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Thread: City Eternal (My novel)

  1. #1

    City Eternal (My novel)

    I'm currently in-process of writing a novel (and no, it's not for NaNoWriMo).

    The title is City Eternal. The story revolves around a post-apocalyptic Earth that is finally making headway in recovery. The story focuses not on the usual struggles of living in such a world. Instead, it focuses on the progression of government and humanity.

    It's a little sci-fi, but you won't be seeing crazy spaceships or advanced laser weapons. I guess it feels like a somewhat-realistic future.

    In any case, the prologue will introduce you to the story far better than this post does. I hope you all enjoy it, and will continue to read it as I post.

    All feedback welcome! (Oh, and if you leave comments on the site I'll give you a cookie too!)
    Last edited by Cool Matty; 04-28-2009 at 12:05 PM.

  2. #2
    I've already been reading it (I bother NeS writers all the time what they're doing instead of writing for NeS, so yeah...) and while, so far, this doesn't appear to be my sort of story, it still appears to be a good story and I'm still trying to help out as much as I can. I hope you all will do the same.

    While Cool Matty already replied back to my feedback so far, here's a couple points I brought up when reading what's up so far:

    1) You mention that the main character is easily worn out after using her speed enhancement, among other downsides not mentioned in the second half of chapter 2. However, it seems she's able to use this ability without getting tired, and the closest thing to a "downside" so far seems to be her emotional breakdown after killing the 4 soldiers in chapter 2. This doesn't seem to be an actual side-effect caused by her genetic enhancement but just a human moment.

    Response: She hasn't used much of her ability yet. A few moments of speed isn't quite enough. It'll be more obvious later. (The battle on the ship did take a bit of a tole, but she was also unconcious :p)

    2) I'm confused about the history of the rebel camp versus the government of city eternal. The government can't nuke the camp because they have a fusion generator that they want, but then it's also mentioned that before, the government left them alone. Why didn't the government nuke them BEFORE they had the fusion generator? The reasoning behind it doesn't seem very clear.

    Reponse: I should probably make it more obvious, but basically the government didn't see reason in nuking previously, but later wants to because they've become a real nuisance. by that time, however, they had missed their chance.

    Anywhos, help him out, people!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  3. #3
    I don't have time to read it just now, as I'm off to bed. But I'll check it out tomorrow.

    (just wanted to post, really..)
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  4. #4
    Silly CM! If you ain't gonna be writing on the ISB, at least update more on your novel. Yes, update ALL THE TIME! 24/7! And none of this "I'm legitimately ill" shenanigans! Hop to it!

    ...well, in the meantime, you other peoples should at least read and reply to CM's stuff more!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  5. #5
    Yeah, maybe I'd actually write if people read

    Nah but really the next chapter goes up this weekend, and it's like three times as long as the other ones >.>

  6. #6
    Yeah CM, I didn't read it.. I kinda forgot. I'm gonna though, this weekend, I promise.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  7. #7
    So here's my thoughts on Chapter 6:

    1) There's talk of an "Asian festival" which sounds sort of generic, and honestly, seems more like an appeal to the trendy-factor of anything Asian.

    2) When Jonathan talks about his feelings on the mission, and Yuki's thoughts afterwards, they seem to lack subtext. "I'm angry!" < /Futurama >

    3) You explain what an obi is. While I admittedly didn't know what it was, it's still better if you don't say it's "the bow portion" and just describe what's being done with it. It's better not to spell things out.

    4) I'm not sure whether Yuki not knowing how to put on a kimono is bad or not. On one side, I feel like it's drawing more attention to what I consider as the trendy-Asian cookie-cutter style rather than original character stuff, but on the other hand, I admit that I'm amused at the idea that Yuki -- a bad-*** (likely Asian) character doesn't know how to put on a kimono... sort of like if James Bond didn't know English tea etiquette.

    5) You might want to consider "market" or something else other than "food district." Sounds iffy.

