|Reviews for The Song of the Wind|
| sciguy007 chapter 3 . 11/11/2015
Well, Let's get back into this, shall we?
I am terribly in love with the pie scene. It reminds me very much of a more tragic version of the ratatouille scene from Ratatouille, which just so happens to be one of my favorite moments from that movie, as well. It could be drawn out more, but that's more a personal preference, as it seems a character building event, not a plot event, and I like characters, probably more than I like stories.
The following events are pleasantly creepy, though I imagine the barkeep would either charge him for staying at the bar somehow, or that he would notice the broken glass faster. He has to be there the whole time if the bar is open, doesn't he? Wouldn't he even theoretically be behind the counter immediately following the supernatural dream, the prime position to notice the broken glass behind the counter? Either way, ominous is one of the best adjectives to implement properly into a story.
I'm interested now in his parents, who essentially didn't exist the last time I read this story. Namely, I would like to know more about his father, who- If I am to remember correctly- has been mentioned only in passing so far, and only as an observer of Reayx.
However, saying these first three chapters are slow is a bit of a weak statement. They are so slow, I couldn't help but be flashed back to reading the first chapter of "The Remains of the Day," a novel about a butler with no personality I was forced to read for a Modern Lit. class. I can't help but to not recommend it. Thankfully, you don't repeat yourself in any immediately noticeable fashion (other than using "despress/ed/ing several times at the beginning of chapter two), so it's not such an egregious error. Unfortunately, this also means that should you plan to fully fix this problem, the solution is not so simple as deleting redundancies.
As a side note, it is very clear that you are passionate about your magical system, both from this chapter and from our discourse previously, but seven nearly consecutive paragraphs is a lot to deal with all at once, when so little else is happening at the same time. Perhaps finding a faster way to describe it would be helpful.
I can't help but wonder how Androu and Scalifax ever stayed friends, as long as I'm talking about the second chapter. They are so obviously at odds with fundamental beliefs, judging solely on their children's attitudes and behaviors, that their behavior must be nigh incompatible at this point, if not much before now. If I include Androu's internal monologue on Scalifax's power hunger, I'm more surprised that they still talk than I would be if Scalifax were discharged for suspicion of plotting at the throne. (And he never said "were" when he talks about the riots, for the record.)
The story as a whole is clearly improved in two years (thankfully), and I'm interested in reading the rest. I look mostly forward to when all the protag's finally meet. Clara becomes much more interesting when she isn't restricted to three rooms, even if I like her book, and dislike Jeremi almost as much as she does.
| 360pages chapter 2 . 4/21/2015
One thing I noticed is that the exposition is super thick at times. Usually I wouldn't mind when describing the fantasy setting. Since it is needed at times for us the reader to understand the alien world that this story takes place. But I noticed when your describing Clara and her life it's in a very passive way.
We are told a lot of things about her, but we actually aren't shown a lot of them. We are told that she can recount her favorite books by her favorite authors. But a scene where she does this with someone or she recalls something as she writing it down would help. Help the part about her family could have been saved until later when it was slightly more relevant.
| 360pages chapter 1 . 4/21/2015
I won't comment on the odd choice of brackets for thoughts among other things. Since others have, more on the story. It is very much a fantasy type of story going into a different direction. You might want to use more of an example or show different races outside of human more to give us more of an idea of what type of creatures are there.
The poster did show us the reader that their is indeed magic in the world without an actual example. Though I can't help but feel it could have been better meshed if you just described what it said rather than giving it its own mini paragraph.
The Fantasy is once again thick, a bit much at times. Since this is the first chapter a lot of terms get thrown around quite a bit. Which is natural for a fantasy world, but you might try to slowly push out terms instead of front loading them.
Also a slight spoiler giving away character names right at the start of the story.
| pumadelic chapter 6 . 4/12/2015
The debate over the minstrel show divides the royals into non fixed attitudes...Fiora is more radical than Clara and the King, presumably, thinks he has bigger issues to be concerned about. The conversation does flow naturally and does not seem too contrived . 'blindly copying all the ugly things in the world just because that is what everyone else is doing' - feel she is your mouthpiece here but you've covered all the basis of how your readers might view the skits in the previous chapter.
