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Cylver
May 16th, 2014, 08:36 AM
I've been quite worried about posting my work on here for a long time. I've been worried, Not about if someone will steal my work, or that posting might reduce chance of publishing somehow, but more-so because i'm worried about what feedback I will get.

I've never been good at taking feedback, I don't know how to respond and I often misunderstand, positive feedback makes me feel denial and negative feedback makes me feel like my work is never good enough, so yeah i'm bad at that. But I decided to put on my big boy mask and just post it and see what happens since those whom I have shown, have found it apparently great, much to my disbelief.

The Book of Chaos is my first novel in-progress, as the start of a series called Everrin Chronicles, it is a Fantasy Fiction novel inspired by my friendship group in secondary school (two years ago). The novel has been in planning for about a year and as of writing this i'm finishing up Chapter 2 although I have plans done for the entire book. So it is in very early development.

I guess I would just like overall feedback, so I can find out what works and what doesn't and how I can improve the writing in the future. The Prologue isn't very long, just over 1100 words but I feel it serves it's purpose as the start to the book. So without further ado, I present the Prologue; In The Beginning...

First chapter now up here (http://www.writingforums.com/threads/148092-Fantasy-The-Book-of-Chaos-Chapter-1-Shenanigans-of-a-God).


Prologue

In the beginning there was naught but two places, Somewhere and Nowhere.

Nowhere was a pitch-black void of nothingness. And somewhere, in the middle of Nowhere, barely visible in the blackness, was floating a man.
To himself, and to all those who know of him to this day, he is Danae, God of Death. He wore a long, black robe - the cause of his near invisibility - that covered the whole of his body except for his hands and the front of his head, the rest covered by a hood.
The one thing that made Danae stand out from anyone else who may have been floating around for no apparent reason, was that he was a skeleton. His humanoid skull and empty sockets stared emotionless into the nothingness, and his bony fingers sat curled in his lap.
His cloak molded comfortably into the holes between his ribs and attached by nothing to his back was a scythe made of bones.
The god sat there for a long time - that is if time even existed in this trans-dimensional zone of emptiness - floating in sub-space, never moving, just staring into the lonely abyss.
Suddenly in a fluid movement he reached into his right sleeve and removed from it a small yellow book with an orange strip on the cover that read in an ancient language “Meś et Evesair con ‘Dummies’” which of course, if you could understand the pre-historic language, read “How to make a Universe for ‘Dummies’”.
He then opened the book to the first page and decided to read it. Once again he sat there for a while, never turning a page, just staring through his empty eye sockets at the first page. Any who might have been watching him probably felt an aura of confusion emanating from him as well as their own confusion as to what the book said. Very suddenly he looked up and spoke in a calm, soothing voice that did not befit his appearance,


“Grenade.”


---

Meanwhile nowhere particular in Somewhere were sitting the only other two obvious entities currently in existence. Somewhere was a bright, white plain, and two gods were sitting on small wooden chairs facing each other. Unlike Nowhere, Somewhere had a floor as to not leave the beings floating in a random direction, what the floor was made of one could not tell though, it was just there.
On the left sat a magnificent being who wore a great, muscular suit of silver armor, trimmed with a golden strip around its edges. His helm covered the entirety of his face, his glowing green eyes just barely visible through the metal grating, out of the back fell a wavy, golden blonde, fake ponytail.
On each of his gauntlets was embedded an orb, his left hand’s orb held a purple essence and his right hand’s orb encased a golden essence. Just observing the orbs, let alone the one who they were bound to, was enough to leave anyone speechless. Unbeknownst to those observers though, the god had an ego bigger and stronger than his muscles which had a habit of driving people away.
He was and is the God of Warriors, known simply as Farjack. His left leg hung lazily off the chair while his right crossed over it, his right arm’s elbow resting on his tricep and his fist holding up his tilted head.


