Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#1
UPDATE: Drop by my other thread and come check out my Youtube Channel: https://www.royalroad.com/forums/thread/111726
                                                                                                               https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUJHTBWLa93g8k9SAXCgSzw

I saw this done here like six months ago but it died out, so I figured I'd do one myself.

Leave a link to your first chapter, and I'll give my general impressions as to if I would keep reading and why. One work per person. If I've read your work in some other context, I don't do that either. 

No idea how fast I'll get back to you, but I intend to keep it going. 

HALL OF FAME (In no particular order)

A Man Led By the Heart of Another World by Sarcosuchus

Together by OntoSomethingGood

The Eyes See All by Sii

Drops by Air12

Caninstinct by BenJepheneT

Isaac Unknown: The Albatross Tales by SubwayChud

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#5

OwlishIntergalactic Wrote: I'll step up, but as an even trade, I'll check out one or two chapters of your signature fic too. If for some reason it's not going to work, just let me know.

 

  So yours was. . . problematic. The font you used was horrific. I tried but kept getting lost. It might be the prose, it might be the font. Please for the love of God set the font to default and get back to me. I'll give it another go then. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#6

ninjacat007 Wrote: I'm also interested, and like owlishintergalactic I'll check out your fic as well.


Would keep reading.

This was really good. The writing was crisp, you have world building and charcter development, a light and fun way to hook us and start things off. Really solid all around. I especially like the Italian reniessance-esque setting to the story. 

Only two complaints: First, you use a lot of Mediterranean city and country names which was jarring. Genoa, Corinth. I actually thought you were going for an alternate history Earth for a bit. Obviously its not huge, but it does take you out of it a bit since Genoa proper is Italian. 

And the second critique which I think is a bit more substantial is your main character Enzo. You develop him very little. And obviously its the first chapter, but I wanted more from him. You start off right away with him leaving his work and couldn't help but think "but who is this guy." I think some of those clues about his position with the guild could be placed up front. And its doubly odd because you do develop other characters. You do plenty right away to develop Gianna and her master, which makes the treatment of Enzo doubly confusing. I actually thought we were going to switch focus on the story would start being about them just because how much more fleshed out they were. 

Anyway, that's about it. Good work overall. 


Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#7

WithinTheStorm Wrote: I guess this is first chapter feedback thread now. I'll check out your first chapter as well, StgBria.



  Would not keep reading.

  It's a really exciting start. Starting the story with the character impaled is interesting and unusual, but then everything after that felt a little inconsequential. Right away, the impact of the spike is pretty much shrugged off. Sure he's close to dying, but he can just bandage everything up and he's fine. And this is double whammy when you have a god-like entity guiding him, and in the case of the mana poisoning, taking care of him. 

  It's really a question of execution as far as I see it. If you're starting with a worst case scenario, then you have to start with consequences and a difficult struggle to return to normalcy. Having a guide show up and say "I mad you not poisoned" immediately deflates that tension and sets up the promise that future difficulties could be solved just as easy. 

  The MC wasn't grating or annoying, but I didn't connect with them in any significant way. 

  On the plus side, in terms of the LPG style story, the Empath angle was interesting. The use of how we saw it seems strange to me as Empath reads like "good with people" not just purely observant. But still a unique little angle to take. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#8
The things you pointed out for my chapter bothered me as well, so I'm glad you brought it up.

As for your first chapter I would keep reading, but I think for a different reason then most.

For me you hooked me with the circles. Yeah, the crop circles around thermal vents. It's a small detail but that was what gave me an idea of the time and place of your story.

Another detail that hooked me was the lack of a heavy coat. A small, implicit hint as to the supernatural elements to your story. So by time I got to that part of the chapter I already knew we were in a modern day setting contrasted with the mystical and magical.

So for me, above even my interest in the mystery of the situation or the great character interactions, I think what would keep me reading is your nuance. Which is funny considering how you were purposefully trying to go for this exaggerated creature of legend cliche.

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#10
Thanks  StgBria! I agree wholeheartedly with your feedback. The setting is inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and frankly I got a little lazy while naming certain locales so I started using the names of actual places in Italy (Genoa, Boboli gardens, etc). Enzo's character gets developed more in the successive chapters, but I agree I can do more to make him interesting in the first chapter.

