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dragoncd
February 28th, 2007, 12:22 PM
I am so glad I found this website. I have been reading fantasy for years on end and writing an amazon.com review here and there; but hadn't realized that an entire website was dedicated to my passion.

I have dabbled in writing and have recently started a new idea/book that I was hoping this forum could critique. If people are interestd I can related more of what the story is going to be, but for starters I wanted to see how well received my writing style was, pace, descriptions, etc.

Thanks in advance;

The link to the story (I hope this works)


Craig

AgentRustyBones
February 28th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Craig,

When I clicked on the link it took me directly to the place where you input it, but it hasn't been saved and given a title.

I would recommend going back and finish saving the story before it gets deleted in error, or claimed by someone else.

Doug

dragoncd
February 28th, 2007, 01:50 PM
Thanks Doug - I hadn't realized you need to publish it.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2315p0.html

Craig

AgentRustyBones
February 28th, 2007, 07:17 PM
Craig,

So far, it is pretty good. Before I begin the critique, I just want to advise you to edit your first post in this thread to delete the link in it. I clicked on it again to see if it took me anywhere and saw that I could save or delete, or change the text. You don't want anyone to do that...so delete the link entirely--just click on the Edit button when you are looking at the post, then you can delete whatever you want, just not the whole post.

OK, now onto the critique.

The writing and the overall style were quite good. A couple of spots that could use a little tweak and it will be a real strong start.

Here is the second paragraph from the story:

"A dark man sat astride an impressive stallion on top of the hill overlooking the camp. (1) His clothing was non-descript, but he carried a broadsword over one shoulder and a bow lay unstrung across the back of the saddle. (2) He riding grays included a cloak clasped with a pin in the shape of a dragon the Kings Mark. (3) It wasn't prominently displayed, but neither was it hidden. The stallion was well groomed, but had been ridden hard; the same could be said of the man. He smiled as he looked down at the wagons; it looked more like a military encampment than a simple gypsy gathering. It was exactly where he would have chosen to draw up the wagons;(4) times were tough for gypsies in Europe."

(1) I would delete the first part of this sentence--if his clothing was non-descript, then you wouldn't need to describe it. This could be changed to "His clothing was common, but..."

(2) "His riding grays..."--although I am not certain about the use of the term 'riding grays'--it might work, but it seems really ambiguous to me, not adding any real value to the description.

(3) I like this line--that's a keeper.

(4) Two points here...(1) I don't like the semi-colons very much. My Microsoft Word program tries to get me to use them all of the time also, but that's when I decide to break the sentence into two shorter sentences. (2) 'times were tough for gypsies in Europe'--This is a larger problem I had with this snippet. Do you really want to use some form of medieval Europe for your story? A world of your own might work better. If you use real places and real place names, people will expect a certain level of research and realism that you may not care to strive for.

By the weapons listed (crossbows, broadswords), the place names (England, Europe), and the people's name (gypsies) this story setting seems a little scrambled:

1) England as a country name is fairly late. I'm not sure when it was adopted as a convention, but surely not before the Norman invasion in 1066(?).

2) Europe (as a concept that people commonly referenced) is probably much later as well. People thought in terms of city/states, countries or smaller regions based on common language, not in terms of 'continents' like we do now.

3) Mentioning the King's Mark--which king? I don't recall any medieval European King using any such symbol. If this guy is from 'England', and he is now a month of hard riding away from there, which King would that be? Folks who like this sort of literature can be pretty particular about those kinds of details. Also--one would not 'ride' from England to anywhere else in Europe, since it is on an island...

4) The gypsies have been known by all sorts of names over the years, but I think the one that would best fit a European setting would be 'the Roma', which is what they often called themselves--thus Romania.

I really liked your style. I think the story has all sorts of potential...but unless you want ot bury yourself in history texts, or go to great pains to create an alternate universe version of medieval Europe, I would recommend creating your own world--or at least enough of it to flesh out this tale--you don't need to go to great lengths.

Well, I hope this helps. I certainly think the story has loads of promise and that you are capable of writing something that could get published.

Good luck,

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones