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December 5th, 2003, 12:17 PM
Hey, all, I'm 17, male, and I'm new here. My name's Shawn. I've been writing for a really long time. Just recently I began an idea for a book. I just found this board a few minutes ago from a link someone had on another message board :)

My writing class just ended yesterday and I want to continue receiving critiquing on my work. So... um... would you people mind critiquing it for me? (PS. I would like to know what works just as much as what doesn't work... Don't hold ANYTHING back) Thanks! It won't get too much into the story since my word limit is 1000 words, and how I end it will be abrupt. If you want more, I could probably send it to you.


We will begin this story with a brief history lesson. It is the best way for you to know what truly went on before your time. Whether you take this as truth or fiction is up to you. But one thing is for certain…

It will end.

In the beginning Togen created planets, sentient life, and the Hangles. The Hangles were like himself in one manner – ghosts. They could pass through walls if they so desired, but their home was not on any planet. Their home was up in the sky where no one could reach. That was Togen's design.

Jefro, one of the Hangles, decided that he wanted to be like Togen. He wanted to be in charge. He knew he was perfect. He thought he was better than everyone else. Pride erupted as he rounded up some of the Hangles to overthrow Togen.

Togen had his loyal Hangles cast Jefro and his minority fraction of Hangles out of his blissful presence. There was no place for Jefro any longer. Jefro was exiled onto a planet that quickly became barren.

Togen decided to create a race to rule over Jefro. This race was the Trekks. Jefro easily manipulated the Trekks out of their power. Togen then sent his son, Seje, to put Jefro in his place – under their feet. Togen's son showed the Trekks how to live, and told them that whoever believed in him and accepted him would have the power to reject Jefro and the temptations of his Hangles turned Nemons. They would also get to be with him at the end of their life.

The Nemons could take over any Trekk they wanted if the Trekk fell into disguised temptations, or if the Trekk chose to welcome the Nemons into their body. As retaliation, however, any Trekk with the Power of Seje could release the Nemon's hold on a Trekk.

The Trekks can choose to accept Togen and his graceful act through his son, Seje; or they can reject and go with Jefro and his race of Nemons. The choice is theirs.

That is the beginning…
We will skip the middle…

And go near the end......


A long breath of fire erupted out of the Nargod’s mouth, heading for me. I stepped to the left to get out of harm’s way that this two-foot tall fictitious quadruped was trying to inflict on me. I had no idea why this Nargod was attacking me. Then again, I also didn’t know why exactly the Nargod was in existence.

The moment I stepped to the side, the Nargod ceased his firing and lunged himself at my face!

I covered my triangular but roundly edged head with the round shield that was strapped to my right arm.

The Nargod hit the shield and fell to the ground, near my three feet. He began to snap at my legs with his sharp, shiny teeth. I jumped back and aimed the point of my javelin I held in my left hand at him. The javelin obviously didn’t threaten the Nargod because he lunged forwards again – this time at the javelin. He bit off the tip and started to chew.

This couldn’t be real. I had no idea how I even got to where I was… Then again, where was I? I looked at my surroundings. Nothing but brown, barren land as far as my old, yellow eyes could see.

I couldn’t run – the Nargod was definitely quicker than I. Plus, where would I run to?

I had no more to fight with because the broken end of a javelin wouldn’t do much harm if this thing had just taken a bite out of it and was making a meal on the blade. What was I to do? I had to think quick. The Nargod swallowed the blade.

I kept my distance, trying to eye what the Nargod’s next move would be. That was impossible, because I wouldn’t have thought he would whip his six-foot tail over his one-foot long body to try and gash a hole in my neck with his tail blade. I swayed away just in the nick of time.

The Nargod jerked his light, red body to the right. I jerked myself to the left, almost tripping over my three legs. I caught myself before the Nargod could sink his deadly teeth into my neck.

I managed to keep a nice space cushion between me and the Nargod. For a while he seemed to respect that space, but I knew better. He was sizing me up. Figuring out my weakness. Trying to attack me when my defense was down.

The Nargod opened his mouth and another burst of fire ascended three feet in hopes of meeting my face, but the flames were cut short by my shield. As I quickly lowered my shield, I noticed that the Nargod was no place to be seen. I spun around.


Looked left. Looked right.

Nothing. Nothing!

Did I scare him away? I thought to myself but knew that couldn’t be the answer. And it wasn’t.

I began hearing something underneath me.

December 5th, 2003, 03:01 PM
Hi Shawn and welcome to the forums.

I don't have time for a full crit right now, but here's a few thoughts.

We will begin this story with a brief history lesson. It is the best way for you to know what truly went on before your time.

