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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Silver Wolf-Ghosts Of The Past Feedback?
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    The Silver Wolf-Ghosts Of The Past Feedback?
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Fri May 06, 2016 9:00 pm  
    The Silver Wolf-Ghosts Of The Past Feedback?

    With the posting of Part Fourteen of my latest rendition of the Company of the Silver Wolf (with special thanks to Cebrion for kindly putting up with me sending him all these chapters one after another) I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or feedback on it?

    Again, I thought this story was a significant impact over the previous one, although I'm still not quite where I want to be at.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat May 07, 2016 6:08 am  

    Did you wish a story critique, or an editing critique? They're not the same thing. Evil Grin Laughing
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat May 07, 2016 7:36 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Did you wish a story critique, or an editing critique? They're not the same thing. Evil Grin Laughing


    I might as well go for both.

    Nobody ever accused me of not being a glutton for punishment! Wink
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat May 07, 2016 9:02 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    . . . a glutton for punishment! Wink


    Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Oh, it's not going to be that bad! Evil Grin
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    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat May 07, 2016 10:22 am  

    Somehow, my post to the story page got all crunched together, so I'll re-post it here.

    There are two sins you have trouble shaking, but do not let that discourage you. The first sin is shared by nearly every writer . . . you confuse your Points of View. This can be seen in the third paragraph:

    "Taking a deep breath, Seline looked around at her companions. As exhausted as they were, bloodied and wounded from the long night of battle, they had all survived. Even Amyalla had outfoxed her opponents, throwing a flask of oil in the face of the remaining soldier facing her after the first one had been forced to block her thrown dagger. Getting the surviving soldier between her and his blinded ally, she had taunted the blinded soldier into striking at her. The sighted soldier was skewered by his companion, instantly slain as the blinded soldier realized what he’d done. It had been an easy matter for Amyalla to cut his throat after that."

    Oh really? And how does Seline know this? Was Seline not busy "casting a cloud of steam . . . giving Seline time to cast one of the few spells she had left . . . finally, Seline cast her last spell, as her fiery sphere rolled forward . . ."?

    Well, was she busy doing all of that, or not? Then how could she possibly know what Amyalla was doing? Was Seline using telepathy as well? If not, then how could she know what Amyalla was thinking? "Amyalla had outfoxed . . ." Intent also plays to the "thinking" aspect, as does motive.

    Sounds to me like Seline's spells all failed and that Seline neither killed, nor bested, anyone. Seems to me that Seline failed her Concentration check, so her spells fizzled and did no harm.

    The phrase "Amyalla had outfoxed her opponents . . ." was the beginning of a new paragraph and a new Point of View; Amyalla's Point of View . . . not Seline's.

    After casting her spells, all Seline could do was look at her companions and see that they had all survived. She could not have been watching all of their individual actions during the combat, much less their thoughts, feelings and/or emotions.

    I'm lumping grammar, punctuation and sentence construction together. Your opening paragraphs give good examples of these as well. For instance:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell, as her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs. The men screamed in agony as the flames were consumed all around them, collapsing to the ground as Seline brought the sphere back to roll over them. It wasn’t long before they stopped thrashing, their charred corpses lying dead on the floor."

    Excuse me but, what are you saying here?

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell , as her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs."

    See that comma? The one that comes after the word "spell"? That's got you all messed up, thus it's got your readers confused too. What that comma implies is this:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell, as her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs . . ." what? What spell did Seline cast "as her fiery sphere rolled forward"? I'm still waiting.

    I believe you meant to imply that the "fiery sphere" was her "last spell", but that is not what your sentence structure actually says to me. No, your sentence structure implies that there is another spell coming and that this spell is being cast as the sphere rolls forward. So . . . I'm still waiting.

    If you mean that Seline's fiery sphere is her last spell, then the structure should be like this:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell. As her fiery sphere rolled forward . . . " Two separate sentences. A comma -- punctuation -- completely changes the meaning of the image you are trying to convey.

    More sentence structure:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell. As her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs. The men screamed in agony as the flames were consumed all around them, collapsing to the ground as Seline brought the sphere back to roll over them. It wasn’t long before they stopped thrashing, their charred corpses lying dead on the floor."

