View Full Version : Critique: First Chapter feed back please!
March 21st, 2006, 12:20 AM
This is the first chapter of a teen fantasy novel I have been working on for about 6 months now (it is my first attempt at writing). I would like some feedback-honest feedback. This is my first novel and I just want to see how I am doing and what other people think.
Expendable told me earlier that I should put it on the Community section so I have. And I tweeked it alittle. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.
Chapter 1 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1375p0.html)
March 21st, 2006, 01:55 AM
Hi, welcome to SFFWorld.
The next time you need something critiqued, please post it in the Community section, you can sign up for it by clicking on the Stories tab.
Your story has an interesting begining, her sneaking out with her father's horse trying not to be followed by 'Them', whoever they are. A good hook to grab the reader with. We're unsure if the mysterous 'Them' are body-guards or someone trying to restrain her, for her own safety or some hidden goal of theirs we don't know.
As she exited the Royal forest she started to lose her courage, she’d never gotten this far before. Perhaps They weren’t the only ones who underestimated her. “Maybe I should just stop” She thought. “They’ll only catch me and then what will Father say?”
How can you show her losing her courage? Does she look back nervously? Cry out at every strange noise? Talk to her father's horse? Have butterflies in her stomach? Pausing for a moment on the trail?
Also, a royal forest is rather generic, so you don't have to capitalize the R. There should also be a comay between 'stop' and '" she thought.' She also doesn't need to be capitalized.
If the dreams scared her, why is she out here? Could we see her dream? Are the dreams the reason They won't let her go?
Some good potential here. Let's see what you do with it.
April 1st, 2006, 12:29 AM
Thanks for the help. Sry I didn't thank you earlier I got alittle tied up. How did you know it was her father's horse? and I see what you're saying about the dreams and the nervousness. I really appreciate it.:D
April 1st, 2006, 05:37 AM
You certainly did a very nice job of setting the hook... I look forward to seeing how you begin to reel the readers in with the next few chapters. Aside from a few simple grammar and wording choices, I found this chapter to be a very fun read. It certainly makes me anticipate your next entry.
I may try to give some more specific grammar and language critique in the future... as usual I'm up far too late and don't have the mental horsepower to pick things apart at the moment.
Keep up the good work :)
April 5th, 2006, 06:34 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting.
April 5th, 2006, 09:07 PM
Not a bad opening Caliena.
I think you're a little too liberal with capitalization. Words like "father" and "dreams" don't need to be capitalized. Her pursuers are referred to as "They" or "Them" and unless this is a proper name, I found the capitalization a little bit of an overkill.
As others have said, conceptually you have an interesting hook - an escape. I found it a little deflating when you made the statement:
"Maybe I should just stop" She thought.
(should be: "Maybe I should just stop," she thought.)
And when she later questioned what her mother and father would think, that also softened the impact. If her inner turmoil isn't necessary here, I'd cut it out. Concentrate on the chase and bring up the inner dialogue later.
I would also wonder why she gets down to crawl on her belly when her horse is right there with her. Or has she just assumed that Starflower is as good as caught already?
April 9th, 2006, 02:56 PM
I see what you're saying about the "Maybe I should stop" thing. Do you think that I should let her reflect on it before she sleeps?
Well thanks for taking the time to read it.
April 9th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Do you think that I should let her reflect on it before she sleeps?
This depends on how important this point is to the opening of the story. Do you just want to convey that she's tried and failed before, or do you want to depict the character's inner turmoil?
April 9th, 2006, 04:58 PM
Caliena, nice beginning. Will want to read more :D
Just a couple things.
'The mist was thick but her Tool of Sight let her see well into the haze of the not quite morning.' this is pretty good but would be better if you described her using it and maybe not even naming it.
For example: "The mist was thick but she placed the prismatic monacle over her eye and could now see well into the haze of the not quite morning.' This continues the flow of action you have her already doing. Course, am sure whatever you chose will be better than that monacle example.
"But to throw Them off she led Starflower into a series of circles and small trails that she and Starflower split up to create." She must either A) dismount to lead him or B) turn him into a series of circles then dismount and send him along small trails while she takes different ones herself. You should show her dismounting at some point. Also the second Starflower in that sentence should be 'the horse' or 'the stallion' or some such. His name sounds a bit redundant.
"Even if they were expert trackers ... " You dont need this sentence. You already mentioned "But to throw Them off" It also breaks the flow you have between "... split up to create." and "The horse was used to such strategies."
"He was Cal's horse ... " and "Cal took off the horse's saddle ..." Cal's should be her and Cal should be she. Why? The voice introduces her name. Until now, your character had been she/ her/etc. This pattern shouldn't be broken until the voice does it.
"Cal felt as if her eyes had opened ..." This should be Caliena. You need to give a reason why she uses a different name. Examples: Maybe she feels Caliena is too rigid, reminds her of some pampered palace maiden, or her mother only called her that when she was in trouble, or They will be looking for Caliena, not Cal, a distinction just to give her mind a little peace.
These are only minor suggestions. Your story is very good.
April 9th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Choppy- I was going more for inner turmoil.
Dazzlinkat- The Tool of Sight is a magical thing. It lets her see things far away, in the dark, see magic on other people and that kind of thing. Perhaps I should rename it to clear that up. I just thought I'd explain that alittle better, thanks for the review.
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