Reviewed [Ca] Week 200: The Fracture: Amber Forest - Feedback

swaswj

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Feb 18, 2008
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#2
Sorry for the delay in writing this up.

Starting off, I want to address something I've been seeing a lot in your writing: the fragments. I'm going to do something I don't usually do and address each one that I find and try to explain why it's a fragment.
  • Even as he practiced hand to hand combat to take his mind off of his inability to connect with the force that he felt.
    • This has a subject-verb relationship, but it has been subordinated to another idea by the dependent phrase "even as" and so cannot stand by itself. This sentence fragment has a subject, he, and a verb, practiced, but it cannot stand by itself because of the subordinating conjunction even as. Remove the dependent phrase and this works as a sentence: He practiced hand to hand combat to take his mind off of his inability to connect with the force that he felt.
  • Large yellow eyes hooded from the rough outer layers covered in shadow.
    • The subject of the sentence "large yellow eyes" lacks a verb relationship. The verb 'had' would work here as follows: It had large yellow eyes hooded from the rough outer layers covered in shadow.
  • A camp site within the thick of the Amber Forest.
    • The sentence lacks a proper subject, because the subject is part of the previous sentence. Instead of a period, use a colon to modify the previous sentence: He closed the binder of notes he was given just before he arrived at the location agreed upon by him and the enchanter: a camp site within the thick of the Amber Forest.
  • The Amber Forest, a place which got its name from the many deposits of fossilized sap produced there.
    • The subject of the sentence "Amber Forest" lacks a verb relationship. Remove the modifying phrase 'a place which' so that it just reads: The Amber Forest got its name from the many deposits of fossilized sap produced there.
  • A lush canopy of maple trees with leaves slightly opaque and in a perpetual state of Autumne that refracted the light of day into a never ending sunset.
    • The subject of the sentence "a lush canopy" lacks a verb relationship. Slightly reordering the words to make the "maple trees" the subject, and adding 'had' as a verb gives us the following: The maple trees had a lush canopy of leaves, slightly opaque and in a perpetual state of Autumne that refracted the light of day into a never-ending sunset.
  • A warmth he had not come to feel from the land until now.
    • The sentence lacks a proper subject, because the subject is part of the previous sentence. Instead of a period, use a comma to modify the previous sentence: He felt a nostalgia from his days buried in the ice cocoon but, this was different, a warmth he had not come to feel from the land until now.
  • His moment of pause interrupted by the sound of a loud avian like scream followed by the distinct snap of branches with a thud shortly to after.
    • The subject "his moment" lacks a verb relationship. Add 'was' to get this: His moment of pause was interrupted by the sound of a loud avian like scream followed by the distinct snap of branches with a thud shortly to after.
  • His plumage tattered and mangled at best with a crest of teal and blue atop his head.
    • The subject "his plumage" lacks a verb relationship. Add 'was' to get this: His plumage was tattered and mangled at best with a crest of teal and blue atop his head.
  • The ones that remained anyway and shook off the residual dust, dirt, and foliage.
    • The sentence lacks a proper subject, because the subject is part of the previous sentence. Instead of a period, use two commas to modify the previous sentence: Albinon ruffled his feathers, the ones that remained anyway, and shook off the residual dust, dirt, and foliage.
  • His tone aristocratic at best.
    • The subject "his tone" lacks a verb relationship. Add 'was' to get this: His tone was artistocratic at best.
  • What an interesting choice of vernacular.
    • While this is a fragment, this would be considered stylistically sound. It's a known phrase or part of the common vernacular, you might say. If you wanted to fix it, though, you would change 'What' to 'That was' to get: That was an interesting choice of vernacular.
  • Inside, enough equipment for a compliment of roughly four people.
    • The subject "equipment" lacks a verb relationship. Add 'there was' to get this: Inside, there was enough equipment for a complement of roughly four people.
  • Cots still made with dust settled on them.
    • The subject "cots" lacks a verb relationship. Add 'were' to get this: Cots were still made, with dust settled on them.
  • Various packs with the gear ravaged and taken apart.
    • The subject "packs" lacks a verb relationship. Add "There were" to get this: There were various packs, with the gear ravaged and taken apart.
  • On a far back wall various books with a combination of alchemy and enchantment devices.
    • The sentence locates something in place with a prepositional phrase or a series of such phrases, but lacks a proper subject-verb relationship within an independent clause. Add 'there were' and see the next fragment.
  • Several containers filled with the blue jelly of various sized.
    • The subject "containers" lacks a verb relationship. Rearrange to clarify, add 'were' and use the phrase 'as well as' to combine with the previous sentence to get this: On a far back wall there were various books with a combination of alchemy and enchantment devices as well as several containers of various sizes filled with the blue jelly.
  • Trapped by Albinon and his team.
    • The sentence lacks a proper subject, because the subject is part of the previous sentence. Instead of a period, use two commas to modify the previous sentence: Finally, in a cage with glass walls and symbols etched into its facade was an incorporeal form of the creature, trapped by Albinon and his team.

