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12/7/2015 c5 1Ubeka
Heya! Came here right from the Roadhouse. :)
First off, I must say, you have a great style of writing. It’s pleasant to read, well-detailed where it needs to be and a lovely rhythm altogether.
As for storytelling, I like your method very much as you slowly draw us in. Only thing that may be lacking a little is some more detail on what kinda time we’re talking about. You mention things like muskets and the title Chancellor makes it all sound rather early-modern age, but the talks of kingdoms, the Watchers, the Ancient Ones ect. alludes to a more classical, medieval-inspired setting. Of course, you can just mix the two, though maybe make the surroundings (i. e. the architecture and so on) reflect a little more on it as well so the reader isn’t pulled back and forth between these two extremes.
The characters seem pretty well-designed so far. It’s a little too early to judge but I think you’re gonna handle them pretty well. Only thing you might want to revise is the Chancellor’s speech at the Drafting. Though he seems to not bother with any resistance, you mention that his regime relies heavily on brainwashing. Thus, shouldn’t he make this giant war he is leading against everyone else sound a little more grandiose and passionate?
Other than that, solid storytelling and writing so far, I’m definitely subscribed and wonder what’ll happen next!
11/24/2015 c2 19Ckh
Again, from the Roadhouse!

The writing here has a tinge of fantasy sprinkled onto it, with lore being mentioned whenever an opportunity is due. The dialogue also complements the style of writing, which makes a better reading through of the story.

There isn't much to nitpick on in this chapter, given that its just part of the introduction and all. The only thing I would say its that the concept feels done before, only that a slight twist is added to it.

Nevertheless, I can see the potential in the work and I hope to see more twists added in to the concept!

-Ckh
11/21/2015 c5 4Sidekicks-anonymous
The plot thickens! Is it an actual escape, or a staged show of aid to get Tori's hopes up before crushing them? Guess we'll have to see.
11/17/2015 c1 19Ckh
Heyo, from the Roadhouse here.
There is not much I can say here, given the quality of writing and all but nevertheless I shall attempt.

I like how you introduce the world building in this chapters. Lots of tibits bout the lore here and there, making the story quite Fantasy-ish, only fitting for the genre.

The characters themselves seem to have a solid base to start on, with enough room to elaborate and expand upon. Even though we as the readers "feel" the characters, I feel that you as the writer are not showing much of them yet and that you are keeping them for future chapters to come. Interested to see how this goes.

Overall, I feel that this can a good Fantasy story given good use of cliches out there (but not much though) and I can definitely see the potential.

Thanks for the read!
-Ckh
11/17/2015 c4 5Time And Space In The Balance
Roadhouse reviewwwwwwwwww :P

I'm still really liking this. I was wondering for a moment if it was going to go down the Hunger Games route of 'I volunteer as tribute!', but apparently not - it has a nice original feel to it. I'm getting vibes of The Wheel Of Time with the magic-y stuff, which is cool. I'd like to see some real progression with this story, to see what at first appears to be almost indestructible and terrifying slowly become almost insignificant, and to have stronger and more threatening enemies appear in turn.

Of course, I assume you've planned most of this out already, so something that doesn't directly affect the plot: I really do like the Metamorphi. They're everything a good monster should be; with a unique power and a terrifying sense of real threat. Nice work there!

Perhaps the only thing I'd comment on in terms of improvements to be made was a slight over-reliance on commas. It's a tiny pedantic point, so don't set too much stock by it, but sentences like 'Then, her mind retreated, away from the square and the crowd.' seem a little off. I think it's just that grammatically it should be 'Then her mind retreated, away from the square and the crowd.' A little point, but it does crop up a few times.

Overall, still excellent! Great job - and keep at it! ~."

-TSB
11/14/2015 c2 2Murphy Chapelwood
I like Ol' Merri, she has a strong voice, completely different from Tori and Darien. I was a little skeptical of how similar their dialogue patterns were in the previous chapter, but they do appear to be diverging in this one, as I assume you're becoming more comfortable with them.

"Ol' Merri poured some in a bowl..."

This is pretty neurotic, but this just kept itching at the back of my mind. I'm assuming the porridge is made for a lot of people, and that its made in a great big stock pot. Something that would be difficult to pour from. Wouldn't "ladled" be better. I mean, how often do you get the chance to use ladle as a verb?

I'm hesitant to take on technical matters, but one old writing rule keeps jumping out at me, and that is to separate action from dialogue. An example right at the end of this chapter:

""Fair enough," said Darien, taking up his own bowl."

I was taught it was better to write something like this as:

"Fair enough." Darien took up his own bowl.

That's a direct translation, and I would fiddle with the verb if I were to actually rewrite it, but you get the gist. You can conduct the same meaning and dump the dialogue tag. I know not everyone agrees with me on this.
11/14/2015 c1 Murphy Chapelwood
From the Roadhouse. This is really well-written, and as such disarms me of most of my reviewing arsenal. So, I'm going to get real nit-picky.

I like that they're building gallows for the draft, and not a platform or scaffolding. I kept remembering it as the draft was being discussed, and the heavy implication that what they were building was not for the willing, but for those who refused to cooperate. I don't really think you need to explain this in narration as the implication is strong enough through Tori and Darien's conversation.

