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View Full Version : First Chapter Critique: Scifi/Fantasy YA, Legend Quest



Kajaxis
July 31st, 2019, 09:47 AM
I've always felt like an impostor of sorts, like I was just pretending to be a writer. I'm a very self-defeating person, so I can't trust myself to know if my writing is actually good, or if it's trash. I'm excited as well as nervous to finally have true criticism for my work.

What I would really like to find out is where my writing is weak/bad so I can improve it. Am I telling to much? Is my writing just not that good? Even if the story isn't good, what can I do to make the writing itself better? I would just like some sort of validation, good or bad. Family and friends give me the usual, "its fine," or, "it's good," with no real feedback.


Having said that, I would like to say thank you in advance for any comments/criticisms. I've been dragging my feet on posting this because of nerves, but I knew I'd never get help if I didn't do something. So again, thank you : )



Legend Quest

Thick stalks obscured Iris’s vision while also concealing her from a green-scaled enemy lurking about the plains. These humanoid lizard-like creatures were classified as intermediate level foes and awarded a decent prize drop when defeated.

Once the creature’s field of vision was elsewhere, Iris locked eyes with her friend, a fair-skinned elf named Faunalyn. “Are you ready?” She whispered, pulling copper locks behind her ears.

Faunalyn nodded. “It’s just one Lizanid. It shouldn’t be too hard to take down.”

The elf unsheathed a dagger that took the shape of a leaf, its edged tipped with a special poison crafted by the elf class. “Isn’t it weird though?” Faunalyn asked. “Lizanids are programmed to travel in packs.”

“Maybe another party killed the rest of them.” Iris curled her fingers around the handle of her Greatsword. Drawing the weapon from its sheath, the blade gleamed a lustrous silver as the ruby in its pommel threw brilliant reds from its crisp edges.

The dragon chainmail Iris adorned would half the damage dealt by the Lizanid, but still, her class was not a defensive one. She played as a warrior, increasing the power of her melee weapons.

“If only Ayred were here,” Iris sighed. “Then we’d at least have a mage with healing magic in case things go poorly.”

“Seriously Iris? It’s one Lizanid, do you really think we’ll need him for this?”

Iris flattened her lips. “No, but I don’t want to take the chance. Dragon chainmail isn’t exactly easy to come by.”

“Then you shouldn’t have equipped it. Besides, I think you’re just being too cautious. If we die in combat against a single Lizanid, then we probably deserved it.”

“Whatever you say. Are you ready?”

Nodding, Faunalyn slinked out of the tall grass, creeping up behind the creature. Lizanid was the name displayed above it, and below that, a green health bar.

Being in the elf class, Faunalyn’s movement stat was higher than Iris’s. Because of that, she could sneak easier without risking detection. Once she engaged the Lizanid in combat, Iris would join her.

Faunalyn’s dagger is tipped with a poison that reduces the speed stat, Iris mused. We should be able to take it out fairly easily.

Iris followed the elf with a hardened gaze as her steps drew her closer to the Lizanid. When she was nearly right on top of the creature, Faunalyn raised her blade and slashed it across the Lizanid’s scaly spine.

The Lizanid screeched wildly as a few points were chipped away from its health bar.

Iris leaped from the brush and sprinted across the field, wind whipping her face. Clenching the blade tighter in her palm, Iris sank its cruel edge deep into the Lizanid’s chest.

With its movement slowed from the poison, Iris and Faunalyn exchanged strikes on the Lizanid. Though its speed was lowered, the creature managed to deliver a few blows of its own to the players.

Since they both carried health potions, and the damage was minimal, Iris waived her concern. However, unlike a Mage’s recovery spell, health potions could not be used in battle. So long as they were in the Lizanid’s line of sight, the two could not heal.

The Lizanid suddenly leaped back and its claws began glowing golden in color.

“It’s a signature skill!” Iris cried.

Before either player could react, the Lizanid sprang forward and slashed both players with its razor talons.

As the Lizanid’s claws tore through Iris’s armor, it claimed nearly half of her health. She passed a quick glimpse to her friend, who had suffered even more damage.

I was afraid of that, she thought. But now it needs to use a movement to recharge.

