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Stephen Palmer
May 4th, 2007, 04:10 AM
Hi guys,

I've just posted chapter one of a dark fantasy novel that I'm working on. I'd be interested to read any comments that you may have.




James Carmack
May 8th, 2007, 03:07 AM
Well, you've got something with promise here. There are some parts that are a bit overwrought, but not dramatically so. A lot of people try too hard to pack in those details, but you don't have the bug quite as bad.

Although you can't help it given the coding of the Stories section, it can be hard to tell when the speaker switches out. I'm sure that in a proper manuscript you'd have all the proper indentations in place, so that's not really a reflection on you.

Some of the names came off as random character strings. You want your characters' names to be easy to remember so the readers don't have any trouble keeping track of who's who, what's what and where's where. Might want to use a few less consonants.

When you said "dark fantasy", I was expecting something particularly morbid. Maybe it hasn't gotten that far yet. Maybe I'm just too dark. ^_^;

Oh, yes, Hoppy is awesome. A legless dog riding around in what's essentially a fanny pack. Brilliant. ^o^

May 11th, 2007, 02:10 PM
That was very good:) I liked it. You definitely have skill as a writer.

Just one suggestion: Instead of "but one scream was loudest;" maybe you could try "but one scream rang out above all the others;". I don't know, I just think it sounds better. But it's really up to you.

May 11th, 2007, 02:12 PM
Some of the names came off as random character strings. You want your characters' names to be easy to remember so the readers don't have any trouble keeping track of who's who, what's what and where's where. Might want to use a few less consonants.

I'll second that one about the names.

Stephen Palmer
May 14th, 2007, 09:22 AM
Names again...

I have had this comment before, and be reassured I do understand the point! I come from the Mary Gentle school of character naming, which is to en-culture character names as much as possible. We all recognise Japanese and German names when we see them; the same should be true in fantasy.

If you pronounce the 'y' as a kind of 'i' then all should be well! But I do understand this point. I have a particular hatred of crap fantasy names with two syllables ending in -on.

The master of naming was of course Tolkien. But he invented the languages first...

James Carmack
May 14th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Being both a polyglot and a linguist certainly helps. ^_^

Stephen Palmer
May 21st, 2007, 04:01 AM
Many thanks to Susan Boulton, who provided a great critique for me: detailed and fair-minded!

Thanks again, Susan.


May 21st, 2007, 04:47 AM
You are welcome, Stephen.

Hope it was of some use.

May 21st, 2007, 11:46 AM
"as if ruined by exposure to weather and filth." - That's a bit complicated to be saying "as if" instead of "it was." I'm also not sure how filth ruins a voice--filthy air? Filthy food?

spread before him in the great bowl that was its setting. - "setting" doesn't fit right to me.

Strange that they have the time to discuss where it's going to land and it comes off as casual, but then suddenly they realize that it's heading for them. Are it's movements erratic, does it change direction? What is it that gives them the time to wonder and look around?

A column of smoke and debris rose into the air as secondary flashes of black lightning blasted out from the impact, and buildings in the town centre crumbled as if made of sand. - I'd seperate this into two sentences--one describing the flashes and one describing the effect on the buildings.

He seems quite unconcerned that F is dead o_O

I like the concept of the eaglebolt, the description of it and linking a smell to magic. Very vivid.

strange black creatures rose into the sky - are they strange to the reader, or strange in the world you're writing about?

a few minutes later, he smelled blood and saw a void in the masonry.
- sounds like the void just appears rather than is something he unearths.

Surprised that with a wound like that the O boy isn't showing more signs of pain.

"Now that the shock had passed" - I didn't see signs of shock earlier.

The eaglebolt is devestating, he's never seen anything like it......but....all business goes on as usual? No one is upset, panicked, suspicious of strangers? (especially considering there is so much reaction over the dog later!)

Jumping onto a chair seems rather theatrical for such a situation.

heh..... I work at a grooming shop and just the other day a customer came in with a three-legged aussie mix named Hoppy ;) and I've seen dogs--typically poodles-walk around on their back legs as if they were born too.... so I'm getting a great mental image of this little guy :D

"Not a beast" - ;) cute

'Is sense of smell is ten times as good as your sense of sight." - Scientifically speaking, it's much more than 10x as good. Human sight is about 3x better than dogs (and that's really only in terms of distance...dogs have better night and motion vision) while a dog's sense of smell is between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than humans.

Horlgyll's face assumed an expression of repugnance. "Why do you bother? How does the thing..."
"Shite? Trained 'im to lean up against trees when 'e does 'is stuff." - I like that, lots of character.

I like him looking in the mirror in order for his appearence to be described but given the situation, it seems odd he would take the time to consider himself in the mirror (and put a log on someone else's fire?)

but his eyes were deep and luculent, though encircled by dark bags. - I wouldn't use but and though right after each other in the same sentence, it's kind of like repeating but.

"I like the sound of that, but why's 'e in the cellar?" - Haha, good question! (I'd leave out the part in the next paragraph about him wondering why he's in the cellar....it detracts from the cleverness of the quote)

His pale face was darkened with charcoal marks in the local style: deep eyes, hawkish nose, a thin mouth. - Not understanding why the colon is there...it's making me expect a note of where each charcoal mark is but instead we read about general facial features--unless each of those is outlined in charcoal?

Impotent wealth?

There was something here that felt wrong, and because he did not know what it was he felt frustrated. - I prefer more description, like 'he tapped his fingers with frustration' rather than felt X, felt Y, (and felt gets repetative).

There must be a way," - It would make more sense to me if he was accepting the task and had a plan for success, even if he thinks success is unlikely.

Jaav's change of heart is rather quick.

The pacing is excellent--carries you along effortlessly.