View Full Version : Workshop week 1
April 8th, 2002, 12:53 AM
Ok folks. Here we are... week 1.
Here's to things running smoothly. Sucks to be the guinea pig... but Oh well.
Thanks ahead of time for all your commentary.
Areas I especially would like feedback on.
1) Am I pullin off the various accents well?
2) Does Darien seem like a really big city to you?
3) are there enough physical descriptions/details?
[This message has been edited by kassimir funk (edited April 08, 2002).]
April 8th, 2002, 10:16 PM
Alrighty. Read your stuff, here's me "critique" (I'll just break this into a pro's and con's sort of deal).
I like the introduction. Davin's daydream works well there. It helps to show the nautical theme right away, and already gives you the impression that Davin is a bit of a daydreamer.
The quotes, stories, songs, and other such excerpts at the beginning of each chapter work well. Good stuff there.
The scene in which you have Davin speaking with the captain about his future worked really well. I think that scene helped to develop his character more than anything else in particular.
The section where you have the knight and the mage chatting with each other was great. I'm a sucker for sarcasm, and you did it well with those two. In terms of dialogue, I thought that was the strongest part.
The fight in chapter five, where Davin gets kind of sucked into it, knowing he's outmatched, was good. For anyone who has ever been in this kind of situation (cough), it is a scary thing, and you handled it well.
And it's nice to read about a nautical kind of setting, because up until now, I haven't read a great deal of it, which gave your story a freshness in that sense.
Something you need to watch out for is run-on sentences. Some were just missing some necessary punctuation. Others needed to be broken into two seperate ones. This area is subjective, but IMO, two short sentences are usually more effective than one long-winded one. There are always exceptions, but you get my drift . . .
Also, when it comes to your descriptions of the necessary but somewhat mundane (trade routes, a cities signifigance, political standings, etc...), I would make them more concise. A certain amount of this is necessary for the world your writing about to be logical, but too much just slows the book down. So in those areas, I would suggest a bit more tightening up, and, if need be, summarizing.
And, as always, there were some grammatical booboos that needed fixing. But that's to be expected.
Answer to questions in your E-mail:
I thought you handled the physical details well enough. There were times when some more creative phrasings would have been more effective, but for the most part, it worked.
As for the emphasis of the city's size, I think you did it well. I got the impression of enormity. But, if you want to add to that, you might want to add a few analogies about how insignificant Davin would feel from standing in such a large place. Because, as the reader, you relate more to the character than you do through the narrative. Just a thought.
As for accents . . . . I was thinking that you might would want to write Davin without one. It works for the crew, and it adds to the nautical theme, but sometimes it's a bit much. Now, i understand that Davin was born and raised on this ship (well, maybe not born), which would naturally give him an accent, but he is obviously someone special in the grand-scheme of things. So, maybe the line of of his blood would overpower such enviromental influences, giving him a very "normal" speech style, but at the same time seperating him from his crew in more than just appearance, and add a little more mystery to his character. The reason I suggest all of this is because, as a reader, familiar things are the easiest to get attached to. It's like when you go to a foreign country and are struggling with all the accents, and then, when you find someone who speaks your language and speaks it well, you want to be their best friend, if for nothing more than the comfort of familiarity. Again, this is just my opinion on the matter, but there it is . . .
Also, as a side note, I noticed that when you wrote in first person during some of the opening quotes and stories, it read very smoothly, more so than some of the actual parts in the chapter. So I was wondering, have you ever considered writing in first person? Maybe for your next project you might want to try. I bet you could handle it well. Just some food for thought.
April 9th, 2002, 06:57 AM
I just finished reading your story. I think you have a real talent for writing in the first person. I found that I was able to identify readily with Davin. I also liked the way the relationship between Davin and the Captain unfolded. Also your descriptive style seemed appropriate when coming from Davin's perspective.
I found nothing glaringly wrong with your attempts at accents, however they weren't so completely distinctive that it was obvious there were lingual differences. I should point out I only make this observation because you asked. However during my actual read of your piece, I was not distracted at all by your attempts at distinct accents. I just enjoyed the story.
Indeed I did get the impression that Darien was a large city. Perhaps as suggested, by Alucard, that a mention of how Davin felt in comparison with the vast city of Darien would be nice. With or with out, I still did get the impression of a very large city.
As for being more descriptive, well that would depend on you. I sense that you have a natural ability to write in the first person, and as mentioned, when decribing something from Davin's perspective I think your stlye fits excellently, as I do not get the impression that Davin is an overly wordy person. He strikes me as a no non-sense simple youngman who gets straight to the point.
Overall there is almost a poetry in the fundementals of your narrative and your characters.
And this obligatory mention of the grammatical and spelling. Minor stuff of course.
