Luckily, I know by now that "Saturday" means "next month"! haha, though it's got nothing on your procrastination with your own writing!
Haha, blame the game companies for releasing Borderlands and Assassin's Creed in back to back months! I've started work on the review for chapter six though, just gotta finsh it up. I mostly already know what to write for the chapter seven review too.
Curse those game companies for trying to make money! Why would they ever do that!? haha, but that's cool. I figured I'd make sure you didn't forget about 'em or anything. No rush or anything.
haha, nope! Just a matter of putting down my controller to do em, which is easier said than done.
Hey, look at this! New review time, let’s see if I still remember how to do this, haha. I really liked the fun setting you began the chapter, with the gang being in the narrow brick lined hallway with the torches. The little joke about Sonia and Ruby being able identify Lances and locks at a glance was a great touch. Ruby’s flippant reply that she’s gonna go steal the key to the big vault of treasure from the King was great set-up for the chapter and her little solo adventure in finding.
The big Ruby scene started off pretty well. I thought ya did a good job giving a quick overview of the layout of the Palace and the guard situation before throwing us right into her sneaking around. I also liked the little break of dialogue with the two faceless people talking about a dragon and Lamont. Seems like something big that’ll be addressed later on. But to me, after Ruby goes out onto the balcony the scene starts to get rushed and uneven. To tell us the entire layout of the palace is fine, since the map is in Ruby’s head, but when Ruby can just turn her head to see the series of balconies it would’ve worked better. And you do have Ruby looking at the next flagpole and balcony, but I think you could’ve expanded that with a couple words and cut the 50 words of dry factual “there’s a series of balconies around the palace” to keep it tighter.
The big jump moment, on the other hand, could’ve used the extra 50 words to flesh it out more. I would’ve liked to hear how she got over the railing instead of the narrative going from her running to being in mid-air. Ruby hitting her shoulder also felt vague since railings are only about three feet high and there’s no mention of any brackets, like some balconies will have, so that was a bit unclear to me what exactly she hits which muddles up my perception of exactly how far the jump was and how it all happened. I can tell you were probably getting a bit tired of the Ruby scene at that point and just wanted to move on already, haha. Which does tend to happen to me, at least, when I gotta write these big narrative heavy scenes with little dialogue.
But you did pull the chapter back together with a strong ending scene. The dialogue in the last scene of the chapter was a smooth back and forth and the conversation between Sonia and Antoine continued their longstanding differences in honor, with both hitting each other with a good point. After the light hearted race, the vault being a trap turned the tension back and reminded them that their mission is a dangerous one. I would’ve liked a bit more explanation as to why Antoine knew it was trap, since that was a little unclear, but Demtri himself making an appearance was a great cliffhanger for the next chapter. So, overall I thought it was another good issue. Started strong, had a few hiccups in the middle, but you regained your footing in the end to leave me wantin more. Luckily that chapter is already up, haha. I'll hopefully have that one ready in a few days!
Thanks for the review, Hawk! I was looking back at the chapter again, and I'd say you pretty much summed up what I liked about it and didn't like about it. The beginning and ending were a lot easier to write, since there was plenty of dialogue, and the middle was a lot tougher with the lack of dialogue. By the time I got to the big jump, and Ruby's actual search of the room for the key, I was kinda ready to move on to the next scene. Maybe that just means I should try to keep scenes like that to a bit shorter length for now, until I get better at writing them. Then, it'll be easier to write a long narrative-heavy scene, since I'll have built up to it with shorter ones.
I'm glad you mentioned the part about lances and locks. I thought that was just another fun small way of showing the very different skillsets and different types of knowledge everyone has. With the part at the end where Antoine knew it was a trap, I was going for something where he was suspicious of the fact that the stone was the only thing in the vault, like Dmitri didn't want to put anything he actually considered valuable in the vault with it, in case they actually made it that far. Though that wasn't really clear, the way I wrote it.
Yeah, you should stick smaller for now and try to slowly build bigger. Its an endurance thing so going from 500 words to 1K is still gonna lead to some fatigue even if you've gotten good at 500 words. Constant narrative can be tiring, because it's more thought involved than most dialogue. Even if you already know what the room looks like or how an action scene flows figuring out how to transfer the dry facts into something good to read again and again can wear ya out. A lot of narrative can be just as tiring for a reader too, which makes it important that's good or the reader might quit or skim ahead. You have to be careful not to put in unecessary sentences and make what's there count while keeping a certain level of detail. It's not one of the easiest things in the world to write, haha.
