Journey Of The Toa: Review Topic
Posted Mar 30 2012 - 04:44 AM
The third thing I have to say is that it's a rather original concept, revamping the canon story. Unless it's in the comedy forums, because revamps are common in the comedy forums.
Posted Mar 30 2012 - 05:35 AM
Posted Mar 30 2012 - 05:48 AM
Posted Mar 30 2012 - 06:26 AM
Posted Apr 02 2012 - 10:14 PM
Gathered friends, listen again to our legend of the BIONICLE. Sorry, that line never gets old. And neither does the classic story. I'm glad to see that you love the Old School years as much as I do, Tahu Nuva Golden. This tale can never be told too many times.
First off, allow me to say how impressed I am with your spelling and vocabulary. I couldn't find one single misspelled word, and I read both chapters twice! I have to say it again: I am seriously impressed. Taking the time to spell correctly helps the reader immensely. Well done!
I do, however, have a few notes for you with regards to grammar and story development. Since the readers here on BZP are all familiar with the story of the Toa Mata/Nuva, I know that they'll be able to fill in the gaps, but to someone who's never heard of BIONICLE, this story could be quite confusing. Vakama's long talk with Tahu is a good example of this. In trying to explain the masks, elements, villages and inhabitants, the Turaga of Fire ends up making a sort of list that isn't easy to follow. Other ways to achieve the same goal would be to have Vakama tell the story of Mata-Nui, or break up Vakama's long speeches with questions from Tahu. Remember that you're telling a story, and a story needs flow and rhythm.
-from chapter 2
Kapura pulled the lever, then checked the clock. “It's time for my practicing, at the art of moving very quickly by walking slowly!”
Vakama knew what Kapura meant. No one but them knew, though. “Go! Keahi, man the lever!”
If you want to follow canon closely, the astrologer made it pretty clear that the matoran of Mata-Nui had sundials, not clocks. And the narration just before Vakama's line is unnecessarily broken into two sentences. Another way to put it is: "Vakama knew what Kapura meant, though no one else did." Again, little things can make or break the flow of a tale.
- from chapter 2
... [Tahu] burned the earth and rocks in his path. He thought he saw a red glint, but it was blood.
“What did this?”
He rubbed his finger against it and smelled it.
“This isn't a mask, it's blood! But how?”
It's really not needed for both Tahu and the narration to say that the substance is blood, and it will probably have a better effect if just Tahu says it. Also, there's no need to break up Tahu's actions and immediate words into different paragraphs. In modern English, a paragraph is generally five or six sentences. Try to determine where a complete thought begins and ends, then cut your paragraphs accordingly.
- from chapter 2
He opened a tunnel and Tahu followed. He turned back to melt the armor of several Nui-Rama partway and push them together. He slashed down one down and it fell into the tunnel.
“Onua, special delivery!” Onua clawed into it's deep muscle and tossed it up.
“The delivery is for you, Tahu!”
It took me a minute to figure out what happened here. Tahu's line ("Onua, special delivery!") is placed in the same paragraph as Onua's action, which makes it seem like Onua is the one saying it. Little typo; I might add, one of the very few I could find.
Overall, you have excellent form, but the soul of the story is still a little stiff. Keep working on finding the rhythm and flow of the Toa's tale, and you'll have a winner.
Edited by Hahli Historian, Apr 02 2012 - 10:18 PM.
My Library: The Esoteric Athenaeum
Leader of the Epic Critics' Club
Posted Apr 02 2012 - 10:25 PM
Thanks for the well-written and in-depth review! I'll upload Chapter 3 right now.
Posted Apr 03 2012 - 01:56 PM
The story keeps a nice progression though this latest chapter; we see a good deal of character development in Kopaka and Tahu, especially. However, the same difficulty arises with paragraphs being cut too short, and not enough description or narration. Though well-spelled and using a good array of words, this style works much better as a script than a narrative.
One more thing; just as a personal aside, the Toa seem to be a little more violent and deadly than I'm used to picturing them. I think you may be overdoing the fighting aspect just a little bit. After all, one of the main differences between the Toa and Makuta is the Toa's respect for and protection of life. Just something to think about. Ultimately, if you want to portray a darker side of our heroes, then stick with your vision.
