Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#1
I realize I only have 4 chapters posted.  
And the story takes off at like the 7th chapter.

Um. 
In the mean time, I would still like some critique. 
(Common critique that I got is that the first chapter is winding, which I realize, but ahhh)

The novel is called What A Dream Wants. Which is also kind of a lame title, but I like it. The novel takes place somewhere in the future. It's not far enough to be considered hard sci fi, but it's also not in the present. The setting is a school. Traumatizing content tag is for the future chapters, so there is nothing bad in the chapters so far.

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#2
I'm not going to go too far into the chapters at all really, I am willing to look at the entry level info and tell you what I notice.  

The goal with the entry is to attract people's imagination with things like the title and cover image.  Being vague, but ultimately hinting towards something more interesting.  Your title gives me a headache when I try and think of it's implications.  It sounds like you just picked one that sounded poetic.  The cover image looks like art for the sake of art.  If there are implications there, I'm not picking up on them.  

One thing to note is that multiple lead characters is a handicap you are taking right off the bat.  Very few authors are good at juggling them.  It's one thing to have multiple perspectives, but multiple leads is even worse.  

Try not to use words that readers will have to pull out a dictionary to understand.  Like "Crepitating" or "Corrugating".  People aren't impressed, they're confused.  It's especially bad when it's used wrong.  Crepitating means "to make a cracking sound".  So you are saying "lines of code are making a cracking sound."  Just use simple English. Hemingway was famous for his simple language.  He never once used crazy words.  

I had to spend like 2 minutes trying to understand what your synopsis was even trying to say.  Remember, people skip to the next novel for extremely simple reasons.  I can almost guarantee that your readership is low because of this synopsis. 

I'm going to try and translate this synopsis, tell me if I got it right.  


Quote:This is the story of three people stuck in a time loop. The first is a talented coder with depression.  The second is a woman trying to use the loop to save someone close to her.  The third is a guy who's f'ed because he overslept



I'm sorry but if I have to spend minutes translating every paragraph....  

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#3

DarkD Wrote: I'm not going to go too far into the chapters at all really, I am willing to look at the entry level info and tell you what I notice.  

The goal with the entry is to attract people's imagination with things like the title and cover image.  Being vague, but ultimately hinting towards something more interesting.  Your title gives me a headache when I try and think of it's implications.  It sounds like you just picked one that sounded poetic.  The cover image looks like art for the sake of art.  If there are implications there, I'm not picking up on them.  

One thing to note is that multiple lead characters is a handicap you are taking right off the bat.  Very few authors are good at juggling them.  It's one thing to have multiple perspectives, but multiple leads is even worse.  

Try not to use words that readers will have to pull out a dictionary to understand.  Like "Crepitating" or "Corrugating".  People aren't impressed, they're confused.  It's especially bad when it's used wrong.  Crepitating means "to make a cracking sound".  So you are saying "lines of code are making a cracking sound."  Just use simple English. Hemingway was famous for his simple language.  He never once used crazy words.  

I had to spend like 2 minutes trying to understand what your synopsis was even trying to say.  Remember, people skip to the next novel for extremely simple reasons.  I can almost guarantee that your readership is low because of this synopsis. 

I'm going to try and translate this synopsis, tell me if I got it right.  


Quote:This is the story of three people stuck in a time loop. The first is a talented coder with depression.  The second is a woman trying to use the loop to save someone close to her.  The third is a guy who's f'ed because he overslept



I'm sorry but if I have to spend minutes translating every paragraph....

Really love your critique by the way.


But that's precisely why I used difficult language. Code doesn't crackle, you're right, but hardware does, especially when the computer needs to boot large files, and I'm glad you perceived the blurb that way because that is what I wanted to do. I wanted something that the readers skipped over, or skimmed, or didn't really pay much attention to, due to the words. The first guy isn't a coder, nor does he have depression. But I wrote it like that. The girl isn't using the timeline to save someone, but rather is what she doesn't do, that does. And the third guy isn't someone who woke up, bur rather someone who forgot. 

And when you wake up from a dream too soon, you forget. 

I guess I wrote it cryptically, because I knew if I wrote it too simply, people would get where I was going. So the blurb, in a sense, is a misdirection that's only there to catch the reader's attention. Because a coder with depression sounds interesting, and so does the idea of multiple time lines.

As for the title, lol it's bad. There's no reason for it. I'm currently in the process of drawing a new cover, but I'm not done. I know the artwork sucks, it's a pretty old artwork.

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#4

DarkD Wrote: I'm not going to go too far into the chapters at all really, I am willing to look at the entry level info and tell you what I notice.  

