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July 11th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Right well, I've just had the pleasure of receiving some constructive criticism as regards the first part of this story, so I figured I should post the rest and hopefully get some feedback on the prologue as a whole. It's called 'Lord of Embers'.

Hope you enjoy (and that this link works, I have moments of considerable technological ineptitude) :http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2531p0.html

James Carmack
July 16th, 2007, 12:20 AM
Congratulations. The link does in fact work. I'll try to have this piece knocked out by the end of the day. We'll see how it goes.

July 16th, 2007, 06:35 AM
No rush, I'm heading off on a European adventure for the next three weeks so won't have a chance to check out your comments 'till I get back. Cheers for taking the time to read :D

James Carmack
July 18th, 2007, 01:08 AM
Okay. I happened to find a spare moment to go over your piece. Not too shabby. You manage to juggle three plotline ably enough. However, I wonder how appropriate it is to have them all under the umbrella of the prologue. If it were me, I'd end the prologue with Nashru and then give Dathai and Sorba their own chapters.

James Carmack
July 18th, 2007, 01:09 AM
Okay. I happened to find a spare moment to go over your piece. Not too shabby. You manage to juggle three plotline ably enough. However, I wonder how appropriate it is to have them all under the umbrella of the prologue. If it were me, I'd end the prologue with Nashru and then give Dathai and Sorba their own chapters.

You could use a good booster shot of punctuation. 50cc of commas would do just the trick. Happily, yours is a borderline case. Thank goodness we caught it in time.

You don't set off direct address like you're supposed to. Here's a lesson (http://www.palidormedia.com/james/editor/lesson2.html) for you.

On to the quibbles...

Page 1
I can understand capitalizing the one dream, but are all the city's dreams worthy of that distinction?

How does a bird shelter? Or do you mean that the bird is sheltered?

Page 2
You can say "the bottom of the ocean". In fact, I suggest that you do so.

You can't have more of something that wasn't around in the first place. In this case, I'm talking about the embers that come out of the flame. Anyway, how exactly do embers come out of a flame? Embers are what's left after a fire dies down.

How can the flames lick higher when we only had one flame before this? You never said anything about the flame spreading or the "embers" creating new flames.

Page 4
Dialog tags are not independent sentences. They have to be connected. ("'That is not possible,' his master muttered[...]")

Mild philosophical question. If all is but a dream, what is illusion? If nothing is real, why accept anything? How do we decide what ought to be our "real" and what ought not? If Dathai chooses to ignore the campfire and walk right through it, he will no doubt be burned, but if everything is a dream, how is that flame any less real than the one that burned in his mind? Could it be that the master knows nothing?

Argus' Latinate name seems rather incongruous with the culture he's supposedly a part of. Is he by any chance a foreigner adopted into the tribe?

Page 5
Should it not be "Adraean Empire" with the latter word capitalized?

"A few" means plural, so it should be "accounts".

Why is "innkeeper" capitalized?

What condition did Sorba suffer from? You'd make it feel a lot more authentic if you had a name.

Page 6
Sorba does a lot of claiming. Maybe too much. (i.e. Your verbs are getting redundant.)

I suppose Sorba can suppose about Silas' age, but his height and frame aren't so subjective, now are they? You might want to adjust your syntax accordingly.

"Sheath" is the noun and "sheathe" is the verb.

We're in Adraea, so it's only natural we're talking about the Adraean emperor. Why not simply say "Emperor Eivar". If you'd mentioned other empires by now, there might be enough ambiguity to warrant clarification.

Eivar is the Emperor, not a king. Be sure you don't confuse the two.

Page 7
You might want to capitalize "senate".

It's a common mistake these days, but try not to mistake "loosing" for "losing". They're not the same.

Silas' tongue seems fairly loose to me. Exactly what is Sorba wanting out of him? An admission that he wet the bed until he was fourteen? Cut our mercantile friend some slack. That stuff's embarrassing.

And that's it for now.

July 20th, 2007, 10:58 AM
Hello again : Thanks once more for taking the time to read/critique this prologue.
Shall reply here like last time, as much to make notes for myself as anything else.

RE: three plotlines in the one prologue - hadn't thought of splitting them up, the Nashru episode felt a bit too short on its own, and I don't want to write from the antagonist's perspective in the main body of the story itself (Dathai). As for the Sorba scene, the characters in the tavern will be relatively minor to the plotline of the first book, though they will grow in importance as the story continues. I may change it, but for now I think I'll leave it the way it is.

Punctuation-wise - It's a mixed blessing that I have people willing to edit out the punctuation errors once I'm done, so I tend to overlook these things. Obviously it's a habit I'd rather break.


Capitalisation of 'Dream' - I'm not actually sure, I think it could be interpreted either way. Technically the Dreams (I'll go with this for now) of the city are as valid as the Dream in which Riel itself exits (one of those pesky pseudo-infinite dealies). I need to think more on this one.

Shelter - I think my usage is ok e.g." –verb (used without object) 11. to take shelter; find a refuge: He sheltered in a barn."

Ocean - not sure about this one. I suppose the two 'the's look better than a 'the' followed by an 'an'.

