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Looking for critiques on my Novel

So i have started writing a Novel titled "The Last of the Umbra'Kahn." It is a fantasy novel with furry characters, but i intend for it to stay PG-13. (Maybe R depending on the amount of violence, but it will not contain any yiffing). Anywho, i have completed the first 5 chapters and posted them here on FA and also on Yiffstar. Im looking for any comments or critiques on the work so far. Please speak your mind, even if it might sound a bit harsh. (Just please keep it constructive) I enjoy getting feedback and use it to improve my writing.

Heres a link to my Yiffstar Userpage and my FA userpage:

Yiffstar Userpage

Furaffinity Userpage
 

TheGru

Member
I'l look it over tomorrow afternoon, right now it's almost 10, I'll want to sleep soon.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
Allo. I read chapter one, just to get an idea of how you write. I'll make some general comments on that that hopefully you can apply to your writing as a whole.
Make sure you're not using too many adjectives. If you get too heavy on the description, people start to pay attention more to your writing and less to what's going on.
Along that same line, some of the description feels pretty out of place. For example, before you start the battle between the king and that fox; why is the m.c. thinking about how the bad guy looks like a runner? He should be worried sick about his king. And also, I want to know what happens next; the two paragraphs of description is delaying that.
Last thing is dialogue.... Well, I hope this doesn't sound too insulting, but it's pretty awful: contrived-sounding and corny. I think you need to stop trying to write dialogue like a fantasy author, if you know what I mean. A lot of what you write for dialogue sounds like the person is giving a well-rehearsed speech; not exactly realistic. Don't draw it out too much, and don't try to use it to give background details on the story (IE, at the end, when Sar'Kal says "I'm glad I ended up here with you even if I don’t remember how it happened." It sounds like he's saying that for the audience's sake; she knows he doesn't remember; he doesn't need to remind her. He shouldn't even be aware that there is an audience.). You must forget that this is fiction you're writing and try to think that these characters are real people. Listen to your own conversations and compare it to how you write; you will notice a huge difference, and that's not a good thing.

So basically, incorporate your description into the story better, cut down on adjectives, and really work on your dialogue skills.
Hope that helps a little.
 
M. Le Renard said:
Allo. I read chapter one, just to get an idea of how you write. I'll make some general comments on that that hopefully you can apply to your writing as a whole.
Make sure you're not using too many adjectives. If you get too heavy on the description, people start to pay attention more to your writing and less to what's going on.
Along that same line, some of the description feels pretty out of place. For example, before you start the battle between the king and that fox; why is the m.c. thinking about how the bad guy looks like a runner? He should be worried sick about his king. And also, I want to know what happens next; the two paragraphs of description is delaying that.
Last thing is dialogue.... Well, I hope this doesn't sound too insulting, but it's pretty awful: contrived-sounding and corny. I think you need to stop trying to write dialogue like a fantasy author, if you know what I mean. A lot of what you write for dialogue sounds like the person is giving a well-rehearsed speech; not exactly realistic. Don't draw it out too much, and don't try to use it to give background details on the story (IE, at the end, when Sar'Kal says "I'm glad I ended up here with you even if I don’t remember how it happened." It sounds like he's saying that for the audience's sake; she knows he doesn't remember; he doesn't need to remind her. He shouldn't even be aware that there is an audience.). You must forget that this is fiction you're writing and try to think that these characters are real people. Listen to your own conversations and compare it to how you write; you will notice a huge difference, and that's not a good thing.

So basically, incorporate your description into the story better, cut down on adjectives, and really work on your dialogue skills.
Hope that helps a little.

Finally! Some real feedback on the actual writing! Dont worry about sounding harsh, if the information is helpful and poignant then it doesnt matter to me. :D I have reread all of these chapters several times and every time i get more of a feeling of what you're talking about. I have seriously considered going back and rewriting a lot of the dialogue already, but i wanted to get some feedback first. This is my first attempt at writing something as serious as this so i greatly appreaciate any feedback i recieve. I have written only one other short yiffy series which i posted on YS and which i will post here soon.
Anyway thanks again for the critique, i hope you continue to read the other chapters and i hope the odd dialogue doesnt completely ruin it for you. :( Please continue posting anything esle you think needs work, im always looking to improve. :D
I will say one thing though. while I appreciate your bluntness and and the obviously poignant critique, i usually wait to make changes untill i hear similar things from mulitple people. Frankly in my limited experience i have heard of lots of people loving something, while there are those select few that tend to try and find every last possible thing that they personally dont like. This i believe is especially true in Fantasy novels. I am an avid reader of fantasy and Sci-fi so i keep tabs on things like that.
Anywho once again i greatly appreciate your critique, please continue reading and commenting because so far you're the only one :)
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
Spiritmoon said:
I will say one thing though. while I appreciate your bluntness and and the obviously poignant critique, i usually wait to make changes untill i hear similar things from mulitple people. Frankly in my limited experience i have heard of lots of people loving something, while there are those select few that tend to try and find every last possible thing that they personally dont like. This i believe is especially true in Fantasy novels. I am an avid reader of fantasy and Sci-fi so i keep tabs on things like that.

