PDA

View Full Version : Critique: B


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


MrJims
April 25th, 2006, 02:52 PM
Hey folks, book in progress would appreciate opinions and critiques.
Excuse the title, it is suppose to be Blood and Change: Prolog.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1481p0.html

Expendable
May 3rd, 2006, 02:09 AM
Hey folks, book in progress would appreciate opinions and critiques.
Excuse the title, it is suppose to be Blood and Change: Prolog.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1481p0.html

Who is the focus of your story - the boys or the Fates? Personally, I think you have one of them far too young but they seem delightful. But it's your story.

It's very foreshadowing, I think you've actually tipped your hand too much. Leave a little mystery.

Maybe when we've seen more.

BrianC
May 3rd, 2006, 08:29 AM
Wow, Jim that's quite good--not much to criticize here. The prose, for a first draft, is superb. You did have me wondering where you did your graduate work, after I read this passage:

The walls consisted of mud and clay, rising to the height of an average man before merging with the grassy domed roof. Brownish gray splotches on the roof and walls denoted the age of the structure.It has that stodgy formality--"consisted of" and "denoted"--that I associate with graduate writing in one of the humanities. Am I right? It took me a while to shake off those mannerisms, and those I have assimilated in a legal career, and to loosen up my fiction. I suggest this:

Walls of mud and clay rose to man-height before merging with the grassy thatch of the domed roof. Brownish gray splotches on roof and walls betrayed the great age of the structure.
The other criticism that I have is that the prologue seems a bit long for a prologue. You might as well call it Chapter One. Of course, this is not a real criticism for two reasons: one, I am generally opposed to the fashion for prologues (and appendices, for that matter); and, two, I have no idea where you are going with the story. Are the fates going to be similar to the witches in Macbeth, both a part of the story and also semi-detached observers?

MrJims
May 4th, 2006, 12:49 AM
Hey guys, thanks a ton for the feed back. I've been watching the view count go up for about a week without comment. Admitedly it was scary.

Expendable- The fates are not my main characters, it the people viewed.

Rory "Pudge" Gray- 40ish cop in the capital city of Attilus
Cinyu - thirteen year old thief and street hustler
Arron the third- the King of Anthyia

I wanted Kalinda to be really young because she is the god of the future, which dosen't really exsist yet. I thought five was as young as I could go without it getting weird. But I will think on it. I'm going to post chapter 1 soon I hope you read it.

Brian C- Thank you for the praise, it's really flattering because I only
graduated highschool. I work at a pizza takeout place in ottawa
Canada. My writing "knowledge" comes from a long love of fantasy.
You are right about the fates though, I intend to run them both
ways, involved at times but observers mostly. I would be thrilled
if you kept an eye on my formal tendencies in my writing. Chapter
1 will be here soon.

With the prologue I was really just hoping to inform the reader of the cities geography as well as the main characters. Chapter 1 is The Pudge, it starts about an hour before the Sisters of Time see him in their mirror and takes you through his day. Chapter 2 is Cinyu, same day, starting just before the mirror and the same for Chapter 3, Arron the king. I am currently writing chapter 4 where the timeline actually moves. (Hurray). Hope to talk to you guys soon.

BrianC
May 4th, 2006, 07:21 AM
Ah the pizza parlour--it paid my way through college.

Dawnstorm
May 13th, 2006, 01:25 PM
First, a few purely formal comments:

I know this is just a first draft, but it's a bit hard to read, for me. Part of that is that I have a reduced attention span on the computer (and especially on the story interface on this side - I think the side banners are distracting me.) Other reasons, and that's where you can actually do something to improve the flow, include:

1. Punctuation. It reads like you blasted through the story full speed. Sometimes, a comma could be replaced by a full-stop. Sometimes an additional comma could make the reading more structured. Sometimes a paragraph-break could make it easier to keep track of your topics. (And sometimes there are paragraphs in the middle of sentences.)

2. Sentence structure: Some sentences are confusing, on a first read. Example:

"Kassandra snorted as she reached for cups and the jar of honey with the conservative movements of the elderly."

[Main clause {subject}{predicate}] [as-clause {subject}{predicate}{object1}{object2}{clause modifying predicate}]

Since the clause modifying the predicate ("with the...") follows the second object, it is possible for a reader to link the "with the" instinctively with the object; when the "conservative movements" come in there's confusion, because a jar of honey rarely contains conservative movements. The reader will instantly realise his mistake, but the flow of reading will be broken. I suggest:

"Kassandra snorted, as, with the movements of the elderly, she reached..." (This has the additional advantage of moving the clause closer to "Kassandra", who's the semantic target of the description.)

I think I remember some similar isntances.

3. Non-evocative words: "they" "it" "was" etc. They're not bad, and they're invisible, really, but when too many of them follow each other it can get tiring.

Example "felt like they were for no one in particular." This entire clause is pretty abstract.

***

Dialogue tags should be:

"Xxxx," he said. (tag at the end, statement)

"Xxxx?" he said. (tag at the end, question)

"Xxxx!" he said. (tag at the end, exclamation)

"Xxxx," he said, "xxx." (tag in the middle, interrupting a sentence)

"Xxxx," he said. "X..." (tag in the middle not interrupting a sentence.)

"Xxxx." He [did something]. (no tag, instead a new sentence with the speaker as subject)

***
The characters come off the page and are interesting.

***

No comment about the story proper, as too little happens yet. The characters' stories will probably merge at some point. I must admit I'm curious about the man who notices the eye.

***

If the fates do return (and we get their PoV again), I'd suggest not making this a prologue; although chapter arrangements/headings and such can usually wait until the novel's finished (as the structure is clearer, by then).

***

Mythological associations:

The fates exist in greek mythology. So does Kassandra, but she's not one of the fates. (She's been cursed for something I can't recall. Kassandra sees the future but she can't tell anyone - they won't believe her.) Depending on Kassandra's role in the story (present?), the association may be confusing for those who make it.

***

I like the age of Kalinda; the playfulness and irresponsibility of a 5 year old is a nice metaphor for the future. :D

BrianC
May 13th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Doing this from memory, Kassandra was, in the Iliad I believe, the daughter of the kinfg of Troy and was cursed to prophecy truthfully but to never be believed. Typically her name will be spelled with a C, however.

Dawnstorm
May 13th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Doing this from memory, Kassandra was, in the Iliad I believe, the daughter of the kinfg of Troy and was cursed to prophecy truthfully but to never be believed. Typically her name will be spelled with a C, however.

Thanks for the clarification.

"C" is the English spelling; the original Greek would have the "K" (well the "kappa" wich just so happens to look like a "K" when capitalised). If anything, the "K" reinforces the Greek connection.

MrJims
May 14th, 2006, 02:37 PM
Thanks for the input so far guys.
I am going to switch this over to a test read so anyone who is interested in taking part please send me a message.

and remember, two wrongs don't make a right but three lefts do.
james.