Once again, the description of the fields use to create illusion and the melodramatic language of the circus narrator do conjure up an atmosphere, plus explicating the dangers of messing with natural forces, the real and the unreal. A lot of the shorter lines work better eg strings purred alien chromatics.
I would have liked more of Reaxy's existential terror at what is happening to him: more subjectivity here - after all he is one of the story's main narrators and he is phobic about dragons, experiencing a lucid, living nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions.
The panic and the stampede is conveyed in some places but you could do with editing the description here. When we get to the King waiting outside, the focus could be on his fears and imaginings yet we have a very elongated paragraph about the water cars.
The emergence of the dragon is good but once again it isn't necessary to say the wings are more fantastic than a bat's...it is a fantastical creature, period. Groooah is a good roar equivalent. As for your coinage, I think tubaded would have made it more evident : there were too many noise words in that sentence overall eg tubaded their sonorous distress .Life blood in living veins...as in dead blood in undead veins.
| pumadelic chapter 5 . 4/10/2015
k. Proust would never have memory work through something as plebian as that is great i itself...but it is touching even if that passage is uncharacteristically sentimental. Sunset avadarra is a terrific coinage too. You didn't overdo the vomiting..I wasn't sure whether that was due to the unsanitary nature of the bar or emotional overkill but it doesn't matter.
The people watching passage is very moving..you've engaged yourself emotionally in writing that, I thought and it is driven on through rhythm, straightforward.
Like the surly barman and his notion of service. Must surely be British. His cleaning technique is particularly amusing . (for last chapter)
Chapter 5 is going to be my favourite in this tale. Not finding Clara very involving or the other royals except her Dad but they are competently written and characterised. A huge weight of detail as usual but in this chapter it is precisely angled to give you the art and artificace (and paper moon quality) of the circus, with just the right blend of magic and tawdriness.
The Storth family are a triumph. The changing mood colours are terrific..perhaps slightly too much of this but the journey (back of the bus indeed) and little Therry's behaviour when they are moving to their seats is spot on. You pull the reader into the performance world of the circus with all the dialect, trick scenery and slapstick and then back out into a beautifully empathic take on one little boy's horrific disillusionment when confronted with 'minstrels'...'the forms of everyone he knew and loved deformed and distorted'. And right after they've been laughing at the Manu.
This chapter, although a lot to take in, shows how good you are when you put your world building in the service of theme and character. It's still a bit too much but has wholeness, harmony and radiance as Mr Joyce would say.
| pumadelic chapter 4 . 4/8/2015
This for me is the strongest chapter so far.
Review part one..a very well thought out take on the vitality and bathos of Circus life. I love the deliberately bad food and the mercenary motive for providing it.
The level of detail in relation to the gougi birds (associative name great) resonates because treat a predator as a sideshow pet and you are in trouble. Vibrant description of smell, sound, movement married to what is a mini drama for dominance...syringes and magic fire required to tame the beast and at least one casualty. Issue of power and control and the morality of such sound like it will be a future plot point so the birds are a nice symbol for that.
The physics/musical metaphor for the magic field is effective and the exploration of the concentration required..plus the idea of colloborative magic consciousness is intriguing. I would be expecting the insights in this passage to feed into the use of magic in plot later. While reading this, I kept thinking about a passage by a Peter Akroyd book in which Elizabethan mystic Dr Dee wows everyone with a complex optical illusion. This take on magic is also a beautiful metaphor for artistic creativity itself, as well as for the seemingly magical powers of modern technology.
The non sensory reality of magic is less engaging..partly because sensation is so mediated by the brain anyway..hallucinations etc ..that I don't know if it is necessary to emphasise that perceiving magic would not be a matter of straightforward sense perception.
