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Crit jam

 
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Chilari
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Joined: 06 Nov 2005
Posts: 2454
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Crit jam Reply with quote

I suddently felt like critting something so I figured it'd be a good idea to have a crit jam. Basically, you can submit something for constructive criticism and at the same time give a constructive criticism for someone else. But rather than being obliged to crit the person immediately before you, if that isn't of a genre you don't really like you could crit someone else's thing, so what I plan to do is edit this original post listing the things people have submitted for crit.

If you want something critiqued, post a link to it and give a brief description. I'll post something of my own below as an example, and to kick things off, but please feel free to submit as many things as you want. Whatever you post, keep it fairly short - something someone can crit in about half an hour. It can be of any genre, and can be a comic or a passage of prose or a short story.

So here's what I'm submitting:
Title: Flame Undying (chapter 1)
Type: prose
Length: 3010 words
Genre: Fantasy
What it is: A first person story about a guy who is immortal and for the last few hundred years has ruled an empire which covered the entire known world. The passage tells of how and why he stops ruling this empire, and is the start of the third draft of my novel, of which the first draft was the first novel I ever completed in February 2009. I wrote the passage at the start of 2010.

So go ahead and submit something else, and if you're interested in criting any of the things that get submitted feel free. As I said I'll edit this post to add any submissions, so please submit in a similar format to the way I have for ease of use. I hope this kicks off, cause I think it'll be fun and interesting.

Others that have been submitted:

From LovelyLuke:
Title: Swanny Nook
Type: Webcomic
Length: 22 pages
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
What it is: My webcomic, still pretty fresh from a reboot, so it won't take too long for you to read. It's about three young teenagers and their adventures in the infinity of timespace... or something. The story is only really just kicking off, so I'm not really expecting anything indepth. Just some comments on the art and maybe the characters (whether they are believeable/likeable etc.) would be amazing.

From Rustmonster:
Title: Pella's Song
Status: First draft
Type: Prose
Length: 50,000 words, give or take a paragraph.
Genre: Light Fantasy/Adventure
What it is: A young girl travels far from home to fix a mistake from her grandfather's youth.

From krayhayft:
Title: Artificial
Type: webcomic
Length: 22 pages
Genre: Action, Adventure
What it is: When James Leff helps a girl floating in the ocean by his house, he never would have imagined that she would a perfect, sentient, robot girl named Aira. Now, James and his friends must protect Aira as they face off against highschool bullies, a billionaire with a hidden agenda, another female robot and even each other to save not only themselves, but the heart and soul of an artificial girl that just wants to be normal.

From Casual Notice:
Title: The Ghost Dancer
Type: Short Story
Length: 13.5k words
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy, Western, Mystery
Synopsis: An immortal working for a private police firm is sent west to Colorado at the turn of the 20th century to save a mining town from itself, but nothing is exactly as he was led to expect.[/quote]
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Last edited by Chilari on Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:12 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Luke



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 753
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'll give yours a crit. I'll edit it into this post when I'm done.

If anybody would like to crit my comic:

Title: Swanny Nook
Type: Webcomic
Length: 22 pages
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
What it is: My webcomic, still pretty fresh from a reboot, so it won't take too long for you to read. It's about three young teenagers and their adventures in the infinity of timespace... or something. The story is only really just kicking off, so I'm not really expecting anything indepth. Just some comments on the art and maybe the characters (whether they are believeable/likeable etc.) would be amazing.

EDIT:

So here's a fairly brief criticism with my initial thoughts after reading Chilari's piece. I may expand it in the morning when I can give the piece another read through.

Iíd like to preface this by saying that I am only giving my own thoughts. Absolutely everything I say is bad about this could have been done for a deliberate literary effect that I am not fami


The Good

Imagery

I thought that there was a lot of strong imagery here, particularly that of the city in flames near the beginning of the piece. In places, it did seem a bit too description heavy, which slowed the pace a little too much. It wasnít a major problem, though. The physical descriptions of the knights/assassins were also quite good. You gave just enough detail here to make a few of them distinct, without going too far, a problem that tends to come up in fantasy works.

Structure

Starting out your novel with a citywide fire and a big fight scene was definitely a good idea. Maybe if you slotted in something a bit more engaging before the first paragraph, it would be even more engaging. The scene in general made for a very strong opening, but the initial creep of the fire was a bit too slow feeling if somebodyís in a bookshop you need to grab them with that first sentence.

Intrigue

The initial chapter definitely leaves a ton of questions unanswered. This is part good and part bad. The good element of this, is that there were a bunch of questions that I really wanted to know the answer to.
And that last exchange between Blaze and the River man is just great, and it totally would make me turn the page.

Characterization

The young knight is a good example of strong characterization. I really got a sense of his character from just a few lines of description. The main characterís confusion and distraction are also put across well.

The Bad

Say Whaaaat?

So, I get that itís the first chapter, and you want to throw a whole lot of information at us to contextualize the action, but some of it is a bit too much. Remember, place names are pretty meaningless to your readers if theyíre just jumping into the story.
Now, saying this, youíre about a million times better with this than a lot of mainstream fantasy authors, so I guess I canít fault you too much on this side of things. To solve this, your plot needs an ignorant character that can have stuff explained to them, think Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter.

Protagonist

I found your protagonist very hard to relate to. Heís this all-powerful immortal emperor guy that is totally knowledgeable about the world. Again, this could be remedied by adding an ignorant sidekick, or something of the like.
I also realize that I shouldnít judge this element too harshly, and that Itís the first chapter. Throwing somebody in at the deep end is fine, as long as you let him or her paddle in the shallows again for a bit.

