I really don’t want this to turn into Veil War Fridays. But that seems to be the way of things, lately. My apologies for the untimely posting, but between work and a sudden, uncontrollable desire to rearrange a lot of the stuff that has happened in the last couple chapters (and indeed, the next couple as well) things have taken more time than I had hoped.
So, excuses out of the way, here at long last is Chapter Sixteen.
“Your sword is a prize of battle, won from the goblins. Prince Raimond and the Strategos both realized at once that it did not have the look of the goblin-work.”
“I noticed that myself, but I didn’t think much of it. My knowledge of goblins being so extensive.”
Father Pietr smiled. “Yes. There are goblins on many worlds; even goblins from the same world have different customs, different ways of sword-making. Could it not be from some tribe we know nothing of? But there is this: your sword looks like something out of our own history. A sword, much like yours, rests in the royal armory. It was taken from the dead hand of a goblin king by King Henric II six hundred years and more ago.”
I have a question for my readers. I have throughout this whole story kept the writing as spare as I could. No florid descriptions – just sketches of description and characterization (brief, but hopefully evocative) and focusing most of the effort on dialog and descriptions of the action. I’d like your opinion on how that is working.
And as always, please point out in the comments any grammatical or other errors. While I try to make it as clean as I can before posting, I don’t have a professional editor on staff, more’s the pity. Thanks for your patience as I try to push this out the door as fast as I can.
Excuses, excuses, excuses……*sigh*
You aren’t a politician by any chance, are you?
The sparseness of the description is fine. You probably need to get more of a ‘feeling’ of heat during the day and cold during the night into it, but that is more to do with word choice than overloading on description.
The writing is a tad clunky first draft in places, but that is to be expected since this is a first draft 🙂 The story flows, the characters work, the plot makes sense, which is a step up on a lot of first drafts I’ve read.
Just keep doing what you are doing, in my humble opinion. Second guessing yourself at this stage would be a mistake. Best to get the draft done and then see where you are and finesse the language.
It’s good, I’m hooked, which is all a writer wants. To hook the reader.
My only worry is how you treat the Arab characters. You are being a tad dismissive of them. They deserve better than that. They are people too, not just two-dimensional stereotypes.
I’m not saying rewrite with some politically correct bollocks in the front of your mind. How the marines etc think about the local population is fine, that is how they would think, but you, as the writer, cannot think that way. You have to think of them as characters in the round and, if you can, it would be best to give them something to do.
Nobody are all one thing or all another. Everybody is a bundle of contradictions, it is what makes us human.
Number 3 is what i am talking about.
But I’m hooked which is all that really matters.
The pacing of this story isn’t necessarily conducive to long-winded “florid” descriptions. That being said, your quieter moments, with less urgent dialogue, could stand to be broken up a bit more (and by a bit, I mean a few sentences scattered through the dialogue scenes). By subtle insertions (hehehe), you can keep the reader in the setting and differentiating your characters-especially the soldiers-through more than just names.
Thanks for the feedback. A couple notes:
@Ian – when I insert something, it’s rarely subtle. But point taken. Ahem. Pacing is one thing I am concerned about. Obviously, you all haven’t seen the rest of the story, but I am counting on the driving pace of the Marine story arc to tie everything else together. I’ve added your comment to my list of things to attend to when I go back and rewrite.
@pkgesic – The SANG major is a nepotistic dirt bag, which is just what he is. He and Burhan are the only Arabs the crew has really met so far, and I’m not done with Burhan. You’re right, hooked is what I’m looking for (first one’s always free…) and I’m glad you’re enjoying it. In my own copy, I have notations where I want to improve things, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re some of same things you’ve noticed. There’s a point at which I just need to put the draft out there, and not spend endless time finessing it. At least, if you’re doing it the way I’m doing it. Overall I’m pretty pleased (if I may take a moment to bask in my own reflection) at how this is turning out for a first draft of a first novel.
@Ward – you don’t need to be a politician to make excuses and lie. There are many talented amateurs out there.
Oh you should be pleased, mate, it’s working very well indeed, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.
It certainly doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. 🙂