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SirenKing

Reading Excuses - [SirenKing] - [Ravage, Chapter 1]

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    Hey Guys!

 

    Let me know your thoughts on my submission.

    I'm most interested in:

        - Where is the story headed?

        - How was the tone?

        - How can I improve my voice?

        - Strength of plot?

        - How interesting is this to you?

 

    Please don't make specific story-related suggestions (like what my characters should do the next chapter), and try to ignore any typos I may have missed. Anything else would be terrific!  :lol:

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I read the story before I saw your questions, and yet most of my concerns had to do with the issues you're looking for help with. So that's great! I'll answer them in groups.

 

Where is the story headed? + Strength of plot? + Interesting?

 

It seems pretty standard, I think. Dragon causes problems, a small boy is entrusted with power will eventually solve those problems. Nothing wrong with that; it's all in the how. I only have a vague idea how things will unfold, which is good. You controlled the information release pretty well. That said, a lot of Chapter 1 felt like backstory, because I know this kid is going to grow up, and this will be his mission. Maybe not, but I don't think he'll be young for a long time. Because of this, I didn't latch onto the details because I didn't feel like we'd be spending a lot of time in this area before a timeskip.

 

Personally, I'm not that engaged. There wasn't anything that seemed to make this story really pop or grab me. My standards for fantasy are low, which might be a bad thing because I'm pretty easily entertained by stories of magic and dragons. Also, I'm more of a sci-fi guy, so keep that in mind.

 

Having said that, I had no difficulties with the plot, nor was I bored. That's the trick with first chapters, really, not overloading your audience while still standing out. Would I read on? Most likely.

 

Tone & Voice

 

Here's where I really have feedback for you. At the risk of sounding holier-than-thou, your problems with voice are the ones I think will go away just by more practice. Look at your sentences, how many words they use, their rhythm. Too many sentences with the same-ish number of words will make for a dry voice. Look at the really critical information being conveyed in each sentence, see what can be said better in fewer words.

 

Cut unnecessary details (adverbs, mostly; I can tell when Midowyn is being "cold" so "coldly" isn't needed, things like that). Trimming the fat will clean up the work very quickly. Read the work aloud and you'll pick up a lot of those problems just with an open ear. Voice is rhythm, listening, and straight up practice.

 

As for tone, I have no complaints, but the prose got in the way. The sentences lacked immediacy, and the chapter felt very casual. I didn't much care that a dragon was burning things down because I wasn't attached, which is a totally valid way to do it, if it's done in small enough bursts.

 

So, hopefully that's all helpful. I'm actually really interested by your prose and story, and am curious to see what it looks like once it's been sharpened. Keep it up, man!

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First off, I enjoyed reading this.  The writing flowed pretty well save for a few awkward sentences, like Jagabond addressed.  I didn't have as much problem with the voice as he did, but there wasn't anything that stood out to me as unique, either.

 

The subject matter was a little old, and it felt like a story that had been told before.  That said, I don't know where it was going, so you had me interested to see what happens next.

 

I had a little problem with Taln being so young, as it's hard to get reactions from an 8-yo's perspective right.  I'm assuming this is sort of a prologue and we will next see Taln more grown up.  I wouldn't like to stay in an 8-yo's head for very long.

 

So overall, this was interesting and well written, but I hope there's a good hook coming up to show me how this is different from all other boy and dragon stories around.

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I enjoyed this. Notwithstanding I made some comments where I had question or found the grammar a bit tricky, I felt that your style was very readable, with decent pacing and some nice touches, images and surprises here and there. I got a good sense of threat from the dragon.

The name Ravage did puzzle me a little. I gather from certain hints that Midowyn was partnered or linked to the dragon, and also that dragons seem to be cooperative beasts that contribute to society in some way. For a ally to have the name Ravage seems a bit 'on-the-nose' prophetic.

The other main point that I had was to struggle a little with the perspective in places. 8 does seem a young age and I wondered if Taln reaction's were a little inconsistent here and there, as per certain comments in the tracked version that I emailed back to you.

I hope that those and these comments are useful. All in all, I'm keen to read more.

 

(p.s. The dragon coming to the lake city was way too Hobbit-y for my liking!)

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