You can mention Tori is orphaned at twelve, maybe even make allusions to the Metamorphi, but I'd save the revelation of her murdered mother and sister until after the dream sequence at the beginning of the next chapter.

"...a walk into the mountains of Crooked Teeth..."

It would seem like you don't need "mountains of" here. This is super subjective, but I think most readers will think of Crooked Teeth as mountains or at least harsh, rocky crags. It feel strong enough to stand on its own. Also, I can't read Loraks without thinking of Seuss' Lorax.

The italicized internal monologue feels out of place. You could convey the first use entirely by swapping "The guard stood beside a simmering fire..." into "The guard lounged beside..." And I don't think the second is necessary at all, the foreboding is all too real already.

"This had only brought them closer. It was as though they were meant to remain together, to keep one another strong."

The final sentence of the paragraph really conveys all of this by itself, and that makes both these sentences unnecessary. I understand trying to reach a crescendo throughout a paragraph, but it feels that these two venture into Telling. I think the dialogue between Tori and Darien at the end, his firm declaration, is enough to finish the chapter.
11/12/2015 c4 4Sidekicks-anonymous
Hmm-I wonder if the Chancellor chose Darien on purpose to provoke Tori into showing her magic? Guess we'll find out.
The chapter was good. In the paragraph where Tori first feels the force of the magic, some of the sentences are a bit long and convoluted-hard to follow. Maybe look at them again. Besides that, it was great.
11/4/2015 c3 Sidekicks-anonymous
The world-building continues to be excellent; the juxtaposition of Tori's description of other kingdom's versus the Chancelor's was a particularly good artistic choice. The flashback contributed to the story well, although perhaps you could have made it more obvious that it was a flashback. The ending, of course, is properly dramatic.
10/31/2015 c2 Sidekicks-anonymous
Just as good as the first chapter. Slow build-up, more background on Tori, more world-building and foreshadowing-all in all a good second chapter, if a little short.

I do have one suggestion: In that last paragraph, the sentence about "the weight of the day stifling any conversation"-I feel like "stifled" is the more appropriate tense in that context.
10/31/2015 c2 5Time And Space In The Balance
Every positive comment I mentioned before still applies. The dialogue is excellent, may I just say, and this chapter flowed like a dream.

My favourite thing, however, was the Metamorpi. They're a great monster. Pretty damn scary. But, to keep it that way, may I suggest making their descriptions more vague? Perhaps something like 'a sick, twisted form that moved in a horrifically unnatural way, blades and knife-like claws protruding through wet, rubbery sores in the skin - but the worst thing was the face. That leering, melted-waxwork face with black eyes and a far-too wide smile. Tori only caught a glimpse before they descended in a howling and gleeful shrieking, a flailing whirl of blades and teeth threshing her mother and sister like a combine harvester.'

I may have gone a little overboard there, sorry! But the point still stands - their actual shape is left more to the reader, allowing them to fill in the blanks.

That's about it! And just so you know, I'm not doing this review from the Roadhouse - just because I want to.

Thanks! ~ "

-TSB
10/29/2015 c1 13alltheeagles
RG EF review

I like the amount of information you give out. I think it's just right, enough that we know the background for the draft and a little about the protagonists, but not so much that you give everything away. The same goes for the bits of info on the war and the Metamorphi - mentioning them attracts curiosity to go on reading. I also like how you portray the relationship between the two protagonists. It isn't a fullblown love story but it's obvious they are close. I like the former because I think too much romance too early on would distract from the main focus of this tale.
10/29/2015 c1 5Time And Space In The Balance
This is really, really good. It's kinda similar to my own writing style, but obviously here you've got a huge amount of ambition and scope to work with. I'd really like to see more of this, because it's a fantastic hook at the beginning of a story. This could easily be the opening of a bestseller I'd just picked up from a bookshop.

However, I realise that you're going to want some constructive criticism. All I can say is this, because there's not much wrong with it at all: space it out a bit, perhaps. While I am intrigued by the Metamorphi and the deaths of Tori's parents, there's a lot of info crammed in here. If you want to go for a longer story, which I suspect you will with an intro like this, I'd recommend leaking crucial details a little slower, be it something so small as a name or something as big as a plot device. In that way the story keeps the reader asking questions whilst providing answers to their previous ones steadily, like a trail of breadcrumbs leading them deeper into the book.

The only other thing I noticed was that the flow broke suddenly at 'He'd hardly touched his food. The General was surprisingly young for his rank. Tori did not think his older than thirty. His face was pale and glass smooth.' I feel like the numerous short sentences broke it up a bit, being usually the style you'd use for an action scene or a tense one. Minor quibble though this may be, I really can't think of anything else other than a few spelling errors.

Overall, fantastic piece! One of the best and most promising I've seen on FictionPress.
Keep writing! "u"

-TSB (From the Roadhouse)
10/29/2015 c1 4Sidekicks-anonymous
This is excellent. You do a good amount of world-building in a short amount of time and everything is clear and easy to understand. You've introduced the characters well and made a good show of foreboding at the end. If this was a book in the library, I'd want to check it out.

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