Just as the Lizanid ended its attack, Iris summoned a signature skill of her own – a powerful skill known as Retaliation.

Iris’s blade flashed with an array of whites and reds. Clamping her teeth, she readied her sword at her side, then released a primal roar as the blade skewed through the Lizanid’s stomach.

The colors drained from her Greatsword, and a blinding explosion of light was unleashed. All of the damage she received from the creature had been repaid in double as the Lizanid’s health bar quickly depleted from green. It lowered to yellow, then to red until draining completely.

Hissing, the Lizanid’s body crumpled to the ground, then disintegrated into ash-like fragments.

A screen appeared before Iris’s gaze, awarding her five-thousand experience points for defeating the Lizanid, and two-thousand more for delivering the killing blow.

In the Lizanid’s remains, Iris and Faunalyn found eight-hundred gold each and two Lizanid Claws. Because she delivered the last strike, Iris was awarded a bonus item – a Lizanid Tail.

Iris pressed the Lizanid Tail, prompting an information screen detailing her item.

[This is the tail of a Lizanid. You probably won’t have much use for one, but perhaps an alchemist will trade you a rare item for it.]

“Finally,” Iris sighed. “We got the rare drop.”

“I have to admit, that was tougher than I thought,” Faunalyn said. “I didn’t think taking one down would be so hard.” Snapping her fingers, the elf prompted her main menu screen, then scrolled to her inventory. She tapped on an item and a slim vial of red liquid manifested in her palm.

Faunalyn took a sip of the vial, draining half of it and her health bar began to climb back up. “You should use one too.”

“Right.” Iris navigated her menu and used a health potion for herself. “So, should we sell the tail, or trade it in for the item?”

Faunalyn pondered Iris’s question with a hmm. “Well, let’s just keep it for now. We need to keep leveling since we’re almost strong enough to reach the next realm!”

“You’re right. Iannona has seemed out of our reach for a while now. Then again, if we dedicated more time to leveling up and less to questing we probably would have reached it by now.”

“Probably, but that’s no fun.” She paused. “You know what is fun though? Drop parties! We should sell the tail and spend the gold on a drop party!”

Iris frowned. “Drop parties aren’t worth the gold. They hardly give out items that are worth the entry fee.” Iris snapped her fingers, bringing up her menu again. She swiped to her inventory, taking stock of her items when a sudden shriek rang in her ears.

Turning quickly over her shoulder, Iris’s body froze at the sight of a Lizanid pack emptying between the valley. The creature’s beady eyes smoldered with hatred, and their intense gaze remained locked on the two warriors. Iris counted at least eight health bars approaching rapidly.

Faunalyn gasped. “There’s the rest of its pack. We’ll never be able to take them all down by ourselves.”

Iris ground her teeth. Her Retaliation skill was in a cooldown period for another hour, but it wouldn’t be useful against a horde of enemies anyway. Neither she nor Faunalyn possessed any skills that would keep them alive.

We could always run... but the Lizanids likely have a higher speed stat than us. No, outrunning them isn’t an option, and since we’re in their line of sight we can’t use our Warp Talismans. Iris frowned. They’ll probably chase us until we’re dead.

“Hey, Faunalyn,” Iris began, “Do you think your poison could slow them down?”

Faunalyn rocked her head. “There are too many of them and they’re too close together. I may be able to poison a few of them, but I’ll be mauled before I can afflict all of them.”

Iris gripped her Greatsword tightly. Their situation was grim as the horde descended upon them with wild fervor as if carried by bloodlust. “Guess we’ll have to fight,” she snapped, raising her weapon.

Faunalyn widened her stance and lifted her leaf blade. “We’re losing that Lizanid tail, aren’t we?”

The Lizanids drew even closer, the coarse texture of their scales becoming more defined when suddenly, a powerful voice echoed throughout the plains.

“Time Binding Magic!”

Suddenly, linked golden chains manifested from all around the Lizanids, puncturing them and freezing them in place. They ceased movement, as though time itself had stopped for them.

Throwing her gaze over her shoulder, Iris’s heart lifted upon seeing a silver-robed sorcerer standing behind her. The spellcaster wielded a golden spellbook in his clutch that exuded a brilliant glow – one that would draw ire from fresh dawn. Ayred!

