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Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 05:04 AM
Now complete with working title and skeleton draft! I'm so happy with the progress I've made with my novel over the past year. Going to university has helped me no end, as has being a member of the forum. I'm nervous about this first chapter. I think I may be building it up in my head and whether rightly so or not, I'd appreciate any feedback you might have for this short extract. I'm noping something awful about it just now. My main concern is that it's broken up too much too early on by the change in perspective, but also whether the imagery gets across or is too much. I'm also interested in anything else you guys catch on whilst you read it through. Be brutal, I can take it! ^^

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Jorien watched a roiling mass of cloud engulf the day from her perch amidst the peaks. The first signs of rain spattered her goggles. Sheer droplets turned into fat, icy globules that pelted her like angry blue stones. It felt as though the sky had whimpered and then burst into tears. Thunder rumbled the beginnings of a song close at hand. The glassy salt dunes flashed translucent as lightning hurtled to earth to join in for the chorus.

“Time to head back, boy!”

The white haired girl had to yell to hear herself over the rising wind. Her large friend cocked his head but refused to move. He was crouched low, his breathing shallow, eyes round as bronze shrapnels. She knelt in front of the gecko and pushed her forehead against the tip of his snout. The great, stupid creature had insisted on following her up the dune. It was only natural that he’d be just as stubborn on the descent.


Flash.

Melon squirmed his displeasure just as hard as he might, belly pressed flat against the saltRock, tail flying about. WhiteScales want to see them both dead. Why it not hide from the blueFangs darting out of bigWides mouth?

Touching snouts is it? That won’t work on SmartWiggler. SmartWiggler was smallest in clutch. Knew best places to hide from deftRat and bigWing. Had to. WhiteScale small too but it not smart like him.

Gyarachu
June 7th, 2016, 06:55 AM
Boofy this is so good!

I had a detailed critique written but my internet went down and now I'm on my phone. Might need to get a tech out here if it's not fixed by morning, so it might be a while.

Sorry :(

EDIT: It's a miracle! We're back up! Quick, before it drops again (I was at least smart enough to copy-paste it into a word document):

Boofy this is great! I see no reason to nope about it whatsoever. I've made my suggestions in orange rather than red so it's not as scary.


Jorien watched a roiling mass of cloud engulf the day I get an image of the sun shining, and then the clouds covering it. But if the storm is already hitting her, it seems the sun should've been blocked out quite some time before. from her perch amidst the peaks. The first signs of rain spattered her goggles. Sheer droplets turned into fat, icy globules that pelted her like angry blue stones. Best line in the piece. Awesome imagery! It felt as though the sky had whimpered and then burst into tears. Thunder rumbled the beginnings of a song close at hand. Feels unnecessary. We already know it is beginning. Plus, I think close at hand implies it hasn't yet begun. The glassy salt dunes flashed translucent as lightning hurtled to earth to join in for the chorus. So poetic. *swoons*

“Time to head back, boy!" To me this reads as another character yelling from behind her. Maybe preface it with something like, "She cupped her hands around her mouth," to clarify the speaker.

The white haired girl A little awkward. I think you would be better off inserting a line somewhere about brushing her white hair out of her eyes, or something to that effect, to convey this information. had to yell to hear herself over the rising wind. Her large Large doesn't really have a meaning for the reader here. We find out later he is smaller than a human, but that's all we get for reference. friend cocked his head but refused to move. He was crouched low, his breathing shallow, eyes round as bronze shrapnels. She knelt in front of the gecko and pushed her forehead against the tip of his snout. The great, stupid creature had insisted on following her up the dune. It was only natural that he’d be just as stubborn on the descent.


*

Melon squirmed his displeasure just as hard as he might, belly pressed flat against the saltRock, tail flying about. WhiteScales want to see them both dead. Why it not hide from the blueFangs darting out of bigWides mouth?

Touching snouts is it? That won’t work on SmartWiggler. SmartWiggler was smallest in clutch. Knew best places to hide from deftRat "Deft" doesn't feel like it fits in his vocabulary. Something simpler like "quickRat" feels more natural to me. and bigWing. Had to. WhiteScale small too but it not smart like him.

What you've got so far is really amazing. I love the parallels between the imagery in the first part and Melon's names for things in the second. Especially the song/mouth thing. Very clever. And just powerful imagery in general.

Hope I was at least somewhat helpful. :thumbl:

Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 06:58 AM
Boofy this is so good!

I had a detailed critique written but my internet went down and now I'm on my phone. Might need to get a tech out here if it's not fixed by morning, so it might be a while.

Sorry :(

Aw, Gya. I really appreciate the effort! No need to apologise at all. It happens, dumbie.

I'm glad you like it, either way. Praise from you, as you ought to know by now, means a great deal to me. Thank you so much :3

Gyarachu
June 7th, 2016, 07:07 AM
You betcha. Critique is up now if you haven't seen it yet.

Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 07:23 AM
You betcha. Critique is up now if you haven't seen it yet.

Hurray! We have power!

Your feedback is actually hugely helpful, especially where you point out the problem with the weather changes right at the start. That's the sort of continuity error I read over a thousand times and never spot.

What I'm hoping to do is use the flashes of lightning as a framing device. As the flashes become more frequent it becomes clear that they determine the perspective switches between her and her trusted Gecko mount, Melon. With each flash the pace of the story will quicken. In the end there will only be snippets of thought from either of them as they try and survive a rather nasty tumble down the side of the salt dune. It might be really messy, though. Execution is gonna be key. I wrote it out as a dull sequence of events first time around and I wanted to create a more powerful hook. I hope I'm not being tooooo ambitious.

