I was in a group here reading over and critting each others novels but the groups has faded away. I got to chapter six in my novel, "Bright Lights and Chaos" a Urban Fantasy tale about a half fey-fairye half human young woman with a strange prophecy that changes her life and puts her in dangerous situations. There's also a touch of romance in the book. It's sort of, kinda, in a way based on a series by Seanan McGuire. http://www.seananmcguire.com
I would appreciate any help I can get on finishing the reading. I need all the help I can get since I never can find all the nitpicks and still seem to have a problem with commas. And since I have more time now I can go over one or three novels, a chapter at a time.
Here are the first 13 lines.
Who would have thought that the three Fates would be party animals. As a half fey I have seen a lot of strange things in my life. I never thought I would end up as a baby-sitter for a myth, however. After all of the recent danger in my life, now this. The prophecy from that seer now made some sense. I looked over the dance floor and the bar. They had suggested we to go the RoosterÕs Red Ring, the newest nightclub in town, for a night off. At first I wondered how they knew of the club since they live in a cave. But I remembered their profession. They knew where people partied, probably knew where the best chocolate was made, too. They were too distracted.
I grasped the basics enough to make a critique but only after reading it over a few times. A little too much information and too many hints towards things that I don't know about that make for a confusing opening.
There is a half-fey, in a nightclub. That's clear, but that's about it.
Everything he (not sure if the MC is a he, she or "it" yet, although I should) is thinking about doesn't make any sense to me because there's no foundation for it. What are the Fates? I assume they are the whatchamacallits that brought the fey to the night club.
Baby-sitter to a myth? that's confusing, is the "myth" pertaining to the "Fates". Is that another name for them? or just pointing out the fact that Fates are mythical? Am I even on the right page?
why should I be surprised they are party animals? seen a lot of strange things? recent danger? prophecy? their profession? chocolate? all stuff that hints to stuff I don't know.
I believe you are making a classic mistake. Trying to build suspense and make us interested by hinting towards things that seem mysterious. But in doing so you are omitting and hiding from us way too much information that we should know. All you've done is tell me that there is a half fey in a nightclub (which could use more explanation itself) and make me confused and grumpy because I feel left out of the rest of the story.
It's an interesting concept, I'd like to see where you go with this story. I like "half-human" type stories but they are a dime a dozen and generally have to be extremely well written and have an extraordinary plot to stick out above the rest.
Telling me this is "kinda" based on a series makes me think it could be dangerously close to FanFic or too derivative.
Simplify it, Instead of hinting towards so much to create suspense and mystery that just causes confusion and frustration tell us more about the MC and why we should care that he's in a nightclub. Keep us in the story with the MC, not lost in confusion about what in the world is going on right away. Create suspense by making us care about the MC and putting him in a situation where we are worried about what will happen to him. Not by hinting towards then omitting information that we should know. That just makes my confused, grumpy and prone to write extremely long and drawn out critiques where I repeat the same things to get the point across.
Don't take me too seriously :P I write long critiques to learn more myself, not just to give my opinion.
[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited September 21, 2011).] (spelling/grammar errors)
[This message has been edited by RyanRussellLunde (edited September 21, 2011).]
I just noticed I haven't said thanks RyanRussellLunde. I was going to do that last night but obviously didn't.
Any thanks for the time and thoughts. You've said a few different things than a couple of other readers have, from the group that isn't anymore. And oops I didn't say what sex she is.
The chocolate line is to say something about her. I've seen published writers throw in a line like that.
As to the Fates. That's why I used the term the Fates. They are used quite a bit. Her profession and the seer's prophecy to her is explained soon after this.
As to being kinda like McGuira's work. That's why I used the qualifiers, maybe I should have added "Maybe". There are significant differences between her character and mine and her world and mine. Not to mention my MC's personality and her MC's personality. At the same time though I think anyone who has read hers might see that she inspired me.
I like the general concept: The Fates and a half-fey mingling at a club. I'm not sure if your 13 lines works for me as an opening hook for the story. I feel there is too much going on and it puts me off balance.