Pacing

Not too much to say on this issue. It starts out very good, but then from the point where he leaves the city onwards, it seems rushed. Almost the entire chapter is just the one exchange in his tower. Then his escape from the city, wading across the river, an entire night, a fight with a crowd and his exchange with the river man all take place in only a couple of paragraphs.
I think this would do better if you gave these events a little room to breathe.

Dissolution of tension

The first fight scene works because it has a lot of tension. Blaze, is weakened and distracted by the fire, and he is up against five heavily armed opponents. Itís tense, we donít know who is going to win, or if Blaze has any chance of survival at all.
It is for the opposite reason that the second fight scene doesnít work . As soon as Blaze says ďThe man with the sword had been right. I was outnumbered and surrounded. But that didnít stop me. It never does. If I am attacked, I defend myself.Ē All of the tension evaporates. I know itís only a paragraph long, but it sets a precedent.
If Blaze doesnít have any trouble with this fight against a large group of armed opponents, then why would anybody else cause him trouble?
I get that youíre trying to paint him as some kind of ass kicking immortal warrior guy, but it just means that weíll never worry about him in a fight situation.
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Last edited by Luke on Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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RustMonster



Joined: 19 Mar 2010
Posts: 587

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, sounds like fun.

I did NaNaWriMo last year, but I only showed the end result to a handful of people. There might be some parts worth saving or polishing, so I'll pass it around for crits.

It might go a little over your "half an hour" limit, but I don't expect anyone will read it for longer than they want to.

Title: Pella's Song
Status: First draft
Type: Prose
Length: 50,000 words, give or take a paragraph.
Genre: Light Fantasy/Adventure
What it is: A young girl travels far from home to fix a mistake from her grandfather's youth.
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Chilari
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Joined: 06 Nov 2005
Posts: 2454
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay I'll have a go at the first chapter or so of that. As much as I feel like. Here goes:

Reviewed item: Chapter 1 of Pella's Song by Rustmonster.

The bit about the tribe you put in before the rider actually meets them breaks the flow. Is there a way of putting this information in without breaking into the narrative about the rider? I mean, I can see how it immediately becomes important, but it still doesn't flow right. Does te reader even need to know the tribe's history in that much detail?

Why would Halleck join the guards for the excitement if it seems obvious there is none? Perhaps a small qualifier, something about the stories he'd been told by older guards, would make his decision easier to understand.

I particularly like your line "The storm brooded to the east, a massive torrent of roiling purple clouds and angry forks of lightning." It sets a mood, gives an impression that the messenger is just as bad news as Halleck seems to suggest, adding to the foreboding. It also adds subtly to the way you're building up information about the storm a bit at a time, which is very good.

I stopped at the end of chapter 1, because it's late and I'm tired, but I did enjoy it and I will read more tomorrow. It's intruiging, and I think you've struck a good balance in how much information you've revealed. For a first chapter, the pace is pretty much spot on. You've introduced three named characters who I assume will become main characters, given an impression of their roles within the tribe, and something about their personalities, enough for this stage of the story and onto which I assume you will build later. So apart from the two things I mentioned, a very well written first chapter.
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Casual Notice
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Joined: 18 Mar 2005
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Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have work to do, but will try to crit one or two of these today if I have a free moment.
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swanny Nook

I'll be honest with you, Luke. There's not a lot here to grab hold of for a serious and honest review. 22 pages is very little to work with in terms of plot and character development, and even less in terms of artistic growth and maturity. But I'll do my best.

The art is simplistic, but consistent and not unattractive. Even over 22 pages I can see signs of improvement. I question whether a simplistic style is a good match for what seems to be a fairly seious plot. I'm guessing that it's going to develop into a modern fantasy-adventure, and the fellow in the harlequin mask will be returning to ba a major threat of some sort.

As for the writing, there honestly wasn't enough for me to give you a good critique of any depth. The characters and plot are still in their introduction phase, and you seem to be pacing that pretty well, but other than that, my only impression was that they seem awfully English. Again, however, there are too few pages for me to tell if that's just because there hasn't been enough time to see the innate Irishness of them or if 80 years of (relative) peace have done what 800 years of oppression couldn't and have turned the Irish utterly English after all.

So, short version, the story seems like it will be a good story once it gets its legs under it, and the artwork is serviceable if not entirely approptiate to the feel of the story.
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Luke



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 753
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. Thanks for giving it a look.
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krayhayft



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Posts: 107
Location: Pittsburgh

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Title: Artificial
Type: webcomic
Length: 22 pages
Genre: Action, Adventure
What it is: When James Leff helps a girl floating in the ocean by his house, he never would have imagined that she would a perfect, sentient, robot girl named Aira. Now, James and his friends must protect Aira as they face off against highschool bullies, a billionaire with a hidden agenda, another female robot and even each other to save not only themselves, but the heart and soul of an artificial girl that just wants to be normal.
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Casual Notice
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Joined: 18 Mar 2005
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Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll throw one in. I'll look at the novel fragments later this week. For the record, we already have an extremely useful forum for receiving webcomic critiques.

Title: The Ghost Dancer
Type: Short Story
Length: 13.5k words
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy, Western, Mystery
Synopsis: An immortal working for a private police firm is sent west to Colorado at the turn of the 20th century to save a mining town from itself, but nothing is exactly as he was led to expect.
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Chilari
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting, CN. I'll take a look at some point before the end of this week, I just have to finish an assignment due tomorrow first.
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Lord Pandar
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to crit but I have nothing of my own that needs critting right now.
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Pandar wrote:
I want to crit but I have nothing of my own that needs critting right now.

Who says you need to? I just threw mine up for crit (after I critted Swanny Nook) because I'm an attention whore.
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