• Announcements

    • Chaos

      Oathbringer Spoiler Policy   11/13/2017

      Oathbringer is out! Let's make our policy on spoilers clear! 1. You must preface topics with Oathbringer spoilers with the prefix [OB] in the front 2. You are only allowed to post spoilers and spoiler topics in the Oathbringer Spoiler Board, Cosmere Theories, and some select work-related forums. 3. For posts in the Oathbringer Spoiler Board you do not need to use spoiler tags inside a topic marked [OB]. For Cosmere Theories, you also do not need to put spoiler tags inside your topic if the topic has [OB] in the title. However, for Cosmere Theories, if you are adding Oathbringer stuff to an old theory without the [OB] tag, those must go in spoiler tags and you must make it obvious outside the spoiler tag that the spoiler is regarding Oathbringer content. 4. For select things that do require talking about OB spoilers, in Events, Coppermind, and Arcanum forums, those are allowed but keep OB spoilers in spoiler tags 5. Avoid and minimize spoilers in topic titles--even though those two boards will not appear in the Recent Topics ticker, topic titles still appear in Recent Activity and the forum home.  6. You aren't allowed to post Oathbringer spoilers in places other than listed, even with spoiler tags.  It will be nine months and then the Oathbringer board will be re-merged with the Stormlight board and you will not need to tag these spoilers. If you'd like to move something in the Stormlight Archive board to the Oathbringer board, to update it with new Oathbringer information, Report the post and we will happily move it to the Oathbringer spoiler board. Part-by-part Reactions Though the Oathbringer Spoiler Board will be very spoilery, very fast (maybe don't come there until you've read the book, as people do have copies that bookstores sold early), you'll have these five topics for reactions if you want to nerd out: Part 1 Reactions
      Part 2 Reactions
      Part 3 Reactions
      Part 4 Reactions
      Full Book Reactions For parts 1-4, they will not include the interludes immediately following it. On Discord All Oathbringer spoilers on Discord will be exclusively in the #oathbringer_spoilers channel for the nine month spoiler period and nowhere else.
Grimwether

Grimwether - 12/18/17 - Jackal King - Prologue - 5799 words

18 posts in this topic

Hey everyone!
 
I am super excited to be doing my first submission for Reading Excuses! 
 
I don't believe that anything in here falls under any of the content labels. I hope I did everything correctly. If not, please tell me what I did incorrectly.
 
This is the prologue for a Fantasy novel that's currently about ~160,000 words, and is definitely a work in progress. What I'm looking for is some discussion of the flavor of the story so far, some predictions (because this prologue definitely uses a lot of foreshadowing), and honestly, whether you find this story enticing after the prologue. Most people who browse at a bookstore will only read the first couple pages or chapter of a story before deciding whether or not to keep going with it, and I need to know whether or not this prologue carries the sufficient weight to keep a reader pulled into this world and this plot. General feedback is welcome, as well! Some of the names and terms may be changing, and some will definitely be changing (like the name Exitium), and the full manuscript is copyrighted, so you are free to use names and terms in the feedback category without fear of harming my story or leaving it exposed to plagiarism. 
 
With the greatest regards,
Grim (Chandler Guy-Currier)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Grimwether said:
Hey everyone!
 
I am super excited to be doing my first submission for Reading Excuses! 
 
I don't believe that anything in here falls under any of the content labels. I hope I did everything correctly. If not, please tell me what I did incorrectly.
 
This is the prologue for a Fantasy novel that's currently about ~160,000 words, and is definitely a work in progress. What I'm looking for is some discussion of the flavor of the story so far, some predictions (because this prologue definitely uses a lot of foreshadowing), and honestly, whether you find this story enticing after the prologue. Most people who browse at a bookstore will only read the first couple pages or chapter of a story before deciding whether or not to keep going with it, and I need to know whether or not this prologue carries the sufficient weight to keep a reader pulled into this world and this plot. General feedback is welcome, as well! Some of the names and terms may be changing, and some will definitely be changing (like the name Exitium), and the full manuscript is copyrighted, so you are free to use names and terms in the feedback category without fear of harming my story or leaving it exposed to plagiarism. 
 
