>>5670Pre-Read List of Problems
Plot Holes Found
Bad Story Flow
Poorly Developed Personality
Poorly Developed Background
Note that these are not necessarily a comprehensive list of problems, nor are the examples-in doc anywhere near an exhaustive list of errors found. It’s your responsibility to go back over this and edit it properly, looking for the things that I’ve pointed out above.
Okay, so let’s just go down my thought process for this thing.
–In the opening, I thought that your lead-in paragraph was a bit…much. It works as a bit of hyperbole, but the blood and mucus put it over the edge (even though I know later that it’s just a nosebleed)
–”Ultima?” What is this, Power Rangers? Also, you’re introducing Important Plot Elements too early.
–Australia is an…interesting choice of location. I can see you’ve chosen to subvert the standard America Is The Only Nation On Earth trope, though whether that’s by design or happy (re: quirky) accident isn’t exactly obvious. I’m not quite sure why it needs to be in Australia, unless you’re writing for an Australian audience.
–Cross has a weird, inconsistent vernacular. Make him either an uptight prince or a snarky teen. Not mouth. The monologue’s vocabulary and diction must match those of the dialogue. You can’t switch between twenty-first century and seventeenth-century whenever you feel like it. Consistency is key in establishing a character’s voice.
–So…I have no idea who (wosname; I keep forgetting this) Dallos is. Is he a bodyguard? A butler? An uncle? I guess he’s a mixture of the first two, but I’d like a bit more of an explanation of who, exactly, he is earlier on in the story (which I still don’t have). He’s just kind of…there. Mr. Subtle Snarky Manservant Plot Device.
–Moreover, I have no idea who the guy at the airport is who picks them up. Is he being paid (i.e. mercenary)? Is he loyal? How much does he actually know about what’s going on? For the record, I’m getting a very weird “Spider Riders” vibe here (if you’ve ever read/watched the books/show), in which Earth is somehow connected to a more mystical realm. It’s quite anachronistic, and unlike in other works of urban fantasy, feels very…clunky. Awkward, even.
–You’re giving off too much infodump, too quickly. Wait to explain just who Cross is, why he’s here, and his background until we’ve got an audience surrogate (i.e. Alicia) who he can explain it to. Don’t just dump it through narration; that’s lazy and provides no real character development. Stuff like “I have standards and principles” are okay, but you need to be subtle–there’s no use ramming us over the head with “glacics” and “alien worlds.” That stuff is best to put off until after Alicia comes into the picture.
–but srsly pls no xplane and normal world and scientists n stuff pls kthx
–Why is he (was he) in London? Why is he in Australia? What’s going on? Why does the location matter? There’re too many questions and far, far too few answers. I almost want to throw this book (were it a physical book) across the room in frustration. It feels like it’s asking us to take far too much for granted.
–Why doesn’t Alice have a smartphone to look shit up on? Or maybe I’m just a confused suburban white boy and not every person in the first world has a smartphone (though I wonder how she was listening to music, then…)
–Don’t do the “introspection, vulnerability, dreams” thing with Alice. It’s too much. Show
us that she wants adventure. Show us who she is; don’t just monologue it.
–”Maybe he was magical” and its surrounding lines are just…way too much. It’s hitting us over the head with the shuddering remains of the fourth wall. Please, no.
–I want more of a stronger feeling/personality/emotion from Alicia, especially during her time with Cross. She feels extremely boring to me–why doesn’t her mindset/dreams affect how she acts?
–Y’know, why did
Cross give her his real name? Or which one is real? I’m confused. Is not gud for reeder to be confus.
–The portal formation? Your one chance for a climactic opening scene and NOTHING HAPPENS? No interesting character action or development? No conflict? No reveals? What? I assume you’ve read One Piece–this whole bit with the rogue, exploring Igniter reads like Luffy pushing the zombie on Thriller Bark back down into his grave and just shrugging with a goofy smile on his face. It’s silly, but not entertaining (not here, at least; you’re no Eichiro Oda).
–I’d like to discover that Alicia can make ice in some way that doesn’t involve a mere boring handshake. Make it interesting!
–How the fuck is an incantation of “Grazenlock” not magic? What the hell does ESP have to do with anything? Son, I am again confus.
–Stop bringing up the Ultima unless you’re going to tell us what it is. It’s fine in another setting, where we’d only get Alicia’s perspective and she constantly asks about it with hints coming every so often, but if we’re getting Cross’s perspective, then it’s just annoying.
–”If only he wasn’t addicted to glacics.” Stop dropping bombshells like that; gawd. Show us this instead of casually dropping it like a nuke over our heads. Speaking in a literary sense, it’s quite rude.
