Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#1
I have recently started writing and am a novice in pretty much every way imaginable.  

There are some flaws I have noticed already, and I am planning on re-writing the first few chapters before I get too far into the story. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to help me by reading a bit and making further suggestions for improvements before I scrap it all. 

I nearly always give up on reading books within the first few chapters, so I want to build a better  foundation for the story to build up from - and I want to make those changes before I have too large a reader base and feel guilty for messing people about by editing instead of writing more. 

Some of the things I’ve noticed myself include having a more solid backstory to my characters (which won't necessarily be explained off the bat but will hopefully make it all flow better in the long run) and solidifying the schematics behind the magic and skills (at the moment they would be inconsistent with what I have planned). Some of the dialogue and interactions seem pretty forced - though I’m not entirely sure how to improve on that. 

It's somewhat terrifying to put yourself out there not knowing how the writing comes across. Whether the problems I’ve noticed are the ones that readers get hung up about too - or are there glaring mistakes I’ve simply not thought about etc?

I am keen to improve, and would massively appreciated any help, even if it’s just with some of what I’ve written (no need to feel like having to read all 6 chapters just because you’ve helped me with one!) ... although obviously, the more the better 😉

Maybe I am asking a bit much, sorry if that’s the case! 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! 

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#2
Your story, so honestly your opinion matters most. 

I'll take a look in a bit when I have a longer break.

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Apparently I didn't post this, so here's the next part:


Nothing super wrong in the first chapter.  You have a fave and several followers, so that's going decently.
Several places where punctuation is off, or the word choice is a translation issue.  I'll put in a chapter comment so I can copy directly.

If you are seeking more review, you might turn on the reader suggestions (found in the edit fiction page, near the bottom save button).  It's new, but it is supposed to make commenting minor edits easier.

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#3
Thank you so much! 


Quote:If you are seeking more review, you might turn on the reader suggestions (found in the edit fiction page, near the bottom save button).  It's new, but it is supposed to make commenting minor edits easier.

I never even noticed that, enabled it just now! 


Quote:Apparently I didn't post this, so here's the next part:

It might have been a problem with the system, because I got a notification that someone responded to my thread, but when I came here there was nothing to see. 


Quote:Several places where punctuation is off, or the word choice is a translation issue.  I'll put in a chapter comment so I can copy directly. 

I just ran it though a spell check (whoops, should definitely have done that sooner!) and I believe I need to re-learn the use of commas... 


Much appreciate the help! Thank you :) 

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#4
First, your English is better than many Americans or British I've met. 

Second, I'd say the worst part about your first chapter is that it starts in a sub-optimal place. It feels natural to start writing it when he wakes up, but that isn't a very interesting part for a reader. It's not a deal-breaker, though, just because most people will write isekai like that. The trick is to write something, then go back later and change where you started it if you found a better spot to start. 

For example, in one story I wrote back in college, I started writing at the moment my two main characters met. It was a good spot to start, since it was a romance novel cleverly disguised as a superhero action story. However, when I did a second draft, I realized I needed to start slightly earlier, so I had some space for the audience to get inside both of their heads and get to know the two characters on their own, rather than start with the female lead and only get introduced to the male lead through her perspective. 

As another example, the story I'm writing now originally started shortly after the accident that crippled my main character; the second draft cuts out the first two chapters and starts two months after the accident. I started writing when I did based on my own thoughts on the subject, but I've had mumblety years since my college days to get experience with writing and knew that it probably wasn't where I needed to start the story. I just needed to start writing it there so I knew what happened, and then on the second draft I'd be able to go back and reference events. I knew that the main character had argued with someone else, for example, but it wasn't necessary to do more than reference it in the current draft. I knew that the character was stubborn and refused an electric wheelchair, preferring a manual chair over what had been picked out by others, and could reference it without spending an entire scene explaining the details. More importantly, I could jump right to the point that any potential readers would be expecting to see. 

If you have particular questions, feel free to ask. It sounds like you're going to try to outline better, for example, so if you want advice on that I can probably help you. 

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#5
NovelNinja Wrote: Second, I'd say the worst part about your first chapter is that it starts in a sub-optimal place. It feels natural to start writing it when he wakes up, but that isn't a very interesting part for a reader. It's not a deal-breaker, though, just because most people will write isekai like that. The trick is to write something, then go back later and change where you started it if you found a better spot to start. 

...

If you have particular questions, feel free to ask. It sounds like you're going to try to outline better, for example, so if you want advice on that I can probably help you.
 
Thank you! And man, have you given me something to think about! 

Personally, one of my pet peeves with is when people jump back/forward in time for the prologue/introduction or if there's different PoVs (sometimes because it's badly executed, but mainly because it can cause a disconnect just when I am starting to like a character...)  

I don't really trust myself to do a better job - but at the same time what you say is absolutely true and I would like my reader to connect with the protagonist better right from the start. I want to make the excuse that people tend to be more forgiving in chapter 1 than chapter 3. So if I did do that, it would have to be spot on - I wouldn't want to essentially have two awkward starting points if I can't make it work.

I could completely scrap the first chapter, and just imply what happened - but I wonder whether that will leave me with the same problem, just at another juncture in the timeline. 

I'll think about this, as it is quite important! However it might have to be something I change later on when I've written a bit more (similar to your first example), because for the life of me, I wouldn't have a clue where to start right now. 

Thank you! 

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#6
I don't know where you should start from, because I haven't read everything and don't know what's in your head (obviously). I do know, though, that if you're looking to punch up that first chapter, starting with a wake-up sequence is usually the sign of an amateur in my experience. That doesn't mean that amateur can't be wildly successful, though. The Hunger Games starts with a very boring wake-up sequence, and it wound up being one of the most popular titles of all time. (I personally dislike the series for multiple reasons ranging from technical to tasteful, but that doesn't invalidate its success.) 

The only real advice I can give on that particular point is to ask yourself "When does the story really start? How can I let the reader start with the important part?"

Here's another example for you. My wife's first novel (a sci-fi police procedural) originally started with a briefing, because that's where her characters got filled in on the case they just got assigned to. There were two problems with this. The first was that while a briefing is natural to the real-world archetype, it's not dramatic. The second was that it did very little to describe the sci-fi nature of the setting and the observational skills of the female lead we start with. (It has a female lead and a male lead, and we switch back and forth. He's action-oriented, she's people-oriented.) So I convinced her to change it to them meeting on a space station, where she notices a pickpocket and stops him. It serves as an introduction to the setting, a demonstration of her observation abilities and psychological training, and to show that being a cop in the future doesn't really change because people haven't really changed. 

Re: Suggestions for Improvement

#7
You are pretty convincing!

I think the first thing I need to do is getting more written down and out of my head. 

Think about my protagonist some more, and set a more solid progression for the storyline. 

Then take a step back and re-think the structure for the beginning as I am simply not in a position to do that yet.  

Thanks for the food for thought! It’s definitely given me a clearer picture of what I want to achieve.