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Overworld- Chapter 2: Invitation

by SergeantRosie


Jean and Annalise make their way around several half-awake bodies. Jean looks around proudly. “What did I tell you,” he said, “no one even noticed we were gone.”

“I don’t recall you ever telling me that.” Annalise scanned the area. Thousands of twinkling spores float endlessly through the space of the cavern and streaks of starlight dart across her field of vison. Her gaze rests on a faint outline of the Centrumbole. “It’s releasing more spores than usual, don’t you think?”

“I wouldn’t know,” he said. “I’m rarely here.” People passed by the two, giving Jean weird looks. “Speaking of which, I should go before I get reported.” He twisted around, “Oh yeah,” he stopped. “Tell Hura to meet at the entrance to the crystal cave, and, if she asks…”

Before Jean could finish a deep womanly voice sounded, “Jean, how did I know I’d find you with Annalise again?” Jean groaned and turned to the source of the sound.

“Looks like you spoke too soon about getting reported.” Annalise whispered as a short, stout woman stomped angrily in their direction.“Good lumimare, Gennit.” She ignored Annalise’s greeting and grabbed Jean’s forearm forcefully. Her face was contorted and twisted like a burning log.

“You are straying from schedule,” she spat. “What are you even doing on this side of the Centrumbole?” she tugged at his arm. “Excavators sleep on over there.” She points in the opposite direction.

“Actually, we sleep over there.” Jean points slightly to the right of where she did. Annalise nudged him in the side. “I’m not helping my case, am I?” he whispered before getting dragged away. Annalise shook her head with a smile on her face and waved him goodbye. Jean waved back while he got an earful about a recent cave in near the tunnel of ore. “I’m not even late Gennit! Yuo isn’t even up, why aren’t you yelling at him?”

Annalise turns and walks towards the Ilum tree, a thick, twisting tree the color of stone. Its branches stuck straight up and dug into the ceiling. The earth below its trunk glowed softly with a blue aura. An unusually tall girl with unusually dark hair ran up behind Annalise and they exchange greetings. They walk notably far from each other

“Hura, you’re actually awake.” Annalise said to Hura who was yawning loudly.

“I suppose I am,” Hura muttered pulling of a wiggling root, wrapped around her arm. They continue walking up to the Ilum tree in the center of the cavern and enter a tunnel at the base of the hill where it sits. The tunnel is well worn and offers plenty of space for multiple people to walk through. It eventually opens up into a small circular cave structure. Above Hura and Annalise, blue, pulsating roots cover the ceiling and seem to creep along the walls as if stalking unseen prey. Hura stood with her hand on her hip, glaring with her nose turned upwards as if the roots somehow dishonored her. “I am so sick of having to pull these roots up every single luminmare. Why don’t we just move somewhere with more Ilum trees? These roots become dimmer every harvest.” Hura pulled out a curved knife crowned with colorful jewels.

“That reminds me,” Annalise said with forced casualness, happy with the opportunity to bring up the topic. “We found something last sovereun…”

“We?” Hura turns away from her silent battle with the squirming roots, suddenly curious. “Did you sneak out with Jean again?” her eyes squint. “Don’t you remember what happened last time-?”

“Ugh I know… Everyone remembers!” Annalise folds her hands defensively.

“Just get on with it, Lise.” Hura twirls her hand. “What did you two find this time, and how am I going to get in trouble for knowing about it?”

“Well,” Annalise’s finger finds a place on her chin, “I’m not sure exactly how to describe it.” She walked carefully over to a pulsating root and gripped it firmly. “Jean just told me to ask you to meet us at the entrance to the crystal caves.”

“You two are always so vague. It runs in the family, huh?”

“That’s what I’ve been told.” Annalise rips off a root that swings and narrowly misses her face. She tosses the squirming root into the woven basket upon her back.

“Makes everything more interesting I suppose.” Hura mutters to herself as she fought with a particularly stubborn root.

“Will you join us?” Annalise inquires before summoning up some courage. “Jean was pretty excited to have you along.” She gave Hura a playful side-glance, but Hura’s expression was unmoving.

“Well, if you insist,” Hura finally decides.

“Oh, I do insist.” Annalise said with a smile forming on the side of her face.

The two continue ripping roots off the wall until their baskets were full, and their faces were splotched in a liquid that glowed like the midday sky. The baskets trembled slightly as if hundreds of mice where trying to escape. “I think we have enough for,” Hura stepped towards the entrance, “maybe a half of a very small tunnel.” Annalise smiles, but worried thoughts plagued her mind.

“Maybe the other harvesters were luckier,” Annalise said with forced optimism.