Beneath the man’s health bar was a second bar that was half-filled with a blue tint. It was a spellcaster’s most powerful source of power – their mana meter.

The sorcerer flicked his head, tossing aside golden locks from his face. “Don’t just stand there, get going! That spell will only last for thirty seconds!”

“Right! Come on Faunalyn, let’s go!”

Iris turned and fled the plains with Faunalyn in close pursuit. Once they’d escaped the Lizanid’s line of sight, they continued until surrounded by thick trunks of a nearby forest.

Certain they would not be followed so far out, Iris stopped and panted heavily.

The Lizanid’s screeches filled the skies, growing quieter with each burst. When she could no longer hear their cries, Iris knew she and Faunalyn were safe.

“That was close,” Iris wheezed. “I thought for sure we were dead back there.”

“So did I. I wonder if Ayred’s okay.”

“Of course I am,” came the sorcerer’s proud voice, his steps striding toward them.

“Thanks!” Faunalyn huffed. “We owe you one.”

Ayred stopped before them and smirked. “It was no trouble. Both of you turned your chat off so I had to track you on the map. Lucky for you, I just barely made it when I saw the Lizanid’s coming.”

Iris pressed her hands against her lower back and stiffened her spine. “Since when did you learn such a powerful spell?”

“Yesterday when I reached level sixty. It’s still a bit weak, but every ten levels I’ll get to add two seconds to its duration. I can only use it once per day though.”

Faunalyn snickered. “Then we’ll have to do some leveling together, right?”

In the corner of Iris's vision, a small icon resembling a bell swung back and forth. “Aww,” she groaned. “My time’s up guys, I have to log out now...”

“Already?” Ayred cried. “I just got here!”

“You’re too late. We’ve been online for like, five hours now.” She exhaled a breath between her lips. “I have school in the morning and need to get to bed.”

“Fine, then I guess Faunalyn and I will just do some questing!”

Faunalyn snickered. “Sorry, but I’m signing off too.”

Ayred brought up his menu and looked over the map. “Looks like I’ll be doing some solo quests then,” he grumbled.

“We’ll be on tomorrow.” Faunalyn placed her hand on Ayred’s arm. “Come find us earlier next time,” she said with a wink.

“Yeah, yeah, I got it.”

Iris snapped her fingers, prompting her menu. “Alright then, I’ll meet you two back here tomorrow, same time. Maybe the new update will have launched by then.”

“Oh, right,” Ayred followed. “I’ve heard it’s supposed to be coming real soon.”

“Same here. Guess we’ll find out.” Iris tapped the player menu and located the logout icon. She said a final farewell to her friends, then pressed the button.

Iris’s vision filled with blackness as her mind began swimming. Like waking from a dream, her eyes fluttered open to the blurry details of her room and the soft embrace of her mattress.

Lifting her hands, Iris gripped a metal ring that wrapped around her head. Its official name was the Alternate Reality Simulator, often shortened to ARS. Because of its shape though, many people referred to the device as the halo.

The ARS system uploaded a person’s conscious to a virtual database and allowed them to take control of an avatar in a manufactured world. A company known as Mother Sky developed the technology, and for years it was used in the medical field to allow terminally-ill patients or those who were bedridden to experience a higher quality of life. It was only a few short years ago when the company Ethereal Horizons began utilizing the technology for the gaming world.

Iris removed a device from her finger monitoring her vitals and sat up, her vision returning to normal.Smirking, she stared at the halo clutched in her grip. “I’ll never get tired of this,” she whispered to herself.

Jowqui
July 31st, 2019, 02:09 PM
I'm not an expert, but here's what I think.

As an MMO fan, I liked it. I assume you are also a fan. If so, what MMO's do you like?

You're very descriptive of character actions, however, in my opinion, I think you could be more descriptive of the armour, surroundings, and character facial features. The dialogue is good, Ayred came across quite pompous, though try using "—" in intense situations. The abrupt interpruptions can make it feel alive, like you're stuck in it the action.