With the greatest regards,
Grim (Chandler Guy-Currier)

This sounds super interesting, and I'm excited! One problem though, you didn't attach it to the email. Will you resend it with the story attached? 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, MasterJack said:

This sounds super interesting, and I'm excited! One problem though, you didn't attach it to the email. Will you resend it with the story attached? 

I'm so sorry! Hopefully this blunder will be my last. I sent a new email with the file attached. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Grimwether said:

and the full manuscript is copyrighted, so you are free to use names and terms in the feedback category without fear of harming my story or leaving it exposed to plagiarism. 

Just as a quick FYI - We leave names abbreviated because we don't want Google picking them up, because most of us are on a publishing track. Using character names in crit won't harm a story, and plagiarism is really hard to do through a public forum and email server like this. If you do get your story published though, and readers Google it, you don't want their search bringing them back to 17th Shard and a decade old crit on like, draft two.

This site indexes fast. For instance. @industrialistDragon used the name of a planet in my book in last week's crit of my work. The very next day, when I did a Google search, the entire thread was in the top five hits. So there are reasons to be careful, but plagiarism is way down the list.

:) 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done on your first submission. There is a lot going on here in this prologue. It was cool diving into your imagination, you have obviously spent a lot of time working out your world, and story. That much is evident while reading. 

I think you should take some time to read your work out loud to yourself. I think that you'll notice some issues with the flow of your prose. There's a number of places where you can rework a sentence to improve how it reads. This is something I have to do myself, I've found it invaluable.

If this is meant to be a prologue, I would suggest it needs to be trimmed down. I know some epic fantasies have lengthy prologues, but you also need to remember prologues can be presumptuous. Maybe jump to the good part right up front! Weave in the information I need, and don't bother me with what's irrelevant (for now at least). I think that will help with your question, about capturing someones attention reading the first page in a bookstore. You are right that the first page really needs to pull you into the story. You need to somehow nail some conflict in the first three hundred words, or have such exceptional prose that it instantly captures someone's imagination. 

On character - The Queen's behaviour is a little bit odd. Her emotional state, the way her dialogue reads, and her actions don't seem to be consistent.

Example on page 2, last paragraph - That's a really calm statement. It doesn't read like she's pleading. It also read as if it is cold and hard, not angry or vulnerable, at least that's the way I read it. If she was vulnerable and angry she would lash out. Her words would be shorter, cutting, perhaps rash and irrational, she'd be saying things she may not really mean.  

The King too is a tad wooden. He's really formal, and while were told what he's feeling he doesn't seem to be actually feeling it. He's comes off as really insincere which I imagine is not what you want at all? Like calling his wife "unstable" right after admitting he slept with another woman. Unless you want the King to be considered insensitive and sexist I wouldn't have him do that.  

I would be quite interested in seeing a revision of this. I think you have some really intriguing elements to it, and for some reason culturally it feels like it belongs in India - is that your inspiration?

Edited by toomsta
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoorah and welcome to RE! We're straightforward, but a fun group once you get to know us. Always glad to see some new faces!

Overall

I had a hard time with this. The piece is filled with sexists, borderline misogynist tropes. I've link to some of them in case you're unfamiliar. While the world is interesting and the end showed some good emotion, I'd have never read past the first paragraph had I picked this book up in the store. My suggestion would be to have a cruise through the tropes and take a long look at how you portray female characters in the narrative. If you need any help or want to bounce ideas around, just let me know. I look forward to your edits!

In terms of prologues- they're not in fashion anymore. Of course you should write what you like, but note that if you are planning on subbing this to agents, most won't take a prologue at all and will have you submit starting with the first chapter. So if you are planning on eventual publication, you might consider whether the prologue is truly necessary.

On 12/18/2017 at 3:16 PM, toomsta said:

The King too is a tad wooden.

Agreed. I didn't connect with him at all until the last page.