As to your fiction:

Would keep reading

I read your Prologue and Chapter 1, and I think your opening offers an intriguing hook, reminiscent of the opening of Steven King's Gunslinger (an intentional allusion?). There's just enough mystery to keep things interesting, but I think you can enhance the setting and atmosphere a little more. For instance, in the Prologue I wasn't able to visualize the Dark/corpse. Is it a body? A lake? How large is it?

I think you have strong characters but more could be done to distinguish them. I once heard it said that a reader should generally be able to tell who's speaking just by the dialogue alone. This is just a minor quibble though, as this is just the first chapter.

Like a previous reviewer said, I think the crop circles were particularly intriguing. What are they for? I'm glad that you didn't reveal too much, it does help to hook the reader.

Overall, great work!


@ Madin - you can fix your signature by going to Settings > Edit Signature > Generate for my Fictions

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#11
So, I've fixed the font on my first chapter. Not sure what was going on there as it's not the font used for the rest of my chapters.

I actually read through your first three parts to get a true feel for the story because I couldn't from the Prologue and Chapter 1 alone. I'm not big on prologues as a personal preference, but I understand the stylistic choice to use one here and do appreciate the information about the magic system you gave. The descriptions and dialogue were top notch and it's interesting to see different elements as a focus than the cardinal elements.

Your characterizaton is great, the prose are tight with a just a few places where a bit more editing could smooth things over (which happens to all of us). You have a snappy style, but one that still allows for description and character introspection. I enjoy the closeness in which you use third limited POV. The subversion of high fantasy tropes by making it a contemporary story is great.

This isn't my typical genre, but I'd likely keep reading because the world is interesting and I've grown attached to Joshua. My biggest criticism is that the author's notes detract from the story a bit instead of letting it stand on its own and that I didn't really get a feel for who the characters were until chapter 2 (but there was still enough happening that I clicked on to read more).

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#13

ninjacat007 Wrote: Thanks  StgBria! I agree wholeheartedly with your feedback. The setting is inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and frankly I got a little lazy while naming certain locales so I started using the names of actual places in Italy (Genoa, Boboli gardens, etc). Enzo's character gets developed more in the successive chapters, but I agree I can do more to make him interesting in the first chapter.

As to your fiction:

Would keep reading

I read your Prologue and Chapter 1, and I think your opening offers an intriguing hook, reminiscent of the opening of Steven King's Gunslinger (an intentional allusion?). There's just enough mystery to keep things interesting, but I think you can enhance the setting and atmosphere a little more. For instance, in the Prologue I wasn't able to visualize the Dark/corpse. Is it a body? A lake? How large is it?

I think you have strong characters but more could be done to distinguish them. I once heard it said that a reader should generally be able to tell who's speaking just by the dialogue alone. This is just a minor quibble though, as this is just the first chapter.

Like a previous reviewer said, I think the crop circles were particularly intriguing. What are they for? I'm glad that you didn't reveal too much, it does help to hook the reader.

Overall, great work!


@ Madin - you can fix your signature by going to Settings > Edit Signature > Generate for my Fictions



Thanks!

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#14

WithinTheStorm Wrote: The things you pointed out for my chapter bothered me as well, so I'm glad you brought it up.

As for your first chapter I would keep reading, but I think for a different reason then most.

For me you hooked me with the circles. Yeah, the crop circles around thermal vents. It's a small detail but that was what gave me an idea of the time and place of your story.

Another detail that hooked me was the lack of a heavy coat. A small, implicit hint as to the supernatural elements to your story. So by time I got to that part of the chapter I already knew we were in a modern day setting contrasted with the mystical and magical.

So for me, above even my interest in the mystery of the situation or the great character interactions, I think what would keep me reading is your nuance. Which is funny considering how you were purposefully trying to go for this exaggerated creature of legend cliche.

