Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)

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OllieGee

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Hey everyone,

As an old stalwart of the AI Dreams forum, I am back here after a year's break as I've been hidden away, busily crafting and polishing my now complete novel which is centered around the first A.I, neural network games engine. Now I am beginning to sniff the tender green stems of 2022 I'm going to get involved with these forums again, see what everyone has been up to and offer my 'two cents' worth (or two bits worth if you excuse the pun) on anything I can wrap my head around.

 'Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure' is the name of my novel, and I would be darn delighted if any of you kind folks of AI dreams would spare just a few minutes of your time to read the first short, opening chapters  of the story I've recently posted up on Wattpad (and if the story grabs you in any way please do read on!) - Link here https://www.wattpad.com/story/293741097-peril-quest-a-simulated-adventure

Cheers everyone and I look forward to getting stuck into as many posts as I'm able over the next few months.

OllieGee

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squarebear

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2022, 10:38:28 pm »
I'm hooked on it after reading the opening chapter. My new bedtime reading for the next few days I think. Great work.
Feeling Chatty?
www.mitsuku.com

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OllieGee

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2022, 11:08:39 am »
Hey I’d be really pleased to know what you think of the story so far squarebear. Feel free to add any comments to the chapters as I’m always looking at ways to improve them.

Cheers
Ollie  :D

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WriterOfMinds

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2022, 02:58:50 am »
I read the first three chapters tonight. Interesting premise and protagonist. I'm short on time, but I'll see if I can offer some more specific comments later.

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OllieGee

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2022, 02:46:39 pm »
Im pleased that you like what you’ve read so far WriterOfMinds. I’d be really grateful if you could post any quick reviews on the chapters via the Wattpad site. Cheers!

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OllieGee

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2022, 06:15:52 pm »
Cheers for the reads and especially to HS. I’ve made some very small amendments on the Wattpad site now based on your comments. Much appreciated.

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WriterOfMinds

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2022, 07:48:39 pm »
Hi OllieGee! I had a little time today to write some things up. I'll put the comments related to plot or explication on Wattpad, but I also had some thoughts about your sentence structure. And since these apply pretty generally, rather than to specific chapters, I thought I'd put them here.

Your writing is yours, so bear in mind that these are just suggestions. They are based on my memory of what qualifies as correct formal style, as well as what I enjoy as a reader. But you might still wish to do something different, and if so that is entirely up to you.

I think that many of your sentences could benefit from more commas. I can kind of "hear" the text as I read it, and ... I think I feel as if your narrator is perpetually rushing and out of breath, or speaks with little inflection. Here are a handful of examples:

Original: "It was two minutes to ten in the morning and just over three weeks until the summer holidays began although most would have agreed it didn't feel like it."
Suggested: "It was two minutes to ten in the morning and just over three weeks until the summer holidays began, although most would have agreed it didn't feel like it."

Original: "But some of the kids this year had something else to look forward to, especially Seadon Graves who was on the verge of something big."
Suggested: "But some of the kids this year had something else to look forward to, especially Seadon Graves, who was on the verge of something big."

Original: "This was the year he constantly reminded himself where the phoenix would arise from the ashes."
Suggested: "This was the year, he constantly reminded himself, when the phoenix would arise from the ashes." (Technically "where" is only correct for indicating location. It often gets used informally as a substitute for "when" or "in which," but in my humble opinion that can sound awkward.)

These examples are all from the first few paragraphs, but the tendency to be short on commas is throughout your writing. I wonder if you have tried reading your story to yourself out loud? That can be a good way to decide where to add commas. If, as you read, you notice yourself inserting a pause -- for breath, emphasis, clarity, or any other reason -- that would be a place to consider putting punctuation in the text.

As a special case of this, you have quite a few run-on sentences. These are technically incorrect and also (in my opinion) hard to read. A well-defined break in the middle of a compound sentence grants my mind a pause between thoughts. Run-ons make me feel as though the narrative is racing forward and getting ahead of me.

In case you don't know, a run-on sentence has two independent clauses (subject-verb pairs expressing a complete thought) joined by 1) only a conjunction, 2) only a comma, or 3) nothing. You can "fix" a run-on by making sure the two clauses are joined with a comma AND a conjunction or with a semicolon, or by breaking it into two separate sentences, or by converting one of the independent clauses into a dependent one. I don't mind run-ons if they are very short, for instance:

"But now it was already July and he sensed time was running out."

Though I still think a comma wouldn't hurt:

"But now it was already July, and he sensed time was running out."

However, this is the kind of run-on that I think could really use some help:

Original: "A short distance from Droitchester town high street in the window of an old boarded-up department store was a torn and faded poster that read BLACK FRIDAY IS HERE. UP TO 50% OFF GAMES, ACCESSORIES, AND MORE but the store had long since stopped stocking and selling video games."
Suggested: "A short distance from Droitchester town high street, in the window of an old boarded-up department store, there was a torn and faded poster that read BLACK FRIDAY IS HERE. UP TO 50% OFF GAMES, ACCESSORIES, AND MORE. But the store had long since stopped stocking and selling video games."