On 12/18/2017 at 3:16 PM, toomsta said:

Like calling his wife "unstable" right after admitting he slept with another woman. Unless you want the King to be considered insensitive and sexist I wouldn't have him do that.  

 

Yup. All this, but with links, below!


As I go

- First sentence in and I think the official RE fridge counter is about to be reset. Related: opening with a dead woman is a very quick way to get me to put down a book. 

- Narrator voice isn't done so much anymore. Not that it's inherently good or bad, but it's rare enough these days that it'll make it tougher to get an agent. Just a heads up.

- So early for female on female antagonism. This would also be another strike for me

- Redundancy on 'queen' there in the second to last paragraph of the first page

- page two: he knocked this woman up before he ever knew of the queen so he's been married...a few months?

- seeing a lot of typos here in these first few pages. Have a read out loud. That usually helps me find a lot of mistakes

- POV is confusing. Did we switch somewhere on page two to third limited?

- page three: If you want the reader to hate the king, all is well. If you're trying to drive empathy for him... the dialogue needs to be rethought. He's yelling at his wife who is rightfully angry at him for adultery, and making this about her being a shew and too emotional. The king is being emotionally manipulative.

- 'Beautiful' means relatively little. Give us some window into the king's view of beauty

- She was too pure? She wasn't like other girls, was she? This is another dangerous, borderline misogynistic trope. 

He was weak, and he let all of this happen by giving into his own desire, breaking his morals, and granting her wish of remembrance by giving her a son. So wait, is she pure and innocent or is she a seductress? The tropes are hopping now, and neither are even remotely flattering.

- The king's dialogue on page four is pretty stilted

- Kristina is having a lot of legit emotions here and the king is gaslighting her on every one. 

She’s a bit… unstable at the moment, as you probably already know. She's unstable because she has emotions? Not okay. The king can have emotions, apparently, but when a woman has emotions, something must be wrong with her. Hardcore gaslighting here, not even borderline abusive. Full on abusive.

- page six: wait, there are two illegitimate kids? An older boy and a newborn girl? Is that right? That might need to be better spelled out earlier

His wife was slowly killing him with each mistake he made. He should just be allowed to get away with breaking the vows of marriage? No one should hold him accountable, or just his wife shouldn't hold him accountable? This guy is a real piece of work.

- page eight: wait, confused again. The newborn is a boy? Were there twins? I think I need it spelled out like page one, the specifics on this kid

- page nine: So Lana is six weeks older so she's...the wife's kid? Yes?

- page ten: of course Kristina loathed Emma. See earlier link. 

- the end few pages are interesting and the world is coming together, but the issues above painted the whole story in a pretty sexist light

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both for your feedback. This is proving to be invaluable. I fully intended for the king to be hated, because he is a very, very manipulative character, and, as can (possibly) be seen by his reverence of that one god, as well as that one ancestor - especially given the traits that he reveres in them - he doesn't have progressive values. Or even non-progressive values. He's straight-up backwards. This prologue is more of a flavor thing and an experimentation than something as concrete as a rough draft.

Still, I can see how opening a story with this kind of character probably won't help me with gaining any readers. The illegitimate son (playing with another trope here) is one of the main characters of the story. This is likely to be the king's only point of view in the series, but I thought it would be a good way to give some background. Honestly, however, I can see how to make this chapter/prologue work at several other points in the story or in future books.

I actually already have an agent, but not working with me for this. This is a personal/side project (see above with the experimentation thingy). 

I can see a ton of mistakes that I made, and I have no idea how I deemed this sub-worthy. I had a family emergency last week that prevented me from submitting, and it kind of spilled over into this week, so I rushed this. How very unprofessional of me.

I loved both of your feedback, because it was honest.

I can understand why the dialogue and internal feelings of the king came off as wooden - I simply didn't put enough work into it. I got a little lazy.