–When speaking of the longterm effects of Grazenlock, I found myself wondering why it wasn’t just like training wheels. It’s standard magic practice in certain settings to lock the powers of infants so that they’re not a danger to themselves or others (see: MLP). Why would the suppression seal actually damage the recipient? I guess it is somewhat nice to see an exception to the trope, but the brazen, uncaring way with which Cross uses it seems to show that he doesn’t really care about glacics, or is just an asshole.
–How the hell did he convince those two guys that he was a lifelong Australian with a British accent
? That shit does not
come in three days of school. Who are they, anyway? Why are they there? Why are they so friendly with this weird alien enemy…person? What’s the situation, anyway? I just feel so frustrated with this. Oh, and also, learn to scene break, bro. If you’re cutting to Hole Explorer Boss, then don’t have it on a continuum with Cross bitching about something.Overall Verdict
Ultimately, I think most of this story’s faults came from a single source: it read like a manga.
Seriously. Or at least an anime. You’ve got the pretty boy grump who has some kind of magical power, along with his overpowered, knowledgeable, subtly snarky butler. You’ve got the dreamy girl who has something in common with magical boy, and you’ve got some kind of ultra-Earth setting waiting in the wings. You’ve got said pretty boy grump being casually dismissive of dreamy girl, as well pretty boy grump also being overpowered and important in some way. Seriously; it reads like the beginning of some supernatural harem fic. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but its influences are literally everywhere.For the record, there is a reason why the picture for this post is Toshiro Hitsugaya.
Telling us directly about Alicia’s dreams? In text, that doesn’t work, but it’s a standard trope in manga. You’ve got the pictures of flashbacks and dream sequences that cover a single page, with little text boxes floating throughout. Works in Japan; doesn’t work here. Cool, unknown, named things with presumably magical powers? More Japanese stuff! Every bit of their interactions is more easily visualized through picturing some kind of chibi style cutscene than actually envisioning the action through text. This story, as you’ve written it, would be better suited for a manga than western literature.
…But, then again, even manga has its own successful tropes. It’s a trope, whether it’s Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, YuYuHakusho, etc, that the untrained protagonist only unlocks or learns of their powers after being put in some kind of mortal danger and then rescued by a mentor and/or father figure. Here, that kind of happens with the portal, but it doesn’t, really; Cross just pushes the guy back down, they shrug, and we move on.
And that leads into the even bigger problem with this. I can take the Japanese influences. I can take whatever other weird stuff you choose to put in. But the worst offense of this story is the utter lack of any
plot. The entire story feels like, again, the two chapters of the first volume of a manga, wherein the protagonist is readjusting after learning of their power and introducing us, the reader, to their surroundings. But even then, there’s always some kind of conflict. Ichigo has to defeat the Hollows. Naruto has to pass the Genin test. Luffy has to defeat Alvida. On, and on, and on. But here, life just…goes on. Literally the only element of continuous plot is Cross doing something something Ultima (which we don’t even understand), and random people showing up who we don’t know or care about.
I don’t know what the Ultima is. I don’t know what glacics are, or why you chose to introduce them and Cross’s background in such an unsatisfying, tedious manner. I want something climactic to happen to introduce them. If you’re going to go manga style, then go all out–as in the style of your typical hero’s journey, you need a moment when we “Cross the Veil” or “Enter the Magical World.” If you do that, you need a climactic, action-packed event that draws our attention and shatters the illusion of normalcy. But this…doesn’t have it.
That’s the final issue I have with this. Whether it’s glacics/igniters, Cross’s princely status, something something dimensional holes Australian firebenders (is that what an igniter is?), you’re asking us to take too much for granted. It’s like being thrown into the Ministry of Magic without even being introduced to Hagrid. It’s too much. It’s traumatizing for the reader, and seems completely inane–almost as though it’s a fanfiction of some other, original, better-introduced work. As though we should know
what glacics are, already. I’m wracking my brains as I rock on the floor right now, but I’m coming up with nothing. Sorry.Score: 3/10In Conclusion
I’m sorry, but this needs a complete rewrite. It failed to hold my attention, didn’t have much in the way of interesting or even comprehensible plot, held far too many manga tropes for comfort, and just seemed awkward in the worst sort of YA novel way. Stylistically, it’s perfectly well-written–were this a fanfic, it would be perfectly fine. But for original fiction, it falls incredibly short of the bar for any short of publishing standards..
If you have any questions, email me or (try to) spam me on the IRC. I’m always available to chat.
Best of luck revising!