Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies and play member and staff-run games
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes, and vote to decide the winners
  • Participate in raffles, including exclusive raffles for new members, and win free LEGO sets
  • Send private messages to other members
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!

Posted Image


Click to ToggleParticipate in our raffle!

Hi, Guest. Come take a look and participate in our raffle:

Chima 2014 Big Raffle
Chima 2014 New Member Raffle
Chima 2014 Little Raffle

Photo

Xezia Review

Review

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Offline TrueshadowX01

TrueshadowX01
  • Members
  • Toa

  • 148 posts
  •  

Posted Nov 11 2012 - 03:58 AM

Here where you can review my epic, I will update character info soon. Here is the epic.
  • 0

(Here is my BZPRPG Profile, Diotrua.)

"Don't! They will kill you like a small dog. Instead let your anger be as if it were a monkey on a treadmill; confused and tripping around." -Lelouch of Britania-


#2 Offline Kakaru

Kakaru
  • Premier Member
  • Premier Reporters
  • Senior Fish

  • 1,724 posts
  •   BZP Reporter

Posted Nov 13 2012 - 12:13 PM

*cracks knuckles*Okay, let me say that if all you're interested in is writing this for fun and you don't care about constructive criticism to any degree, just skip straight to the end where I've given you a kitten and the short version of this review. Otherwise this may be a bit discouraging (and I apologize for that) but I've written this to help you improve as a writer. Maybe not in this epic or the next, but somewhere down the road, I hope that some of what I've said here will start to sink in and to take effect in your writing. It's what happened to me through incredibly blunt criticism and the influence of writers far greater than me, and I only hope to pass the torch on to another writer.ha ha no wait that implies that I'm a good writer to some degree, go read Velox' writing

A figure floated gradually in empty space, surrounded in pure shadow. Lost beyond all hope, only his memories that slowly fade away not knowing how to return. Fading to darkness, the dry blood of his enemy chipped away from his blade that drifted closely to him.

Here. The more I read this, the more it bugs me. As a general rule I skip intros that involve floating, nothingness, regret, blood pain, or any of that junk. It's a cliched opening hook that's followed religiously around this forum, and where it means to be dramatic, it ends up coming off as tired and dull, and nine times out of ten the story never actually ties back in to that intro, so it's a cheap tactic with no weight behind it. But this sentence in particular stuck out because it seems to highlight exactly what's wrong with the trope. He's surrounded by pure shadow and yet it still manages to become even darker for dramatic effect. It seems as though you've become caught up in the story and forgot exactly what you wrote only a couple sentences back. This "amnesia writing" unfortunately comes of as hilarious instead of intense as you intended.I'm going to stop my tirade right there and say that this is not a bad thing. Getting caught up in your writing is one of the most satisfying feelings to a writer, to become so immersed that it redundancy or cliche doesn't matter because it feels real to you.Unfortunately after writing in such a way, we all have to step back, detach ourselves and our feeling from the story that we've come to know and love, and view it with a critical eye. You may personally know the characters and care about them deeply, but that doesn't mean your reader has the same emotional attachment. We need a reason to care, and you can't give that to us without seeing your characters as a blank slate like everyone else does. Start from there, assume that you know nothing, and build your character from the ground up.There's a very good method to create a good environment, story, and even likeable characters, and this is going to be the core of my review. Show, do not tell.Oh, this is important. This is so, so important.Sorry to be blunt here, but we as readers cannot trust you, the author, and take everything you say as the truth. You could say that your Toa is made of eggplants, but we need a reason to believe it. I'll expand on this idea in a little bit, but here's an example of the show, don't tell rule first:

Though he was often ridiculed for his weakness and being saved by Ahji, but occasionally he was proven useful.

This sort of sentence is exactly what I'm talking about. I won't point them all out, but this formula is copied consistently throughout the story. You may tell us that he was ridiculed for his weakness but proved useful, but I have no reason to think that this is true. You could be lying through your teeth here and it wouldn't make any difference because I haven't seen it. I haven't seen the ridicule, and I have never seen him proving himself useful. Instead of wasting your time on a cliche intro that gives us no useful backstory/information on any of your characters, try using it to hook us in by showing this character. Show how weak he is. Throw him in a situation that forces him to expose his weakness, then show us his resourcefulness at work as he escapes, or as Ahji rescues him. I get the feeling that there's a strong but tense relationship between these two, but I haven't seen it because you haven't shown me. Don't tell us how his character works, because if we can't see it it's just another bland biography with no emotion and no effort on your character's part. Anyone can spew facts on a page, it takes an author to make us care about the person behind the facts. You need to sell us the story, you need to make us believe it. Yes, there's such a thing as suspension of belief, but you need to give us a reason to suspend our belief, and a substantial story to pick us up, to immerse us in such a way that we forget that we cannot trust you. Here's a question for you: Who is more credible, a veteran of World War II who was storming Normandy and can tell you what he saw and felt, or a historian who can only tell you how it happened and the numbers behind it?This is what I'm getting at: Your characters are more credible than you because they were actually there, they actually saw it, and they should be the ones telling us what happened through their eyes and feelings. You can only spew facts because you, as the author, can only observe.