“Maybe,” Hura muttered half to herself. They walked back through the dark tunnel; their bodies outlined by the faint rays of light emanating from their baskets. Estrella worms greeted them at the entrance to the main cavern. Hura swatted at them before they could get near her face. “What is up with these worms?”

“Well, we did just steal their food,” Annalise said while a feathery worm landed on her shoulder. It slid across her damp shawl and floated down to the ground to meet drops of glowing liquid.

“Speaking of which,” Hura flicked a dark strand of hair away from her face. “Let’s find some willowed mushrooms to eat.”

“We should really get these to Tuia before the east tunnel goes out,” Annalise kicked a small pebble down the path. “Don’t you think?”

“She won’t notice if we’re late,” said Hura.

“Yes she will,” Annalise rolled her eyes. “She always notices.”Hura pushed past Annalise and started in a different direction lined with small, purple mushrooms. In the distance, she could make out a small cluster of hazy flora, glowing with numerous neon colors.

“I’ll see you and Jean at the crystal caves,” Hura called back, leaving Annalise alone with the worms.

“Fine,” Annalise huffed, “but I’m not going to make any excuses to Tuia for you.” Annalise reached back and pulled a wiggling root from her basket, and held it up like a lantern, hoping to find some relief from the flickering darkness around her. Annalise glanced behind her wearily before turning back sharply in annoyance that Hura left her alone. She stomped off, anxious to drop off her harvest and discover where that strange light she and Jean had discovered will take them.

Author's Note: So, I'm leaning towards making this a graphic novel instead of a writen novel. I'm not too excited about my descriptions and I believe this story will flow a lot better with drawn imagery from scene to scene (and it'll do the atmpsphere more justace). I don't think I'll be posting much more of this story unless I wanted some feed back with dialogue. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think! :)


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Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:05 pm
DarkPandemonium wrote a review...



Hiya, Sergeant Rosie! I'm back again for round two. Let's get straight to it.

Nitpicks

Jean and Annalise make their way around several half-awake bodies. Jean looks around proudly. “What did I tell you,” he said, “no one even noticed we were gone.”


Off the bat we've got some missing question marks and tense issues. You need to figure out if this is going to be written in present tense or past tense, because you flip between the two throughout the piece. If you want it to be in present tense, this should be written as:

Jean and Annalise make their way around several half-awake bodies. Jean looks around proudly.

"What did I tell you?" he says. "No one even noticed we were gone."


However, if you want to put this piece in past tense, this should be:

Jean and Annalise made their way around several half-awake bodies. Jean looked around proudly.

"What did I tell you?" he said. "No one even noticed we were gone."


Whichever tense you pick, you have to keep it consistent. I won't point out any of the other tense slip-ups in this review, so I'll leave it to you to comb through for them.

Her face was contorted and twisted like a burning log.


I'm not completely sure about this metaphor. Does a burning log contort? Not that I've ever seen. It just gradually disintegrates. I think you could find a more fitting comparison.

“Actually, we sleep over there.” Jean points slightly to the right of where she did. Annalise nudged him in the side. “I’m not helping my case, am I?” he whispered before getting dragged away.


I find it strange that you don't show Gennit's reaction to Jean contradicting her. It's the kind of thing that should definitely be included.

An unusually tall girl with unusually dark hair ran up behind Annalise and they exchange greetings.


'Exchange greetings' tells us nothing about the actual mood of the interaction. It could be anything from an exuberant 'Hello hello hello! How are you?' to a tired, listless grunt of acknowledgement. Give me specifics. Actual dialogue would be good here.

“Makes everything more interesting I suppose.” Hura mutters


As I mentioned in the last review, don't close dialogue with a full stop when it's followed by a dialogue tag. This full stop should be swapped out for a comma.

as if hundreds of mice where trying to escape.


This should be 'were'.

Overall Thoughts

1) Seeing as you're planning to turn this into a graphic novel, I haven't been as thorough with the nitpicks as I might have otherwise been. Most of the grammatical errors are recurring issues, as well, tense slips being the most prevalent. You need to choose which tense this is going to be written in, because yo-yoing between present and past makes for one heck of a bumpy ride for the reader.

The dialogue is more novel-like, but you're still a bit shaky on punctuating it. I didn't go into massive depth in my previous review about it because most of the time you seem to follow the right conventions. I'll refer you to this great resource for a low-down on dialogue rules. Even if you end up changing this into a graphic novel, it's still worth having a look at.

Anyhow, I'll stop rabbiting on about dialogue. Keeping in mind the planned revamp, I'll focus the rest of my points on the actual story content and the dialogue, as I imagine that's what will be the most useful to you.

