I've submitted chapters 11 thru 16 of Child Magus for posting, and with the help of a new editor, I'm feeling better than ever about the results.
I've received a few emails over the last couple of weeks not only about Child Magus, but about New Magus too. It's possible some readers have gone back to read the first story again, or I'm gaining new readers with these new posts (not sure which).
Let's get to the first one...
A nice start to the second part of your series and well-worth the wait, a few parts are a little irritating like Raven seemingly trivialising what happened to Seth, I know you tried to show that she doesn't understand the severity of what he went through and the resultant damage to his psyche. But it's still irksome that she doesn't think that Seth's upbringing was that bad. The whole issue of Seth's parents being decent ones, just because they clothed and fed him was irritating along with Raven's positive point about them not being physically abusive, implying that Seth was nit-picking about his parents. The fact that they didn't support him and more to the point wrecked his psyche so much that he thought even looking at girls was immoral and punishable was bad enough, that they knew about his bullying and torment and did nothing that a parent should was infuriating. I don't agree with Raven when she thinks that mental and emotional torture cannot be worse than physical (which is basically what Seth had to suffer throughout his life). I didn't like that Raven thought that Seth's parents being religious fundies (to the extent that they fostered such insane teachings onto him) was an adequate excuse for their treatment of him and that as long as they didn't physically abuse him and indoctrinate him, emotional and mental blackmail into their thinking was totally fine (I maybe inferring things wrong when she says, "As for your parents' religious outlooks, unless they used similar tactics to enforce their beliefs as that girl's father used to punish you, it sounds like they were worried for you and that means they care. It may not seem like it now, but one day you may appreciate it") But it did seem like to her, as long as your intent was positive, then the actions to take were justifiable (basically the ends justifies the means).
Anyway, I hope that I don't seem overly harsh, it was not my intent to criticise, overall the read was enjoyable and I look forward to more updates from you.
When I wrote these chapters, everything simply poured out of me, almost exactly as they are. I haven't made any major changes to that chapter, so I think my initial concept about her was right on the mark. I only hope the other characters' personalities make similar impacts. As for your criticism being overly harsh - I never take it that way. You made a solid argument, but Raven has her own mind about that situation and for me to not portray that would only hurt the story, not help it.
The following email was from an anonymous writer...
I just want to say that I have enjoyed your writings on SOL quite a bit and think that you are one of the best writers active on the site. I appreciate that you are developing the characters and maintaining the psychological conflict in the story. You asked for commentary, so here are a couple of disconnects that I am noticing.
First. Assuming that you are trying to parallel the protector series, you need to foreshadow your external conflict more in the early chapters. Have something try to happen to one of the girls, or have some creepy guy/girl/thing show up in some way to build up tension that there is a conflict brewing.
Second. One of the strengths of the stories that you write is that you delve into the psychology of the relationship and how the girls are feeling about Seth. This is undercut by the fact that Seth tends to be helpless in the face of cartoonish mammaries that are so large as to disable the poor girl. Would it not make more sense for your story and be more consistent with the psychological buildup if there is a way that
you can develop for him to be attracted to the minds of these hot girls, rather than helpless in the face of women burdened with a size H cup.
Third. One of the problems that you ran into in the protector series was that eventually, the harem got so large that all but two or three of the girls tended to drop out of the story. It is just impossible to keep 20 girls onstage in the story and maintain the plot. You aren't there yet, but it seems like you are heading back that way. May I suggest two alternatives. 1) You can make each conquest a bigger deal, by either having them be the prize of some conflict in the story (such as the conquest of a rival sex magus or the like) or 2) Have Seth figure a way (as he did in the protector towards the end) to have casual encounters without bonding.
All in all, good job so far. I look forward to the rest of your story.
First. In the first chapter alone, after Seth gets out of bed with Danielle, he turns on the tv to the news to find out the time, only to be reminded of the ongoing disappearances. This is an ongoing issue, and one that will be brought out more in the chapters I just submitted for posting.
