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March 4th, 2006, 05:14 PM

This is the first story i have attempted to write and i hoped that someone could tell me if its any good. I don't really want to scrap it, but if its rubbish I don't suppose there is any point in continuing with it. I was aiming it at older teenages (it was aimed at slightly younger teenagers - but as i grew up so did the story).

So would someone mind reviewing it? please? Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

The young man quickly bent, and glancing over his shoulder, pushed aside the green hanging fronds that covered the entrance to the cave. He drew into the grey shadows and released the plants, as they swung silently back into place he turned and strode briskly through the tunnel. After 10 paces the tunnel roof flowed up and the sides melded into a small cavern, glistening with iridescent flecks and waves of light. The lights originated from the reflection in a deep pool that covered almost the entire floor. The stone ground was about a metre in width, and circled the pool before descending, almost sheer to the bottom of the cool, clear basin. Opposite to the tunnel entrance a small waterfall fell, murmuring into the water below and sending ripples across the surface. A small opening in the rocky walls perfectly framed the full moon’s orb, its light bouncing on the water and filling the cavern with its jewels of light.
Slumping against one of the walls and sliding slowly to the floor, he cradling his head in his hands. After a time, he raised it and the moons rays fell on the tracks of his silent tears. Sighing, he removed his boots, before letting his lower legs slip into the cool water. He gazed at the moonbeam ripples and his startling blue eyes unfocused, as if he looked at a past memory, or perhaps a vision of the future.

Meanwhile, many leagues away, the same moon shone on; down through the night-shadowed trees to light upon a girl’s weary face. Her eyelids dropped, her head sagged and she consciously forced her legs to continue their unrelenting pace. Her mind was numb from exhaustion and through her blurred vision she aimed to keep from stumbling off the pale track, into the dark undergrowth of the forest. High above, the stars twinkled, their subtle light obscured by the brilliant full moon. She walked on; to keep her pain at bay, she walked on; to block out her memories, she walked on. It was the only thing that mattered now. To walk on. Alone.

The moon had fully waned and waxed since that night and the girl still walked on. During that time the mild autumn weather had broken and the chill fingers of winter were spreading over the land to catch it in her icy grip. Snow was falling, settling on the surroundings and coating the figure in a shroud of white. A gentle breeze sent the flakes in a whirlwind of flurries, whilst the girl walked on, oblivious. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the wind began to rise and the snowfall became heavier. Before long a blizzard descended upon her. It hid her from the world around her obscuring her vision and freezing her senses. Tendrils of cold seeped through the gaps in her clothes and entered her body. She knew she should stop and find shelter but she was too close to stop. She’d come too far to wait here. She trudged, guiding herself by the feel of the trail under her feet, although it was being smothered in snow. Her head bent into the stinging, biting wind and snow clinging to the chestnut hair that fell across her face, she didn’t see the light of the settlement until she was almost on top of it. Glancing up in the sudden glare now that the protection of the trees had gone she caught her breath and fastened her eyes on a door around 40 feet away. She had arrived.


So..... good? bad? appalling? so so? I would be really grateful to anyone who can spare a few moments of their time to tell me what they think.



March 5th, 2006, 09:15 AM
Well its interesting, i would like to know the start and finish. And that's good.
I'll say three quick things to you.

(1) If its for teenagers you have to pay attention to your words, if they're too big, sentences too flowery or they're too far from normal speech then most likely teenagers won't get them.
"After 10 paces the tunnel roof flowed up and the sides melded into a small cavern, glistening with iridescent flecks and waves of light."
I had to read this more than once to fully understand it. Teens don't wanna do that, it makes them feel stupid and slows them down and the world to them is the fast lane; you gotta get with their pace and understanding. Easy to understand but not childish. You just need to tone down a bit.

(2) Speed is a good point keep you going but it is also the difference between wanting to read a book and not, speed carries us through any story. eg: i like George RR Martin but for some reason i can't read his work fast. For this reason i've never read the rest of his song of ice and fire series. It feels like it would be a chore and teens (like everyone) hate chores. For speed your descriptions have to be short but convey everything you mean to say. That's why people draft alot. Once you've finished a fair wack of it go back and speed it up, or just be fast to start with. Check out Gemmel for this, he's in the extreme for speed reading but his stories are still bestsellers. Have a read of one of his from start to finish (really won't take that long) and you'll see what i mean. The only time speed stops being an issue is when you say "After a time," sometimes we need to hear that the boy was there for a while. Tell us time passed and give us a new paragragh or something. Make time pass litterally for us when its something like this.