Flames - point taken. should be 'tiny blue sparks' not 'tiny blue embers'
(Note to self: insert description of one flame becoming more than one)

Note to self: Change sentence to ("'That is not possible,' his master muttered[...]")

RE: Philosophical question - Glad you asked that :) Dathai will ask every one of these questions himself as he learns to deal with the new 'perceptions' he will soon encounter.

Argus' Latinate name: Unfortunately, while I like the name, I think there is no sensible way to have him be adopted into the tribe. The Adraean Empire is absed in part on the Greeks and Romans and I think it would be perhaps a little confusing to have such names for a character who is definately not an Adraean. I shall move some names around I think.

Notes to self- Capitalise 'Empire'

- 'account' is a typo, change to 'accounts'

- 'Inkeeper' should not be capitalised.

Sorba's 'condition' - thanks for that, good idea.
(note: think of a name)

RE: Sorba's 'claims' - Grr...I hate it when that happens.
(note to self - fix this ^)

'Supposing' - little help on this one? How exactly might I change it to make it clear that it's only the man's age that Sorba is guessing at.

Notes to self: Sorba eyes the leather 'sheath'.

- : remove 'Adraean' in 'Adraean Emperor Eivar' or at least alter the sentence.

Eivar is both a king and an emperor (it's complicated) but I should remove this to avoid confusion early on.

note: Capitalise 'senate'

Note: blasted spellcheck, change 'loosing/losing' error.

Silas' loose tongue' : I agree this needs to be changed, but Silas is well-known to Sorba as someone who only offers a tale if there is something in it for him, and rarely tells the full story. I should perhaps indicate this too.

Alright, must head, thanks again.

July 21st, 2007, 06:10 AM
its mate sheltered beneath a half-buried arch, shivering as the twilight deepened.

When I read this I know exactly what he's trying to say, and it makes sense to me. So why is it wrong? All writing is communication. If I read this and I know exactly what the author means, then it is perfectly alright. Unless someone happens to read it and not understand the meaning.

Seems like these sort of things fall more into the realm of opinion and personal taste than anything.

I say if it sounds good, write it! :D

James Carmack
July 22nd, 2007, 03:05 AM
I say if it sounds good, write it! :D

This sort of advice should be taken with a tablespoon of salt. Too many neophytes make mistakes because they follow their ears. The inverse is far better: "If it sounds wrong, don't write it." I, however, will advocate the middle ground. If you have any doubt, check it out.

I will concede the point that the usage of the intransitive "shelter" is valid, but it most certainly isn't common. Zero, I encourage you to avoid rarer usages when a more common variant can be used at no loss to the flow or tone of the narrative. Arash got your meaning, but how many readers will have to do a double-take there? Double-takes break the suspension of disbelief, which we don't want, but if the percentage is small enough, I suppose it's a risk worth taking.

I would very much like an explanation about Eivar. Simply saying it's complicated is inadequate. If you'd be so kind...

As for Sorba's supposition, I didn't notice the comma setting off the phrase "in his late forties". This makes it passable. Otherwise I'd rearrange it a bit. Here's one such example: "He was in his late forties, Sorba supposed, tall and thin as a rail." (If rails are outside the technological realm of this neck of the woods, a different simile would be appropriate or none at all.)

July 25th, 2007, 08:04 PM
I completely take your point, re: word usage, in this case however I think it's just that I would normally use 'sheltered' rather than another variant, perhaps it's a Hiberno-English thing.

RE: Eivar - Hopefully this explanation from my notes will suffice. Do you think it sounds to implausible?

Traditionally, Adraean leaders were 'elected' (think Venetian Republic, rather than a modern democracy) and the word 'King' was never used, though the position was effectively hereditary and the leaders were kings in all but name. With the acquisition of new territory, the Adraean leaders began to take titles which expressed their dominion over the conquered lands, but were (almost always) careful never to create titles which referred to the Adraean Heartland itself - eventually these titles fell out of informal usage and the broader title of Emperor became popular.

However, Eivar is the latest in a handful of rulers who have claimed the title of King of Adraea, and (a testament to his leadership and power) the only one who has managed to make the people accept him as supreme sovereign, where previous rulers had always had their power checked by the Imperial Senate, the Guildhall (an association of the empire's most prestigious and influential guilds) or both. Eivar is the first ruler in Adraean history who has exercised almost total control over these institutions throughout the majority of his rule. There is no longer even the merest pretense that his successor will be someone other than one of his sons, Aedan or Conrad.

James Carmack
July 25th, 2007, 10:57 PM
I should've accounted for the variances in usage for different branches of the language. If the intransitive "shelter" is common usage in your neck of the woods, then there's no reason to change it on account of some bloody Yank's complaint. ^_^

I see what you're doing with Eivar now. Not entirely unlike the British sovereign from the heady days of the Empire. However, in the text, I recommend you refer to him by the title that's most often used, the exception being cases where your active lead has a reason to call him by something else (ex. someone who doesn't acknowledge his overarching claims to power simply referring to him as "the King", "King Eivar", etc.).