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Journey
September 1st, 2005, 01:50 PM
hi everyone. thanks for any upcoming critique.
the following is the first couple pages of a short story about a unicorn Im trying to write..Ill post the rest as i write it. here goes:

Iím a very sad unicorn.

Even though I rule a realm of monkeys.

I saw my mother eaten by poachers, the prize cut beneath her ribs scored with a crude knife then roasted over a fire. The rest of her flesh they cast aside. Demons ate the rotting mass three days later. They still glow from the unicorn essence.

The poachers sawed her glittering horn off with a jigsaw which teeth was edged with enchanted mother-of-pearl. They must have traded with mermaids for it. A traitorous, slippery people.

I mourned my motherís murder for the full seven days, hidden in a copse of stunted oak. Then I turned to look for my father.

I did not know where to begin.

Unicorns donít live in nuclear family units. We donít think, ďFather and MotherĒ, or ďSon and daughter.Ē Fathers arenít part of a foalís life. Mothers arenít really a part either. Unicorns come from Heaven and we are raised by Heaven. As foals we drink dew and eat the stardust scattered by the passing comets. When we walk through the glades and by the rivers, rushes and young trees bend to groom our gleaming coats. We need no mother for milk or cleansing.

I did not know why my heart beat hard for my father. Of all the people of Men and Fairy, unicorns possess the lightest kinship ties.

Sorrow slowed my hoofs and constricted my throat. But my mind was a swiftly boiling cauldron of blood-reddened images. My motherís velvet eyes hard as rock in battle-rage. Her horn sizzling and crackling, crimson flowers blossoming as she slashed through plate and mail. Her desperate shift from shape to shape to elude the bonds they cast.

Yellows swirled with the reds. I saw my eyes flashing amber and orange in the pond. A golden unicornís muscled body sliced his way through the churning red images. My father. Every thud of his hoof in my mind coincided with a spasm of pain in my heart.

I gasped for breath. The rushes caressed me then wilted, poisoned by my distress. I shuddered and moved back.

I turned and ran, I ran away from the valley where I was sired and birthed, where the bluebells had rung for joy, that all Faeryís rarest beast had been granted progeny by Heaven. The moonpath was bright and clear and it rose under my thundering haunches, raising me high above the undulating meadows and meandering rivers of Faery.

The pathís straightness was mere illusion. Far more winding than the most twisted river or mountain road, was the moonpath. Its destination differed from night to night.

My breath was stolen from my lungs. A sepia tint and shimmer darkened the world. For a moment I thought death was claiming me. Then I realized the moonpath had taken through the Many-Layered Wall into another dimension of Faery.

I looked down and saw hands instead of hooves. I felt my long hair brushing against the smooth skin of my back, falling between my shoulder blades, the ends tickling my mid-thighs. A faint breeze blew a strand past my ears and I saw it was black, contrasting sharply with the ivory tint of my skin. I ran both hands down the length of my naked body, feeling every surface and crevice. Incomplete shapeshifting kill too many a careless inhabitant of Faery.

At my desire, the nearest tree stretched and creaked and shed its bark. Its snowy white heart swelled and flattened, drawing itself into a surface as smooth as the glass of Hamlin. Water droplets pulled themselves from the standing mist. They lined up in many rows on the treeís ghostly moonlit surface. I raised my left hand and the water droplets collapsed. The forming mirror caught the moonlight and my reflection easily.

I was beautiful.

So beautiful. My breasts were full, my hair like ebony silk, my skin alabaster, every curve and feature perfect. Like my mother, though my fillyís beauty was more fragile and fey.

I wiped a tear away with an uncertain hand and bowed my head. Father, mother.

The tree wrapped its branches gently around me, weaving its leaves into a simple robe to cover my nakedness.

I set my mouth to one branch and drove my teeth and tongue into its core. Before I could drink the life-giving sap, I heard careless footfalls approaching.

I whirled around to face the coming enemy.

