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Review: Legacy Of Von Ness

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#1 Offline Lord Aspie

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Posted Dec 20 2011 - 07:27 AM

http://www.bzpower.c...?showtopic=2419Above is the link to Legacy of Von Ness, which is already written in full. It will have ten chapters and an epilogue.Below is where people have reviewed the epic. Thank you in advance.
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#2 Offline King Joe

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Posted Jan 12 2012 - 11:32 AM

This is pretty cool. Von Nebula's motives for revenge against the Hero Factory were always kinda sketchy, so it's nice to see a story trying to fill in the blanks. Now, I'm not sure if you're trying to make us feel for your Von Nebula, or if you are trying to show how he justifies his actions, but I'm sure that it will pan out in future chapters. Both concepts are very interesting to me, one let's me see inside his head, the other, shows me a misunderstood villain who, if finally understood, could go back to being a good guy.Fantastic story so far, good work.

Edited by King Joe, Jan 12 2012 - 11:33 AM.

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#3 Offline GSR

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Posted Oct 21 2012 - 10:57 PM

Hey there, LA! I've been asked to review your epic as part of the Epic Critic's Club's charity initiative. If you're not familiar with my reviews - and I don't blame you if you're not, haha - I like to divide things into two parts: the prose itself, and the characters/plot of the work. Presentation and content, if you like. I also tend not to focus on every little spelling or grammar error I might see; I figure it's more useful just to point out any patterns I might see. This is my first Hero Factory fic I've seen, so you'll excuse me if I make any factual errors in this review. With that out of the way, let's dive in.So as I said, I start with prose and formatting. Let's start up at a high level with the formatting; it looks to me that either you weren't familiar with BBCode at the time you wrote this, or you were copying and pasting from a different site you'd posted the story to. When you're posting a story, it's really pretty important to make sure you have it formatted nicely, or it's going to turn off a lot of readers due to looking like you haven't put much effort into it. Here's the codes you'd want to be using to do text formatting:
[b]Bold text goes here[/b][i]Italicized text goes here[/i][u]Underlined text goes here[/u]
Let's take a look at structure now. The biggest problem I see is that you've got a tendency to stick to very short and at times repetitive phrases and paragraphs in your writing; this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can create a very jerky tempo to your writing. In my opinion, a big part of helping your reader to enjoy your story is keeping a good flow going - in other words, make it so that the reader can follow along naturally with what's happening. Let's take a look at this passage:

It was our great mission, which I was proud to be a part of.Until one day, when everything changed.It started simply. I was only a novice hero, training with my good friend, Preston Stormier. Under our team leader, Tobias Thresher, we trained, learning tactics and weaponry. We were good friends, it seemed. This changed, however, in one mission.It was a routine mission. Some mysterious damage had been found around the city. It was our mission to figure out why.We did not expect what we found.

You've got five separated 'paragraphs' here for perhaps two ideas: that Ness was a novice hero who was once good friends with Stormer, and that one day they were sent out on a mission that went bad. Consider a couple different things here: for starters, you've got some repitition of ideas going on with "Until one day, when everything changed" and "This changed, however, in one mission"; you could easily excise the former statement and get something that flows a bit better by grouping the bits related to Ness' happier days before the statement of everything changing. There's also a bad bit of repition with "training with my good friend, Preston Stormer" and "We were good friends, it seemed". Combine this repetition with the very brief paragraphs and sentences, and the reader can wind up feeling like they're going around in circles, hitting the same ideas over and over again. That usage of very brief paragraphs also carries a few problems on its own. By chopping up individual ideas into very brief paragraphs, you're breaking up the reader's concentration; it's intuitive for a reader to preapare themselves for a shift in idea to some degree when they hit a paragraph break, but here I can't help but feel you're overdoing it a bit. If you were to group the idea of everything changing with the description of the mission, you could smoothly combine the three paragraphs into one concrete one. Consider this possible re-write (I'm trying to keep as many of your original words as possible):

It was our great mission, which I was proud to be a part of. I was only a novice hero, training with my good friend Preston Stormer; under our team leader, Tobias Thresher, we trained ourselves in tactics and weaponry alike.All this changed in one mission. It was a routine mission; some mysterious damage had been found around the city, and it was our mission to figure out why. We weren't expecting what we found.

Even re-written like this, the passage still has a few bits of overrepetition, this time in word choice; true, it's accurate to refer to the mission as, well, as mission, but use that word too often in the same sentence and it starts to feel unusual. You might also have noticed that I combined some individual sentences as well through the use of semicolons. The semicolon is a useful tool; it allows you to group together two related clauses in one sentence that may not directly link with each other (as in this very sentence) without causing the 'hard break' that a period would. Consider it another tool to help things flow along nicely.On a more positive note, the few bits of dialogue you have are fairly breezy, and while the overall tone of the piece is a little melodramatic, that actually fits rather well with the vibe of Hero Factory - I mean, it's literally a story about building robots designated as heroes to fight supervillains, so talk of revenge and taunts and the like seem pretty well appropriate. Just be sure to keep an eye on just how you're wording things - when Nebula calls Bulk "that stupid hero", he sounds more than a little petulant. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but can be a little weak if it's not. :PBefore I wrap up prose, let me touch on a few orthographical issues - you seem to have a tendency to overuse capitalization ("Uranium", "Nuclear Reactor") - remember that capitalization is only done for proper nouns. I've also noticed you tend to append dashes directly to the end of clauses - when using it to space out a sentence or act as a parenthetical, I believe it's more correct to include a space between a dash and a word (as I've been doing throughout this review). Now, onto plot and content and the like. I'm afraid there's not a whole lot to pick through here, as you've only got about a thousand words down, but everything starts small, eh? You've opted to present the story through the eyes of one of the villains - always an interesting choice, especially since (if my knowledge of Hero Factory isn't mistaken) he's due to lose in the end, assuming you're following the canon plot for the most part. This does of course put his objectivity as narrator into question a bit - which can actually be quite fun to work with. Your reader is going to come in marking the guy as a villain - telling things from his POV is an opportunity to either really push that the guy's beyond help, or that he sees himself as pretty justified in his actions. What else there is is pretty standard background fare - Nebula gets kicked out, swears revenge, starts building his army. I will say that it might be helpful to plot out where you plan to focus the story - if this is all just quick background info, then so be it, not too much need to hang around. But if this sort of background is meant to be key, it might not be a bad idea to linger on it a bit and show us a little more of how he went from hero to villain. I also should mention that jumping through his backstory so quick can be a little disorienting to the reader - it's hard for the reader to keep an idea of how much time has passed when you're moving so quickly (the end of your second section being a few years after Nebula was kicked out certainly took me by surprise.)I'm afraid this review has been fairly short compared to my usual - blame my lack of knowledge of Hero Factory and the fact this is just the beginnings of a story. I think what you really ought to focus on is the issues of structure I mentioned above; content's all well and good, but it takes some work to get your writing up to a smooth level that the reader can enjoy. Crack open a novel, or take a look at some other authors around BZP, and think about what makes them fun to read - then try and apply a few of the techniques you've noticed to your own work. And have fun with it! I realize I've dropped a fair amount on you here, but hey, nobody said writing was easy - just take what I've listed here a step at a time.

Edited by GSR, Oct 21 2012 - 10:58 PM.

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