Outcast - looking for some critique

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Princeroth, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    I've been working on this book concept for about 7 years now. It began with a short story in 2005 in a creative writing class and developed from there. In 2010-11 I wrote a 80k word novel (my first novel) which had a good response but was ultimately not good enough for publishing. This year (2012) I am completing my masters in creative writing and I am trying to use what I've learned to completely re-craft the story and the world from the ground up. This thread is my ongoing work on this book concept.

    Enjoy :)

    Malediction

    First book of a trilogy

    Tension between the Kaizer and the Orders, the representatives of the gods, has reached crisis point. Kaizer Frederik III has put forth an ultimatum, return all lands and wealth to its rightful owner, the Deutz Empire, or face the consequences…

    The Order of Alleman, and Godhart, awaits the arrival of a small child. Bound by an ancient oath, the child is to be escorted to Sanctuary, a place for her kind in the frozen north, but with the Deutz Empire on the brink of rebellion the Kaizer has no interest in the ancient oaths and duties of the Orders.

    When power rests in the hands of a few a single word can bring great good or terrible destruction, a curse of power, a malediction.

     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  2. Wojciehowicz

    Wojciehowicz Bewildered Visitor

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    There's a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson 70s flick in this somehow. I think what you need is more about the world that this is taking place in, and why this girl is so important.
     
  3. zachariah

    zachariah Speaks fluent Bawehrf

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    I think the story could be very interesting, but that blurb is not selling it for me in the slightest. Look at the important words you're using: Old, weary, peace, rest, final resting place...The imagery conjured up is of an old folk's home and a very uneventful book.

    Not saying you have to go all "ZAP POW SEXY!" but I'm pretty sure you'd only find a very niche audience with that description.


    Phew - Bet you noticed that! I'm doing that for my blurb.
     
  4. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    This reads like a synopsis rather than an attempt at selling to me. Mind if I give it a wing?

    Even still, I agree that we need to know more about what hangs in the balance (I could only guess and infer here). In any case, my intent is to show the difference between saying it and selling it.

    Kerry
     
  5. Zalz

    Zalz Registered User

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    You would sell me right on the premise of some 80+ main character.

    If I would get a dollar for every healthy 20-30 year old straight male/female main character...


    So I disagree. Don't sell a book on something that it isn't. If the main character is very old, be honest about that. If you try to reel in people with a different hook you are only going to see them put the book down when your promise proves hollow.

    I wouldn't be put off in the least. I think an old main character provides a unique approach and already opens a lot of interesting questions. How would an old man manage such a physically demanding journey?

    It already seems like a much grander adventure because the journey is much harder on the main char.
     
  6. zachariah

    zachariah Speaks fluent Bawehrf

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    I'd be glad to read a story with an 'old' MC (I loved Cohen the Barbarian). And I'm sure this is an eventful, action-packed story just like it should be. But the wording lulled me to sleep with its vocabulary of repose.

    Kerry - 'drug'? Uuuurgh not even acceptable as an Americanism (unless you're going for dialect dialogue). Dragged!
     
  7. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    Very acceptable as dialogue, which was the slant, however I bet my editor would've brought up the same point (grin).

    Who'd a thunk?

    Kerry
     
  8. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    Thanks for the feedback. Let me try again. :)

    Outcast

    The Deutz Empire is beset on all sides. From the north barbarians rally to war, along the western sea the alien Lunaii raid the coast for slaves, in the south the enigmatic Soldii isolate themselves, and in the eastern mountains ancient creatures lay dormant. The capital Altstadt is on the brink of civil war as the treasury dwindles. Suspecting treason from the wealthy cults the Emperor orders a purge and sacking. Amidst the turmoil Godhart Leland, a templar of Alleman, is called to the patriarch and is presented with a girl who is labeled an abomination by the Soldii. Tasked with her safekeeping and with the title of successor to the cult of Alleman, Godhart is sent north with the most accomplished templars and the last relics of the cult.
     
  9. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    Still too much scope for me and not enough taste of the personal drama or story. Reads like a synopsis. In your shoes I would center on your main character and not the world setting. I want the central conflict he must face as a person. If you can't find any character growth or challenge, if this story has about as much progression as a Warcraft quest line, then you might have deeper issues.

    For me, stories like this revolve around characters, not circumstances. Also, you need to jazz this up. Portray the drama in your synopsis. Use phrases meant to catch and excite.

    Kerry
     
  10. Aether Monkey

    Aether Monkey hack-wit

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    On narrative captivation:

    Captitvation, as defined by transport theory (J. Gerrig, I think), suggests that the initial grab of a reader happens in three, sequential steps:
    1. Attention
    2. Emotion
    3. Construction

    To summarize: Slap them in the face (get their attention), stab them in the heart (make them feel an emotion), then whack them in the head (make them imagine imagery).

    It's not a perfect rule, but it can be helpful in thinking about how to write a catchy blurb.
     
