Thread: In Progress The Reapers
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:03 PM
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Nira Nira is offline
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Default Re: The Reapers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to find surprising about their being another man in town, or about his name being Adam Gent.
To boot, it was highly irregular for even one person to be in town; as for the name, i'll openly admit that was a bit clumsy... But there wasn't any opportunity to stick his name in naturally through dialogue for awhile, and i think it would've been odd to stick his name in anywhere other than his initial introduction, and referring to him as "the man" or whatever for as long as it took for a natural name reveal to fall into place would be way messier than just putting his name in a weird place... But, if you can think of a more natural place to put it, i'm totally game.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I think something went wrong here. "He took" isn't connected to anything, and the next two phrases don't properly connect to anything. Like initially I thought "took" was a typo for "looked," but that wouldn't make sense here, either.
Haha, whoops. I'm going to explain here something that answers quite a few of the criticisms you've put here, and allow my liberty to skip over the remaining ones that fall under this umbrella rather than extraneously pasting "what i said above" every time: basically, it takes me several proofreads to catch all the errors, and i did catch quite a few of them that you've observed, buuuut i updated it on the reddit version and not the tcod one, so this one is stuck in draft stage. You pointed out quite a few that i haven't noticed even given all my read-overs, though, as well as vocabulary misuse that i wasn't aware of. Most of my audience is ESL, so no one's been observant or knowledgeable enough yet to point out when i've misused a word in quite a long time. Thanks a ton!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I think you mean "indistinctly." And since they weren't walking together before, I don't think they could have resumed...
They were both walking, before; they resumed their walks, which were previously separate, together. Is there a smoother way of expressing this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I'm guessing you don't actually mean "imperative" here; maybe imploring? "Paced" is also a weird verb to use here. It's not precisely wrong, but it's an unusual usage.
What's wrong with "imperative?" The way i've always seen it used refers to a sense of urgency/authority/command, and a quick google search doesn't give me any reason to think otherwise; "imploring," as far as i've always perceived, implies more of a request than an order, so that doesn't feel right. The criticism on "pace" is fair, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
Wait, who's the subject of this sentence? Gent or Fletcher?
This sentence accidentally fell apart when i was modifying it; for the sake of answering, the subject is Gent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
"Looked... with a look" is clumsy phrasing, and again, it's *lying in bed. "Laying" is a transitive verb, meaning it takes an object, meaning it shows up in constructs like "the X was laying on the Y." "Lying" is intransitive, so you use it for phrases like "the X was lying down" or "the woman was lying in bed peacefully."
Argh, this lay-lie always gets me. This is one of the few things i'm incapable of wrapping my head around, for some reason; thanks for pointing it out. As for "looked... with a look" is clumsy, i agree, but what would you suggest? I want to convey the same meaning without having to use the same root word more than once, but i can't think of a way that sounds even LESS natural.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
To sum up: I can see you're going for an old time-y kind of style here, which usually means somewhat more convoluted sentences and somewhat higher-register vocabulary than you tend to see in modern prose. The problem is that you appear to be kind of reaching with your vocabulary here, in that you're using words that don't quite mean what you think they mean, or you're mixing them up with other words. It's kind of hard to recommend something here, since the style you're trying to emulate probably does want somewhat fancy diction, so my usual advice in this situation ("stop trying so hard, dammit") doesn't really apply. Maybe mainline a bunch of works in this style to get a better feel for the vocabulary they use, and be diligent of looking stuff up if you aren't precisely sure of the meaning? It's something that will get better with practice.
I totally understand what you're getting at here, and to tell you the truth, it's not nearly as intentional as you've made it sound to be; in other words, i'm not really "going for" any sort of tone, really— it sort of just worked itself out that way, mainly because i was thinking from Gent's perspective while writing; most of the story is far different from the tone in the prologue, and so this isn't really something i'm tempted to look into thoroughly, simply because it probably won't come up again (and, should it appear again in something else i write sometime, i'll look into it then, i suppose). I can definitely attempt to adjust my vocabulary according to your suggestions, and also pass it by a few more people with a sharper eye for semantics than my own, but stylistic adjustment/honing doesn't seem totally necessary here since it... doesn't apply outside of here. (Also, it's less that i'm reaching with my vocabulary and more that no one's ever told me that my usage is wrong; i guess most people understand the general idea of what i'm trying to say, and don't comment on it? At any rate, i'm glad you did, because i never realised this was a problem for me.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
All the eye-rolling is making me think modern teens, not country gentlemen. I don't think that was a very common gesture (or at least, it wasn't described that way) in the past.
I agree, although eye-rolling is definitely a Fletcher sort of thing and i intended to make it a tic of his even if it's out of place, although i realise now that you've observed this that i don't make him do it more than... twice (?), and i've made Gent do it as well, which is out of place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
Only thing I would say is that the setup feels a bit typical. The grim, distant reaper who isn't affected by/sympathetic to the deaths of the people he's supposed to be shepherding, the people who react comically to having died, even the setup of the murders is pretty standard. I pretty much knew where this was all going as of the first paragraph. It's solidly executed, but right now there's not a strong sense of novelty or anything that makes me really want to see where this is all going. As of right now the most interesting character to me is Gent; the cheerful reaper who maybe isn't totally over seeing people get brutally murdered all the time is actually not something you see all that often, unless the reaper in question is a newbie. In general, I'd think about what the central concept of your story is, what it is that fascinates you about the idea behind it, keeps you coming back to it, and try to front-and-center it as early as possible. Because what keeps you enamored with the story is what's going to enamor other people with the story, right? (I mean, to a reasonable first approximation, people enjoy stories for all different reasons.) That's what you really want to be communicating to the reader.
My intention here was to go with a very stock-standard, readily understandable setting and mini-plot so that readers don't have to think or wonder too hard about the events that elapse. Rather than give any insight to the story's actual conflict (save for the mention of the shape on the roof), the prologue serves mainly to introduce the whole Reaper Dynamic to the reader directly given that the protagonist isn't a reaper himself and it'll provide a lot of clarity into moments later on that i otherwise wouldn't be able to explain. There's no way the protagonist would have any right to draw the sorts of conclusions that are necessary for the reader to draw, so this is my fix for that; at least, as far as i've planned it out so far. Depending on how rigidly i stick to my plan, this is up in the air, but that's the idea.

I don't want to say too much, because a) i don't want to say something now and then end up deviating from it later, and b) because i don't want to divulge all the details in the second reply because then no-one will read it, but the MAIN plot relevancy of the prologue is that it: introduces Gent and Fletcher, the former of which is a major character and the latter plays a major role in the background; establishes that living beings can't see or feel spiritual ones, and that spiritual ones can't interact with the living world; establishes that there are a race of reapers, who appear to work in pairs and are assigned to specific areas and are privy to the time and locations of deaths in their assigned areas so that they can escort the recently-deceased to the afterlife; and that there's some dubious object on the roof. Given that, i think i did an okay job at conveying what i intended to, though perhaps it could've been done more excitingly, though i couldn't think of an opportunity that would present all these points in a fashion more exciting than the one i put... and that's a personal flaw of mine as a writer, really, and something i can't do much about aside from practise.

Thanks for the advice, though! I'll definitely be adjusting according to what you've said, and if you have any responses to anything i've said or anything of the nature, let me know. I really do appreciate you picking it apart like that, as no one's done that for me before, and it's a huge insight into not only the problems with this particular piece but with my writing as a whole.
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