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FCarentz
September 23rd, 2004, 11:02 AM
Hey everyone.

My name is Frank. I have been writing some fiction for (just like everyone else here haha) I am 27 from NY. I have never been published or paid for any of my writing, but to be honest I have never tried either.

I am looking for some feedback on the stories that I have submitted to the site. Serious critiques and opinions please. Let me know what you think. Follow the link to my stories if you have time and post your thoughts here. I would really appreciate some non-biased feedback on these, especially The Spiral of Tortaurus. My name in the list is Carentz, Frank

My Stories (http://www.sffworld.com/community/stories/c.html)

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me out!


Sorry, I think I posted this in the wrong area. First time on these boards. If the mod could move me to the appropriate spot it would be very much appreciated! Again, sorry for my ignorance.

SubZero61992
October 3rd, 2004, 07:22 PM
Spiral of Tortauras Chapter 1

I am really bored with this chapter for some reason.

If I had to read it I would.
BUt nothing in this chapter even hooked me to read further.

Expendable
October 4th, 2004, 12:43 AM
There, atop a hill we saw the figure of a man, his arm raised high above his head, his wrist spinning, whirling what appeared to be some type of weapon attached to a chain. It was this apparatus emitting the eerie sound, crying out, beckoning the others of his ilk to fly in haste to the location of its horrific melody.
You sure like 'apparatus'. You might want to rethink some of the words you use.


My legs began to move as fast as possible, propelling me into the darkness of night.
Began to move as fast as possible...? Please rewrite this.

Dawnstorm
October 4th, 2004, 01:44 AM
First, I read only the first page of Chapter 1 of Spiral of Tortaurus, so I might be a bit off with my comments. View these as a "first impression" post.

I felt your language and style was at odds with first person narration.

First person narration in SF is tricky: the narrator moves through a world the reader does not yet know, but unless some plot element states otherwise, the narrator will take the world for granted and not explain, or remark on things a third person narrator could get away with. If a first person narrator explains things, you ought to be sure to know why and convey it. (the easiest way to go at it is this: who is she telling her story to? Why? Is it a diary?)

On the page I read, I felt the info was there for the sake of a reader of fiction who could not possibly be present in the world, and this kind of threw me off (this might change later on,though).

Example:

I am a breeder, birthing children of madness for the unclean masses of this accursed world.

Everything that comes after "breeder" sounds redundant. Why would she say that? Is she talking to an ethnologist? Is the cult illegal, and she's writing this as a report for an agency of law? Is she writing a diary, to keep herself sane? There are no cues in the text to anything that might explain why she'd need to tell us what a breeder is.

Of course, she could be saying what follows (in this case) as emphasis. She is using words like "of madness" and "accursed world", which do tell us more about her point of view than about what a breeder is. However, if I try that interpretation, I have trouble coming to terms with the language.

Take the opening paragraph:


Ten cycles have passed since I was first taken, although not long enough for my memory to have totally deteriorated into the bleak oblivion of time. I was once a free woman; I had a name, a family, a cause. Now I am called slave, prisoner or breeder. Those that would now be considered my family, those other unfortunate women of the convent are no more a comfort to me than the pain of birthing itself. In place of the cause or purpose I once had, I now find my only hope to be death.

To me, she doesn't sound like a breeder (although - to be fair - I don't know what a breeder is supposed to sound like). She sounds like a writer. Considering the content of the paragraph, I'd expect her to say something like:

"Ever since the Spiral made me a breeder, all I want to do is die." (And I'd think even these are too many words...)

The effect the elevated language had on me was mildly comic rather than sinister or dark; your narrator is a melodramatic girl I have trouble taking seriously. The same kind of language used by a third person narrator would have had a different (and more favourable) effect on me (I suspect).

FCarentz
October 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
First, I read only the first page of Chapter 1 of Spiral of Tortaurus, so I might be a bit off with my comments. View these as a "first impression" post.

I felt your language and style was at odds with first person narration.

First person narration in SF is tricky: the narrator moves through a world the reader does not yet know, but unless some plot element states otherwise, the narrator will take the world for granted and not explain, or remark on things a third person narrator could get away with. If a first person narrator explains things, you ought to be sure to know why and convey it. (the easiest way to go at it is this: who is she telling her story to? Why? Is it a diary?)


She is telling the story to you, the reader. To give a bit of a back ground let me first explain some things to everyone. This piece is being written as background fiction for a Roleplaying Game called Harrowed Earth in order to give the players a peek into the world...However, this story is not a stand alone, so the reader should already have an idea of what the world is like and how it has gotten there. Sorry, I should have stated that up front. This story was really to give the readers a glimpse into the world of the Sati-Tormentus, one of the Slaver Races of the world.

I have found First Person to be a bit complex, but I really think it brings with it a more personal feeling than if I 3rd personed the story.




On the page I read, I felt the info was there for the sake of a reader of fiction who could not possibly be present in the world, and this kind of threw me off (this might change later on,though).

Everything that comes after "breeder" sounds redundant. Why would she say that? Is she talking to an ethnologist? Is the cult illegal, and she's writing this as a report for an agency of law? Is she writing a diary, to keep herself sane? There are no cues in the text to anything that might explain why she'd need to tell us what a breeder is.

It is being written for you, she is explaining everything to you...hence "narrative" and trying not to take it for granted that the reader doesn't live in the world.



The effect the elevated language had on me was mildly comic rather than sinister or dark; your narrator is a melodramatic girl I have trouble taking seriously. The same kind of language used by a third person narrator would have had a different (and more favourable) effect on me (I suspect).
I am sorry it had that effect on you, however I am going to stand my ground on it for the reason that "you can't please everyone all of the time".

I have received some great feedback both in the likes and dislikes, which leads me to believe that for the most part what everyone has to say about the story is based more on a matter of their personal tastes.

Fair enough on the first impression posts though, and I will take them into consideration as I go off to re-read the pages once more....

Expendable
October 4th, 2004, 11:21 AM
The story is put together a bit oddly, although maybe that works for an rpg narative. First she talks about being a breeder giving birth to mis-shapen children, then about the people who took her, and then about how she got captured.

If she gave birth to ten mis-shapen children, why would they keep trying? Do they want mis-shapen children? Pregnancy takes a lot out of you. I'm surprised she survived ten pregnancies back-to-back.

Does she know the name of the 'aparatus' the guy used to signal the attack on her village? Because she's talking about past events, she should know the name by now.

Had she heard of the sect before they showed up?

How do they eat if they sew their mouths shut? Or rivit a metal cup over it?

Wouldn't cutting out the tongue be more effective to ensure silence?

What is the cult's goals?

Dawnstorm
October 4th, 2004, 12:40 PM
I am sorry it had that effect on you, however I am going to stand my ground on it for the reason that "you can't please everyone all of the time".

That's the spirit! :)

FCarentz
October 4th, 2004, 02:55 PM
All very good questions! Here are the explanations...

First which should lay alot of them to rest....The story is not done, not by a long shot.




If she gave birth to ten mis-shapen children, why would they keep trying? Do they want mis-shapen children? ]
She never calls her children mis-shapen, when she says mis-shapen she is referring to the last Sati that came to give her the child she is currently carring. The children are born and then tormented via the sacraments of the order.


Pregnancy takes a lot out of you. I'm surprised she survived ten pregnancies back-to-back.
Absolutely, which is why I thought more people could relate.



Does she know the name of the 'aparatus' the guy used to signal the attack on her village? Because she's talking about past events, she should know the name by now.
Why should she? She is imprisoned, used only for breeding, the little she knows of the Sati she has only learned from the time she was captured. At the time that she is recounting she does not know the name of the item.


Had she heard of the sect before they showed up?
She had heard of them, but never seen them. As she states, the scouts from her clan were the only ones to have ever seen them.


How do they eat if they sew their mouths shut? Or rivit a metal cup over it?Good question, you will have to wait to find out... :D


Wouldn't cutting out the tongue be more effective to ensure silence?
No, that would prevent them from talking at all, that is not the point. The point isn't to keep them from talking but for them to keep themselves from talking...just a little more sadistic than a monks vow of silence. :)

The Sacrament of silence is not eternal, but instead only temporary.


What is the cult's goals?
They actually are not a cult, I would suggest reading the story the Rebirth, it is only about a page long...It needs alot of work, but will give you the basic concept of the timeline and background of the world.

The Sati are a race, unto themselves. Although once human they have been reproduced for so many generations that they have become their own species.

Perhaps the story truly needs a prologue or introduction to bring the reader up to speed. Hows that idea?

FCarentz
October 4th, 2004, 11:00 PM
The story is put together a bit oddly, although maybe that works for an rpg narative. First she talks about being a breeder giving birth to mis-shapen children, then about the people who took her, and then about how she got captured.

I had some more time to think about this one...
Ok, first there has to be an order to things, and some of the best books I have ever read jump around in time. However, I am not jumping around, We are going backwards...First she introduces herself to you, since she is telling the story to you. She tells you what she is, and who she was. Which raises the question, who are the people that are using her to breed? So she explains about what is done with the children she is birthing. Finally she feels that an explanation of how she came to be a breeder is in order....Also Known As as flashback...she is telling you how she got in her current situation, also known as a story.

I suppose I could have started at the beginning and worked into the future but I feel that going from present to the past tells the story better. And there has to be a layout to the story, I cant talk about How she was captured, then jump to her present captivity, then back to explain who she is enslaved to, then jump back again to another leg of her journey....You would be so confused you wouldn't know whats going on. So truth be told, I don't see how you could think it's put together oddly... But hey, you know what they say about opinions. LOL




If she gave birth to ten mis-shapen children, why would they keep trying? Do they want mis-shapen children? Pregnancy takes a lot out of you. I'm surprised she survived ten pregnancies back-to-back.

Now I have 3 children of my own, and was present at their birth. I don't claim to know the pain of child birth but I have witnessed it first hand, as have many men and fully realize the strain that goes on the body. However, your body is built to reproduce, and many women have birthed more than 10 children in their lifetime, and when you are having a family that size you don't exactly space them out. My father is actually from a family of 10 and there isn't a huge age gap between any of his siblings. So back to back is completely possible.

This has nothing to do with the above quotes:
It sounds as if everyone is reading this and expecting a full story from beginning to end. But I have only written the first to chapters, so to expect everything to be laid out for you in the first two chapters is a little silly. How many books have you read where the first to chapters are only the beginning introduction to the first character you are going to meet? I have never read any adult reading level material where the whole of the story is laid out at your feet within the first chapter. Especially if the narrator is trying to bring you into a world very different from your own. So I think to expect that kind of information is a tad bit silly.


ok next observation:





I am a breeder, birthing children of madness for the unclean masses of this accursed world.
Everything that comes after "breeder" sounds redundant.


I guess I don't see it. I say I am a breeder and then explain it. I would see it as redundant if I said: "I'm a breeder, I birth children and I am forced to reproduce."

It's not redundant to say "I'm a mom, I gave birth to three beautiful children"
Which is what she is telling you. Except she isn't a mom in the sense of the word, and her children are not beautiful.



Of course, she could be saying what follows (in this case) as emphasis. She is using words like "of madness" and "accursed world", which do tell us more about her point of view than about what a breeder is. However, if I try that interpretation, I have trouble coming to terms with the language.

Take the opening paragraph:

Ten cycles have passed since I was first taken, although not long enough for my memory to have totally deteriorated into the bleak oblivion of time. I was once a free woman; I had a name, a family, a cause. Now I am called slave, prisoner or breeder. Those that would now be considered my family, those other unfortunate women of the convent are no more a comfort to me than the pain of birthing itself. In place of the cause or purpose I once had, I now find my only hope to be death.

"Ever since the Spiral made me a breeder, all I want to do is die." (And I'd think even these are too many words...)


I am sorry dawn and I thank you for your input, really, but I have to say this.

She is narrating like an adult, not like a writer. She is explaining her situation. If I was to start the story with your example the story would drop to a fifth grade reading level. Not to mention people would be jumping all over me for not explaining a thing. Whats the Spiral? Whats a breeder? Why do you want to die?

I realize that these can be considered hooks, but I think they are cheap hooks and would be considered to be written at a very poor level. In your synopsis of feeling the narrator is a melodramatic girl, I would be more apt to think that of her if I was to read your example. Where as the first opening seems much more like that of an articulate woman.

Once again...opinions are what they are...

Anyway, I was rereading these posts and wanted to post a little more on it. Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming.

Expendable
October 5th, 2004, 01:48 AM
Its still hard. But as a breeder I'm sure she gets plenty of rest, food and clean water, which would make it easier on her. Seeing how these guys don't look like they recruit outside the faith.

As for getting all the answers in the first two chapters, I don't expect that. But don't you think its odd she doesn't know the name of the bullroarer chain knife but she does know about the branding bowl? Its not a ceremony I think they'd want the breeders to see. But maybe I'm wrong. After all, she's been there for years if she's on her eleventh child. Someone has to tend to the breeders. There might even be gossip.

I'm still not happy about all the times you use the word 'aparatus'. I'd like to suggest either a thesaurus or a visit to dictionary.com. What's wrong with accoutrement, appliance, contraption, device, furnishings, gear, gimmick, gizmo, grabber, habiliments, implement, instrument, jigger, machine, machinery, means, mechanism, outfit, paraphernalia, stuff, supplies, tackle, tools, trappings, utensils, or widget?