I understand. The advice you choose to accept depends on what kind of audience you want to write for, I guess.
Anyway, despite that... :). I read chapter 2, because I was taking a break from homework. I'm wondering if you play a lot of RPGs, or maybe watch a lot of anime? Many of the elements you use are reminiscent of things like that.
Um... I thought it was a huge improvement on chapter 1. I'm thinking now that you were just trying too hard to make chapter 1 spectacular, and so overdid things a little bit. That's how it feels to me, anyhow. This chapter was a much nicer introduction to the characters, who they are, how they feel about things. Some of it was a little corny, but not in a crappy way. In a charming, make you smile kind of way, I guess.
There were things I wasn't too fond of, though. Again, a lot of your description sounds thrown in there, like you just wanted to get it out of the way. When you're reading through, look for spots where the action seems to just stop; freeze-frames, if you would, where nothing happens and all we get is a paragraph of images of things. You don't want that there; move it, disperse it, incorporate it somehow into the action of the story. You want to make it your goal to keep the reader immersed in the tale from start to finish; don't let anything interrupt that.
And really, that was the only technical issue I noticed. As for non-technical, opinion type things... I really can't stand fantasy where everybody is super-ultra-amazingly-awesome-cool in everything that they do, and I can't help but feel like you're tending toward that kind of fantasy in this work. The perfectly crafted armor and weapons, the inhuman fighting ability, the fact that everyone in the village loves your main characters so much that they would feel inclined to stop whatever important thing they were doing and go watch their fight. And also the ability to somehow forge a material that can't be broken in any way (how is that possible?!). I think maybe you're tending toward the realm of the Mary-Sue. Some people like that... some people don't. Be careful, I guess is what I'm saying. It might not hurt to tone down your m.c.'s a little.
Otherwise, keep going. For a first attempt at serious work, it's really not bad. My first attempt was much, much worse, I'd have to say.
Are you thinking about trying to publish this if you finish it, I wonder?
 
well, that was long soo i guess ill start at your first point.
1. yes i do play a lot of RPG's and indeed that was a major inspiration in my writing. I dont watch anime though.

2. with the whole "freeze frame" thing. while i agree that i may need to shorten the descriptions, i will say that in a lot of my favorite books there is a short (usually a medium sized paragraph) bit of description every time you enter a new setting. be it a house, a forest, or whatever. So these descriptions are not going to completely disappear. its a style of writing that you apparently do not like and thats fine. i will however, attempt to shorten them and incorporate it more because, you're right, there is a fine line between too much and just enough.

3. as to the character's prowess, and how everyone likes them, keep reading. remember they have'nt left the village yet and the village is only about 200 people. Also, this takes place on another world, so amazing fighting is a whole different thing. they appear amazing and unstoppable now only because they have only interacted with each other. theres a whole world of even better, more amazing fighters out there. all the mc's are young and inexperienced compared to others they will meet.

4. Again you mention the shadow steel. again its a different world and there are different substances. also there is a form of magic in this world. I dont describe it as "Magic" in the story, but instead i callit simply "energy" because the concept is that its the excess energy that radiates from the planet and lies within the planet itself. Certain people can feel and manipulate this energy like Sar'Kal. Remember the properties of the metal were mysterious to them too. i will eventually reveal its secret later in the story.

