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I neeeeed the helps:
SkweemishHello all you... People? Yes. So, I'm sort of new to this whole 'actually posting things on places' deal, and would like to start with... Asking for assistance. Yes, the absolute best way to introduce yourself. See, I'm writing things, and would like it if you wonderful tropesavvy people would be willing to take a look at the writing, and... You know, let me know if it's good. Or passable. Or godawful. Or if it caused your eyeballs to spontaneously explode in their sockets. You know, the basics. See, I'm writing this... Rather large story... And I would like some feedback on the directions the story takes and all that fun stuff. Of course, that's only if this actually interests anyone here. If it does, great! If not, curses! Oh, here's the thing. http://ficwad.com/story/218751 Anyway, cheers. I'll be chilling in this thread to answer questions and to offer an actual proper introduction.
The UnluckyI believe you would post this on Uncle Drunkie's Writer/Critic Dating Service, but I believe that's besides the point. I'll have a look at it.
You have forged a bond that cannot be broken!
The UnluckyI tend to be really critical whenever I look at, well... anything. Take anything I say with a grain of salt. Anyway, I thought the beginning was rather abrupt. I was confused a couple times, but rereading whatever I didn't understand helped that. Although this isn't my genre, I think this is pretty good. My only real gripe is that the plot seems to haven't started yet, which irked me a little. I say that you should write some more and see how that goes.
You have forged a bond that cannot be broken!
Interesting. I thought it was rather nice. The writing was clear and fluid, and nothing in it made me wince or caused the termination of my eyeballs. You pulled off the commonly used "Waking up with amnesia" beginning rather well. I liked it well enough to make an account on that website in order to observe the continuation of the story. And you pulled off a cliffhanger. You're good at this.
Who Am I?This is a very well done work! I admire the writing style, which is clear and engaging without any wasted exposition or unnecessary detail. The opening is somewhat cliche, but the action proceeds at a nice quick pace, so that really isn't a major problem. I do have some issues with the main character, Konstantin, however. He comes across as somewhat stilted and under-developed, the least interesting aspect of the story. There are two separate problems with this protagonist that I think you can correct to improve your story. The first, less serious, problem is that we get almost no background on Konstantin at all. We have no idea who he is, why he is there, or what he is trying to accomplish within the larger plot. I've only read the first chapter so far, so I understand that you may be reserving most of these details for a reveal later on, but even in the very beginning the readers need something to frame this character. What makes this more frustrating is that you provide yourself with the perfect opportunity, while Konstantin and Scipio are sitting around their fire in the forest, to provide some very brief information regarding who Konstantin is. After all, this is when you reveal who Scipio is- which was very well done by the way. Having already evoked a "Roman Empire-esque" setting, informing us that he was a former legion commander wanted for treason is all we need to know about him at this point (and the hints you provide that there is something magical about this character are also well done). So you should take advantage of the moment and have Konstantin share some information about his background as well. The other problem is more fundamental. Despite the fact that you are using the third person limited narrative style, and in spite of the fact that you largely succeed in "showing, not telling", I still feel that you arent sharing enough information about Konstantin's inner self. I get almost no feeling for what type of personality Konstantin has, whether he's an honest man or a dishonest one, is he brave or cowardly, and so on. Again, I've only read chapter one (which appears to be about 5-6 pages if it were a word doc), and you may be planning to reveal more about him later on, but I think even now the readers need some clue regarding what type of person the protagonist is (meaning what type of hero). Is he flawed but noble? Is he searching for something? Running from something? Is he keeping a secret? This is going to be challenging because of a somewhat related issue (I guess this is problem number three) which is that your hero doesn't actually initiate anything. From the moment he opens his eyes in the prison, to the moment his companion is attacked in the forest, Konstantin only reacts to events. Narratively that makes sense given what is happening, but it does mean that you provide yourself precious few opportunities to show the readers who Konstantin is. Not only does he not seek to initiate anything, he doesn't even express any frustration at not being able to influence what is happening to him. The moment that this seemed least realistic was when Konstantin was being led to his own execution. He doesn't once complain at the unfair treatment he is receiving. Maybe he isn't a complainer, but still. Shouldn't he at least grit his teeth, or clench his fists, or something? I think you should show us what kind of man he is by giving him some feelings. I hope this was helpful. I really enjoyed reading your work and I strongly encourage everyone else to do so as well.
(That Guy You Met Once)I disagree. The idea that you need to have an Info Dump on the main character first thing in the story is one that's ruined a lot of good books for me. Even if Konstantin ends up being a flat Audience Surrogate, that'll be fine by me as long as the world and other characters are interesting enough. Personally, I normally hate medieval fantasy, but this is great so far. I've only read chapter one too, though. Going to read more now.
edited 1st May '13 2:23:45 PM by Wheezy
Who Am I?Well, an info dump is exposition ("telling", not "showing"), but I was advising the OP to use a combination of dialogue and the the protagonists internal reaction to events as methods of helping the readers understand the character better. Neither of those corresponds to an "info dump". Right now, the protagonist comes across as a passive cipher, which seems less than ideal to me. It's not a fatal flaw, as the narrative is compelling enough that many readers will overlook it, esp if the character becomes more active later on, but as the OP was asking for advice, I gave the best I could.
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