View Full Version : Writing Workshop: Week 2
April 17th, 2002, 11:01 PM
Alrighty. Looks like it's my turn (Tugs on collar).
The piece that I will be submitting if from my first book, titled "The Baron Winters Project". I'm not sure if I should classify it as fantasy or sci-fi, because it has a bit of both. Oh well. I guess you can decide.
Because my chapters are quite short (usually around 2,000 words or so, excluding the last), I'm going to be sending a quick prologue, and five chapters. Now, I don't expect everyone to read them all, and, if you aren't interested in reading past the initial three, then that in itself will be a form of critque and will let me to know that I need to make it more interesting. Also, as I'm sure you'll notice, there is a gap in the chapters. I am excluding chapters four and six, because these two introduce characters and sub-plots that don't really tie in until the second half of the book, therefore, will not be able to be elaborated on. Also, I intentionally wanted to squeeze chapter seven in there, because that is the one that will give you a basic overview as to what is going on.
My only interest in this, as far as what I want from you, the critiquer, is that you be honest. Brutally so, if need be. If you hate it, say so. I'm a big boy. I can take it. If you like it, well, that's good, but if you could tell me why (either way), it would certainly be more helpful than just "It sucks" or "It's good" (not that I expect that, judging from the critiques of funk's work).
As for the technical side of things, I will sending this out in .rtf format, because I do not have MsWord and therefore cannot send anything in .doc. Please let me know, via e-mail, if there are any compatability problems, and I will resend you the work in another format.
And thanks in advance, folks. You all should be recieving and e-mail from me soon. Let me have it once you've read it.
[This message has been edited by Alucard (edited April 18, 2002).]
April 20th, 2002, 11:24 PM
I'm three chapters in... and like mister Funk's story, I do intend to read the rest. I did find it distracting that you left a gap in the chapters... I understand your reasoning, but in order to see and evaluate the flow of things overall, I don't know if it was the best choise... however, I'm critiquing your story, not your judgement...
I think you have an excelent handle on your writing. Barring a few exceptions, your paragraphs are well laid out. I found it very easy to read.
I enjoyed the prologue more than anything. It was executed masterfully... and gave me the urge to read ahead. I will say this however... Once I got into the story, and picked up with the exact same character, I felt maybe a slight imbalance.
Let me attempt to explain... most good prologues give a glimpse into a key part of the story. Or introduces a character that comes into greater focus later on. But here we just jump from a moment in Chase's past, to a moment in his future (or present, depending on how you see things).
Perhaps it would have been cleaner if you had excluded mentioning his name in the prologue. Refering to him as, "The large man" or something akin to his character. Then, letting the reader realize that this is the same man.
Another option, and this fits in nicely with another problem that I wanted to adress. Is you could start the 1st chapter off from Jonas point of view. What you did instead, was let the narrative follow Chase's perspective, even bending to italicize his thoughts in the paragraphs... but you suddenly switch to Jonas perspective when the sentinel fires his crossbow...
What this did, because the names were not firmly embedded in my mind at that point and I was simply invisioning a man and a boy, was it made me first think that the arrow was heading for Chase and it was Jonas that had catched it. This of course sparked other ideas in my mind...
The point is... even if your writing in third person, the narrative can always fall in a persons corner. Especially when you want to do things like add their thoughts in italics within a regular paragraph. The reader automaticly associates with that character, and the events unfold in the readers mind around that character.
Now, I realize, you did well to include their names in this section. And had I been a more competent reader, I would have caught it. But the fact remains that the chapter starts out with the narrative revolving arround Chase, but switches somewhat abruptly to Jonas.
Well, I wanted to get these things down while they were still fresh in my mind. I have a couple more questions and problems... (like how Jonas seems to be familiar with Tavin Gar, even though he has been taught since birth that no one ventures beyond Therin pass) hopefully these will be answered in the chapters ahead... if not... I shall be forced to send my legions of Chinese emoticons to your dwelling to correct your thinking... <evil grin>
April 20th, 2002, 11:38 PM
Can you send me it as well... Gabor_ferencz@hotmail.com
just so that I can read it in my spare time...
April 21st, 2002, 10:02 AM
You have actually pointed out something I debated with for a long time before writing this. The original draft of the prologue did leave all characters nameless, but, in the end, it came out as being confusing, probably due to a lack of ability on my part. So, in the end, I went ahead and gave him his name, but, as I am glad you've mentioned, I think its does hurt the transition. I was either thinking of adding a little "ten years later" kind of header to the first chapter, or attempting to write it again without the names. Something I'll have to remedy either way.
