Forum: Elena Tiriel - Star Gazings

Discussing: [Inactive] Fortune's Intrigue - beta (Replaced by Fortune's Paradox)

[Inactive] Fortune's Intrigue - beta (Replaced by Fortune's Paradox)

Hi everyone, I would be most grateful if you could give me any feedback on my beta story, Fortune's Intrigue. I am a brand-new author, so please be merciLESS! I need all the help I can get! Thank you in advance for your time and effort! Best regards, Barbara aka Elena Tiriel

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi Barbara

I said this over on the HA list, but wanted to say it here as well:

I thought this was great! Very well written - I got the "joke" at just the right point to be able to really enjoy it. (Your "author's notes" were also pretty darn funny!)

I think you have produced a great example of a MarySue-type character who transcends and subverts the cliches through excellent writing, so that she *isn't* a MarySue. (And, after all, where was all the stuff about her "tossing her rippling chestnut locks and staring up at him from her big violet eyes"?!?)

Can't wait to see the next part!

Liz

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi Barbara

sorry to bring you down with a bump, but I just saw a standard MarySue in the "In Caras Galathon, Seven Years Later" chapter and therefore didn't really enjoy it. I kept waiting for you to subvert the MarySueness as as you did in the previous chapter but didn't see it happen

It's still very nicely written in terms of your use of language, but - as a MarySue hater - the plot side just seemed dull to me and I struggled to care about these people. I'm not sure I really learned anything new about them that wasn't in the previous story.

I feel very mean saying all of this, especially after the first piece delighted me so much, but it just wasn't my cup of tea...

All the best

Liz

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi Liz,

Your comments aren't mean, they're incredibly valuable! Thank you!

Yes, this chapter is a bit, um, ordinary. Maybe I should shorten it?

But the next chapter should be interesting to you. It will be the last, so if you would consent to read it and let me know what you think (as a representative of Mary Sue haters!), I would much appreciate it.

And thank you again for taking the time to give me feedback!

Best regards,
Barbara

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hello, Elena ~

I don't think you have your third/last chapter set to public status presently. I only see the author's notes, and two story chapters (unless it's only a two-part story, in that case never mind me!).

I'm going to try and stop by once the story's finished, and give what insight I can offer from a Very Nitpicky Beta (TM) and reader point of view.
See you then. :-)
-AE

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Oh, I get so confused! No wonder I'm confusing my readers!

"Chapter 1" *is* the Author's Notes. I couldn't see a way to set the chapter number to "Prologue" or anything like that.

And yes, there are currently only two "real" chapters. I'll post the last chappie tomorrow.

Oh, and I've been meaning to email you! I've mentioned your story "Last Hope" in a footnote of the Author's Notes. The context is positive, but please let me know if it's okay to include this mention.

I would be delighted to hear any feedback you have. (I just beta'ed my first story, and the list of nits I picked was long indeed. The poor author! So, sock it to me, please -- I can take it!)

- Barbara
aka Elena Tiriel

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi Barbara

Your comments aren't mean, they're incredibly valuable! Thank you!

Oh good! I guess I was just brought up with the mantra "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all", so I usually pass on in silence if I don't like something. Hence I found it very hard to write that review.

Yes, this chapter is a bit, um, ordinary. Maybe I should shorten it?

I'll wait to see the last chapter before I make any specific comments, since that will probably influence what I think you should have in this one.

But the next chapter should be interesting to you. It will be the last, so if you would consent to read it and let me know what you think (as a representative of Mary Sue haters!), I would much appreciate it.

I will indeed read it - as a MarySue hater, I'm all for helping authors rescue their stories from MarySuedom if I can!

Let me know when the next chapter is up

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue - third chapter

OK, now I get the joke!!! And yes, I laughed out loud about how you subverted the MarySue. This is exactly what the genre needs!

But I still have problems with the second chapter, and would probably have given up reading at this point.

Would it be possible to radically shorten the second chapter and then attach the last chapter directly, so we get the punchline more quickly?