Second. Seth's issues are about physicality, sexuality, and connecting to other people. He already has a healthy respect for other person's intelligence, so there's no conflict there. He spent his primary sexual developement suppressing his physical urges and hiding from the people around him. Now, he's being forced to do just the opposite. Besides, I don't believe I've made any mention in the stories about actual bra sizes. ;) I agree that an H cup would hamper most women, but not all of the women in these stories are an H. Some are bigger! :P
Third. Right now, Seth needs more women to feed his power without hurting them. He doesn't have a choice. Once he reaches a number that will balance his power's need with safety for the girls, then he'll stop. Of course, there's no way to know how many that'll take, but with the new post you'll find out the strongest suggestion. As for your suggestions: 1) That is already in the works. In fact, I've been writing the chapters that both end this story and do just what you suggest. and 2) If Seth ever get over his self-image issues, this could become a real possibility. After all, he argues with Jordan early in Child Magus about basically seducing women for one night stands, that way no one is in danger and he still gets what he needs. This is still only the second story in what I have planned for a five-story series (for the bigger plots that are already underway).
The following was written by a long term fan...
I enjoyed your Master PC series some time. I have to say it had one big advantage over this one. When I started it you had already finished it! So now I mush pant and try to stave off the shakes as I wait for my next hit. The story itself is interesting. I am enjoying it more as the magus aspects come to the fore. Will you be working on that much ? What about Jordan's mom? She seems like she could be upset, or a good mentor. Will she be appearing? If Seth became a Fonti, could he release his people? Will Sharon be showing back up? She seemed nice and like she deserved a better guy than the one she had. I hope Seth rescues Francine, since she seemed nice if a little ditzy. Or has she been sucked dry and killed?
Finally, his parents. Was he adopted? Did they realized everything that happened to him? Were they trying to protect him by keeping him out of the dangerous Sex Magus world, even if they did it in an odd way?
I know that was a lot of questions. You can see why I am eagerly awaiting your future story chapters.
Thank you for this.
He had tons of questions and only a few that don't have forthcoming answers. For the questions that aren't going to be answered in coming stories...
Will I be working on the Magus Aspects? I'm going to treat that aspect sort of like how Rowling treated magic in the Harry Potter stories. Some of the spells Seth learns will be important to a specific story, and others won't be important enough to mention unless needed.
What about Jordan's mom? She seems like she could be upset, or a good mentor. Will she be appearing? I have no plans on Jordan's mom making an appearance at this time, though that doesn't mean she won't.
If Seth became a Fonti, could he release his people? He wouldn't have a choice. Like Jordan, his bond with his girls would simply cease to exist.
Will Sharon be showing back up? She seemed nice and like she deserved a better guy than the one she had. It took me a minute to remember who she was. I completely forgot about Sharon while working on Child Magus. I doubt she'll make another appearance.
I hope Seth rescues Francine, since she seemed nice if a little ditzy. Or has she been sucked dry and killed? This is yet to be seen ;)
Finally, his parents. Was he adopted? Did they realized everything that happened to him? Were they trying to protect him by keeping him out of the dangerous Sex Magus world, even if they did it in an odd way? This is yet to be seen, and it will be a while before I begin working on the stories that cover these questions.
To be honest, I have a good understanding of Seth's background (prior to his major issue with Lisa and her father). In fact, I have notes on what the rest of the magical world is going through during each story - something I did during my RPG days when I ran games. If I were to release those notes, it would be like catching the evening news but with greater detail. I also have back-notes that detail what happened prior to Seth's birth.
Here's another email I received that breaks a concept that I've had since I was a kid...
small correction ...
"Raven smiled. "A man after my own heart. Rather
than being given a fish, you want learn how to
I recognized the biblical reference instantly and
NOT from the bible. Chinese proverb.. Check out
wiki.answers.com or http://www.bartleby.com
I'm enjoying your story very much. Thanks.
I looked to more sites than just those. Even the sites that are all about religion say it's a chinese proverb. I might have first heard it in church while growing up, or connected it to the bible with stories floating around in my head like Jonah and the Whale (though not really a whale and not a discussion I want to get into right now), and Jesus feeding the masses with only a basket of fish and bread. I've even found a pdf copy of the King James version of the Christian Bible to search. It's not in there. Thank you for the correction. I honestly always believed it was something I learned in church. Which means I should go back to chapter 4 and make the correction.
And this is an email I received late last night...
I thought I'd drop you a line and say thanks; I just finished reading New Magus and enjoyed it very much.