There he sat alone in the dark, contemplating on his destiny, his thoughts weighed great doubts about his future or purpose.

Here's another example. You are telling us as a historian what happened to this character, but you could be faking the information because you weren't there, and I don't get the feeling that anyone was. If he is there, however, he might feel the chill of the cave, the claustrophobia of the walls, the intangible psychological effects of the dark. What is he thinking about? To me, these are just generic "great doubts" but I have no reason to believe these actually affect him, because I don't feel his doubt and he can't tell me how much the thoughts of his destiny trouble him. It's just another incredible fact (in the most literal sense) to me.Let me clarify here: Not everything needs to be shown through the eyes of your character, and we don't need to feel everything they are at all times. This, for example:

Her laugh was cruel and sinister, but sounded beautiful and soft.

This works well because there is no other way to communicate the concept. You could say that he heard the laugh and that it was beautiful and soft, but it would be exactly the same. Discernment between what needs to be told and what needs to be shown will become easier with time. As a general rule, anything that does not advance the plot, develop the characters, or enhance the setting should be abbreviated or cut entirely.

She stood there quite for a few seconds and then laughed again and revealed her true form from the shadows.

Here's another trope that frustrates me to no end. This character is not mysterious or intriguing because she's a phenomenal cliche. A dark, mysterious, sexy femme fatale who laughs cryptically is practically a deus ex machina, a plot device contrived out of thin air to advance the plot quickly without affording an explanation. You don't need to explain a mysterious shadowy being, because they're mysterious and shadowy, as the line of reasoning goes. I'm all the more frustrated because I know that there is no way to reconcile this sort of character. From here, it just gets harder to make her interesting or sympathetic, because every trope branching from this character has been done to death, and even attempting to work her deeper in to the plot will complicate the matter by placing an unstable, unbelievable concept at the core of your story. I'm interested and anxious to see where this epic goes and how you will work everything out. Unfortunately the story has started out with good concepts riddled with weak execution. I genuinely look forward to seeing you to continue to write, so please excuse me for being blunt with this review. I don't mean to discourage you at all, but I'd love to see this epic flower into something brilliant, and I'm here to help you. Please let me know if you have questions or would like advice. I'm not by any degree an expert, but I've spent a fair portion of my time in this forum and even reviewing stories outside of it. I'm still learning as well, so don't take my advice as flawless, and please feel free to refute yourself if you feel I've incorrectly called you out on something that you had intended to keep in.If it makes you feel better, both my Dark Lands and Velox' Chronicles are straight up flooded with hilarious mistakes, awful dialogue, and nightmarish prose.Excuse me for being blunt, and I do apologize for this. Here's the kitten I promised, and the short, polite version of my review:Posted ImageTl;dr, you need to show us the world through your character's eyes, because they're more credible and we can believe them. As an example, I gave the analogy of a WWII vet and a historian. Who is more credible, and who can draw us into the story with emotion and feelings? Avoid cliches like shadows, remorse, angst, amnesia, and generic dramatic segues with no meaning or impact on the story. I look forward to reading more and seeing you improve as a writer. Beest of luck with the next chapter!

Edited by Kakaru, Nov 13 2012 - 12:22 PM.

  • 0

tf302.jpg


#3 Offline TrueshadowX01

TrueshadowX01
  • Members
  • Toa

  • 148 posts
  •  

Posted Nov 13 2012 - 07:10 PM

Hahahahaha.... Thank you so much for such an honest review. I see your points, and they are very good points. However, this was more for just for fun and to get my mind out of school/life for a little bit. It’s more for just the sake of doing not really getting too serious about it.Anyway, concerning the “Deus Ex Machina” character, she is actually going to be sort of a main character, but I do see where you’re coming from and I had no intention to follow that clique at all, she’s actually going to be quite different than most people would expect. Regardless, I was going to explain her and the other characters in more details and through dialogue in the next chapter.The funny thing is, the intro was actually from an old unfinished epic from a few years ago and it was supposed to be serious, but in this epic I'm leaning towards something… “Different” and a little choatic. Though the story was suppose to be humorious in that chapter, not the short intro. Hahahaha... irony. I think I'm going to change the first chapter to “Introduction” just because it was so monotone and indirect. I probably should not have copied and pasted that short intro, but it was more to throw people off to the level of seriousness. I did write this at 3am because I couldn't sleep so, yeah I didn't want to write a decent intro. I like your historian/ vet WWII Analogy, because ironically I just wrote a history paper a day ago and I do notice that I was still using the same style almost when I was writing this “chapter” and before you pointed that out. I find this all rather amusing. I really enjoyed reading your review. Also, you actually gave me some good ideas of improvements. I knew it was flawed and I was almost trolling for someone to come and point me in the right direction. (Though not the trolling that would get me in trouble… but still.) I do have some fun plans for this and now have a better idea where to go from here.I know I've never been the strongest writer and probably won't be and that's just fine with me, I do it mostly for fun, but I am glad to have so much feedback.Thank you.Oh and by the way, nice kitten pic.
  • 0

(Here is my BZPRPG Profile, Diotrua.)

