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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Emperor - chapter 2 [2000 words]

Author Topic: Emperor - chapter 2 [2000 words]
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[Deleted link!]

[This message has been edited by Chronicles_of_Empire (edited August 04, 2002).]

Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
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*&%$ it! Even the dream sequence was in third person objective this time!

If you want to post a compressed video clip, that's one thing. But unless you have a producer lined up, you need to stop dinking around in third person objective.

Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  | Report this post to a Moderator
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Survivor -

I don't understand which point you're trying to make:

1/ That personally speaking you simply don't like third person objective,

2/ That very little market lit is written from an objective viewpoint, therefore this has no hope of becoming published.


Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator
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Hello Chronicles,

I am new on this forum. I read your first two chapters and I liked them.
Since this forum is meant to give feedback I will give it my best shot. English is not my first language though so that might be a bit of a hindrance.

[Disclaimer] The following is my opinion and only my opinion. When reading my opinion consider the following:
I do not know what it takes to become a good writer else I would probably be writing and publishing stories instead of posting here.

First a few general remarks. Your prose is very descriptive which slows it down somewhat but on the other hand it also enables you to set a powerful scene.
I like the first chapter it awoke my curiosity. Although in the two chapters combined you have me meeting a lot of characters and starships (giving them names makes them important in my eyes) in different scenes.
Especially the second chapter which contains three different scenes.

I am a lazy reader and many different names always makes me nervous. I think I am expected to remember them all which I never do (ofcourse). Also it somewhat puzzles me as a reader that all the scenes in the second chapter are set with different characters.
The city of Korillion is on Omicron Prime, right ? And The Great Matriarch is there in the last scene ? Or is she still on her way ? Master Rufellus dreamt of a city being destroyed was that the City of Korillion ? Where is Master Rufellus at and what does he have to do with the rest ?
And what do all these people have to do with the people in the first chapter ? Especially with Arlissa (okay I have a weakness for females in charge) ? And what was that figurine doing there ? It was found, yet it was not described in detail (only simply crafted, black), maybe because it is not important, but then why put it in ? Your starships are alive ? Are they sentient ? Your starships (or at least the bridge) seem to be made of living matter still it has panels and holograms which seems a strange way to interface with something that is alive ?

(now I read it back and it confuses me even more, the spaceships is alive it has a brain(stem). In one part a command chair grows a tit (including niple) and a paragraph later i see a free floating command chair. The free floating suggest it is something seperate ? Now is it an organic ship, or a mechanic ship or a combination of both ? It makes me wonder about the star gate too. Anwyay I did not even notice these things until I read it a second time so it is probably not that important)

Raising (interesting) questions is good ! It will keep me interested as a reader. But raising too many questions is bad it will confuse me and make me loose interest. I keep saying I am a lazy reader (so that must be true) personally I can not handle very many questions.

Now to the more nit picking parts.

First thing I noticed is that your universe does not contain any doors or hatches, it only has apertures. And everything gets a very large description except for the things that makes me most curious, these apertures (and the figurine) !

You tend to make very long sentences. Like I said I am a lazy reader I like to get pieces of information handed to me in easy digestable chunks. For example the next sentence:

He narrowed his view, crows feet crinkling in his ageing features, as he looked down across lush wide plains, a city built of rising golden ziggurats spread far to the distance.

Any particular reason why that last phrase cant be a seperate sentence ? Introducing the city into this dream seems important because it gets destroyed later on. I feel it should not be at the end of an already long descriptive sentence. (on a personal level, I dislike komma's)

Going towards the end of chapter two you start using the same phrase structure over and over. Like these:

Master Rufellus opened his eyes with a start,
the darkness of his simple sleeping cell around him,
a red of dawn apparent through the single small window as birdsong glittered outside.

Troops of the White Legion with their white crests followed after the musicians,
dressed in ceremonial armour of white and gold,
marching in synchronised order as they followed the first bars of the anthem as it struck up.

The dignitaries followed next,
Dominaris Domineris leading out dressed in refined robes of purple and gold,
his blond hair and beard festooned with small gems.

and more . . .