(3) The last of these points (halleluyah). I don't care about your characters. That's not an insult. I have to hear them feel: do the girl's legs ache from the constant trudge. I need to know why she's walking, is it important? We need to care about her or it won't matter what she's going through. For this we have to hear what she is feeling (we'll automatically imagine ourselves in the same position). When she sees the lights of the settlement we have to hear that "her heart leaps in her tired body as she sees it. Maybe she has a chance, maybe she really can set things right. Maybe he was right in what he said to her." If you catch my drift. Eddings is good for character work like this.

I hope this hasn't discouraged you and i'd like to hear how you've taken what i've said. Your writing is interesting and i can see it in my head but i need to feel it for me to be there and care. I hope this all makes sense.
When my brother heard that i was writing he thought it would be a great pass time for him. The difference is i've read and do read alot, so i've been around the block and know what i like and what works for me.
If you haven't read alot the try the two i've mentioned to you just for research. They're fast paced so you won't have to be too long in the research. Also sorry that it doesn't seem to be 3 short points. I seem to be unable to write in short.
Eddings (david) can start slow at times (try the Elenium series, after no.1 you'll get what i mean.) I hate slow starts but even though he can start slow, his stories are always worth the beginning read for me.
With gemmel (also david) try legend or waylander.

You've got something and i like the stories i'm doing so when they don't quite work i start again from a different angle or tack on specific characters. Characters are always what keeps you going, no one cares if someone gets locked in a dungeon with a huge spider-like monster. Now if you're friends get stuck there, then things are different.
I hope this doesn't sound like a run-down.
Good Luck, mate.

March 5th, 2006, 10:18 AM
Thanks for that Shadowcraft,

A few things in reply:

1. That is a possible start for the novel, but i'm not sure it grabs the reader enough. Should i change a few sentences etc. or change the entire beginning?

2. I am teenager (although probably not an entirely normal one:D ), i do agree about that sentence, and haven't edited much, so how about this?
"After 10 paces, the tunnel ended, flowing up and out into a small cavern, flecks and waves of light glistening across the walls."

3. Speed - would a way of showing time be to suggest the movement of the moon? or some other way?

4. The characters - the reason the girl does not appear to have any feelings is because she thinks she has just lost her entire family, and is completely exhausted from walking miles.... still...... i understand the idea about making it seem more realistic, i'll go and have a look at it in a mo. :) There is a good reason as to why she's walking, she's hoping to get to the house of her closest (living) relative, she needs to tell them whats happened.... perhaps i should put that in near the end?
In addition to this point, i have been told (repeatedly) by my dear sister that i am cold hearted when it comes to book characters. I have cried once, over a book, and always have limited empathy with characters. This shouldn't be a problem though because if i can make ME feel, then in theory i should be able to make others feel aswell.

5. I am a VERY avid reader, but recently after a very insecure time, i have found that i am reading books that i already own, or books by authors that i have already read, becoming unsure of trying anything new. However, on your recommendation (and when i can get to the library) i will read the ones suggested. ;)

Thankyou again. :D :D :D

March 5th, 2006, 06:57 PM
I'd like to ask what age you are, but then again people don't always like giving out that info on the net. Its understandable. And don't get discouraged by people view of your age, i've heard young teenagers come up with amazing ideas for stories before.
Its fine to go back to writers you know and enjoy, believe me everyone does it.
The best way to feel out a good writer for you is to go to a book store. Stop at the fantasy section and skim over the prologue. If you like the writing style and it catches your eye then maybe pick it up, or even check the libraries, 2nd hand stores and ebay for it.

Its very important that you like the story, if you don't enjoy it then others probably won't. What i'm writing now was originally more light hearted. But to be honest, IT SUCKED, so i went back to writing it from scratch and deliberately didn't name it or write "chapter 1" on it, i just tried to write what i had already done differently and never once looked at the original, i just worked from memory. Now i really think its the business but its much darker now. But that's just me, a friend read it and everything i wanted to convey worked. So i suppose thats good.

I'm not the god of fantasy writing though and can't give you little tiny details sorry. I remember getting that line from someone else before and it kinda sounds like a cop out.

