Courtney’s Page

Courtney on Chapter 1 – 17 August 2010

I’m liking this story so far. I really like the idea of the upper classes having special abilities. It reminds me of Anghara and Sight, and not in a bad way! The beginning is a little hard to understand, it starts out with a lot of mystery, which is good, but with all the “he’s” it gets a little confusing as to which “he” you’re talking about. Not sure how to fix this while still keeping the mysterious element. I really like the dynamic between Rainald and Alleth, I hope that it gets explored more fully. As I read through it more, I found myself getting put off by the multiple names used for their ‘gifts’. There’s Contact, Pattern, Gift, and I think a few more. I feel it would be more approachable if you only had one or two proper names for it, for instance keeping ‘Pattern’ as the term for feeling the other person, the term for everyone’s unique voice through ‘Contact’. The Pattern stones are a little confusing as well, but I think they will add a nice touch as long as they are explained to have a purpose other than just identifying Clan members.

Rainald’s father’s death was a little bit sudden, it didn’t seem like he was in danger of dying from much more than old age. I think it would make a lot more sense to say that he was sick, everything happened too fast, one minute Rainald is worrying about drawing his father’s anger for being out late and the next his father is dead and he’s Lord Avigor.

The dynamic between the Clan council members is very entertaining. The meeting was filled with tension and it introduced the concept of the caste’s in the country very well. The visitor’s description put me off a little at first, aliens added on top of medieval type settings and superhuman powers seemed like too much, but as I read further I discovered that this land is a colony and that they’ve seen and heard of starships before. I really enjoy that you’ve taken a new spin on the medieval land. They aren’t back in time, they’re forward. Not too much negative to say simple grammatical errors that I’m sure you don’t need my help to find. Overall I really liked the first chapter, it just needs a little work on the continuity and flow that gets lost in the attempt to keep Rainald’s identity hidden.

Courtney on Chapter 1 Rewrite – 19 September 2010

I really like what you did with the chapter one rewrite. The transitions are much smoother and everything fits together a lot better. I also like that you kept the Council meeting basically the same, that was one of my favorite parts. I’m glad that you took the bar meeting out of the beginning and slid it into the story at a more appropriate time as a memory. The father’s death is much more understandable in this version, it isn’t as abrupt and confusing as it was before which helps me more forward through the story as a reader. Overall, the rewrite is much more concise and to the point, the little ramblings that are to be expected from newer writers have been erased and the final outcome is a great start to what promises to be a great story.

Courtney on Chapter 2 – 3 October 2010

– The brother-sister dynamic between Alleth and Rainald was shown off very well in this chapter. The two of them are witty and seem to be very close to each other. Alleth’s character provides a good foundation for Rainald to return to.

-The memory flash when Rainald is crossing the river Eman gives a very good glimpse into his childhood and his relationship to his father. Even with the edits to the first chapter I hope this part stays in and becomes even better because it showed me the depth of their love.

-Our brief introduction to Rainald’s mother gives us a good understanding of her relationship and loyalty to his father, which shows us more about what kind of man his father was, to inspire such love, it also shows us yet another strong female presence in Rainald’s life.

-The friendship between Gilden and Rainald is very nice, I enjoyed their banter and it will be good for Rainald to have a friend who is close to his age and is going through the same experiences.

-The precognition came on a little suddenly, I would like to see that part played out a little more because there was never any evidence of Rainald being a precog and then BAM, he suddenly is. I do like the idea of him becoming a precog but he recognizes it so fast and accepts it so fast that I have trouble believing it.

My main suggestion is just to break this chapter into two separate ones. I’d like to see a little more of what he did in those months at Macha with his family, get some more dynamic with his mother and his other sister. And then also get a little more detail into his encounter with Aleta and his sudden onset precognition.

Courtney on Chapter 3 – 17 November 2010

Here’s what I have to say on chapter 3:

In regards to your question on whether to combine chapters two and three or keep them separated, I believe the latter would be best. I like the idea of pushing most of the relationship development in chapter two and focusing more on the council in chapter three. Although, in my opinion, this whole thing between Rainald and Aleta happens much too quickly. To go from strangers to this tight bond and referring to each other with loving pet names, it just seems too sudden to me, and suddenness like that can put reader’s off. It seemed as if the story were getting crammed together into one big mess of happenings. Too much was happening and the story kept jumping and the tone would go from one of seriousness to one of playfulness at moments that seemed impractical (such as Rainald taking pleasure in Gilden’s surprise when he really should have perhaps been a little more worried about this upcoming meeting).

