Feedback Solicitation

So I feel uncomfortable asking for a review swap, but I would really very much appreciate some impartial feedback on my serial, Under Darkening Skies. I'm happy to return the favour, or offer a review if you'd prefer. I'm aware of some problems that I intend to fix on an editing pass (I believe the serial will be complete around April next year), but I won't prime anyone; honest, first reactions are valuable.

Anyone of a mind to help me out?

Sure, I'll give it a go.

I have high standards- and there's no hugbox here- so to start. Nice summary on the WFG post. One early thing to note:

"his victim, her eyes"- You should rewrite that sentence for clarity. As a rule, never use pronouns referring to more than one person in the same sentence if you can avoid it- it muddies the waters and pulls the reader from the dialogue, which is a cardinal sin in the first chapter.

I'd suggest you give the girl a name, as it seems likely the MC would know her.

Also- there's no "rulez" requiring it, but I suggest you put inner dialogue in italics. Helps parse the story, much as quotes are for standard dialogue.

Thank you kindly.

Fair points, and I've fixed both. While the fact I didn't use Liandra's name initially should make sense by the end of the chapter, I've now added it there.

I knew I'd missed thoughts in italics in some places. I'll make an note to comb for those moments.

Heh. I'm just posting future catches in the chapters themselves.

This is a story I know I'll be following (expect good review soon).

Thanks very much! I appreciate you catching the worse structural errors.

Congrats, you're tied for 'best review' I've given.

Thank you! I'll do my best to fix those clarity issues in future, and try to catch the grammatical errors before I post.

I expect you'll not be thrilled with the second arc, but there's a method at work, I promise.

Hey, I've been looking at your serial for a bit, and I'd love to offer feedback. I know your probably swamped right now, but if you could find time, I think I desperately need feedback as well, and it would be tremendously helpful if you could return the favor. (If you don't want to, or can't, that's totally fine. Don't feel pressured.)

Yea I pretty much have the same remarks as tananari. The jump from poor as dirt, to owner of a ship was really jolting, Other than that, great job. You did a great job at grabbing my attention and holding it. The world seems to be shaping up to be really cool, and so far I like the characters.

You're right about the second arc hurting the enjoyment of the story. Again with the "way too much stuff, way too soon" thing. Plus you're edging your MC into Jerk-Sue territory, which you may want to steer away from.

Whoo. 'Jerk-Sue' is a new term for me. Is that on TV Tropes somewhere so I can destroy any chance I have of being productive tonight by clicking forty hundred links?

Why, yes, yes there is.

I'm functionally immune thanks to having already seen everything except the occasional rarity.

I was introduced to stoic woobie thanks to my own story's page, but that was months ago.

Too much, too fast to the point I should go back and add some extra chapters to slow things down and generally give the reader more time with the setting and characters, or too much, too fast in terms of fortunes changing again?

As for Knell being close to a Jerk-Sue - fair. I expect Cerro living with her to be a good influence, though.

Oh, and I'd be happy to give you some feedback, Whyknot. I'll go take a look when I finish writing for the evening.

How I wish there was a post editor.

TaraNari, it's actually an eight-year timeskip.

Eight years? Huh.

Well, that DOES make the rebound less jarring by far. But makes the timeskip... yeah... forget adding a few chapters, you need to add an arc or two to make that work. Large timeskips are typically a very bad idea unless absolutely nothing of storytelling value happens during them. Replacing almost every major character with new major characters without so much as a 'goodbye' or a 'hello' is just not a good idea.

Like most rules, breaking it can work if you know what you're doing, but it's typically not a good idea.

Or they're flashbacks, because for some reason that's okay. Probably because they typically exist to *give* information to the reader, while typical timeskips deny the readers information. And, at its core, the whole purpose of writing is to give information to the readers.

Also... you can totally edit posts, but only for an hour or so after they're made. The edit button is right under your name if you're the poster.

Evidently my foreshadowing was too weak. I thought for sure keeping Harrow around would tip people off.

I may readjust things for an interim arc, but the reveal of what happened during the timeskip was going to be very relevant in the near future.

Like I said, it's a rule that can be broken, but one that's taking a risk.

It's still a damn good story, and I'm still reading it. That ultimate payoff may or may not be worth it in the end, but until it happens, it hurts the story.

One of those things you deal with in a serial that you don't in a traditional book.

Fair point, and thank you. I may edit it significantly once it's done, whether or not the payoff works out. Serial format is very new for me - I've been writing novellas, metafiction, and roleplaying games for years, but I actually like the schedule and regular feedback of a serial. I already have the next one gestating.

I know that feeling. I've got like a dozen future books waiting for mine. Characters from prior projects that I wanted to give more limelight, but could not. Characters from the current project I want to give more limelight.

I actually deleted a chapter, not because it was bad, but because it drew the focus away from the current story far too much. It'll go into a future book, I'm sure.

... Which is odd, I was actually expecting to not write any story based on the characters in question, I didn't really like them much. And then, boom, mind changed in a single instant.