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Ajax Torbin
March 24th, 2007, 03:11 PM
my first novel, still figuring out the name though

chapter links:
prologue http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2345p0.html
chap 1 http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2346p0.html
chap 2 http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2347p0.html
chap 3 http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2348p0.html
chap 4 http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2349p0.html

posted it on this forum to get feed back, because my friends, well meaning as thery are, have all said (other then the grammer) its great. well, ther're biased. and you're not.
so give me feedback oh great internet. tell me the story sucks, tell me how i need more english classes. destroy my work so that it may be better when rebuilt.

what i'm looking for is:
is this world fascinating?
is what you see of these characters intersting?
would you like to see more?

March 24th, 2007, 08:40 PM
my first novel, still figuring out the name though


It is still pretty rough.

I see you have a considerable amount of the story in there, 80 pages worth, according to the their page count.

Sorry, but I am not going to read all of it for you, it is still too rough for that.

Here are some of my observations, which may or may not be the consensus of others here (for the record, I skimmed through about the first 4 pages):

1) You have some very intesesting concepts. I like that your elves are nowhere near the typical. I really liked the woodcraft and herbal magic Runner uses to get his visions and the idea of the scroll vine was really nice.

2) Watch your paragraphs--maybe it is being lost in the translation from Word Perfect to the site, but it looks like many of your paragraphs are way too long.

3) Run-on sentences abound. You can (and should in my opinion) shorten many of your sentences. You are trying to combine too many actions and events inside of single sentences. This is one of my weaknesses as well, something that I fight on a regular basis.

4) Watch your tenses. I'm not really the person to give a good technical explanation of this, but there are a number of places where the tenses being used just feel wrong. Perhaps it is because you are trying too hard to convey an immediacy and a sense of action with your writing, but you are starting too many sentences with an -ing verb. (Again-I'm not the best at providing a technical explanation on this point, there are others here who paid far more attention in their grammar classes than I did) My method of telling whether or not something is right usually is how it sounds when I read it out loud in my mind. There are many instances where things don't sound quite right with your phrasing and sentence structure.

5) A little quibble perhaps, but tornadoes in the mountains? In this world at least, tornadoes form and spin out their very short lives in flat areas...that's why the Great Plains and the Midwest see so many of them. I've never heard of a tornado in the mountains.

Overall--I'd say this has promise and originality. You've got some work to do, but it certainly looks like it is well worth the effort to get it ready for submission at some point.

aka Agent Rusty Bones

Ajax Torbin
March 24th, 2007, 09:05 PM

my english teacher says the same exact thing abot my sentences:)
in my defence though, the eplogue has the longest setence, 164 words, in the whole thing( but then again, in chapter one there is one that is 152 words long.[it getts better from there though{chap2-85 chap3-62 chap4-82}]) <- man i'm weird with the brackets

the pargraphs aren't translating propperly, can't figure out why. but i do have to clean them up.

as to the tences, ive tried to refine them, and ive even read them aloud to family, i think its the way im obbsesivly trying to not use the same words over and over again, something i dont like about some authers.

the roughness of it though, i haven't even run spell check, ive just verified the timeline, and refined some descripive details. this much better then versin 1.0, that was just STUFF happens, some more STUFF, then, things go on. no detail at all.
its kinda the way i work, ill write some, go back fix some, go forward and write some more. kinda back and forth. i have another 20+ pages in the first draft.

lastly, ime freekin annoyed about the italics not transfering, i use them to define different states of mind and it muddies up the flow with out them. i'll work through and define them somehow.

as to the quibble, its a metaphor, dork:rolleyes: , a dream quest. i kinda patterned my wood elves after native amercians with a splash of celt and a dash druid. (i know that tornados form in plains and not moutains, i maybe from teh cold north, but i live in Missouri now, right up tornado ally. now that i think about it, there are tornados all the time in the ozarks, hill country.

thanks for your input.


p.s. one thing ive been told i have a problem with is getting lost in descriptive details, i make something up (like the scroll vine) and just HAVE to describe it in hi-definition, i had a whole nother pargraph at one point about a cloak. a single cloak they were going loose anyway. ever read Clive Cussler? what he does with secondary characters i do with techonolgy(magical or otherwise), i just love a good gadget, and explaning how it opperates.

