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(09-08-2018, 08:57 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-08-2018, 03:05 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Have you read any Fritz Leiber? He's the paragon of the humor-laced rogue-ish stuff. Plenty of wine-soaked tavern shenanigans in Lankhmar!

I have actually, though it was a long, long time ago. I read several of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books and I remember liking the early ones, but later on they got really weird and turned into what almost felt like a sword and sorcery parody. Then again maybe I'm confusing them with some other books, like I said it's been a long time.

You might be right, however, I think Leiber was always, throughout his career, willing to have a laugh at his own expense. Currently I've read all of the Fafhrd and Mouser stories (except I've only just begun the very last one the other day). What you see as parody I've also begun to see as a positive lack of regard for established convention within the genre in favor of his own imagination. One thing I love about the stories is the way I just can't predict them. I read a title and it fills me with certain expectations that after finishing the story are entirely thrown out the window. In any case, I digress. I will return to your stories ASAP and report back. Any plan to include these with the Lore release, or is it veering off a bit much?
(09-08-2018, 02:37 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]You might be right, however, I think Leiber was always, throughout his career, willing to have a laugh at his own expense. Currently I've read all of the Fafhrd and Mouser stories (except I've only just begun the very last one the other day). What you see as parody I've also begun to see as a positive lack of regard for established convention within the genre in favor of his own imagination. One thing I love about the stories is the way I just can't predict them. I read a title and it fills me with certain expectations that after finishing the story are entirely thrown out the window. In any case, I digress.

You're probably right; I was in my late teens when I read the books, and I've probably become a more mature and discerning reader since then. And come to think of it, some strange plots I vaguely recall might not be from Lieber's books at all, but from Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue books which I read a few of around the same time. I might have to revisit the Fafhrd and Mouser books eventually.

(09-08-2018, 02:37 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I will return to your stories ASAP and report back. Any plan to include these with the Lore release, or is it veering off a bit much?

If I had stuck to just the single short story I would have included it, but as it stands I'll leave it out. It feels a little too tangential.
Oh, cool! I also write short stories. I haven't published anything yet, when I do, I'm going to under a pseudonym. That way I don't "devalue" my composing brand. Tomorrow I'll read what you have up and provide my thoughts.
(09-14-2018, 01:47 AM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]Oh, cool! I also write short stories. I haven't published anything yet, when I do, I'm going to under a pseudonym. That way I don't "devalue" my composing brand. Tomorrow I'll read what you have up and provide my thoughts.

Please do Terry! I have done some poking around in these three chapters since I posted them, but I haven't bothered updating the pdf versions since there appears to be very little interest. But I haven't made any major changes so they should still be perfectly valid for getting an idea of the project.
Some comments on Chapter One, Greater Things...

General notes: this is actually quite good. Better than I expected, and I hope you won't be offended when I say that. I thought it would be good, yes, but I didn't quite expect it to be this good. You've got a solid foundation for a storyline and for a world, good characters, and your dialogue is rather good, too. I enjoyed the in media res-like opening. No exposition, no setting out - just some random lady (straight out of story) popping up in the forest. I've not yet read the next two chapters (I'm making tomato sauce and finishing up a new composition), but after this chapter, I look forward to reading it. Your taste in typography is also excellent. If I had to suffer Times New Roman, I think I would've disemboweled myself.

Specific critiques: While the story, characters, world, and dialogue are all quality stuff, the prose is, I think, less exceptional. It's not bad prose. But nor is it particularly exception. It's a little clunky, a little unrefined. Functional, as it were. More Brandon Sanderson than George RR Martin, and the latter surely is one of fantasy's finest prosewriters. I don't know what specific critiques I could make in that regard. The occasional usage of a few more words than necessary, perhaps, a lack of subtlety in the detail - "spelling the scenery out loud," if you'll forgive a turn of phrase. There's a little much in the way of infodumping. Now, expository passages are not the work of the devil (and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong) but in excess the critique does make sense and I think that the passages are a bit excessive here - Rynn's quest, the tragedy of Lilian, the miscellaneous paragraphs describing the characters (that is to say, character in the sense of "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.") of Olvan and Jedd (particularly the last one on page 14) - it's a bit much. The tragedy of Lilian was told well, yes, but Rynn's quest could have been broken up throughout the chapter, the characters of Olvan and Jedd could wait for later chapters as Rynn neared Arynstone or as we saw the group interacting, their personality quirks emerging naturally in conversation or in their physical motion.