For instance, I like first three or four paragraphs of chapter two, since they provide the set up and have an amusing twist regarding her thoughts about asking Haldir for a translation. But I was really rather bored with all the romantic stuff after that. So if you can get our heroine drifting back off to sleep rather more quickly....?

I mean, I'd be quite happy with your existing first four paragraphs followed by something like "My beloved was happy to demonstrate exactly what both words meant - and quite a lot of other Sindarin words that were new to me." Then your last three paragraphs. Then a section break followed by the next chapter.

Wow, that's a rather radical cut, isn't it? Anyway, that's just my humble opinion.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Elena ~

Oh, and I've been meaning to email you! I've mentioned your story "Last Hope" in a footnote of the Author's Notes. The context is positive, but please let me know if it's okay to include this mention.

Not that I could stop you or anyone from saying even negative things... ;-) But yes, you're welcome to make the reference. Thanks for the story plug! :-)

I would be delighted to hear any feedback you have. (I just beta'ed my first story, and the list of nits I picked was long indeed. The poor author! So, sock it to me, please -- I can take it!)

Alas that I never have an hour-long minute when I want one... but here's some commentary, if not a full-out beta reading.

Chapter 2:
My first impression was that the girl mistaking the Elves for orcs was a mite unbelievable, due in part to that scene being so prolonged. If she could feel the person holding her (garb, size, shape) and hear any who spoke nearby (voice, language, tone), coupled with the fact that she was not immediately mistreated (beaten, tied up), I'm not sure I buy that she wouldn't register sooner these were not orcs. If the scene were left more or less as is, but shortened, I think it would heighten the believability factor notably. (Besides... Elves have got to smell better than orcs, right? )

Chapter 3:
This chapter seemed to be a recap of the first chapter, basically. I understand for the purpose of the story that this was probably your intention. However, as a reader, it didn't captivate me like it could. I think with some condensing overall, this exploration of the two sides to a single situation/scene would be interesting. As is, I feel that it may be a little too drawn out.

General nitpicks:
*I might suggest combing through and removing a few modifiers (adjectives/adverbs) here and there.
*A style point, not sure if this is a uniform rule... but personally I wouldn't include punctuation (quotation marks or exclamation points) within emphasis. For example, I would change "Listen!" to "Listen!"

Hope this was helpful. :-)
-AE

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue - third chapter

Liz,

Sorry for not answering sooner! Real Life can be so intrusive at times ...

OK, now I get the joke!!! And yes, I laughed out loud about how you subverted the MarySue. This is exactly what the genre needs!

Good! Subverting the genre is part of what I was aiming for here. Unfortunately, it was not really intended to be **funny** ...

One of the issues that I didn't even think about before publishing (being such a newbie) was how to market the story. It's not a Mary Sue, but it's also not a MS Parody, because it's, well, not humorous.

I've had readers like you who cheered at the end, but thought the gushy stuff went on too long, and other romance-loving readers who, well, basically had a heart attack at the ending.

I've decided that describing the story as Irony might signal to my readers that there's a twist. Also, I'm going to rename it Fortune's Paradox, to further indicate that there's some kind of duality involved.

But I still have problems with the second chapter, and would probably have given up reading at this point.

Thank you for not doing so!

Would it be possible to radically shorten the second chapter and then attach the last chapter directly, so we get the punchline more quickly?

Yes! When I first read your message, I wavered (like I do whenever a plot bunny announces itself), but after sleeping on it, shortening that chapter is absolutely right and inevitable.

For instance, I like first three or four paragraphs of chapter two, since they provide the set up and have an amusing twist regarding her thoughts about asking Haldir for a translation. But I was really rather bored with all the romantic stuff after that. So if you can get our heroine drifting back off to sleep rather more quickly....?

Golly gee, whatever did you have in mind? ;-)

I mean, I'd be quite happy with your existing first four paragraphs followed by something like "My beloved was happy to demonstrate exactly what both words meant - and quite a lot of other Sindarin words that were new to me." Then your last three paragraphs. Then a section break followed by the next chapter.

Wow. You are GOOD! Would you ghost-write my next story for me? *grin*

Seriously, I may (or may not) choose a different route, but I *will* shorten that chapter -- a lot. In thinking about your comments, I realized that explaining the first chapter events (i.e. how she got on the talan) just isn't important, given the resolution.

