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  1. #21
    IncGamers Member RevenantsKnight's Avatar
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    On Part 6: well, I figured Swaglord and the rogue would end up on the same side eventually, though I wasn’t expecting it to happen right now...guess you decided just to cut to the chase. For some reason, though, I found most of the action a bit hard to follow, and found myself rereading through a few parts just to make sure I didn’t miss anything; I suspect that you may have tried to pack a little too much detail into the scene and ended up with some parts getting garbled. The idea here seems just fine, but somehow, the execution here caught me up. Anyway, here’re some comments:

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He felt it like a knot in the pit of his stomach: what he had to do, especially coming after what he had just done.
    The meaning’s clear enough to me, but the transition from before to after the colon feels odd. Maybe you could change the wording here, but other than that, I’ve no suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Teacup!” he yelled,“Teacup, boy, come back!”
    It’s all just part of making a complicated character, right? :grin: That aside, you’re missing a space after the first comma here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Her throat was hoarse, her mouth bloodied and swollen, but watching the knight shouting in vain for his pony, long gone over the dusty hilltop, she couldn’t stop a smirk from crawling up one side of her face.
    This is good, although I’m not sure if “Her throat was hoarse” works in this particular sentence, since it’s not observable in the same way that everything else here is. It seems like it might work better as an addition/description to when she asks Swaglord.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “You named your horse teacup?”
    “Teacup” should be capitalized, I’d imagine. Also, since you’ve been bringing up the horse/pony distinction before, you might want to be precise here unless there’s a reason why you chose “horse.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Yes,” he said quickly “Long story.”
    There should be a period after “quickly.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    His eyes darted about his feet and finally stopped at the rogue’s shoulder.
    I’m not sure if this adds much to the story, since the transition to the next sentence doesn’t seem too bad without this sentence. Could just be me, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He bent down quickly, grabbing her by the hips and flipping her over roughly on her stomach.”
    There’s an extra set of quotation marks here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord leaned more of his weight onto his knee, pinning her to the ground.
    “Leaned more of his weight onto his knee” sounds weird to me...either “put more weight...” or “leaned harder on his knee” and similar versions sound okay, though. Definitely not a big deal, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “You can’t… Knight! I swear I’ll get you for this! Knight!
    Looks like there’s a good home for those previous errant quotation marks at the end here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Before long he was at the bottom of the hill where he saw a trail of small hoof prints emerge out of the grassy hillside onto the hard packed earthen trail.
    I’d cut “of the hill” (and put a comma after “bottom”) so as to not repeat “hill” quite so much. Similarly, I might try to trim off one use of “trail” (maybe replace the first one with “line” or something,) and “hard packed” should be one hyphenated word, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Teacup!
    Even though I now know the pony’s name, I keep thinking of it as “the pony” and up to this point, Swaglord hasn’t been using its name at all. Given that, I might cut back on the number of times you use “Teacup” in this chapter, because the departure from the previous installments is kind of jarring.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The hoof prints curved leftward around the hill toward the road.
    I think there should be a comma after “hill.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    As he followed them the breeze began to murmur something like a horse’s screaming; it seemed to come from around the bend of the next hill.
    “Murmur something like a horse’s screaming” sounded awkward to me, as the volume difference between a murmur and a scream makes the comparison seem illogical. As a side note, I’m not particularly familiar with the behavior or vocal capabilities of horses, but “screaming” sounded really odd to me here, since they don’t strike me as particularly loud. At any rate, you use this quite a bit over the course of the chapter, and might want to get a bit more specific at times, since while I can imagine a person screaming, the idea of a horse (or really most animals) screaming is a bit of a mental blank for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    A short distance away, near the split trunk of a tall tree, was the horse, kicking up a cloud of dirt and continuing to scream as it had been since he first heard it.
    I might tighten up “continuing to scream...,” since it makes the sentence drag a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    All three seemed intent on something else, something which he could not quite make out. The three of them seemed to be watching something low to the ground.
    It seems that you could get this all across pretty well in just one sentence as opposed to two.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He slowed his pace as he approached the three giants, despite the fact that the trail of hoof prints was leading him straight toward them, coming to stop while still at a safe distance.
    I’d switch the order of the second and third clauses here, since a first read suggested that the hoof prints were what was coming to a stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Teacup, where are you boy?
    There should be a comma after “you.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Is that you up there?
    Not sure if this was supposed to be a surprise to the reader or not, but it realized that it was likely before this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    His empty weapon hand moved slowly up to his face, scratching his chin roughly, first one side then the other--
    There should be a comma after “side,” I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    With that he started running again, straight over the trail of hoof prints, and soon he saw that it was, in fact, his pony that was the source of the commotion between the lumbering giants. Teacup was racing between them, dodging this way and that as they swung their huge clubs at it, scampering safely away and then turning around and diving right back in.
    It seems to me like the first sentence’s ending drags a bit, so I might try to either trim it down or combine these two into one. The second sentence, too, might be a little bulky.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The pony was much too quick for the clumsy Highlanders, but neither was it hurting them in any way.
    Previously in this chapter, forms “Highlanders” weren’t capitalized. Not sure which one you want, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    On a hunch, Swaglord glanced over at the horse; it was the same one the rogue had been riding.
