Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#21

OwlishIntergalactic Wrote:
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.
  I'm glad you appreciate it. You always want to go into something and enjoy yourself. And with your case, you clearly know how you write, and for me, I think it was just the case of you having a clear idea of the story in your head and not translating it 100% to the page. As a writer, things can be so clear in your head and you can take for granted what the reader does and doesn't know. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#23

OwlishIntergalactic Wrote:
StgBria Wrote: I think it was just the case of you having a clear idea of the story in your head and not translating it 100% to the page


This is 100% the case because I could have sworn there was a direct reference to a wedding anniversary that wasn't there and now is. The next draft when I finish the story will tighten things up more.
Ohhh wedding anniversary. Just like that I think I understand everything. Calendar was a reference to wedding. Red head because dead wife was red head? 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#25

Camhanache Wrote: The way you're giving feedback is awesome. I would much appreciate the same treatment for my first chapter from the story linked in my signature. I have so much trouble making things flow that I'd like to know how a reader is viewing things.

Yeah thumbs up. 

The premise got me more than interesting. Whatever going on seems pretty interesting and I'd like to know more. The character voice and character elements are solid too. It could probably use a second pass in editing since there were like three moments where it didn't seem correct, but overall that didn't really matter since I liked what was going on. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#29

kmd_dgkr Wrote: Opportunity!!! Here's mine!
Thanks!
DrakanMelt
Would not keep reading. 

  My issues here are a failure in pretty basic story telling, in that you don't tell stories and merely create a shopping list. Half this chapter is you making vague references to things that happened without going into a sliver of detail. You'll talk about how the MC's best friend sacrificed himself from some adults in an armed conflict somewhere. Okay. Why? What happened? How did the friend die? Why was it necessary? You talk about how the MC was moving and doing stuff. . . what was the MC doing? 

  It's vague from top to bottom with entire swaths of what should be detailed story cut out and replaced with a sentence or two. And that's the sort of opposite of what you want as a story teller. You want to be specific, you want to give information. You don't say, "The sky was blue;" you say "The afternoon sky was a pristine robin's egg blue." Similarly, you don't say "and then the friend died saving me." You tell us what happened. 

  And maybe this is a story you're saving for later. Maybe we'll get flash backs of things that happened. If this is the case, you have to present it differently. The way you're doing it seems like you are waving it away. 

  Outside of this, there's a lot of oddities with the prose. Most of it isn't grammatically incorrect but is just odd like it was run through google translate. It started off stylistic, but eventually got far enough that it just came off as wrong. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#31

kmd_dgkr Wrote: Thanks you so much! I see what is going on in the reader's mind now.
StgBria Wrote: It's vague from top to bottom with entire swaths of what should be detailed story cut out and replaced with a sentence or two.
I wanted to present it as a backstory. But I see what I missed.
StgBria Wrote: And maybe this is a story you're saving for later. Maybe we'll get flash backs of things that happened. If this is the case, you have to present it differently. The way you're doing it seems like you are waving it away.
I did have this in mind, but I put it in the beginning to show the purpose of the MC. I'd be glad to get a suggestion if the purpose could be shown at a later point as a flashback.
StgBria Wrote: Outside of this, there's a lot of oddities with the prose. Most of it isn't grammatically incorrect but is just odd like it was run through google translate. It started off stylistic, but eventually got far enough that it just came off as wrong.
Now that is a big drawback, though I don't really understand how to overcome it.
Actually, I did not exactly get what you mean... Could you give a brief idea on how to improve in this regard?
Thank you so much again! This is really helpful.
    So for the back story stuff, I think we need two things: 1) There needs to be a framing device. Is the character thinking back on these things? Are they happening as you talk about them? I think this is what gives it the "shopping list feel". The chapter in large part is just a list of things that have happened in the past with no further context. Reading it, I kept thinking it was a prologue because it was so detached from any narrative voice. 

And in terms of how to deliver it. . . First get a framing device. Maybe he's with his grandpa at the end going to the place and thinking about how he got here. Maybe its when he gets assigned to the city. Whatever. I'm sure you could do it in a survey way like you're doing, but I'm not aware of it being done before well and can't help you there. If you could find another author who did it your way, look into that if you want to keep that style and figure out why it worked there. 

  And then 2) How you present that past information. So let's look at the friend's death. Either you present a very clear narrative of what happened, or you provide enough information for the reader to understand without really getting into it. As I see it, the information that NEEDS to be conveyed is that 1) friend died 2) friend gave pocket watch 3) friend saved life 4) they were child soldiers. . . ?

  So how to present this? I'll just write my own version as an example how I would do it. Obviously there are a 100 different ways (and I'll write it in first person just because that's what I'm feeling right now):  "I let the crystal studded chain of the pocket watch slip between my fingers, reflecting the pale moonlight. It was my pocket watch now, but I didn't feel right calling it that. It still belonged to Vayden, my comrade, my brother."

  "We joined the Force as children, young, idealistic, with a dream in our heart. Too young. Certainly too young to die, but that's how the life of a child soldier goes. And Vayden learned that before I ever did. It's why he died and I lived. Or more accurately, its why he died for me. He was ready; he was prepared. When the time came, he didn't hesitate to save the stupid kid that he called his friend. 

  "I didn't understand that day, but I do now. After three years, I might not be able to accept the watch as my own, but I could accept that I was the reason Vayden died. Because of my idealism, because of my ignorance. 