Hmmm, I'll have to consider whether to actually combine the chapters. If I did, I would still need some sort of heading to indicate a change time and place, without intruding on the story.

BTW, I'm very glad (and relieved) that you liked the Sindarin business. It was one way to make the story uniquely mine. (My inspiration: I had a friend in high school who learned Spanish extremely well, but when she spent time in Costa Rica, she realized that she didn't know the words for common items like "spatula".)

Wow, that's a rather radical cut, isn't it? Anyway, that's just my humble opinion.

Cheers, Liz


Well, you did approve of seven paragraphs! That's a good start. (Barbara counts paragraphs ...) HEY! You mean you didn't like "His captivation lasted 'til cockcrow."???

Liz, your comments are incredibly valuable. Thank you so much for taking the time to critique my first story!

Best regards,
Barbara

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

AfterEver,

Sorry for not responding sooner!

Thanks for the story plug! :-)

It was my pleasure. I like your story (read it on FF; is the SOA version the same?), and it is such a perfect example of the problems of human acculturation into an Elven society.

Chapter 2:
My first impression was that the girl mistaking the Elves for orcs was a mite unbelievable, due in part to that scene being so prolonged. If she could feel the person holding her (garb, size, shape) and hear any who spoke nearby (voice, language, tone), coupled with the fact that she was not immediately mistreated (beaten, tied up), I'm not sure I buy that she wouldn't register sooner these were not orcs. If the scene were left more or less as is, but shortened, I think it would heighten the believability factor notably.


Point well taken! I will tighten the chapter.

(Besides... Elves have got to smell better than orcs, right?)

I would be very happy to conduct a olfactory test on a (caged) Orc and then an Elf. As long as I could keep the Elf happily, AfterEver.

Chapter 3:
This chapter seemed to be a recap of the first chapter, basically. I understand for the purpose of the story that this was probably your intention. However, as a reader, it didn't captivate me like it could. I think with some condensing overall, this exploration of the two sides to a single situation/scene would be interesting. As is, I feel that it may be a little too drawn out.


I intend to drastically shorten the chapter, cutting out all the recapping. After all, with the way this story resolves itself, the past actions don't have to make any sense. I'd like to find a way to keep the embroidered comforter, though -- I think the Lady was very gracious to bless it. ;-)

General nitpicks:
*I might suggest combing through and removing a few modifiers (adjectives/adverbs) here and there.


Good point. Will do.

*A style point, not sure if this is a uniform rule... but personally I wouldn't include punctuation (quotation marks or exclamation points) within emphasis. For example, I would change "Listen!" to "Listen!"

You know, I was actually wondering about that. I think you're right about not including the quotes, but I'm not sure about the exclamation point, since it seems an integral part of the command. I will probably use "Listen!"

Hope this was helpful. :-)
-AE


Yes, it was, AfterEver. Thank you!

Best regards,
Barbara

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue - third chapter

Hi Barbara

Thank goodness - you're still talking to me!

Good! Subverting the genre is part of what I was aiming for here. Unfortunately, it was not really intended to be **funny** ...

Well, joke was probably the wrong word - I did see it as very dark comedy rather than slapstick. I mostly like my humour ironic and bittersweet and, as someone put it on the HA list, the universe laughing - and I'm not a huge romantic because I have a hard time believing in "happy ever afters", so this appealed to me once I got to the end. (And, of course, the demise of your poor MarySue did have me cheering, sorry about that!)

One of the issues that I didn't even think about before publishing (being such a newbie) was how to market the story. It's not a Mary Sue, but it's also not a MS Parody, because it's, well, not humorous.

And I think that, however you market it, it's the sort of story people are going to either love or hate. I think it's brave of you to do something so original and unusual.

I've decided that describing the story as Irony might signal to my readers that there's a twist. Also, I'm going to rename it Fortune's Paradox, to further indicate that there's some kind of duality involved.

Yes, I think that would make it a little clearer what people might be getting and keep the MS-haters reading through the slushy bits and stop the MS-lovers having such bad heart attacks at the end.

