View Full Version : Critique: Idea's and the intro to story...
July 27th, 2007, 11:48 AM
New here working on a book with my sister and all I getting is ya sounds good from everyone I tell the story too but the problem they are all family or friends and I don't know if they are just being nice. So here is the basic idea…
In the real world as you go back into the past you see more and more tails of magic beasts and the like but as it gets more to the present day it just fades away. My idea is that magic really did exist but to a limited extent where only around 1-2% of the population could tap into magic so it was a very elitist group. In there pursuit of power they ended up blocking off the source of magic and magic slowly faded from the world. I'm trying to link in mythology into the story and the reason why there are no longer dragons and other mythical beasts and why there are no fossil records of there bodies.
Well skip forward to modern day and a dig team finds the complex where this experiment happens and ends up disrupting it causing the seal that held back magic to brake up releasing all the stored up power tearing the world a sunder… as the destructive wave rips across the planet it slows and stops and then rewinds time it self to the point where the experiment has complications that caused the blockage in the first place. Time goes forward and instead of magic rushing into the world all at once it cracks the dam wide open letting ever increasing amounts of magic enter the world. So time flows back to present day with the world full of magic and mystery set in a more renaissance time frame on the tech front but many modern convinces are powered by magic. Most of the population can now use magic to some degree or the other ranging from lighting a fire to calling death and destruction down from the sky's.
A plot twist everyone that was in the experiments room is still alive in this time line but some where dropped off in the past depending on how far from experiment they where. A side affect of the experiment is that you don't age and have great regeneration along with abilities far above anyone else in specific area's depending on where you where in the experiments room. Not un-killable though. So the main cha embark into a world that they no longer know. Where the bad and good people that where with them know hold sway over humanity as near gods among men. To find the truth and seek revenge and set the world free from the shackles of a power hungry mad man and his girlfriend.
Sorry about the lack of details but trust me I got them all on the old computer.
So does it sound ok or just lame?
Darkon Intro (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2561p0.html)
July 27th, 2007, 10:36 PM
Your link is broken. You need to take out the space between the "m" and the "l" in ".html".
I'll get to a full response and a critique of your excerpt later. I will say for starters, though, that I think you've dumped more info on us than is really pertinent to a discussion of the overall concept of your story. Unless you're wanting help with those technical details, we really don't need to see them. (At least hold off on sharing all that until someone asks for it.)
July 28th, 2007, 06:23 AM
I haven't read it yet, but at first glance you seem to be treating your world alot like a RPG game, with rules and such which look like they have just come out of a rulebook. I was half expecting to read 'causes D6 damage' or something. It might just be me, but I don't think this is the way to go about it. You should relax it all if you know what I mean... don't worry about exactly what spells wizards can cast and make it much broader and more vague... more realistic.
However I haven't read the story yet (I will!) so can give no indication to your skills at actually telling your narrative (the important bit), just this big info dump you have given us.
But your link doesn't work.
July 28th, 2007, 10:57 AM
I was just going to say exactly that.
Nobody cares about these rules but you. They don't help if your story sucks. You won't get much reaction on review sites for this sort of thing...just post your writing. The readers don't care either. Unless you are targeting RPG fiends, in which case, how would we know if it's good or not?
July 28th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Side note I have over 300 single spaced pages of notes done, dealing with world building countries, people, races, magic system, spells, effects and plot line. Some of the details ranges form 32 races, 42 key spell effect not found in normal fantasy books, 22 countries 12 which are key.
The bits I have put in bold is what you need to stay away from... Im not interested in how many spells the characters know or what the spells are called, and the exact effects of these spells... and I doubt many others are either.
July 28th, 2007, 11:58 AM
Darkness covered the island like a black veil, penetrated only by a sliver of moonlight lancing through cold, wintry clouds.
If its so dark, how do we know about the cold and wintry clouds? Either you should not describe it as quite so dark, so we can imagine the clouds in the sky, or you should not mention the clouds - its so dark we can't see them.
The only sound was that of their companions labored breathing as the thin teenager worked tirelessly to open the massive entrance.
Should this be companion's or companions'?
Thin teenager? Seems like a kind of weak adjective. Try slim, skinny or something... thin is too broad a word. And teenager? Perhaps you should just call him a youth, boy, young man or something... In fact I don't think you need to describe his body here at all, you can drop that in later on. And I don't think the entrance needs to be described as massive. As he is working tirelessly to open it, we can tell its something rather impressive and formidable. If you really want to convey its size here, try 'vast' perhaps? And what is this entrance? A locked door? A stone wall? A gateway blocked by rubble?