"Don't! They will kill you like a small dog. Instead let your anger be as if it were a monkey on a treadmill; confused and tripping around." -Lelouch of Britania-


#4 Offline Kakaru

Kakaru
  • Premier Member
  • Premier Reporters
  • Senior Fish

  • 1,724 posts
  •   BZP Reporter

Posted Nov 14 2012 - 12:02 PM

Ah, no worries. I understood that this was a "writing for the sake of it" piece from the start, I just thought I'd give you some pointers for future reference. Not everything I said needs to apply to this story, they're just general writing tips. Since this is a stress reliever, don't worry about making it a masterpiece. It's not worth it if you're just writing between classes and homework.I understand what you mean about the intro. The thing is, it's that sort of ambiguity that annoys me about those hooks in the first place. I've written my fair share of them, and they could all be used interchangeably with no noticeable difference. The fact that you could simply pull it from another epic tells me all I need to know. Again, don't worry about it. It wasn't bad per se, it's just a personal vendetta of mine.If you've got an outline and a good idea for your characters, I'd love to see where you take this one. However, as stated before, be careful of simply telling and not showing. If it's backstory, dialogue is fine to an extent, but we need to understand how that story has shaped who the character is today, and we need to actively see that influence in their action, speech, and mannerisms. Dialogue from your characters is only a step more credible than author exposition. The most reliable form of communicating any kind of story, again, is through actions. It's a human trait to trust what we see happen, physically, over what someone says happens. To clarify, I'm not saying that dialogue should be avoided. It's a good technique when used in context: make sure your character is in a position where it would be natural to reveal this information in casual conversation. If it turns into exposition it starts to feel stilted and awkward, like meeting someone on the street who begins to pour out their tragic life story to you when you ask them what's up. I don't know how much you're planning to reveal, but do it in small pieces to develop your characters. There's no shame in keeping information from your readers to make a more intriguing character. When executed properly, people will want to know why your characters act the way they do, and this mystery will keep them reading to find out why.The most important element in any story is a question: Who is the murderer? Why are the aliens here? What does the mysterious caller want? How will the two lovers ever get back together? Make sure the question is essential to the plot, the driving force behind the entire story, make the reader understand why it's critical and why they and the characters must know. If the stakes are high and the characters strong, the question can become an incredible plot device.Keep asking yourself questions as an author. Question your character's motivation. Question their decisions. There is always a reason for everything that makes them tick, and the deeper the questions go, the more your character will develop. Play the game we all used to annoy our siblings and parents with: Why? Ask yourself why your character does what they do. When you give yourself that reason, ask why again. Then ask it again. Soon you will get to the core of your character, and once you resolve the questions for yourself, you will have a far better understanding of them and their impact on your story as a whole. An excellent overview of character development as a plot device is given in James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure, a good book to pick up and flip through if you see yourself writing anything else to any real degree. Even as a casual writer years ago, I found this book incredibly helpful.wow I just keep on rambling don't Iit's like I have all these totally unaired grievances at practically everybody and I'm just spewing them out at nobody in particular because I've never gotten the chance to tell anyone else

Edited by Kakaru, Nov 14 2012 - 12:04 PM.

  • 0

tf302.jpg


#5 Offline TrueshadowX01

TrueshadowX01
  • Members
  • Toa

  • 148 posts
  •  

Posted Nov 14 2012 - 03:17 PM

Hahaha... Thank you for your words of inspiration. I just got the next chapter up for you to read. I think I took a lot better approach and did it in first person and most of it was dialogue, though there is still somewhat of a demand for explanations of the main plot on what is going on yet, but I think it was a good and fun way of exploring their personalities and for the audience to get to know them a little better. I hope someone will find it amusing or even funny. I hope you like this next chapter.

 

New notes: Just posted Chapter and removed the short "intro", because it really didn't fit at all. I might change the first chapter to be more like the latest two, which is more first person and is a lot better in general. So any new people reading it try to at least get through the first two chapters before judging it.


Edited by TrueshadowX01, Dec 01 2012 - 11:46 PM.

  • 0

(Here is my BZPRPG Profile, Diotrua.)

"Don't! They will kill you like a small dog. Instead let your anger be as if it were a monkey on a treadmill; confused and tripping around." -Lelouch of Britania-





0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users