    6) The conversation between the people on the elevator seems fine in spirit, but I'd cut out the one person telling the others to grow up.

    7) Oh geez, an old wise woman named Gaia? I really hope I find out later that she's not all that wise, or wise but horribly racist, or "I'm not old, I'm 37!" or something, please!

    8) If you ARE going to explain stuff like what an obi is, you'll need to explain what a Monjayaki is too. Ideally, though, you'll show us what a Monjayaki is instead of telling us.

    Keep at it, Mr. Matty of the cool variety.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarn_Cadrill View Post
    Yeah CM, I didn't read it.. I kinda forgot. I'm gonna though, this weekend, I promise.
    yeah.. except that I didn't. Reading it right now.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  9. #9
    Uh huh, sure you are.

  10. #10
    well.. I did read the first couple chapters.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  11. #11
    I wonder when we'll see the next installment of City Eternal...
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  12. #12
    So I was told that Chapter 7 was up, so I read it, and here are my thoughts:

    -Mr. Fisher seems like a cool guy. I hope to see more of his quirkiness.

    -"Well, Sienna thought it would be a good idea for us to learn about the history of the dome and us." I don't usually pick at grammar in dialog, but in this case, "of us" or "us who live in it" or the like might be better.

    -"The radiation from the fusion reactor had given me eter-nal life" and "...but it had the most building material that could be recy-cled, it was close to the ocean, and it wasn’t too irradiated yet" as well as "What wasn’t irradiated by the reactions or nuclear deto-nations was frozen solid from the cold" have some random dashes regarding "eternal," "recycled," and "deto-nations" that shouldn't be there. There are others too, but I'm too lazy to find them and copy/paste here.

    -A note about this section:
    “Eternal life? That’s impossible!” I said in disbelief.

    “Impossible? This is coming from a girl with superhuman speed?” he replied with a smirk.

    “I, uh, right.” I shut up quick.

    I have to agree that it seems a bit much like a Golden Age Marvel comic character's origin story, but given the unique power plants, I can suspend my disbelief about it. However, I don't see our main character responding the way she did. More likely, I see her saying "But..." and then have it followed with "I decided to leave it at that." That way, you leave it ambiguous enough to keep your original interpretation, if you wish, but also to allow readers like me the ability to buy into genetic manipulation without necessarily buying into "radiation made me an immortal." Yes, we logically have to accept this man's story as true, but we're allowed just a little more leeway as to believing there were conditions perhaps that Mr. Fisher didn't spell out that make his situation as plausible in this story's world as genetic manipulation.

    -In general, I felt that this "narrative background" fits well enough into the story. Still, you'll want to do as much as you can to give the necessity for our main characters to hear this story. Why do they need to know this? You can either do this directly with them asking, or somehow show that their knowledge is thought to be required by whoever had our characters listen to the history.

    I think that's all I have to say. Keep at it!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  13. #13
    I'll comment on Chapter 8 before reading Chapter 9:

    -Anna being allowed to go is not something I entirely buy... I would think (or hope at least) that Yukari and Jonathan would do more than just bicker about it for a bit, but have better reason to bring her along.

    -Asian culture festival...still don't like the name.

    -I'm suspicious of Jonathan when he forgets the floor number. If that's not your intent, you might want to reconsider that part.

    -Jonathan tries to move in on Yukari... hehe.

    Don't really have much else to say on this chapter -- on to Chapter 9!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  14. #14
    And now, Chapter 9, where I see this twist you're talking about. Here are my thoughts on the chapter:

    -the bit about Sienna concerned with how Yukari dresses seems odd, to say the least. This is part of what I think is a bigger problem I'll address later.

    -"I finally took a deep breath, pushed the ever-increasing nervous stomach cramps to the back of my mind, and walked back out to the couch." I like this kind of detail. It's real and familiar.

    -"From what I remember, the operation lasted 16 hours. I however did not wake up until four days later." How the heck does Yukari know?