On the right, sitting in a more polite and comfortable manner was the god of Duality, Illusion and Vision, Zade. He was humanoid of shape and nature but he was far from human, his body consisted of two different colours, split vertically down the middle, the left half of his body was a pitch-black, darker than the nothingness of Nowhere and the other half was a blinding white, lighter than his current surroundings.
His body had no features besides fingers, as if he was wearing a full body morph-suit that covered all but his hands. His face was completely flat and featureless except for the two yellow, sideways diamonds that were his eyes.
The two sat looking at each other until finally Zade broke the silence with a voice that seemed to echo off of nothing, “This staring contest has been on for three millennia now and I’m bored, can we please stop?” The bottom half of his face moved as if a mouth should be there yet it wasn't, it was unnecessary because he communicated through telepathy but even he was creeped out by a voice that came from nowhere.
Farjack replied with a deep voice, that could move planets, “Fine we can finish…” Zade’s face moved as if to show that he was smiling, “…But first, blink.” He finished.
“We both know I am incapable of blinking so you’ll have to give up eventuall-“ the god was interrupted by a deafening, booming sound ringing through Somewhere from above, where a black spot was just visible on the white emptiness above. Both gods looked up briefly before returning to their staring lock,
“Not on your life.”


---


The boom still echoed throughout Nowhere, Danae - not exactly having ears - just sat there, floating and vibrating, until it stopped. In the distance he could now see a white spec in the abyss, in the opposite direction a grey spec now appeared, only just visible to Danae’s enhanced senses.
As the grey dot got larger he realized it was a sphere, floating casually towards the God of Death at the slow pace of around two-hundred miles per second. The, now panicking, god tried to float out of its path by flailing his limbs around in sub-space, to no avail.
What did I do to deserve this, he thought, accepting the inevitability of the situation. Now if you have ever been hit by a speeding car and propelled faster than should be physically possible while the car continues to press harder against you then I need not explain to you what was about to happen. If you have not experienced this, I recommend either spending your life trying to break several laws of physics or just ask those who have experienced it.
And this feeling just hit Danae flat in the chest cavity but he did not move, instead the object spontaneously combusted with the strength of a thousand dying suns.


---


Something landed next to Farjack with a quiet thump. Being careful not to avert his gaze from the other god, he picked it up. The object was what appeared to be a yellow book, the egotistical deity was not one to read but opened it anyway, relieved to find that the book only had one page, and for that matter only one word. “Grenade?”
“Oh dear.” Echoed Zade. Farjack followed his rivals eyes upwards to what used to be the black dot, and was now blue fire rapidly approaching. The two were drenched in energy and heat. When the light finally faded, Somewhere and Nowhere were no more.

DSSAtkinson
May 21st, 2014, 12:11 AM
Hi Cylver! I found this interesting and some parts were humorous, leaves me interested to know what the deuce this will all be about! Very different read and was enjoyable :)

Be careful with your commas, some sentences are broken up unnecessarily and end up reading awkwardly, other than that it seems like you have an intriguing concept going on.

On a note of your introduction, I'd say never be scared of your ideas being critiqued, everybody likes different things, and believe me, unless you have an incredibly basic idea nobody could steal your concept from a short passage, or even a big one, and end up with something anything like what you're imagining or creating.

30Drummer30
May 21st, 2014, 01:20 AM
I loved the passages with the God of Death. The passages with the two other gods were well written but i kept wanting to go back to Death. And he made me chuckle at a few parts. (I hope that was your intention) Also the part about the speeding car reminded me of Douglas Adams.

Cylver
May 21st, 2014, 08:52 AM
Hi Cylver! I found this interesting and some parts were humorous, leaves me interested to know what the deuce this will all be about! Very different read and was enjoyable :)

Be careful with your commas, some sentences are broken up unnecessarily and end up reading awkwardly, other than that it seems like you have an intriguing concept going on.

On a note of your introduction, I'd say never be scared of your ideas being critiqued, everybody likes different things, and believe me, unless you have an incredibly basic idea nobody could steal your concept from a short passage, or even a big one, and end up with something anything like what you're imagining or creating.

Thank you for commenting i'm glad you like it :)
Yeah I know I shouldn't be afraid but I guess the anxiety in me gets a bit out of hand when thinking about people reading my work, on the other hand seeing people like it gets me worried if I can keep it how they like it xD

If you wouldn't mind pointing an example of what you mean about the commas, i'd appriciate it as I'd love to know how I can improve it.