    This felt deliberately obtuse. I got the impression earlier that this was a relatively lightly traveled area, what with the giants and the fact that no one ran into them yet, so why would the horse be any other than the rogue’s?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Turning his head to the fore he realized he was almost on top of the one of the highlanders.
    There’s an extra “the” in this sentence before “one,” and there should be a comma after “fore.” Also, it feels a little odd for you to say “one of the highlanders” here and then specifically mention that giant again with “closest giant” in the next sentence. I might remove or reword one of those phrasings, personally.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    At full speed he barreled right into the closest giant, shield forward, shoulder lowered and braced behind it.
    I think you could trim down the part after “giant” a little, because otherwise this bit of action gets slowed down noticeably.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord kicked its club away and then lunged at the next closest one, executing a shield strike as best as he could and following that with leaning all his weight against the dazed creature, pushing it off-balance and driving it into the remaining giant, which was still focused on striking at the pony.
    It seems like this could be a bit quicker, with “closest” and “which was still focused...” seeming not to add much to the overall description. In addition, the clause beginning with “and following that” does add some detail, but it’s a bit cumbersome and doesn’t feel necessary, as the result’s the same whether the shield hit itself unbalanced the giant or Swaglord needed to give it more of a push.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    His own great sword, lashed to the animal’s saddle by the rogue before they set out, had somehow become caught in the “V” of the tree’s double trunk and was now completely embedded in the hard wood, no doubt due to the horse’s powerful efforts to free itself.
    I think you could drop “by the rogue before they [had] set out,” since the reader should be able to remember that, or at least know that it wasn’t Swaglord’s doing and so was probably hers. Also, this is probably highly subjective, but the “V” bit tripped me up pretty hard, because my first reaction to quotation marks was speech. Maybe it’s just me, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    As he struggled to gain a grip of the leather cord, he noticed the other result of the horse’s attempts to escape. The end of the hilt had dug through the saddle and was sticking through the leather against the animal’s hide.
    This seems like it should be one sentence to me, perhaps after cutting down on the “he noticed” part, which seems a bit unnecessary to me. Also, I think the first part should read “gain a grip on the leather cord.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Though he couldn’t see it, Swaglord well knew the angular design of the pommel and could imagine what it would do to the horse’s flesh.
    I think that should be “knew well.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Two of the giants seemed willing to resume the chase again, but the third proved a bit cleverer, kicking its leg out while still on the ground, tripping the pony, and sending it sprawling to the ground.
    I’d cut one use of “ground” here (probably the second one.)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord rushed them, this time angling his way between their broad chests to try to disrupt both their swings at once.
    I’m not quite sure what you meant by “angling his way between their broad chests.” My best guess is that he’s running between them to give them another target or something, but I honestly can’t tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He managed to do it, giving Teacup time to get up scamper away, but leaving him alone with no weapon to face the entire group, all three now upright and very angry.
    I’d avoid just saying “He managed to do it” and go into a little more detail here, even if it means another sentence of action; while there are some earlier parts that could use a little more brevity, this might be too much of a summary.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    In a few steps he was back by the horse, which seemed to have gone quite still. A trio of blows sent him reeling.
    The transition here threw me when I first read it. I’m not quite sure what to suggest, but I don’t think those hits should be such a surprise to the reader.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He fell literally with his back against his sword, which he threw his arm over in order to keep from falling. He held his shield up and grabbed onto the saddle for support.
    This felt repetitive to me, and I know it’s only two sentences in a row with similar structures, but somehow, this particular pairing stood out as reading like a list. Maybe I’m just out of it, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Looking down he saw the horse’s blood dripping from its belly, making a little pool in the dirt, and the knot in his stomach returned.
    There should be a comma after “down.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “I won’t abandon you,” he whispered, and then gained his balance, lowered his shoulder and pressed forward into the gang of highlanders.
    I’m not really sure what “pressed forward” was supposed to describe, as he could have been either just advancing or more of his shield slams. While the exact choice here doesn’t seem to matter much, the fact that the description doesn’t bring a solid image to mind and you just move past it very quickly with the next sentence broke up the story’s grip, as it were.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He ducked under the sword this time and came up near the horse’s front shoulder, noticing his pony nose-to-nose with the horse.
    This really messed with me the first time around, because the way I was seeing it in my mind, the idea of Swaglord going from against the horse to behind the sword and near the horse’s front was impossible. I’m still not sure what exactly is going on here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Lifting his shield over the sword and bringing it down on the other side, he gripped the hilt with his free hand and braced the shield as best he could against the blade, using the saddle for support and pressing his shoulder against the shield.
    I’m torn on whether or not the volume of description here is a good thing...this isn’t exactly a standard sort of maneuver, so the detail was helpful to me, but I lost the sentence’s focus by the end. Maybe trimming off the bit at the end would help.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The moment closed on him like the jaws of a wolf, crushing him between the bloodthirsty giants and the rogue’s twin hands of deadly vengeance.
    I hate to say it, since this seems like something on which you might have spent a good bit of time and effort, but I think I missed the point here. Granted, I’m pretty sure I know what you mean now, from the context, but when I first read it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I hope that’s just me being thick.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    A drop of blood fell from the horse’s belly onto the small growing stain on the ground, a crimson smear on the bed of the earth. Swaglord’s tear fell with it.
    I’d set this off as a separate paragraph, unless you feel like that’s an overemphasis, because otherwise it doesn’t seem to transition well from the preceding sentence to me.