    -"It wasn't until the next time I woke up that they told me that I had reacted strongly to the adjustment, and as such my body's DNA had corrupted itself. Apparently this was a common occurrence among their patients, but the results are always different. In my case, they told me, my DNA had reformed to that of a female." It's been a while since I've read the earlier chapters, but this seems to be a change that wouldn't just happen with genetic manipulation. I'd imagine at the very least there be some violent scarring or the like from when Yukari was incapacitated. More likely, I'd give more than 4 days for this sort of thing... something that should probably be conveyed more in the text itself. That is, stretch out that part a little more so it FEELS like a longer time for the reader. Also, the word of the use "corrupted" I think doesn't help the larger problem of this chapter.

    -"My chest hadn't yet developed, but there was certainly something missing down below." You should either make it more vague or more explicit. Right now, it sounds like you're just being vague enough to get by church-goers, for lack of better words.

    -"Sienna, who had been intently listening to what I was telling her, suddenly spoke up after hearing this. I lowered my head in shame, waiting for her reaction. "Oh my God, Yukari! I didn't… I didn't know!" she said tearfully" Not the reaction I'd expect from another woman. Not to say Sienna couldn't empathize, but I'd imagine she'd be more likely at a loss for words.

    -"That first night was hell. Jonathan, who at the time was in the neighboring cell, attempted to talk to me, to calm me down, but I couldn't." So wait, Jonathan KNOWS? And he still put the moves on Yukari? This could be quite an interestingly complex relationship if that's the case.

    -""I think I can see how you feel, and having to suddenly live your life as a woman, after living as a man for so many years… but what I don't get is… it isn't that bad, being a woman, don't you think?" She asked carefully...."

    From here, to the last sentence of your chapter, the major problem of this chapter arises -- it's sexist. I have no problem if Yukari is sexist -- I think that would add a lot of depth to her character and make her reactions to being forced as a woman engaging. However, Sienna's dialogue in particular is not believable for me, and coupled with Yukari's description, your message comes across as "woman are inferior, being a woman is a curse." Even if Sienna is the type of woman to believe that in herself, this chapter does not come across as two characters who have similar views on women. I could be wrong, but I don't think it's your intention to imply that women are inferior. Whatever the case, I would hope that you'll re-examine this chapter and try to make the character's behaviors and perceptions as their own and more believable. If you don't want to take my word on it, I'd suggest trying to get a variety of female readers to critic your novel up through this chapter and see what they say.

    I don't want you to get the wrong idea -- this is the first thing about your novel that has really interested me, and you know how I've felt about the content of your book in general. I don't believe in being "PC" either. I do believe in trying to convey how people would really react to any given situation, and if that reaction is different due to the context, that context needs to be pounded over the head several times.

    If nothing else, try not to squander this twist. Do not have it be a twist for the sake of being a twist -- make sure it's relevant to the story that you're telling.

    I await your further installments of City Eternal.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  15. #15
    I'll definitely have to redo the sexist part. That's not what I wanted to get across with that, and if there's any doubt then it's wrongly written.

  16. #16
    *waits for a new update*...
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  17. #17
    So I just read Chapter 10. I don't have much to say on it, since it's not too long, but the short is I really liked it. I like how the gender crisis in the previous chapter is being handled in this one, and while I don't expect (or even desire) that you make this the focus of your story, I greatly look forward to how this development will tie in to the rest of your story.

    I will say that, once you've written a complete rough draft of the entire story, I (or someone, at least you) should try reading through it all as a whole, with fresh eyes, to make sure it still flows well and such.

    Keep at it!
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  18. #18
    I've already read through some of it and the beginning already requires major revision. But it at least holds up. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  19. #19
    Had a good read of some of it and yeah I like it. Like the backstory as well. Keep it up dude .

  20. #20
    Chapter 11 is now posted, and it's the longest chapter in the novel so far.

    Begin Episode 3: Operation CARMEL!

  21. #21
    ZOMG! I keep forgetting to do a more critical look at it.

