PDA

View Full Version : Critique: "Invasion" look-see


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

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Nogothorod
February 20th, 2007, 03:12 PM
Hey, would you kind folks mind giving me a little feedback on "Prelude to Invasion" ?

I'm not looking for a *technical* critique, really-- more along the lines of your thoughts toward the flow of the story, believability of the characters, and so on. And when I say that I'm not looking for a critique, that's not to say that I don't want criticism. Heap it on there, please; I thrive on it. If you don't have anything nice to say, by all means, say it! :D

It's always a pleasure to have one's work looked at by fellow aficionados of the genre. ;)

*edit*

Here's the link. ^^

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2300p0.html

kater
February 20th, 2007, 04:20 PM
A link might help ;)

Magnet
February 20th, 2007, 04:33 PM
Your title seems familiar. Link (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15857)

Cheers.

Nogothorod
February 20th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Your title seems familiar. Link (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15857)

Cheers.

I can assure you that it's coincidental. As it is, "Prelude to Invasion" is just the working title of a chapter of a larger work.

Great minds think alike, though, neh?

AgentRustyBones
February 20th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Certainly a good start. Reminiscent of George R. R. Martin's work in the series that includes A Game of Thrones, etc--but that could mostly be the setting.

A couple of critiques (just as samples):

Helen could hear the poor animal's screams from high in her tower, and the sudden silence afterward. She almost preferred the screams.

She either preferred the screams or she didn't...by using the qualifier 'almost', you weaken the writing. Could be changed to: "She preferred the screams, at least then she knew they yet lived."

"Deidre," she said to the young woman standing at the ready beside her, "fetch some cedar logs and throw them on the fire, dear." Deidre bowed and withdrew.

"Are you cold then, Helen?" Allon asked from across the table. Candles cast a hundred flickering shadows across his face and sent darkness pooling in his ochre eyes, giving him a decidedly sinister look.

Here, the problem is that you seem to have moved Helen from her bedroom to some sort of main hall. The first time we realize that she isn't alone is when she either speaks to another character or they speak to her.

In general, I dislike long descriptive passages and prefer to see more dialog like you are doing here, but in this genre, descriptive text is very important, especially early on. When you only introduce a new character with dialog, you surprise the reader, because they don't know who's there until they speak or are spoken too. That makes it for the reader to know if you are giving them a full picture of who's in the scene or not, and prevents them from seeing the picture that you have in your mind.

We go from thinking that Helen might be alone, to finding out that she has a serving girl (Deidre), a husband (and Lord--Allon), an advisor (?) from the shadows (Padraig), members of her husbands personal guard (not described in arms or armor), and an apparently secret lover (Daodrin) all in the same room with her--but only as they are spoken to, or speak on their own, or as they take some sort of action.

Once you get Helen to Daphne's chamber, the story really improves, mixing in description with dialogue at about the right pace.

Overall, you present some very good foreshadowing, some really good internal conflicts in the main character, and a nice sense of pending doom.

Again, I will say that it is reminiscent of GRR Martin's work, but so long as you develop your own stories and settings sufficiently, that's not a bad model to work from.

I hope this helps,

Doug
aka: Agent Rusty Bones

Nogothorod
February 20th, 2007, 08:33 PM
Here, the problem is that you seem to have moved Helen from her bedroom to some sort of main hall. The first time we realize that she isn't alone is when she either speaks to another character or they speak to her.

In general, I dislike long descriptive passages and prefer to see more dialog like you are doing here, but in this genre, descriptive text is very important, especially early on. When you only introduce a new character with dialog, you surprise the reader, because they don't know who's there until they speak or are spoken too. That makes it for the reader to know if you are giving them a full picture of who's in the scene or not, and prevents them from seeing the picture that you have in your mind.

We go from thinking that Helen might be alone, to finding out that she has a serving girl (Deidre), a husband (and Lord--Allon), an advisor (?) from the shadows (Padraig), members of her husbands personal guard (not described in arms or armor), and an apparently secret lover (Daodrin) all in the same room with her--but only as they are spoken to, or speak on their own, or as they take some sort of action.


aka: Agent Rusty Bones

Ah! Thankee sai--I'll most definitely watch myself in the future. I suppose I was trying to avoid telling by showing, by moving the story along like that... instead of saying, "Helen sat across from her lord husband, watched over by his guards."

But, your point is a good one. Thanks for your thoughts!

*edit*

As far as the story being reminiscent of Martin's style... I worship Martin for being the gigantic font of creativity that he is, but I would never in a million years want to write in his Westeros, or piggyback on his style. I just prefer my stories to be people-driven, and the subtle magic to remain in the background. As far as the story's concerned, the remote mountain holdfast, I suppose, is akin to the Eyrie in Martin's world, but eh. Wasn't intentional. =]

AgentRustyBones
February 20th, 2007, 10:32 PM
Ah! Thankee sai--I'll most definitely watch myself in the future. I suppose I was trying to avoid telling by showing, by moving the story along like that... instead of saying, "Helen sat across from her lord husband, watched over by his guards."

But, your point is a good one. Thanks for your thoughts!

*edit*

As far as the story being reminiscent of Martin's style... I worship Martin for being the gigantic font of creativity that he is, but I would never in a million years want to write in his Westeros, or piggyback on his style. I just prefer my stories to be people-driven, and the subtle magic to remain in the background. As far as the story's concerned, the remote mountain holdfast, I suppose, is akin to the Eyrie in Martin's world, but eh. Wasn't intentional. =]

You are most welcome. :)

Showing is MOST DEFINITELY better then telling...but you should show through actions on the part of those present in the scene you are setting. Maybe having Helen enter into the room, noticing who is present and issuing the command to Deidre as she settles at the table where Allon and his guards are gathered...then the exchange between Allon and Helen, interrupted perhaps by a shared glance between her and her lover, evoking that guilt that you were doing so well with.

After that first scene in the hall, the story picked up momentum--you also had more intimate scenes with fewer characters.

Just remember to engage the reader with the scene...a scene in a Lords dining hall is going to be grander and involve more characters that a bedroom scene--so make sure to include the imagery and action that would be appropriate to that larger scene.

I don't think that you were copying Mr. Martin, but you writing certainly reminded me of his world. Again, that's a good thing...keep honing your work and you'll do fine!

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones