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Jules Dante
February 28th, 2005, 06:49 PM
Hey there ladies and gentlemen. I'm Dave and I'm from the UK (to cut a long story short). I found this site just searching on google for publisher's details and support groups and I have to say these forums are a godsend- not just for the wealth of anecdotal information on offer, but in the way that they alleviate the feeling of being alone as an aspiring author trying to make his validity credible and certain.
Anyway, I shan't bother you for too long, neither will I throw my self in at the deepend by submitting materials for people to critique right now (especially with people being so alien to me and my work) :o . Without further ado, I shall give a brief description of my work and I'll be back later with something more meaty:
Set in the 32nd century, Angels is ostensibly science-fiction concerned with the brief war which rages between the potent, magnanimous human race and the primitive, corrupt Copians. Lead by Lord Commander Gabriel, the Angel Core- an elite military organisation composed of magnificently equipped and trained warriors whose lives from the years they could walk had been dedicated to fighting- spearhead an assault deep into Copian space where they discover that genocide is a twisted act of mercy. Copian civilisation trails behind that of humanity, with all the attendant problems of an unenlightened culture - merciless capitalism runs rampant, the numberless working classes are no more than doomed slaves in the military machine, and their homeworlds are crippled by pollution and overall urban decay. In a deeper sense, the Copian Empire is a thinly, but wittily, veiled reflection on human history spanning from the Victorian era of obsessive empire building to the cynical individualist capitalism of today. By contrast, the League of Worlds is a righteous force, wherein humans are protected and provided for with limitless resources. Clean, advanced industry has reduced the need for exploitative labour, and people dedicate their lives to the development of art, music and philosophy; that is to skim the vast list of their higher concerns. They believe it an abuse to leave humans to work for staples such as food and water, thus the ever watchful government provides them. It is no surprise that the League of Worlds is brimming over with highly educated, physically astounding volunteer soldiers whom in their gratefulness would risk their lives to preserve the utopia around them. Yet the utopia is fragile, threatened from within, and it is the lives of the numerous protagonists of this epic tale which demonstrate what can happen when all is not as it seems.

Jules Dante out. Thanks for reading.

michaelS0620
February 28th, 2005, 07:53 PM
Welcome to the boards Jules! Nice to see you and your story looks interesting. One word of advice; if you are going to post longish sections, make sure you add in some spacing. As it is, your post is a bit hard to follow.

If you are going to be posting longer sections, then you can use the stories/poems area of the community area.

Welcome aboard.

Michael

JRMurdock
February 28th, 2005, 08:51 PM
Sounds like an interesting idea you've got going there. Just beware of cliche and make sure you read read read everything out there that may be remotely like what you're doing to ensure you don't duplicate another's ideas.

That being said. Hey! Welcome aboard. Glad you found us. We can be a brutal lot, I'll forewarn you of that. But we're all trying to acheive the same goal so don't take critisism too hard. We're softies when it comes to publishers. Trust me on that one.

So now that you've piqued out interest, try posting up some sample writing for us to tear our fangs into.

Expendable
February 28th, 2005, 09:46 PM
Definitely look into the Community (http://www.sffworld.com/community/) section to post those stories you feel you'd like reviewed. Like michaelS0620 said, you can click on the Stories/Poems button at the top of the window or you can click where it says Community (http://www.sffworld.com/community/) in this post.

Jules Dante
March 1st, 2005, 05:51 AM
Thanks for the info. Just finding my feet here. I've got a blog now, and you can find a chapter from my first (unpublished) novel in David Jackson's blog (Dave's Big Bad Blog) or by looking up Angels chapter 33 excerpt. I'll appreciate all criticism, no matter how harsh; but I'm looking for comment on a few specific areas if you have the time:

I sent this excerpt in addition to a synopsis to Orbit Publishing and recieved a somewhat officious, standardised rejection. This chapter may not make too much sense outside of the rest of the novel, I guess, but how does chapter one represent an entire novel? Anyway, I'd like comment as to whether you think this chapter is attractive on its own.

Style: this novel is SF, but I'm trying to think outside the box. I'm tired of the 'cynical future' setting wherein everyone is rough, gritty and secular. Here my dialogue is a touch epical, a touch Tolkenian, perhaps even biblical in flashes but I'm afraid it might be stilted. Rip into it as much as you want, its probably one of my weakest areas. Otherwise, general comment on how I construct narrative and describe people and objects will be gratefully recieved.

Again, thanks for reading. I'll try to be less long winded (and come of less pompous, maybe, I can never tell how I sound...) next time. Bye.

Jules Dante
March 1st, 2005, 06:31 PM
here's the direct link if my work isn't showing up: Chapter 33 (http://www.sffworld.com/blog/4076.html)

Expendable
March 1st, 2005, 10:11 PM
here's the direct link if my work isn't showing up: Chapter 33 (http://www.sffworld.com/blog/4076.html)
You're not going to like hearing this, I'm sorry.

