Review Request: How To Avoid Death On A Daily Basis

Hoping for some reviews on my ongoing serial 'How To Avoid Death On A Daily Basis'.


There are 70 chapters so far, released five days a week, avg around 1500 words per chapter, although the earlier ones are shorter.


It's a fantasy story about Colin, who finds himself in a strange new world where he expected to fight monsters, but he has no special abilities and no interest in killing things. The other people in the same situation form parties and go off adventuring, leaving behind the people no one wants in their group.


Guess which group Colin finds himself in.


The listing on this site can be found here: Link.


and the fiction itself can be found here: Link.


Would welcome any kind of feedback/review.


Cheers.


Sure. If no one else gets to it first, I'll give it a shot this weekend.


Thanks very much. Would be greatly appreciated.


Don't thank me yet. I'm a pretty brutal reviewer.


Hey moonerino,


I'm still reading your story, so I'll try to put a full review in later, but these are my thoughts so far.

Note: I'm really enjoying your story so far, so these points will all be positive, I'll try to put in a few negative points later in the full review.


- The main characters wit is well written andfunny, more-so than most web serials. It's usually applicable to the situation and interesting so kudos for that.

- The characters all have a natural way of talking, nothing so far feels contrived or stilted, which is a plus

- The main character is interesting and relatable, though that may be because I(a socially awkward nerds who views the outside world as a mythical place of hell and damnation) am apparently the target audience.

- The setting is interesting, hope it gets more developed later on, would really like to know how the previous adventurers affected the place.

- And the best thing for me was that your prose was excellent and flowed well, more than most books I've read can boast, so kudos for that as well.


All in all a great story so far and one I'm highly enjoying. Hope it continues on till it's end.


@GeneralRincewind Thanks, great to hear you're liking it so far. Will be interesting to see if it holds your interest, especially the darker parts. Looking forward to it.


Grammar needs a lot of work, especially your constant use of sentence fragments. That's a fine tool to use in certain circumstances, but it should never be the default state of affairs. The writing seems to be getting better as the chapters move on, but you're in sore need of going back for an early edit. Also combining 2 or 3 chapters into 1 for the first dozen or so.


Well I've completed all the chapters writ so far, and I must say it's definitely in my top 4 web serials. Sorry if this isn't gonna be a very critical review, I like it too much.

So here's some new points:

- Love the idea that fantasy creatures are people too. Really interesting and really helps to define this web serial and put it apart from others, and it also makes you think.

- The magic is interesting and I like the MC a lot. Reminds me of Sylvester from Twig, which is really good.

- It wasn't that dark actually, not compared to other books. It has dark elements but the overlay of wit and humor really helped to make it bearable. Because if there's one thing this world doen't need more of, is horribly horribly depressing books which pretty much implicitly recommends suicide.

- The fact that most fights are settled by wit and tactics is really refreshing especially after reading(sorry all fans) The Legendary Moonlight Sculpturer, and also more akin to how real people would act.


Basically to sum up my opinion:'

Great webserial, great prose, great setting, great mechanics and something which I will definitely follow in the future.

5 stars.


Rincewind's right, now that I'm further along. This story gets good, fast. I wouldn't give it 5 star material (I'm a picky bitch like that), but the story has improved drastically from the point where I made my earlier comment.


As I put in your critical review? Fix the early chapters.


Also: if you're going to portray pre-industrial society? I recommend more research. Fun fact: Blacksmiths don't use water to quelch metal (the cooling is incredibly uneven with water, and it warps the metal and even alters the alloy itself creating serious weaknesses- sometimes the metal even explodes and causes injury). Oil is the standard.


Except in very specific Japanese quelching techniques- but even they never dip the thing into the water, either... they basically cover the anvil with a coat of water and work wet.


Now, modern techniques differ, since we have all these cool steel recipes. But the ancient world? Oil.


Oh, and I at least always cut the hands, feet and head off an animal before skinning it. And you want to let it bleed out for a while while hanging upside down before you start cooking. It's not essential, granted, but damn does blood boiling in the veins make for unpleasant eats.


And one thing I forgot to put in my review. Your swordfighting eh.... See this is something I enjoy and concentrate on. I can claim reasonable skills in short sword and buckler, and basic skills in longsword, shortsword, messer(think big knife) unarmed combat, and staff fighting.

And the most important thing that comes up again and again and again in all of them is distance. Distance is the most important skill to learn, the skill to keep distance and change distance is the best block you can have. And there was not one mention of it in your serial. Oh sure when Princess Laney teaches COlin there's mention of footwork and how important it is but not why. And also chasing each other trying to stamp on feet isn't a good way to learn distance control. Much better is to give one person a sword and have him chase the other around. The person without sword quickly In learns how far to stay away and how to dodge with distance.



And also I'm guessing your swords are short swords, which are kinda bad on their own, whoch are how they're used here.]. They're usually used in conjunction with a buckler, which looks like this. http://www.steel-mastery.com/images/products/full/buckler-1.jpg, because they don't have the two handed advantage of long swords nor the reach, and shields add a whole new dimension to fighting which make them excellent.


In all your swordfighting's ok. Not great by any means, but ok. That is the only problem for me with your web serial


I also have a complaint on the lack of realism in the world- I know, fantasy, I cede that part of the point. But this is supposed to be a place that's had a steady stream of "real world" people for a long period of time. They may not have caught up to our tech, but they shouldn't be far behind. At the very least, they should have firearms.


I knew the recipe for gunpowder at ~17 (roughly- I know it's sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal, don't think I knew the exact proportions- but those are just trial and error) and I couldn't possibly be the only one.


These people should have basic chemistry, relatively advanced medicine (Germ Theory at least), engineering, and calculus. Even some fairly advanced metallurgy. And there's no way in hell they wouldn't be able to generate electricity in all its glory.


