Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#1
So I finally took the time to get my version control under wraps and put all the corrected versions up on RRL (probably still some mistakes, but these should be much better). Using too many sites to host content definitely got the better of me.

As before, I’m looking for honest review swaps. I think my review work speaks for itself, but know that I strive to be fair and understanding above all else.

I prefer for a "public facing" review on the fiction page, with any particularly technical critiques here. If I feel like I can't give your work a review higher than 3.5 overall, I will put the full review here instead. It's really not my goal to be mean or drive anyone's ratings down, rather I hope to be clear and objective.

I also have a lot of trepidation of about the next chapter (I already have it up on Patreon), so if you make it to the end of mind and have interesting feedback, I'd be interested in opinions from people who can handle a sexualy explicit chapter (99% of the work won't be).


My fiction:

http://www.royalroadl.com/fiction/7895/handyman

It's a fairly non-standard take on "reincarnation."

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#4
Well, I’m done fishing through your whale of a beast tale. Review is up on the page; if you want me to take it down, just ask and I will.

At first you made some grammar mistakes that I thought might be an intentional shot at how LitRPG’s are often constructed on this site, but then it became clear that you don’t seem to know how to proofread, or you just don’t do it. I think even a basic re-read over your work will certainly catch many of your problems. I don’t want to even get into more complicated items like comma usage, just get your capitalization under control, use the right words, spell check, and try to tighten down your wondering. Unless your wondering actually gets you to a solid joke setup. Then by all means do it.

I think you really need to think about what in the world it is you’re writing. Several times in the work it seemed you really didn’t know where you were going in the narrative and just tried to make something up to get a chapter out. I’m pretty sure that you want to be writing a comedy, but you seem to have lost your way after the intro. In a comedy, the narrative should serve the humor, not the other way around. I was really impressed to see that in the beginning, but then it became an all-out mental slug-fest to make it to the end.

Your grammar also takes a nose dive in the middle and then comes up again later. You need to clean it up so that it doesn’t fight against your jokes, because there are a few cases were the humor is destroyed by incorrect word choice.

Let me know if you have any other questions,
Volos

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#7
First, I want to apologize for some harsh wording, if I ever have some free time I’ll plan to go back and soften them some. I don’t however, apologize for the content of the message. You could really clean up several sections of excessive exposition.

In fact, I have a bit of a drastic suggestion, start your work at your current chapter 2. Figure out what’s super critical for the read to be aware of, and find ways to intersperse bits of world building throughout the narrative. Or don’t listen to me and find someone else you trust to edit, because you don’t really need a proofreader, you need an editor (a need I sympathize with).

On the whole your technical writing is quite good. The story shows a good deal of effort, and I’m encouraged by the later chapters in particular. Which brings me to an interesting paradox, as the quality of your story line is increasing, the quality of grammar is decreasing. That probably means you just need to take a moment and PR to catch most of your problems. The biggest problems I see are regarding tense and plural agreement, which I’m starting to think might be the result of some initial passes at self-editing (which is a good thing).

The characters have some compelling moments, but I’d be interested to see more dialog or action from the side characters that let us see them as more fleshed out individuals. On the whole, I think you have an interesting story at the core of your work. Often it seems like you really forced yourself away from where your world naturally wanted to go to make it more light novel/Japanese/wuxia like. I think if you break away more, you would find your narrative flies. I could use a few more twists, or at least moments that seem more original/unique/unexpected. Again, that’s not any real requirement, and I think some simple editing would go a long way (though I really think you should consider the major edit of starting at chapter 2).

Are you familiar with Raymond Feist’s work? I feel with a closer eye to the narrative like he has, you could still take the time really flesh out a world with exposition. It’s an easy-does-it sort of approach, and most importantly, the exposition serves the narrative. I hear a voice similar to his in your work (and he’s a favorite of mine), but it needs some serious polishing first.

Well that’s enough for me.


Review:

Title: I’m torn.

Overall: 3.5/5
Style: 3/5
Story: 3/5
Grammar: 4/5
Character: 3/5

As of Chapter 7. I’m conflicted about every single aspect of this work. The technical writing is for the most part solid, though the grammar is slipping in the current state of the last few chapters. It’s almost as if an subject matter expert sat down and said, “forget white papers, today I’m going to write fiction.” There are parts where I laughed out loud, but there were parts that I had to attempt 3-4 times before I could force myself to finish them without skimming (I have a no skimming policy if I’m going to write a review). There’s not a character in the story where I would be sad if I found out the author chose to kill them in the next chapter, including the main character. That said, I’m still vaguely interested to see what happens in the next chapter.

I will probably follow this work, but not really plan to keep up with it. After a critical mass of content collides with some unexpected free time, I’ll probably skim through to catch up.

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#8
Hi there,

I have done reading reading up till chapter 8 of your work. So, here's my review based on what I have read so far.

Style: 3.5/5
I understand your dilemma perfectly. When I checked upon your background, you are what I would call as 'technical person." I know because I am one too. We are both scientist. One of the biggest problem being technical person is our tendency to use hard words, abbreviation, jargon, terms or even phrases that most people would not know. I cannot say your style is simple because you are not. I cannot say it's too complex because I could still manage to follow them.

And that's the biggest problem in technical person, like me and you. We tend to omit what's not important and include only what is deemed important to us. If one word can represent the next twenty words, even if 95% of the readers would not understand, we would use that one single word. As long as it make sense to us.

