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Sequitur - The Hourglass Theory - Chapter 1 by TheNimster Sequitur - The Hourglass Theory - Chapter 1 by TheNimster

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With thanks to everyone who helped with comments, critique, or just by reading, especially the following:

:iconhomunculus888: :iconsaevuswinds: :icongabanks118:
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:iconbattlebrothertherix:
battlebrothertherix Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Now, as you said you are very honest and clear with your critiques, and I appreciate that. You also included things you enjoyed, something that those writing critiques tend to omit. So, I hope with that in mind that you will expect the same.

Now, what did I like?

First, the flow. While you do not go into incredible detail very often, nor do you omit so much detail that it is as if everything is bland and uninteresting. While this lacks the usual amount of technical detail that I prefer in things I read, there was still enough to ensure that I did not find it difficult to continue reading. When I reached the end, I did not feel cheated of my time and felt a story had actually been told.

Secondly, paragraphing. Very often stories lack spacing, and so it reads as a single stream of text, insofar as that the really story just becomes a blur of words. In such cases, I find I quickly lose focus. Here there were regular breaks in text, giving the mind time to box the information and store it away to move onto the next bit.

Thirdly, you managed something that is becoming very rare in modern sci-fi. The violent/non-violent balance of conflict. Reading this I felt like a throwback to Isaac Asimov, The Robots of Dawn. You spoke a lot about Aterra's pet hates, her perceived injustices, and her thoughts on the whole situation and her role in it.

You said you aim to be as objective as you can be...but you must realise that critiques are subjective. They are the personal ideologies of the one critiquing in relation to what they are reading or viewing.

Now, for the less-savoury criticism...

I noticed an absence of visual character description. I had absolutely no clue what Aterra looked like. Nor, for that matter, did I get the sense of Ephinema, Jason, the other people, or the location. Yes, you always mentioned their presence, but there wasn't any visual description of them. I was completely guessing as to what they looked like and in a novel where there is no other way of knowing, a lack of visual can be quite detrimental. I think you need to work on describing the noise and the appearance of people and places.

Capitals. Mostly a pet hate of mine, but in my experience using capitals e.g. “Not THAT tunnel" seems like quite a novice way to do things. It does work, I am not disputing that, but I've found that in addition to being used as thought (as you do so) single world italics work a lot better for emphasis, i.e. "Not that tunnel". Now, capitals do work. They do get the desired effect across, I just believe there is a more effective way to do it. Italics imply an emphasis, while capitals often infer shouting.

Comma splicing. Now, this is something that I see all the time in writing. Commas being used incorrectly. For example:
"Being eighteen years old on Horarium station and a daughter of a pair of First line colonists meant one thing, if she wanted to live on the station, she needed to earn her keep."
Right at "meant one thing," you are stating a fact. You are about to state a point involving the first part of a sentence.
It needs a colon there:
"Being eighteen years old on Horarium station and a daughter of a pair of First line colonists meant one thing: if she wanted to live on the station, she needed to earn her keep."
This is something that isn't taught in regular education, so comma splicing doesn't surprise me.

Just a little syntax error here:
Aterra finally arrived to her destination.
She would have arrived "at" her destination, rather than "to" it.

Once again, I have a pet hate of numbers in writing. Not their use, but choosing whether to write the word, or the number itself, e.g. 3 or three. Writing the number itself has always appeared sloppy unless it is a very long number, and I noticed you did it with Ephinema's speech: "A23". It always seems better to write it as they would say it, so "A-two-three" or "A-twenty-three." This way it is written as it is said, for dialogue, rather than written.

As you said with mine, you are a good writer and you have a great deal of potential, but in your case I think you need to do a lot more when it comes to description, and consider bonding more with your characters. Using thought processes helps, but to really draw a reader into a character you need to have the narrative smoothly following the character's revelations and understanding as well.
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:iconthenimster:
TheNimster Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The character description isn't really entirely absent, I drop hints here and there in the first few chapters; but I admit that my story lacks a lot of descriptions of the characters' physical appearances. That's because, when I started writing this, I wanted to define and describe the characters' personalities and psyche; and accentuate them over most other elements of the story. I was aiming to let the reader imagine the characters' appearances the way he/she wants, apart from the vital characteristics which I divulged at certain points of the story, so that I could completely define and present the psychological aspects.

You're right about the capitals, italicized letters actually do work better. I meant to write "that" in italics, but then thought people on dA might find it confusing since I already used italics to express the character's thoughts. 

Commas have been my enemy for a long time already, I understand what you're saying completely and am learning to correctly place them whenever I write anything. The problem is, often times when I proof read I place commas at the wrong places because I aim to mark every pause in a read with them. The pauses tend to be awkward sometimes, thus the needless commas.

The syntax error slipped by, thank you for pointing it out.

I wrote A23, rather than "A-twenty-three" because Ephinema is reading the number of the tunnel for coordination. I wrote the number the way it is marked in blueprints or maps. You'll notice most numbers in my work are written as words, apart from technical numbers like that one which are numeric.

Your final statement is a very helpful one, and I agree that I should bond more with the characters. I find drawing the reader in with a smooth narrative to be difficult because it requires a level of narrative that is constantly smooth - flowing coupled with an interesting story that's moving forward with events occurring. I am still working on developing both skills and pairing them together.

Thank you for your time and feedback.
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:iconbattlebrothertherix:
battlebrothertherix Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
When a character lacks physical description from the writer, they tend to feel like they're missing something. A reader usually needs physical description - a framework to work with, or the characters miss a key point of themselves.

As for bonding with them, it is very difficult to do. I'm a natural empath, and so associating with characters is fairly simple. For me, it's difficult not to do so.
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:iconnemoalleintraumwelt:
NemoAlleinTraumwelt Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013   Digital Artist
you should have enabled downloading options. couldn't read it.
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:iconthenimster:
TheNimster Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Old habit, I'm used to leaving it ticked off. It's done, you can download it now.
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:iconnemoalleintraumwelt:
NemoAlleinTraumwelt Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013   Digital Artist
oh well cool and thanks, i'll tell you what i thought of it ^^
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:iconnemoalleintraumwelt:
NemoAlleinTraumwelt Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013   Digital Artist
wooops, i really thought it was a comic , not a novel. unfortunately i'm not able to read english as good as i'd like, so i won't comment sorry. Btw you have the possibility to show texts as the form as a text when uploading it in da. sorry for the trouble :s
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:iconthenimster:
TheNimster Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem.
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