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Searching: Review Topic

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#1 Offline ~Mat~

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Posted Jan 19 2012 - 12:59 AM

Searching, the review topic! >>> The Epic TopicSo yeah, do what you normally do in a review topic. :PIf you came here after reading my Short Story "Abyss", don't expect this to be on par with that. :BThis epic was written long before I ever wrote Abyss, I just never got to finish posting it. :P

Edited by ~MatoroIgnika~, Feb 24 2012 - 06:12 PM.

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#2 Offline GSR

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Posted Dec 03 2012 - 11:38 PM

Hey there Mat and Grant! I'm reviewing this piece as part of the ECC's charity initiative. I know I've given Grant a review before, but I'm not sure if I've given one to you, Mat, so here's my usual intro: I'm not a fan of picking out each and every slip-up or typo I see; instead, I like to find patterns and provide examples for you to build off of. This review'll have two parts, essentially: first, I'm going to be taking a look at the prose (writing style, orthography, etc.) and then at the actual plot and contents of the story. So without further ado, let's get this show on the road.Let's start off with a few issues with pacing I've noticed. Your characters run into quite a few interesting things in these Spherus Magnan tunnels, but they don't always seem to give them due consideration. The example that sticks out in my mind is at the end of chapter 1, when the door is revealed:

A slight tremor jolted the chamber, the cracked wall crumbled away, revealing an ancient wooden door.Rennila opened it.

That's a fairly surprising sight - and then, without any additional fanfare or reaction, one of the characters simply "opens it". That sort of abrupt, simplified description kind of snaps the tension and leaves the readers underwhelmed; granted, Rennila is adventurous and probably is eager to open that door, but her simply opening it makes it feel like it's a truly trivial act, when the scene is set up to tell the reader that it isn't. This sort of bait-and-switch can work for comedic purposes, but it requires a bit more set-up, and in any event, it doesn't work very well in a serious piece.A similar sort of issue happens a little later when the group finds the book with both Agori and Matoran writings; Rennila opens it, begins to read, and Onua just sort of goes "I guess it means be observant" and wanders off elsewhere. Given that the group seems to be exploring for the sake of finding just these sorts of interesting traces, and given Onua and Ornat's personalities, it's strange that they would just leave the book to Rennila like that.You also seem to have a little trouble with adverbs; while they add spice to an action (and may have helped to alleviate some of the above problems), be careful to make sure they provide the image you're looking for. Very early on, Onua "gently" says to his companions that the chamber ahead seems to have a light-vine they can make use of; you may have meant something closer to "softly" or, most likely, "quietly"; saying something gently gives the mental image of trying to calm or reassure someone with your words, which doesn't really fit here; the mental image I get of the situation is Onua simply speaking in hushed tones due to the silence of the place, not out of any particular attempt at sympathy or comforting.Orthographically speaking, you seem to have some issues with capitalization and comma use. When it comes to capitalization, you have a tendency to capitalize things that shouldn't be and omit capitalization on things that should; in the first chapter, for instance, "Balcony" is inexplicably capitalized, while later on "Agori" is not. Some of this might just be good old-fashioned typos rearing their heads, but even so, it looks sort of unprofessional. (Granted, Bionicle can be a little iffy on what should and shouldn't be capitalized, but that's just all the more reason to pay attention, eh?)In terms of comma usage, you seem to be underusing them to some degree. In particular, remember the rule of commas in dialogue: when your dialogue is preceding a speaking action, end it with a comma, not a period. To make a concrete example: 

“I know, but you do know that nothing comes easy.” He replied back.

In this case, you'd want to have a comma in place of the period just before the quotation mark, and then not have He capitalized. It's just one of those rules of writing that you've got to keep in mind. This goes in reverse, as well; if you form the sentence as "He said, 'she sells seashells by the seashore'", make sure you've got a comma there before the dialogue if the verb there is a speaking verb. And we can turn it around one more time to get the cases where you shouldn't use a comma: when there's not any sort of connection between the dialogue and the rest of the sentence. For instance, you might write "He shrugged. 'She sells seashells by the seashore,' he explained."Finally, be careful with connections in your sentences; you seem to lack them more often than not. Consider this line:  

She looked to Onua, he simply shrugged his shoulders in confusion. “I don’t know what that could mean, other than just to be observant, I suppose.” The Toa said, he exited the small chamber Ornat in pursuit.