My eyes! They no longer bleed! But in all seriousness,

  So its almost paradoxical here, but you can clearly write well. Your first sentence oozes style and its one of those openings where I breathe a sigh of relief and think: oh good. But then its the writing that I struggle with. The first paragraph promises three observations but kind of just stops until a paragraph later, several sentences in. The second sentence in the second paragraph makes no sense. And then the entire opening two paragraphs apparently mean quite a bit for the POV, but to the reader I'm not taking away from it what's intended. 

  You end by talking about two people in a bar. You name one. You don't establish who they are. Is Brennan the peace officer she's there to testify about? You never say his name up front. Is Brennan Brenn? Are you making up nicknames before the reader even knows who they are? Why have a paragraph break just to point out there was a red head there? It's all so confusing. 

  I like the start conceptually, but in practice the clues need to be something that the reader can understand. Why is the calendar important? What do the rosery beads have to do with it. The hologram has a bar scene. . . but what is my take away? Is Brenn the same person as Brennan? 

I kept reading waiting for more explanation, but that was slow to come. You take an abrupt turn and start focusing on world building and other things. While these are done well, and maybe would work if you stuck the landing out the gate, they become frustrating when I'm already lost. 

  So honestly, I quit reading like a quarter way through. I don't want to poo-poo mysteries and not putting everything up front, but the read needs a foundation to do so. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#15

Madin Wrote: Hello!

So I'm rewriting the whole thing. I've deleted ten chapters or so 'cause I was having some issues with the quality of the fiction. Now that I'm doing things better (I hope so) I would like a bit of feedback on my first chapter. Thanks in advance!

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41683/the-holy-sword

(Yeah I broke my signature)

A Supernatural fan I see. Overall, this one is sort of middle of the road to me. 

I quite liked the start. That was interesting enough, but then everything after the time skip was a little jarring. You set up this burden for the character and we skip to afterwards where he's apparently failed and bears the weight of that. But then he just immediately starts smashing market stalls because he can and acting like a complete jackass. I was very unclear why. You talk about him enforcing the law and what not, but you never provide an explanation as to why he was doing that specifically. I'm assuming you meant it was like an illegal black market or something, but that's just speculation. 

And given the character's past, it's weird regardless. You would expect someone with the backstory you worked so hard to establish to be. . . different than this? It swings back around at the very end and that felt appropriate, but a lot of what's going on is moderately confusing in terms of the set up we've had. It's like meshing two different characters and two different types of stories together. 

Which is to say, none of its bad. You're writing is competent with a few weak points here and there on the "show don't tell" side. And story wise there's stuff going on. But there are conflicts with what I enjoyed and what I didn't so I guess it fails for me in terms of the hook? 

But like I said. It's fine. Just not enough to capture me. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#17

StgBria Wrote: Would keep reading and probably will.

I am glad you are pleased.


StgBria Wrote: Good voice, some interesting stuff on the magical side. An interesting human conflict set up. Good job.

I prefer to call it not "magic", but "how things are" in that fictional world.

As it has been said, "this is a completely different story". The conflict between two sides was more than 1400 years before MC appeared in 'another world' (using '', cuz this is a little bit more complicated, as the prologue tells about how literally Everything emerged out of Nothing), and it will have its role later.

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#18

StgBria Wrote:
Madin Wrote: Hello!

So I'm rewriting the whole thing. I've deleted ten chapters or so 'cause I was having some issues with the quality of the fiction. Now that I'm doing things better (I hope so) I would like a bit of feedback on my first chapter. Thanks in advance!

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41683/the-holy-sword

(Yeah I broke my signature)

A Supernatural fan I see. Overall, this one is sort of middle of the road to me. 

I quite liked the start. That was interesting enough, but then everything after the time skip was a little jarring. You set up this burden for the character and we skip to afterwards where he's apparently failed and bears the weight of that. But then he just immediately starts smashing market stalls because he can and acting like a complete jackass. I was very unclear why. You talk about him enforcing the law and what not, but you never provide an explanation as to why he was doing that specifically. I'm assuming you meant it was like an illegal black market or something, but that's just speculation. 

And given the character's past, it's weird regardless. You would expect someone with the backstory you worked so hard to establish to be. . . different than this? It swings back around at the very end and that felt appropriate, but a lot of what's going on is moderately confusing in terms of the set up we've had. It's like meshing two different characters and two different types of stories together. 