    The short is though that this chapter seems fine to me. I ain't wetting my pants in excitement, but it ain't god-awful either.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  22. #22
    I'm lazy, so I'm just going to say that Chapter 12 is pretty good. Got some exciting moments, among some other stuff. Only other complaint would be that the description of the Old City Eternal seems to be too tell-y... and I'm also confused why they literally built OVER the old city and didn't demolish it. Don't get me wrong, it's very cool... I'd just would like an explanation if possible.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  23. #23
    Egads, I've been even lazier in not posting my feedback here on this thread!

    However, I'm printing off your story and sending it to Highemperor, so I think I can be forgiven. *nod nod*
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

  24. #24
    Chapter 16 just got posted for everyone who's keeping up with it. The next chapter will be the final chapter for Operation CARMEL, so we're very nearly at the end of this "episode" or arc.

  25. #25
    Your latest chapter actually left me a little on edge, so props for that! However, I'm still too lazy to do the play-by-play that I have in the past, sorry!

  26. #26
    Chapter 17 is posted! As promised, this concludes the "Episode 3" of the novel, for Operation CARMEL.

    Also, a side note, my novel can now be found at proper urls of:

  27. #27
    Hey Cool Matty. Please note that I didn't read the entire book, so I'm not sure whether you're more looking for specific crits or general storyline comments. So feel free to take everything I say with a grain of salt.

    This reads like a first draft (probably because it is), so here's some suggestions on how you can edit things when the book's in post-production, so to say.

    And kudos for having the patience and the dedication to keep on writing!

    Sienna then stepped forward, and handed Tobias her pistol.
    Would be more action oriented if you get rid of the "then."

    "I never actually used it before, it should still be loaded…"

    Tobias shrugged, and aimed the piece at the motor.

    "Everyone stand back," he warned.
    Most of the writing tips I've read recommend not using subsitutes for the word "said" as it weakens the prose. "Everybody stand back," he said.

    We all stepped back, and he began firing at the motor.
    We stepped back, and he fired at the motor.

    He carefully aimed after each shot, trying to hit the same place every time.
    He aimed each shot carefully, trying to hit...

    Finally, on the 8th shot,
    "eighth" shot - don't subsitute numbers for words in writing.

    some of the casing of the motor flew up and off. He then picked up the remaining half of my snapped sword,
    I assume we already know the narrator's sword had been snapped.

    and began to dig around inside of it.
    Inside the sword? Subsitute "it" with "motor."

    With a loud snap, Tobias jumped, hitting his head on the top of the ventilation shaft.
    I was thinking they were outside, but then again, I didn't read anything prior to this, so if you set the setting before it, it should be fine. However would read stronger IMO if you would've written, "There was a loud snap, and Tobias jumped, hitting..."

    "What the heck are you doing, Tobias?" I asked mockingly.
    Two mistakes (again, obviously whatever I consider a mistake is purely subjective). First of all, it's not often someone uses someone else's name in conversation unless they're greeting them. And secondly, "mockingly" is an adjective. And adjectives have to go.

    Hope that's of some help. Best of luck with the book! Cheers!

  28. #28
    Thanks, I'll certainly take a lot of it into consideration.

    And yes, it is obviously a first draft, I try not to focus on editing my story unless I feel it is detracting greatly from the storytelling itself. The vast amounts of editing can come after I've cranked it out.

    So while I definitely enjoy any critiques and comments, I am looking for more story-level critiques. Thanks though, I really appreciate it!

  29. #29
    So I'm still reading, now having just read Chapter 19. First, some redundancy that stuck out in particular (random note: I have problems with redundancy in my own writing) :
    Before we headed back up, Michael pointed out that the stairs continued downwards. Below the bedrooms was the engine room, where the jet engine and lift system was held. He mentioned that Anna was the only one who could actually stand upright in there, as the bottom deck was short and cramped.