I do like where this is going though, his realization at the end that the shipwrecked newcomers might be the forerunners of a new clan and -gasp- what does this mean for the current clan? It’s very exciting. As you stated, there is a lot of infodumpishness in this chapter, but a lot of that is helpful, such as the explanation of the Ichari and the origins of the clan so that should all be kept in. The only thing that is still really bothering me is Rainald’s personal life is just…exploding too quickly. We have barely met him and his world and suddenly he’s gotten this new gift and a new bride and the two of them are very close even though it appears it’s only been a day since they met. A shared gift of Precog, in my opinion, wouldn’t really give that sort of bond. They may have seen that they end up together, but it wouldn’t just happen in an instant, they’d still have to work at getting to know each other. I do appreciate the bond between their gifts, I can see that happening, the two of their gifts bonding so entirely that they are always in contact with each other, but I would see that more as a weird tool for them to get to know each other better rather than as a sort of love potion.

 

 

Courtney on Chapter 2 Rewrite – 12 December 2010

 
The people who stared knew who Rainald was, what he was… and all at once he was struck all at once by… – All at once was used twice in the same sentence here.

Also, consider changing either the sister or the betrothed’s name. I realize that it was intentional but they are almost too much alike, I found myself getting confused as to whom he was talking about or to.

The Avigor estate was bordered on two sides by the Eman, a deep and swiftly flowing river whose treacherous currents had been the subject of dire childhood warnings for every Avigor child. – Unnecessary repetition of the word “child”. Perhaps just “dire warnings for every Avigor child”.

I really like the way you have described his time spent between Colgarma visits. It is a much less abrupt transition and gives us a good view of the type of Clan leader that Rainald is and hopes to be. Not to mention showing us how clever he is by knowing he will be watched and trying to act accordingly.

Thank goodness! The whole Rainald/Aleta deal is so much easier to swallow now. I am much happier with him having no inclination that what he experienced was precog and having her tell him that’s what it was. It makes much more sense and flows a bit more naturally. Thank you! I am much more content with how things are turning out now. I like Aleta a bit more now too, before she seemed too young and unsure of herself. In the rewrite however, she has now become Rainald’s teacher in this precog business and proven herself to be a smart and capable woman.  I am quite happy with the new chapter two.

Courtney on Chapter 3 Rewrite – 11 February 2011

Okay, first off, a quick note: “He clapped Rainald, sitting silent, on the shoulder, smiling.” That sentence is just…wow. I know that it’s supposed to mean that Dow is clapping Rainald on the shoulder and smiling whilst Rainald is sitting silent, but it looks like…well it looks like a mess.

I don’t think I have mentioned this yet but I quite enjoy the fact that each clan has their own colors and gemstones. It seems so well-thought out and organized, hardly something I would have thought a 14 year old capable of in their first writings. I guess I just haven’t met the right 14
year olds.

All in all, I like the rewrite, though the sudden close bond between Rainald and Aleta still bothers me a little. Rather than seeming like a love that will last through the ages as it should be, it seems more like two high school kids going “oh we’ve only been dating for a week but I love her, I know I do. We’re gonna get married,” even though everyone knows they will hate each other in a week. It seems empty. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just this chapter and I will grow to understand it as the story progresses but that is how I feel about it for now.

Courtney on Chapter 4

Overall I enjoyed this fourth chapter. It still seems as if
this beginning is rushed but I now see that it was done that way in order to
get to the real story which comes into play after Aleta and Rainald have been
married and matured and their children born. This chapter gives a good bridge
between the start of the book and what is surely coming up next, though I am
sad to hear that Rainald and Gilden are going to become enemies.

 

I really like that Rainald can’t just turn the ‘link’ on and
off between him and Aleta and that you explored the repercussions that would
come both from having the link and from trying to hold it back. It makes the
whole thing much more approachable and much as I have had problems with Aleta
in the past this chapter helped me understand her better and even has me liking
her.

 

I don’t really have any suggestions of changes for this
chapter, some of the bits at the end got a mite confusing but I’m sure that
will be cleared up in the revisions.

One Comment to “Courtney’s Page”

  1. I was wondering if you have heard of nanowrimo; it’s a national writing competition. the goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It seems like a fun and interesting challenge so I plan on attending. Thought you might want to. Here’s a link for the site http://www.nanowrimo.org/

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