I loved the passages with the God of Death. The passages with the two other gods were well written but i kept wanting to go back to Death. And he made me chuckle at a few parts. (I hope that was your intention) Also the part about the speeding car reminded me of Douglas Adams.

Haha yes, Danae is an interesting character and I love writing him, he is heavily inspired by one of my old friends. And my beta reader also commented that my comedy is very Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchett esque. It makes sense cause I love the comedy of those authors xD Another author I take inspiration from is Derek Landy. Thank you for reading :)

notre dame
May 21st, 2014, 10:01 AM
Hi Cylver,

Yes, I like Danae too. There is something that just works when creating a God of Death who panics at the thought of being struck by a fast-moving projectile. You have a nicely dark comic 'voice' in places with this passage.

I can see the influences of Pratchett and Landy. It was interesting that 'Skulduggery Pleasant' was held up to be the next 'Harry Potter' a few years ago, but (in my experience, at least) hasn't quite lived up to that.

I look forward to hearing more about the God of Death! Hope he's the hero of the piece. Best of luck with your work.

Cylver
May 21st, 2014, 10:52 AM
Hi Cylver,

Yes, I like Danae too. There is something that just works when creating a God of Death who panics at the thought of being struck by a fast-moving projectile. You have a nicely dark comic 'voice' in places with this passage.

I can see the influences of Pratchett and Landy. It was interesting that 'Skulduggery Pleasant' was held up to be the next 'Harry Potter' a few years ago, but (in my experience, at least) hasn't quite lived up to that.

I look forward to hearing more about the God of Death! Hope he's the hero of the piece. Best of luck with your work.

Thank you :)
Is it weird that I prefer Skulduggery over Harry Potter? I am just hooked to Landy's writing a lot more than I was hooked to Rowling's, can't wait for the final book x3
The three gods depicted in the prologue are the main characters of the story, but - at least for the first installation - Danae is the focus. I might upload the first chapter to, so it sets what is happening for you guys. After that I have no plans to upload any more at least until I've finished the first draft.

DSSAtkinson
May 21st, 2014, 03:36 PM
This may well be more personal preference than anything Cylver, a couple of parts where the commas seemed unnecessary for me were here;


He wore a long, black robe He wore a long black robe -


Somewhere was a bright, white plain Somewhere was a bright white plain


The, now panicking, god tried to float out of its path by flailing his limbs around in sub-space The now panicking god tried to float...

Bits like this, but after re-reading I see the commas are part your style of story telling. When first reading this short passage it felt like they were breaking up finely flowing sentences. I'm sure over a broader piece of work the slowed down pace will all make sense though! You're the mastermind of the work after all :)

Cylver
May 21st, 2014, 03:56 PM
This may well be more personal preference than anything Cylver, a couple of parts where the commas seemed unnecessary for me were here;

He wore a long black robe -

Somewhere was a bright white plain

The now panicking god tried to float...

Bits like this, but after re-reading I see the commas are part your style of story telling. When first reading this short passage it felt like they were breaking up finely flowing sentences. I'm sure over a broader piece of work the slowed down pace will all make sense though! You're the mastermind of the work after all :)

Haha :P
Yes I can see what you mean, even after all this time I still don't understand how commas are supposed to be used except to break up sentences. I was also taught to separate adjectives with commas when describing things though I cannot remember why. And I was taught that commas can be used to similar effect as I use dashes.

E.G.

The, now panicking, god tried to float out of it's path by flailing his limbs around in sub-space.
Rather than

The - now panicking - god tried to float out of it's path by flailing his limbs around in sub-space.

I'll keep what you said in mind though :)

fearofboredom
May 31st, 2014, 10:58 PM
Hey Cylver! I usually am a little turned off by a conversational style but I think it really works with this piece (like 30Drummer said, it makes me think of Adams). Your characters are well developed already, truly they're what has hooked me on this story even more than the whole universe creation/grenade idea!

