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February 26th, 2002, 07:01 AM
"Hello, my name is mul, and I have a writing problem..."
This is a brief rough of what may ultimately be a larger set of stories. Once I read it online - I almost wished I hadn't submitted it. My own criticisms firmly entrenched with regard to shortcomings; I would appreciate any comments with regard to style, or conveying the scene and exchange between characters. I am struggling with writing pulp-like sword and sorcery stuff with a bardic flair, or a clearer, detached narrative quality.

Here is a link (http://www.sffworld.com/authors/m/mul/fiction/talesroad1.html)

BTW: much appreciation to the webmasters and mods who must struggle with bad formatting from the unwashed masses to make these stories available, and take the time to comment on them.

[This message has been edited by mul (edited February 26, 2002).]

Nathan Carter
February 26th, 2002, 10:26 AM
Mul... You were so graciously the first to post response on my offerings, I feel the need to do the same. Though, I've been hesitant to critique anyones work simply because I don't feel very suited to do so. Also, I've read little fantasy in my life, it's just never been a preference. However, seeing LOTR recently certianly heightened my respect for the genre, and so I plan to further explore its world.

Reading The Road, I felt a definite sense of anticipation...
You can feel the foreboding climax building to a peak. I suppose in fiction, evil always gets its due, the more you devolop a hatred for these thugs, the more pleasing it is to watch their detriment unfold. I've always enjoyed the lone hero, or anti-hero perhaps, that had the capacity to dominate.

I realize that most readers and critics alike call for more balanced characters, heros with vulnerable aspects. Maybe I stand alone, but I root for the force you just can't touch. The confident avenger that sneers at the attempts of his foolish advesaries.

So, at any rate... I enjoyed your short... hope to read more in the future.

February 26th, 2002, 11:06 AM
You provided a link! And the story itself is quite short. Two big plusses already...I'll go read it at once.


I liked the first paragraph, especially the description of how exitement made Derlin sweat. And the note about 'the moment he liked best.'

But I also thought that the very first sentence was a little disjoint from the rest. They 'they' in the second sentence didn't really lead back to anyone, you had to read on to find out who 'they' is refereing to. Only in the second paragraph it becomes completely clear that it is in fact Derlin and Stohl. Between those two sentences, you introduce the rider, and a short moment I was actually in doubt about who Derlin was. Was he the rider? Or one of the unknown people referenced to by 'they'? In short, I thought you jumped a little too much around in the introduction.

The same thing happened, to a lesser degree, when you first introduce Kelson. The sentences:

He could not see Kelson through the thick cover of sapling, shrub and bramble. Stohl knew that his leader was well prepared, and well hidden.

Also feelt a bit disjoint to me. Furthermore, I think I personally would have prefered that you mentioned that Stohl was looking for his leader and then afterward told us his name was Kelson, not the other way around. But that may just be an arbitrary detail in how my crazy mind works http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif.

The rest of the page was really good. I liked the way you let the tension build. The brigands just continue with their attempted robery, while the reader sits waiting for the prey to errupt into violent resistance. I just *knew* that the cloaked figure was more than (s)he appeared (although I didn't guess it was an elf).

They battle was also quite good, if a little more grisly described than what I normally prefer. The ending topped it off nicely. I liked the sort of 'circular reference' created by the elfs remark about the moment he liked best. The last sentence 'As the shadows deepened DreeIhr disappeared into their dark embrace' had a very poetic ring to it.

I usually like these kind of brief glimpses of life and events. Yours was no exception. It was short and to the point, without too much or too little information. Good work http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif.

February 26th, 2002, 11:28 AM

I very much liked your story. I admit that the characters and plot are not terribly original, but Im not as strict about that as others. I rather enjoy this type of story. Of course Id have liked it better if it had been a woman that taught those boys a lesson. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

February 26th, 2002, 12:33 PM

Your short story was well written and the characters strong and natural. It read very much like the first chapter of a professional, published novel. I can tell that you take the art of writing seriously. The way you described the bandits made me literally hate them. There was something so sincere in their utter cruelty. They were evil but they were human. Few authors can ever bring human and evil together. It is quite a talent.

I have a few suggestions concerning the story itself.

1) I feel as if this short story is more like a peice of a novel or cycle. It is probobly your intention to make it one but please note that it does not stand well on its own. I was left waiting for more...which at the same time is a good sign http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif since as a reader I was quite engaged.

2) As others in this forum have mentioned your story was not as orginal as it could have been. In further writing I would suggest that you include a new twist, creature, or writing pattern. I know how diffacult it is to write orginal fantasy (I myself once was JRR Tokiens shadow writer) but it can be done.

Other then that I found your story quite enjoyable. I would love to read more of your writing as you complete it. You are very talented and I hope you keep going despite us unruly critics.

Good luck!


February 26th, 2002, 02:55 PM
Many thanks for your responses. I tend to view my writing at this point as batting practice. I don't intend to play in the majors, but I want to be able to hit the ball well. This forum and it's contributors and participants are invaluable.

The short was actually written for a friend of mine. It is based upon a character he plays in a certain fantasy RPG that shall remain nameless.

Nathan: As a newbie, I myself have also felt uncomfortable in my skin about criticizing other's work. I am making a concious decision to get over it. I was sensitive to offending others - while the truth is I know I wouldn't be offended by comments on my own work. So, that said, I am going to reread your shorts and rip the hell out of them http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
I have an unapologetic love for mysterious, invulnerable anti-heroes and action as well.

nicba:I read the story several times before hitting "Submit". The items you point out made me slap my forehead. I agree on all counts regarding structure. "Brief" is what I will usually shoot for in any future submissions. Hopefully including enough content to warrant comments about structure and style. Thanks for the honest input.

KATS: Your comments always seem fair and honest - thanks for perusing my first short. No, it's not terribly original in concept, but I first hope to tell a good story. Later, I hope to have a good story to tell.

Fyre: Thank you for the comments. I admit that this is stock sword & sorcery stuff, not terribly refreshing in scope. There are other vignettes pertaining to the Midrealms. A larger story (again as a gift to individuals who participate in a fantasy role playing game)does exist. Unsure if I will post it before they have gotten a chance to see the stories first. I do look forward to putting together some original work and garnering your valued criticism.