Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Looking for feedback/critique - "A Companion's Journey"

Quick context:
This is a story I started around 2010. Worked on it off and on again over the last few years. This last few months I finally finished the “big” edit, and now feel that it is in a state to be critiqued in order to decide if I’m going to publish it or not. I would consider going back for more polish, but I could use some feedback to determine if an overhaul of the story is needed, or there are compelling arguments of a flaw in the structure.
I would welcome any and all feedback. What did you like, what did you hate, what is just “meh”…feel free to let me know.

I am definitely willing to trade feedback/critiques, just please understand that I have limited free time and will not be able to reciprocate on a short notice basis. (give me a few days turn around time)

“A Companion’s Journey”
The not so distant future is a place where society now has sentient animals called Companions.
This is the story of one Companion, Karson, in his journey to find a place in the world and his own companionship along the way.

This a novel length work, roughly 90k words, broken up into three parts. I have posted the completed work on FurAffinity as a PDF (requires download). I have also posted the work on Wattpad for viewing online (links follow). This story contains adult themes, and depictions of consensual sexual activity (though not descriptively explicit). There is also some graphic violence (not in sex). The story has a sci-fi element, as well as romantic development of the characters.

Fur Affinity - http://www.furaffinity.net/view/29906416/
Wattpad - https://www.wattpad.com/story/172426035-a-companion's-journey

I remember reading this, or an earlier version, on SoFurry a long time ago - I liked it a lot. If I get time I’ll gladly read it and give feedback!

Still looking for feedback?

I read the first two chapters and I find the story compelling so far - I especially appreciate how elegantly you wrote the awkwardness between Rachel and Karson in Chapter 2. I’m an amateur writer myself as far as fiction goes, so take my ideas with a grain of salt, but as far as critique goes I don’t see any structural issues so far (though of course it’s hard to gauge structure two chapters in!)

There are a few sentences that IMO could be reworded for better flow, e.g.
“The girl tugged animatedly on the leash collared to a pretty Siamese Companion.” could be edited to “The girl tugged animatedly on the leash and collar of a well-groomed Siamese Companion.”
I can give more examples if you’d like.

Also, something that stuck out to me while Rachel was at the agency:

"Of course, I'll take you to one of our private meeting rooms. The rooms are under surveillance, but you won't be disturbed."

Rachel gave her a questioning look.

“It’s for the protection of the Companions, of course.”

By telling Rachel that the rooms are under surveillance, it gives the undertone IMO that perhaps the agent doesn’t trust Rachel (which doesn’t seem to be the case - Rachel doesn’t give off the “I’m trouble” vibe). I think it could make sense if instead of the agent telling her this, she reads this from a placard on the door of the private room (and let the reader infer that there is probably a camera inside).

Another thing that stood out to me is that the preface seemed to slog. I know it introduces the setting, but I might consider breaking it into smaller chunks interspersed throughout the story. The TV scene in Chapter 2 is an excellent example of this. I am just afraid that the prologue might scare someone off because it reads like a textbook - which I know it’s supposed to, and the section is the better for it - but the long and short of it is that the current prologue is a long piece of text before the story happens that is not representative of the flow of the story.

This is my first time critiquing fiction so please tell me if I’m off-base or if this is helpful at all. When I start getting into the later chapters, of course it will be easier for me to talk about the book on a more structural level.

Is any of that helpful?

Edit: I’m on Chapter 4 now. Tell me if you want me to keep going with the crit!

Hey Sage,
Thank you for the feedback. I’m sorry I did not respond sooner. I fell out of the habit of checking the forum regularly because responses were so far between.
You can continue your critique if you like, but perhaps I should update this thread. A few months ago, I took a break off of the Companion story to work on another piece. Long story short, I’ve decided to revamp the Companion story.
So the “current” version is now kind of obsolete. However, it could still be used as a good exercise to analyze my work. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I am enjoying the story. As a writer with several self-published books, I would be glad to give you feedback, but I don’t want to give useless feedback. I would like to know what you want to do with this story. Is it a FA post for friends or something you want to publish more formally? Do you want to see it on tables at furry cons, in Barnes and Noble?

One of my goals would be to have it available at cons, and even possibly on shelves in book stores. It started out as a story I just wrote for myself. But then I shared it for some feedback on FA once it was “finished.” But as I mentioned in a different reply, I took a break from the story and really tried to tackle some of the shortcomings I was not particularly happy with.
In the end, I actually decided to just re-write the story (which I’m still not 100% committed to yet).
So to answer your question about feedback, I’m pretty much open to anything at the moment. But if you wish to focus on some things…the overall structure of the “Companion world” would be good. One of the things I struggled to reconcile is the “adoption” aspect to the story, which can get a little morally ambiguous when it comes to Rachel and Karson developing an intimate relationship.
I know the slice of life type story is not everyone’s cup of tea, but general feedback about what you feel is working/not working would be welcome too. (I’m always curious to see things from someone else’s POV).
If you want more context, let me know and I can send you a more detailed message.

Very good. I think your slice of life is fine. Some people like it. The best news is that you can identify that this is what it is. As to POV, that is one of the slight problems I saw. The POV jumps occasionally. Most readers won’t notice, but an agent or a publisher will and they won’t like it. I can give you examples if you wish. Other than that, I hope you continue to work on this story. I quite like it.

Thanks. Yeah, I recognized the POV hopping late on. I just never went back and fixed it in the editing, since I was contemplating the re-write.

Is there anything that stands out as “doesn’t quite work” as far as continuity, or premise, or even just the flow of the story?

I rather liked the premise. I only got to chapter 5. There was no tension yet, just relationship building. They never faced a challenge/problem, but they might not if this is a slice of life. First person is an extremely difficult choice, but you did it very well. The only other very minor issue is unnecessary paragraph breaks separating a character’s actions from its dialog.