Your opening line is definitely a hook for me - it makes me want to read on. The second line is good. But the next few lines just throws too much information at me that confuses me:
- Why is she referring to the Fates as a myth. As a half fey wouldn't she be partially a myth herself? - The Fates are pretty old. Why would they need babysitting especially from presumably a "lesser" being (just making an assumption there since the main voice is a half fey)?
I know these questions will probably get fleshed out later in the narrative, but, at least for me, raising too many questions at the very beginning is more confusing than intriguing.
My other nitpick is that I feel the 13 lines jump around too much. The scene initially establishes the Fates as party animals, then there's a bit of inner monologue about babysitting and prophecies, then it jumps back to the location the Rooster's Red Ring. I would suggest rearranging the sentence order to keep the subject consistent then end with the bit of inner monologue. ~*~*~*~*~ i.e.
Who would have thought that the three Fates would be party animals.
As a half fey I have seen a lot of strange things in my life [but] I never thought I would end up as a baby-sitter for a myth.
I looked over the dance floor and the bar. They had suggested we to go the Rooster's Red Ring, the newest nightclub in town, for a night off. At first I wondered how they knew of the club since they live in a cave. But I remembered their profession. They knew where people partied, probably knew where the best chocolate was made, too.
After all of the recent danger in my life, now this. The prophecy from that seer now made some sense.
They were too distracted.
I only changed the 'however' into a 'but' because I don't like sentences that end in however
I just rearranged the sentences to illustrate what I meant by not having the action jump around too much and interrupted by inner monologue. It's just personal preference for me and simply meant as a suggestion.
Finally, I would like to reiterate that I definitely like the concept and there is enough there that would keep me reading.
[This message has been edited by redux (edited September 27, 2011).]
But she thinks of them as a myth because to her they were up until a couple of months perviously. And the term babysitting is her way of thinking of the situation. Later we learn they like her and that every so often they take a night off but they spend all of the rest of the time in that cave, so they don't have much experience socializing.
The arraignment of the sentences probably does need help.
I'm interested in reading and critiquing more. (for whatever it's worth, maybe just my own education) Possibly exchange 1000 words or so at a time? If you don't have the time or interest in my story I would still be glad to read/critique yours.
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To redux and Ryan I can send chapter one this weekend. That is half of Ch 1 to Ryan.
Ryan, I assume you mean Xander. I think I have the time but it could take me one to two weeks to do a chapter. Depending on how long they are. And what happens during that week. November may slow me down a bit too.
One more thing for RyanRussellLunde in regard to his comment about some people might think Bright Lights could be fanfic. I thought of this yesterday--kinda late to think of it-- and didn't get to it last night. Anyway, I believe there books out there that are kinda sort of based on other books. The Dog Days series by John Levit, is based on the Dresden files. Very similar in the way magic works but still a different universe.
I was going to say there are other books along those lines but come to think of it the majority of UF books have female MCs. Levit's and a newer one by C. J. Henderson are the only two I can think of right now with male heros. Hadn't thought of that before. There must be a couple I'm forgetting though. But that one by C. J. could be said to be sort of, kinda based on Dresden also.
So- I think- my book will be okay. We shall see if I ever get it ready to be published.
Oh yes. Ryan I did say I would do a couple of chapters or more of Xander. It could take me two to three weeks to get the first chapter back to you however.
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I think the first two sentences are a fine set up, but personally, right after that I would start an actual scene. I think readers want to be emerged into a world as soon as possible. This is done by writing a scene.
I look for inspiration from well written books that have sold many copies like, Blood Faerie by India Drummond. Here are the opening paragraphs.
Elidh detected the greasy scent of evil moments before she heard the scream below. She perched in St Paul's steeple, watching Perth's late night pub-crawlers through rotting slats. The scurrying footfalls of humans did not hold her interest, nor did the seeping ruby blood that spread quickly over the flat, grey paving stones.
Evil smelled like nothing else, worse than a rotting corpse, worse than swegage and disease, more vile than the fumes that billowed from modern machinery, more cloying that the shame of drunken whores. This particular evil was fresh, but not quite pure. It mixed with rage but was contained, refined, as though gestated in the belly of ancient hatred. This evil held promise, and for the first time in decades, Eilidh hesitated, slightly afraid.