Remember to be aware of your tenses. When reading the professor's notes, you move from past-tense -- telling us what Vita has read -- into present-tense -- telling us what is written.

The fairy’s physical form was solid much like a rock formation layered on top of one another coming to a rounded tip. Inside, a cavity filled with a deep blue jelly substance that oozed out of cracks in its stone. Large yellow eyes hooded from the rough outer layers covered in shadow. Gems lined the front face of the creature that glimmer slightly with the more fluid it had inside its cavity. The base of the subject is surrounded by sticks, grass, leaves, and various other fauna much like a nest. To date, no appendages have been discovered.​

Formatting could have helped here without many other changes. See below:

Revision said:
Vita flipped through the notes the enlil sent him. Albinon spent four years in study of the Phantasmal Fairy. How this creature came to be he was unsure of but, that was not the focus of the professor's efforts. The fairy's physical form was solid much like a rock formation layered on top of one another coming to a rounded tip. Inside, a cavity filled with a deep blue jelly substance that oozed out of cracks in its stone. It had large yellow eyes hooded from the rough outer layers covered in shadow.

"...Gems line the front face of the creature that glimmer slightly the more fluid it has inside its cavity. The base of the subject is surrounded by sticks, grass, leaves, and various other fauna much like a nest. To date, no appendages have been discovered.

"At night it was discovered that during a new moon the fae emit a soft hum and its shell closes. Slowly it petrifies and a small hand-sized creature with the form more common to sprites emerges from a blue ball of energy. With the speed of a hummingbird, these astral forms are projections of the creatures incorporeal form. Smartly it visits various flowers that have trapped the moonlight in dew. Once enough is collected it weaves all it has into a solid pearl and places it in the nest to be eaten by the physical form. ..."

Professor Albinon hypothesized the creatures and the trees themselves were connected somehow but had yet to gain any proof toward that assertion for the shells seemed to be in a state of stasis, void of life and yet not dead. The thought that a being could separate its consciousness from its physical form was a curiosity enough for Vita to pack up everything. He closed the binder of notes he was given just before he arrived to the location agreed upon by him and the enchanter: a camp site within the thick of the Amber Forest.
There's a code mistake midway through the chapter that left the entire rest of the chapter in italics. Always be sure to skim for those after posting. You also left placeholders: [avien race] [cluster dude] . I'd guess it was the typo causing find/replace to miss enlil, but I don't know who 'cluster dude' refers to. Albinon?

A smaller note, you have a phrase that is redundant: "and down right nigh impossible." Both "down right" and "nigh" have similar meanings, with "down right" being the possibly stronger of the two. It feels awkward to string them together, but if you want to use both, qualify one to show it being more serious: "and nigh or even down right impossible."

Final small detail, "one in the same" should actually be "one and the same."

I hate to devote so much of the commentary to mechanics. Normally I'd rather talk about the plot and characterization. As for those, the plot had the proper build-up, leading in with foreshadowing and then veering into a sudden shift in tone as you make the reveal. It's well-paced. Vita's character remains uniquely standoffish, and coming to this right after reading Urmmux's chapter, I feel like you two should get your characters together one of these days. Sorry this part was short, but I put a lot of time into the mechanics notes, so I hope you find them helpful.
 

Writing Week is 222

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