I'm very much intrigued with Sylvs (forgot the spelling)
I'm also curious about these dragons as well.
So bottom line, you can tell a tale that captures the imagination, and you have a talent for telling your story from the first person that enabled me to be able to identify quickly with Davien,and as result care about your story.
April 9th, 2002, 04:20 PM
Thanks for the Feedback fellahs.
I agree wholeheartedly that Davin's accent should be minimal to non-existent. If somebody's gonna talk normally it should be the main character.
I've written a few things in first person before, all short stories though and all non-fantasy. First person is a lot of fun though. For now I get my kicks with it in the opening segments.
I almost forgot to mention this... there are a few(very few) times in the narrative where I slip into an almost first person, or maybe third(omnipotent), and address the reader directly...did any of you catch that?
I've been trying to "bend" the rules a bit as far as POV goes, without making it glaring.
Did you like the Seefu song? It was supposed to be simple yet delightfuly tacky http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif Something you could picture a bunch of drunken sailors singing.
Also, I have only completed eight chapters. Is there ANY way I could con one of y'all into giving the other three a read? You don't have to critique it... just tell me one thing. Is the story getting good?
[This message has been edited by kassimir funk (edited April 09, 2002).]
April 9th, 2002, 05:48 PM
Sure I would be interested. I'm curious where your tale is headed.
So send it.
April 9th, 2002, 08:02 PM
Yea. I dug the tacky song. And I didn't notice the point of view change, but now that you've metion it, I can see it. So I would not consider it glaring.
I'll read your next three as well...if I can get you to read my little comic thingy (what a deal).
April 12th, 2002, 02:11 AM
I'm only three chapters in so far, (it's been a hectic week) but since we were decidedly focusing on the first three chapters, I have decided to slap my first post down.
Id like to first note, that I do intend to read the last two chapters, and also... (I have to put this out front)... this is not the kind of story I would typicly read, or enjoy... I have only recently been introduced to hard fantasy... but I admit it is growing on me.
The thing I suppose that is the hardest for me to get used to, is that fantasy authors are creating their own complete worlds. To where even the quotes and excerpts are from your own mind, pertaining to a facet of the world you created. When reading books, I rely on my own knowledge of things to some degree, to create the imagery in my head. But whith something like this, I am completely dependant on you to explain life as it is... I feel like I have to learn everything I've ever understood all over again.
Sorry... you may find this strange... and I'm not saying I don't enjoy it because of that reason... but anyway... on to your story...
First off, I like it!
I find you to be a writer with alot of rhythm, that is important to me. It makes the story easy to read, and makes up for other dislikes that may be present.
I agree whole heartedly with prior comments... in fact I think you stick so close to Davin in the narrative, that it almost seems to be in first person at times.
I did also feel bogged down with discriptions... once the third chapter hit, you began to go into rather lengthy detail about scenery... I can see where it is needed, but it breaks up the flow...
I did notice a few grammar errors, and spelling errors... however, I don't feel justified in pointing any of these out after getting a reality check with my own poor grammer and spelling skills...
I will however, point out some things I caught... that I felt either didn't fit, or didn't match up.
First. The spyglass scene... (suddenly Im critiquing a movie) after Tobber translates "thank you" Davin hands it back to Durg... but then in a few minutes he decides to use it again, and suddenly it's back in his hands without him retrieving it from Durg... perhaps this is a petty complaint... but it was enough to make me go back and re-read the part, which is always unwelcome in a story.
Secondly, and lastly actualy. When the captain questions Davin about the future, he acts as though he never gave it a moments thought... yet the story opens up with him daydreaming about owning his own ship... to me this implied some level of ambition... a goal, a dream... but he makes no mention of that in his response to the captain... <shrugs> it just caught my attention and made me wonder...
I suppose thats it for now... after I read the rest I may come back and add to my critique.
April 12th, 2002, 03:11 AM
Thanks for the crit. Especially considering that this genre isn't what you normaly enjoy.
The scene with Durg. Wow! I had never noticed that... way to keep your eye on the ball. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif You should win some sort of prize for that bit of critiquing. I will be mailing you a gallon of thousand island :0
As far as the dream part goes. The only clear intent I had in mind was to portray a very simple subconscious. Typical dream you know, women and cars/ships. But now that you point that out..... well now I have to sit here and think about it. Should I add a little more ambition? Hmmmmmmmmmmm... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
(and the revisions continue...)
Kassimir Funk the silky haired, three toed, malaysian goat sloth
April 13th, 2002, 02:03 AM
Also had a hectic week, but now I'll start my critique. I'm not sure how valid it will be, but I'm writing all this as a reader, not as a full blown fellow writer.
