Hatrack River
Home † | † About Orson Scott Card † | † News & Reviews † | † OSC Library † | † Forums † | † Contact † | † Links
Research Area † | † Writing Lessons † | † Writers Workshops † | † OSC at SVU † | † Calendar † | † Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Concept - Medieval Fiction

   
Author Topic: Concept - Medieval Fiction
Mecopitch
Member
Member # 10173

 - posted      Profile for Mecopitch           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I finished my first draft the other night at around 19,000 words and 85 pages. I've gone through and left myself notes of things I missed, things that I can leave out, etc. I figured I would share it with you all for some good ole critiquing.

The grammar may be a bit off as well, as I was just writing as the thoughts came. No editing while writing (and I was pretty good about it).

A childhood obsession with thievery had followed Aryna into into adolescence; an unquenchable thirst growing in intensity with every heist. It was laughable how she had once struggled with the swiping food from the kitchen or apples from the orchard.
Those capers had quickly become so routine, that she had grown fond of acquiring more apparel, jewelry, and gemstones than anyone would ever need. But most of all, she was after books and the knowledge contained within, and Masterís family had a generous supply.
Countless hours were spent in the North Wood, reading by whatever moonlight the trees would allow. There were no distractions here, save the occasional noises of the wind and

Posts: 72 | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Disgruntled Peony
Member
Member # 10416

 - posted      Profile for Disgruntled Peony   Email Disgruntled Peony         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There are several grammatical issues, as well as a duplicated word. I get the feeling you're looking more for a critique on the general feel of the opening than the grammatical specifics, but it's hard for me to critique one side of a story without the other, so I'm just going to keep things simple:

The opening feels slow to me, but not so slow I would stop reading. I'd probably give it a chapter to catch my interest, if the grammatical side of things were smoothed over. As it is, the prose doesn't flow well enough to hold my interest like I want it to. With some refinement, though, it has potential.

Posts: 723 | Registered: May 2015  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mecopitch
Member
Member # 10173

 - posted      Profile for Mecopitch           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ah yes, the wonderful mid sentence stop, resulting in duplicates. I was probably working from my phone.

Yes. I can't say I'm particularly proud of it. It was more of a way to introduce myself to the character.

Posts: 72 | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is all narrator tell and because of that I would not keep reading.

Show me who she is, what she wants. Reveal her fears and desires through her deeds and actions, not some disembodied narrator.

Phil.

Posts: 1605 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mecopitch
Member
Member # 10173

 - posted      Profile for Mecopitch           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Expecting one to reveal everything about a character in the first 13 lines might be a bit unrealistic, but it is definitely more "telly" than I usually prefer. That's been noted in my marks on it and I think I have it worked out for a deeper POV now.
Posts: 72 | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's not quite what I meant, as I'm sure you realise. What I'm suggesting is that you should reconsider your opening scene so that it shows us what she wants instead of telling us.

Phil.

Posts: 1605 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A disembodied voice summarizes an individual's life of crime.

A Pump Primer, not a Turkey City Lexicon or other workshop term even yet hinted at, backstory and summary explanation synopsis of a narrative's superficial action to prime the pump and dredge up a story's water. The synopsis sketches an outline of a story's external action start. Each clause is in and of itself a full-fledged scene that to me wants dramatic development.

This attempts an interior-internal discourse: "struggled with." Thoughts about idiom use -- struggled with could be external struggle, trouble reaching a table, a cupboard, a cabinet, a closet, picking a chest lock, cracking a safe, literal meanings of the term. The idiom use means emotional struggle. Clarity wants development there too.

This is a clearer viewpoint glitch: "and Masterís family." See, the capital case "Master" and no article adjective the, is internal, of a stream-of-consciousness method: otherwise common noun capitalized, like Ma said instead of my ma said, Bossman supervised us, not the boss man, references a specific individual in a form that is personal-interior. The rest is remote, wide-open distance.

I'd a thought a petty thief would be caught and cruelly punished even on the slimmest of suspicions. Tortured on the rack until confessed. Off with her hands, off with her head. This is the Middle Ages.

Books of the era were more precious and rarer than life. What knowledge does she glean, too? Scriptural texts were the norm for hand scribed by novice clergy, hand illuminated, hand bound books of the age. Other subjects were profane and proscribed. Though profane texts were made by apostates, they were thought beneath repute of holy purpose and rarer and more precious yet. Scribed on leather vellum and parchment, texts were costly to make and buy.

Foolscap's economical cotton-linen fiber "paper" was years, decades, centuries away, well, one of the innovations that founded the Renaissance, and movable type. Books of the age were large, heavy, and not the sort of object to be secreted in a purse, tunic, apron, or blouse -- no pockets then -- rather like a small strongbox chest, maybe padlocked cover, too.

Common texts were broadsides, small pamphlet codexes, or palimpsest -- previous writing scraped away, erased, reused leather parchment.

A thirst for knowledge is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. What end reading? Wants for exotic lands detailing historic, heroic, patriotic adventures of knights errant on crusade? Great Aesop's Fables of proper social conduct for wives and children? Primers of ye Four R's: reading, writing, arithmetic, and reason. His excellency Mister, sir, Marco Polo's accounts of the mystic Orient? Philosopher's receipts (recipes) for brimstone, aqua regia, salt peter, and theories of phlogiston? The arcanna of an esoteric industry, metallurgy? Encylopaedia of knowledge?

I would not read on until the work was less sketched synopsis and more developed dramatic prose.

[ December 03, 2015, 11:15 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5100 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jed Anderson
Member
Member # 9863

 - posted      Profile for Jed Anderson   Email Jed Anderson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Making a comment after Ex is a bit disheartening. His elequent use of the english language is a bit daunting at times.

That being said, this story's opening doesn't grab hold of me, and because of that, I lost interest. What you've opened up with should be at least half a page in because it's filler, backstory of the character. Starting off with that is boring.

Pull me into the story. Start me off with her holding a massive book in her hands after a heist, or something like that. Let me feel how her heart is still pounding from the thrill of it, palms still clammy, and her skin prickles as the night air cools the sweat on her back.

Give the reader something he or she can dig their fingers into. It doesn't have to be something epic, but backstory is just too slow. There's plenty of time to tell of that later. For now, put us into her story right off the bat.

Posts: 90 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mecopitch
Member
Member # 10173

 - posted      Profile for Mecopitch           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, Ex uses big words and terms, but their overall point is located in the beginning, middle, and end. It's just those parts in between that seem like filler (like your accurate assessment of these first thirteen).

We'll see where this ends up after my second draft. It's seen a lot of changes already.

*Edit* I should have notated the friendly sarcasm in this post. I did find your response helpful, Ex.

[ November 30, 2015, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: Mecopitch ]

Posts: 72 | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Codeô is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2