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Review Topic: Of Rahi and Toa (Lesovikk contest)


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#1 Offline Pikiru

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Posted Feb 09 2013 - 08:32 PM

[color=#000080;]Alright this is the review/comment topic for my story: Of Rahi and Toa.  :)[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]So go ahead and start reviewing/commenting![/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Note: The ECC review below is from a while back when my story was still being edited. I have since finished editing, so most of the problems  mentioned below should have been fixed.[/color]


Edited by Pikiru, May 10 2013 - 01:00 AM.

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#2 Offline GSR

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Posted Mar 09 2013 - 12:58 AM

Hey there Pikiru! This is your official ECC review. If you're not familiar with my reviewing style - and let's be honest, you're probably not :P - I like to divide things into two main categories - prose and style, and content and plot. Generally, I prefer to use examples and work from there rather than point out every error, especially for things like spelling, so I'm afraid if you're looking for a list of typoes you'll have to look elsewhere, haha. Anyways, that bit said, onto the review!First off, before I get into the critical parts, let me say that for the most part your writing style worked fairly well. You've generally organized things in a way that makes sense, and I never really had any moments where I was really jolted out of reading by the structure. I realize that doesn't exactly sound like glowing praise, but it's a very important factor - you really don't want your reader feeling like he or she is getting lost. That said, there are some areas that could use improvement.So, let's start with synactical stuff - spelling and the like. For the most part, you didn't have that much in the way of typoes, but I did spot a few - for instance, "Makuta" as "Matuka" in chapter four. I also noticed a few cases of inconsistent or erroneous capitalization - for example, I noticed Kaulus' name was left uncaptalized at one point. Lastly, on a few occasions I also spotted some lines that were misusing a word or two (for instance, "Now for the first time Teridax actually felt them as a real threat" - it would be better to say "felt they were a real threat"). Put these together, and I'm going to guess that you've been using a spell checker for this fic - which is a good thing, don't get me wrong! Just remember that re-reading to catch errors does a lot to help a piece of writing feel more professional in the end, because a spell checker can only catch so much.With that down, let's move onto a slightly higher level at take a look at how you tend to structure paragraphs. While for the most part your individual sentences are fairly well structured, I've noticed that in your paragraphs you have a tendency to have some strange shifts in emphasis. For an example, consider this passage from the start of chapter 9:

"Now, the Rahi dont look like theyre coming back," he said to the assembled Matoran, "but there could be other dangers someday. I would recommend that some of you train as fighters to defend your village if any danger threatens it." Then he said farewell.

After having the direct dialogue of Lesovikk advising the villagers, compressing his goodbyes to "then he said farewell" feels very strange, as though you're just brushing it off. Conversely, consider this section from slightly later in the chapter:

"Then hang on tight!" With that Lesovikk picked Kualus up and put him on his back, then jumped and started to slide down the side of the hill. When they were halfway down, Lesovikk released a powerful blast of air beneath their feet. Kualus yelled as they flew upward in a graceful arc towards the village center. When they passed the apex of their leap Lesovikk sent an air blast below them to slow their fall, so they would not be smashed into the ground. Lesovikk landed on his feet and shouted to the Matoran, Get out of here!

This is partially a matter of preference, but I feel like this is a little too much focus on the actual mechanics of Lesovikk's leap and not quite enough on the actual situation. I'll touch on this idea of being overly detailed again in a bit when I talk about the plot, but remember it can happen on a smaller scale as well.I'd also like to throw in a few words about word choice. One thing I noticed is that you sometimes specify very precise numbers in your narration ("what felt like the 4000th time"; "Two seconds later they came back to the ground") - while it's to some degree a matter of preference, in my experience I find details like that to feel a bit extraneous and distracting. So in the two examples I just mentioned, I might substitute "for the thousandth time" in the former case, as that's a common-enough turn of phrase to flow well, and just "seconds later" in the latter case - both get the same meaning across while stripping away unneeded precision. I also noted a few cases where you were overly specific in description, resulting in a kind of dry effect - for instance, near the end of chapter 3 you write "Lesovikk was tired and his muscle tissue ached." It's kind of strange to specify that it was his muscle tissue - isn't it a bit more natural to just say his muscles ached?Also, just a quick aside about your narration: try to avoid being too conversational with the narration unless you're using the narrator as a 'character' as well. As an example, near the end of chapter 4 the narration says "granted[...] but still" - while that works as a way to justify something in casual conversation, in narration, it sounds pretty unprofessional and also a little non-commital.Alright, I know that was a lot. Still with me? Don't get discouraged by any of that - in some ways the prose side of a story is the harder part, because it's got so many little bits and pieces that can trip anyone up. That said, let's move onto the plot and content.For the contest, you've put together a nice little story that works within the restraints of canon. Though Lesovikk is portrayed here as still wounded by the loss of his team and still in pursuit of his village's Matoran, you don't let it completely overwhelm the character, opting instead for a more active, good-hearted role in spite of these challenges. The overall plot is fairly simple, but for a brief story like this, I think an (albeit indirect) run-in between Lesovikk and the Makuta works, and I smiled at Kualus' persistence.However, like I alluded to above, there are some bumps in the road here. The biggest thing I noticed is that you tend to get into the nitty-gritty details very, very often, and at fair length. The events leading up to the Visorak attack are retold in varying amounts of detail about four times from a number of POVs - first Lesovikk's basic impressions of the scene, then the commanding Suukorak's account of the actual landing and attack, then Gorast's musings on her arrival and Lesovikk's interruption, and finally Teridax's rather lengthy explanation of the motivation behind the events. While it's true that these characters' motivations need to be explained to some degree, I feel that you focused a bit overmuch on explaining past events compared to depicting present ones. Chapter six is particularly guilty of this - it's quite literally just Teridax sitting and thinking and recounting all that has happened and his rationale for what he'll do next.There might not be an easy way to avoid that, if you feel it's all necessary to telling the story - however, I would recommend thinking of ways to trim the fat, so to speak. While it's good to get some insight, you might want to try and find details that are unecessary not only in the sense that they don't much advance the plot but more importantly in the sense that they don't add much to the readers' impressions of the characters. For example, consider this paragraph of chapter 6:

Teridax felt that they were the perfect creatures for the job. The next step was forming them into an army. First the Brotherhood got all of the Visorak together using an artifact that they named the heart of the Visorak. Then it was Gorasts turn. She was able to make them see the advantages of siding with the Makuta, and made them completely loyal to the Brotherhood. She did this using only her charm and her ruthless ability kill, or worse, all the Visorak that would object. It was more the second that made them fall in line.

There's a lot of exposition going on here - do we really need to know the name of the artifact they used to gather the Visorak? Or even that they had gathered the Visorak all together to convert them to the Makuta's side? It's true that all that happened in canon, but I don't think it's always necessary to recount it in quite so much detail.All in all, though, I can say after reading this that it did feel like a quick serial that might have popped up back when Bionicle was still going strong. It's a fairly simple story, but one that still works in some new backstory for canon characters and creatures, with a bit of requisite action as well. There's room for improvement, certainly, but don't be discouraged - there's always room for improvement. :P Now that it's been a month or so since you've posted this, with this review in mind, why don't you go back and re-read it? You might find that some time away has given you a fresh perspective on how to improve any issues. Good luck with editing, and best of luck in the contest!

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