Mind, don't take this as too massive a critique. The more you write, and the more you read, the better your prose will become. I take from your initial post that this is probably your first work of fiction, either short-form or long-form? I think that your development as a prosewriter will go reasonably quickly. You know the value of a summarizing passage, of describing the scenery, and when to focus more on character and dialogue. The edits I could suggest are fairly minor and amount largely to tightening and refinement - wholesale rewriting is not necessary here.

I think that some aspects were cliche. Cliche's not a bad thing, my critique is that the usage of that cliche varied between playing it straight and being aware of the cliche. Sometimes it read with that self-awareness, other times, it was played as straight drama. Neither are poor and they are not mutually exclusive, but the story didn't seem to really know which one it wanted to be. The switching lacked the feel of intent and seemed more like accident.

Finally, I think that Rynn questioning her life choices comes on a little bit suddenly. The transition from Lilian's Lament, where there was little such self-doubt, towards the swirl of self-doubt seems to me rather sudden.

---

I hope I didn't sound too much like a lecturer. I will post my thoughts on chapter 2 and 3 once I read them.
A late hour thought - I forgot to put this in the original post - but I disliked that Rynn somehow felt that the woman was harmless. In my opinion it's a drastically overused device and more than that it serves only as a weak link. Better would be to say the woman was thin, unarmed, etc. One doesn't just feel things somehow. Even gut instinct, the closest to "somehow feeling" things, emerges from the knowledge and experiences that have shaped us as individuals, even if we can only articulate the shallowest depths of that knowledge and experience.
Terry,

Thanks so much for your comments. Some really great feedback there, and I'll need to digest it for a bit. You raise a lot of of valid points.

(09-14-2018, 07:20 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]I take from your initial post that this is probably your first work of fiction, either short-form or long-form?

I have been writing fantasy fiction for a looong time actually, but this is my first ever attempt at writing prose in English.
I might add that it'll probably be a little while until a new chapter comes out since I'm busy writing a detailed synopsis. I've had a rough idea where the story is going all along, but I need to make some desicions and figure out what is the best way to present it. Also, I'm working on a world map and a ton of background info for the setting, which will obviously not be a part of the book itself, but I need a solid foundation to build everything on.
(09-15-2018, 10:00 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Terry,

Thanks so much for your comments. Some really great feedback there, and I'll need to digest it for a bit. You raise a lot of of valid points.

(09-14-2018, 07:20 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]I take from your initial post that this is probably your first work of fiction, either short-form or long-form?

I have been writing fantasy fiction for a looong time actually, but this is my first ever attempt at writing prose in English.

My apologies. For a first effort this is quite good! Even for my critique of it, it's still rather good.

(09-15-2018, 12:42 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]I might add that it'll probably be a little while until a new chapter comes out since I'm busy writing a detailed synopsis. I've had a rough idea where the story is going all along, but I need to make some desicions and figure out what is the best way to present it. Also, I'm working on a world map and a ton of background info for the setting, which will obviously not be a part of the book itself, but I need a solid foundation to build everything on.

Those are both very good things to do and they really bring a world to life. An oft-used turn of phrase in fantasy is the idea that you create just enough world that, when you show it in the book, it looks like 10% of an iceberg.

I don't know when I'll have the time to read in full chapters 2 and 3 - sometime next week, probably - but as soon as I do I'll post my thoughts.
(09-15-2018, 02:24 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]My apologies. For a first effort this is quite good! Even for my critique of it, it's still rather good.

No reason to apologize, I have never published anything and I've only managed to finish one single bigger literary project over the years. I wrote a novel when I was 20, it was terrible, and I've been wanting to write something better ever since. But I tend to overreach and give up. This time I want to do something straightforward, focused and actually attainable. My choice to write in English was motivated by the fact that Swedish is a very small language, and the fantasy-reading crowd in Sweden is even smaller. I want to be able to reach a bigger audience, even if that means I'll have to write in a second language and my prose will likely suffer from it. But it's also a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. English is a wonderful language even if it drives me nuts at times.

(09-15-2018, 02:24 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]Those are both very good things to do and they really bring a world to life. An oft-used turn of phrase in fantasy is the idea that you create just enough world that, when you show it in the book, it looks like 10% of an iceberg.

Exactly. The majority of things that I have documented so far won't appear at all in this book, but having it all there at the back of my mind gives me greater confidence when writing the story. I will likely have to go back and revise some world-related details in the early chapters since there are things I came up with on the spot (like location names, distances, etc) that feel a little wishy-washy.

(09-15-2018, 02:24 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know when I'll have the time to read in full chapters 2 and 3 - sometime next week, probably - but as soon as I do I'll post my thoughts.

No hurry at all! I'm just glad you're taking the time to read this and giving me feedback. If I can ever return the favor, let me know.
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