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Calk
December 16th, 2006, 04:29 AM
Now that I've got your attention, yes, this IS just another story, but a particularly good one in my opinion. I'm 22 years old, which is a particularly important number if you ever read my story, but I'm not going to release it on the internet, because I know that it's worth getting published. I've been writing this story since I was 12 years old. And hell, I'm not going to waste all that effort and get nothing out of it.
At school I wasn't cool, i wasn't a nerd either. I fell into an often forgotten category of the absolutely invisible student. Teachers could get through the entire year without ever needing to learn my name. I had 2 friends who were better than me at everything. I considered myself a good writer, but hey, one of my friends even beat me in English every year.
So I began making a fantasy world for myself. It began with me just drawing pictures (pretty bad ones at that) of the world I was creating in my head. Then I began writing stuff down in a kind of point form, like -the south has 22 different nations etc, until recently when I began writing the story of my imagination for real.
What I've managed to create with my words is a story, that if it was written by another person, i would love to read. Like I said, I won't release any of it on the net, but since I think most of the magic comes from the way I speak and write the story I'm going to write up a quick synopsis, and this is what I want people to comment on.
OK


For thousands and thousands of years the North of a massive continent has been fighting against the south of the continent. The North has one massive country and 2 smaller countries. The south is an empire, with 23 different kingdoms all united as "the southern empire."
The book begins with a man called Calk who is from the south. He is a special class of magician. Out of the 200+million citizens of the south only 100-150 people are rank 11 magicians, these magicians are the most powerful in the world. Calk is one of these, but still young and untested. The Magicians council is hugely respected, and together they hold more sway in the south than the overlord king of the south himself. The council sends Calk and 2 other rank 11 magicians away to oversee a fleet, which is being sent North in a massive invasion, the largest the South has ever embarked on, aiming to destroy the North once and for all. The fleet picks up the armies and transports them to the North where the invasion begins. However to Calks disgust he is told to stay behind and babysit the fleet.
Eventually to cut off the Southern armies escape route, the North sends its own fleet to destroy the southern fleet, which, even with Calks valiant aid, it achieves. Calks has the ship he is on- one of the last left- beach itself so he and the sailors can join the southern army and try to escape to the south overland.
The next part takes up much of the book, with little plot, and lots of battling and running, as the southern army fights fierce rearguard battles as they flee. They are slowly getting cut down, with every week a new and massive battle claiming thousands, and tens of thousands of lives. It is here that all the rank 11s with the army (Some 25-30) decide to turn around and fight with the pursuing northern army, which numbers over a million men, to give the bulk of the southern army a chance to escape. Even 25 of the most powerful beings in the world have little hope against those odds. And the Northern army itself has some rank 11s to counter the southern magicians. In a glorious ride to the death and three days of fighting, just as the Southern magicians look like they will finally be defeated, the main bulk of the Southern army rides in and crashes into the northern army. After the fighting over a million men are dead, and the Southern forces have won the day, at huge cost. Only a few thousand men are left, and 2 magicians still alive, Calk being one of them. Realizing that they lack the strength to fight through the Northern forces who block the border, the remnants decide to take a fortress to wait for a new fleet to come and rescue them.


Thats as far as I'll go, I know how the rest will go, but I'd rather get some feedback on this, as its the main part of the book, and I've already written a lot of this, and the rest I'll be finishing in a few months. It should be said that this book will take up nearly 1000 pages, and will be quite a long read.
So, from the Synopsis, what do you think?
Is it publisher quality?
Is it too predictable?
Any improvements that you could think of?
Any feedback would be good, thx in advance.

Ko-jah
December 16th, 2006, 08:14 AM
For thousands and thousands of years the North of a massive continent has been fighting against the south of the continent. The North has one massive country and 2 smaller countries. The south is an empire, with 23 different kingdoms all united as "the southern empire."

this could be condensed to:
For thousands of years the North has been at war with the mighty Southern Empire.

the details of the size and islands of the continents are not necessary in a quick synopsis

The book begins with a man called Calk who is from the south. He is a special class of magician. Out of the 200+million citizens of the south only 100-150 people are rank 11 magicians, these magicians are the most powerful in the world. Calk is one of these, but still young and untested. The Magicians council is hugely respected, and together they hold more sway in the south than the overlord king of the south himself. The council sends Calk and 2 other rank 11 magicians away to oversee a fleet, which is being sent North in a massive invasion, the largest the South has ever embarked on, aiming to destroy the North once and for all. The fleet picks up the armies and transports them to the North where the invasion begins. However to Calks disgust he is told to stay behind and babysit the fleet.
Eventually to cut off the Southern armies escape route, the North sends its own fleet to destroy the southern fleet, which, even with Calks valiant aid, it achieves. Calks has the ship he is on- one of the last left- beach itself so he and the sailors can join the southern army and try to escape to the south overland.
The next part takes up much of the book, with little plot, and lots of battling and running, as the southern army fights fierce rearguard battles as they flee. They are slowly getting cut down, with every week a new and massive battle claiming thousands, and tens of thousands of lives. It is here that all the rank 11s with the army (Some 25-30) decide to turn around and fight with the pursuing northern army, which numbers over a million men, to give the bulk of the southern army a chance to escape. Even 25 of the most powerful beings in the world have little hope against those odds. And the Northern army itself has some rank 11s to counter the southern magicians. In a glorious ride to the death and three days of fighting, just as the Southern magicians look like they will finally be defeated, the main bulk of the Southern army rides in and crashes into the northern army. After the fighting over a million men are dead, and the Southern forces have won the day, at huge cost. Only a few thousand men are left, and 2 magicians still alive, Calk being one of them. Realizing that they lack the strength to fight through the Northern forces who block the border, the remnants decide to take a fortress to wait for a new fleet to come and rescue them.