However, the biggest flaw is this. Honestly, when I read a story I want to immerse myself in the world. I want to be taken into a journey. I want to escape from my world, into your world. 3rd person or 1st person view does not matter. However, I can't do that inside your story. What I read are series of few people talking to each other non-stop as if I'm reading a movie script. It's like everyone is waiting their turn to talk. I talk, then you talk, the another one talks, and then you talk again and then I'm waiting to talk. There's nothing that I can imagine and fantasized about. The other details are secondary. When I read, I want to feel all my senses alive; seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and feeling. However, nearly everything is dry and bland. The world, the people, the MC and the supporting cast and scene.

In movies, script are king. And your scripts are king. You have a lot of good dialog between characters. But then again, I'm not in a movie. I can't project the image inside my head other than just running words on my screen.

And one more thing, the ambiguous-ness in your writing. I don't know whether it's serious or comedic. Whether it's sarcastic or whether it's a joke that everyone would laugh. In other words, I'm confuse.

Story: 3.5/5
I noticed the huge similarity between your work and Mushouku Tensei, a light novel from Japan (I'm unsure whether there are official version, but translation is available in English). Pardon me but when I read your work, I had to compare yours with his in my mind. That light novel is one of my favourite light novel till now.

Reincarnation story is nothing new and your take on it is fairly standard. Again, nothing much was know about the MC other than he survived an ordeal and borne into a new world with standard OP gift-from-the-gods takeaway. I get that. However, what make a reincarnation stories fun to read is because when one is given a second chance in life, what will he/she do differently? If he/she was a shy person, would he/she be now a pervert? If he/she was a super genius with 20 PhD degrees to his/her name, would he/she be less smarter now than an average kid down the block? Or if he/she was weak and timid, would he/she now be OP to the point of rivaling a god?

Grammar: 4.5/5
Very well written. In top 5% of the one that are posted in RRL or anywhere else. No, make it top 2%. Nuff' said.

Character: 3/5
Your MC retained his memories from birth but nothing suggest that he would do anything other than being his other-world self before he was reincarnated. And that's for me, is a major turn-off. It's like saying "He is the same guy with nothing other than a beef up version of his old self. Hooray!" It's like striking a major jackpot in the next life having everything for the MC; power, fame, status, wealth, women, godly knowledge and luck and yet chooses to behave like his previous life. 

And the others? I will continue on to read your story of what roles the other characters play. Are they important and have a soul of their own or are they just there for the sake of being there? Are they just fodders to your MC - other than being a woman involved in a MC's eventually harem in near future - or actually meant something to your world and story.

Why reincarnation fantasy stories are so interesting and well worth reading can be contributed to two aspects. One is how the MC learned from his past life and try to make his second life a better/worse one. The second one is the world and it's people. Escapism is a recurring theme in reincarnation story. Is the second world better than the first one? Or is it worse? People read this sort of stuffs because it connects to them and they wanted to run away, for a moment, from their mundane life. Reading a fantasy story is akin to living a second and far away life.

Overall: 3.5/5
Very well written on a fairly standard take of a reincarnation story. I feel that if you could take more effort in actually addressing your reader's point of view when it comes to storyline and world building, rather than just your own, you could be having a gem on your hand. I will be following the stories but I'm still unsure how your's would be any different than any other reincarnation stories other than being very well written. I will know that you will do very well indeed, given time.

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#9
1/12/2018 8:36:28 PMacederequiza Wrote: [ -> ]I noticed the huge similarity between your work and Mushouku Tensei


Thanks for the recommendation, I hadn't heard of it. I'll look it up and give it a read. Literally every reincarnation story I had seen had the MC keep the fact that they were a reincarnated person away from their family. This isn't true for any of the "summoned" versions of course, but one of the initial premises not trying to hide this fact (I think a significant number of people unfamiliar with genera would go this route).

I'm curious to know your opinion if you finish it.


@TheResonantWordsmith

I went ahead and posted review, if you want to hash out finer details I'm happy to do it here or via PM.

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#10


@TheResonantWordsmith

I went ahead and posted review, if you want to hash out finer details I'm happy to do it here or via PM.
[/quote]

Thank you again for your review, Volos. I would be happy to discus the finer details. I'm interested in getting a better idea of what I could have done better, concerning the two detractors you mentioned.

Right now, I feel like I have a firm grasp of story structure but am looking to expand what I know concerning character depth. I think the depth I went in to is acceptable for the story but moving forward, I don't want people to be disappointed, like jumping in the swimming pool and finding it's only five feet deep when they expected ten.

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#11
Heya. I'd love some critique of my story and a review. And of course I'll leave you a review as well following "public facing."

Granted, I work and go to school so it may take a few days. But anyways, here's my story if people wanna give me their thoughts. It's long so jumping around to get an idea of everything is perfectly fine if that's something you wanna do.

https://royalroadl.com/fiction/16079/zeroth-knight

RE: Review Swap 2: Revenge of the Gold Stars

#12
OK, I finished your work. I’m gonna try to have a complete review up today. Details will be placed in this thread.



2/2/2018 1:50:19 PMozefen Wrote: [ -> ]Heya. I'd love some critique of my story and a review. And of course I'll leave you a review as well following "public facing."

Granted, I work and go to school so it may take a few days. But anyways, here's my story if people wanna give me their thoughts. It's long so jumping around to get an idea of everything is perfectly fine if that's something you wanna do.

https://royalroadl.com/fiction/16079/zeroth-knight

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