    Just before we headed back up, Jonathan and a couple of dock workers came down from above, carrying our luggage. I thanked them for the help, and we settled into our respective bedrooms. Once we were unpacked, Michael called from above over the intercom, informing us that we were about to get underway. I hurried out of my room up the stairs to the surface deck, and joined the others in saying goodbye to the refugee camp.
    Otherwise, nothing great, nothing horrible.

    Don't forget to show the reader why this story needs to be told in first person - be sure to have your narrator describe one thing but say something else in the subtext when dramatically appropriate. Also, while I still believe you've done a good thing by not strangling this story with Yuki's gender conflict, don't downplay it too much either. I mention these points only because the thoughts crossed my mind as I was reading this latest chapter, not that I think you'll avoid the things I just mentioned.

    Keep it up!

  30. #30
    Read Chapter 20. Not bad, though I wondered why Yuki risked staying up above when she kept nearly falling off the ship and getting her head lopped off and generally not needed up above as far as I could tell. I rather liked the general conflict of this chapter for some reason. Don't really have much more to say except, of course, to keep at it!

  31. #31
    Congrats on your perseverance. I'm really impressed with how you've stuck with this all this time. I plan to read it when I get the time.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  32. #32
    Geb: Yukari went up top because Michael was awake. Mostly for character development, on her part actually, later on. Of course, hearing about Michael's past was just gravy. It's not terribly dangerous up top because they're at sailing speeds. Previously on the old Aeris, they were moving at top speed with the jet, which was around 10x the speed.

    I forget what speed I had originally calculated they were to go at, but overall they were supposed to average out to be there in a little over a week. (Like 8-9 days) Surprisingly, Wisconsin isn't that far from New York when you're going in a straight line, haha. (It's about 800 miles from the dome to the middle of Wisconsin) Also it doesn't help their speed that they cannot sail directly in a straight line the whole time, as the wind actually goes in the opposite direction. They have to trim the sails carefully and go at it at an angle. I've done my research on sailing, haha.

    And thanks Freelancer. It's my pride and joy, despite its rough edges.
    Last edited by Cool Matty; 04-13-2010 at 12:44 AM.

  33. #33
    Chapter 21:

    I like the mood of ominous and abandoned disrepair. A couple technical things:

    Before long, we were able to actually understand what was being said. Michael had Sienna, Anna and myself sit by the speaker and try to pick up on what was being said.

    "Whatever the signal is, I did some analysis. It's a looping message. Try to figure out what its saying," he told us over the intercom.
    The first two sentences are redundant. The line of dialog seems out of order, as I imagine it should read "I did some analysis on the signal. It's a looping message, whatever it is. Try to figure out what it's saying."

    I'm also wondering, with the obviously poor condition of the city, why there isn't more reluctance about stepping into what could fall on top of them.

    Chapter 22:

    Aha, some concern about the structural integrity while they're in it now! But why do they think there will be any Wisconsin dome residents there?

    "No, ghosts aren't real! I'm not scared, I'm just nervous!" She responded, annoyed.
    I like this line. It seems like a real honest line from a child.

    I like the introduction of Sydney, I'm interested to see where it goes.

    Chapter 23:

    I noticed this chapter starts with the "over an hour" bit again.

    Action pacing, dun dun duh-duh-dun! I like. For some reason, I'm getting a Resident Evil movie vibe, minus the zombies.

    While the action scenes with Sydney seem impressive, it seems there could have still been a little less flair and more practicality behind it all. Why didn't Sydney kill them? Or at the very least, whack them on the head unconscious? (Normally this would be unrealistic as well, but if anybody could do it effectively, I'd imagine it'd be an AI).

    So the idea of them hitting up likely non-functioning bathrooms in this scenario, while likely somewhat realistic, is a bit of a mood killer in the 'can't take it seriously' way.

    Despite the long and difficult trek back to the outer edges of the dome, we managed to make it undetected.
    This seems a bit abrupt of a summary that I'd only expect from a new chapter start.
    The Plothole: a home for amateur, inclusive, collaborative stories

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