I went with the "break it into two sentences" approach for this one because it is sooo long. I think it is a good idea to avoid long sentences unless you have a particularly strong reason for them. Again, this helps me pause between thoughts and not have to hold too much in my brain at once.

More examples:

Original: "But today the place was quieter than usual, not least because of the unseasonably cold weather over the past two days but here at this moment, the excitement had reached fever-pitch for a couple of teenagers."
Suggested: "But today the place was quieter than usual, not least because of the unseasonably cold weather over the past two days. Nonetheless, here at this moment, the excitement had reached fever-pitch for a couple of teenagers." (Changed second "but" to "nonetheless" because you already had a "but" very close by.)

Original: "Seadon sat upright in his favourite gaming chair, the pallid glow of the screen in front of him flashed in his brown eyes."
Suggested: "Seadon sat upright in his favourite gaming chair; the pallid glow of the screen in front of him flashed in his brown eyes."
OR "Seadon sat upright in his favourite gaming chair, and the pallid glow of the screen in front of him flashed in his brown eyes."
OR "Seadon sat upright in his favourite gaming chair, the pallid glow of the screen in front of him flashing in his brown eyes."

Original: "He blew out his cheeks as his game controller rumbled between his sweaty hands and despite a draft that whistled through the broken corrugated windows the warm glow of imminent success was enough to drive him on."
Suggested: "He blew out his cheeks as his game controller rumbled between his sweaty hands, and despite a draft that whistled through the broken corrugated windows, the warm glow of imminent success was enough to drive him on."

Original: "Some remembered it as the entrance to the undercover market, others recalled memories of the county police station headquarters and much later, a glamorous department store of the 1980s."
Suggested: "Some remembered it as the entrance to the undercover market; others recalled memories of the county police station headquarters and, much later, a glamorous department store of the 1980s."

Now for some trickier issues. Sometimes it seems like dependent phrases/clauses aren't quite joined up with the words they are trying to modify. For instance:

Original: "This cold, damp morning in mid-July felt like a huge moment for Seadon and one he thought defined him as someone who had truly arrived ready to battle it out on the big stage as the final beckoned which would be played the following month at the national exhibition centre and live cast to the online gaming community."
Suggested: "This cold, damp morning in mid-July felt like a huge moment for Seadon, and one he thought defined him as someone who had truly arrived, ready to battle it out on the big stage as the final beckoned. It would be played the following month at the national exhibition centre and live cast to the online gaming community."
OR "This cold, damp morning in mid-July felt like a huge moment for Seadon, and one he thought defined him as someone who had truly arrived. He was ready to battle it out on the big stage as the final, which would be played the following month at the national exhibition centre and live cast to the online gaming community, beckoned."

What I'm interested in here is "which" and the way it's separated from "final," its anchor in the main sentence. The second option I gave is technically correct, but IMO it is awkward, because the dependent clause following "which" is too long and pushes the verb "beckoned" too far away from its subject "final." So if I were you, I'd go with something like the first one.

Original: "He'd made some good friends there too who he'd shared gaming strategies with and traded artifacts won from playing the games."
Suggested: "He'd made some good friends there too: friends with whom he'd shared gaming strategies and traded artifacts won from playing the games."
OR "There he'd also made some good friends, with whom he'd shared gaming strategies and traded artifacts won from playing the games." (I'm not a stickler about the "don't end a sentence/clause with a preposition" idea, but in this particular case I think it sounds nicer to move "with" to the beginning of the clause.)

Original: "A delivery rider pushed open the double doors of the fast-food outlet with their foot holding a large bagged order, nearly taking them both out where they stood." (This almost reads to me as if the rider is holding the bag with their foot.)
Suggested: "A delivery rider holding a large bagged order pushed open the double doors of the fast-food outlet with their foot, nearly taking them both out where they stood."

Again, these are just examples, and I don't give them as an exhaustive list of sentences that I think need fixing ... they're more to illustrate changes that might enhance your writing in general. My suggestions are also mere possibilities, and there would be other ways to rework the sentence structure.

Good luck! I used to write things like this for people when I was a member of Critters (https://critters.org/). You could get more feedback if you joined and posted your work there. Though in return you have to critique other people's writing, and if you put due effort in, it is a job.

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OllieGee

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2022, 08:25:49 pm »
There's a treasure trove of excellent advice and feedback here - Thanks WriterOfMinds I will do my best to deduce and address the points raised.  8)

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OllieGee

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Re: Peril Quest - A Simulated adventure (A completed work of fiction)
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2022, 11:17:04 am »
Following on from some excellent comments and observations from both HS and WriterOfMinds on the WattPad site, I have added a paragraph to 'A Special Meeting' chapter - HS let me know your thoughts on this and replied hopefully to provide some clarity to some of your comments on Wattpad.
Much obliged as always.