Hoping to start a serial

Hi,


I'm hoping to start a serial. I've already written one chapter 1, and I'm wondering how is it.

So I was hoping someone would be willing to read it and offer some advice. Too fast? Too technical? Bad style?


Here it is: http://primeserial.blogspot.com


Thanks


It's interesting. I really like Alexis, although the other one seems a bit too "greater than thou" for my taste, but if it turns into a sort of informal contest (which I think it will), that will work out perfectly.. It's not terribly written, although you were missing things like "the" and "too" in some places, and there were a few type-os. The plot is a bit technical, but then again, I've read books where an entire government was explained in the first chapter, so, while not everyone will like that, a lot of people will. It seems to have a bit of a black comedy-ish tinge, which I love, but if that's not what you were going for, then you should change it immediately.

I really liked it, and will definitely be following it, at least for a little while.


I very much enjoyed the concept of the serial. It reads like a Hero Antagonist POV, which always tickles my fancy, and I'd be interested in seeing more. That being said, I would suggest you get an editor on board if you do decide to continue. I noticed several grammatical issues like incorrect comma usage and fragment sentences that really pulled me out of the story. Also, the characters seem to behave unnaturally, which is normally not a problem if I can at least see *why* they behave that way, but in this case I didn't really get any feel for why they were acting that way. The main character especially has a very confusing train of thought, that seems to make sudden leaps that are hard to follow. The whole chapter seemed a little rushed, and the combination of those four issues meant I had to re-read several paragraphs to understand exactly what was going on.


Again, it's an excellent concept, and I'm looking forward to see what you do with the political-aspirant-living-life-as-an-engineering-student idea. I would definitely suggest continuing this serial, but I'd also suggest getting someone to look it over and give you some help on structure.


I can't say anything about the content, because my eyes stopped focusing after two paragraphs. This was almost entirely due to issues with how you formatted the text of your story, which seemed as though it had been formatted for print and not the web.


On the internet, it's more common to skip the indent altogether than to use it. Instead, on the web there is usually a blank space between paragraphs to show that they're different (just like you did in your thread-starter). That helps to keep people feeling like they're staring at a giant block of text.


They're quick fixes, but they're important in making sure that your story is easier for people to enjoy.


Madd, can you clarify the remark that the characters act unnatural. I'm not sure what you mean.

Morgan, I experimented a little, and it does look better with 1.5 line spacing and some paragraph spacing :).


First off, excellent with the new spacing, much easier to read (good call Morgan). Secondly, I don't know if you just added it or if my other web browser wasn't showing it for some reason, but I didn't see the black splatter effect before, and it looks really nice!


As far as the characters, I think I should first clarify that in my original read-through I got COMPLETELY mixed up by the switch in narrator halfway through, I utterly missed that that was now Eric talking. Blame lack of sleep I suppose.


With that revelation, the second half makes a lot more sense, although there are still some bits that seem confusing to me. Lines like



Why, exactly? I feel like I missed something here, some kind of explanation.

Why is he so calm and blase about this considering what just happened? Even given the knowledge he has, I would expect at least SOME reaction here. Again, I feel like I missed something.

"If I told her what my project is about, she was smart enough not to involve herself any further."

I really don't see how he came to that conclusion.


"I could end up needing an ally with her 'skills'."

Again, I don't know why he thinks this, or how he knows about her skills.


I guess I used the wrong word when I said "unnatural", I think it would be more appropriate to say that it feels as if I'm missing a lot of explanation for characters' motivations. Hope that makes sense.


Thanks. That's useful to know. I didn't explain those cause I though they were obvious; I'll try to avoid that later on. About the first, Alexis is friends with Anya and thus doesn't want to blackmail her. The third, Eric thinks it was common sense not to involve oneself in such a project and thus concluded Alexis wouldn't. For the fourth, the skills he was refering to were her being smart, brazen and decisive, which he could easily conclude from what she had just done. About the second, frankly I have no idea how a normal person would react in such a situation.


Ok, I went to give it a read, and right at the first paragraph was seeming a little on the odd side for me.


"I wanted to become a politician. I liked manipulating, scheming, blackmailing, and was eager to put it all into action. If possible, helping people."


Aside from some problems in grammar, the phrasing just seems off. It's very concise and very matter-of-fact. I think it could be done in such a way as to emphasize that there's a person there. In this case, it might help to expand on the characterization of a person who gets pleasure from manipulating people to ends they don't necessarily care for. It doesn't have to be as blatant as, say, "Dance for me, little puppets, dance!" but that little three sentence mission statement falls a bit flat.


The next bit, about location affecting it, that I like.


"Here, however, I needed their money for college. They were too rich for me to get any financial aid, and wanted me to become a computer engineer."


This was a complete disconnect for me. I normally get the sense that someone well off enough to afford college without financial aid at all isn't the sort whose parents want them to be studying computer stuff. Personally, it strikes me as more of the types to push for a medical, law, or business degree.


That doesn't mean your story isn't wrong because of my bias. It just means that if a bias is widespread enough, you may have to go out of your way to explain why it is that they are like this.


Next paragraph: holy shit, a college with a nuclear reactor? Interesting revelation. Dropping it so casually may help to indicate an alternate universe.


I think you could try a little more to write the next few paragraphs, which aren't bad at setting up the scenario, in such a way as to emphasize (in a way that hints at the narrator being slightly unreliable) that the real motivation is to avoid doing the difficult work necessary.


As in, maybe if she pushed herself really, really hard and stayed up late... or she could join someone else's project, put in a perfectly reasonable amount of work, and get a passing grade that way with no harm to anyone's education or grades.


After this, when she's more in her element, you use language in her narration that works well to show her character.



That is more what I think you should do as far as fleshing her out in her narration. Plus, his revamping helps show how if Alexis cared enough, she could get it done in a short amount of time.


As Maddi mentioned, Eric is way too calm about a girl walking into the men's bathroom, yanking aside the curtain, and snapping a nude photo on her phone. No slipping on a tile floor and dropping a loofah from a sudsy hand. No yelling out, "The fuck?!" Just calmly, quietly, grab the phone, delete it, hand it to the girl, and don't talk about it at all until the shower is finished.


Not even a "He glared at me and acted like he was going to hand the phone over. When I reached for it, though, he pulled it away and instead set it on a shelf on the shower surround. He pulled the curtain mostly closed. 'I'll hold onto this until I'm done. Then we'll talk, if you want it back."


Considering that she waits in the hall just to tell him to go somewhere else in a set amount of time, couldn't she just have told him all that in the bathroom and left to wait?



Though I will say that "Yes, I knew how to break all modern encryption. I could read or fake any message, hack any site, rob any bank, control any government. And that was frightening as heck." goes toward showing why Eric wouldn't cuss with a girl invading his shower space. Still could have him let out something like "What the hasenpfeffer?!" back at the shower.


Eric's characterization seems pretty good so far. I got more of a mad scientist vibe, but either way he comes across as smart and somewhat formal. Considering he attended school in Germany, being more formal while communicating in English isn't unheard of.


Problem was, the end, to reiterate what Maddi said.


"Wait, if I told her what my project is about, she was smart enough not to involve herself any further.



Fully aware that I was probably making the biggest mistake in my life, I gave her a nod."


I get that you're going for something of a cliffhanger here, but this is one where we could stand to learn more about his reasoning for why he's doing what he's doing. He doesn't want her involved, and can get the picture easily, but he also somehow thinks she has special blackmail skills that can help him, but yet he also feels that having her help him is the biggest mistake of his life. It's odd.


Also, I'll be dropping off a comment full of typos in a few minutes.