  11. tennesseemcvay

    tennesseemcvay Fictional Mountain Man

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    Your second one grabbed me more than the first. I thought the first half was really good with the whole four points of the compass thing but one you got to the character part it sort of lost me. If you follow the whole slap em in the face idea then I'd say something like Godfrey is dying or wants to die or whatever, then a poor girl is this and that and she'll probably die, then there is conflict in every direction so everyone will probably die. People like impending doom. Also start out with "In a world..." all the best stuff starts that way.
     
  12. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    New stuff.

    Outcast​

    Book 1 of The Exiled Triumvirate​


    Three children born,
    To a world that does not want them,
    Three relics torn,
    From the gods that cannot find them,
    Three sages sworn,
    To guide and in the chaos bind them.

    When the Kingdom of Euraxis threatened to enslave the world, the old gods gifted three relics to tribes of Erd to restore the balance of power. Bound by oath the tribes promised to return the relics after they had destroyed the armies of Euraxis, but corrupted by power and greed the tribes of Erd broke their oath and turned on each other. In the chaos of war the relics were lost and a fragile peace ensued… until now.

    Five millennia later the Kingdom of Euraxis has risen again. The people of Erd have forgotten the old gods and worship a new magic called science. The relics, all but forgotten, lay dormant waiting to be found and by chance, make their way into the hands of three young children. With the world of Erd on the brink of war, the children begin their own journeys to fulfill the oath of their ancestors.
     
  13. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    Still not effective for me as an attention grabber. Again, I would concentrate on a character, not a story setting. Here, you immediately go for telling over showing, and most folks don't want to be sat on a stool and get narrated to. They want to experience it.

    Kerry
     
  14. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    *shakes fist*

    I'll be back.


    Could you give me an example of a fantasy blurb you find very effective?
     
  15. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    Already did earlier, bad English and all. :) Keep in mind this is but one writer's opinion.

    Kerry
     
  16. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    Oh hey, been doing thinking, researching blurbs, and writing. I don't think I'll ever get the hang of writing blurbs, but I know practice is the first step to something useful and readable.

    Here is another attempt.

    Feedack is as always, hugely appreciated.


    Outcast
    Book 1 of the Exiled Triumvirate

    Forsaken, alone, and unwanted by her people; Lynian is abominati, a taboo union of two species. Taken from the floating cities of the Soldii she is sent to the monastic Order of Allemann and put in the care of Godhart Leland, a templar tasked with escorting her north to a sanctuary.

    Abandoned, belittled, and punished for learning; Hensel dreams of becoming a scribe, but after a series of unfortunate events he finds himself far from home in a foreign land. Discovered by Malik, a sahr of the Eranshar kingdom, he is offered a chance to fulfill his thirst for knowledge.

    Rejected, misunderstood, and burdened with expectations; Felix is the heir to a powerful family. Between his oppressive father, a plot to remove him from the line of succession, and Ravus, the assassin hired to protect him, he struggles against a life with little choice.

    This is the tale of the triumvirate, the three who would return balance to the world of Erd.
     
  17. N. E. White

    N. E. White tmso Staff Member

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    Hey Princeroth,

    I like this better that your first few attempts, but two things:

    What are the stakes? Will they die if they don't restore balance? Will everyone die if they don't restore balance?

    Also, I see what you are trying to do with the "Forsaken, alone, and unwanted...", "Abandoned, belittled, and punished...", "Rejected, misunderstood, and burdened..."; but it was too much for me. It weighed down the whole thing and it actually got me depressed. Maybe a bit too much.

    Otherwise, well done! :)
     
  18. pennywise86

    pennywise86 Nothingman ... Nothingman

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    Definitely MUCH better than the first one. When I read the first one as soon as I read the words "bind them" I though "huh, sounds like LOTRS", by the time I finished reading I couldn't helpt but feel it was an exact replication of LOTRS. This new one evokes nothing like that and feels more original. The blurb reminds me of Abercrombies "The Blade Itself", which isn't a bad thing. Only reason I point it out is in case you want to check out his blurb for inspiration or whatever.

    I'm curious though as to why you're writing a blurb instead of a query.
     
  19. Cirias

    Cirias Wirt's Fourth Leg

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    I believe a good blurb focuses on selling the character of the story to whoever's reading it and getting the reader emotionally invested straight away. If we're made to feel an emotion when reading a blurb, whether it's sympathy, anger, sadness or happiness, we're more likely to want to read on.
     
  20. Princeroth

    Princeroth Registered User

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    Ah, that's a good point. I read it again and there really isn't any mention of what would happen if they failed.

    I'll try to tighten it up a bit in the next iteration.

    I looked up Abercrombie's "The blade itself" and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve with my blurb. Thanks :)

    As for why I am writing blurbs, it's the only thing I can't do :p I have a lot of trouble with giving people a sense of my work in a few short words. This is practice both for selling my work and informing friends/contacts about what I am doing.

    This is a good point. The big issue is doing it with very few words ;)

    I'm emotionally devoid (probably not the best trait of a writer) so I need to fake it and hope it works.