    Generally speaking, I think the idea and such here is good. The specifics could use some polishing, though (which shouldn’t be too difficult.) That said, it was enough to keep me reading, and I’m interested in seeing how you handle what’s next. Thanks for posting!




  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    For some reason, though, I found most of the action a bit hard to follow, and found myself rereading through a few parts just to make sure I didn’t miss anything; I suspect that you may have tried to pack a little too much detail into the scene and ended up with some parts getting garbled.
    FWIW, I had a devil of a time writing much of this. I think it actually got a little better in this, the second draft, but you seem to have picked up on the difficulty I had.



    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    It’s all just part of making a complicated character, right? :grin: That aside, you’re missing a space after the first comma here.
    Teacup is definitely a pony of a different color. I have a lot of ideas for him. Now all I have to do is figure out which ones to use and not over-complicate things.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Even though I now know the pony’s name, I keep thinking of it as “the pony” and up to this point, Swaglord hasn’t been using its name at all. Given that, I might cut back on the number of times you use “Teacup” in this chapter, because the departure from the previous installments is kind of jarring.
    Not sure what to think about this. I guess I'm not as big a stickler for consistency as some, but it seems to me that once you know the pony's name is Teacup, it becomes a more natural way to refer to it. Granted, it does leave open the question of why Swaglord didn't use the pony's name up to that point. What, there's not supposed to be any plot holes at all?


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    “Murmur something like a horse’s screaming” sounded awkward to me, as the volume difference between a murmur and a scream makes the comparison seem illogical.
    I absolutely respect your right to react that way, but if you think about it, volume is also dependent on distance. I was trying to give the impression of a sound being carried on the wind from some distance away. If someone is screaming their head off a blocks away, it might sound rather quiet to you. That doesn't mean you would describe it as whispering. After all, a scream is a scream, not matter how far. (With apologies to Dr. Suess.)


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    As a side note, I’m not particularly familiar with the behavior or vocal capabilities of horses, but “screaming” sounded really odd to me here, since they don’t strike me as particularly loud.
    Me neither, but I'm pretty sure they can be loud when they want to be. FWIW, I did try to think of substitutes for scream but came up blank. As an aside, you complained quite a bit about my use of the word whinny in previous chapter. Why don't you just admit it, you anti-equite, you believe horses and ponies should speak when spoken to. And in this day and age...


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Not sure if this was supposed to be a surprise to the reader or not, but it realized that it was likely before this point.
    Yeah, I think this is getting at the basic difficulty I had in writing this. The most straightforward way to describe all of this would be to simply say that it was 3 giants with the rogue's horse and Swaglord's pony. What I tried to do was follow Swaglord's train of thought as he approached the scene, portray him discovering the whole truth piece by piece and reacting to it in stages. Maybe it would be better to work out a simpler story telling method.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This felt deliberately obtuse. I got the impression earlier that this was a relatively lightly traveled area, what with the giants and the fact that no one ran into them yet, so why would the horse be any other than the rogue’s?
    Why indeed. Maybe it's not so lightly traveled.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Also, this is probably highly subjective, but the “V” bit tripped me up pretty hard, because my first reaction to quotation marks was speech. Maybe it’s just me, though.
    Do you have a suggestion? I considered using vee as if it were a word (without the quotes.) Would it have been better to use V without the quotes?