The only thing I feel needs work is sentence structure, for example I had trouble parsing this one:

that covered the whole of his body except for his hands and the front of his head, the rest covered by a hood.
It would really help me as well if, especially in those longer sentences, you use some transitional words rather than just commas - otherwise passages like this start to sound like a run-on:
He was humanoid of shape and nature but he was far from human, his body consisted of two different colours, split vertically down the middle, the left half of his body was a pitch-black, darker than the nothingness of Nowhere and the other half was a blinding white, lighter than his current surroundings.
Here's what I might do (of course, you go with whatever works for the tone you want):
"He was humanoid of shape and nature, but he was far from human; his body consisted of two different colours split vertically down the middle, the left half pitch-black and darker than the nothingness of Nowhere, the other a blinding white even lighter than his current surroundings."

Sorry, not trying to step on your toes or anything, I just thought that might explain what I was trying to say better than I had :)
Love the idea, I hope I get to read the whole thing someday!

Cylver
June 1st, 2014, 01:07 PM
Hey Cylver! I usually am a little turned off by a conversational style but I think it really works with this piece (like 30Drummer said, it makes me think of Adams). Your characters are well developed already, truly they're what has hooked me on this story even more than the whole universe creation/grenade idea!

The only thing I feel needs work is sentence structure, for example I had trouble parsing this one:

It would really help me as well if, especially in those longer sentences, you use some transitional words rather than just commas - otherwise passages like this start to sound like a run-on:
Here's what I might do (of course, you go with whatever works for the tone you want):
"He was humanoid of shape and nature, but he was far from human; his body consisted of two different colours split vertically down the middle, the left half pitch-black and darker than the nothingness of Nowhere, the other a blinding white even lighter than his current surroundings."

Sorry, not trying to step on your toes or anything, I just thought that might explain what I was trying to say better than I had :)
Love the idea, I hope I get to read the whole thing someday!

Hello fearofboredom thank you for your feedback!
I'm very glad you like it. I'm not the best at character development and i'm worried about how the characters are going to change over the course of the novel, but most of my characters (especially these three) are quite thought out. I normally let my mind just think about this stuff when it wants to and that way I've came up with so many ideas :D.

I see what you mean with the sentences, i'm not the best at structure after all, I'll have a look again at that first sentence and see what I can do about it. I like what you are saying about the second one and i'll keep it in mind. This is what first drafts are about after all :)

Paulbee
June 8th, 2014, 11:24 PM
As far as I'm concerned, there's no harm in emulating Terry Pratchett, I love his stuff. Liked the fake pony tail btw. I don't think telling us he has a humanoid skull makes any difference, you've already established that it's a person (sort of), we aren't given the impression it could be a field mouse for instance, or a turtle! Emotionlessly not emotionless btw. 'Naught' feels a bit odd as well (first sentence). Maybe it's because no archaic words are used in the rest of the prologue.

Cylver
June 9th, 2014, 09:28 AM
Thank you for replying :)
I wouldn't say emulating per se but definitely inspired by him. Unfortunately I have only read the first two Discworld books though I own the third and fourth books.
Thank you for your feedback, I didn't not catch the emotionless there. As you can probably tell the first sentence (or at the very least part of it) is a reference to the Christian Creation Myth and I felt that 'naught' might support this reference. This is only the first draft so I might decide it is heavily out of place at some point and remove it.

thepancreas11
June 9th, 2014, 03:01 PM
Let me address your fears before I get started:

Please post whatever you'd like. The forum is for your enjoyment and growth; the only way to grow in this business is to be critiqued often and honestly. It will hurt at first, I promise, but it's like surgery. Without cutting away the unnecessary or destructive, without implanting the necessary, the useful, or in some cases, the life-saving, writing becomes a slow descent. You'll find that people here are definitely helpful, definitely honest, and definitely critical, all of which are good for your cause, even if it hurts.