When I first read your message, I wavered (like I do whenever a plot bunny announces itself), but after sleeping on it, shortening that chapter is absolutely right and inevitable.

Well, it was a pretty harsh criticism to make - and it's still only my opinion, you know! (I know I'd have fellt fairly rocked back to get "scrap half of it" as a review - I like to think I would have reacted as rationally as you have done, although I'm not sure I would ) Your ideas for the changes sound good

BTW, I'm very glad (and relieved) that you liked the Sindarin business. It was one way to make the story uniquely mine. (My inspiration: I had a friend in high school who learned Spanish extremely well, but when she spent time in Costa Rica, she realized that she didn't know the words for common items like "spatula".)

LOL, yes, there's always new vocabulary - especially when it comes to new experiences

I'd like to find a way to keep the embroidered comforter, though -- I think the Lady was very gracious to bless it. ;-)

That was one of the bits from the "slushy" part that I did like and thought was a nice touch - so if you can find a way to leave it in, that would be great.

Good luck with the revisions

Liz


 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Elena ~

It was my pleasure. I like your story (read it on FF; is the SOA version the same?), and it is such a perfect example of the problems of human acculturation into an Elven society.

Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying it. The ff.net and SOA version is the same presently, but there was a time when SOA and HASA had a newer version and ff.net still the old one. There haven't been any big changes though, just tweaks.

You know, I was actually wondering about that. I think you're right about not including the quotes, but I'm not sure about the exclamation point, since it seems an integral part of the command. I will probably use "Listen!"

I did a little looking into it, because I couldn't remember myself if this was a matter of style or standard punctuation. From the source I referenced, no punctuation marks should be included in emphasis. I feel it makes more sense that way, since an exclamation point implies emphasis by its very nature.
English is such a silly language, sometimes...

Glad to be of help.
-AE :-)

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue - third chapter

Hi Liz,

Sorry for taking so long to respond -- it wasn't real life this time, but the arrival of my TTT EE DVD. I've been ... distracted.

Thank goodness - you're still talking to me!

Hee, hee, hee! *Barbara bows to such an intrepid reader and reviewer.*

I think it's brave of you to do something so original and unusual.

Why, thank you! After writing this story, I now think of myself as a niche writer -- for a VERY small niche!

I've decided that describing the story as Irony ... Also, I'm going to rename it Fortune's Paradox ...

Yes, I think that would make it a little clearer ...


Glad you agree.

I know I'd have felt fairly rocked back to get "scrap half of it" as a review - I like to think I would have reacted as rationally as you have done, although I'm not sure I would

Well, it might be half of that chapter, but there are other chapters! It's probably only, oh, say, a third of the entire story... That makes me feel SO much better! ;-}

I'd like to find a way to keep the embroidered comforter ...

That was one of the bits from the "slushy" part that I did like and thought was a nice touch - so if you can find a way to leave it in, that would be great.


Goodie! I started the changes on that chapter, but that's when the DVD arrived. It will be a while before I get the new story up.

Good luck with the revisions
Liz


Thank you, and I really appreciate the valuable perspective you've given me as a Mary Sue hater!

Barbara

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi AE,

Sorry for the delay in replying (my TTT EE DVD arrived)...

I did a little looking into it, because I couldn't remember myself if this was a matter of style or standard punctuation. From the source I referenced, no punctuation marks should be included in emphasis. I feel it makes more sense that way, since an exclamation point implies emphasis by its very nature.

Okay, so I tried it out, and I'm getting used to the idea of not including the exclamation point at the end. But that raises other questions now!

Is the source you referenced a book or (better yet) on the Web? I've never seen anything like "The Elements of HTML Style", and would love to add it to my list of writers' resources.

English is such a silly language, sometimes...

Oh, my isn't that the truth! I just went through a discussion with someone about "just deserts" vs "just desserts"; I thought that because the emphasis was on the second syllable, it must be the latter. The truth is that it is pronounced like the latter, but spelled like the former. DOH!