The second half focused on Reayx's personal experience is also well written and involving but I will comment on it separately.
| pumadelic chapter 3 . 4/7/2015
Skillfully engineered but still in need of some trimming perhaps. The King is an excellent character, and there is deft use of clothing to express is spelled out but in an amusing and witty expositional fashion so you get away with it. 'The odd composite thing that functioned as his personality' is such a brilliant line, such an intelligent defacing of the notion of personality itself that the lines after don't quite work.
In terms of the world building information, there is a lot to take in here; the dialogue flows smoothly, establishes the relationship with Scalifax, and background on economy, politics etc. If there are any major theme/plot points here, they are somewhat casually dispersed but I get the feeling you might pick up the thread. I enjoy your irreverent yet not flippant treatment of 'progress' and it is truly multi-dimensional here which shows we are reading a fantasy story.
The mislead on Clara's fantasy story within the story is cleverly done. I like her more: reading at table, a bad habit I used to indulge at that age.
Her suitor is appropriately obnoxious, and again you treat this with lightness and wit. The family confrontation has little real danger, anger or threat: it seems they aren't very authoritarian parents and Androu is sincere in moving on from absolutism. Again, I like the notion of tabloids but you'll never cut it as a tabloid headline writer..no crap puns or alliteration (Yes, I'm English and we have the best crap tabloids in the world)
Much as I love food...too much description of that. And no thanks for the beetle image..one of the few living creatures I'm phobic about. Funny though. I'm now tempted to put organic cockroach into something I write.
Realise it is a draft. I envy your prolixity. Not sure where it is going - perhaps that is the point.
| pumadelic chapter 2 . 4/7/2015
Ok the good: love the explanation of field and spell, and the idea of the Princess who wants to be more than a princess is familiar but given a new spin here.
It's a much more expositional chapter so doesn't flow as smoothly as the first. The details of the working of magic in the bedroom are neat and precise. Clara's servant is a tad too cliched for my taste.
Bad..the beau blue idyll ..this paragraph is parody Disney princess. Cut the girly stuff for Clara..she talks to trees and inanimate objects and wants to be a necromancer.
Albimax and the crawlers are engaging ideas as is the failed attempt at necromany. Perhaps less here would be a bit more. A little pacier. The actual description of Clara attempting the necromantic deed works and you could have dispensed with explaining necromancy in an abstract manner.
So for this chapter: more art, a little less science.
Like the nanny spying.
| pumadelic chapter 1 . 4/7/2015
Ok, so you wanted a new reviewer: you've got one.
Point one..I like that you've explained the pronunciation of names..obviously in a published book this might go at the back so maybe is a bit distracting.
The formatting to distinguish telepathy, inner thoughts and so on is a bit distracting but I understand why you've done it. I think italics or different fonts would be a better choice.
You can write, but you know that. Some decent well thought out metaphor which I really appreciate..particularly 'balancing drops of magic ..on a spoon a will' and the 'slunching orb'. The repetition in the opening paragraph is one of the weaker points in the writing.
Your main character..not too much backstory, the reason for his exiledom simmering away as a plot point and I really really like that the opener of a fantasy story is about someone doing something as mundane as trying to get a job..even a weird job, which this one is.
The world emerges from the story quite naturally - good.
Use of science and technical devices..eg the potemeter (so you know Latin?) all good.
The accents I found simultaneously crass and entertaining: frankly I don't know what these comedy Mexicans are doing in a fantasy story in the first place? You've done it well though. To me that is what they sound like- in general, if you want to write phonetic dialect, you better be of the race you're depicting. And I would have thought it could be challenging to invent a phonetic dialect that sounds funny, consistent and does not evoke any particular human ethnicity.
It's vibrant, lively, a bit over detailed and the earthy humour of it reminds me of Terry Pratchett, which is not an insult (He doesn't appear to be on your hate list)
Yes, I'd read more even though I don't actually like fantasy fiction that much.
| Deserthawk chapter 22 . 3/8/2015
DH here with your pipin’ hot review, as promised.