Yeah, the tricky part is figuring out how to get my idea of what's going on into words that actually sound good. I can picture what it looks like, but finding the right words for it is tough sometimes, of course. I got an action scene next issue, so that'll be a good chance to take another shot at a more narrative-heavy scene, though.
Look at this! Another review and it didn’t even take me six months to do. I’m onna roll, haha. You left off the last chapter on great cliffhanger and dove right into it to start the new one. I like the way you set up the situation with Soniia’s views on self-sacrifice and comparison of Dmitri’s knights against a mercenary and a thief, and we know just how much she thinks of those occupations, haha. I liked the first bit of dialogue goes right to what had been the driving force of the unexpected team-up between Sonia and Antoine, the theft of the Lion’s Seal, and Dmitri’s use of it. Where I thought could’ve used some improvement was the threat level by giving Dmitri’s gaggle of knights a stronger presence. A great villain can add a lot to a story and part of what goes into that is making them a genuine threat, whether it be psychological or physical. In that scene, Dmitri might’ve outsmarted them, but it’s the small army of knights standing in their way that’s the immediate threat and they only get one off hand mention. I think if the knights had more presence, like physically stopping Sonia from attacking Dmitri instead of Antoine’s hand on her shoulder, it would’ve gave Dmitri more villain cred and made Sonia look better by not submitting so quickly to Antoine’s will.
On the subject of Antoine, I thought two of his usual jokes were borderline for my taste. A bit of lighthearted teasing is one thing, but wanting to push her face first into the mud and embarrassing her in front of his friends feels more jerk than fun. If the behavior was intended to be a flaw it would’ve sat better to me if it was acknowledged in the story that he wasn’t being particularly nice. Your intent was a little unclear to me. Funny enough, I thought Ruby handled it better than he did. She cracked a joke at Sonia’s expense too, but the way it was phrased wasn’t as harsh and the “that’s the good old Sonia we know and love” from the last issue makes Ruby’s intent to be more playful. I can tell that Ruby does like Sonia whereas I'm not sure where Antoine stands yet. He likes teasing her, I know that much, haha.
Moving on to Ruby, I really liked the way you used her actions during the escape scene to develop more of her character and history later on in the chapter when the characters had a better chance to talk. I also like the way it says something about Antoine that he felt he has to stick up for Ruby like a protective older brother. The way Ruby got them out of trouble with Dmitri and the guards was fun too, with the use of the smoke pellet to hide their escape, showing us again why Ruby is the best at thieving.
The introduction of Liam and Lilly was well done and I liked there’s a bit of suspense about whether Liam will alert the guards to Antoine and the gang hiding in his shop to protect his family. Both of them seemed pretty nice in the brief scene, but the doubt is there and in the minds of the gang as they hide in Liam’s hole in the ground. It’ll be lots of fun to see where this goes in the coming chapters and what role Liam will have in the story. The way you wrote it felt like he could just as easily join the team as he could betray em.
You did a really good job of descriptions in this issue! I really like the way you described the sea fiery red knights opposing the gang in the intro as well as the detail you gave to the raining scene and the way Liam’s tiny little shop looked. Dmitri has some room for improvement, but overall, it was another strong issue from ya! Can’t wait to see where the situation with Liam goes and what happens with the trio now that they know Dmitri is aware of them.
Wow, you might need to take a couple years off now! haha, thanks for the super long review, Hawk!
You definitely have a point about Dmitri and his knights. In a lot of ways, I was kinda unsure of what to do with a huge group of knights, since I'm used to having small numbers of people in a scene. Any advise on dealing with big crowds, Hawk?
I guess I was kinda going for something between fun and jerk. He isn't exactly the nicest, though he does have a couple moments where he's clearly helping Sonia out. I personally liked the moment where he stays behind to hold the knights off for a while, pretending that he's got the easy job to get Sonia to go ahead with Ruby. Though that's also another moment where I didn't know what to do with the knights.
It's interesting that Ruby seems to end up shining more than anyone else, when I didn't really plan on this being a Ruby-centric chapter. She just always seems to steal the spotlight away from everyone else, though. Yes, it was necessary to italicize that to point out my lame play on words...
I agree that this was probably my best chapter for descriptions yet. There's definitely room to improve, of course, but it was a good step forward, especially in the rain scene. Rain is nice for writing little details, of course, since you got the splashing of the water, water dripping down objects, etc.
You'll get a bit of resolution with Liam next chapter, since this chapter basically wraps up this act of the story, if you wanna call it that. So, you won't exactly have to wait around looking for signs of whether Liam's gonna betray the group or not.