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I’m not quite sure what you meant by “angling his way between their broad chests.” My best guess is that he’s running between them to give them another target or something, but I honestly can’t tell.
    I guess I would say use your imagination. I'm sure I could give a more precise description, but who cares exactly what he did. He tried his best to disrupt both of them at once and it involved charging at an angle between them


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I’m not really sure what “pressed forward” was supposed to describe, as he could have been either just advancing or more of his shield slams.
    Pushing.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This really messed with me the first time around, because the way I was seeing it in my mind, the idea of Swaglord going from against the horse to behind the sword and near the horse’s front was impossible. I’m still not sure what exactly is going on here.
    The horse is stuck to the tree by virtue of the blade being embedded in the tree's trunk and the hilt being lashed to the horse's saddle. You couldn't walk between the horse and the tree from the horse's rump to it's head or vice versa without passing under or climbing over the sword. The highlanders are to the rear of the horse and Swaglord is retreating from them back toward the horse, and passing the horse on its tree side. Therefore. at some point, the blade becomes an obstacle to his passage.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I hate to say it, since this seems like something on which you might have spent a good bit of time and effort, but I think I missed the point here.
    I actually didn't. It got dropped into the second draft on a whim. Murderous highlanders on one side, the perhaps vengeful rogue on the other, death approaching from both sides like a wolf's jaws closing on him. Not a brilliant piece of writing, I know, but there you have it.


    Thanks for your comments. They confirm again my theory that a difficult write makes for a difficult read. FWIW, the next part wrote much easier.




  3. #23
    IncGamers Member Sozzles's Avatar
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    I just read your story on my lunchbreak at work today and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I usually hate short stories as they don't give enough insight to the charachter or whatever, but I feel not only was it entertaining, it provided charachters (yes, maybe he had a sucky name) with depth and more than a few stories to tell, which you don't normally get in stories like this.

    Don't worry about the ''lols you made a typoz!!11'' comments - past all that its a great story and you have a nice style.

    Im really looking forward to the next parts.

    Joanna



  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sozzles View Post
    I just read your story on my lunchbreak at work today and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I usually hate short stories as they don't give enough insight to the charachter or whatever, but I feel not only was it entertaining, it provided charachters (yes, maybe he had a sucky name) with depth and more than a few stories to tell, which you don't normally get in stories like this.

    Don't worry about the ''lols you made a typoz!!11'' comments - past all that its a great story and you have a nice style.

    Im really looking forward to the next parts.

    Joanna
    Thank you very much, Joanna. I'm taking a little break right now, but check back in a week or two. I should have another part up by then.




  5. #25
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    Bump

    I'm bumping this just to keep it from falling too far away from the story thread.

    While I'm here, a word of explanation about the "End of Episode One" remark at the end of Part IX: The next part follows pretty much immediately in time, as have all the previous parts, but I decided to break it into episodes to move away from the notion of it being an interminable series of installments and also to try to mark the beginning of a new story arc. I think this will help me bring the series eventually to a close, which is something I hadn't thought too much about prior to starting.




  6. #26
    IncGamers Member yetidiah's Avatar
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    good read so far, any idea of when the continuation will happen?



  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetidiah View Post
    good read so far, any idea of when the continuation will happen?
    Thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I've been trying to post weekly. This week I got a little set back, but there's a new chapter up now. Hope you like it, and thanks again for the kind words.




  8. #28
    IncGamers Member RevenantsKnight's Avatar
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    Good to see more from you, 0xDEADCAFE.

    On Part 7: In general, I thought this installment was pretty good, and though the ending was, dare I say, “predictable,” the trip to it was entertaining. :grin: It did have some parts that seemed to drag a little due to wordiness, but I didn’t think it was as much of an issue as it may have been before. Anyway...