Sometimes when reading stories on SOL I collect corrections as I read. A number of authors appreciate recieving them and they tend to jump out at me as I read, so I make notes. I noticed your complaint in the blog though, so I leave it up to you. If you would like to fix the issues, I can pinpoint some for you. If not, no big deal. I'll just fix them in my copy so they don't bug me next time.
As for (hopefully constructive) criticism of the story, I suppose one thing that stood out for me was the ratio of sex scenes to scenes which advanced the plot. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with sex scenes in general, or with your scenes in particular, so when I find myself sighing in exasperation as the characters start getting it on _AGAIN_ ... well, things might be a bit out of proportion. An example off the top of my head is the scene where Seth has a vision of Jordan's awakening ceremony, or whatever you want to call it. I didn't need all the detail there. It wasn't anything new, and it was't even a character with whom I shared a perspective. It felt superfluous at a time when all I really wanted to know was what was happening next.
To summarize, the first book seemed a bit light on plot. Since all the sex was actually necessary to the plot, I would suggest that perhaps you should gloss over some of the more repetitious bits just to keep it from getting stale, and to improve the pacing overall.
Plot-wise, I'm not sure what to say at this point. There seemed to be a great deal of foreshadowing at the beginning that never went anywhere, but given the short amount of time that has passed in the story so far, I can't be sure it never will, or that what has been revealed so far about Seth's past is even completely accurate. The plot has a great deal of potential and I feel like I just finished reading the prologue rather than the firet book.
That said, I like what I've read so far, the odd typo or misused word and the consistently slow pace notwithstanding.
Of the many things that I liked:
- I would say the overall concept caught my interest - mages who generate power from sex is probably not a new idea, but then what is? I can't think of another example right now - and I'm really interested to see where you're going with it.
- Except for the points I mentioned, the writing is slick and rarely interfered with my reading.
- I think Seth strikes a good balance between hapless and capable and I found him to be generally very believable as well as a likeable character.
- I like how you alluded to Jordan's use of magic in a subtle way. It was quite understated and there was always some alternate mundane explanation for it. I don't know that I'd want that to continue, but it was appropriate for this book.
- Speaking of subtlety, as Seth observed, everything that happened up to the very end was, though quite unlikely, at least possible to explain away if you discount the existence of magic. I think it came off very well and didn't leave the me feeling like the protagonist was an idiot not to believe in it.
Thanks for writing
First, I'd like to clarify. My complaint wasn't from receiving needed corrections. If anyone has them, please, let send them. My complaint was for all of the emails I get complaining about this or that without offering possible corrections. To me, there is a big difference between a complaint and a critism. Complaints point out the problem. Criticisms point out the problem and offer a potential solution. This may not be what dictionary.com says about the word, but it's how I look at it. So, if anyone has a list of corrections needed for any of my stories, please send them.
Second, as for the amount of sex in these stories... Didn't I mark them as "Much Sex" which, according to SOL, means a story with a plot and lots of sex. It's only a step down from "Stroke Story" which is basically a story only containing sex. Or am I misinterpreting the descriptions? To me a stroke story is about someone trying to get laid - and nothing else. The goal is sex. Crap. Okay, the more I think about this, the more New Magus and Child Magus look like stroke stories. The goal in the first story is for Seth to get through his initiation, which means sex. And in the second story, Seth needs more Fonti, which means more sex. Crap. Okay, I'll re-mark both stories as Stroke Stories. I already know the following stories will be focused on other long-term plots already in motion, so they won't contain as much sex and woudln't be considered Stroke Stories.
Third. What I've chosen to include is important. Please understand there's a lot more I could put in there - and in some cases do add initially only to take it out later. Everything has meaning in the story, even what Seth saw in the memories he got from the girls. It may not be important to the immediate story, but it will be later down the line. All I can do is ask for more patience. And yes, I do know that it's been over a year since New Magus was completed and Child Magus started posting. I won't be making that mistake again.
Those are all of he more relevant emails I've received. The rest are the usual comments on how much someone is enjoying the story and such. Remember, if you have questions, even if you're only going to write to me anonymously, I'm willing to answer - if it pertains to the current story. I won't reveal anything about future stories. After all, it would spoil it for some readers. And if anyone has spotted anything wrong with the stories, whether it's the wrong word used somewhere, or a scene that doesn't make sense, let me know.