Ayred said the spell lasts 30 seconds, but he said "Yesterday when I reached level sixty. It’s still a bit weak, but every ten levels I’ll get to add two seconds to its duration." wouldn't this be 14 seconds at level 60? (assuming he started with 2 seconds or did he start with 16?). It's not clear, though maybe I nit pick too much.

Wish you the best of luck, keep going. You have potential.

P.s. I understand the nerves. I posted my first story yesterday (part of story) and I must have read it a good 30 times before posting.

epimetheus
July 31st, 2019, 02:30 PM
I've always felt like an impostor of sorts, like I was just pretending to be a writer. I'm a very self-defeating person, so I can't trust myself to know if my writing is actually good, or if it's trash.

Welcome to the club. We're all crabs trying to scramble out of the same bucket here, but maybe if we help each other a few more of us will actually make it. That said, i think it's important to develop some resilience - your writing will likely be awful to start with, and you need people to tell you that. I think the best writers are those that just stuck with it. True of many other facets of life.


Two general points on your offering:

It was quite clear early on they were in some kind of game - so what are the stakes? Why should i care if they die, if they don't care? Made the fight scene seem pointless.

The ending was very info-dumpy. My advice (and remember i'm just pretending to know what i'm talking about, a good cure for imposter syndrome so long as you don't take yourself too seriously) would be to try to incorporate that technical information throughout the scene. Then the purpose of the scene is to provide some technical stuff while actually showing the in-game manifestation and, perhaps most important, what the characters think about it.

Kajaxis
August 1st, 2019, 06:48 AM
I'm not an expert, but here's what I think.

As an MMO fan, I liked it. I assume you are also a fan. If so, what MMO's do you like?

You're very descriptive of character actions, however, in my opinion, I think you could be more descriptive of the armour, surroundings, and character facial features. The dialogue is good, Ayred came across quite pompous, though try using "—" in intense situations. The abrupt interpruptions can make it feel alive, like you're stuck in it the action.

Ayred said the spell lasts 30 seconds, but he said "Yesterday when I reached level sixty. It’s still a bit weak, but every ten levels I’ll get to add two seconds to its duration." wouldn't this be 14 seconds at level 60? (assuming he started with 2 seconds or did he start with 16?). It's not clear, though maybe I nit pick too much.

Wish you the best of luck, keep going. You have potential.

P.s. I understand the nerves. I posted my first story yesterday (part of story) and I must have read it a good 30 times before posting.



I'm pleased to hear it, thank you : ) To be honest, I'm more of an RPG player, so I ported my experience with those over to an MMO-like setting, but honestly, that's basically an MMO, isn't it? Lol. I did do a lot of Runescape a couple years ago, but time constraints have kept me from playing many games lately.

I realize now that you pointed it out I do lack facial features! How could I have missed those!

The implication was he started with 30 seconds and goes up from there, but I see what the problem is. I'll take it into account, thank you.




Welcome to the club. We're all crabs trying to scramble out of the same bucket here, but maybe if we help each other a few more of us will actually make it. That said, i think it's important to develop some resilience - your writing will likely be awful to start with, and you need people to tell you that. I think the best writers are those that just stuck with it. True of many other facets of life.


Two general points on your offering:

It was quite clear early on they were in some kind of game - so what are the stakes? Why should i care if they die, if they don't care? Made the fight scene seem pointless.

The ending was very info-dumpy. My advice (and remember i'm just pretending to know what i'm talking about, a good cure for imposter syndrome so long as you don't take yourself too seriously) would be to try to incorporate that technical information throughout the scene. Then the purpose of the scene is to provide some technical stuff while actually showing the in-game manifestation and, perhaps most important, what the characters think about it.



Thank you for understanding : )

I understand the issue with the stakes. They do get explained in the second chapter, but suppose they should be at the very least touched on a bit more in the first chapter.

Also to the info-dump point, that crossed my mind as well. The last few paragraphs definitely suffer from that, I agree. I will split it up a bit in the actual scene then.




Again, thank you both for your input. It's valued greatly, I assure you. I like hearing what is bad about my work so I can fix it, you know?

