Well, I have to say that I am happy to lend a helping hand to help both writers improve their craft. I think that critiques are an awesome way for
good writers to become great writers because it offers the author another perspective on their work. This often leads to new ideas and creative
challenges that the author sets for his or herself.
The fantasy genre happens to be one of my favorite genres to read so I am excited that this is the theme for round one. I think that a good fantasy
story is quite a challenge to pull off, because you are often creating a world that is only slightly similar to the “real” world. An entire
universe has to be created all the way down to whether or not a blade of grass exists, and then you have to create believable and interesting,
characters to fill your world with drama and excitement.
I am going to go over intrepid’s story first in this post, and then DeusEx’ story in another post that follows.
The Fall of Edan
Intrepid, you do a wonderful job of creating a believable world in just a few paragraphs. I was amazed at how I was quickly able to fill in any
blanks with my imagination. This helped the story to flow smoothly for me and made the story believable.
Only at the end of the story did it seem a bit awkward to me, but I will explain that in a bit. Galen and Gomerey were great characters, and I felt a
sense of attachment to both of them and their fate. I also enjoyed the character of Mortath, and I actually wanted more descriptive information about
him, like certain mannerisms or quirks in his actions or patterns of speech. In my imagination, he is cocky, arrogant, and has a “god-centric”
type of ego.
I happily filled in my own sense of who Morath was, but at the end of the story, I wondered who he “really” was. Here in this part of the
“My Lord Duke Gomerey, you called?”, Morath said as he bowed low, a smile on his face. “I’m sure that you have insight on what has
transpired in the capitol”.
I think there is a great opportunity to give some more insight into Moraths personality. Here is an example of how I think that could be done:
“ ‘My Lord
Duke Gomerey, you called’, Morath said as he bowed his thin wiry frame low, a crookedly wry smile on his face. ’I’m sure
that you have insight on what has transpired in the capitol’. “
I italicized Lord to make it seem a sarcastic use of the word. Still, I felt that Morath is a great character, and does much to add to the drama of
your story. I also thought that the Reapers in your story were a wonderful way to introduce more tension and apprehension to the story. They added a
sense of strong foreboding, and this made me care more about the fate of Galen.
There were only a few parts of your story that I found confusing or where I thought that the sentences read a bit awkward. In this sentence:
How he got the generals to follow him he had no idea, they were honorable men, well trained and loyal.
I thought at first that Gomerey was wondering how he
had gotten the generals to follow him. I had to re-read the passage to understand that he
was referring to how the generals could follow Morath. I believe that I initially thought that Gomerey was referring to himself because he is being
introspective and as the reader, I am being introspective along with Gomerey. I think that if sentence read something like this:
“How the foul and twisted mage had gotten the generals to follow him, Gomerey had no idea. The generals were honorable men, well trained and
loyal.”, it would remove any doubts as to who Gomerey is referring to and also add some more characterization to Gomerey’s personal feelings about
I also experienced this same brief bit of confusion in this sentence:
Galen turned to his lord, he was pointing a longbow at him. Had Morath’s magic reached his Lord?, thought Galen.
I thought that at first, Galen turned his
longbow towards Gomerey. The use of the word “he” without any other descriptive input, is not
enough to help the reader know the identity of the “he” in the sentence. I realized who the “he” was about 3 sentences later. A possible way
to fix this would be a sentence such as:
“Galen turned to face his lord, who was now pointing a longbow at him. Had Morath’s magic also reached my Lord?, thought Galen. “
The end of your story seemed out of place and a bit abrupt to me. It was a dramatic shift from the rest of the story. I liked the idea that Galen
was finally remembered as he so dearly wanted. I also liked the idea that the reader learns the final outcome of the battle through people who exist
an indeterminate amount of years later. ( I did get the sense that it may have been in the hundreds of years because Edan had existed as a legend to
the father and son, before they discovered the parchment.)
I think that a few good transition sentences before the son speaks would help guide the reader from the last moments of Gomerey, to the now
future-present moment with the father and son. An example would be something like this:
--A sharp wind blew through the treeless expanse of a field scattered with wormwood grass and spiny lizardback bushes. Throughout the field,
weathered blocks of stone could sometimes be seen partially covered by brownish green soil and sometimes draped with the wormwood grass seemed to grow
on anything . To the discerning eye, the few exposed blocks could be seen as strewn about in a definitive pattern. Like that of a building
“Dad, what are you looking at”?
The older man had overturned a mass of worn stone and was reading from a delicate parchment
“...Duke of Edan.... Galen...”
“Do you know what we’ve found here? This scroll proves that the 13th province existed.. There was an Edan. The stories are true but there is a new
I really enjoyed reading your story because I felt that you had given birth to a full alternate world just begging for more adventures to take place
there. I would actually love to read a story about how the world changed, or did not, under Moraths tyrannical reign. Or was he able to extend his
life through magic and he still rules the lives of the father and son who appear at the end of the story.
I cant wait to read more of your work!
(Below I am going to add some ideas that I think will help both you and DeusEx if you decided to write another fantasy story. I hope it helps your
creative process some.
I have a few examples that I thought of to really challenge yourself when you write a fantasy story.
-Instead of using common names like Duke, King, etc., use a made up name that the reader will be able to recognize as meaning the same thing as Duke,
(Ex: Dario rushed through the trading stalls to gather the things he would need to prepare a Grand meal. The Premeire was not a being to be trifled
with. All of the folk served to show loyalty by performing their duties to the best of their ability. And then some. Dario served the Premeire to the
best of his ability by preparing Grand
meals. Meals befitting a Premeire. Grand
meals that were not for the likes of Dario. He
hurried through the massing throng of the crowd. Failure was the nightmare that terrorized his dreams. ) Or something like that.
-Use examples of the fantasy characters’ thinking process and actions to further develop the world.
(Ex: Thesara leaned over the edge that jutted out from her window. The air swirled through her hair and caressed her exposed skin as if it were
attempting intimacy. Her eyes sparkled with delight. The dewars are in love with me
, she thought and giggled as she watched the flying
creatures streak past her window and disappear into the Dark Forest. They always seemed to fly past her
particular window on their evening
return home. “I wonder what magic they use to fly so fast.” she wondered aloud, as she watched hundreds of the tiny humanoid beings stream into
the blackness created by trees that grew very close together and had an outer skin as dark as Thesara’s hair. She waved to the dewars as she always
did, and as always it seemed as if a few waved back.)
Those are a few examples that may help you. I have found that most of the fantasy type stories that I enjoy a great deal, are the ones where the
world is experienced through the character, and therefore by the reader as well.
[edit on 11/30/2005 by sylvrshadow]