    Yeah, that second sentence isn't really a sentence anymore, is it? It's really just the first half of a sentence now. A sentence that should look something like this:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell. As her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs, the men screamed in agony as the flames were consumed all around them, collapsing to the ground as Seline brought the sphere back to roll over them."

    Better, but still not quite right. Perhaps this phrasing is what's got us messed up; "the men screamed in agony as the flames were consumed all around them."

    Excuse me again, but "as the flames were consumed"? By what? What could possible "consume" flames? Perhaps you meant to imply that the flames were, themselves, consuming something? Perhaps you meant this:

    "Finally, Seline cast her last spell. As her fiery sphere rolled forward and ignited the webs, the men began screaming in agony, collapsing to the ground as the flames consumed everything around them."

    See, I think that's what you meant . . . but that's not what you wrote.

    There are other examples throughout, but I'm not the least interested in "beating you up." I'm just interested in offering some advice, which you asked for.

    For instance, this portion of your story is posted as a "stand alone." This means that certain elements need to be reintroduced each time, so as not to lose the reader, as in Airk. How is Airk introduced into this portion of the story? What's the Point of View?

    "Seline felt a tremendous sense of relief at that, but it was soon subsumed by her worry for Airk.

    He might be killed by Kalrek, but that was only half of the reason Seline was so worried about him. "

    No idea what that's supposed to mean, or why I -- the reader -- am supposed to care. More explanation needs to be given for this Point of View.

    More sentence structure:

    "With the death of their master and so many of the warriors in his service, it had not taken long for most of Kalrek’s other servants to surrender."

    Who in the heck is "their master?" That identity should come first, not after. Who is "his service?" Who is "his?" Try this:

    "With the death of Kalrek, and so many of his warriors, it did not take long for his remaining servants to surrender."

    Or this:

    "With the death of their master, and so many of his warriors, it did not take long for most of Kalrek's other servants to surrender."

    "Their master" needs to be identified right off, not later in the sentence, or paragraph.

    Consider what I offer and re-read the material for yourself. The impression I come away with is that your thoughts are crowding your mind and you are in a hurry to put them down on paper.

    That's all well and good, but that doesn't mean you need to be in a hurry to publish it -- also known as posting it to Canonfire!

    You've expressed a liking for my stories, in the past. I'll remind you of what I've told you before; I read my own stories until I am sick of them. Only then do I post them here. Proof read your material; over and over and over again, looking for the mistakes.

    You feel rushed to get your thoughts down on paper; have at it. Knock yourself out! There's no need to "rush them into print." Quality, not quantity.

    I hope you take the critique in the manner in which it is meant. And never stop writing.

    (You will note that I have now edited this post six times because I "rushed" to post it) Embarassed Evil Grin Laughing
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    Last edited by Mystic-Scholar on Sat May 07, 2016 3:02 pm; edited 6 times in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Sat May 07, 2016 2:39 pm  

    Mystic's suggestions are good ones, and I agree with them. He helped me in this very manner when I began posting on Canonfire! I believe his helpful criticisms were a major contributing factor to my improvement as a writer.

    We're glad you are sharing your stories with us, CruelSummerLord. Keep them coming. Smile

    SirXaris
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat May 07, 2016 6:56 pm  

    You're not beating me up at all, MysticScholar-if anything, I was hoping that you, in particular, would respond. As with SirXaris, your feedback has been important for my developing my skills as a writer.

    A couple of points:

    -This was my first attempt at writing a novel-length story. I've written more than 200 short stories in some ongoing fanfiction series, but this is my first shot at something that goes over 40,000 words (51,300, as a matter of fact).

    -As you might have guessed, I wrote this whole thing in one stream, working over the course of about a year. I didn't divide it into chapters. That's worked for my short stories, but it clearly didn't here.

    That might be one of the reasons that you weren't sure why Airk's point of view was important was because I never intended any of these individual parts to be stand alones-they were supposed to be like chapters in novels, each one building on the last one. My intent was that the reader recall Airk's previous trauma, and his companions' concern for him, as shown in earlier parts. These things were not mentioned in later parts because they were already shown in earlier ones.

    -Out of curiosity, what did you think of my characterization and presentation of the characters' inner thoughts and conflicts, particularly Airk's? I was wondering if I was laying it on too thick with my attempts at depicting his trauma. I was trying to show that he was deeply damaged by his trauma, much like real life war veterans can be.