[POST EDITED: PM sent. Hobbit]

That's my email and i've got no probs continuing to chat, this is just if you're not sure about something and don't wanna post it. But this site is pretty good for starting writers. Its nice to have someone going at the start like me. Try music. I got very into theme music for stuff like Dune, Troy, Braveheart. James Horner is a really good composer for this stuff. Just listen to it. Try to imagine different things, a battle perhaps. I try to make my writing really emotional to the point of almost acting it out. I know it sounds silly but your reaction to an event can give you a good base line to work from. Also taking people you know and creating characters loosely based on them, after a time they'll be nothing like the original people. But i gives you a chance to feel empathy for them. Its harder for the writer because he already knows his character so he can't feel things the same way as the reader so doing things this way may help. I can't tell you how many times the imagined death of someone i knew, while listening to music produced a death scene. But that's not the end it always does a good few drafts after that.

Also your words are so important, how fast they read or where you take a new paragraph or placing a word in a sentense because of how fast it seems. "Crash" is a good example, you almost feel the noise with it and its fast, comes on quick. Your words and how fast or slow you describe the scene can make us feel something. EG.

texttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttextte xttexttexttexttexttexttext
Seconds turned into hours and minutes turned into days.
texttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttexttextte xttexttexttext.

In a sea of fast action and reaction, taking a new line and slowing it down like this can give the "it took a lifetime" efect you want. So forget the moon. Taking the slow moving forest around someone or the snow of the blizzard slowly dropping and melting into the continuous white can be all you need. At other times though its important to stay with the loneliness of the character so don't give the reader other people to listen to the reader has to be as alone as the character.

Finally, don't worry about being a slightly different teenager. Being the same as everyone else sucks, i could go into town and meet one teenager and maybe then i'd know have a dozen because they're so alike.
If you're the same as everyone else you're not interesting, there's nothing new. When i was a teenager i went from being a "track suit teen" to being a goth (leather jacket still in my closet) to finally finding what i liked being. And as for being different, i was able to communicate with adults better than i could with my own generation. (Not much has changed cough, cough).

All characters in books are soul-less until you think how it would feel to you, cause you audience has to empathize, when you think what would effect me, what is affecting me, then you can come up with a good angle for a character. Eg. I'm a christian (don't let that worry you, i'm not run of the mill - that is to say i'm not judgemental, e.g. i have some gay friends and the church sometimes shuns people who are gay. God know's why.) Anyway, I'm christian, but my lead character doesn't like the notion in the slightest. You could say he has riddick from pitch black's opinion. "i absolutely believe in God. And i absolutely hate the f*****r." Quote from Pitch Black. However he has a quick temper, like me.

This effects me so try taking your character and basing them and their reactions on others cause the audience don't always know why something bothers a character and you know certain things bother your friends though you don't always know why.

God, long message again. Hope this helps any, let me know.

March 6th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Thanks shadowcraft:)
If you click on my name, it should come up with a few things including my date of birth ;) I would stick it here, but as you said I don't know who's watching!:D can i ask you the same question? aka. how old are you?

I don't as such get discouraged by age, (except when i read sickening things like paolini who is nighteen with 2 bestsellers out and a third coming!) but i think because of it, writing has to go on a back burner (nagging parents!)

I have used music before, lord of the rings and some celtic stuff, which does help a lot.

I am perfectly happy being a slightly different teenager, i couldn't be normal if i tried, though i have to say i never did goth.

Eg. I'm a christian (don't let that worry you, i'm not run of the mill - that is to say i'm not judgemental, e.g. i have some gay friends and the church sometimes shuns people who are gay. God know's why.) Anyway, I'm christian.

ditto to all of that. :D what a sterotype that is :D

I am sure i empathise with the main character more than any other, because she is so well-known to me, and is partly based on me. I've found though, that as i write her, she's becomes further away from me. I like the idea of basing characters on friends (good friends!), but as there are only a few well-mapped out characters in the story i haven't found the need to yet.

Thanks again.

March 6th, 2006, 01:37 PM
The stereotype is a laugh though isn't it.
23 on 24. - age.
I know what you mean about sickeningly young people with best sellers.
when i was trying to start out in documentaries - 18 years old - there was some kid in the US at 12 who had his own production line of docs and well known too.
That sucks.
Yeah your characters always move away from your original outlay. Mine was me, but he's changed so much that you could compare us.

Don't mind the new avatar, i just think she's hot.

March 6th, 2006, 02:40 PM
The stereotype is a laugh though isn't it.
yeah but it is slightly worrying considering that it must be based in fact somewhere along the line.:eek:

I know what you mean about sickeningly young people with best sellers.
when i was trying to start out in documentaries - 18 years old - there was some kid in the US at 12 who had his own production line of docs and well known too.
That sucks. That is really, really, sickening. At least i was(am)younger than Paolini - although he started writing at high school.