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The cold, dry air stung Swaglord’s eyes as they followed the downward path of the rogue’s daggers, the sharpened edges of the elegantly curving blades glinting in the sun, ropes of fire against a cloudless sky.
    The opening paragraph here seemed a bit slow for an opening to me; while the imagery isn’t bad or anything, it doesn’t cover too much in the space it takes and a fair bit of this is already clear from the ending of the last chapter. Though it’s not a major issue, I might cut this or add it into the end of the previous part, since that seems like it might be a better place to draw things out than here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    They descended on him like twin talons of some great reaping bird floating out of the heavens on an all but timeless trajectory: ever closer, ever nearer, but in that eternally stretched moment, all but frozen in place.
    Quite the image, I must say. It does seem a bit heavy on words, though, so I might try to trim it down a touch, perhaps dropping some of the qualifying statements like “all but,” so it doesn’t feel like you’re piling on quite as much. Also, “reaping bird” sounded odd to me, since the literal image doesn’t really work.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He felt as if his life were perched upon a knife’s edge between this world and oblivion.
    I like it. :grin: “This world” does sound a little off, though, since it feels like it’s referencing the audience’s world (which in any case is not the world the narrator appears to mean.)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Closer—So Slowly—Nearer—Almost time now. . .
    This is probably a subjective thing, but I didn’t like this bit because it stretches the moment out too much without adding anything. Also, the capitalization seemed very odd to me, which I suppose made it a bit harder to read.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Closing his eyes, he felt water squeeze between his tightly pressed eyelids and suddenly, as if it had been only waiting for him to look away, Time the creeper leapt brazenly forward, resuming its usual, hurried pace.
    I might trim off the part after “forward,” but that’s just me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Her scream ringing in his ears, Swaglord opened his eyes just as the rogue finished her leap, bringing her down onto the ground between the highlanders and the badly wounded horse, which wasted no time in galloping away the moment it felt free of its happenstance anchor.
    “Felt free” seems like it should be “felt itself free.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The daggers were not meant for me…
    Given how the chapter before this ends, this sort of step back in Swaglord’s thinking was a little confusing to me. Of course, if you’ve changed the ending of the previous chapter, I suppose this might not matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Springing to her feet, her daggers flashed again seeming to rip a scream out of the beast nearest to her as it clutched at a deep gash just above and behind its elbow.
    There should be a comma after “again.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    This time she backpedaled, waited, then leapt straight up into the air as the lumbering giant lurched through the empty space she had occupied only a moment before.
    I like the rogue’s trick here, but the description sounded a little off to me, since “as” implies a simultaneity of actions that doesn’t really work with the rogue jumping and the giant walking through her empty space. Something like “...as the lumbering giant neared, letting it lurch through...” might be clearer, even if it is wordier. I’d also drop “waited” because it doesn’t seem to change the sentence at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The third soon pried itself out of the hard pack and moved to join them.
    “Hard pack” sounded weird to me, though I think I know what you meant. Looking for another wording is probably a rather trivial issue, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    His first yank confirmed that it was the tree trunk more than him that truly had grip on his sword.
    This seemed a bit awkward to me, particularly the “tree trunk more than him” part. If you do keep this as it is, I think it should also read “...had a grip on his sword.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    A dagger pierced the ground at his feet. He glanced at it, then looked back at his sword, and then back at the dagger again.
    Swaglord seems to do an awful lot of pausing and back-and-forth in this early bit. Granted, he does have some reason to be confused and it doesn’t seem too out of step with the story’s tone, but given the direness of the situation and his prior training, I’d think he’d be a little quicker to take the initiative. Could be just my take on the character, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Now, Swaglord acted with out hesitation.
    That should be “without.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    At the touch of his opponent’s weapon on his shield his warrior’s training kicked in, yielding under the blow as he prepared to shift his weight for the counter-strike.
    The wording in the second part here seems off, since “yielding” makes it sound like Swaglord isn’t successfully blocking the blow.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Timing was everything: he counted instinctively, waiting for the full weight of the impact to pass—a tempo as his academy instructors had called it—he pulled his shield back to his chest and answered as he had so many times before: two powerful, lightning quick slashes, tracing a perfect “X” across his opponent’s vital areas.
    The “he” after the insert should be “then,” I believe. Otherwise, there’re two subjects in the sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The surprised giant looked down at its chest and then up at the equally surprised knight. Swaglord looked at the dagger and then up at the giant.
    A good moment, I thought, though the up/down in these two sentences could be minimized a little, perhaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It was at that moment that he realized how brutish the creatures truly were.
    I’d cut this sentence because it blurs the line a bit between Swaglord’s thoughts and the narrator’s words. Besides, what you have right after this seems like enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Finding himself completely off-balance, he hurtled across the ground barely managing to stay on his feet until he ran right into another highlander.
    There should be a comma after “ground.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It looked straight into his eyes for a long moment and then dropped pitifully down toward its belly.
    Grammatically, the giant is doing the dropping down toward its belly, which is a rather confusing image. If you meant that to be just its eyes, I’d reword this so that “it” isn’t the subject of the sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Without realizing it, Swaglord had put his weapon hand out in front of him to brace himself for the collision. Following the creatures gaze down to his hand, he saw his fist pressed up against the creature’s belly, with no sign of the diminutive blade.
    I might switch the order of these sentences, since the first here sort of describes the logical conclusion of the second. Also, “creatures” in the second sentence should be “creature’s,” which might be reason enough to change the second instance of that, before “belly,” to “its.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    With a roar, it plucked him off like a mosquito, holding him in mid air by the neck.
    “Midair” is one word (either as written here or with a hyphen, I think.)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Just as he got both feet beneath him he felt the rogue tap him on the shoulder.
    There should be a comma after “him.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord turned toward the giant, just steps away, lumbering toward him.
    I’d reword this slightly to something like “turned to see the giant, just steps away...” since it wasn’t evident previously that the giant was chasing the rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    As the creature closed on him his mind went blank.
    There should be a comma after “him.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He found himself staring at the giant’s bulbous belly, bouncing with each of its heavy steps; he knew what to do.
    I don’t know if setting off “he knew what to do” works here, since it doesn’t seem like something that needs emphasis or stands well on its own, so I might try to reword this part to something a little smoother. It also feels a little repetitive to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    As the giant ran into him, he raised his shield high against the creature’s weapon arm and slid the full measure of the dagger into the right side of the beast’s soft mid section.
    “Midsection” is one word.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The stars came out again and he decided he had better finish it quickly.
    I might reword “he decided...” because it seems rather calculated and removed from the action, and this definitely feels like it should be a time of more immediate response on Swaglord’s part.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The giant retreated unsteadily, raising its club seemingly in self defense.
    “Self-defense” is one hyphenated word.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    She taunted it, showing it her blades and waving them threateningly until she goaded it into a half hearted swing.
    “Half-hearted” is one hyphenated word.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It stood there for several seconds, blinking at the decorated, black and silver handles sticking up out of its body. It made a gurgling sound. Then it closed its eyes and began to teeter, ever so slowly, wobbling in slow circles before finally falling dead to the ground.
    This felt repetitive to me, though I didn’t mind the fact that you stretched the moment out some. Changing the sentence structures a bit here might help with keeping out a list-like feeling. There should also not be a comma after “decorated.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    In a few moments he felt a light weight on his chest.
    Back where they started, eh? Nice little move there.