I love that I managed to invoke such strong disapproval of the character - and, by extension, most of the prologue - from you, because that was sort-of-kind-of the intention. I'll be honest. I wasn't trying to tick anyone off or offend someone personally, but I was trying to make him unlikeable. Kris is one of my favorite characters in the series, and I debated placing her as the POV character here. She has legitimate reason to be a mixed-bag of emotions, and I think it could be less malice-conducive to give her a chance to paint this picture. She also has legitimate reasons to dislike both Gwen and Emma (which will be touched-on later), so I'm not going to worry about how that will be viewed as a woman-on-woman hate trope or something. It's the same as if the king were to hate his brother for some reason, or the same as if she were to hate someone besides the king. Not quite the same as her hating the king, because he has a special throne of hatred in her heart. Ah. I'm starting to see even greater reasons why I should give Kris a shot as the POV. And I probably did it again (it being throwing a bunch of stuff out there that may not make much sense). 

I've decided that this scene, from Kesh's perspective, will be pushed later into the series, as a sort of re-painting of this moment. I will likely first present it from Kristina's perspective. You will probably have a re-draft of this scene to look forward to (or dread?) in the near-ish future.

@toomsta It is influenced by India. You are spot-on. What gave it away? Some of the names? The name of the crown, perhaps? I truly am curious as to which elements helped to show this, because, as I said earlier - or at least hinted at - this was an experiment playing with a lot of things (cultural context, misogynist characters, symbolism, worldbuilding). 

@kaisThank you for the extra work you placed into the feedback by linking and discussing tropes and the meta. 

Once again, thank you both. I +1'd both of your posts.

With the greatest regards, 

Grim

Edited by Grimwether
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer the question you asked first, I wasn’t really hooked by the prologue. To me it didn’t carry the weight you want it to carry, and there are a couple reasons for that, which I’ll get into in more detail in a moment. In short, and I’m sorry if this comes across as blunt, it’s because it doesn’t really contain anything I haven’t seen before, the whole thing feels superfluous, I’m not sold on the characters and it’s filled with info-dumps. 

Tropes: Kais already went into some of the tropes you’re using, so I won’t belabor the point. I do want to add two more. One is the evil stepmother trope (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WickedStepmother) and the other is “Aerith and Bob” (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AerithAndBob). You have some really fantastical sounding names, and then you have your Emmas and Clarks. It’s a bit jarring honestly. 

Superfluous: Given the title of the book the main character, whose perspective we’ll probably get into in the next chapter, is going to be the newborn son. Which means we’ll probably go forward about sixteen years? Nothing that happens in the prologue is really that impactful that we NEED to know it right now before going into the main story. Basically a bastard boy is born, the mother is dead and, naturally, his stepmother hates his gut. And some prophesies are made. 

Telling instead of showing: Right from the get-go you’re giving us a lot of background information on the setting, such as the naming conventions of the country, the warlike history of the country/world, laws of marriage, backgrounds of the characters and their interactions in the past, etc. At this point in the story I’m not interested in any of those things yet, nor are they necessary to understand what’s going on. I’d much rather see those things come up naturally as the story unfolds. The queen acts cold towards Emma? Show us this, otherwise, we don’t need to know at this point. 


Another example, we’re told the king is a fearsome warlord, but we don’t see it. We’re told how the king feels, we’re told how the queen feels. We’re told that the person mourning her death was peculiar, but there’s nothing peculiar about it. It’s all telling the reader stuff that doesn’t follow from the story itself.

Characters: Like I said, not really sold on the characters here, especially the king. 

  • King: He comes across as a boorish, simple man, who’s abusive towards his wife. Not really likeable traits, but not all characters have to be likeable. There does need to be some sort of conflict to hook the reader, but there is none. He is the king. Even though his wife threatens to kill the kid, it’s pretty much guaranteed nothing will come of it. He threatens a guard to keep his mouth shut and the guard agrees, because he’s the king. There are dangers to the prophesy if too many things are asked, but the king sticks to the rules. The prophesies try to be foreboding, but they’re so vague and ambiguous that they are annoying. His brother and his brother’s wife are fully on his side, even though he was the one in the wrong. There is no danger, no conflict, nothing. 
  • Queen: The queen is clearly upset, and for good reason, but the way she immediately threatens to kill the child doesn’t make her very sympathetic. It also doesn’t help that the other characters we see, the brother and his wife, don’t like her either and we’re not shown why. 
  • Brother & Sister-in-law: They gloss over the fact that the king was clearly in the wrong here. Their presence in the prologue is also unnecessary; nothing really happens.