Oh! Excellent forethought where pasting into a word doc is concerned too. Didn't know you had it in ya ;)

I've pasted your comments into the notepad I have open alongside my piece whenever I'm tweaking. (I've left out the complimentary sections. Lord knows my head has been inflated enough as it stands these past few weeks). Thank you so much, Gya. ^^

Gyarachu
June 7th, 2016, 07:37 AM
That idea is way cool. I think it'll work out great. It's likely just going to take a lot of refinement to get the pacing right.

JustRob
June 7th, 2016, 11:04 AM
This is so good that it deserves to be criticised. Some things seem beyond saving, but this, no way. More power to your elbow, if that is what you use to type. It doesn't seem likely actually. Strange expression, that. Anyway ...


The first signs of rain spattered her goggles.

I felt uneasy about this somehow. Do the signs do the spattering? Maybe you're right though.


Sheer droplets turned into fat, icy globules that pelted her like angry blue stones. It felt as though the sky had whimpered and then burst into tears.

The second sentence reverts the image back from icy to warm watery tears in my mind. Perhaps ending it with "frigid tears" would sustain the image better.


The white haired girl had to yell to hear herself over the rising wind.

Doesn't the wind normally rise before the rain starts? I think "risen wind" would be a more poetic phrase here. Maybe you should have mentioned the wind rising back at the spattering stage, "The first signs of rain carried on the rising wind ... " for example. Then you can just write " ... over the wind" here.


Her large friend cocked his head but refused to move.

I agree with Gyarachu about the scale here. Is she extremely small and her friend normal sized or what? He is a defined species but she apparently isn't yet. Confusing. Human readers think in human terms of size by default.


He was crouched low, his breathing shallow, eyes round as bronze shrapnels.

This is all wrong. Shrapnel is a collective term and its own plural. Also its significant characteristic is its irregularity and jaggedness, so it is inappropriate to associate it with something smoothly round, isn't it? This needs a rethink, methinks.



Flash.

Melon squirmed his displeasure just as hard as he might, belly pressed flat against the saltRock, tail flying about. WhiteScales want to see them both dead. Why it not hide from the blueFangs darting out of bigWides mouth?

Touching snouts is it? That won’t work on SmartWiggler. SmartWiggler was smallest in clutch. Knew best places to hide from deftRat and bigWing. Had to. WhiteScale small too but it not smart like him.

The switch to omission of words from the sentences here wasn't obvious or consistent enough for me. I think you need to do it more throughout to emphasise that it is intentional, not misprints at the outset. So "Won’t work on SmartWiggler. SmartWiggler smallest in clutch." for example. If you are going to use unusual dialect really indulge in it to get the reader acclimatised quickly. Better to hit them with an excess of it initially and then ameliorate it subsequently when they've got the message rather than edge into it gradually and cause confusion.

As I said before, good enough to pass comment on.

escorial
June 7th, 2016, 11:18 AM
you managed to cram a lot in..but one was not lost or confused by the storyline..not sure if I could read to much in that style but that's just me..overall I liked what I read and enjoyed the intensity...

Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 05:28 PM
@JustRob, I really appreciate the feedback. The only thing I could really disagree with you on is the comment about shrapnels, as it is in (perhaps poorly timed) reference to the currency in the book, though I fully understand your confusion! I actually named the coins with the lowest value Shrapnels because my grandma used to refer to spare change as shrapnel, heh.

I will definitely provide further clarity on the size of Melon. (He's roughly the length of a horse, sans the tail and with much stubbier legs) and I particularly liked the comment about the wind. Maybe some re-ordering of events is needed. I think I spent so long on the words that I forgot altogether about the weather itself. ^^

I think Melons speech needs to have some strict rules from the offset, despite the fact that his perspective is rarely seen throughout the book after this chapter. You're definitely right in what you're saying about hitting the reader hard initially. I can see how you came to read it that way, now that I read it back with your perspective in mind.

Isn't it funny how somebody can point something out to you, like gravity, and suddenly it seems so ridiculously obvious?

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@Escorial, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it and that it wasn't too hard to wade though.

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Thanks so much, guys. Into the notebook it goes! ^^;

Miseo
June 7th, 2016, 06:12 PM
It read great for me. The only problem I had was that it was a bit too short... So I'm not entirely sure what's going on. I can't really tell if Melon is a nonhuman partner or an animal mount or whatnot...

Again, this isn't really a criticism... I would just like to know more of what is happening in this brief scene >.>

Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 06:19 PM
Melon is a mount, ha. I've only posted a snippet as the rest is currently being worked and re-worked to incorporate the flashes of lightning which symbolise the perspective changes and what not. I'll post the chapter in it's final form when I've finished the re-draft ^^

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment :3

Miseo
June 7th, 2016, 06:20 PM
I suspected it might be a mount. Can't wait for the full chapter.

JustRob
June 7th, 2016, 06:51 PM
@JustRob, I really appreciate the feedback. The only thing I could really disagree with you on is the comment about shrapnels, as it is in (perhaps poorly timed) reference to the currency in the book, though I fully understand your confusion! I actually named the coins with the lowest value Shrapnels because my grandma used to refer to spare change as shrapnel, heh.

I did think that it was an odd thing to write, but I will now be all grumpy about it and dislike it anyway. Using an original word with changed meaning can get confusing. I would have thought it better to modify it in some way, such as abbreviating it to "shraps" (although that is considered to mean a curse in Hindi by people who can't spell Hindi words.) Shrap is a term for shrapnel as well, so you can keep the link to your origin of the word without using the clumsier longer word. Isn't that what people would do in practice with a word for coinage, shorten it? There, I feel much better now.

Boofy
June 7th, 2016, 07:03 PM
No, you're rightt, and not just because I like the sound of shraps so much more. That's actually brilliant, ha. Thank you! ^^;