My Library: The Esoteric Athenaeum
Leader of the Epic Critics' Club
Posted Apr 03 2012 - 06:10 PM
Scripts, in my opinion, don't flow as well, and are best for comedies.
Still, thanks for the review, and I'll keep trying to get better!
Posted Apr 04 2012 - 07:13 AM
But that's basically the entire Toa Code! Removing it basically makes the Toa ... well, less noble heroes and more anti-heroic beings who will try and kill all their enemies. You can make them darker without removing the Code.
Vakama is a perfect example of that.
Posted Apr 04 2012 - 07:31 AM
In retrospect, some fans might consider that a travesty...but, too late. I pre-made 2001-2003 already.
Still, what do you think of chapters 3 and 4?
Posted Apr 08 2012 - 09:21 PM
Let me begin by saying how much I love a good reimagining. Even some of the latest movies are no more than fanfiction that was allowed to reach the masses. And some are real winners…while others could use some work. Your story, unfortunately, falls into the second category. As a skewed look at 2001, I was genuinely intrigued to read your Journey of the Toa. I read through the comments in your review topic (including Hahli Historian's review) and I never really took a preference on whether Toa killed or not, considering this isn't canon to begin with.
Instead of the interpersonal, demanding adventure I expected however, you wound up feeding me a shorthand of 2001 with a few modifications. I can appreciate how this started as a school project and secondly as an effort to educate classmate readers on the Bionicle world, so I made an attempt to approach this story as if I had no Bionicle knowledge. I didn't get very far with that, mostly because it's difficult to separate myself from what I already know and I found myself overly critical of what you left out or downplayed. It would have been unfair of me to continue that way, so I stopped and started over later in the day. The journey of the hero is a wonderful, tried and true, archetype that has been used and reused for ages. In this case, there were so many opportunities at character and story development that you ran through at Kakama speed, it almost felt like reading a detailed movie script. It lacked the emotion, the power of what the Toa had to face in order to receive their rewards and conquer their ultimate enemy. You talked about trying to develop a darker tone, but the tone is anxious instead. It's not that I feel your characters are anxious (they hardly seem to feel anything at all), but rather anxiety seems to embody the rushed pace at which you're trying to run through 2001.
I'm not one to critique without suggestions for improvement though. I've seen your situation more than once: you're doing more telling than showing. You can tell me what Tahu was thinking, or how Lewa crossed the desert in Po-Wahi, or you can show me those things. By this I mean, "Tahu stood in contemplation, thinking how to best handle the situation at hand. Standing around wasn't his typical style, but he knew the value of looking inward to solve a problem." And you could also try, "Without a mask of speed, Lewa and Gali continued on their journey across the barren sands of Po-Wahi, trying in vain to shield their eyes from the rouge blasts of dust that would whip up here and there. The sun blazed hot over their forms, but they had to continue on." This gives a better sense of the circumstances and allows the reader to get inside the Toa's heads a bit more. It's the balance of giving your reader plenty of dessert (details) and just enough broccoli (explanation).
I want to emphasize how much I wanted to like this story. The earliest days of Bionicle are fond memories, and your presentation didn't deviate in a way that disappointed. I can't say the same for so many horror film remakes out there. And the fact I found no grammar or spelling issues only further highlights how much untapped potential you have as a writer. The major thing holding you back right now is the way you condense your plotline. I feel a little guilty saying all this, knowing full well that you already have a sequel in the works. Despite that, I encourage you to continue writing and don't be afraid to expand upon the world you're building.
Look at some of your favorite books and ask yourself what they're doing and why you like those stories. How do they describe and bring their work to life in your mind? If you can adapt that skill to your own writing, you'll be on your way to improving. It's about immersion, because reading is ultimately a form of escapism. So let your readers escape, draw them in, through sensory details for example (the reeking breath of a Kuma-Nui, the sweltering heat of the Mangai Volcano, the menacing roar of a Muaka, etc.) and let them submerge their mind into your story. This is not a craft learned overnight, it takes practice, like anything worth mastering. But you have a hold on the basics - now you just need to apply it to the finer aspects. Best of luck, Tahu Nuva Golden.
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