As for the point of view shift, that's a good point. Hadn't thought of that, but makes a good deal of sense.
As for the questions that will come up, I'm afraid that there probably will be a great deal of them . . . but intentionally so. The story is a very "plot twisty" one, so I was very careful about when and where to fill in the holes. This was probably the most difficult part of writing this story. But, because of the stories length (it's long), I'm probably going to leave you hanging in a lot of areas. But please ask the questions that come to mind, because although I'm fairly sure I have everything spelled out by the end of the book, I'd like to be sure, and the more questions people bring up, the more the more things I've likely to have missed will be caught (in theory, anyway).
And I'm glad you noticed paragraph transition. This is something I pay a ton of attention to, because one of my main goals is to make all of my writing, regardless of the subject matter, easy to read.
And if you read the rest, let me know what you think.
Thanks for your time.
...Oh yea, and Gabador, I'll send it right over. Thanks.
[This message has been edited by Alucard (edited April 21, 2002).]
April 24th, 2002, 10:05 AM
Well finally success in accessing your story. I have completed the read.
At first I found the example "as easy as grabbing a baseball" to be anachristic, as well as the colloquielisms of "shitless" "****ing", "shits and giggles"
Though I understand now that your story takes place in a quasi post-apocalyptic society. And in retrospect I can understand. However It did serve as a mild distraction, I do not know if that was your intention.
I thoroughly enjoyed the charcters of Jonas and Chase and their developing relationship.
I surmised that the cat critter was controled by the gal with animal telepathy powers and was how Jonas was spared on your cliff hanger chapter. I would liked to have read that.
I agree with the past posts of your paragraph arrangement is done quite well.
I wonder if your time allottment of 11 years realistically faciciltates such a revolutionary unification of all churches and the subsequent take over of the government.
Considering that the government has quite an arsenal at its disposal and as far as most churches go possess little if nothing in weaponry.
Maybe you can imply that a few of the people in high government were covert members of the churches revolutionary heirarchy.
Any way you have a great tale on your hands and I also like the ease Chase and Jonas relate to each other.
Oh one other thing, your prologue got me fired up and I wanted to go kick someone's ass. So great job there.
Oh and some really nit-picking a couple of times you had "here" when you meant "hear".
We all do it. Its one of those mistakes that can easily slip by spell check and quick re-reads.
Other than that great work.
Also thanks for your extra effort in getting you material to me.
April 24th, 2002, 10:26 AM
Enazwo, thanks for the critique.
"I wonder if your time allottment of 11 years realistically faciciltates such a revolutionary unification of all churches and the subsequent take over of the government.
Considering that the government has quite an arsenal at its disposal and as far as most churches go possess little if nothing in weaponry.
Maybe you can imply that a few of the people in high government were covert members of the churches revolutionary heirarchy."
You hit that one on the nail. Those three things are actually a large part of the story (along with a lot of others), just a part that I haven't gotten to yet. Chase's explanation of the event was very bare bones, partly because of Jonas's ignorance, and partly because much of the story isn't exactly what it seems, so I couldn't go into too much detail just yet. And with Gaila and her animals, she becomes an integral part of the story later on. I was hoping to make her a little more "mysterious" before I got to the details.
But thanks a lot for the compliments. I spent a lot of time trying to write a quick and effective prologue, because, one of these days, I'm going to solicit this thing, and I wanted to write a catchy intro in hopes of grabbing some publishers attention. Who knows if it will work, but I figure, even if it never works out, I can always publish it myself (ahhhh....modern technology).
April 25th, 2002, 05:27 AM
I'll just tick things down as I read through:
I'm not sold on the prologue. Well, that is to say I think the first page and a half or so can be made more meaty, more urgent. I was impressed the way that the last half of the prologue grabbed my attention. Good job on making me interested with the characters.
I do not really think 'Chase finished cleaning his blade then helped (read: forced) Jonas to his feet' works. In a Chuck Palahniuk novel, that 'read:' intervention works well, but I do not think it is effective in fantasy, a genre containing narrators that are for the most part objective and removed. Maybe it is just me, but it didn't mesh into the story well at all.
I like how you used short, concise, one sentence paragraphs to hammer home a meaning. Very good.
The ends of your chapters are nice. They offer us some unique insight into the characters and encourage me to move on.
In chapter one Chase knows Jonas is fifteen, but in chapter two he asks Jonas how old he is. Unless I mis-read it, I think this is a consistency issue.