It starts with an active phrase then a komma then two descriptive phrases. It builds rythm which is good but on the other hand if you get many lazy readers like me, it might be a problem. I started to skip the third and even second parts of the sentences. It becomes predictable (=boring) very fast.

Personally I liked the first chapter better than the second chapter. The second chapter only seems to raise new questions instead of beginning with answering some of the questions raised in your first chapter. This makes lazy readers (like me) confused and wish for a converging storyline very early on.
Do I really need to meet Master Rufellus so early on ? Why cant I follow the Great Matriarch to her meeting with the new Emperor ?

If none of these comments ring true to you then just ignore them. Take what you can use and throw away the rest !


[This message has been edited by joris (edited July 28, 2002).]

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Sorry, Chronicles--I wasn't very clear or helpful.

By third person objective, I mean that your POV is limited to objective description of the events that take place.

Nemestor stepped on through the white anchor corridor, his white and gold bridge uniform contrasting with his dark skin, the imperial eagle embossed upon his chest. Photochromic panels provided bright illumination in the living ship as he walked on. A short way ahead an aperture opened and Arollyn stepped out, dressed similar upon fairer skin, Nemester nodding with a smile as he slowed beside. "Nervous?"
In this passage, there is no indication of any internal thoughts or feelings other than what is communicated by the description of physical actions and words. It is like an instruction to the director of a movie--"have these actions occur on screen."

The most popular POV in modern fiction literature is third person limited omniscient (I am aware that this sounds like an oxymoron, which is possibly why it is often reffered to simply as third person limited). In this POV, the narrative is advanced by descibing the perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and motives of an important character in detail. The reader experiences the story "through the eyes"--from the point of view--of that character. This is what is commonly meant by "POV" as opposed to the technical distinctions between "point of view" uses. In the case of your story, there is no character that we are seeing the action with--the action is presented as though recorded by a video camera.

Because there is no particular character for the reader to sympathize with, the reader's investment in the story is limited to how interesting the visuals presented seem. You present strong visuals in very descriptive terms, but there is no development of emotional connection to any of the characters. Card mentions this in one of his books about writing, I think. I also mention it frequently, so sit up and pay attention.

Basically, I'm making both points that you mention. I don't like to read third person objective. I feel that the only reason to read third person objective is as a director reading a play for screen or stage, so that I know what elements are to be included in the presentation. And I don't like even short passages in third person objective when I'm reading. At the same time, I don't know any published writer that writes exclusively in third person objective except when writing a screen-play to be used in making a movie. That is the only market that I know of that accepts third person objective works, and then only for the purpose of producing a movie.

Not everyone shares my aversion to third person objective, and many published works have passages, often "scene setting" descriptions at the beginning of a book, that are written in third person objective. But such scenes are invariably short, comprising a page or so at most (even then, I feel personally that they are awkward and of little literary value). But you cannot possibly hope to get a work published by a reputable company if it is entirely in third person objective.

Just for the record, I read both chapters, and I think that your language--particularly your descriptions--is engaging and accessible. I also think that your ideas are interesting--though certain elements seem (and this is partly because of the third person objective) to be lifted from popular movies. But by confining yourself to third person objective, you have created a work that succeeds only in being inferior in every way to a comic book. Remember, a picture really is worth a thousand words, when you limit your subject matter to visual elements. Words are only worth more in describing what cannot be visualized.

Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  | Report this post to a Moderator
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joris and survivor

I'd just like to thank you both for your taking the time to read and comment on the piece.

I apperciate your remarks, Joris. As you may have noticed, I'm trying to push the story forward quickly, and raise engaging questions. A few more chapters and you would have at least a few of them answered [but not the main ones!].

Also thanks to Survivor for pointing out, even somewhat tersely, that third person objective has no place in commerical fiction.

I'm now re-approaching the story and rewriting in third person limited omniscient. It's slow and arduous, and not my natural style [yet!]. But it's already bringing the writing and experience much more to life. I'll post a fragment when I'm confident that I can carry the POVs as required.

Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2002  | Report this post to a Moderator

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