ParadoxBrother
August 5th, 2019, 05:28 PM
I like what you have going here, anything that's sci-fi and fantasy is honestly a win in my book (yes, I'm biased). One small nit-pick I have though is how things are described, but that's about it. The way their weapons and armor are detailed in the starting paragraphs come off as a bit much like exposition, and a little clumped together. It might be useful to describe certain aspects of their equipment and the enemy as the action is happening, spread out of course as not to distract from what's going on. Going into a little more detail about what the enemy is doing before the pair strike too would give you the chance to describe what the Lizanid looks like since the pace is a bit slower and tense. The pacing is great, otherwise. It feels like the story is moving at a decently quick pace during the fight and brings a lot of action to what would otherwise be a bit bland if viewed from a third person perspective in a game. You've got some really good ideas going with this, I'd want to read the whole thing to see where the conflict goes. Maybe I'm just reminiscing a bit about the times me and a friend would roleplay during our MMO sessions, this makes me wish VR was as far along as it's depicted in the story!

Bard_Daniel
August 5th, 2019, 07:17 PM
I agree with what epithemus has said. There's no stake here. Why should we invest the emotional and intellectual energy to get into the story? It's also not structured like a story. There's no introduction, middle, or end point. This is not really a story, rather than an exposition of details that I felt (as a reader) to not have a connection with. I would maybe suggest that you read things in the fantasy genre if you're interested in improving this. Right now, it also does not have a discernible style.

Just my amateur 0.02c!

Kajaxis
August 6th, 2019, 09:34 AM
I like what you have going here, anything that's sci-fi and fantasy is honestly a win in my book (yes, I'm biased). One small nit-pick I have though is how things are described, but that's about it. The way their weapons and armor are detailed in the starting paragraphs come off as a bit much like exposition, and a little clumped together. It might be useful to describe certain aspects of their equipment and the enemy as the action is happening, spread out of course as not to distract from what's going on. Going into a little more detail about what the enemy is doing before the pair strike too would give you the chance to describe what the Lizanid looks like since the pace is a bit slower and tense. The pacing is great, otherwise. It feels like the story is moving at a decently quick pace during the fight and brings a lot of action to what would otherwise be a bit bland if viewed from a third person perspective in a game. You've got some really good ideas going with this, I'd want to read the whole thing to see where the conflict goes. Maybe I'm just reminiscing a bit about the times me and a friend would roleplay during our MMO sessions, this makes me wish VR was as far along as it's depicted in the story!

I thank you for the kind words and of course the feedback. I plan to use your feedback and apply it to my re-write of this chapter and following ones. I like the thought of removing some of the earlier descriptions and incorporating them into the actual scenes instead of kind of info-dumping them as you suggested. (I didn't even realize I was doing a lot of the things you guys are pointing out, so I'm glad to have received this feedback.)

I liked the concept of VR in novels such as Overlord, and wanted to kind of expand upon that. Again, I thank you for taking the time to critique my work. : )




I agree with what epithemus has said. There's no stake here. Why should we invest the emotional and intellectual energy to get into the story? It's also not structured like a story. There's no introduction, middle, or end point. This is not really a story, rather than an exposition of details that I felt (as a reader) to not have a connection with. I would maybe suggest that you read things in the fantasy genre if you're interested in improving this. Right now, it also does not have a discernible style.

Just my amateur 0.02c!

I'll admit to possibly botching the fighting scenes. Their purpose in my head was to familiarize the reader with the game's combat system, not really to have anything at stake yet. My thought pattern was to build up to the stakes, as in a few chapters we'll learn Legend Quest becomes a game of death, but it doesn't happen quite yet. I was trying to go for a slow burn, but again, I might have botched it.

I assure you I appreciate your input and I'll take your suggestions into account when I do future edits/writing. Thank you for taking the time to put your 0.02c in! : )



Lastly, I wanted to give a thank you to everyone who has given me feedback. It's truly refreshing to have this type of criticism so I know what needs work and where. So thank you to all.

Bard_Daniel
August 6th, 2019, 06:35 PM
Hey, don't sweat it too much. If you write another draft I'll check it out and we can make it better. That's the good thing with writing, right? ;) You can always make it better!