I thought it is a good start with that introducion, and the dream, and you are a good first person writer. But the things that come through most are:
Probably because I'm just that kind of a writer, I don't see much action. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing, seeing that I only read so far(the third chapter) but saying that, you have done well to keep my attentionon the story.
I am partial of gripping endings to the chapters. Gripping as in the story should keep you guessing. You do it to an extent, but I don't think that "wow. It's midnight, and I have a job interview in the morning, but... I want to read the next chapter."
Now I like the perspective of the story. Being in first person, I start to like Davin(specially when he knocked that vendor out) and so, I didn't have to switch to other characters too long. And they were short, but informative. Putting a twist in the story. That's good.
I'm thinking, how does he captain keep order on his ship, when he isn't very strict, but I suppose that's down to liking him. Is he the only officer on the ship? That means, that he has to appoint occasional people in charge, to get the crew to do their tasks properly.
From the first three chpters, You see the world from a careless boy's view, with no plans for the future. Occasional dark bursts come through, something more complicated.
I like the pace you are going at. Putting in trivial things, to complete the picture, that's good. It starts off slow, but by the end of the third chapter, you can see that it's all coming together, and starts to speed up a bit.
The accents. I can see them clearly. The sailors' accents are nice and crude, with absolutely no gramatical correctness. That's brilliant. But I have to ask you this. Are all the sailors on the stag from the same country?
Speaking of countries. Do you have a map? Of the world I mean. I always flick to the map in the front whenever a place is mentioned in the book. So I can refer to it and see where people are, and going.
To tell you the truth,Darien does not seem like a massive city. Now, when I say that, the port seems huge, and the city, when Davin waks through it seems large enough, but I guess I just wasn't put into the state of mind that there is more outside the parts the Davin walked through. Now that could be just my sense of screwed up measure. Now that I read through it again, I suppose that the king's avenue seems to put the reader in mind of a metropolis. But then. I suppose, the whole city could just be the span of that single ovenue, with its tributaries.
I believe I also have to add my admiration for your choice of names. I have read many a story, that confused the hell out of me, by having similar names, and unreadable ones, and I had to read again and again just to find out who the hell is the author on about. That's good.
Right. It's a good story, and I'll read all of it when I'll have some time, but I have a busy schedule.
I hoe all this helps, anddif not, then please throw some unhelpful comments, and criticisms my way, when it's my turn http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Gabador, amateur writer deluxe, with no clue about the big picture http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
April 14th, 2002, 03:15 AM
Well, I agree with some of the things that have been said, and disagree with other things. I don't have things listed into pro's and cons per se, but I'm sure you'll pull them out.
I liked your initial description of the city of Hurley Bay. I really got a feel for what the city was like. I felt like I was seeing it rather than reading about it. There were a few other times I felt like I was seeing the story rather than reading about it. Unfortunately, those episodes are few and far between. But, when it was done, it was done in an interesting way.
The story didn't capture me. Right from the beginning I was asking myself 'Why do I want to keep reading?' Other than the fact that I am in this group, and wanting to offer critiques, I probably wouldn't have gotten past the first ten pages.
Which is unfortunate, because around chapter three or so I started to get into the story. It became interesting to me then. I wanted to keep reading at that point. But, you have to hook readers with the few pages/first chapter or all the beautiful prose in the world that comes AFTER that point won't save it.
Also, I am still confused on where this story is taking me. If you had to summarize the whole story into one sentence, what would it be? What is your premise? So far, all the story is to me is a following of Davin's journies which are not as exciting as I think you could make them. I think your writing style could make the passages that seem like just 'filler' a lot more dynamic and essential to the plot.
Other issues: grammar, spelling, use of too many adverbs [show us he is 'wandering idly' don't tell us]. A lot more detail can come acros from good character descriptions by other chracters and in their own speeches than an author can make in their third person narrative. Let the characters introduce themselves.
There are also some logical issues of some of the facts of the story which could be easily worked out by re-reading the manuscript.
I think this could have been strengthened a lot by giving it a read through before submitting it. The spelling errors and fact mistakes make me think you wrote this story and sent it without giving it a re-read. It is important to re-read everything you write--even reading it aloud--before you let anyone else read it.
I thought the accents worked pretty well, but I agree Davin should be written without one.
The most important part about being a writer is perserverance. Write, write and write. Don't let people like me get you down. I think you should keep writing. Otherwise you won't get any better, and we can all stand to get better.
Sorry if this sounds mean or rude, because it isn't meant to be. I've just found that flowery praise doesnt help anyone. And I have not given just cons, you have positive elements to your writing, which I hope I addressed.
I, for one, would love to see a second draft of this story.
[This message has been edited by Lawson (edited April 14, 2002).]
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