    Overall, I thought this was pretty good, though it did seem a little on the wordy side as a whole. There were definitely some good moments here, such as Swaglord’s too-short attack, though the battle itself felt a touch lower on the pacing than I expected, perhaps because of the aforementioned wordiness. Still, it was interesting and certainly didn’t devolve into hack and slash, so that’s a good sign indeed. I do intend to get to more chapters if I can. Sorry this is so late, and thanks for posting!




  9. #29
    IncGamers Member RevenantsKnight's Avatar
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    On Part 8: a nice breather in the action here, I’d say, with some good character details and dialogue. Kass’s voice did seem a little inconsistent at times, though; I get the feeling that it’s been evolving since the beginning of the story, which is probably most of it. That aside, this is still a good read. Some specific comments:

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord himself remembered little more than waking up and seeing the gently distorted face of his dear friend through the crystal clear water.
    Though initially a little confusing, I think this works pretty well as a way to add in backstory. The quick setting switch might just be something to accept, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “I’ve got you,” were the sweetest words he had every heard.
    That should be “ever heard.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Waking, Swaglord inhaled the vapors of his quickly fading dream, still warm and comforting even over the stretch of so many years.
    Nice description.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Against the blur, amid the vapors, he hovered on the lip of a vivid memory that called to him like a long lost friend.
    This seems like maybe a little much on the telling here, though it does make Swaglord’s thoughts pretty clear. I might try to find a more compact way of getting this across, if you have the time and don’t think I’m just spewing insanity.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He blinked again, rubbed his eyes, and raised his head up off the dirt, squinting. “Oh,” he said, “it’s you.”
    Personally, I think this is fine, though some might be put off by the fact that you don’t actually describe what Swaglord sees. If you don’t think it’s a major concern, this is probably worth ignoring.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Look, knight!—“
    I think the dash (or whatever it is) goes before the exclamation mark.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    She released his hair and let the hand with the dagger slide away from this face.
    Aside from the dialogue, the sentences in this paragraph read a bit like a list of actions, given their similar, series-like structures. I’d consider rewording one or two, perhaps the first or second.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Your guild name?” he asked, taking a breath with some effort, the rogue floating up and down as his lungs filled and then emptied.
    I guess it’s fantasy-esque, so it’s less eyebrow-raising, but unless I’m mistaken, people can’t really make a hundred-plus pounds sitting on their chest move perceptibly with their breathing. It’s quite possible that I could be wrong, though...I don’t really want to test that. Maybe Swaglord’s just got a really ripped diaphragm. :smiley:

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Kass? Kass…” He said, with a puzzled look.
    I think “he” should be in lowercase.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord immediately filled his lungs and raised himself up far enough to turn and lean on one elbow “A nice name, Kass—.”
    I don’t think you need the period after the dash, which is fortunate because there should be one after “elbow.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Well, it’s… uh, it’s… Swaglo—” he said, stopped before he quite finished saying it.
    Unless you mean to say that something else stopped Swaglord from speaking, “stopped” should be “and stopped,” or something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “You’re mother give you that?”
    Typo: that should be “Your.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Yes, it’s still there,” she said rolling her eyes, and the milky glow coming from deep inside the cuff confirmed that it was.
    There should be a comma after “said.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “I mean, this whole situation has gotten so complicated!” she said, bending forward and putting her head in her hands.
    This sounded a bit too formal for Kass, compared to the rest of her dialogue in this chapter. It does, though, sound more like earlier chapters, so I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. More on this shortly...