5. Lastly, yes! i do want to get it published when im finished. i would love nothing more than to see it as a finished novel. I have done my best to avoid anything overly cliche'd, but it is incredably hard. there are so many fantasy novels out there and many are similar, because fantasy is just that, fantasy. However, the great thing about fantasy, is that you can do literally anything with it. one of the major things i have tried to avoid is the classic story of:
-a poor simple mc who discoveres some secret, or has something happen where he wants revenge.
-begins with no real fighing ability (commonly a farmer or something) but eventually learns to fight, use magic, etc but is never really amazing at it.
-the cliche'd fights where the mc is evenly matched with his arch rival person but eventually the rival gets the upper hand or visa versa. rarely is there a rivalry/enemy thing where one is utterly superior to the other. fights are usually long and drawn out because either they are evenly matched, the antagonist is toying with the mc, or some other reason.
-despite all odds, the hero comes out victorious, but rarely due to his own skill or prowess, usually due to some amazing weapons, artifacts etc, upon which they invariably rely.

overall my main concern is not letting my story become cliche'd, it would ruin the story and lower the respect people would show it. if i ever get people telling me they find it cliche'd, i will definately rethink it. I do not consider anime into my calculations however because one, i dont enjoy it, and two this is a novel not manga or a cartoon. its a whole different style.

Once again i really do appreciate the fact that you are commenting. :) so far you're one of like only 3 people so please continue. the only thing i would ask is to not judge the story as a whole after only reading like 2 chapters. Anywho if it seems like im angry im really not, im just defending my story lol. (which may be stupid because odds are ill have a lot worse coming at me when i eventually try to get it published) anyway please continue reading and posting, i do appreciate it.

May the Moon watch over you :D
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
i will say that in a lot of my favorite books there is a short (usually a medium sized paragraph) bit of description every time you enter a new setting
Well, look at it again. Make sure that when it's inserted, the flow of the story doesn't stop. For instance, there's a big difference between this:
'John woke up to a setting sun, thoughts of his impending chemistry exam weighing heavily on his mind.
John was a large boy with thick eyebrows and a stomach that was much bigger than it should have been. His hair was blond and scraggly and always smelled like cheap shampoo.'
And, say, this:
'John woke up to a setting sun, thoughts of his impending chemistry exam weighing heavily on his mind. He pushed himself out of bed and went straight to his mirror. His blond hair was looking more scraggly than usual, so he whipped out a comb from the his top drawer and tried to fix it. As he finished, he stood back and looked himself over, patted his large gut. Maybe he ought to try losing more weight, he thought.'

That was just off of the top of my head, but can you see the freeze-frame in the first one? It takes you out of the story temporarily, makes you remember that you're reading something. Whereas in the second example, we still get to see what John looks like, but the story moves along too. Show, don't tell, remember?
This isn't actually my advice; this is something I learned from other authors as I was trying to teach myself how to write. The minute you remember that you're reading something, the magic is ruined. Old-fashioned authors like Dickens and Melville sucked at that; it's why 90% of your English classmates will tell you they thought Moby Dick was a boring book. If you want to publish your work, the last thing you'll want is people thinking it's boring. Try really hard not to fall into that trap. I guess, let other people with an actual background in writing look at it, and if they don't make the same comments I do, ignore me, but do keep in mind for now that I'm not basing this entirely off of my own likes and dislikes in style. It is an opinion that has a lot of backing to it.

As for the rest... I guess I'll keep reading. :) I'd discuss more of my thoughts on the subject of Mary-Sues, but I know those discussions can get extremely complicated. In the end, I guess the only opinion that really matters is your agent's/publisher's.
 
indeed. i will take your comments into my thinking. i can definately tell a deifference between the two forms you displayed. please keep reading and i hope you find it improves, if not ill have to review the chapters again.
 

brake

New Member
Hi! I've started reading it (just started, mind you) so I'll get back on the rest of it when I'm all done and stuff.

First thing that hit me right from the get-go: consonation.


Sar'kal...setting sun shone...stone pillars, smooth stone walls...sound, swords clash, scream...


You use the 's' sound a lot. Is there a reason for that?
 
Not any reason in particular. i never even really noticed it before to tell you the truth. just a coinsidence i guess, most of those words just fit best i thought. Is it a bad thing? does it make it annoying? Harder to read? or are you just pointing something out? If you find it to be a negative aspect please tell me and i'll look it over.
 

brake

New Member
Sorry it takes me so long to reply to your post =/

I don't find it negative except that it takes away from the impact of using it on purpose. Check out this site: http://gutenberg.com/eBooks/Poetry_Collection/toomer01.html and go to the second poem from the top. Toomer uses consonance/alliteration to bring the reader into the "feel" of the moment. You can almost hear the reapers swinging the scythes through the grain, hearing the sound they make. I'm thinking that if you wanted to do something like that at some point in your novel, using this technique here might lessen the effect there.
 
