Re: Requesting feedback

Hi Gyeig,

Way to keep consistent with your uploads! That's a challenge for many a first time poster. Well done.

I have a few thoughts I'd like to share, but I want to stress you're off to a great start and obviously have a strong grasp on your writing.

I like to look at the first chapter, and particularly the first couple paragraphs, when forming initial thoughts about writing in order to provide feedback. Given the strength of what is already present, this feedback is just my two cents on some fun ways to explore digging in a little further.

The Italicized Intro Narration
This struck me as odd. It wasn't written from a character's perspective, but rather like a movie voice-over from a narrator. It was as though grandpa was sitting down to read little Bobby a bedtime story, and that was his voice as the camera transitioned from the bedroom to the fantasy world where the story takes place.

For me that works fine in cinema (The Princess Bride, anyone?), but it's awkward in a book if it's left as a standalone device. I don't see you returning to the italicized narration at the end of a chapter, the start of another one, etc (I went a handful of chapters in, just to check).

That suggests to me that this wasn't a mechanic you intend to use throughout, but a one-time thing to set the stage. When that happens, I tend to wonder why the author didn't just incorporate the descriptions into the story itself so we learn about the backdrop organically, rather than reading it as a script to a scene.

You also go on later to use italics to represent Victor's inner thoughts, which is how you use italics moving forward, it looks like.

The first official paragraph starts with the following sentence: The crow of the rooster announced the morning to the residents of Riverside.

Now and then avoiding a common word such as 'the' is difficult. I find it detracts from the flow for me and pulls me out of the story when it happens. I try to challenge myself to explore alternative ways to phrase things when I catch myself doing this (and I have done that, plenty of times!).

One suggestion could be the simple rewording of: The rooster's crow announced to Riverside's residence the morning's arrival. 

From 5 to 3 is a pretty solid reduction. Whether or not you like that rewording is a matter of taste, but I always recommend using chances like the above to explore other ways to convey the scene to the reader. Particularly if it cuts down on word usage in general, as that helps the reader complete the image in their minds eye and move on.

Dialog Formality
I've always found it fun to consider a character's voice when I write their dialog. Are they formal? Do they use a long of slang? How can I be consistent between characters and scenes so that my readers would know who was talking, even if I left off the "said Victor" descriptor following the dialog?

I really only noticed this specifically because I'm reading with the intent of giving feedback, and as I find it a fun challenge, perhaps you will as well. Note though, that if I were reading casually, I would have glossed right over this, as there isn't anything inherently wrong with it:

When Victor bids farewell to his family, he says: "Farewell, mother. Farewell, Charlotte. I will miss you both." 

That's a nice scene, but I have just learned something (or, at least I think I have), about Victor: he seems quite formal. Not only does he use the word 'Farewell', but he also states "I will miss you both", rather than a more casual "I'll miss you both". 

"Farewell" is a respectful and formal way to bid goodbye to one's mother. I think anybody can appreciate that. However, unless Charlotte is very little and Victor is going out of his way to make her feel grown-up, that feels too formal for a sibling goodbye if Victor isn't a Formal speaker. Especially as she replies with "Bye, big brother!" (that definitely sounds like a little sister).

This isn't necessarily a suggestion to change Victor's word-choice, but a question to you about just how formal he is with everyday dialog.  Further down the page, a soldier asks him "Who are ye, lad?" and he replies "I'm Victor".

A very believable response, but far less formal than I had suspected he would be based on the Farewell to his sister. I was expecting something more along the lines of "My name is Victor". 

Now I'm left to consider that I was wrong about thinking him quite formal, and that he's pretty casual. So, not a criticism, but something to consider if it is of interest to you.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts, and good luck as you continue!

Re: Requesting feedback

Drew Walker Wrote: Hi Gyeig,

Thanks for your feedback, it's greatly appreciated! 

I can definitely see where you're coming from with both the overuse of 'the', and the overly formal goodbye. Those are both a bit awkward, and definitely something to improve (which I'll get to a little later). That said, the introduction is one thing I'll defend myself on. For me it's a simple way of introducing the setting and painting a decent picture in the reader's mind, instead of diving into the story headfirst. Opinions on this may differ, of course, but I do like this way of beginning the story. That said, I'll think about it a little more. Perhaps there's a superior way of doing things, and I just have to come up with it myself.

Again, thanks for the constructive feedback, it's a big help for me.