2) If I'm being honest, I don't think this chapter is quite as good as the first. It doesn't feel like that much happens in it. The only really story progression we see is that Annalise meets with Hura and tells her that she wants to show her something, and even that isn't that eventful. I feel like you need a secondary element of conflict in the plot, something that keeps the tension going even when the main question of the opening they found takes more of a backseat. There are notes of intrigue, like when you mention 'what happened last time', but it's not quite enough to sustain my interest.

There's also the question of Hura's characterisation, which is a bit flat. Annalise and Jean's dynamic was one of the strongest elements of the first chapter, but Hura's personality hasn't really leapt out at me, and I don't really feel like there's a particularly interesting back-and-forth between her and Annalise. I sense that there must be some frostiness between them, given that you draw attention to how they walk quite far apart from one another, but that should make their interactions more interesting, not less. If there's bad blood between them, that should be abundant in the subtext of their conversation. If they're close friends, that should be obvious too.

One thing I did like about the content of the chapter was that we got a bit more insight into what the characters spend their time doing, and I like the unique names for things that you keep slipping in on the sly. The opening scene where Gennit drags Jean off was pretty funny, too.

3) On the whole, the dialogue is pretty good, but I would like to feel like your characters have more distinctive voices. Jean's is probably the most defined, but Annalise and Hura's weren't that distinguishable from one another. Dialogue is a huge part of characterisation. If a character can't stay on topic, or they ramble, or they repeat themselves a lot, or they barely say more than five words at a time, it tells us something about them. Use that to your advantage.

I'll call the review here. I hope this was helpful, and I really wish you all the best for whatever you decide to do with this story. If you want me to swing by and review anything relating to Overworld in future, just tag me and I'll get straight on it.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:42 pm
jimss23 wrote a review...



Jimmy here.

I was strolling through the green room and decided I would stop by and give a little feedback on your work. I do rather enjoy reviewing novels and the like so we will see how this goes. (Also, I saw your author's note and it's a situation I often find myself contemplating I for sure wanted to read your work)

Ok, so my customary disclaimer. I have the English grammar talents of a boy raised by wolves, so I can't help ya there. Also, I say what I think. Don't take it personally, I just don't like being fake.

Thumbs up. Let's do this.

Ok, so the first thing I am going to do is compile a list of all of the words that were obviously a major plot point and tell you what I think they mean. Hopefully, this helps you figure out what is being portrayed as you intended and what is not. I'm aware that I'm coming into this story in the second chapter so if I interpret anything really wrong that is explained earlier feel free to ignore me. (Also I'm not trying to belittle you so don't take it that way. This is just so you can see how readers might interpret the words here.)

Centrumbole: I gathered that this was some sort of cave or cavern where the characters lived.

Lumimare: Synonym for day

Ilum tree: A tree that grows in the cavern that is the centerpiece of the characters society.

Sovereun: Either yesterday or a day of the work

As always, reviewing an excerpt in the middle of the story is hard. So, I will be spending a little bit of time talking about your authors note.

1) Your descriptions are fine and do what they are intended to do, so you don't have to worry as much about that point. However, with that being said, I do agree that your story might benefit more from being a graphic novel than a written work. (Warning: The following is very subjective)

There are three factors that I think a graphic novel would do for your story that a written work can't accomplish effectively. The first is the color scheme. Dark caverns with bioluminescent life and a strange light. A graphic novel can portray color far better than a book can and because color plays an important role in your book I think having that visual for the readers would be a great thing.

The second is, as you noticed, is the atmosphere. This goes hand in hand with color but creating the right atmosphere can be very challenging. I'm not saying you can't do it so don't take it that way. However, if you were to create a graphic novel for things like the color then you could have way more control over the way the atmosphere is presented to the reader.

The third and final benefit is setting. You have a lot of unique parts of the setting of your story. Trying to effectively describe every detail for the reader so they can get a good picture in their head can take up entirely too much space in your book. It is in cases like this that a picture is truly worth a thousand words. A single image of things like the Ilum Tree can instantly convey the idea you had in your head.

Now, a downside.

Intimacy. This might seem silly but it can be a big factor in books over visual mediums. For whatever reason, many people become way more attached to books than visual mediums. Take, for example, the Harry Potter books. There are many people who just saw the movies and enjoyed them and when they were done put the movie back on the shelf. On the other hand, many of the people who read the books became huge (and sometimes rabid) fans of the series.

Dialogue can go either way. It is up to the personal taste of the reader, but I prefer a visual medium for dialogue. Facial features, reactions, and emotions can be added in much greater detail in a visual form than written form and I love getting to experience characters that way.

Alright, that's my take on things.

If you ever want help on dialogue please, please let me know. I am mostly a scriptwriter so I spend about 80% of my time working on just dialogue. I am here to offer any help I can.


Whatever you decide to do, best of luck!

Jimmy





History repeats itself. First as tragedy, second as farce.
— Karl Marx