It's a rough draft but there you go. The reader has no idea WHAT happened, but everything is crystal clear in their mind. We know there was a sacrifice, an inertance, an emotional weight that was carried. You don't have to say "And he matured the next year." You just have to show it. 

PROSE

This is hard to learn. I always advocate emulating authors' styles you enjoy and trying to get critical feedback.

First paragraph, you use the passive voice and its jarring.  "Vayden," cries of a young man broke out in the empty room.

Actually. . . just start with that. Super passive voice everywhere. That and the objective mistakes.


"Three years had gone by that night as Advay mourned the death of his dear brother and comrade. "You must lead the Force one day!" were the last words Vayden had uttered in his death. The two had joined the Force as young as 10 year olds. They had a shared dream, to unite all the life on the planet and dissipate all hatred among the five nations of the world. They were young and pure, innocent and kind."

Try:  "You must lead the Force one day!" Vayden cried out in death, and Advay mourned the three years since. The two joined the Force at 10 years old. They shared a dream to unite all the life on the planet and dissipate all hatred among the five nations of the world. They were young and pure, innocent and king. 

  Just compare the differences there and let me know if you have any further questions. (highlighted objective mistakes)

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#32

OntoSomethingGood Wrote: Hey, can I chip in? My two books are in my signature. One is about 30 chapters gone and another still in incubating stage, but I'll start on it properly once the writathon is over.

I would appreciate your views about the 'Blood Moon'.  You can have a look at 'Together' if you have some time and fancy a lightweight romance :)
Thank you.
TOGETHER

I actually really liked it. Everything works. Like the characters, love the setting, solid prose. Great conflict. I backed out and read the story description and immediately said "oh no" since it sounds very "Fifty Shades of Grey-ish", but on the execution of the first chapter alone solid thumbs up. 

BLOOD MOON

So this is based on your first chapter and in that regards its a little thin. Still love the setting and think you are a solid writer but what was the hook to keep me reading? It's a lot of world building and characters. And I guess here's the thing, I really like the old crone, but the story isn't going to be about her, right? I get the impression the story will be about the girl and the next chapter will be the market?

So it's off on framing. You are completely focused on the crone, and while she is the most interesting character, she isn't going to be what's propelling your story forward (I assume). And I guess that's the problem. I'm invested in the wrong thing. Your writing is solid and I really enjoy it, so I almost don't even need a hook to get me to chapter 2, but I do then need to connect with the person who I perceive the story is about.

So like I said, it's about framing. The same chapter would have me hooked if it was from the POV of your MC and you were able to build her up more. As is, I still imagine that your story will be pretty good going forward, but I don't have anything driving me to keep reading. It's the kind of good first chapter you'd see as a sequel or with an author who already has a lot of good will. If this is your vision and you are happy with it, honestly don't change it. 

So while I'm not saying it gets a read on, I am saying it get as high a rating as it can get without getting that thumbs up. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#33

K.M. Wrote: If you're still taking more, I'd also love to hear what you have to say about my first chapter. I'm still kinda in the early stages with my book, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated. My book's in the signature, thank you in advance!


Would keep reading. 

Really enjoyed that. Everything was great except for maybe the prose which was in the middle but still solid. Really strong introduction having the character wake up in blood. I got pretty much everything I needed just from that fact with one or two sentences tacked on. 

If I had to offer a substantial critique, it's that the second half dawdles a bit after that, 90% of what you need is right up front. 

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#34

StgBria Wrote: TOGETHER

I actually really liked it. Everything works. Like the characters, love the setting, solid prose. Great conflict. I backed out and read the story description and immediately said "oh no" since it sounds very "Fifty Shades of Grey-ish", but on the execution of the first chapter alone solid thumbs up.


Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it -:) I don't know about Fifty Shades of Grey, but there is a conflict of a similar sort in my book, although not at the level of Fifty Shades. (I have only heard about the book, and stayed away from it as It's not really my kind :) )
Please do read further if you are interested, would love t know your thoughts.


StgBria Wrote: So it's off on framing. You are completely focused on the crone, and while she is the most interesting character, she isn't going to be what's propelling your story forward


Thanks for this, I was kind of expecting this feedback :) I penned this chapter one evening while missing my own granny, so it kind of reflected in the chapter :)
I agree it needs to be more focused on the MC. I'll reconfigure the first chapter to reflect this.

Thanks again for such detailed and insightful feedback. It's really helpful and also a boost for my confidence  peoeyesparkle

Re: Free First Chapter Feedback!

#39

Rockhard Wrote: I just got my first drive by 0.5 star review (no reasoning given), and I have no idea if this thread is still active, but I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for a first chapter review. :)



I gave your chapter a first glance over, honestly it's pretty lovely. Quick nice and short. I think how short it is actually really clinches the whole thing, especially given the ending where we're thinking "Oh dear, what happens now?"
Normally short 500 word chapters would be an insta-pass for me, but this one had enough importance to it, so it got to have it's cake and eat it too. All the benefits of a short chapter to hook even short attention span readers, and none of the drawbacks. 

Maybe for max wow factor, try to make a more hook-y first sentence? I found myself caught right at this point:  [Sentient being recognized. Designation Assigned: USER]

That's the point where my reader-brain started waking up and going 'Oh, something happening!' 
The writing before that kind of washed by and wasn't retained otherwise as important. It feels like those could be added a tiny bit later, once the reader is already pre-hooked. 

After that it was smooth sailing, I'll put you on follow so that once I get more time I can check the rest out.