Nadinarte
August 14th, 2019, 09:15 AM
Good morning from my side of the world which is right now Italy, visiting my mom! ☆(◒‿◒)☆ and thank you for posting your work! (•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑
Especially well done because I can see how much you feared that your writing was not good enough to share.
If it makes you feel better, I was watching a writer-tuber that said that there's a scale which represents the relationship between ability and modesty: doubt means quality and being over self-confident is often a symptom of being not so good at writing. This is because doubting ourselves pushes us to improve. This doesn't mean that we should never be confident about our work, but that we should be aware that the quest to perfection is a long one; we shall enjoy the ride with a happy smile! (*‿*✿)

Now, let's get to the actual commentary and get ready because I really do get into detail. 三ヾ(●゚∀゚)ノ
1) CONCEPT
The idea of your book gave me what I call "the bling". (❛ัॢᵕ❛ั ॢ)✩*ೃ.
Maybe it's not unique (other modern stories start with the characters playing with an avatar in a video game, see "Ready Player 1" and there's a TV series on Netflix with that same introduction) but that doesn't matter, does it? Like my literature teacher said:"There hasn't been anything truly original since the Odyssey had been written." The narrative structure is always the same.I haven't been worrying too much about total originality since then.
What you have here is a very modern activity which is gaming and a lot of young adults share it or at least know about it. It'll definitely attract readers! You're on point! (୨୧ ❛ᴗ❛)✧

2)PACING
Very well done, in my view. (︶ω︶)✧
It flows really well and you brought me to the scene naturally. I encountered several introductions in a text that were either abrupt or a large quantity of foreign sci-fi terms (related to the story) that I couldn't understand and I had to struggle very much to know where I was in the story. With your wording and your pacing I went through the text comfortably and trust me: there's almost nothing more important than that. It means that people won't have trouble reading your book! ⊂(◉‿◉)つ
I give you a metaphor as an example: would you prefer an incredible, castle-like red-carpeted set of stairs with broken, wobbly steps that are steep and short for your foot or a modest flight of stairs that, although plain and not pleasant to the eyes is well kept and its steps are wide enough to accommodate you? You've got the answer.

3) CHARACTERS
The characters are presented a bit flatly, I'm afraid. ( •᷄⌓•᷅ )
I would work more on their lines so that they're not simply related to the action in the game but actually will give us a glimpse of their personality and their life troubles. For example (something that used to happen to me when I played with my friends online) one of the characters being interrupted by their mom because dinner is ready or she brought them some biscuits or something, the other characters getting annoyed for it. They are school kids and there is no indication of it until the very end.
Alternatively, create the first scene to be immersive so that we don't actually know that it's a game at all until there are some elements that make us wonder, like a section that doesn't quite fit in the dialogue or something strange that happens in the scene.
I am guessing the gaming experience is supposed to be very realistic so that would work.
Because all these elements were absent during the presentation of the characters on the main body of the text, you found yourself having to info-dump it at the end because you realized that you had to insert that information for us to understand what was going on.
More than the names of the companies that produced the game (that can be inserted later on in the story in a meaningful context, no rush for that) I need to know WHY I should care about the characters straight away. Who are they, really? Are they lazy? Fun? Timid? Geeky? Outgoing? Friendly? Annoying twits? Grumpy? Troubled? Depressed?
I don't need to know everything about the characters in one go (I have time to find out slowly in the book) but I know nothing (Jon Snow (꒪⌓꒪)) at all. I need an indication, something to connect with the protagonist on a human level. A flaw, maybe, or something that bothers them permeating the scene would be a good start. There are many ways to achieve this and it's up to you to choose the how. This brings me to the last observation:

4) CONFLICT
The lack of conflict in your introduction is tightly related to the lack of characterization.
As I am clueless of what the characters are like, I don't know why I should care about them. Why are they playing? Is the game related to their troubles or is it the cause of the conflict?
You know, I used to draw comics and my teacher once told me that there was an important rule for characterization: everything or nothing. What did it mean? If the character had a big nose, you REALLY had to draw it big. If it was small, the other way round, you had to make it clear.
Either you bring conflict through daily life permeating the scene (maybe Ayred is late because he/she was at the swimming pool or having a large piece of cake...anything really!) or the scene is immersive: we don't know we're in a game. Through these devices, give us a glimpse of why we should care about the main characters.
At the moment this is just a good description of what a MMORPG/RPG/MMO is like. It's very good and well paced but, for the start of a book, we need more. (´・⊥・`)

I hope my analysis was extensive enough and not too rough. ꒰๑´ඹ.̫ ඹ `๑꒱
hope it can help you to have a different point of view!