I would rather see...
'The only sound was that of their companion's labored breathing, as the boy worked tirelessly to open the vast gateway.'
"Get on with it Barnabus you lazy good for nothing! What do you think we have all night?" The portly leader barked.
Add some commas in here. It also reads better if the leader's speech is broken in two. And good for nothing should be good-for-nothing I think.
You don't need to bother handing out so many adjectives every time a character or object is introduced. Instead you can mention the leader's portliness later on. And 'leader'? Leader of what? This noun could well work but as it is its confusing, I don't know what he is the leader of. Is he a supervisor of some sort of work party? (If I've got this wrong, disregard how I've changed it here).
Also, try refering to the leader as 'his leader' rather than 'the leader'. This puts the focus more on Barnabus, which I assume is what you want.
'"Get on with it Barnabus, you lazy good-for-nothing!" barked his supervisor. "What, do you think we have all night?"
"No Duncan, its just...I mean it won't....I can't move it, Sir!" the teenager sniveled.
You don't need to refer to him as 'the teenager' anymore (or 'the boy', or whatever). You can call him Barnabus now.
"If you want something done...!" Duncan yanked the pry bar from Barnabus hand and moved purposefully toward the smooth black wall. The darkness only added to the unease of the group and the stillness raised every hair on the back of their freezing necks.
I don't think Duncan's exclamation mark is doing anything there. And perhaps you should add 'he muttered', 'he spat', or whatever. I don't know how he's saying this, but I have some ideas. So is he muttering it under his breath? Spitting it? Moaning? Tell me how he speaks.
You also need to add some punctuation here... an apostrophe for Barnabus, and a comma to break up the last sentence. And 'the back of their freezing necks' should be 'backs'.
Also, the sentence about Duncan and the sentence about the uneasy darkness seem unrelated, and it appears odd to put them together in this paragraph. I can picture it, but it could be expressed better. Instead, mention that the group are watching Duncan and Barnabus as they attempt to open the entrance.
So how about....
"If you want something done..." Duncan muttered under his breath, as he yanked the pry bar from Barnabus hand and moved purposefully toward the smooth black wall. The darkness only added to the unease of the group as they watched, and the stillness raised every hair on the backs of their freezing necks.
Finally, with a resounding "THAWACK" Duncan managed to move the solid black mass a single inch. "Come on, are you just going to stand there?" he commanded to the rest of his crew. Immediately the rest of the band gathered to the large slate. It took all of their efforts to pry open the door just enough that Duncan could wiggle his way inside. "Get your bloody arses in here before anyone sees you and knows what we are about!" He barked again. The rest of the group reluctantly followed the man inside the dank, cavernous opening throwing longing looks over their shoulders at the frozen winter landscape they left behind.
THWACK? That seems a bit to comic-book for the mood of this story... Try describing just a a thud or crash, and don't capitalize it.
He commanded with a question? That makes no sense.
You refer to them as the 'crew', then in the next sentence they are the 'band'. Don't confused us!
'... just enough so that...'
Wiggle his way inside? Id rather he squirmed or crawled, but that could be just me.
You have used 'the rest of' three times. Thats not necessary.
I don't think he needs to say '...before anyone sees you and knows what we are about!' Both the crew, and us the readers, can see why he doesn't want to be seen. If he just says '...before anyone sees you', the reader can easily see that Duncan doesn't want people knowing what they are up to. He wouldn't say that either, keep it natural.
If he didn't want to be seen, would he bark? I don't know perhaps he would, Im not so sure of the context here. Are they trying to keep quiet or not? If so, perhaps he should 'hiss'.
So now the band are the 'group'? You can just say 'the rest of them' here I think.
And Duncan is 'the man'? Either just refer to him as 'him', or use this as an opportunity to describe him.. now perhaps is your chance to call him 'portly'.
If you HAVE used the word 'wintry' in the first paragraph, you don't need to use 'winter landscape' here. You can just say 'the frozen landscape they left behind'. And if it IS so cold, perhaps you should put in a bit of shivering, just to show that the winter is affecting the crew. Especially if they are just standing around watching.
'They left behind'? Either 'they had left behind' or 'they were leaving behind'.