Like I said I love some things about the revised plot line, but I feel are disadvantages as well. My general feeling is that right now is that it's going too fast. The main reason is that when Reayx transforms this early we don't really understand what it means—what it means to be a dragon in this world, what being a shapeshifter means for the end of the world, etc. And it's fine to explain all that later I suppose but I feel this first transformation has so much potential to be a much more powerful moment. Right now I feel when Reayx transforms we're just left to fall back on our vanilla fantasy notions of what a dragon is, and that's not helped by Reayx rampaging around mindlessly destroying things. Even if you want to keep the timeline the same I feel like there are things you could do to give us more of the background we need to understand the scene. Some of my suggestions:
1. Could Reayx overhear someone trash talking dragons or run into someone recounting the horrible things they've done throughout history? Maybe even in the bar. It would help push him over the edge. Basically show us why Reayx would be such a pariah if people found out what he was—because I mean without the context I’m like, being a shapeshifter sounds awesome! A dragon, even better! I understand the dragons were (far?) in the past so this may be weird. Another alternative (although I love the Ice King story) is having an evil dragon featured in Clara's book (I bet she’d even think 'Wow I'd love to meet a dragon someday'—that would be cute XD). Or maybe make it more obvious that Reayx hasn't eaten as a dragon in a while and he finds people (theoretically) DELICIOUS (this is why I suggested you watch episode 1 of Tokyo Ghoul btw).
2. So Reayx wakes up after his rampage and literally his first thoughts are, oh no I'VE been found out I'LL be outcast, I’VE got to get away. This really bothers me. From what I know of Reayx I feel like he would've woken up, immediately asked about the casualties and started crying/freaking out about all the people he just KILLED. People are going to have a hard time sympathizing with a protagonist who just did what Reayx did in general and even more so if the first thing he thinks about is himself. Is R's human mind still conscious while he rampages but unable to stop his dragon side? I feel like explicitly making this clear is essential.
3. On the reason why Reayx shifted. I feel like he's been human as a while and generally knows what he needs to do to stay human (if not how has he not been caught before/how are there not reports of dragon shifting and general chaos floating around?) Make it really clear what triggered him this time. Maybe even a flashback.
Some of my other thoughts:
4. I love your side characters—but wondering why you're not using the trio more? Why not have Clara be among the crowd that sees Reayx in the crater? Why not have Karo be among the responders to the dragon disaster? Going to the side chars (who we're only going to see once?) slows things down and seems like you're not taking advantage of a really good opportunity build on the trio's relationship. As a side note, I do feel having R. wake up as a human and seeing all those people staring at him is a much more powerful scene than having him wake up as a dragon.
5. The curly brackets. In general I feel they aren’t necessary. E.g. look at your first paragraph in Ch. 7. You’re doing a wonderful job narrating the carriage ride—your characters don’t need to narrate as well. If you take the line with the curly brackets out it reads just as well, if not better. You should do the same with each of these lines (and dialogue too). Also be careful with the sound effects. Make sure you’re not using them as an easy way out. I KNOW you can do a better job of describing the dragon’s roar than GROAAAAH!
Did I mention I like this version? I like this version of Song of the Wind. You excel at description (again, I swooned over the description of the dragon) and I can tell you’ve thought about (and love) your world extensively. So basically you’ve done the really challenging part. All you’ve got to do now is help your readers out a bit more—cram even more of the background we need in there, and make sure the dialogue is contrasting with/adding to your wonderful description instead of being redundant.
| Hisao Hachiyama chapter 2 . 2/23/2015
Let me preface my review with this: I am not a well-read person!
I love this so far. The world is so imaginative and original without feeling like its been ripped from anything else, while giving me a more Terry Pratchett sense of the world (I'm not sure if that is a compliment or an affront, as I've only read like two of his novels). I'm not entirely certain if you mean it to be satirical at times, such as the great pleasure Reayx takes in standing in line, but it certainly grabbed me so that at god-awful in the morning I'm here reviewing it.