Which is to say everything required to give birth to most 19th and some 20th century technology.


Hell, you joke about the bicycle... but bikes are actually quite advanced pieces of clockwork technology. One falling through time to the hands of the ancient Greeks could have truly reshaped the world.


Thanks very much to both of you for your feedback, very much appreciated. The swordfighting criticism is well taken, I just made it up and hoped no one would notice (would've got away with it too, if it were for that pesky Rincewind).


I write the chapters on the day of posting with no idea where it's going which is why it took so long to get the story rolling in a clear direction (you might have noticed some odd tangents and pointless rants in there too).


I also write in his voice which is why the grammar is sometimes off. My view is as long as it's intelligible it's fine. His first person pov is the main thing. Not saying that's the best way to do it, but it's very much him telling his version of the story, the way he would speak, including breaking the fourth wall. More of an experiment than anything since I've never written this kind of pov before. Are the sentence fragments too annoying? Obviously I don't want to push it the point where it puts readers off.


Not sure how I feel about the technology thing. I find people are less and less able to do things for themselves, especially younger folks. People used to know a lot of trivia, now they just check google when they need to. They also don't remember phone numbers like they used to because their mobile does it for them etc. That sort of inability to recreate the stuff they use every day is a sort of theme of the story. They know they should do that, they even talk about it, but they just can't.


Obviously there are people who can do those things, but they didn't get transported, the same way no one with Navy Seals training did either. The people with the skills to cope are very much not the people I wanted to write about.


Thanks again for all the very interesting points you both brought up. Will have a ponder.


Cheers.


It doesn't take "skilled people". What it takes is a half decent scholar working for a nation saying "know what? I want to know what THEIR world looks like!"


It won't take long for them to puzzle our technology together- not all of it, certainly not anything advanced, but "spin magnet inside copper tube and harness the power of lightning for yourself" is not advanced technology. People had been doing that for thousands of years before anyone figured out anything useful to do with it.


To say nothing of chemistry. Or, again, calculus. I don't think it can be overstated how important calculus was for all sciences in our world.


These kids don't need to understand the real value of what they know. They just need to have memorized a few pages worth of notes from high school. Because most of our seventeen year olds are more educated than Aristotle or Da Vinci could ever have dreamed of. Smarter, not at all, but all it takes is one smart man to ask a bunch of dumb (but futuristically educated) kids questions... and this world goes from Dark Ages to Industrial Revolution in less than twenty years.


I strongly recommend giving A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court a read. Just to give you some idea what even a basic modern knowledge can bring to the ancient world.


@TaniNari Yeah, your points are true, but here's a counterpoint. There is allusions made throughout the serial to a mysterious being watching over the setting. Who's to say he hasn't stopped progress for his own mysterious intentions?


Then I home no one pulls some deus ex machina bullshit and allow this mysterious being to ever be possibly threatened in any way by the PCs.


Because nothing short of a passable imitation of a monotheistic God could stuff the genie of modern science (and through it, technology) back into the lamp. A being with that kind of knowledge, foresight, and reach cannot be beaten. There's a reason you don't give Cthulhu a health bar.


@TanaNari I agree it's possible, my point is allowing it to happen here would prevent me from exploring the themes I'm interested in, so I specifically chose people who haven't made that leap possible. In my estimation, the odds of pulling a hundred or so people from our world and managing to not get anyone clued up enough to do what you're suggesting are pretty good. While you are looking at the probabilities and possibilities, I am looking at the actual facts (since I am the creator of facts in this world) and sadly it just didn't happen (because I didn't want it to).


@GR - Mysterious being? I don't know what you're talking about (quickly hides his notes).


Then you could never have selected a single middle school graduate. Because even basic Algebra is incredibly advanced science when looking at a dark ages world.


Like I said- you want to run the story your way, that's fine. But it is a glaring plot hole of a conceit to use. One which deserves an in story answer.


@mooderino But lets do the math: You say in your webserial that the visitors have been coming for 400 years. And that usually the number(This is extrapolation) of visitors is between 20-8. Take the average of those two numbers 14, and multiply it with 400 and you get 5600 vistors. 5600 people is a lot, and you can't tell me that none of them had even a fragment of a fragment of knowledge about modern, industrial or even renaissance tech. Even if they didn't, the mere fact that they know of possible technologies means that they can tell that to scholars in the world and have them figure it out. Because hindsight is 20/20 and it's easier to figure something out if you have a basis to work from. So thus this world should at the very least Renaissance tech.


@GR - They come every leap year, so every four years. And I think I said it's been for around 100 years, but I may be misremembering.


@TN - as for algebra, if the people there don't know about it they can't ask, and if the people from our world don't consider it important, they wouldn't particularly feel the need to sit everyone down and explain it to them. I've never found algebra useful in my day to day life, I don't think I'd rush to tell everyone about it, especially if there were ogres chasing me and whatnot.


I do understand what you guys are saying, but it's not as big a deal to me as it is to you. It's not that I don't think they have information that could revolutionize this world, it's that they don't know how to implement it or are even aware that they should. Just as people have access to all sorts of information in this world and are still miserable.


If you guys were in this world, you obviously would spend time on these sorts of things. They have different priorities.


Oh sorry , must've missed that part about every leap year. And I thought I read that it was 400 years since the first visitors somewhere.


The essential problem here is that so far nothing from everyday life has bled over into the New World(Forgot it's name,sorry(I'm bad with place names)) which cannot be with all the visitors and all their experience with modern objects. They don't even need to implement the stuff themselves , they just need to mention it once to some technical minded person and he will probably implement it himself.

I still like your setting a lot, but this world inconsistency is kinda big and hard to miss.