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Official Novel Release Thread

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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby cren3856 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:35 am

I'll have to re-read the previous chapters before getting to it. Already started on them.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby cren3856 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:59 am

Finished everything, then took about a week for chapter 9 to sit before reading it a second time.

General impressions:
Spoiler: show
At first, I thought the new novel seemed unfocused, even accounting for the release schedule. Simply too many plot lines going on at once, particularly the Calie stuff. It was only after reading it all again that I realized that her chapters are the best way to organically inform the reader about the world. Overall I like it a bit more now and am still excited for what's to come.


Chapter 9:
Spoiler: show
Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot to say as I suspect the majority of my questions/suspicions will be answered properly in a later chapter, and as much as I enjoy direct spoilers I'd rather discover a few things naturally.
"Show me the light, or I shall forsake the dark" is a really cool line. Glad to know the Phare clan were always fans of theatrics.

Is "Not all of us are become demons." just a weird speech pattern or an error?
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:08 pm

Glad to hear your impressions.

It's possible that you're right on both counts. The new novel may be a bit more scattershot in its approach, *and* still the best way to grow the world organically... both things can be true. Unfortunately as a writer I am responsible for the reader's *first* impression, as well as subsequent ones.

That said... I have to admit, my goal with this novel isnt to live up to the old ones. It cant be. Ive had a hard time not always trying to one-up myself and be the "best version" of a writer that I've ever been... but I just don't think there's any way I can make this book reach the heights of the Vaelius novel. So instead Ive decided to let this book be what it is, unto itself. Will it wind up being my weakest novel? Possibly. But... I think that's okay, and I think I'm finally starting to be okay *with* it. This book just might have to be one of those books that's for "People who are already fans of the universe". Even the Silmarillion has people who appreciate it now, for what it is.

As to your last question, yes, I was going for a linquistic flourish there. Like you said, trying to make him a bit theatrical.

Glad you liked the light/dark line... i was a big fan of it myself, but I couldn't tell how much I was being melodramatic. But... with the Cainites, sometimes melodrama is what works. While it's not *my* personal style, it is *theirs*. Onion Knight and I actually discussed this a bit at length, and I finally decided to just embrace their gothy, dramatic nature.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:58 am

Reread the first novel up to chapter 20 last night. I have to say, I'm *really* satisfied with the overall flow at this point. At least up to Chapter 20. I did more rewriting than I realized (or remembered, at least), and there's no big obvious speedbump when the novel goes from the "new" rewritten material back into "old" classic material. A lot of these scenes I don't fully recognize anymore, but it feels like they really match the tone of the rewritten stuff.

If I were to put my critic's hat on and try to look for something wrong... it would probably be that this novel *starts* somewhat abruptly. Like, there's no "slow burn" period where you're just getting to know characters and surroundings, it really is off to the races from the very first page, and maintains a pretty breakneck pace from that point on. I'm not sure that's actually a problem, though, (and depending on your personal preferences, it could be considered a pro), but... it's probably not the way I would've written the novel today, if I was starting over. But... nothing's perfect. That breakneck pace is in part due to the latter-days rewrite, where we were trying to cram a *lot* of new material in without adding substantially to the page count. so it feels like there's not a lot of breathing room because, well.... there factually wasnt.

The biggest problem with this material, all of it, is probably that there's no narrative... purpose, I guess. To some degree, it just sort of feels like random things are happening for a long time, and there's no "reason" for it. But I must have recognized that on a previous read. Because now there are a bunch of little lines in there foreshadowing Atheme's concerns and growing fears about Abaddon. I remember making that change, and I remember being iffy when I made it... but reading through this time, I have to say it was *super* effective. There were a few parts of reading this time where I started to go, "It feels like the novel isn't going anywhere right now...", and then each time I got to that point, one of those scenes happened where Atheme thought about how dangerous Abaddon was, and as a reader it feels like, "Okay, that's what's going on here. The writer is trying to establish how powerful Abaddon is because something bad is coming". Which ultimately *is* what happens.

Of course, it could also be that I'm just really consistent in my complaints, which is why those scenes kept happening exactly where my concerns were growing the loudest...

Still, this novel *is* ultimately about the collision of Atheme and Abaddon, so... I think those foreshadowing moments add a lot to wrap up the first parts of the novel in a nice cohesive basket.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:04 pm

I spoke just *ever* so slightly too soon on this... Chapter 20 *is*, in fact, the chapter where you finally hit this speedbump. I'm smoothing it over now... no telling how long this will go this round. =/
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby cren3856 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:16 pm

I don't know, chapter 14 is still a little too jarring for me. Atheme's opening speech at the council is really weird considering they've been at war with Revian for years and were getting desperate.

