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Endless
May 13th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Hi guys, I've been working on this novel for over a year now and I'd love some feedback on the first chapter.

Its the second rewrite so far, I know its far from finished but I'd like to see what people think to what I've developed. I'll love you all forever if you do ;)

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2423p0.html

Thanks for reading :)

James Carmack
May 13th, 2007, 09:04 PM
Well, you've got a story with some promise here, Endless. Your construction's fairly solid and you're not clogging the pipes with too many unnecessary details. That's the good part. Now let's get to the critique.

Maybe I'm being unfair to call you out on your summary paragraph, but you describe Dudon as "a world completely unlike our own". Bull. Besides a few funnily named plants, the only thing that really sets Dudon apart from our own world is it's two-headed inhabitants, who aren't all that different from us except for one obvious little detail. This brings me to my next point...

The two-headed Dudonites are really you're only claim to this world being any different from our own. You emblazon a two-by-four with the words "TWO-HEADED" and proceed to beat the reader over the head without mercy. You establish that they're two-headed in the beginning. We don't need to hear that someone's two-headed every time a new character's introduced like it's something new and exciting. We got it. Two heads. Whoo.

On this point, you're inconsistent in your treatment of the characters. Are they one entity or two? Why is it that at some points you distinguish between Art One and Art Two and other times you don't? In spite of your claims of creating a world "completely unlike our own", you are still entirely rooted in this one. At very least, you need to distinguish one head from another when speaking at all times. Treating them as one unit on other occasions is fine so long as they're acting in concert.

Now for some quibbles...

Page 1
"he thought allowed" Surely you meant "aloud".

One, Two, One, Two: You describe Art One as the left head only after introducing Art Two without any such qualifier. You should identify the first head you introduce when you introduce it and the rest will follow.

Father, Dear Father: When describing a parent or any other relative, you only capitalize when it's used in direct address, not when it's being presented as the object of possession. Allow me to illustrate.

Wrong: "A boy's best friend is his Mother."

Right: "A boy's best friend is his mother."

Right: "Dad, you can't go outside without any pants on."

Page 2
"said his other" As tiresome as it may seem going "Art One, Art Two, Art One, Art Two", "the other" doesn't really work as an identifier. When we're talking about distinct individuals, I usually recommend one or two identifiers to be used in addition to the character's name to cut down on redundancy, but it really doesn't work when bringing in the interplay of the two heads of a Dudonite.

"I am being" When someone tells you "Be patient", is your response "I am being", or is it "I am being patient", perhaps even "I am being patient"? I don't know anyone who'd use the former and Art One shouldn't use it either.

Page 5
"The smoke gurgled and crunched in to the glass it was engulfing." I want you to read this sentence and tell me precisely what it is you're trying to say.

Page 6
"as apposed" I know you meant "opposed". Apposition is something completely different.

Well, there you go. The core story is good, but your hook is giving you problems. If you want this two-headed schtick to work, you're going to have to be extra careful in how you play it.

Now let's go watch the Professor get branded a POD, the crazy son of a gun.

Endless
May 14th, 2007, 09:36 AM
Thanks very much for your detailed feedback.

The one thing I can definately agree on is my apparent 'undecidedness' on whether a character is 'he' or 'they', a decision I have settled on throughout the rest of the novel. I'm going to go through and make the changes to chapters I haven't yet reworked since I did this.

After posting the chapter I found a fair bit I'm not happy with in the writing - so I'm probably going to have a heavy rewrite of this chapter.

And as far as the summary goes, it's just something I quickly thought up when I saw the box for it, so I'll go ahead and change that now ;)

I'd still appreciate some feedback from others, see how I can improve what I have done so far :)

ZellieBerraine
May 21st, 2007, 01:34 PM
Sliding down hills in tin trays - Neat!

It'd be nice to have more explanation of why they earn money just to have fun--they don't need to pay for food, for someone to build their house, etc?

I recently saw a youtube video from a discovery channel presentation about a girl with two heads--two distinct personalities. If you haven't seen it yet, I reccomend seeking it out.

There's no transition from Art to Art two saying that Art two/one is the one that had just been described as liking to draw vs. liking to drink.

...be sat?

three people in this village alone who are wheelchair bound because their other head has died. - oooo, interesting.

POD?

things ready - things, things, things....what kind of things?