View Full Version : Critique an excerpt?

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

April 11th, 2007, 11:26 PM
I've just beaten a short bout of writer's block and wanted to share what I've just finished. It's not long at all, and I know it's not enough to get a feel for the actual story/character/etc., but I just wanted to see what sort of reaction I'd get here to my writing. This is the first time I've shared any of my work on this board.

Just a little background info on the story I'm writing...

It's comic fantasy, and my biggest influence is Terry Pratchett (isn't he great?!) but that might not be apparent in this little excerpt. This is an introductory "chapter" to a supporting character. She's the queen-consort to a promiscuous king who usurped the throne from his ex-wife. Before she married him, she was a princess of a kingdom in the north in addition to being a dame (they were pretty liberal) trained in swordsmanship. Long story short, she married him to avoid certain conflicts. But she's planning to leave him soon.

I do have one question to pose to whomever has an answer: If I'm writing a story with a few important supporting characters, is it all right if the narrative tone is more serious with some characters and more comical with others? My biggest fear is that it'll be too jarring. Thanks a lot!!!

So yeah, here's the first draft to my crappy chapter (about 70 pages into the book):

Alexandra inhaled the morning air, feeling her chest rise and fall under the studded leather corset, her thighs clinging to the chill of the marble bench.

She let her heartbeat lull her mind into the dark recesses of thought, until she found it. The core of her being. Where her mind touched the edge of the universe and offered glimpses of eternity--a blinding blur that raced in all directions, chasing what looked like a fuzzy rodent. Whatever it was, her mind failed to bring all of eternity into sharp focus, transcending into singularity like a ball into a whirlpool. Except that this whirlpool was upside-down.

She opened her eyes and exhaled. A shiver pulsed from her heart in a procession of flashes like a spinning lighthouse. Then, as if through a floodgate, it came. Blood blossomed in the skin of her cheeks, arms, and thighs, and she uncurled her fingers.

When it passed, she uncrossed her legs, letting her boots rustle into the gravel, and drew her sword with a resounding swish that rang through the garden like wind chimes.

Alexandra hopped off the bench, bent her knees, and vaulted backwards through the air, flipping once before landing. She twirled her sword, swiped left. Right. Then arched her back and swept the blade in a semi-circle, felling three imaginary foes.

She pivoted, leather skirt flaring, bell-like. Lunged with one knee and dodged a phantom arrow. She blew her chestnut hair aside and sidestepped a lance’s deadly bite. Then she whipped around, took a moment to calculate the distance to the other bench and hurled herself forward. Two whirring somersaults landed her at the edge of the bench, where she lost her balance and fell on her bottom with a loud trumpeting sound.

James Carmack
April 12th, 2007, 09:35 PM
I don't really have anything to say with regards to the excerpt, but as far as your question about the narrative voice goes, I have two cents to offer. I see nothing wrong with changing the narrative voice to match the current "primary" character. It's a technique I use myself, actually.

However, since you're writing a comedy, a deadly serious narrator would be rather jarring, unless you make it ironic. After all, there's humor in deadpan. (Another of my specialties. ^_^ ) The trick would be to have your narrative voice, like the character it's representing, witness the humorous goings-on but not "get it" while the audience gets a chuckle at his expense. I don't claim it'll be easy, but there you have it.

April 12th, 2007, 09:54 PM
I think it might be jarring if you're not careful--but as James pointed out there are ways to go about it that might work.

Anyway I'm sure you're not thinking of going from gut-wrenchingly sorrowful to side-splittingly funny in a single chapter, right? It's natural to have slight changes in narrative tone when changing points of view.

Thanks for sharing that excerpt btw. It's really funny. :D