Would you call this filler? (675 words)

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by MemoryTale, Mar 23, 2012.

  1.  
    MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Future ruler of the world

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    I'm a bit undecided about this section. It seems a bit info-dumpy to me, but at the same time I'm reluctant to dump it for the following reasons:

    1) It's the first time anyone really stops to think about what's going on
    2) Heralda's thoughts in this scene form her motivation when she deals with Chouse later
    3) Since she's on her own and won't be talking to anyone other than Chouse for most of the rest of the book, there doesn't seem to be a more natural way to insert it.

    What do you all think?

    #


    Heralda paced her cell slowly. She was in Chouse’s main base, she felt certain of it. Here,in the enemy camp and powerless to wreak any kind of damage against him. It was frustrating beyond words. She had tried to summon the earth song to tear down the walls around her, but some force blocked her own paltry magic. He had somehow blocked Chralos’ too, while being so far from the scene. Such power was indescribable. For the first time in her life she felt a genuine fear. Such an opponent was unassailable, for who could get anywhere near him? If his magic could take effect so far from his body, he could rain death down upon his enemies, destroy them all from afar.

    So why didn’t he?

    The thought smacked into her head like a brick. She stopped pacing and frowned in concentration. Now she was thinking about it, a lot of things just weren’t adding up.

    Chouse supposedly suffered from mage madness, yet showed real planning and strategy. Mad mages usually swept the land in a trail of destruction. They showed as much tactical sense as an enraged Carackh. They were usually stopped by a fellow mage, who would easily dispatch the rampaging wizard through the old adage of subtlety over brute force. Either that or they finally fell exhausted from overuse of their magic, easy prey to a knife between the ribs.

    She shuddered as the full implications hit her. Chouse was sane. This man who would scour them all from the land, who would mercilessly attack and kill indiscriminately… Was doing so while perfectly lucid. The thought made her blood boil. Mage madness did not take away from the impact of his crimes, but at least irrationality wasa rational explanation. This was just senseless slaughter.

    She took deep breaths, forced herself to calm down. They had all taken for granted that Chouse was a mad mage, who would create an army of creatures with which todestroy them. Everyone had rushed off from the Council with plans of action; no-one had truly stopped to think beyond the defence of their lands. She had to think now; she felt she was on the verge of an important discovery.

    She returned to the idea of motive, for there had to be one. She dismissed the notion just as quickly. As she was now, she had no means of determining what he stood to gain by this. She instead pondered his method. He could reportedly create an army of creatures, but she wondered how accurate that story was. Was that true? The evidence was apparent, for Chouse’s creatures were wholly unnatural.

    But now she subjected it to analysis, that didn’t seem to make sense either. She had fought his Wraith Riders, or Yigaara as Chralos called them. They had seemed competent fighters until the time had come to finish her off. They had wanted to play, to extend the execution as long as they could. Such cruelty could only be the product of a personality, and from what she knew of magical lore such creations had no personality. Could Chouse create things with a personality? What would be the point, if he only wanted to send them forth in battle? A personalityw ould lead to a fear of death; they would be inefficient for his purpose. Also, Ballan had killed another of his army with a knife across the throat. If he were creating them, why leave them vulnerable to such an obvious attack?

    Now she felt a thrill of excitement. She knew she was getting somewhere. Chouse was not mad, nor did he simply create the things that served him. This meant wherever he did get them from, there would only be a finite amount.

    However she had hit a brick wall. She still had more questions, but not enough information to reason out an answer. She had one more thing in her favour; at some point, Chouse would wish to interrogate her. Perhaps she could get him to let something slip.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    MT, your formatting's gone a bit off, I think, and you've ended up with lots of words stuck together. Could you edit, quickly? Finding it hard to read at the mo. :)
  3.  
    MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Future ruler of the world

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    Done. That's bizarre, it didn't happen when I previewed it.
  4.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Ta.

    Ok, I haven't got a lot to add red-pen wise, other than I'd delete the 'she' in this bit: She instead pondered his method. And put it after the instead.

    As for filler... I don't know. She's stuck in a cell so it makes sense for her to stop and take stock of the situation. In places it almost feels like it's you, the author, trying to work out what's going on and get it across to the reader, rather than her working things out. Does that make sense?


  5.  
    MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Future ruler of the world

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    That does make sense. I must admit Chouse's endgame did change about halfway through the first draft, and I honestly can't remember if it had changed before or after I wrote this scene. The bits about him creating his minions and being insane were always going to turn out to be wrong though.
  6.  
    Bowler1

    Bowler1 Senile Member

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    I can see your problem ok you have got yourself in a bit of a bind. I was wondering what was amiss when I went back to the site and saw Mouse’s reply. It’s does feel like the writer laying out the plot to date, and then trying to decide what would happen to the character next. However, she is locked up, so has time on her hands.

    This may not be the best/or even a solution, but may help. Write going forward, as if this section did not exist and carry on to the end of your story - so double up on the information. This extra text can all be reversed later in editing – or – this section that is causing a problem may not be required and you might then have the option of deleting.

    Not a tidy solution and not one I would be over the moon about taking on, it is advice I’m reluctant to give as well if I’m honest; but might get you passed this section.

    Your instinct and gut is right, this section lacks something even if it is the perfect link for where you are now.
  7.  
    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    Yeah, I'm going to go with narrator voice too. It sounds like your thinking, not the character. It's quite distanced, and could probably get away with halving it's size - a lot of unnecessary thoughts going on I think.

    It's okay to have her stop and think, as long as it's not repeating things we already know. But the reader has to be brought in closer to the character, and hear their actual thoughts and what they feel, not just an analysis of what they are thinking and feeling.

    As an exercise I had a play with the first paragraph - feel free to ignore it though, since it's changing your style of prose into mine, but it might help.



    This has tightened it slightly - and could probably be tightened even more - but it's also made it more personal imo. Anyway, food for thought.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  8.  
    MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Future ruler of the world

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    I think you've hit the nail on the head Warren, until this point I hadn't really beein inside Heralda's head much as previously she'd always been around more commonly used POV characters (if that makes sense). In retrospect I think it shows.
  9.  
    Jacob Larch

    Jacob Larch New Member

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    I'm new to this forum and keep reading people's work, having my own thoughts, and then somewhere down the line of comments I come across Warren Paul who is usually a) on a similar if not identical thought path to my own, and b) phrases something so well I'm having trouble saying anything objective!

    So I'm gonna just write "yeah, what he said is great!" and look for a thread he hasn't posted on so I can write something without seeming like a sycophant!

    However, here's a personal note: using character's POV in italics for thought process is a dynamic way of getting the story told in such a way the reader can differentiate between thought / description, but it comes with a warning. Too much can be overwhelming especially if, as you mentioned earlier, the story spends a lot of time with these two characters. Occasional use is far more effective than every other sentence slipping into italics to show us the thoughts in the character's mind.

    It's a hard thing to do right, but the payoff can be tremendously effective if you do!

    Good luck!
  10.  
    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    Hey, I'm quite happy to have a collective of fans following along and taking note of all my pearls of wisdom. :D

    I've actually got this t-shirt that says: "If I'm talking you should be taking notes". :D

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