Thats alright about the delay. Im just glad someone is actually commenting :)

Anyway yes i see what you mean and now that i notice it i find it interesting.
I had wanted to create vivid imagery in the first section anyway. I wanted to make it feel real, and like he was in a hurry. Im wondering if what i did helped either of those two points. Do you think it does or do you think i should go through and revise it?
 
I've only read the first chapter so far.
I agree with a lot of the commentary stated, with the flow of the words being interfered with by the description of people or place settings.
The running through the pillers was really well done I thought. The descriptioon of the lighting and all, and it didn't interfer with the fact that the mc was running along TO somewhere.
Some smoothing in the battlescene, although I thought his seemingly random thought of the fox being a runner might point at some romantic involvment later.. I'm hoping not. It's a cliche to have the good guy fall for a bad guy, unless you do something different with it somehow.
I'm not a fan of long drawn out death scenes full of imparted information. Generally someone stabbed in the chest badly enough to die within minutes isn't going to chat at you. But that's sort of realism inserted into a fantasy world, and rarely seems to be the case. The seeming numbness with him seeing the bodies strewn about in the castle, which doesn't seem to bother him lots, that's actually more realistic to me, since he's concentrating on a goal. I liked that.
I didn't want to respond until I had a chance to read more of the chapters, but I'll get to them definitely. I want to be sure too, that you take my comments as my opinion, and an attempt to be constructive, not a criticism overall. Anyone willing to put a story up for public eyeballing is pretty brave to begin with. And you've got nothing to hide with what I've read so far.
 
OK thats it! im so deleting the "runner" observation. had a lot of comments on it and your comment was the clincher... no M/M romance in this story, sorry to disappoint any potential readers out there.

Anywho i may or may not post the revised version on FA but i will make the changes on my own copy.
Thanks for commenting, so far it seems like im getting a lot of comments about the first chapter that have to deal with realism. mostly based around the MC's conversation with his dying father. I have ont thing to say to that...
Its his father... wouldn't you try to talk to your son if you were dying, and attmpt to impart some sort of knowledge that you felt needed to be passed on?
 

brake

New Member
And again, sorry for the delay.

Just finished reading chapter 1. I loved it, loved it, loved it, and I can't wait to read more!

And now, I'm off to class. I'll get to the rest later tonight.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
You still writing? :)
I finally got around to reading the rest of what you've put up on FA. I really think the only reason I'm finding things wrong with it is because it's not my kind of fantasy. So... putting aside opinions, I've got to say you've got something neat going here. Something, at least, that a mainstream publishing company would consider printing. It has all of the elements of a lot of the books Tor puts out, and obviously people enjoy that, or else Tor would go out of business.
So with that in mind, I think the only thing you've got to work on is delivery. Which is something that every writer has to work on, really. But I think if you can get your writing to sound as lyrical as you seem to want it to, you'll be set.
Now, I don't think I can help much with that. For one, I have a really sarcastic personality, and my writing style reflects that. I read that part where Tia showed off her bow and immediately thought, "I would have given her a battleaxe".
But what I will do is recommend reading Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, and (if you haven't already) Tolkien, and thinking about their styles, because it sounds to me like you're trying to match that kind of writing in your work. Maybe take a class on writing poetry, or take a literature class or something, and get the bare bones of that kind of musical style explained to you so you know how to do it yourself. And, of course, practice like hell.
Anyway, I do hope you keep at this thing. I recently finished the rough of my novel, and you won't believe how exciting that is, knowing step one is complete. Next comes editing, a few months from now. I can't wait.

P.S. I do like the fox character (Federic?), in that he's perceived as being evil, but you don't really know. You should definitely shoot for your other main characters being just as colorful as him.
 
Well thank you for that. And yes, i am still writing, but i have been extremely busy with my first quarter of college and have had minimal time for outside writing. I have certainly considered taking courses in one or more of the subjects you mentioned, but i want to finish my crap classes before i start taking a bunch of electives. Im a Biology major so that means a fair amount of math and chemistry. Anyway, i am currently working on chapter 9 and i have outlined up through chapter 21. I am going to start posting chapters several at a time once i get moving again. So anywho, thanks for the advice, i will definately take it into consideration. But again, i dont have much time for outside reading either. *sigh*

so thank you and i hope you keep reading! :)
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
Ah... well, I know how being busy with schoolwork goes. I'm a double major myself (physics and French). I just work on writing whenever I'm not working on something else. Took me 2 1/2 years to write 336 pages, but I got it done. Oh, and I have no social life. :D That helps.
 
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