Now, you do have a very British sense of humor, one very close to Adams, Gaiman, and Prachett, almost Monty-Pythonish. That's coming from someone from the Colonies who loves all of the aforementioned individuals/comedy troupes. I could see this being a sketch that cuts back and forth between the two, having to watch them both deal with the Big Bang as it happens, being forced into existence while they're too busy with their own selves. I particularly loved Danae, a hopeless, hapless, fearful God of Death. Could there be a funnier premise than that? I just get the feeling that Death is about to be the protagonist in an existence story. Irony, you'll find, can create some of the most hilarious material. Points for originality, humor, straightforwardness, and for writing an actual prologue, separated by time and/or space from the rest of your narrative.

That being said, I do see some things that need a bit of work, not unlike any piece I've ever posted here on the Forum.

A common mistake with unread writers, I think, is the amorphous structure. You would benefit from separating out dialogue as much as possible, and also, a common practice on the forum to separate paragraphs with an empty line in between. You'll find that reading pieces that do this are much easier to follow. Just a tip.

Also, I think you need more dialogue and more action. You have great descriptive skills, but it lacks the emotion that I think it could have. More dialogue generally provides more action. I think Danae especially needs some lines to himself in the dark to really characterize him. Another and very underrated way to characterize your players is to show subtle actions, maybe the way their faces (or lack there of) move in concordance with what happens around them. Does Danae's bare jaw fall open? Does he try to swim away? The more action, the better.

Lastly, I would be careful exactly how you describe things. Sometimes you hit the nail on the head, and other times, you hit the nail when it's already embedded into the board, see? Him being a skeleton, we don't really need all that "he's humanoid" stuff, right? That will save you a lot of extra words (personally, I wouldn't call him a skeleton; I'd describe a naked bones humanoid wrapped in a ferocious cloak). Let the reader do some imagining because that's what reading's for, isn't it? You want to have the ability to create the world as you read, right?

Overall, a solid first effort here, Cylver. Do not be afraid to post again because I think you'd be doing yourself an injustice. The forum could use more writers like you expressing themselves. I believe you would benefit from reading some more literary fiction, by the way. I think this has all the hallmarks of a well-read fantasy fan, but I think crossing up what you read can really help you hone your craft.

Cylver
June 9th, 2014, 03:48 PM
Hello and thank you for replying thepancreas. :)

I do love all my gods, the ironic God of Death, the egotistical God of Warriors and the unreadable God of Duality but Danae is definitely the most fun to write. At least so far.

I've always been confused on how to structure right because in books there are no lines between paragraphs and only where there is a change like when I use "---" but on here there are generally empty lines between the paragraphs and this confuses me on how to do it. In my more recent chapters I am running with no spaces between paragraphs except when there is a significant change in location or character using "---".

Thanks for all the advice, I plan to go over specifically this prologue again to improve the structure and I will keep all you have said in mind. I read an awful lot of fiction, it's my favorite past-time I am currently reading the Divergent series and recently read The Fault in our Stars.

I am slowly being convinced to upload Chapter 1 now but I am still unsure on whether I should wait till I have written more of the novel.

EDIT: I should mention that another fear I have is that I will not write characters the same each chapter and what you like in this might not be the same in others but hopefully that is a more of a pointless fear.

thepancreas11
June 9th, 2014, 06:51 PM
Well, first, good choice on TFiOS. Read the book. Saw the Movie. Became a John Green fan. Read his other stuff when you get a chance. Just marvelously sarcastic stuff. I encourage a broad range of reading because I myself was never a particularly broad reader until recently, and I have become very angry with myself for staying limited, is all.

Post the first chapter. If you keep writing, but you keep writing the same mistakes, you're only limiting your own success. Trust me: rather you know what's going wrong now than later when it's all finished.

Lastly, in writing normally, you would use the tab to split paragraphs, double space, and not include spaces between paragraphs. Unfortunately, none of that can be really used here, so in that case, we split by spaces between paragraphs. Sorry for the confusion.

Cylver
June 9th, 2014, 09:19 PM
No it's good thank you for the clarification. Yeah I just picked up Looking for Alaska at the library and am planning to read it. I read quite a range of genres but it's hard for me to find a book series that really pulls me. Primarily Skulduggery Pleasant is the one that has managed to hook me straight away.

I'll post Chapter the first either tonight or tomorrow when I get done revising it for the website.