and would be grateful for any comments, here or by email. It was posted last year under another title, but has been extensively rewritten since then.
If anyone has any suggestions as to specific agents for this type of fantasy, please post them as well!
May 4th, 2006, 12:21 PM
I enjoyed it. Very well constructed, nice set up, all the key elements included. Made me wonder what happens next. Best of luck with submission.
May 5th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Thanks very much.
And someone gave me 5/5 as well!:D
May 5th, 2006, 02:34 PM
I would certainly be willing to give the first few chapters (3 or so?) a read thru if you want to send them through an email.
May 14th, 2006, 05:19 PM
Tiel, just in case nobody has PM'd with anything substantive, here a critique for you.
I love your writing style. You have a fluid, lyrical style of prose that makes reading your work a pleasure. You have a gift for description. Locals like Treakin's house and the harbor were wonderfully vivid.
I think the overall setup is fascinating. Reading about a fantasy world through the eyes of a soon to be minstrel was something I had not read before. I think you did a good job of bringing out the elements of the craft. The songs, the way they played and practiced, the descriptions of the instruments, all gave the chapter a very immersive quality.
I usually don't go into specific sentences, but most of yours were so good that the few that could use a little help really stuck out.
leathery leaves that smelled like a mixture of apple and cat pee if you rubbed them
Unless you say 'apple rind' or 'apple juice' or just 'apples' here it makes it sound as though the apples have a urinary problem.
who sat watching the people below him the way a cat watches a flock of unsuspecting sparrows settle to peck at scattered bread
This one is a little muddy. Maybe a preposition to break it up: 'the way a cat hovers over a courtyard where a flock of unsuspecting sparrows peck at scattered bread. Or 'unsuspecting sparrows who have settled...'
Those are just quibbles, of course. I really only had one major issue with the piece.
I can visualize Caedun's mother, his teacher, the kings and the baron. But I can't fix any sort of image in my mind for the main character. Who is he? I understand that he's a ten-year-old music wunderkind, but what is he like?
From his observations of his mother, and his love of music I had assumed that he was the sensative, artistic type. Then Whitestar asked him what he wanted and he said "happiness" rather than something that a sensative kid might ask for like comfort for his grieving mother. "Happiness" makes him sound flighty. And that's the problem. This seems like the kind of story that's character driven. If that's the case then the reader is really going to need some idea of what the character is like. His dialogue consists of sentences that could be said by a ten-year-old, or by a 40-year-old. We aren't told much about the way that he reacts to the people around him. Is he shy, is he arrogant, is he a free-spirit, is he a loner, is he someone who needs reassurance from those around him? What is he?
If you haven't done one, I'd write out a little bio sheet on Caedun and keep it handy. Then I'd go through the story and look for ways to show the reader the qualities that I had just written down on the bio. I don't think you need a ton, just a few sentences here and there. Add some descriptions of his expression at the end of a few sentences of dialogue. Include a couple anecdotes that tell the reader just what kind of person it is that they're reading about.
Take it for what it's worth. But I think that you apply that same genius for description to your main character, you're really going to have something.