Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hellstrom Voyage Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of "the great experiment", my first attempt at writing a novel live in front of the world, the Hellstrom Voyage, is up.


Masada said...

Here's what I'll do... I write sort of a "Cliff's Notes" version of a chapter. This will naturally highlight the elements that caught my attention and my interpretation of them. Let me know if you find such commentary useful (i.e. should I continue?)

Chapter 1 & 2:
Captain Hellstrom is introduced as an educated and caring captain newly assign to a new ship, the Constant, with a seemingly benign mission in the face of a new war. Where certainly other vessels are being prepped for combat, his ship is being sent away for some very remote task. The Captain seems well liked among the crew. This varies somewhat from the traditional hard-as-nails, austere, unquestionable, ship Captain model.

The world in general seems to accept magic of some sort. Various mechanisms of magic seem to be available.

The writing style is somewhat description sparse focusing instead on action and dialog. Each chapter is quite short setting up a quick paced, action oriented story.

Another curious twist is the co-ed ship crew. This single point tells the reader this isn't a typical seafaring tale. This element alone will radically alter ship dynamics, if ever actually dealt with in a human way.

Characters introduced in order of their prominence in my memory...

First Lt. Lady Medeirra, a shape-shifting female officer of the Constant. She has the ability to shift in to animal form (scandalously bursting from her clothes) but with the cost of diminished consciousness as she drops in to animal mentality.

Major Boughton, a military man that has served the Captain for many years. The Major also introduces us to a hint of the magic of the world in a discussion about how a piece of metal forms part of his skull. This is the result of a surgery performed by some type of apparently magical metal shaping ability.

Dr. Agonis, the ship doctor who appears to be new to the crew and new to sea travel in general.

The Royal Cartographer, Silas Manfred, also a new add and part of the mission somehow, but his real motives are not discussed. The reader is left wondering about the exact nature of the mission and why this man has been chosen for it. Throughout the 2nd chapter he is only referred by his title. His name is only mentioned once.

Oddly, a great deal of description is given to the ship's cook in chapter 2, Mr. Fountier. The cook appears to be a prim man with almost French characteristics. He seems entirely too cultured to be on a sailing vessel, but this is already no ordinary crew.

A handful of other characters are introduced with only casual mentions. But it appears obvious that they will come forward in their own time.

Chuck said...

Hey this is nifty!

I'm flattered the story prompted a post of this length.

One secret I will let slip here is the reason for the co-ed crew: magicians are all women.

So if the military on this world wished to take advantage of magic in battle, such as having an officer on a ship who could control the weather, women had to be involved.

Also, with the nature of some abilities (shape-shifting into a gorilla), the notion of women as helpless or needing protection would have developed very differently.

Masada said...

I'm interested in writing too so this is very useful to me in thinking about my own. You have much more experience, but a similar set of interests. I have often thought of doing something similar as writing practice. Thus I am providing the sort of feedback I would want from one of my stories.

I'll leave the suggestions for grammar and critical development to other editors! I'm not saying I see a bunch--I'm really not all that good with it. But I have not found that type of criticism very motivating. I know I need technical polish, but mostly I'm excited about my stories and plot development.

Chuck said...

Yeah, I'm sure a real copy editor would have a field day with this, especially the punctuation in and out of my dialogue lol.

But really, I'm not focusing on that so much as on the things you mentioned, plot, character and so on.

I've never written a novel before and wanted to use this as something fun, but also something to let me hone my skills and maybe get some attention to my fiction writing.

I think if I end up making money on it, it will be as a game supplement, which I think would be cool as hell.

I'd certainly buy a book about a quasi-historical naval yarn ;)

And of course, from that perspective, I made sort of an odd, but interesting choice, since the game would probably not be set on a voyage like this, but around the war between the Island Kingdom and the Mandileu Empire.

A world this story only hints at.

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