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “A little while. I dunno. Long enough for me to tend to Heavenstone. She’s pretty banged up. I don’t think it’s too serious, but I won’t be riding her for a while, and I should get her to a town soon.”
    As an example, I don’t recall any other dialogue of this sort prior to this chapter, with shorter bits of conversation and more informality. At least to me, she seems more childish and less sophisticated than in previous pieces, so this felt a bit odd. Granted, her relationship to Swaglord has changed quite a bit in a hurry, but this seems a little extreme, and with some other changes such as her lack of Spanish, it feels more than just a shift in her perspective on Swaglord. Since this isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of your story, my apologies if you’ve worked this out in pieces since this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “I got her when I was just a girl. And I always loved them. And I loved her so much, right away, that’s what I called her. It’s stupid…’
    I’m not sure what “them” refers to in the second sentence. Also, the closing quotation marks should be doubled.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Kass stood up easily in a swift, graceful movement and stood facing him.
    As much as I’m prone to doing this too, sometimes, “easily,” “swift” and “graceful” seems like a little much for describing this one action.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Swaglord's eyes narrowed, flitting from the dart to the horizon, looking left and then scanning right, stopping at three points in between.
    This sentence feels a little unwieldy to me, though that could just be me...it might be worth trying to compress it a little, if you can describe the motion of Swaglord’s eyes in something more compact.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He looked over his shoulder and as his face came again to the fore it wore a look grave seriousness.
    Typo: should be “...a look of grave seriousness.”

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    “Don’t worry, Kassandra,” he whispered, “I’ve got you.

    “And I won’t let go.”
    This is definitely subjective, and maybe I’m just totally out in left field, but I don’t think that the parallel you’re drawing here between Kass and Swaglord’s friend works because there isn’t enough of a basis yet. I mean, Swaglord doesn’t seem to see them on equal levels, and he certainly hasn’t known Kass for very long, either. From outside the story, too, it seems sudden because you just introduced it as something that meant a lot to Swaglord, so bringing it back right here feels a bit forced. It’s a nice way to close the loop, as it were, but I just don’t know if you’ve given it enough time to play out between the two characters yet for it to really have the impact it could.

    Generally, I thought this was pretty good, and a nice transitional piece between storylines (presumably.) Though there’re a few things here that might benefit from a little more revision, I like where this is headed and I’ll try to get to more when I can. Thanks for posting!




  10. #30
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    Hey, Rev. Nice to see you weaving your way through the threads again. I appreciate your comments. Details follow.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    The opening paragraph here seemed a bit slow for an opening to me;
    It's definitely intended to be a "slow" opening. I'm trying to portray him as being in a kind of mental time warp where things seem to be going in slow motion. So the opening bang that I'm going for here is not one of fast action, per se, but of a strong image and its emotional impact. Not that it succeeded, by any means, and in retrospect it may have been a stretch to even try to do that. For most of part 7, Swag is supposed to be in a bit of a fog while action happens fast and furious around him. Upon rereading the chapter, however, it seems like the writing itself is a bit foggy.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Also, “reaping bird” sounded odd to me, since the literal image doesn’t really work.
    Okay, though I'm not sure what literal image you would be referring to. This was either going to be poetic or purple, one or the other. Judging from your reaction, it would seem the latter. What can I say? Her arms were spread wide like wings, the daggers in her hands were glinting dramatically in the sun, not quite like scythes, perhaps, but certainly she was poised to be a reaper of sorts, or at least the bringer of a grim harvest.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This is probably a subjective thing, but I didn’t like this bit because it stretches the moment out too much without adding anything. Also, the capitalization seemed very odd to me, which I suppose made it a bit harder to read.
    Yeah. This comment was in regard to: "Closer—So Slowly—Nearer—Almost time now. . ." That's more of me trying to portray Swag's mental fudge and instead making a hash of the writing. Bon appetit!


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Given how the chapter before this ends, this sort of step back in Swaglord’s thinking was a little confusing to me. Of course, if you’ve changed the ending of the previous chapter, I suppose this might not matter.
    I could use a bit more explanation of this one. One of the last things Swag thinks in the previous chapter is "Are they for me?" in reference to the daggers. How is it that "The daggers were not meant for me… " at the start of this chapter is a non-sequiter? Maybe what is hanging you up is the idea that Swag could think that she might be trying to kill him and still be glad to see her. But that's exactly what I was going for. And this is really the start of a change in Swag's attitude toward Kass.

    The turning point was in the chapter in which he almost chokes her to death. He went too far and as a result felt a shock of revulsion toward his own actions. He feels guilty about that. Plus, when he left her she was tied up and consequently in grave peril. Thus he was happy to see that she was alive and reasonably certain that she might want to kill him as payback. (I can see that I'm going to have to publish a Cliff Notes version of this story.)

    On a serious note. How much of this sort of thing really needs to be explained by the author? I guess I presume that the reader can fill some things in on their own and that it is actually more fun for them to do so. Granted, readers may interpret things in different ways, and some, as in your case, may find no satisfactory explanation at all for some changes. I guess that's a risk you take. But on the other hand, how interesting is it to have a narrator give a blow-by-blow description of why a person's mind changes?