James Carmack
March 25th, 2007, 03:00 AM
I'd watch who you call a dork, Ajax, my friend. You're liable to get blackjacked for that. Ol' Rusty may have sworn off the killin', but that doesn't stop him from bringin' the pain. He's got metal bones, man. Metal bones... from Hades!

As for the italics, a quick plain-text solution is to put hyphens at either end. Like this: "Do you -hear- me, pri'ate!?"

I've never submitted anything through the Stories section. Can you not use HTML tags or something?

Anyway, I'll have some more substantive comments once I've actually read a bit of the story.

As for extended description, try to streamline it wherever possible. Details are fine, but it shouldn't bog down your narrative.

March 25th, 2007, 10:08 AM

I'm gonna have to leave this guy in your (more than capable) hands...I find that I don't do too well with folks who can't be bothered to even to try typing coherent sentences with punctuation and all that fancy stuff. This is, after all, a 'writing' forum for folks who are trying to improve their writing.

I don't know that there is any 'helping' of someone who appears to take pride in his sentences having 150+ words in them.

I will take my batons and seek harder prey...it just wouldn't be a contest here.

aka Agent Rusty Bones

Ajax Torbin
March 25th, 2007, 08:10 PM

I will take my batons and seek harder prey...it just wouldn't be a contest here.

aka Agent Rusty Bones

bring it on rusty man:) :cool:
but seriously now, what do ya think? is it only grammer, or am i just gona get dislexiea jokes?

James Carmack
March 25th, 2007, 11:01 PM
Are you dyslexic? Nothing wrong if you are. It just means you're going to have to work twice as hard to make your writing sparkle. Truth be told, I'm actually a bit dyslexic myself, but I always compensated for it well enough that it never came to anybody's attention. Doesn't mean it doesn't give me problems, though. (Do you have any idea how annoying it is to reverse the radicals on kanji and repeatedly say "nigekui" instead of "kuinige"?)

Now, I need to actually sit down and do some reading. Stay tuned.

Ajax Torbin
March 25th, 2007, 11:26 PM
yea, i have a touch of dyslexiea. you should see me try to spell 'mississippi on a bad day:D

James Carmack
March 25th, 2007, 11:45 PM
I can imagine.

James Carmack
March 26th, 2007, 09:35 PM
Okay. I've finally read some of the story (not all of it obviously, as 80 pages is a hefty chunk to swallow). For my general impression, I have to echo Rusty: rough.

You've got a promising premise and the makings of a deep world, but your prose, as it stands, is a tangled mess. As Rusty was trying to tell you, those gargantuan sentences are nothing to be proud of. It makes reading a chore and when reading's a chore, most people opt not to read.

If you're running Word, run a spell and grammar check. Although I disagree with it about half the time (and I've got the chops to get away with it), grammar check is a good way to root out simple oversights and such. If you've got a custom.dic file going, double-check to make sure you didn't accidentally add any misspellings to the list. (Yes, that means scanning the contents of the file in Notepad.) That should've been something you did before even submitting the dang thing.

There's some good imagery going here, but you're trying too hard. Streamline, my friend, streamline. Learn how to say more with less. We don't need to know that Runner's ears are exactly six inches. You can just call 'em long and we get the idea.

This could be good. Maybe it could even be great, but you're going to have to bust out the elbow grease. I tell you what, if you want to get down and dirty with the good, the bad and the ugly, you can run the spell and grammar check and save the first chapter (or prologue as the case may be) as an RTF file and send it to me at james@palidormedia.com. I'll do a thorough, line-by-line workshop. I say this knowing it'll be painful, but everyone deseves a shot at self-improvement. It's your call whether you accept the offer or not. It's no hair off my back if you decline. No doubt my stories would appreciate the extra time I can devote to them, but as Eek the Cat famously (and ironically) said, "It never hurts to help."