The goal with the entry is to attract people's imagination with things like the title and cover image.  Being vague, but ultimately hinting towards something more interesting.  Your title gives me a headache when I try and think of it's implications.  It sounds like you just picked one that sounded poetic.  The cover image looks like art for the sake of art.  If there are implications there, I'm not picking up on them.  

One thing to note is that multiple lead characters is a handicap you are taking right off the bat.  Very few authors are good at juggling them.  It's one thing to have multiple perspectives, but multiple leads is even worse.  

Try not to use words that readers will have to pull out a dictionary to understand.  Like "Crepitating" or "Corrugating".  People aren't impressed, they're confused.  It's especially bad when it's used wrong.  Crepitating means "to make a cracking sound".  So you are saying "lines of code are making a cracking sound."  Just use simple English. Hemingway was famous for his simple language.  He never once used crazy words.  

I had to spend like 2 minutes trying to understand what your synopsis was even trying to say.  Remember, people skip to the next novel for extremely simple reasons.  I can almost guarantee that your readership is low because of this synopsis. 

I'm going to try and translate this synopsis, tell me if I got it right.  


Quote:This is the story of three people stuck in a time loop. The first is a talented coder with depression.  The second is a woman trying to use the loop to save someone close to her.  The third is a guy who's f'ed because he overslept



I'm sorry but if I have to spend minutes translating every paragraph....

Really love your critique by the way.


But that's precisely why I used difficult language. Code doesn't crackle, you're right, but hardware does, especially when the computer needs to boot large files, and I'm glad you perceived the blurb that way because that is what I wanted to do. I wanted something that the readers skipped over, or skimmed, or didn't really pay much attention to, due to the words. The first guy isn't a coder, nor does he have depression. But I wrote it like that. The girl isn't using the timeline to save someone, but rather is what she doesn't do, that does. And the third guy isn't someone who woke up, bur rather someone who forgot. 

And when you wake up from a dream too soon, you forget. 

I guess I wrote it cryptically, because I knew if I wrote it too simply, people would get where I was going. So the blurb, in a sense, is a misdirection that's only there to catch the reader's attention. Because a coder with depression sounds interesting, and so does the idea of multiple time lines.

As for the title, lol it's bad. There's no reason for it. I'm currently in the process of drawing a new cover, but I'm not done. I know the artwork sucks, it's a pretty old artwork.

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#5

DarkD Wrote: I'm not going to go too far into the chapters at all really, I am willing to look at the entry level info and tell you what I notice.  

The goal with the entry is to attract people's imagination with things like the title and cover image.  Being vague, but ultimately hinting towards something more interesting.  Your title gives me a headache when I try and think of it's implications.  It sounds like you just picked one that sounded poetic.  The cover image looks like art for the sake of art.  If there are implications there, I'm not picking up on them.  

One thing to note is that multiple lead characters is a handicap you are taking right off the bat.  Very few authors are good at juggling them.  It's one thing to have multiple perspectives, but multiple leads is even worse.  

Try not to use words that readers will have to pull out a dictionary to understand.  Like "Crepitating" or "Corrugating".  People aren't impressed, they're confused.  It's especially bad when it's used wrong.  Crepitating means "to make a cracking sound".  So you are saying "lines of code are making a cracking sound."  Just use simple English. Hemingway was famous for his simple language.  He never once used crazy words.  

I had to spend like 2 minutes trying to understand what your synopsis was even trying to say.  Remember, people skip to the next novel for extremely simple reasons.  I can almost guarantee that your readership is low because of this synopsis. 

I'm going to try and translate this synopsis, tell me if I got it right.  


Quote:This is the story of three people stuck in a time loop. The first is a talented coder with depression.  The second is a woman trying to use the loop to save someone close to her.  The third is a guy who's f'ed because he overslept



I'm sorry but if I have to spend minutes translating every paragraph....

lastly, you're one hundred percent right about introducing too many characters.


Ahhh, sighs. I'm just too lazy to rewrite the first chapter.

I don't know why my computer glitches and sends two posts at the same time, that's weird.

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#7

AuTriesToWrite Wrote: ... Code doesn't crackle, you're right, but hardware does, especially when the computer needs to boot large files...


I think your hard-drive might be dying. Or the whole machine is on fire. Proper hardware these days, especially a laptop, will at most make fan spinning sounds.

With that out of the way.
I agree with the previous critique. A proper cover and a clean blurb will take it a long way.
I don't have as much trouble with the title as long as it fits the story. And the premise itself is fascinating, so it has a lot of potential. (Intentionally ignoring implications that the premise might not be the real story. It's there as a blurb, I assume that's what I'm going to get and I better get it or I'm returning this product to the store and filing a customer complaint.)

One thing I would change formatting wise is the font. This is for the first chapter in particular and it's more of a personal preference but a blocky sans-serif like that is hard to read. Feels more like a mission report than a narrative. The next chapters look much better.

