inside of the watch and how no one cares about that. Pardon the illustration, but I have 4 kids. It reminded me of the scene in Shrek where he's trying to explain to Donkey why he wants everyone shut out of his life. No one cares about what he's really like. He's just judged because he's an ogre. The same goes for Lorn sorta. He's an intelligent man living in a world where all men are second class citizens. No one takes the time to see what he's really like and worth as a person because of what he is on the outside.

The writing definitely needs to be tightened up. I didn't get lost like CJ mentioned, but there were definitely times where Fit and Darl ran together a bit in their dialogue. Some word repetition and run-on sentences distracted me at times, but that stuff is easy to fix if the story is solid.

I did wonder how Tof and Chin were able to pull off the stopping of the dam. They are portrayed as so incompetent, I'm was surprised such a big task went off without any hitches. Just something to think about.

I liked the ending. It was a cool moment to see a man in the library. I suspect he and Ciera will be meeting up soon, for good or bad.

Will777r

akoebel

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Re: July 11th - Akoebel - The Fifth Compendium Chapter 7
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 08:46:31 PM »
Thank you all for your critiques.
I was a little anxious to see if Lorn's character would be well accepted here (one of my alpha basically hates the guy and put the book down every time she came to one of his POV, while another alpha said that he was the best character). I'm glad to see that you like him. I was aiming at someone whom you might not approve of, but you would understand why would someone do these sort of things.

@cjhuitt : The technological level for that book is early 20th century. You can find automobiles, but they're still rare.

The 3 people dialog was difficult to convey. It plays well in my head, but I guess it didn't translate that well to paper. Only Darl should have a particular dialect. If Fit is saying "me" instead of "I", I need to switch those sentences and give them to Darl.

Fit saying "we can't go through the gate" was meant to show how disbelieving he was. He can't get used to the idea.

The "common room" is a common trait among the less wealthy people in this city. As space is quite costly, people only rent a sleeping room and share common rooms (dining and kitchen mostly) with other tenants. In Lorn's case, he managed to gather his 4 "henchmen" in the same building. The common room might seem like a public place, but it's restricted to this particular group so they can plot on without fear.

I should have mentioned that the grate is useful for keeping other things than fish from cluttering the sewer's entrance (aquatic plants and garbage mostly). The two grates are from distinct tunnels which are connected farther up.

Thanks for the Jim Butcher link!

@will777r : Lorn's use of Chin and Tof is one of the major holes I have to patch up. Yes, their job was easy and Lorn doesn't have much of a choice, but that's not enough, considering their risk of being spotted. I have to find some way around that.