Chapter 33 needs some work. My biggest problem with what I've read so far is that you do a lot of 'telling' instead of showing us. Here's an example:


Dante felt true rage in him for the first time. Foolish people had upset him before, frustrated him, even brought him to tears, but this sensation was new. He would not let the assassin finish his work.
Here you're telling us "He felt true rage" instead of SHOWING us his true rage. What does true rage look like? How does it feel to him? Does his heart hammer in his chest? His blood boiling? Does his face turn red? Does he scream defiance at his assassin? Does he jump onto the man's shoulders screaming his head off while gouging the assassin's eyes out of his skull?

Wouldn't you rather read that than hear "he felt true rage"?

And is it necessary for us to learn the history of his former abuses? He's in a fight for his life, who cares about that now?

I'm doing an indepth critique of your blog submission now picking out all the stuff I had problems with and I'll post it here.

michaelS0620
March 2nd, 2005, 01:28 AM
I will get to reading through your piece a bit later (I am busy plowing through the beginning of my own manuscript, but I did want to comment on something in the introduction to your piece
There are a few criticisms, regarding only one character, who has been described as 'boring'... but she's supposed to be. Boring and pretty, trying to get by on her looks.Characters should never, ever, be boring to readers. They can be plain. Other characters in the story may find them boring, but if the reader finds them boring, you should rework it.

A character who other characters find boring can still be intersting to read, as it may provide tension, drama,and/or comic relief.

Abby
March 2nd, 2005, 01:53 AM
Welcome, Jules!


I sent this excerpt in addition to a synopsis to Orbit Publishing and recieved a somewhat officious, standardised rejection. This chapter may not make too much sense outside of the rest of the novel, I guess, but how does chapter one represent an entire novel? Anyway, I'd like comment as to whether you think this chapter is attractive on its own.
The first chapters of a novel are the most important, as far as publishers are concerned. You've got to hook the reader. If whoever read it wasn't impressed by the first chapter, then they'll assume the rest of the book won't be impressive. They have tons of manuscripts to try, and they'll be eager to move on to the next one.


Style: this novel is SF, but I'm trying to think outside the box. I'm tired of the 'cynical future' setting wherein everyone is rough, gritty and secular. Here my dialogue is a touch epical, a touch Tolkenian, perhaps even biblical in flashes but I'm afraid it might be stilted. Rip into it as much as you want, its probably one of my weakest areas. Otherwise, general comment on how I construct narrative and describe people and objects will be gratefully recieved.
I haven't read the chapter, but I'll put in my 2 cents anyway. It's difficult to pull off old-fashioned dialogue. You've got to do a lot of research in order to make it sound authentic, and you may automatically lose some readers who find it too hard to plow through. Tolkien was a linguistics professor at Oxford; he had the experience with languages to pull it off. Most authors who've used old-fashioned language lived in eras where that was the modern vernacular. Your novel is set in the distant future--why not assume that the characters speak a different language, and make up some proverbs and slang terms to illustrate to the reader that they're not speaking 21st century English?

Also, I'll ditto what michaelS0620 said. If the reader finds the POV or main character boring, then you'll have trouble keeping the reader's interest. I think I understand what you're going for with that character, but maybe you can exaggerate some of her "boring and pretty" traits to make her more interesting. Maybe she has some really disgusting habit that she's unaware of, like picking her lip or digging into her ear. Or maybe she constantly flirts with men, and gets defensive whenever people point this out.

Best of luck!

michaelS0620
March 2nd, 2005, 02:09 AM
I'll post my thoughts in little chunks here and there. I think the work as a whole isn't bad, so I will stick to where I see issues.

For one, I have a good sense of "things" the hall the powered exo-skeletons, but not a good sense of "characters". For instance...


Her armour was a perfect recreation of her computer aided design, from the golden flames gilded onto her limbs and brilliantly burnished, to the knife-like feathers protruding from her elbows and the tiny ruby blood-drop earrings attached to her helm.


Although this is descriptive of the suit, it misses the opportunity to describe Crystelle. It appears the flames, feathers, and rubies are all her idea. Is she vain? Is she "in fashion" and hip? Are these artistic touches a throw back and will she be seen as conservative?

In some cases I think you are piling on too much description


the craggy form of Admiral Daedalus, whom she had only ever heard tales of, a crystalline crown upon his head, glowing with unknown energy, thin grey hairs curling out from beneath its firm place on the broad, wise dome of his old head.


"a crystalline crown upon his broad graying brow" perhaps?



She watched as her heart rate slowed in the corner of her eye, a fine green blip travelling on a graph. A reading of 100 percent suit integrity and 99 percent functionality flashed directly onto her retina through the photocells secreted in the helm's sophisticated super-plastic eyelets, a little chrome colouration leaking through them as the bright light hit the surface. The suit's functionality and power rating topped up to one-hundred percent again as it drew electrical energy from the atmosphere.


The above seems out of place and can be removed. They are audience members in a friendly setting so her power ratings and suit integrity are of little importance. Better to remove this, and put it in, at a time where power and integrity will be of concerns (e.g. before a large scale battle).