Glad to be of help.
-AE


Thank you! Your thorough review covered many items that no one else had. I really appreciate your help!

Barbara
"Elena Tiriel"

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Elena,

Is the source you referenced a book or (better yet) on the Web? I've never seen anything like "The Elements of HTML Style", and would love to add it to my list of writers' resources.

I try to refer to books for questions like this (even if not of the 'how-to' variety, plain old novels almost always get such things right). However, it isn't always convenient or expedient to dig out a book and find what you're looking for.

On the web, I try to avoid any list of writing rules or guidelines that seem rantish or personally biased. I advise sticking to things written by authors (yep, even if the site is trying to get you to buy their book) or created/maintained by reputable sources (schools, for instance).

Check out this web site:
Guide to Grammar & Writing

And specifically this page addressing emphasis:
Italics

Basically, titles and what I think of as sound effects are exceptions to the 'no emphasis for punctuation' rule (and there're always exceptions with English, it seems!). Both below examples are fair game:

"Say, Barbara... have you read the book Why Me? by Whatshisname?"
(Since the actual title is _Why Me?_ if I were to put the title in italics the question mark should be included too.)

"First thing in the morning that dog next door was at it again: yip! yip! yap!
I honestly don't know how its owners sleep at night."
(A similar thing happens in narration too. Take the clippety-clippety-clip of Asfaloth's hooves in Flight to the Ford, or the doom! of the drums in Moria. Both are sound effects, put in italics along with the punctuation --if applicable.)

Oh, my isn't that the truth! I just went through a discussion with someone about "just deserts" vs "just desserts"; I thought that because the emphasis was on the second syllable, it must be the latter. The truth is that it is pronounced like the latter, but spelled like the former. DOH!

Oh, yes indeedy. All of those lovely words-that-aren't-the-word-I-want trip me up frequently, and probably always will. Here's an informative site on that end (of course, nothing has availed me yet):
Common Errors in English

-AE :-)

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Hi AfterEver,

On the web, I try to avoid any list of writing rules or guidelines that seem rantish or personally biased. I advise sticking to things written by authors (yep, even if the site is trying to get you to buy their book) or created/maintained by reputable sources (schools, for instance).

Agreed! I should have asked about anything credible on the web.

Check out this web site:
Guide to Grammar & Writing


Thank you! That's a VERY valuable reference -- just what I needed. I have a fairly decent grasp of grammar, but definitely need help with style issues. What I did learn in high school was back in the days of -- dare I say it? -- typewriters!

Although, I would still argue that the exclamation point in an imperative like "Listen!" is just as integral as it is in a sound effect - that's what marks the word/phrase as an imperative. I am surprised that imperatives don't appear on the list of exceptions. Oh, well, nobody ever consults me before making up grammar and style rules... ;-D

I just went through a discussion with someone about "just deserts" vs "just desserts"

Oh, yes indeedy. All of those lovely words-that-aren't-the-word-I-want trip me up frequently, and probably always will. Here's an informative site on that end (of course, nothing has availed me yet):
Common Errors in English

-AE :-)


Oh, this is an area of special interest to me! I have compiled a list of over 250 misusage errors, each with an example from LOTR fan fiction; when I get a web site, I plan to post them. (My current favorite: "Shadowfax galloped towards them and as soon as he saw Gandalf, he checked his pace and whined loudly.")

In the meantime, I've sent a few to Gemma at Helical Library for her list:
Commonly Confused Words

And another list (rather funny, too) is found at:
Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide To Good Writing: Favorite Bloopers

Well, AE, I can only thank you again for all your help!

Best regards,
Barbara

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

Agreed! I should have asked about anything credible on the web.

In that vein, and regarding style over usage, I found Strunk's Elements of Syle on-line. Unfortunately I've heard some people prefer Strunk and White's version, but that's not on Bartleby.com where I looked. Lots of other stuff is though, so happy reading!

-AE

 

 

Re: Fortune's Intrigue

AE,

Wow! That'll keep me busy! Almost as bad as plot bunnies...

Thank you!

Barbara

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, if you're given to celebrate it. And if this is the right day for yours. If not, um, have a nice day.

 

 

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