this large info dump is not something which will entice a reader to read your novel. my first piece of advice is cut it down and blurb it up.

And if millions of men die/fight/get involved then why do i only know of Calk??

Konrad
December 16th, 2006, 11:56 AM
I'm not saying this to be mean but havn't the world seen enough of maincharacters that you know will be powerful in the end. Why Calk could instead be one of the thousand of fighters, uncertain of their own destiny.
Think of the terror of going first into a combat with several thousand of enemies standing before you. Knowing for certain that you will die...:(

Bethelamon
December 16th, 2006, 03:55 PM
I don't mean to be rude, but this isn't the most original of fantasy stories. I know this is just my own opinion, but I think it is valid, as there is a limit to the ammount of cliches people can read about whilst still being interested. The main character being an all-powerful magician just isn't that interesting, and that's the truth. As the above poster says, stories are much more interesting as told by normal people. A book can be all about war if you want, but the tale told by one soldier caught up in a huge conflict he doesn't want to be in would generally be more interesting than the tale told by a wizard who likes blasting enemies with spells.
An interesting thought though.... the wizard's story could still be really interesting if he is just as scared as the other soldiers. Due to his position and magical prowess he is ordered to take on a much larger enemy force, but in reality he is terrified and doesn't want to be there either, and really isn't up to the job of destroying the enemy force.

The next part takes up much of the book, with little plot, and lots of battling
Hmm, little plot eh? I think thats something you seem to be missing. Lots of battling and uber-powerful wizards don't make for the most interesting read.

This may have come across as really harsh, but you did say "I'm not going to release it on the internet, because I know that it's worth getting published", and then posted a rather generic swords-and-sorcery war tale which to be honest didn't interest me. But who knows, it may be the most fascinatingly and beautifully written piece of war fiction ever - the only way we can offer you real advice beyond criticizing your unoriginal plot outline is if you actually post some text from the story, and not assume that "its worth getting published".

Calk
December 16th, 2006, 08:34 PM
Excellent, this is the kind of criticism I was looking for.
Just FYI I introduce many, MANY other characters, including kings, commanders, admirals and other warriors, all doing their part.
Some other points. -Anyone a Tom Clancy fan? I know his books aren't exactly fantasy, but his plots involve 2 lines of thought.
"I'm going to write a book with a war in it. So, what are some reasons for war. X reason? Good, I'll write about that."
Once he had a war Tom keeps his books interesting by having back story and many different elements/parts of the story happening at the same times. In the synopsis that I wrote up I just followed Calks story, and left out for instance, Barbara, a particularly powerful Sage, who really plays a big part.
But otherwise good, I like this feedback. It's really put some perspective on the overview my story.

One thing though, if its so unoriginal, can I have an example of something that would make it less so? For instance, would treachery and betrayal from one of the Southern nations be too predictable? For a long time that was going to be a big part to the book, and that was how Calk was going to get into the war, but I changed it because a few years ago I started a hardcore reading phase, and read other books where something similar happened.
Thx again, and keep it coming.

Bethelamon
December 16th, 2006, 08:50 PM
One thing though, if its so unoriginal, can I have an example of something that would make it less so? For instance, would treachery and betrayal from one of the Southern nations be too predictable?

Already it sounds more interesting. :)

I guess what I've got against a war novel is if its just a story about battles and stuff like that. As long as its more than fighting, then you're ok I guess.

I think one of my big prejudices is the idea of the main character being someone really powerful, like a king, almighty wizard, etc... And we all know about books which have the main character as a 'nobody' who LATER becomes a powerful character... this features in the majority of fantasy fiction, and Im striving against it in my own work, when the character pretty much remains a nobody throughout the story.
Here's an interesting idea.... perhaps he could start off all powerful, but somehow throughout the story, he becomes powerless and just like everybody else fighting in the war?
I'll just think of another example as its harder to imagine with a wizard... A powerful general/king begins the book in charge of the army.... but he is lost/seperated/kidnapped or something and is reduced to a common man fighting for survival.
With a wizard he might just be able to click his fingers and go home so I dunno... perhaps somehow he loses his magical powers, and then becomes helpless?
This is just an idea from me, discard it if you will. The idea of a powerful character losing all his power is, to me, a much more interesting idea than a character who remains really powerful throughout.

Calk
December 16th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Already it sounds more interesting. :)

I guess what I've got against a war novel is if its just a story about battles and stuff like that. As long as its more than fighting, then you're ok I guess.