Nadia

bdcharles
August 14th, 2019, 10:23 AM
Hi,

I'm reading the Inheritance Cycle series at the moment (daughter and I are geeking out about it together :) ) so am very much in the space for this. I like your names - Faunalyn, Lizanid, Iris, etc. I like also how you've taken video games as your model for this piece. I did the same on Fantasy Faction just recently. In fact I get the initial sense that this isn't actual life but some sort of sport they are undertaking. And by the end I see that it is definitely a game, and they are people in the real world. Reminds me of Ready Player One.

I laughed at this:

“If only Ayred were here,” Iris sighed. “Then we’d at least have a mage with healing magic in case things go poorly.”

So you went on a raid without a healer. What d'you expect?! :)

I really liked this description:

Drawing the weapon from its sheath, the blade gleamed a lustrous silver as the ruby in its pommel threw brilliant reds from its crisp edges.

Not only is it well-crafted in its own right but you do it as part of an action. You could have just as easily written:

She drew the weapon from its sheath. The blade gleamed a lustrous silver as the ruby in its pommel threw brilliant reds from its crisp edges.

But that would kind of stop the movement a little. So good stuff.

I would just watch some of your other descritions; eg:

The dragon chainmail Iris adorned would half the damage dealt by the Lizanid

"adorned" doesn't quite work for me here, and I say this as a chronic overdescriber whose propensity for flowery text frequently gets out of hand. For starters, "adorned" is like "decorated" - she's not decorating with it, she's wearing it, so invoke that either by just saying "wore" or plop in a little backstory in its place; eg:

The dragon chainmail Iris had slung on when they had set out that dawn would half the damage dealt by the Lizanid

That way it's both semantically correct and shows a tiny sliver of worldbuild in the mix.

Your grammar is good, especially around your dialogue. I often see alot of mistakes in punctuation around dialogue, but none here, and you mix up the action tags with the sigheds and the crieds. The only issues I saw are a couple of pluralising apostrophes:

The creature’s beady eyes

Should be:

The creatures’ beady eyes

As there are more than one. And also:

the Lizanid’s

should be:

the Lizanids’

When they are being chased by the pack.




With this:

As the Lizanid’s claws tore through Iris’s armor, it claimed nearly half of her health.

You can probably trighten it up a little more by dispensing with all that "as" stuff. Just write as is:

The Lizanid’s claws tore through Iris’s armor, claiming nearly half of her health.

Otherwise the prose risks getting a bit "As X happened, X happened." Try for "X happened" particularly in tense, speedy moments.



Think also about paragraph structure. Eg with this:

Just as the Lizanid ended its attack, Iris summoned a signature skill of her own – a powerful skill known as Retaliation.

Iris’s blade flashed with an array of whites and reds. Clamping her teeth, she readied her sword at her side, then released a primal roar as the blade skewed through the Lizanid’s stomach.

You could put it into 1 para and dro the second "Iris" (replace with her), drop a couple of just's and with's and as's while you're at it, and keep it all a little tighter that way:

As the Lizanid ended its attack, Iris summoned a signature skill of her own – a powerful skill known as Retaliation. Her blade flashed an array of whites and reds. Clamping her teeth, she readied her sword at her side and released a primal roar. The blade skewed through the Lizanid’s stomach.



Try and keep the passive voice to a miminum to avoid the text reading too inactively.

The colors drained from her Greatsword, and a blinding explosion of light was unleashed

could be:

The colors drained from her Greatsword, unleasing a blinding explosion of light.




Im summary, you can discard the nerves as this is not a bad entree at all. Looking forward to more. It will be interesting to see where this goes, with the whole game / reality split.

ScientistAsHero
August 27th, 2019, 07:12 AM
Hi Kajaxis! Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it for the most part.