    It took me a little while before I really found my voice with my short story fanfiction and the characters I was writing about. It'll probably be the same with my writing longer novels.

    That said, the next novel I have in mind, the second part of a trilogy, should be better. Not only do I have Mystic's terrific feedback to work off of, I also have the intrigues of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy's Celestial Houses to play with... Evil Grin
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat May 07, 2016 8:18 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    That might be one of the reasons that you weren't sure why Airk's point of view was important . . .


    Ah! You see? I did not quote Airk's Point of View . . . it was Seline's Point of View and that's why it needed to be enlarged upon.

    "Seline felt a tremendous sense of relief at that, but it was soon subsumed by her worry for Airk. He might be killed by Kalrek, but that was only half of the reason Seline was so worried about him."

    This information could be fleshed out in the following manner:

    "Seline felt a tremendous sense of relief at that, but that feeling was soon overwhelmed by her worry for Airk. Perhaps he might be killed by Kalrek -- should he still be alive -- but that was only the half of it. It was the expression upon Airk's face that really worried her. The remorse -- the shame -- was clearly etched there."

    Ah ha! Now we've paved the way for Airk's Point of View. With this phrasing you've set the scene for Airk's dialog with Trendin. Prepared us for Airk's willingness to suffer abuse at the hands of Trendin.

    I think this is what you meant to do, but . . . here's the sticking point, you wrote:

    "He might be killed by Kalrek . . ."

    The problem is this; Right after Luna and Trendin converse, you inform us that Kalrek is already dead. Query: Does Seline know this? If so, why is she -- obviously -- concerned that Kalrek might kill Airk?

    See the dilemma?

    "Seline felt a tremendous sense of relief at that, but it was soon subsumed by her worry for Airk.

    He might be killed by Kalrek, but that was only half of the reason Seline was so worried about him.

    With the death of their master and so many of the warriors in his service, it had not taken long for most of Kalrek’s other servants to surrender."

    That's what you wrote; Seline is concerned that Kalrek might kill Airk . . . except that Kalrek is already dead, or so you say.

    So, are you informing us that Seline is unaware that Kalrek is already dead and thus unnecessarily worried that he might kill Airk? Or did you forget that Seline knew that Kalrek was already dead? Wouldn't be the first time a writer did something like that either. Laughing

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Out of curiosity, what did you think of my characterization and presentation of the characters' inner thoughts and conflicts, particularly Airk's?


    Needs work, sorry. I won't dissect the whole thing, but . . . a small example:

    "My anger, festering for so long, got the better of me, and Laessar Bradon lay dead at my hands, however inadvertently."

    So he's remorseful, but already making excuses for his actions before he's even accused of anything? He should defend his actions -- "however inadvertently" -- only after Trendin, or some other family member, accuses him of being a deliberate murderer.

    Anger at false accusations immediately falls on the heels of true remorse. You're terribly sorry for what happened and will make any amends you can, but you are not a "cold, blooded murderer" and will respond fiercely if falsely charged with such a thing -- you're emotions are running very high at times like these.

    But if your remorse is sincere, you will not begin defending yourself before such a charge is made against you.

    Airk jumped the gun. Embarassed

    Also, you will note that I changed a few words. Just because a word means what you're trying to say, doesn't mean it's the right word to use.

    The awkward "subsumed" replaced with the more fitting "overwhelmed." Wink
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun May 08, 2016 9:38 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Needs work, sorry. I won't dissect the whole thing, but . . . a small example:

    "My anger, festering for so long, got the better of me, and Laessar Bradon lay dead at my hands, however inadvertently."

    So he's remorseful, but already making excuses for his actions before he's even accused of anything? He should defend his actions -- "however inadvertently" -- only after Trendin, or some other family member, accuses him of being a deliberate murderer.

    Anger at false accusations immediately falls on the heels of true remorse. You're terribly sorry for what happened and will make any amends you can, but you are not a "cold, blooded murderer" and will respond fiercely if falsely charged with such a thing -- you're emotions are running very high at times like these.

    But if your remorse is sincere, you will not begin defending yourself before such a charge is made against you.