And you need another comma in the last sentence.
So it should look like...
Finally, with a resounding thud, Duncan managed to move the solid black mass a single inch.
"Come on, are you just going to stand there?" he urged to the rest of his crew.
Immediately they gathered around the large slate. It took all of their efforts to pry open the door just enough so that Duncan could crawl his way inside.
"Get your bloody arses in here before anyone sees you!" He hissed again. They reluctantly followed the man inside the dank, cavernous opening, throwing longing looks over their shoulders at the frozen winter landscape they were leaving behind.
I will give you some more later.
July 28th, 2007, 12:44 PM
A Sliver of moonlight raced inside the black abyss illuminating a space not touched in over two thousand years. The men stood in awe as they one by one turned on their flashlights and took in their surroundings. The room that stood before them was round and donned a domed roof. Completely made of black marble the space seemed enormous. "It must be 50 feet across with at least 15 foot ceilings" Barnabus remarked in awe.
You've already used the sliver of moonlight earlier on.
Try 'one by one they turned on their flashlights' rather than 'they one by one turned on...'.
Im not sure you really mean abyss. To me, abyss means a bottomless canyon sort of thing.... This seems to be a large cavern, no?
The room that stood before them? Surely they are standing in the room.
'Completely made of black marble the space seemed enourmous'. These two things seem unrelated and it seems odd to put them together in one sentence.
15 foot celings? It has more than one ceilings?
I think you just need to rearrange things in this paragraph a bit.
Moonlight raced inside, illuminating a space not touched in over two thousand years. The men stood in awe as one by one they turned on their flashlights and took in their surroundings. They stood in an enormous room with a high domed roof, seemingly made completely of black marble.
"It must be 50 feet across," Barnabus remarked in awe.
But hold on... is the ceiling 15 feet high? Thats not high. About three people high. I had the impression it was huge. 15 feet just makes it like a big room rather than a cavern or anything.
Within moments their eyes adjusted to the darkness. Before them appeared four massive statues in the center of the room. The figures seemed to be holding an enormous crystal, spanning eight foot across and eleven feet tall. The crystal hung suspended from the roof directly into the four figures' out-stretched arms. At the base of the structure, the beams of their flashlights struck a liquid pool causing it to glow with an iridescent light.
I've just corrected a few minor errors here.
Do their eyes adjust to the darkness? If so, why the flashlights? Either they have no flashlights, and their eyes have to adjust to the darkness, or they do have lights, and can see what is in the beams of light, and everything else is darkness.
Massive statues? I'd rather have vast statues.
You have only just used the adjective 'enormous', so don't use it again so soon.
Perhaps 'spanning eight foot across and eleven feet tall' would read better as 'eleven feet tall and spanning eight feet across'. Actually you don't need to say 'spanning... across'. It is 'spanning eight feet', or it is 'eight feet across', having both is not necessary.
'Squeak' is another 'comic book verb' to me. Id rather have him 'exclaim' or 'gasp'.
Hmmm, reading on, you seem to suddenly switch tense. This isn't intentional is it? I've got to say the quality of the writing goes downhill after that as well. I could continue my critique but it would take too long. The first page is promising, and I mean that! But the other three pages appear to be rushed, you seem to get overexcited at the idea of statues slaughtering some men in as gory way as possible and your writing appears to suffer. Alot of it does not make sense.
However, the first page, which I have just critiqued, does surely have promise.
July 30th, 2007, 08:06 AM
fixed the link problem man feel like a dork...
July 30th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Better to feel the part than to play it, am I right?
July 30th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Bethelamon - thanks for the feed back I found it very helpful. I'm as you can tell not the best writer in the world. I will take what you have said into consideration. Thanks for spending the time to go over this little bit. The reason for the change in the writing was the last half was a rewrite as word crashed and it was all lost.
The hole first seen was not intended to introduce the main cha or anything like that it was ment to show what the people that will be going into this place are up against. As the enclave is not just a place that the first part of they story takes place itís also a character all to its own bent on keeping its secrets.
As for rushed I would have to agree with you. I will rework it and see what I can come up with.
As a kid I always enjoyed building things never playing with them after I was done guess that still holds true today. 8) Think youíre also right on that I'm attacking the world building elements like I was making a D&D module which is not exactly the best. Drawing out floor plans and drawing the cha's and there gear and weapons. That will never see the light of day...
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