There were several typographical errors. If you publish though, your editor will catch them, so, meh. Mainly what stood out in my face was the line after Clara reads the passage that is ALSO bolded, and a line in the first chapter that was not but should have been, if I recall.
I am mathematically capable enough that I find the fact that 22 is the order of only Z22 and Z2 X Z11 is very interesting indeed! But mathematics is about where my expertise ends, I have the vocabulary of a ten year old. Your vocabulary, while extensive, tends to get daunting at times. Maybe that is just me, but I had to look up several words as I read. On the flip side of this, the story so far is intriguing and the characters appear very believable even while being unbelievable (Reayx), enough that I don't mind cracking open my Merriam-Webster.
As far as your pronunciation lexicon goes at the beginning, I think that it's nice to have and all, and it does help establish proper pronunciation from the get-go (okay, I'm going to rag on it ... the spelling of Reayx is obscure for Ree-you, I assume the y is like a Cyrillic y and is pronounced 'u' in the language he is named in) but either it is a bit much, or needs a bit better clarification of which syllables are stressed.
I'm very interested in my the conlang seems very Italian/Spanish. Nésor señor ... and a th every a second a word a een a your a sentences a. Here and there it seems alright, but it is very excessive in this in my opinion. Then again I have had the same said of me when I write southern accents and my own Paryi accents. So maybe I'm being hypocritical/hypercritical.
Overall I am very interested in seeing you finishing this story and even if I know hardly anything about literature, I'd like to know your thoughts on either of my starts, but my eyelids are threatening to strike like underpaid circus workers, and I need sleep. Hopefully that hasn't tainted this review too much, I'll post again if I think I've missed something tomorrow.
Happy reading, happy writing, and y'all have a good one. *hits the pillow with a ploosh*
| Guest chapter 1 . 2/18/2015
Darkest Blue: 'Point 3:'"Oh, good gracious," the nanny began, "[y]our highness! I thought that you... I thought you were asleep!" Correction: Your forgot the capital 'Y' in your, since it is the beginning of the speech :)' No. A capital Y here would be incorrect since 'your highness' is the rest of the sentence that begins with 'Oh, good gracious,' Written out, it looks like this: "Oh, good gracious, your highness!" The interruption for the dialogue tag occurs at a comma and is perfectly correct.
"Also, a suggestion you don't have to take, but maybe change 'good' to 'goodness'?" -'good gracious' and 'goodness gracious' are both idioms; either is correct. Which one a person uses may depend on where she lives. -LynnKHollander.
| Guest chapter 1 . 2/18/2015
Typo: coulddo. (second paragraph). Further down: everyonebehind him.
Logic jump: jobs will be offered on a first come, first served, potemetric basis. Mutually exclusive criteria. It's either first come, first served, or it's 'on a potemetric basis'. If 'first come, first tested; hiring is on a potemetric basis' is meant that's what should be written.
'Whenever R came to M - apparently R has not come to M to look for work. Why then is he there? Is this job he's try to get at all important to his plans? Is the job important to the story? If not, this is a lot of space given to an unimportant non-happening. Try starting when R is at the head of the line.
As he and his fellow field-workers —all of them new hires— lay in the arena, down on hands and knees, R busily threaded the dirt beneath him with an invisible network of magical field-lines. (34 words) -the statement is wordy and the visual is awkward. Are they lying down or are they on their hands and knees? Also, leave a gap at one end of a dash. It's easier on the reader to see what the interjection is; although a pair of commas would do the job just as well: As he and his fellow field-workers, all of them new hires, lay in the arena, down on hands and knees, R busily threaded the dirt beneath him with an invisible network of magical field-lines. I would make this shorter: "As R and his fellow field-workers crawled across the arena on their hands and knees, they threaded the dirt beneath them with an invisible network of magical field-lines." (28 words, simpler construction.)