Story wise, and following the note on speeding things up, I would recommend a different opening. The story starts with a classroom (and not directly with a character since he is dreaming about some obscure, arcane being). Starting with the protagonist is always a good idea.

It then meanders about a class and a classroom and takes a long time to take off. This might be a case of starting a story too soon. I recommend writing the scenes out on stikies and trying to re-arrange them so we focus only on elements integral to understanding the story and get to the plot faster.

This is my impression so far:
Chapter 1: we take attendance
Chapter 2: the class begins
Chapter 3: verbal backstory of characters we aren't really interested in. More new characters.
Chapter 4: lunch break

Chapter ??: where's the hacking and coding and looping and all that exciting stuff?

We're not even through the day at this point.
If you want to establish a status quo, I recommend condensing all of that into a single chapter and focusing only on the most important details. The key characters, key events, and key thoughts.
Then once that is set, introduce the inciting incident and start the plot.

The best advise I always think of is: write a story you want to read. Take the perspective of a potential reader and read the story. Set aside all the buzzing details you thought up when imagining your story and focus on what matters and what would be interesting to read.

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#8

DarkD Wrote: Well I'm glad you liked the critique.  I gotta say the more I understand about this fiction, the bigger of a headache it gives me.  You are telling me that you wrote false information into the synopsis to hook the reader.  A different approach than what I'm used to.

not false. Misleading. 


Everything I wrote is true.Think about it this way.

One of my favorite novels is called Everything I never Told You. 
Never once is there a lie.
Only the narrator doesn't tell you everything.
Only the character sometimes remembers incorrectly.
And that creates a bunch of half truths that misdirects the readers.

Imagine the narrator implying one thing, by not revealing all the details of a mystery. It isn't a lie. But by hiding just one of two details, the whole narrative seems to be implying another.

In a novel, I really love this idea of a imperfect narrator.
A narrator, who is omniscient, but has an agenda.

Another novel, called The God of Small Things, which I hate, takes another cryptic method. 
Repeats the same thing four times throughout the novel.
It tells you everything, but only at the end, does it makes sense. Every time the experience is repeated, the interpretation by the reader is different.

None of what I said is a lie. Only...
Ok, so I'll put it this way, since I really don't want to spoil. When I phrase it as "seven muscles to smile), it sounds like depression, but just read the tag- Anti-hero lead, and it makes more sense. 

Re: Looking for some critique on my novel.

#9

Mary Wrote:
AuTriesToWrite Wrote: ... Code doesn't crackle, you're right, but hardware does, especially when the computer needs to boot large files...


I think your hard-drive might be dying. Or the whole machine is on fire. Proper hardware these days, especially a laptop, will at most make fan spinning sounds.

With that out of the way.
I agree with the previous critique. A proper cover and a clean blurb will take it a long way.
I don't have as much trouble with the title as long as it fits the story. And the premise itself is fascinating, so it has a lot of potential. (Intentionally ignoring implications that the premise might not be the real story. It's there as a blurb, I assume that's what I'm going to get and I better get it or I'm returning this product to the store and filing a customer complaint.)

One thing I would change formatting wise is the font. This is for the first chapter in particular and it's more of a personal preference but a blocky sans-serif like that is hard to read. Feels more like a mission report than a narrative. The next chapters look much better.

Story wise, and following the note on speeding things up, I would recommend a different opening. The story starts with a classroom (and not directly with a character since he is dreaming about some obscure, arcane being). Starting with the protagonist is always a good idea.

It then meanders about a class and a classroom and takes a long time to take off. This might be a case of starting a story too soon. I recommend writing the scenes out on stikies and trying to re-arrange them so we focus only on elements integral to understanding the story and get to the plot faster.

This is my impression so far:
Chapter 1: we take attendance
Chapter 2: the class begins
Chapter 3: verbal backstory of characters we aren't really interested in. More new characters.
Chapter 4: lunch break

Chapter ??: where's the hacking and coding and looping and all that exciting stuff?

We're not even through the day at this point.
If you want to establish a status quo, I recommend condensing all of that into a single chapter and focusing only on the most important details. The key characters, key events, and key thoughts.
Then once that is set, introduce the inciting incident and start the plot.

The best advise I always think of is: write a story you want to read. Take the perspective of a potential reader and read the story. Set aside all the buzzing details you thought up when imagining your story and focus on what matters and what would be interesting to read.


The first few chapters as world building. The story takes off at the seventh chapter. I wrote 60 chapters so far. 
The first few chapters establish the three leads, and some of the side characters, which will be important later.
Kind of like Hitman No Reborn's first arc. I'll post another chapter.