I did agree with some of the other commenters about the last part being somewhat of an info-dump. I really enjoy details in stories and, even if they're not specifically integral to understanding the plot, appreciate them solely for the world-building aspect, but I would maybe try to insert them into the narrative a little more organically.

One thing that I do disagree with some of the other commenters on is the lack of caring about the characters. It's not that I particularly cared about yours, at least just from reading what you put up, but I maintain that, in general, it takes time to build the reader's interest in who they are and what their lives are like, for any author, amateur or professional, and your submission did make me interested in finding out more about them and the world in which they live. One of the fundamental "rules" of writing seems to be "hook the reader at the beginning," but in my experience, it is always a struggle for me to get past the first couple of chapters of a book. I just don't care about the characters at the beginning. It's not related to the quality of writing; I have read a lot of books over the years from a huge array of different authors. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with whether or not a character is in the middle of action at the beginning or not. The character could be tied to a chair in the middle of a gunfight from the beginning few sentences, and that would be objectively interesting perhaps, but, until you give me a little bit of insight about who that character is, and their personality and motivations, I'm not going to give an emotional flip about them one way or the other. I'm not trying to refute the "hook them at the beginning" guideline, but just relaying my own personal experience. Most of my favorite novels have started off with me struggling through the first few chapters, only to become completely invested in them a little bit further in, then devouring them over the course of a couple of days, feeling like they had changed my life by the ending.

I would also suggest maybe having this first part be devoid of any knowledge that the main character is in a simulated, virtual environment until the very end. I wrote a novel a few years back where two of the characters were avid gamers, and the first chapter that featured one of them playing the game just described things as they appeared in the game -- there was no reference to HUDs, controllers, etc. until the very end of the segment. It wasn't done to deceive the reader in a hokey way (a la M. Knight Shyamalan) -- it was several chapters in, so it was just kind of ambiguous; it had already been established that the novel was a kind of quirky romance/comedy that featured some very nerdy protagonists. But I thought it worked better than saying, "Ardell looked at the IM he'd gotten from Greg, then turned and pushed x repeatedly to destroy the XV-Walker that was flanking him from behind." (I know you didn't do anything as overt as that in your writing; just trying to provide an example.)

Overall, very interesting! I'd be excited to know where the story goes from here.

Trollheart
September 3rd, 2019, 03:10 PM
My own little comment would simply be that if I had been you I would have avoided any references to hit points, energy bars etc, as it makes it too obvious too soon that this is a game, whether you're doing a "Tron"-like idea of someone actually being drawn into a digitised world, or whether it's VR. It might have been a nice surprise/twist had you treated it all as being real, then at the end had someone being called for dinner and turning off the computer, or whatever.

Otherwise, good work. Nice descriptions, bit of humour (like the "drop party" idea - girls just wanna have fun, eh?) and overall a very decent effort, especially for your first. Nice.

Kajaxis
September 7th, 2019, 10:01 AM
So thanks to everyone who commented recently, (and of course everyone who commented in general.) I've been dealing with tech issues and work, so I've read all the comments, I just couldn't answer them until recently. I did PM the most recent users as to not clog the boards up with this. I know others are looking for help/critique too and I don't want to keep bringing my story ahead of theirs...... which I guess I'm doing now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Again, thanks to everyone in this thread who took the time to help me, I truly do appreciate it. Like I said, I never felt like I had anyone who I could really rely on to give me the critiquing I needed, so just know all of your words are valued to me!


-K

LaMDoH123
September 8th, 2019, 09:03 PM
First of all, I understand being unsure about your writing. I feel the same way. But for what my opinion is worth, this is pretty good. I see a few comments about lack of stakes or exposition, and I'll agree with the latter on the matter of the ARS. Some mention of it beforehand might have been nice. But as for stakes, there don't have to be any. It's just a video game. You can build up stakes later if you (maybe make it so they're all stuck inside, and if you die in the game you die for real). Right now, you're just setting up a world and characters. I got the feeling that these characters are all friends, but the first two could have used a little more characterization. Even just descriptions of nervous tics or habitual motions, or maybe how they talk. I got a good sense of Ayred being a bit pompous and self-congratulating, and I'd like a little more sense for Iris and Faunalyn. Keep going on this, and don't give up on yourself.