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Swaglord seems to do an awful lot of pausing and back-and-forth in this early bit. Granted, he does have some reason to be confused and it doesn’t seem too out of step with the story’s tone, but given the direness of the situation and his prior training, I’d think he’d be a little quicker to take the initiative. Could be just my take on the character, though.
    Actually, this is pure Swag. He's more of an action hero than a rocket scientist. Impressive one he gets going, he is sometimes a bit slow to react to a sudden change. Plus he has a penchant for daydreaming on the job.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    The wording in the second part here seems off, since “yielding” makes it sound like Swaglord isn’t successfully blocking the blow.
    Think about it: the giant's much bigger and stronger than Swag. Blocking the blow would probably result in a broken arm or worse. Better to bend than break.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It stood there for several seconds, blinking at the decorated, black and silver handles sticking up out of its body. It made a gurgling sound. Then it closed its eyes and began to teeter, ever so slowly, wobbling in slow circles before finally falling dead to the ground.
    This felt repetitive to me, though I didn’t mind the fact that you stretched the moment out some. Changing the sentence structures a bit here might help with keeping out a list-like feeling. There should also not be a comma after “decorated.”
    I actually really like this, but you may have a point about the sentence structure. There's always room for improvement.

    And by the way, thanks for the many other comments about structure. This is a very action packed chapter and I think you pointed out a bunch of places where the description could be better.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I do intend to get to more chapters if I can. Sorry this is so late, and thanks for posting!
    Always appreciated, but for the record, it's not late. There's no due date. And there's always lots of extra credit available. Thanks for reviewing!



    On to your comments on part 8...



    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Kass’s voice did seem a little inconsistent at times, though; I get the feeling that it’s been evolving since the beginning of the story, which is probably most of it.
    There's a lot I could say about this. I went back and reread the first several chapters and I have to admit I was surprised at how different she sounded from how I have been writing her recently. I hope it's not too much of a problem because she stays this for the next 11 chapters.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This seems like maybe a little much on the telling here, though it does make Swaglord’s thoughts pretty clear. I might try to find a more compact way of getting this across, if you have the time and don’t think I’m just spewing insanity.
    No, I think you well captured the dilemma I often feel when writing and revising. There's definitely a tension between making something clear and over-telling. Part of the art, it seems. In this case I can see what you mean. I think that being practical about getting something written means sometimes accepting that you haven't gotten the balance exactly right. I tend to err on the side of over-telling. (As if I need to admit that.) This is probably yet another example of that.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Maybe Swaglord’s just got a really ripped diaphragm.
    You should see him in Spandex.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This sounded a bit too formal for Kass, compared to the rest of her dialogue in this chapter. It does, though, sound more like earlier chapters, so I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. More on this shortly...
    I think it's a good call. And easily fixed.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    As an example, I don’t recall any other dialogue of this sort prior to this chapter, with shorter bits of conversation and more informality. At least to me, she seems more childish and less sophisticated than in previous pieces, so this felt a bit odd. Granted, her relationship to Swaglord has changed quite a bit in a hurry, but this seems a little extreme, and with some other changes such as her lack of Spanish, it feels more than just a shift in her perspective on Swaglord. Since this isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of your story, my apologies if you’ve worked this out in pieces since this one.
    As I mentioned above, I think you are on target. I had intended for Kass's tough exterior to melt away once she and Swag became a bit more chummy, but the change I ended up with is more than I realized. Still, it might just be this paragraph. I could probably redo it to clean this up after I figure out exactly who she is.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I’m not sure what “them” refers to in the second sentence.
    That would be heaven stones.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This is definitely subjective, and maybe I’m just totally out in left field, but I don’t think that the parallel you’re drawing here between Kass and Swaglord’s friend works because there isn’t enough of a basis yet. I mean, Swaglord doesn’t seem to see them on equal levels, and he certainly hasn’t known Kass for very long, either. From outside the story, too, it seems sudden because you just introduced it as something that meant a lot to Swaglord, so bringing it back right here feels a bit forced. It’s a nice way to close the loop, as it were, but I just don’t know if you’ve given it enough time to play out between the two characters yet for it to really have the impact it could.
    I agree that it's not a parallel, but it's not intended to be. Think of it as more of a pass-it-on thing. He once experienced an act of friendship as a profound event in his life. He now feels in a position to do the same for someone else.

    The initial image of his friend melting into Kass's face may be misleading. It was intended as more of a visual coincidence than an attempt at drawing a strong parallel. That's why I had him say, "Oh, it's you," when he woke up, to break any idea that he saw Kass in the same way. Kass may be the same age as his friend was. Maybe they even look similar. It may make her more attractive to him. As for the sudden change in his feelings, again, I wouldn't think this would require much of an explanation; how long does human attraction take?

    I'll admit that the "I won't let go" at the end may be laying it on a little thick. But after all he was pledging the same sort of thing to Kass's horse in the previous chapter. All I can say is that prior to this section we've only seen him reacting to Kass as a threat. This is the first time he sees her as a comrade rather than an enemy and thus we see a different side of him. But, yes, maybe it's too much or forced and maybe toning it down would be better.

    Thanks for your comments.




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