You're missing some connective tissue in the sentence there, and it creaks as a result. It's sort of messy both in terms of timing and in terms of who's doing what; a more clear revision might read as follows.  

She looked to Onua, but he simply shrugged his shoulders in confusion. “I don’t know what that could mean, other than just to be observant, I suppose,” The Toa said; a moment later, he exited the small chamber with Ornat in pursuit.

A comma can provide some sentence division and clarity, but it usually needs a supporting word to prop it up ("looked to Onua, but he..."). In some cases, you may want to make more of a 'hard break' by way of semicolons or even periods; in this case, Onua leaving the chamber is a fairly 'separate' action from his talking with Rennila. For more instances of this problem, check just above, in the Great Being's book.Now, as to the content of the story itself - is it meant to be a continuation of a previous story, or simply in media res? Onua seems to know his companions fairly well, and there's references to libraries and the like that they group apparently passed through earlier; the end result is that I feel like I'm missing out on something. Of course, it could just be a case of the epic not having gone on long enough to provide explanations yet, and don't get me wrong; spoonfeeding exposition at the beginning of the story isn't exactly a good thing. But maybe a little more on why the group is there and what's going on would have helped set the scene.Speaking of setting the scene, the setting is a little ambiguous; having read to the end of what there is so far, I get the feeling that this is some few hundred years after the end of the canon story, but there's still a bit of ambiguity as to when this is happening. Again, this may just be a problem of the story being in the early stages.Those expository quibbles aside, however, I must admit this story hits a few favorite points of mine - I've always liked the idea of exploring the interactions between the MU inhabitants and the Bara Magnan ones after the main story's end, as well as starting to take a look at the Great Beings in earnest, which seems to be a large piece of this fic. The opening does what it needs to do and gives us some main characters, a brief adventure that serves as a prelude for what's yet to come, and hints of the past that could also be taken as omens for the future - all good stuff to have opening your story. It's also good that you got out of those caves fairly quickly if there wasn't anything else you needed your characters to do there - it can be tempting to have your characters loiter about just for the sake of making a scene seem more significant.Other than that, there's not a whole lot to say here; things are just beginning, so there's only so much I can poke at here. Like I said, the plot is full of plenty of little pieces that interest me, and your opening did what it needed to do to set up a possible romp, so the story's in my good books already. There are some issues you have with sentence construction and wording, but those'll hopefully vanish as you write more; the best tip I can give is the time-honored "read it aloud and see if it sounds right" for finding issues like those, as well as the good old practice of looking things over multiple times (preferably with a day or two between) to help find errors. Mat, I don't know if you're still interested in writing, but if you are, this fic has a lot of potential - it may be well worth the time to invest in it some more. (And Grant, as an Ambager, 'tis your duty to bugencourage him to! :P) Best of luck!

Edited by GSR, Dec 03 2012 - 11:39 PM.

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Hey: I'm not very active around BZP right now.  However, you can always contact me through PM (I have email notifications set up) and I will reply as soon as I can.

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#3 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 01:13 PM

Wow I haven't seen this epic in a long while. This thing started off as an Epic by Mat that told the untold adventures on Spherus Magna. We talked about it one day and I explained I had a short story I was working on which featured something similar. We collaborated on it, and I wrote the short story which opens the epic. Unfortunately we dropped out of it after the downfall of BZP, and I admit I was rarely there to help Mat with his epic. =/ (Which was k, since he had the largest ideas for that story :3) Either way, I can't remember if he finished it, I think he finished the first book of it and it's all posted in the old forums. But he worked very hard on it, and since then I've enjoyed his few writing projects like Abyss, that he's done. You rock with these charities man. =D

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