Startled, the tree snatched its warm branches away. The leafless ends of several small branches scratched my face lightly, drawing small beads of crimson blood. I heard the tree groaning and the bloodied tips smoldered and smoked from the heat of my blood.

But the scent of a full-grown unicorn reached me before I completed my turn.

I bowed deeply. ďWhat brings you this way, father?Ē

Father ignored me. He reached past me with strong hands and lifted the mirror from the trunk. The tree writhed and screamed. Sap dripped from the raw wound. I leaned forward, letting my sacred breath fall on it. Inya nu inyalin I whispered when it stopped screaming.
This is the ritual blessing and thanksgiving that unicorns give to the sacrificial gifts of nature. We give it often. Inya nu inyalin.

bill_haverchuck
September 2nd, 2005, 11:03 AM
Errm...

I found it very difficult to follow your train of thought when the paragraphs are so fragmented. Also it read like you're making the story up as you go along?

On the plus side, the first two lines made me laugh out loud:

"Iím a very sad unicorn. Even though I rule a realm of monkeys."

Pah hah hah!!! A realm of monkeys!!! :D

kater
September 2nd, 2005, 05:58 PM
Hi and welcome to Sffworld Journey, can I ask that any further writing you wish people to read and critique you put in the community, here: http://www.sffworld.com/community/ and read the 'Become a member' section to the left of the page. Then just link to your story in one of these threads.
Thanks :)
Kater

Monty Mike
September 2nd, 2005, 06:29 PM
It's a nice original piece and quite well written. If anything I'd agree with what bill said. Also, try to cut down the amount of sentences beginning with 'I this' and 'I that' ;)

Keep going with it :)

Amadeus
September 3rd, 2005, 04:51 AM
Yeah, it's really hard on the eyes. It would probably read like a whole different story if you grouped the scenes into larger paragraphs.


The poachers sawed her glittering horn off with a jigsaw which teeth was edged with enchanted mother-of-pearl.

This sentence reads very awfully; you may consider placing the "off" earlier, so that it reads "sawed off", joining the thought together. Then I'd make 2 sentences, something like this:

"The poachers sawed off her glittering horn at the base of her skull with a jigsaw. Not just any saw could do the trick; the edges were dipped in a rare mother-of-pearl and even then, required a magical enchantment."

Of course, this is a longer style. If you like short sentences, simply create more instead of bundling everything up into one.



My motherís velvet eyes hard as rock in battle-rage
This needs a comma, or something. Also, velvet goes well with battle rage, but rock? Rock is kind of overused as a simile; many things are harder,
depending on the type. Of course, it would have to be something a unicorn would identify with, so I'm not sure what I would use.

Your writing improves after this, but the tree gets confusing:

The tree writhed and screamed.
Maybe make the tree talk beforehand? You're rushing this part, and it seems like a whole page could be added. I'm not expecting the tree to scream if I haven't heard it talk yet, and I get less of a "reward" when I do hear the scream. Besides, a talking tree would be cool. :) You could have an entire conversation between yourself and the tree, and get away with explaining backstory in a lively way. Unless you simply meant the sound that the tree made, then it should be "screeched" or something instead of "screamed".

Sorry if I sound overly critical. It only helps me to figure out my own writing style.

Journey
September 5th, 2005, 09:11 AM
yosh, amadeus, monty mike and bill

thanks for the comments, was slow in replying them due to a crazy schedule at school and computer problems.

amadeus, I don't think you sound overly critical at all , lol. you took the time to point out stuff in detail; appreciate that. heh... I was startled by the comment that the tree screaming without having previous dialogue comes accross as peculiar - didn't cross my mind. Talking tree, eh?

as for what bill_haverchuck and monty mike said, haha, the monkeys were what made me want to continue with the story. it was made up as I went along ( nice observation there, bill) - one bored afternoon while I was supposed to be writing a paper on the discourse of argumentation. so the post is the very first raw draft. Ill clean up some of the problems "I this etc" that you two pointed out. ( I'm probably deleting the second page too)

thanks once again, folks.