As far as a lack of narrative purpose goes, wasn't the rewrite started to address that specifically? That's what I got from this post. The only thing that I think is really directionless and could be pruned without much loss is the first tournament. Everything else in that chapter is fine, but the tournament itself doesn't serve any purpose, and there's another one just three weeks later.

Is the Revian magic crystal loose end going to be wrapped up?
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:52 pm

I may not have clarified my thoughts sufficiently there. My comment about the lack of narrative purpose was mainly directed towards the material that begins *after* the rewrite. The transition from Abaddon's renewed assault on Revian (not the Gorge, but the stuff before that, that establishes him as The Destroyer) to Kargaroth all sort of feels to me like it's still floating loose. As I said, though, I think there's enough foreshadowing in there to make it work alright. It's not something I'm going to attempt to address. Just sort of a nitpick.

As for the first tournament not serving much point... you're probably right. But it's a useful moment to bring Cildar back into the fore, and that makes it valuable enough for me. With the rewrite Cildar has a bigger role in the early stages, then he sort of fades out. So even though that first Tournament probably isn't doing *enough* for Cildar, it's still from his POV. I think that justifies its existence well enough. It's also short, and now it transitions into the Council showdown between Atheme and Kinguin, which I actually think is a much more compelling "battle", so to speak.

The Revian magic crystal "loose end" isn't a loose end. It's pretty firmly taken care of when Abaddon genocides the entire race and razes the country to the ground.

EDIT:

Okay I don't see anything wrong with Chapter 14... but based on your "Atheme's opening speech" statement... do you mean Chapter *15*?

Because if so.... then... I might not actually disagree with you.

Atheme's speech *did* also strike me as slightly offputting during my read. Not significantly... and I think the rest of the scene rebounds well enough... but you're right. His sudden declaration of "we're at war" is a little...

I don't even know if it's bad, as much as it is that it conflicts with his previous stance of "being sick of the government over-reacting to Revian".

The problem is... I don't know if I can fix that. This actually *is* a jagged edge where the old material dovetails into the new material, and the new material wasn't written to be at *this* place...

I'm going to tag Onion Knight into this conversation, because he's recently read this material as well. Maybe he has some notions. At any rate... fair criticism, Cren, and I'll see what I can do. But... it might just have to be a flaw in the first novel forever. =/

EDIT EDIT:

I've had some time to think it over harder... and the issue with this scene might be the fact that I'm attempting to edit/salvage it. The right and required approach here might be to throw the whole thing away and write something new from scratch...

I'm not particularly feeling up to that tonight (been having some dental work done), but... maybe this weekend sometime I'll take a swing at it.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:00 pm

Onionknight and I had a discussion about this. We decided that we like Atheme's reactions here, and we discussed several reasons *why* we like Atheme's reaction. Most of it boils down to, "Yes Atheme's being irrational, but he has every right to be considering what all he's been through".

That said, as we were discussing it Onionknight made a few points that I agreed with, but... felt could be better represented in the prose. So I've tweaked this section of Chapter 15 and expanded Atheme's speech out a bit. Take a look and see if you're any happier with it as it is now, Cren. This is, at least for the time being, probably the state I'm going to leave it in regardless, as I move back to my previous read.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby cren3856 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:14 pm

I realize that Revian's magic crystal effectively doesn't matter in terms of where the story is going, but it always struck me as odd that something so specific was introduced and never brought up again. Maybe it's just because it never existed until the rewrite.

Oh yeah, I got that Atheme was a little unstable about what happened. Personally I would have been happy if he hadn't said "we're officially at war" but the addition makes the personal angle much clearly. Also got a kick out of the "usual cries of fascism" line. Makes me wonder about the average civilian life in Felthespar.
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Re: Official Novel Release Thread

Postby Abaddon Daemon » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:16 am

If you want a serious answer on the Revian crystal front... it's that it's not mentioned again because we're deliberately noncommittal on the subject. We're leaving it open as a potential avenue of something to play with for future Adonis, as having access to those crystals and maybe figuring out a use for them.

That's not to say they definitely still exist. Because if we *don't* ever come up with a use for them for Adonis, then the Hell Knight definitely destroyed them, out of spite. It's just one of those open-ended things we've left hanging "just in case" it ever proves to be useful.
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