Prophesies: I don’t like prophesies much. To me they are often used as a heavy-handed way to artificially create tension, and they’re always the same: vague, portentous, and interpreted by the people who hear them in the worst possible way according to their own fears. These prophesies are no different.

Guards? Royalty walk alone: The queen walks back alone with her child, the king walks back alone. There as a single guard in the cabin…that isn’t really how royalty works. There should at the very least be an entourage for the queen and the child. Going off alone is a good way to get your royal line killed. 

Invisible kid: We’re told in the beginning that the queen is carrying her child with her in her arms, but she grabs stuff, throws stuff, and the king grabs her roughly and turns her to him as if the kid isn’t there at all. Also, why take the young heir to the throne out of the castle where it’s safe? The kid has no business there. Come to think of it, why are they all there in the first place since the newborn kid is already in the castle, why wasn’t the body of the mother taken there as well?

Setting: There are things in the setting that I’m interested in seeing more of, just not in a ‘telling’ fashion they way you’ve done here. As Toomsta said, there are hints of India in there and that could be interesting to read about. Right now the prologue, at the very least, needs some work, but it might be better to cut it entirely. It seems to only be there to make the prophesies and we don’t need a whole prologue for that.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Grimwether said:

 

@toomsta It is influenced by India. You are spot-on. What gave it away? Some of the names? The name of the crown, perhaps? I truly am curious as to which elements helped to show this, because, as I said earlier - or at least hinted at - this was an experiment playing with a lot of things (cultural context, misogynist characters, symbolism, worldbuilding). 

Basically the names, but also the apparent social structure, and the very male perspective. From my own personal experience, women have broadly very little agency in Indian culture, and there are numerous examples of misogyny all the time - I think only the other day the news reported a little girl was murdered for shunning a suitor. 

If you're intent is to have the King be such a tool, then you should dump this entire prologue. You can't include work like this anymore in published works, it's just not possible - well not if you want to be even remotely successful. You can certainly paint a picture of this guy as being like he is, but not from his POV, you need a POV the reader wants to read and can relate to.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, toomsta said:

Basically the names, but also the apparent social structure, and the very male perspective. From my own personal experience, women have broadly very little agency in Indian culture, and there are numerous examples of misogyny all the time - I think only the other day the news reported a little girl was murdered for shunning a suitor. 

If you're intent is to have the King be such a tool, then you should dump this entire prologue. You can't include work like this anymore in published works, it's just not possible - well not if you want to be even remotely successful. You can certainly paint a picture of this guy as being like he is, but not from his POV, you need a POV the reader wants to read and can relate to.

Like Torol Sadeas?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites




Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! 

 
I had trouble reading this piece as well. I actually had to do it in two different sittings, just to get through it. It left me feeling uncomfortable, and not in the way of challenging reads or unlikable characters, but in a way that tells me quite clearly I am not the intended audience for this book. I'm not sure any of my friends, family, or acquaintances would be the intended audience for this book, based on this introduction, either.  
 
The writing is done well from a technical standpoint. The technical issues I noticed were not beginner errors.  The descriptions are done well, and the world seems interesting. However, there are too many unfortunate implications in this piece for me to ignore or attribute to an unlikable POV to keep me reading, were this the first chapter in a longer work.
 
