Author Topic: Aug 15th - Guenhywvar - untitled story, most of chapter 1  (Read 750 times)

Guenhywvar

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Aug 15th - Guenhywvar - untitled story, most of chapter 1
« on: August 15, 2011, 11:38:55 AM »
Very simply this is starting a story where Damaris and Kaethe (the two main characters) become life companions. They live in a very violent world, where the church has absolute dominance, with an active, and quite successful, inquisition. This chapter is about them meeting each other, and Damaris becoming Kaethe's Bulwark.
-Forgot to mention it was a female dominated society...

Asmodemon

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Re: Aug 15th - Guenhywvar - untitled story, most of chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2011, 08:24:11 PM »
Well, I’m sorry to say that for most of the chapter I was pretty confused, which tainted my reading experience a lot. I think your setting, such that I read of it, can be an interesting one and so could your main characters. But, with both their perspectives in the first chapter I didn’t really get to know and sympathize with either one before the other got a shot at point of view. The first sentence also worked for me by grabbing the reader’s attention as one of the main character gets a good dressing down.

The next paragraph is where the problems begin. I had to read it a couple of times before I got what you were saying. In the second sentence of the paragraph you’re describing the room by saying  a room is a space enclosed by walls, which should be obvious since it’s a room and that’s generally what the word means. Also it’s not ‘the walls of the room was’ but ‘the walls of the room were’, since the verb works on walls, which is plural. Third sentence you shift tenses from past to present. The fourth sentence feels very slow since ‘the figure’ started to curse and start the process of getting up.

For most of the first page I’m missing a perspective to follow. At first I thought you were doing a third person omniscient viewpoint, but that’s not the case. Here is the root of much of my confusion, your writing is very vague.

Take this sentence for instance: “Urgh, what’s the time?” the newly awoken female asked.

The newly awoken female is the POV character in this scene. The POV character would not think of herself as the ‘newly awoken female’. We don’t even get to know her name until another character finally speaks it.

Then there’s the sentence: “Responding to this name, the woman called Aliya flicked one of her hands towards the other woman’s head...”, you can easily to without the ‘responding to this name’ and start the sentence with ‘Aliya flicked one of her hands...’, since we get that the unknown POV character is talking to Aliya. Also, ‘the other woman’s head’ is again the POV character. When you’re in someone’s perspective everyone else is an ‘other’, not yourself, yet you do that here. It made me confused about who’s who and whose perspective we’re actually in.
When we actually get to learn the POV character’s name you do a “Maid-and-Butler”. Both characters already know what they’re talking about, but the reader doesn’t. This is a common way to hide an info-dump in a conversation, but it’s a clunky one and should be avoided. As is the last part of the Damaris’s first scene.

You have a thing where you don’t use a name to attribute characters until one of the other characters in the scene says the name of that character, you did it with ‘the figure’ until Aliya called her Damaris, you did this with ‘the woman’ until Damaris called her Aliya, and then with ‘a voice’ until Damaris called the voice mother. It’s okay to say ‘her mother bellowed’. You are being unnecessarily vague.

I found the setting interesting, everyone living underground. Limited space, so it makes sense that some get the worse of housing arrangements. But then Damaris climbs to the surface where she goes to the temple, also on the surface? Why don’t the men live on the surface then? There’s plenty of room there.

When you get to Kaethe’s part you are quicker to mention her name, but it’s still clunky. Especially the sentence: “Her cobalt eyes, searching the sombre chamber, fell upon her priest documents stating that she, Kaethe, had to abide by temple laws.” Better to say that Kaethe entered the room instead of saying a young woman entered the room and then by some roundabout way say that her name is Kaethe and that she’s now the POV character.

Bethea talks odd, first it’s ‘Lady’, the it’s ‘child’, then ‘miss’. It’s not consistent. When she first calls for Kaethe to wake up I thought she was a child or at least a young maid from the way she spoke.

More maid-and-butler talk, ‘you know I don’t trust people near me in the mornings’. But it’s only in the mornings though, since later on she walks through a throng of people without a thought for assassins.

‘Egad’, really? Fragrant language, really?!

I found Kaethe’s and Damaris’s interaction odd, the way Damaris is so cold and monotonous is a stark contrast to her earlier POV. I don’t think we know enough of the setting to explain away such behaviour. Isn’t being a Bulwark an honourable position? And Kaethe’s the only priest POV we’ve seen and she’s nice enough.

Also in Kaethe’s perspective we get to see Bethea again. Here’s your vagueness coming up again; Kaethe knows Bethea, she’d think of her as such instead of ‘young woman in servant’s garb’.

The conversation between Kamili and Kaethe reads a bit stilted to me. As is that between Damaris and the other Bulwark. It’s all background information. That’s most of the conversations I’ve read in this chapter actually come to think of it.

I want to understand your setting more, though by being shown instead of told. Everyone lives underground except the temple. That’s what I got from the first part. So where does the meat and the fruit all come from. Do I misunderstand, do they live above ground too, but then why does the majority live underground?

Guenhywvar

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Re: Aug 15th - Guenhywvar - untitled story, most of chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2011, 11:07:01 PM »
Right, I understand what you are saying, I have always had the problem with being too vague, even now in school my teachers still tell me off for it...
I didn't realise about the 'was' instead of 'were', nut now that I read it over in my head I see you are completely right...
I see about the tenses changing, which I shall change to past, I didn't realise I had even changed tenses.
Unfortunately I understand that my writing is very inconsistent.
I have a very big problem with names,  they are what slow down my writing the most, which is why they are often not referred to,  in the first draft, Damaris was un-named for the first scene.
'These rooms are carved out of the rocks underneath the city to make space for the important buildings on the surface.' -Those mainly being the temple, brothels, as well as work houses, and farms.
Alright, so name characters quicker.
She is relatively young, and Bethea is quite old. Looking over it now, I didn't make that clear at all,  Lady is the correct way to address her as Kaethe is a noble (almost all priests are).
I hadn't considered that, the paranoia is almost just a morning thing, I will have to change that.
I changed it from 'let out a string of profanities' and was aware I had to use something else, as the only two times there has been cursing the same phrase had been used, so that was a last minute insertion without thinking.
Most priests aren't particularly nice, which is why Damaris is wary. Which is why she bottles up. Being a Bulwark is an honourable position, one that falls to third daughters, but she is used to being mistreated by priests.
I know about the conversation being stilted, that is a problem I also have.
Most of the background information was going to be shown in chapter 2, which is why I should have probably sent them together.