Unless you are in dialogue, be wary about using contractions.
Chapter 3: 'Reading, as you may know, was not aloud among the commoners.' You? The narrator slips here and addresses the audience. I am not sure if you meant the narrator to address the reader, but it doesn't flow with the rest of the narrative style.
Nice transition in chapter five of having Jonas fall aslep and wake when Chase arrived.
Chapter five is an excellent chapter. Very very well written and interesting. Really builds the relationship between Chase and Jonas effectively, without being wordy.
I really liked chapter seven also, but I am not quite convinced that hase, a man who seeks to overthrow this church, would want to team up with a fourteen year old, even if he is an adept. Also, If Chase didn't want Jonas to get mixed up in the ordeal, wy tell him about it? Was Chase too angry no to? That would make sense I guess.
All in all, I have to say that I want to read more. I really liked this story, and I think with a bit of work it could be really good. Adding more meat to the first chapters, making me care about why Chase is saving Jonas, would help. I was kind of confused about that, even though it was explained later.
Veyr very good. Please email me the rest of it in .doc if you can/want to.
[This message has been edited by Lawson (edited April 25, 2002).]
April 25th, 2002, 10:21 AM
First of all, thanks for the compliments. This is doing some good for my self esteem. Until now, I have only shown this story to one person, so I was completely unsure as to how it would be recieved.
As for inconsistencies in the narration: guilty as charged. This is a bad habit of mine. Maybe it's because I read so many mysteries, or maybe it's because I'm trying a little too hard to not sound like traditional fantasy, but whatever it is, it's a problem, and one that I'm going to have to pay special attention to on the rewrite. Thanks for pointing it out.
With the age thing, I mainly just used that question, even though Chase had a general idea, as an ice breaker for conversation. And, though I'm not sure, Chase was only really guessing his age in the begnning. But, either way, point taken. I'll make sure that is fixed.
As for him teaming up with a fourteen year old boy, he doesn't really, but on the surface, acts like he does to help boost the Jonas's self esteem. Later, it turns out that Jonas is forced into involvement, to the point where he's in with Chase whether Chase wants it that way or not, but that all happens a bit later.
And, although I'm flattered that you'd be willing to read the rest, I still haven't edited the majority of it (because, right when I finished, I was jumped into my second book before I'd cleaned up this one), and it's quite long (48 Chpaters in all), so I don't think it would be very practical to force all that on you. But again, thank you. Hopefully some publisher out there will be interested in it as well.
I do have a question though. About the Prologue, when you say meaty, do you mean to cut it down some, or add more detail? Wasn't really sure about that.
But thanks a million for your input. So far, everyone has said something valuable, things that I will definitely keep in mind during the rewrite.
And, on a side note, I have just finished my second book (and by just, I mean ten minutes ago), and after nine-months of working on it every day, I am very excited. I've had to change my underwear twice. Woohoo!
April 25th, 2002, 10:53 AM
I definitely mean more detail. The prologue begs for more of the excellent prose we've seen that you can write.
Hope we'll get to read more of your stuff.
April 25th, 2002, 04:18 PM
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Iīve been all over the place the past few days. As it happens... i'm posting from my cousins house in mexico right now.
It seems that everyone else here has stolen my good comments already. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/frown.gif
The POVīs- You switch back and forth between Chase and Jonas a lot. Generally, this is considered a literary no no. However, Iīm all about defying convention. You are still going to have to tone it down some though. There are times when you switch perspectives in the middle of a paragraph. I was still able to follow it but I can promise you that that ainīt gonna fly with the publishers. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/frown.gif
I liked the prologue and I liked the story. I didnīt find the time jump confusing. I also really liked the characters. I thought you did a good job showing Jonasī "walls" coming down. The writing worked well too.
I didnīt really buy the ascension of the church though. I could list a hundred reasons why but Iīll put forth the main one. Money. Governments have lots, and lots of money. Power. The government has the power to freeze accounts(the church). No money, no revolution, no reformation. I also agree that it should have taken a little longer than 11 years.
Wasnīt "Stuck in the middle with you" done by Stealerīs wheel?
Moving things with your mind is telekinesis, not telepathy.
This isnīt really a nit-pick but I pictured Rikku from FFX as Gaila... hmmmmmmm
Anyhow, I enjoyed your story and I would definetely like to read more. DOWN WITH THE CHURCH!!!!!
P.S. If youīve never used a keyboard designed for spanish speakers......... DONīT
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