I think one of my big prejudices is the idea of the main character being someone really powerful, like a king, almighty wizard, etc... And we all know about books which have the main character as a 'nobody' who LATER becomes a powerful character... this features in the majority of fantasy fiction, and Im striving against it in my own work, when the character pretty much remains a nobody throughout the story.
Here's an interesting idea.... perhaps he could start off all powerful, but somehow throughout the story, he becomes powerless and just like everybody else fighting in the war?
I'll just think of another example as its harder to imagine with a wizard... A powerful general/king begins the book in charge of the army.... but he is lost/seperated/kidnapped or something and is reduced to a common man fighting for survival.
With a wizard he might just be able to click his fingers and go home so I dunno... perhaps somehow he loses his magical powers, and then becomes helpless?
This is just an idea from me, discard it if you will. The idea of a powerful character losing all his power is, to me, a much more interesting idea than a character who remains really powerful throughout.

Its almost weird how similar that is to the ending. To be honest with what I have written I was just betting on it being so obvious and easy to read that it would be good. Books like lord of the rings really annoy me. They're too hard to read and too open to interpretation. Good books are ones that get the authors point across to every reader.
The ending of my story was going to be the Council having barely any members left, getting discredited, and finally being ostracized by the South. Calk and other war heroes who had fought so hard and bravely at such huge cost to themselves were going to return home and find that while the army has been gone, with all the kings and lords and noblemen gone too, the few Barons etc. that have stayed behind will have taken over and changed everything.

Now I really didn't want to throw away the whole story, but in retrospect this is another dimension that I probably shouldn't have left out.

Ko-jah
December 17th, 2006, 12:26 AM
The ending of my story was going to be the JediCouncil having barely any members left, getting discredited, and finally being ostracized by the South Republic. Calk Obi-wan, Yoda and other war heroes who had fought so hard and bravely at such huge cost to themselves were going to return home and find that while the army has been gone, with all the kings and lords and noblemen gone too, the few Barons Palpatineetc. that have stayed behind will have taken over and changed everything.

Now I really didn't want to throw away the whole story, but in retrospect this is another dimension that I probably shouldn't have left out.

tsk tsk tsk

however, write about what you like, and if you like an all powerful character then include it. i am trying to publish a novel and the main is a character who has the potential to be all powerful but during the story, never really gets there.
it is impossible to avoid all the cliches no matter how hard you try.

Calk
December 17th, 2006, 12:56 AM
tsk tsk tsk

however, write about what you like, and if you like an all powerful character then include it. i am trying to publish a novel and the main is a character who has the potential to be all powerful but during the story, never really gets there.
it is impossible to avoid all the cliches no matter how hard you try.

Jesus you're right. The sad thing is that I really don't follow Star wars, so hearing that my story line is unoriginal is actually just heartbreaking.
Man, maybe I'll fall back on the "So unoriginal that its original" argument again, but I don't think that flies.
Well, I'll leave what I've already written for a while, and go back to the drawing board, trying to get some Original material to run with. Maybe someone discovering gunpowder? I don't think I've read a fantasy when that's happened. But there's probably one around.
Damn, did I really subliminally steal Starwars plot line? Thats just sad.

KatG
December 17th, 2006, 12:30 PM
There are stories about grunts on the line in a fantasy war. There are stories about powerful kings and leaders in a fantasy war. There are stories about powerful mages in a fantasy war. There are stories about dragon riders in a fantasy war. There are stories which combine various of these elements in a fantasy war. There are fantasy stories that tell of wars in imaginary worlds. There are fantasy stories that tell of historical wars like the American Civil War or World War II. And so on.

Instead of trying to find some way to reinvent the war novel or the fantasy war novel, that's never been done before!, how's about you figure out what it is about this particular war idea and about what happens to Calk that so interests you and that you want to write about? You say that you feel this is a story that you would like to read. Why would that be the case?

Because the war, the fantasy, all those little world-building details you've cooked up -- those are window-dressing. They aren't your story. And they aren't really what people remember about stories either. You could just as easily create some other world setting, or a real-world setting, and change the war, change the fantasy elements, but that kernel of story remains the same. So I would suggest you figure out what it is that you want to write about, rather than concentrating on what it's going to look like when you trick it out in pretty clothes. You've lived with these characters a long time, sounds like. I'm guessing what happens to them matters to you, at least a little. Figure that out, and the rest will follow.

Also, stop asking people whether your story is publishable or not. No one can answer this question for you, even if they get to read a sample of your prose. You will only know the answer to that question when you send it out to the market, and even then, you will not get a definitive answer, because there are many publishable works that do not get published for one reason or another. I'd suggest also to stop asking whether a work is predictable or not. Because there will always be people who tell you that it is, that you are doing a version of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Elric the Dark Elf, or some other book or movie or graphic novel.

And one further bit of advice. When people do give you feedback, use it, don't react to it. Any part of it that you feel is relevant, accurate and that you fully understand what they are saying, make use of. But don't react in fear and keep trying to change things to please the critique of the latest round of feedback (which quite often conflicts with other feedback,) because that way madness lies. And good luck to you. :)