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Author Topic: Volume 1, first novel, first scene after prologue
Chronicles_of_Empire
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Hmm...ok. I'm simply looking for comments regarding major or minor literary flaws in here.

I've considered submitting this scene for my approaches, though I may have to use a later dramatic scene.

http://www.chroniclesofempire.net/library/samplechapters/samplechapter1.htm


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Rahl22
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Ok, this is very superficial, but I just wanted to say. Uhh dude? This is your first chapter??? It's about 15k words long. If this really is only one chapter's worth of plot, you need to speed it up a little bit. I read the first paragraph, and if that is anything like the rest (which I admit I haven't read) then I can see why it's so long. You have a beautiful gift for prose, and it's really very elegant. But holy smokes, batman. You need to trim trim trim.
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MrWhipple
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Ditto to Rahl.
I didn't want to be brutal, but you gotta cut loose of some of those adverbs and adjitives. Stick to strong nouns and verbs. Get to the point. Get some action going. Make me care. Just say it is raining hard. Make a point and move on.
I really am trying to be nice. Please be nice to the reader. He has a head. Let him use his imagination.
Sorry but I just had to get that off my chest. Break up those long paragraphs with some engaging dialogue. Or just break them up.
Sorry to be so frank but Pleeeeeese cut and trim a LOT. Tighten where you can. Don't think how MANY words can I use here. Think How many words can I get rid of and still make my point.

best of luck
MrWhipple


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Chronicles_of_Empire
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No problems, folks - and thanks for looking. I've known for a long time that Chronicles is just *too* long.

The first chapter is one of the longest scenes in the complete novels, but there are close contenders.

But I just don't feel ready to trim and edit down, though. The mental state isn't there yet.

I feel a need to promote Chronicles as I originally intended. Probably later I'll be capable of reconstructing it as the main markets demand.

As some of you know, I'm making another stab with a sci-fi specifically aimed at market conditions [it follows on from Chronicles!]. I'm sure success with that will help hone my attitude to reapproach Chronicles with a more serious [professional?] eye.


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Kolona
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Since you were my 1st reply, CofE--& I thank you--may I presume to comment?

You've apparently put in a lot of effort, but don't jeopardize it by leading with weak verbs: "were hammered," "was hidden." "Stakes of ice" & "swarms of heather" threw me. You probably meant "coalescing" not "coercing" & "supple" not "suppliant." "Engulfed to soak" seemed redundant.

But it's a powerful scene. Don't lose it in a deluge of words.

What I mean is something like the following: Rain hammered the fractured ridges of weathered grey rock that thrusted upward through uneven hills. As the storm moved across the landscape, hiding the sun, it drowned small plants in swells of mud. Water surged between rocks, trickles becoming brooks & streams rivers. Rockfalls from crumbling cliffs ripped leafless shrubs & seas of heather from their roots. Rain soaked the newly-exposed hillsides, & the ground shook to the echoing booms of thunder that accompanied the lightning crackling & flashing overhead.

Of course, that needs work, too, but you won't lose the reader--or editor--in words. It would be a shame to lose precious marketing time.


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Chronicles_of_Empire
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Kolona -

That's very fair comment, and the best of feedback. I've always felt weak on description, which is probably why I overdo it here. And you've definitely provided something constructive for me to work on. Thanks for that!

Brian


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MrWhipple
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Sory for the previous rant. Kolona's post was more on target and more like the advice I should have given you. I see a lot of writing like yours from my sons and even though I keep telling them to trim they don't listen, and then wonder why people can't get past the third paragraph. I will try hard to be more civil in the future. Please forvive my abruptness.

Van


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Chronicles_of_Empire
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Mr Whipple -

There was nothing wrong in what you [or Rahl] said - it was neither brutal nor incorrect. It was a simple statement of the obvious. Kolona simply took the issue a stage further by isolating specifics and making suggestive correction.

