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January 6, 2013
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A small update.
This is a sample of "Anno Peractio: Age of Conclusion" showcasing my current writing style and new theme. Feedback -and, if possible, critique- is much appreciated.

EDIT - 18 Jan: Added a few parts from the most recent update with a few slight refinements.

rant: getting the formatting right on dA is a massive pain. this place really needs some proper editing tools.
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:icondusky-inc:
Dusky-Inc Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Student General Artist
Hello =mus0u!

On behalf of #InspireTheUninspired, I would like to congratulate you on being featured within our group. Please take a look when you have time and support your fellow artists :aww:

Keep writing and inspiring!

:iconinspiretheuninspired:
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013   Writer
As requested, here's some critique. :-) I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time, so I've really just skimmed this, but I hope these points will be helpful regardless.

Biggest thing first, I feel like you often go for flowery description over clear narration, which is never a good idea. People need to know what's going on first, and enjoy the prose second. I agree with *RoyalBlackheart on pretty much every point, but especially that it's confusing. That's not entirely down to the writing style, though. "Gestalt system" and "crux" are thrown in with virtually no clue as to what these things are, and while I understand that you've got to introduce these things at some point, the reader just won't be able to make sense of them at this stage. They'll either get the wrong idea and be stuck with it for the next little while, or they'll forget about them and lose interest.

Similarly, a character mentions "Her Highness" but, as far as I can tell, you haven't introduced a queen or princess, so I've got no idea who these people are talking about. This problem is present on a smaller scale, too. The Marduk Armour, for example, splatters dragon bits everywhere, but until this point I had no idea it was holding a dragon. There's nothing wrong with jumping right into the action with your opening chapter, but it's still got to be an opening chapter. This reads like I just opened a book to a random page.

...which sort of brings me to the next point. You've got a prologue and a chapter one, and chapter one happens seven hours before the prologue. I'll be honest, I've never been a fan of prologues--they tend to be entirely forgettable, adding very little to the story as a whole, while delaying the start of the main narrative--but this one has serious problems. Beyond providing an action-packed beginning to the novel (which, to be honest, feels like a bit of a cheat given what chapter one is like), I can't work out why it's there. Could we not have heard about these events in chronological order? Throwing this much information at the reader right off the bat and then revealing that it hasn't happened yet seems almost cruel.

Being brutally honest, I think you need an entirely different opening. Both the prologue and the first chapter are borderline incomprehensible, and the only way I can see of fixing this is to start at an earlier point in the story where you have more time to explain what some of these terms mean, and how the world behaves. If it weren't for that "seven hours earlier" gimmick, I'd suggest turning the prologue (or a clearer, more detailed version of it) into chapter one, but I expect that's not an option.

I get the impression that you've put a lot of thought into this world and these characters over quite a long time. That's good, but unfortunately it also looks as though you may have lost that critical distance from them: you can't expect the reader to share your enthusiasm for and knowledge of this setting on page one. By all means start with some action, but don't expect them to be an artificial heat death systems expert. :p I'm not even sure that bit is scientifically plausible, so even a physicist probably wouldn't get much out of it. Nothing wrong with that but, again, don't expect people to know how your fictional world works in chapter one.

That said, the writing isn't awful. I have the feeling that, with the right opening and enough editing, this could be something really great. And the formatting is not the worst I've seen. There are a couple of blank lines around that flashback, which look like a mistake. If it's to deliberately set it apart from the rest of the text, I'd recommend using something stronger (like a section break) but to be honest I'm not keen on the flashback anyway. It's a really lazy way of including character history. This opening doesn't endear me to Sarah in general, actually. It definitely sets off Mary Sue warning bells, but more because of how she's described than who she is.

Actually, that might work as a guide for description in general. When dealing with dragons or mechanical armour, you can probably describe quite a few important details when they first turn up: the reader needs to know. When describing people, just drop a couple of hints here and there. We've seen human beings before. We know they tend to have hair. Don't talk about it unless it's actually doing something.

You did ask for serious critique, but nevertheless I hope this isn't too harsh. ^^; I like the scale this seems to work on: it definitely looks like you've got a big story in mind.
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:iconmus0u:
mus0u Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)

You can't imagine how much I needed an eye-opener like this. Too long have I been blinded by the praises of people who, I think, were too kind to say the truth.. or didn't know any better. I wasn't expecting to pull a Tolkien, but I knew something wasn't right when all I could hear is applause, all the while feeling very unsatisfied with my writings. I had to find out.

You're quite right with prologue. Everyone I asked to give their honest opinion had a problem with it crossing the line between intrigue and confusion. I wanted to focus the reader's attention upon Marduk without going into much detail before the story proper, but I suppose that could be done in other ways.

I liked the point about not leaving the reader hanging on the terminology. I could go and explain a few things early on. I just need to develop some balance between that and actual narration.

I see the characters may need some work. I am glad you read Sarah the way you did though.
(and I did point out who the princess is right after the line you mentioned. Also, the issue with Marduk "holding" the Dragon when the scene was actually describing what Altair saw and heard before Marduk killed it... Was the wording for those instances vague?)

And... forgive the formatting; editing in dA is terrible. RoyalBlackHeart pointed me toward sta.sh. I might give it a shot with my future scribbles.

Again, thank you for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it :)
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013   Writer
Happy to help! :D

With the Princess, is this the line you're thinking of? Slowly but firmly, the Marduk Armor approached the princess. If so, it comes far too late (eight paragraphs later is not "right after"), and doesn't provide the necessary information in the first place: there's very little to suggest that Malak is the Princess. The issue could be almost entirely avoided by swapping "Her Highness" for "Princess Malak:" don't hide basic information from the reader.

I actually thought the formatting was alright: the blank lines around the flashback were really the only exception. :-)
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:iconanimemusicreader:
animemusicreader Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Good story! Very well-written. :D
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:iconmus0u:
mus0u Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)
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:iconbelrhaza4017:
BelRhaza4017 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:faint: such backdrop, such carnage from only one being and his machine, truly epic! very well written, strong details and poignant interactions between characters and plots; props!
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:iconmus0u:
mus0u Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And yet I somehow feel I didn't go deep enough. Glad you enjoyed it though :)
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:iconbelrhaza4017:
BelRhaza4017 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure
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