I've already commented on the dialect, but here it is again: it's silly. The intrusive A reminds me of Lawrence Welk: uh one, uh two, and the uninspired cliched portrayal of every foreigner I've ever read. An occasional interjection in dialect will more than adequately re-enforce the non-native-speaker status without cluttering the text with a plethora of 'A's. Throw in 'weel' instead of 'well' no more often than every other page. Readers CAN remember something from one page to the next. Also, and again, are the non-native-speakers important to the reason R is in M? Are we going to see them in future pages? Because if they're just here in M for local color, we don't need to know that much about them.
What is the bare minimum the reader NEEDS to know about R and his situation, or about the foreigners and their situation to continue on to the second chapter? My point about reading _Deep Secret_ or _Catastrophe's Spell_ or _Game of Kings_ is to display before you how backstory need not be heaped on the reader.
Re your reply regarding thoughts: Formerly thoughts/interior monologues were set off with quotation marks exactly like dialogue: "Damn," Martin thought. It's more of a style issue than grammar. _Damn_ thought Martin -using italics without quotation marks is a common style. There is no reason to use those silly brackets to convey to the reader that Damn is thought, not spoken.
You and I have vastly different philosophies about writing. I do not believe the readers need to know everything about the alternate San Francisco my characters inhabit. I do, but I keep my knowledge to myself. Only if that knowledge is vital to my characters and the story do I mention it. LKH.
| Wendy Thompson135th chapter 2 . 2/18/2015
Replies to any of my reviews may be left here forum/Opinions-and-Polls/7681/ Just start a topic with the name of the story.
-Or start your own forum for discussions on your work. You could also opt to receive anonymous reviews; this permits you to post as many replies as you wish. Just log out, reply and enter a new username for each review.
In any case, I dislike PM and prefer both reviews and replies be open.
Beyond all that: why haven't you read any adult fantasy? I suggest you begin with 'Deep Secret' by Diana Wynne Jones or 'Catastrophe's Spell(Spell of Catastrophe) by Mayer Alan Brenner. Both these handle backstory/different worlds with great skill. If you do read historic fiction try one of Dorothy Dunnett's works: 'Game of Kings' or 'Nicolo Rising', the first books of her two long series. Again, the backstory and the setting are handled skillfully.
I'm working on your reply. So far I have four points: First, the way a rough draft is announced is to put in the blurb: Rough draft. Two words. The average reader won't care about your personal life, she will care about the STORY. Concentrate on doing that well and confide the personal details of your life to your friends.
Second, really don't bother with pronunciations. This story is written, not preformed.
Third, yes, FictionPress stories could read better if multiple fonts were allowed. Unfortunately, they are not. A lot of 'bold' is not the answer, however.
Fourth, the dialect detracts from the information that should be conveyed by the speaker. It reminds me of 'Lawrence Welk': uh one, uh two, and every cliched foreigner ever portrayed. Once in a while a phonetically spelled interjection -'weel' for 'well', to use an example from 'The Game of Kings'- will reinforce the foreign persona without cluttering the text with the silly frill of added 'a's.
| Wendy Thompson135th chapter 1 . 2/17/2015
Taking the problems in order:
Drop the silly author's note, especially the role call, the pronunciation guide and all the explanations. No one will remember all this and it just gets in the way of the STORY which, after all, is what you're trying to sell.
Drop the silly accents. Leave what the words sound like to the readers' imaginations.
Drop the bold except maybe for chapter headings. Keep the italics: use them for thoughts, letters and signs. Ditto weird brackets instead of single or double quote marks. Individual fancy fonts and weird brackets or carets as quotation marks were done to death in 'Chaining the Lady' by Piers Anthony. It wasn't didn't work then and it certainly won't work now.
EDIT BEFORE POSTING. -you want to sell the STORY. That means presenting the reader with your best effort, not your rough draft.
Keep the text plain, clear, and logical. Spend your efforts on clarity, not on frills. If the text is clear, the frills won't matter; if it's unclear, frills won't help.