Frankly, I really am grateful that all those who commented here even took the time just to look. For that I give sincere thanks regardless.

Brian


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GZ
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ome thoughts after reading through your first chapter (Didnít have time when it first went up). Just one readerís opinions, do with as you will:

Iíd have to agree with the over-description commentsÖ the sea of words drowns out the picture you are trying to make and lessens its impact.

Youíve constructed most of the conversation with a fairly strict formula
<character name><physical action><Dialog>
It makes for very repetitive reading.

The characters also seem overly open with each other considering they just met. Some of the conversation seems more like exposition than actually conversation as well. Some more body language/non-verbal cues might really be helpful for getting across opinions without saying them. Also, it might help to get into some of the characterís heads. Itís like watching a movie, but more stilted because you lack the visuals provided by varying camera angles Ė no silent thoughts, no seeing the internal affect of the characters on one another, no real feeling of depth to anybody, which must be under the exteriors they are presenting. It wasnít a POV that really sucked me in.

You do have the makings of some interesting characterís here, and I can see where the will be several potential areas of interaction (good, bad, and ugly) which I assume you plan to develop later on.

This is a pretty quiet first chapter. Nothing really of note happens except these people met and complain about the weather, the set out again. Might be too quiet to really rope a reader in depending on how the prologue is set up. I didn't find myself very invested by the time I was finished.


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SiliGurl
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Chronicles,

Hi! I'm emailing you my feedback... I went through about 4,500 words of your chapter. For the most part, I think you're a talented writer although too verbose. Much of your details are redundant and do not further propel your story. They're well written and evocative, but at such redundancy, they fail to captivate. I think with a much tighter narrative and a little more driving edge to what's happening here, this would be an exceptional chapter.

One cautionary note: 15,000 is TOOOOO long for a chapter. Your chapters should (ideally) range between 3,000 - 6,000 words, with a better goal of being 3 - 4.5k. BUT, with that said, you have plenty of padding to cull, so getting this to a strong length shouldn't be difficult. Good luck to you!


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Chronicles_of_Empire
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Thanks again, folks, for the pointers.

I've tried to write visually here, which is why I'm constantly trying to remind of certain details for visualisation - but the overwhelming reaction is that I'm providing extraneously.

There's a dawn of realisation within that I'm going to have to go back and entirely rewrite the five novels I've completed, and with a very large and sharp knife to boot.

To be honest, I have expected it anyway - sort of hoped to let the agent's help with editing. But since I started seriously researching the market, I know it's up to me if I want to be taken seriously.

I've had to do a complete re-write before. Guess I do again. Doesn't mean to say I'm looking forward to it, though.

But I am utterly grateful that people here not only took the time to read something of my work [even a couple of paragraphs], but also bothered to give the most important feedback I've ever received on it.


Brian


[edited for typos!]


[This message has been edited by Chronicles_of_Empire (edited June 21, 2002).]


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parkypark
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Great job with the web site, the forum, and your sweeping vision of the world you've created. I did find the descriptive elements of this fragment to be overwhelming, though. I prefer more of a balance between action and description, myself.

I found much of your dialogue to be very fresh, and I liked the way you weaved humor into parts of the conversations. But in some places, the characters are just plain long-winded.

Overall, this chapter appears to need a robust edit. And do something about all of the water! The sodding storm was soaking the sod-sogging characters sodden to such an extent (such splashing and spraying and sogging and slogging) that I laughed until I soiled my sodding shorts!

You could cut away most of your description, shorten up some of the dialogue, and you'd still have more than enough detail to draw readers into your world. Looks to me that you have talent, and you don't seem to have any productivity issues (what's your secret?). Now itís time to get really vicious with your editing!



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Doc Brown
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Over the centuries, some "wordaholic" writers have been very successful. It's not the style of current popular writers like Stephen King or Tom Clancy, but it's still a valid style.

If you leave your style as it is someone will love it. Unfortunately, that someone might not be an agent or editor.


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