    Airk jumped the gun. Embarassed

    Also, you will note that I changed a few words. Just because a word means what you're trying to say, doesn't mean it's the right word to use.

    The awkward "subsumed" replaced with the more fitting "overwhelmed." Wink


    Your critiques of my writing style are well-founded, Mystic, but I'll have to respectfully disagree when it comes to the characterization of Airk.

    As I imagined it, Airk's shame combined with his long-standing survivor's guilt here. He's not making excuses here or defending himself here, he's stating that he considers himself responsible for murder. It doesn't matter to him that the act was inadvertent-, since it was just further proof of his failures and worthlessness.

    Once Laessar's family is safe, he is more than ready to accept his punishment, whatever Trendin might decide it might be. As Airk might see it, it would only be whatever he deserves. The only thing that kept him from turning himself over to the authorities in Copper Crossing was the fact that Laessar's family was still in danger.

    And if he fails to retrieve the Crown of Arumdina, he will accept his fate at the hands of Urdlen.
    GreySage

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    Sun May 08, 2016 12:22 pm  

    If Airk is "guilty" of something -- like a blood debt -- then "punishment" will come when it comes, not when he wants it to come -- such as after his self-imposed mission -- nor will the success or failure of said mission influence the outcome of the "guilty" act.

    "I retrieved the crown!" Airk cried in triumph.

    "So? You murdered my father, stupid, now die!" Trendrin screamed, as he drew his blade.

    And I explained to you how his words come across, how I understand them. You are the author, but I am the reader . . . and I do not understand it to mean what you say it means. So you "lost" me, your audience. I don't see Airk quite as "remorseful" as you intended.

    I gave your story four stars, but you asked what I found wrong with the writing. It's for you to do whatever it is you wish to do. Have fun with it.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun May 08, 2016 2:37 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    If Airk is "guilty" of something -- like a blood debt -- then "punishment" will come when it comes, not when he wants it to come -- such as after his self-imposed mission -- nor will the success or failure of said mission influence the outcome of the "guilty" act.

    "I retrieved the crown!" Airk cried in triumph.

    "So? You murdered my father, stupid, now die!" Trendrin screamed, as he drew his blade.

    And I explained to you how his words come across, how I understand them. You are the author, but I am the reader . . . and I do not understand it to mean what you say it means. So you "lost" me, your audience. I don't see Airk quite as "remorseful" as you intended.

    I gave your story four stars, but you asked what I found wrong with the writing. It's for you to do whatever it is you wish to do. Have fun with it.


    My apologies, bro-I should have realized this when I wrote my reply. Your comments have been nothing but constructive, and I was way out of line. \

    Mea culpa? Embarassed
    GreySage

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    Sun May 08, 2016 3:23 pm  

    Dude, you are not "out of line." I was just reminding you of what you asked for, which was -- basically -- what did I come away with, as a reader?

    As a writer, you want to express "this," but, instead, your reader sees "that." That results from the words a writer chooses to use. That is what feedback like this is for . . . to help you choose your wording. Remember . . .

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    The awkward "subsumed" replaced with the more fitting "overwhelmed."
    Question Confused

    As a writer -- a.k.a. Story Teller -- you are painting a picture with words. I'm just pointing out that the words you chose to use -- in this instance -- are not painting the picture you want me to see.

    "What do you mean?” Trendin asked, a surprised expression on his face.

    “I mean that I am responsible for the death of one of the noblest gnomes I have ever met; slain when I attempted to force the location of Kalrek’s lair from his lips,” Airk continued. “My anger, festering inside me for so long, got the better of me and Laessar Bradon lay dead . . . by my hand.”

    "It wasn't your fault!" Seline cried out, in heartfelt pain at the anguished expression on Airk's face. "It was an accident!"

    "No matter," Airk replied. "It was my fault, I did it . . . no matter how inadvertently."


    See how nicely that fits together? Airk is remorseful, refusing to allow anyone to excuse his actions and fully accepting responsibility for his actions. Woot! Cool

    Knowing the meaning of words is necessary, but knowing their proper usage is even more so.

    If your Barbarian has an Intelligence of 12, then using words only people with Ph.D.s use is going to throw off the reader of the story. Your Barbarian will not come across as a . . . Barbarian.

    Word usage. You're painting a verbal picture.
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