Don't mind the new avatar, i just think she's hot. Don't worry I won't hold that against you. :D

SO what did you think of it Ghost Shell? If you don't mind saying.

And what about getting published (if- no when), do you think it is easier to get published younger or older?

March 6th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Eeep. Sorry i'm in my alter ego. Its still Shadowcraft. Sorry. i'm trying to start a blog to do what you did cel, but i didn't work on my shadowcraft account. I thought maybe i'd done something so i took on this avatar for that use.Though god knows i can't start one, it just won't work.:o

Sorry for the mix up.:D

Cel, could you do me a favour, write more!
I wanna know about these characters man. i mean you give the world a taster, then leave us hanging.:confused:
Are you making it up as you go or have you an outline.
Plus try starting a blog, it means you can enter many chapters' worth of work, cause people on these forums seem to prefer big chunks to read. And i'd really like to hear some idea of why these characters are in the positions they are in.

Even give me some background man, i'm dying here.:D

March 6th, 2006, 04:09 PM
Nice alter ego. :) Ok i'll give you some background.:D

The girl (Kyiarda - her name's about the only thing thats stayed the same) lived with her parents and two younger siblings on the edge of Pulvanye forest in the north. They survived a forest fire last year but this year, after Kyiarda spotted it and they left, they got sepereated (that part isn't clear in my mind!). Her family is lost, her devestation echoing to the skies as she tries to reach them through the flames. Eventually, exhausted and alone she begins the long path to her aunt's house. And she does arrive.


It was the third week in November, on a chill night, foretelling the coming of winter. Cindel sat nursing her latest child, in her warm kitchen, shrouded from the darkness outside. By the candlelight her face held a peaceful beauty as she rocked to and fro. Disturbed, she glanced up sharply as she heard the crunching of feet outside. Standing gracefully so as to not disturb the now sleeping child she peered into the gloom. It had been snowing. White flakes hung in the air and smothered the ground. Against the glare of the snowfall and the grey of the forest a dark figure was hunched over against the biting wind and the whirling snow flurries. The person struggled forward towards the welcoming light of the nearest home in Lathrir. Cindel turned and quickly went to place the child in the cot. Whilst there she silently woke her husband Torvon and beckoned for him to dress and come to the kitchen. She returned in time for the knock at the door. Opening the door, she gasped as she recognised the face. Pulling her niece inside, Cindel quietly shut the door. Kyiarda shivered uncontrollably and between chattering teeth her frozen breath rushed in gasps.
“Mother….. Father…… Ikien…… Saika…… lost.” With that she slumped to the stone floor.

During her delirium, Kyiarda half- woke, tossing and turning in a semi world where light and shadow mixed. Indeterminable figures roamed around, whispering words she couldn’t decipher before disappearing into the surrounding gloom. She turned, trying to catch a glimpse of the wraith-like shapes. Her delirious, fevered mind swirled in the prison of her head, until, a cool hand rested on her forehead and a soothing voice spoke words of comfort, slowly, the grey mist disappeared and Kyiarda’s consciousness sunk back into restful peace.

The other person , is, well the prince, he is very lonely. Too cliched? Well tough. :D

How do i look at the forum thingy etc? i'm a bit lost.

March 6th, 2006, 04:34 PM
i'm getting interested in how this turns out.
I especially like the fever dream bit. Very nicely done.
How do you pronounce the girl's name?

Nice twist on how she lost her family. Realistic in how it happens.

Critique: i don't think she should be able to get so much of an explainantion out. Have you ever been so sick the pain stops you from talking properly, (not fun!!) but you don't always get out everything you want.

Remove "Beckoned". Its too slong, it sounds like she's not worried, (it could be anyone coming to the door; death, the bogeyman, santa!! Its a scary world out there man).

Say scortching or something about the fire (just a personal idea, i think being reminded that fire is hot adds to its intensity - p.s. you don't really have to do this. lol.)

Other than that: perfect.
i wanna know where you're leading us; is there a war, a battle, a quest...:eek: i'm dying with anticipation man its getting too interesting... Publish the damn thing already i wanna read it from start to finish.

P.P.S. look up the writing forum where you put this thread and look for one that has a weird *__* in the title. That's mine. Feel free to get stuck in.