Which is to say, none of its bad. You're writing is competent with a few weak points here and there on the "show don't tell" side. And story wise there's stuff going on. But there are conflicts with what I enjoyed and what I didn't so I guess it fails for me in terms of the hook? 

But like I said. It's fine. Just not enough to capture me.



Yeah I know it's a little jarring, but I don't think it's contradictory. The little text in italics is basically the very end of the story, when he has done a lot of horrible stuff already. And then there's a jump to the "present", that is four years after Castiel's death. I didn't want to explain it too much 'cause I like playing with dates and so, but yeah it's in this order: In the introduction Noir is 16 years old. In the italics he's 22 years old. In the present he's is 20 years old. That's why he starts being a sad lonely teenager, then passes to act like a badass but deep inside he feels the same way (examples of this are Guts or Dante, heavy inspirations). He feels guilty only in the future, when he's 22.

The reason why he destroys the stalls and causes so much chaos is simply because he's frustrated. He has failed in his life and ended up in a slum he hates with all his heart. The ones in the market are also criminals like him, but for some reason he feels he's different, when he's not. He's the same scum, but wants to change to better desperately. This part is a little difficult to explain... Noir symbolises humanity with its flaws and all. He represents stupidity, greed, immaturity and all the bad choices a human being can make 'cause, well... we are humans and we are far from perfect. He is the part of us that no one wants to accept, and we all hate. Who likes weakness? Who likes tears? Who likes bad decisions? We are all like that at some level or another, but in the end we can't do anything but accept it and fix our mistakes. That's the point of the character. He's similar to Shinji in that sense, but in this case is more about the guilt and the consequences of choosing to be being an evil bad person.

I've just explained the whole point of the story xD whatever. Thanks for the feedback!

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#19

StgBria Wrote:
WithinTheStorm Wrote: The things you pointed out for my chapter bothered me as well, so I'm glad you brought it up.

As for your first chapter I would keep reading, but I think for a different reason then most.

For me you hooked me with the circles. Yeah, the crop circles around thermal vents. It's a small detail but that was what gave me an idea of the time and place of your story.

Another detail that hooked me was the lack of a heavy coat. A small, implicit hint as to the supernatural elements to your story. So by time I got to that part of the chapter I already knew we were in a modern day setting contrasted with the mystical and magical.

So for me, above even my interest in the mystery of the situation or the great character interactions, I think what would keep me reading is your nuance. Which is funny considering how you were purposefully trying to go for this exaggerated creature of legend cliche.

My eyes! They no longer bleed! But in all seriousness,

  So its almost paradoxical here, but you can clearly write well. Your first sentence oozes style and its one of those openings where I breathe a sigh of relief and think: oh good. But then its the writing that I struggle with. The first paragraph promises three observations but kind of just stops until a paragraph later, several sentences in. The second sentence in the second paragraph makes no sense. And then the entire opening two paragraphs apparently mean quite a bit for the POV, but to the reader I'm not taking away from it what's intended. 

  You end by talking about two people in a bar. You name one. You don't establish who they are. Is Brennan the peace officer she's there to testify about? You never say his name up front. Is Brennan Brenn? Are you making up nicknames before the reader even knows who they are? Why have a paragraph break just to point out there was a red head there? It's all so confusing. 

  I like the start conceptually, but in practice the clues need to be something that the reader can understand. Why is the calendar important? What do the rosery beads have to do with it. The hologram has a bar scene. . . but what is my take away? Is Brenn the same person as Brennan? 

I kept reading waiting for more explanation, but that was slow to come. You take an abrupt turn and start focusing on world building and other things. While these are done well, and maybe would work if you stuck the landing out the gate, they become frustrating when I'm already lost. 

  So honestly, I quit reading like a quarter way through. I don't want to poo-poo mysteries and not putting everything up front, but the read needs a foundation to do so.



Thank you for your feedback. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback for how the first chapter sets up the characters and the world so it's always good to know when it isn't working as well. This gives me room to strike more balance when I draft again. Thanks again.