 I agree with everything @kais mentioned regarding the tropes being used here, so I won't belabor them further.  The thing to remember here is that Tropes Are Not Inherently Bad. They're also not inherently GOOD, either. They're tools, and shorthand, and they each come with implications and history over and above both the author's intentions in using them and what is presented in the story on the page. Tropes can be deliciously subverted, or comfortingly met. They can be horrifically overused and terribly written, too. Any way they are used, though, the author should be aware of them and their implications in the work. Describing the dead girl as "too pure," making the wife/stepmother into a jealous shrew, portraying the king as sympathetic and honorable in his adulterous actions -- the tropes in use here seem to me to be mostly problematic ones, and the baggage that comes with them, for me at least, is overshadowing the actual story-on-the-page
 
I agree with @Asmodemon in wondering if this prologue is actually necessary. There's a lot of info just being dumped out here, and at times it reads more like a wikipedia article than an internal monologue. Wiki is many things, but a compelling page-turner of a narrative it is not. Some of this info, such as the aside defining a derrogatory term as a derrogatory term, can be picked up from context. Much of it is good for the author to know and have thought about, but is not the sort of information readers generally need laid out plainly for them on the page, or would be even something a person would normally think about. If the information is important later on, it's usually better for it to be worked in to the story closer to the point of need.
 
Additionally, if the king, queen, brother, wife, and dead girl aren't POVs in the story itself, if they aren't even main characters (or plot elements), what are they doing here in the beginning? The prophesy could just as easily be given to the protagonist by the king, or given to the reader in the protagonist's internal monologue. Or, as Asmodemon says, simply left out. 
 
To answer your question about promises, this seems to set up a pretty typical heroe's journey. There's a Chosen One, an evil stepmom, and an unworthy king. 
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Asmodemon and @industrialistDragon, thank you both for your honest feedback. I have already set this project aside. I was in a darker place when I wrote this because of the family emergency, and it is definitely a piece of work. I intended to test boundaries of what makes a reader uncomfortable, and I can tell that I definitely hit on some soft spots (and legitimate ones). Reading back over it, I agree with the notion that the prologue isn't necessary to the story, and this is a very poor introduction to the story arc, especially since I set up some things that I don't really intend to touch on later, as well as failing to set up things that I do deem necessary to the overarching storyline. I've been thinking about this ever since I posted it, and I think this is one of those cases where this was done more for my convenience as an author than for the reader. It makes me feel lazy and it seems to be intended for lazy readers who need everything spelled out for them. I hope this hasn't ruined any interest in this project, as I intend on touching on "Jackal King" again in the future, and trust me, it will be more sensitive.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Grimwether said:

and I think this is one of those cases where this was done more for my convenience as an author than for the reader. It makes me feel lazy and it seems to be intended for lazy readers who need everything spelled out for them. I hope this hasn't ruined any interest in this project, as I intend on touching on "Jackal King" again in the future, and trust me, it will be more sensitive.

Nothing is ruined! We all write parts of stories that end up getting axed. I routinely delete thousands of words from any give manuscript in progress each time I do an editorial round. We have to write the world to know it, and sometimes the getting there just isn't necessary for the readers. The process is still valid, and we love having stuff to crit here, regardless of content or level (though I could live the rest of my life without reading another fridge scene). 

You're one of us now. You can never get rid of us, no matter the writing. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, kais said:

You're one of us now. You can never get rid of us, no matter the writing. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

And don't worry, I don't intend to make fridge scenes a thing in my stories after realizing what I had done.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, @Grimwether I haven't gotten around to reading your sub yet. I'm hoping to soon, but it might be next week :unsure: So sorry! Hopefully, this doesn't happen again, but I hope I can get to this before too long...

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Reading Excuses!

I see the others have already torn into this one. Generally I'm of the same mind as @kais, @Asmodemon, and @industrialistDragon. I had a hard time reading through this, both for the tropes, and because a lot of it felt unnecessary. The last few pages were more interesting. You could probably begin this on pg 12. The hook to the prologue is the prophesy about the son, and all the explanation about where he came from isn't really relevant until we know the characters. especially as it's a prologue, I don't expect to meet the king and other royalty again. I suspect the story is about Clark, and to be honest, just the prophesy could probably be dropped into a later chapter to remove the prologue completely.

I also caught the Indian names and descriptions, and I think this could be an interesting story--just needs to catch the reader's interest sooner.

