This story is a great representation of the things you are so good at as a writer. It has the suspenseful intrigue that keeps me reading because, frankly, I'm never sure what is going to happen next. I also really like that the reader is given just enough information about the setting to understand, but not understand a the same time. One of the issues I have with fantasy/sci-fi is that the writers assume too much or describe in brutal Hemingway-esque detail. And, of corse there's the social commentary. My favorite line is from part 1 about humans traveling through space with all the care of a man who has left something in the other room - or something like that (I have butchered the elegance of your prose). All in all, a great read. My only real suggestion is that the countdown is backwards from sixteen to fifteen. Unless that was intentional & I missed something.
Thank you very much! I always wonder/worry whether I do too much or too little in the way of world building; I'm never certain if the seams of the setting are showing, or if readers are getting bored while I enumerate how many wives the Third Janissary Emperor had.I fixed that error! It was lack of sufficent proofreading. I mean, er, totally intentional! Vast cosmic forces at work.
Again, very nice. This time there was a good deal of tension and I find it all exciting. Now my own head is full of questions about where this could be going. And I thank you for diving right into a bit of action!I think you're describing the setting pretty well. I feel like I get where I am enough to picture it roughly.If you desire any criticism, I offer the thought that rather than place all of the back story details you did into the tense moment of crossing the window, you could continue revealing those details throughout the rest of the story. I suggest this primarily because it seemed to me to be a little too much detail all at once during a moment that I'm sure took only a couple of seconds for the characters. Still, perhaps you're goal was to show how much thought was whirling through his mind, in which case that idea seems to have been successful, yet I don't think it was totally necessary and could even so be cut back with a later reveal promised for further into this tantalizing tale.Overall, I think well done and am looking forward to the next entry. (:
Wow, James...wow. I had to read the story twice. The first time, the pacing grabbed my attention so hard that I found myself skipping lines of dialogue so that I could see what was going to happen next. The countdown was that engrossing!The second time through I got to pause and enjoy the real content. I especially enjoyed the interplay between the siblings - the frustration of trying to look out for your sister when she's only doing what comes naturally to a young child. And I loved the cavalier personality of the main character - starting with his reaction to the "official history" through to the end with his defiance of the window's rules.Great story! Thanks for this!
Drew - Constructive criticism is always welcome! :) Part of the reason I put these things in a public forum is so that I can get better, and for that to happen, I need criticism. In this story, I tried to balance the world building sections people term (pejoratively or not!) “info dumps” with the natural movements of the characters. Good writers - like Brandon Sanderson - can get an entire political history in your head before you realize you could draw a fictional genealogy from memory. I admire that.Thank you again! Keep reading! I can’t say when I’ll return to this world (worlds?), but I can say I have a full length short story (7500+ words) edited and ready to be parceled out, as well as some “chapter ones” of similar length to Johari Window that will be appearing.
Lee - Thank you! I tried to keep the pacing tight. One of the things that bothers me in fiction (mostly TV shows) is the distended time that comes with any countdown clock. A bomb timer shows five minutes, the characters have a long talk about what to do, and when they turn to look at it again, three seconds have elapsed. Really? I wanted the sense that these were real, actual seconds, not the Microsoft seconds you get when you’re copying files. I’m glad Peter came across as cavalier. I like that description! It’s difficult to write that quality in a young adult without it straying into annoying territory. After all, how many YA protagonists have we all wanted to shove down a garbage disposal for acting like jerks?