Alright - first thing. When I read that we're beginning with a history lesson, I get very timid since I feel an info dump coming on. I'm already tempted to put the story down, which is something you may want to avoid. This is one of the catch-22's of writing - especially in speculative fiction. As a writer you have to introduce the reader to a knew world, but you want to ease him or her into it, and make it fun, rather than assaulting him or her with facts. As I go into the rest of the "prologue" I find that I am indeed facing a huge wave of facts - hangles, trekks, and nemons - oh my!

Also you start talking directly to the reader mentioning "you." I find this only works when it's consistent through the story (and ususally it doesn't.)

Then again, I also didn’t know why exactly the Nargod was in existence. I don't often find myself wondering about the existence of a creature when it's attacking me. I'm usually worried about dodging the fireball.

Generally you begin with action, which is good. There's a good fight scene, but it doesn't really flow from the prologue. You're narrator doesn't seem to know what he's doing there, and neither do I as a reader. The problem with this is that it can make me apathetic (ie. I won't really care.) The best characters, in my opinion, are goal-oriented, with goals that I, the reader, assoiated with.

Overall this is pretty good condering you're seventeen. Keep writing.

December 5th, 2003, 03:33 PM
Nice to see someone as young as 17 writing ! It took years for some of us to find our true passion!

Here goes: The first part..."the history" if you will, does promise to scare some readers off. Not many people enjoyed their history lessons from school...fewer still want to read them in a fantasy. As choppy said...better to ease the reader into your world then make the jump right in.

Also...isn't the first part an adaptation of the Bible. Seems pretty obvious to me. Togen is God...Hangles are Angel-like, Jefro(a tough name to swallow in a fantasy)-Lucifer, and Seje-Jesus. I am sure that the writers of the Bible wont mind you pilfering their ideas (if that is what has occured), but your readers might. Just a thought.

However...I too like the fact that you started the story with a fight scene. Just flesh it out alittle and you might have something. Good luck and keep at it!

December 5th, 2003, 04:54 PM
I am sure that the writers of the Bible wont mind you pilfering their ideas (if that is what has occured), but your readers might. Just a thought.

If your target audience is Christian, and unless you plan on saying something blasphemous, you are fine. However, if you stretch the allegory into something less obvious, you'd be able to reach a wider audience and even intrigue your core (Christian) audience more so.

Think CS Lewis. He did the same and reached a very wide audience with his Narnia books. The problem is the how. Many have tried, and few have succeeded.

One piece of advice: don't start with the history. Make your readers figure out the history as they go. A problem of many young writers is that they want to show their ingenious ideas as quickly as possible. But that doesn't provide any suspense. Parse out information and let the reader put the big picture together toward the end.

December 5th, 2003, 08:29 PM
Thanks for responding you guys! I appreciate it much!

And as far as my audience... I was pretty much just writing and thought I'd figure out my audience later, even though I am a Christian. But now that you say that, I guess I'm doing it backwards, huh?

Any tips on how I could "stretch the allegory" as you say? Should I read the Narnia books to see how it's done well? I've never read anything by C.S. Maybe I'll see if my library has any of them.

Briar Flea
December 5th, 2003, 10:27 PM
Hi Triceradon.

I've been away for awhile and happened to look in on your thread.

I don't beleive it is a crime to bace a story loosely on the Bible, it has been done successfully many times before. It is probably ok to call a demon a demon and an angel an angel. I agree with the other comments reguarding the history. It's great that your have thought out the background but better to use it to empower your story rather than tipping your hand right at the start. I think most readers like to be in the dark and only slowly have the truth revealed.

Most heros don't have time to ponder while in a battle, that's the readers job.

You are thinking like a writer though, keep going.


December 5th, 2003, 11:02 PM
Any tips on how I could "stretch the allegory" as you say? Should I read the Narnia books to see how it's done well? I've never read anything by C.S. Maybe I'll see if my library has any of them.

That's tough to do. Read Lewis for some pointers, but your allegory is going to have to be even less direct than his. I think the reading population has grown in sophistication in the last 40 years, and they demand more mental challenge than Lewis provided his audience.

Part of the solution is what we've already agreed upon. Don't push the history. Start in on your story instead. If it feels natural to add some history from time to time, do so. But if you leave more unspoken than spoken, you'll get the effect you want. You make the reader stretch to fill in the blanks with only a few hints to work from. Your Christian audience will see more of the allegory, and your general audience be influenced by your theme without feeling like you are preaching at them.

But that's just my humble opinion. Being a novice myself, I can only speak from what I would enjoy reading.

Briar Flea
December 5th, 2003, 11:22 PM
A more recent example of fiction based on the Bible is the Left Behind series written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Very succesful and a good read.