Hope everything turns out ok with the family, and I look forward to future submissions!

 

Notes while reading:

First paragraph--I sense @kais' fridge-o-meter tingling... (edit: yep, I was right.)

pg 1: "particularly peculiar"

There's a lot of description on the first page and no action so far. You need to hook the reader here, first, then describe.

pg 1: "cleared his throat for a good two seconds 
--that's going to tear up his vocal cords.

pg 1: "She grabbed the note slowly"
--I don't think you can do that.

pg 2: "eerily lively corpse"
--wait, what? Is the corpse dancing around or something?

pg 4: the king is still going on about this woman...

pg 5: 4 paragraphs in a row start with "King R."

pg 6: "He assumed emotions were a lot less complicated back then as well."
--Why would he assume this? Were people different?

pg 7: lots of infodump...

pg 8: "own brother had now fathered a daughter"
--I thought it was a son?

pg 8: certainly don't need etymology of names in the first chapter.

pg 11: more infodump on this page...

pg 12: write numbers out.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the anticipation of reading a new submitter for the first time. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get to it. Hopefully these comments are still useful.

  • So, couple of pages in, like just about everything, the language could be tidied up for flow and rhythm, some work repetition close together. Wordsmithing, as they refer to it on WE. But that’s fine. The setup of the bastard son is engaging enough, if not exactly uncommon, but I'm okay with that so far.
  • The female characters are not very well served so far. One is pessimistic and desperate for a child, the other is spiteful and jealous? It sets alarm bells ringing for me. Apart from anything else, the queen’s reaction seems entirely reasonable in the face of the king’s weakness and infidelity. Maybe it’s just me, but the narrative seems to excuse the king because he’s confessed his weakness. Perhaps I'm not reading that correctly.
  • After eight pages, I'm starting to get weary of all the names getting thrown around. There’s not need to introduce all the characters in the prologue. In fact, it’s likely to make readers a bit frustrated, I think, because they are unlikely to remember half these people.
  • It seems to me there are some strong themes and elements of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the setup. The scorned wife; the king who is weak and breaks the rules; three prophecies, as for the witches on Macbeth, although there is only one prophet here. Maybe this was not conscious or intentional, and it’s not meant as a criticism, as such. There is nothing wrong with borrowing themes and ideas from other stories—it’s where most stories come from(!)—but the key is to disguise and put distance between the source of your story.

In summary, I have to say I'm not exactly gripped by the prologue. It’s very straight and a bit dry in its style, not any awful lot of colour. By that I don’t just mean literal colour of description, but colour in the characters. Also, there is a lot of information crammed into it. Personally, I would say more than necessary. I’m interested to hear what the others think. I’m also interested to see the next part, to see where we go from here, and how relevant a lot of the detail here is to the rest of the story.

Thanks for sharing!

<R> 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/12/2017 at 11:16 PM, toomsta said:

I think you should take some time to read your work out loud to yourself. I think that you'll notice some issues with the flow of your prose. There's a number of places where you can rework a sentence to improve how it reads. This is something I have to do myself, I've found it invaluable.

I agree with toomsta :) Can't recommend reading out loud highly enough. You'll see in about 5 seconds flat what works and what is a problem. It won't solve everything, but it reveals an amazing amount.

On 21/12/2017 at 5:55 PM, Grimwether said:

especially since I set up some things that I don't really intend to touch on later, as well as failing to set up things that I do deem necessary to the overarching storyline

I did wonder if that might be the case. Sooo, important for a prologue to be interesting, engaging and relevant. But you know that.

On 20/12/2017 at 10:20 PM, industrialistDragon said:

There's a Chosen One, an evil stepmom, and an unworthy king.

This was probably my main concern. As the forum's resident old codger, I have read any awful lot of hero's journeys, to the point that I really wouldn't care if I never read another one. It's been done soooo many times, and will continue to be done, but it really needs to have something different and fresh about it to make that trope work in today's SFF environment.

I hope that everything works out. As kais said, it never means giving up on the story, but it does mean there is always lots of work to do.

:) 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.