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June 10th, 2007, 06:58 AM
Hey guys,

I toyed with the notion of starting a book this past year. I finally sat down and took the time to draft something up. I was hoping someone could take a moment and critique my draft. Any suggestions/insight for a new writer would be very much appreciated.




James Carmack
June 10th, 2007, 10:17 AM
Well, for a neophyte, you haven't done a half bad job here. It's got it's rough spots to be sure, but nothing that's makin' my eyes bleed. The key thing is that I feel the chemistry between our leads. That's essential. No matter how technically brilliant you are, if you can't capture something like that, it don't count for jack. All the minor details ain't nothin' but a thang. They can be polished up easily enough. The heart is sound. That's the main thing.

Because you've given us Rhea (Loenne?)'s name, I see no reason why we should be left in the dark when it comes to our hero's name. There's no call for him to simply be "the man". If you're trying to be mysterious, I don't really think it's necessary. The narrative would flow better with some names.

Now for some quibbles...

Page 1
Rather than "Everyone had no idea", it would work better as "Nobody had any idea".

I take it "tika" and "damnum" are your attempts to make up curse words. Please, stop. If you want to curse, don't be shy. Just do it. B****. :P

"[...]I appreciate such the sentiment." There's either something missing or something extra here. I recommend the shorter path of cutting out the "such".

While dodging deadly traps and whatnot, is it really the most opportune time to be making kissyface? Perhaps that's the point...

"Intertwined with his lover, surely there was no better thing in the world?—other than stealing stuff, of course." A question mark is a terminal punctuation mark. You can't use a dash to set off any text after it. Just make the part after the dash a stand-alone fragment.

"She scoffed, pulling away," The stage direction should precede the dialog tag if you're going to put it at the head of the sentence. Depending on it's placement, the dialog must immediately follow or be followed by the dialog tag.

Page 2
Are we in a world with the degree of technical knowledge necessary for our heroes to be worrying about acetylene. What's more, what's the realistic threat of naturally occurring (or artificial) acetylene in this environment?

"Pathing"? Why not "path"?

How can a hallway be "temple-like"?

"Empty handed" should be hyphenated.

"Crotched down"? I sure hope you mean "crouched". Otherwise, I don't wanna know.

"an unstinted amount of stalagmites" As opposed to a stinted amount of stalagmites, right? It's a bit of a goody way to say "a lot" if you ask me.

"He found it peculiar that a liquid could find itself so deep in the heart of Mt. K'haljia..." He never heard of underground rivers?

"[...]her face stupefied by the sudden tremor" Yeah, there's a fair bit of seismic activity here. My face gets stupefied by sudden tremors every now and then. Silly rabbit. You get stupefied, not your face.

"Loenne"? Wait a minute. Is the chick's name Loenne? Then who's Rhea?

And that's it for now.

June 10th, 2007, 06:38 PM
James, thank you very much! A couple silly errors on my part, but you pointed out a lot of things that didn't even occur to me. A few questions/comments:

Are you sure about the swearing thing? This story takes place in another world (Oesel). I wasn't sure if "crazy b****" was applicable here or not.

"[...]I appreciate such the sentiment." If 'such' was in italics, would you still recommend dropping it?

"Rhea" is actually a goddess in one of the two major religions. Incidentally, it's also the name they use for their sun. I'll go ahead and post the prologue below. If you get the chance, could you run through it? Again, thanks.

O’ Oesel, how prosperous you once were! But now to be inhabited by the uncouth, scourging your lands and draining your life-force—it sickens me to watch. For lack of a better purpose they cling to their precious lives, presuming their daily routines are of the utmost importance. One such as I, a being who has transcended time and space itself, knows precisely how fruitless their efforts are. The end comes to all. Why frivle with the hopeless when a new beginning awaits us?

Rhea has begun calling to me. Too long it has been since I heard such a sweet, clement melody. I am abandoned from all but the past. The cold winds are my only companion now, and solitude my blanket.

Though the years crept by slowly, recalling them proves to be little more than a nuisance; a fleeting moment, truly. Oh, Rhea! You mock me. How long until I look back on this eternal moment, and sneer at the brusqueness of it all! Vhormm gha, ario nachhie.

No matter! Tis no matter at all: the goddess has chosen me. It comes to no surprise; I have remained while better men have simply perished. Rhea’s new age will commence, and I, her devoted one, will be the hand of her judgment! Her voice of reason! Be forewarned scholars of man, the apocalypse approaches.

Memoirs of “Shado”
ET 810 A.L.

Scripture found on Mt. K’haljia
Translated by Vid Reklart, 1021 A.L.

James Carmack
June 10th, 2007, 08:18 PM
Are you sure about the swearing thing? This story takes place in another world (Oesel). I wasn't sure if "crazy b****" was applicable here or not. I might let the "tiska" slide. It's starting to grow on me. As for the "damnum", just say "damn". Just looks like hebo Latin otherwise. Anyway, as for the language, if you can use English for all the other dialog, why not the profanity, too? (With the exception of obviously Earth-centric terms, of course.) You see, you're not just telling this story, you're "translating" it for your earthbound audience. See how that works? ^_^

"[...]I appreciate such the sentiment." If 'such' was in italics, would you still recommend dropping it? Yes. It makes no grammatical sense as it is.

"Rhea" is actually a goddess in one of the two major religions. I started to think that was the case, but when there was no establishment of who Rhea was, almost any reader is going to assume that it's the name of the female on the stage. In light of this, I double my recommendation to call Loenne and our male lead by name in the narrative. I don't see you having much to lose by doing so. The narrative isn't quite lofty enough for "the man" and "the woman" to suffice as labels.

As for Slim Shado's screed, it's not bad. Sets up some apocalyptic portense. That's always nice. It makes for a fair prologue. You've got some missing commas and other grammatical errors (something I'm not going to pick one-by-one here), but not to a morbid degree.

Quibble time...

There's no apostrophe in the vocative "O". Put an apostrophe there and people will think it's supposed to be "of". You correctly left out a comma, as some people might do, confusing "O" for "oh". Glad you didn't get tripped up there.

"frivle"? Did you perhaps mean "frivol"?

Rather than "Oh, Rhea!", I would think "O Rhea!" would be more appropriate here.

"No matter! Tis no matter at all" Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, eh? The second sentence shouldn't end with a colon. "The goddess has chosen me" is its own sentence.

"It comes to no surprise" "It comes as no surprise," yes?

June 10th, 2007, 09:21 PM
James, you genius you. Thanks for the help thus far.

I'll go ahead and work on this piece over the summer and see what I can come up with.

June 11th, 2007, 12:29 AM
small comment (didn't get to read the story)

if you are going to make up curse words, have them be culturaly signifcant.

take for example Robert Jordan, whose characters says things like burn me and etc.

or Steven Erikson and his characters' use of hood's breath and so on

if the reader understands the cultural refrence to the curse word it makes sense.

I agree that damnum should be changed though

before you use words like hell or damn, consider what they mean in your story. Is there a hell? are people damned? if not then stick with other curse words or make up your own.