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11/09/2020 - SniperFrog - The Trials - Prologue and New Chapter One (L, V, G, S) (3966)

13 posts in this topic

So I wrote a prologue, which is really just meant to give a little bit of backstory before the story kicks off. Let me know if it is too vague or not. 

After some consideration, I have decided to drop my last sub from the book and try to focus on the why in this iteration. The second half or so of this new chapter, was set up as the second chapter before, but I don't think that the first chapter did enough to warrant even being included. 

These chapters include some pretty bloody scenes, so just be prepared for that. I want to make the fight scenes brutal and realistic, so let me know if they need work. (I am really bad at them, so I felt this could be a cool way to do it)
Thanks again, everyone, for taking the time to read my stuff! I look forward to hearing what you think.
I forgot to put Reading Excuses in the email subject line. Sorry. 
Edited by sniperfrog

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Overall, I think I liked the first version of this better. I still don't think the prologue is necessary, and now the first chapter is rather jumpy and I think actually dives into the action TOO fast. Taking some of the banter between the three friends, and a bit more explanation about his father and general life would be better at setting the scene before the inciting incident. Right now, the father is basically fridged and we have no idea where the sword came from or what V's character is like.

The fight scenes are...fine. They are short and bloody, but I'd rather know the character of the people fighting than seeing them hack each other up. Knowing WHY someone is fighting can actually be more exciting than the physical fight.

Notes while reading:

pg 1: "You know we cannot. Even we are not all powerful"
--can't take the blades back? I'm wondering why this is so hard...

pg 2: "giving them your trinkets"
--So the blades seem to be physical things. I'm not sure how hard it would be to round them up and take them all back.

pg 2: “I cannot do much, however. My power, too, has waned.”
--A lot of this seems to be maid and butler dialogue. I'm not sure we need it all in a prologue. We could probably get these facts sprinkled into the story and it would flow better.

pg 3: "It came out as a sob. He was surprised to find his cheeks were wet with his tears."
--I'm not sure why he's so emotional over getting a book. 

Ch 1
pg 1: "The Blade was burnished orange in color with a long, elegantly curved blade"
--awkward first sentence. Maybe "The long, elegantly curved Blade was burnished orange."

pg 1: "Never heard of a Smith with a dragonfly"
--what does his mean? Is there a dragonfly on the blade?

pg 1/2: most of this is just talking about the blade, but we don't really know anything about them. I liked the character development of the first version better.

pg 2: "should have had First Meal ready"
--Could probably just call breakfast breakfast.

pg 2: "pulled F.d. from behind his belt"
--Wait, so it does have a name? I thought it hadn't told him yet.

pg 4: "Wasn’t even his son? What did she mean by that?"
--hearing all this second-hand is anticlimactic. I'd prefer if V. was directly involved in finding out this information.

pg 4: "All he could see was the look in his father’s eyes as he died."
--he's dead? From the description, it seemed like the knife hit over near his shoulder--not something fatal.

pg 5: "I will have you stuck in three blows."
--what does this mean?

pg 5: "V. looked down at his father’s corpse"
--I think we need some more emotion from this.

pg 6: "what’s going on?” He couldn’t come to grips with what was happening"
--I am also sort of confused.

pg 7: "V. gave her a defiant look, but he knew that this was not a time to be arguing"
--Ah...I'd be arguing. His entire life was just upended. I'd think he would want a few answers before going off with this strange woman.

pg 7: "piss soaked trousers
--when did this happen?

pg 8: "The path will not be easy, he thought,"
--this seems sort of like a sped-up version of WoT or LotR. I feel like we missed some introductions and a bit of plot on the way.


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Thoughts As I Go:


Pg. 1 – Did you know a group of crows is called a ‘murder’? You could swap that into the first sentence instead of ‘a massive cloud’. Just pointing that out.

Pg. 1 – A breastplate is usually, but not always a solid piece of forged metal – it can’t rise and fall with a person’s chest very well. Scale-male would probably work better. Also, how does one end up with an arrow under his armpit? I mean, it’s possible, but it’s an unlikely shot.

Pg. 2 – I’m getting a massive ‘Knights Radiant’ vibe with the talk of power, laws, and blades right now.

Pg. 3 – I don’t know the name of the viewpoint character – is he S or A? Also, I get that this is the prologue so nothing will really be explained, but I would have like to know a bit about this person’s history.

Pg. 4 – Ah, a subscriber to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, I see. But the question is, is S correct about it in regards to this world or is it merely a philosophy he chooses to follow?

Chapter One:

Pg. 1 – A scimitar with a flail attached? That’s an interesting weapon. Does the flail exist to be used as a weapon or to be bound to the wielder’s hand?

Pg. 3 – A bit of heavy handed foreshadowing with the Fell Knight (unless it’s set up to be subverted in which case I withdraw this comment.)

Pg. 4 – That’s a pretty neat trick to throw a knife with such accuracy after sustaining repeated head trauma.

Pg. 6 – It’s raining assassins, apparently. This is actually kind of interesting.

Pg. 7 – P’s introduction feels a bit rushed.



Prologue: I’m of the belief that prologue should exist, unfortunately, a prologue can really only be judge as being good or not when the whole story exists. That said, the prologue is interesting enough to make me want to read more, and I got Knight Radiant vibes from it. I like Knight Radiant vibes. I’d still like a little bit of backstory or motivation for the viewpoint character, though.

Chapter 1: This feels a little rushed to me. I don’t know what Blades are (I’m guessing they’re made from meteor metal) or what they represent or why they’re important. I don’t know much about the characters and there are two named dead characters in the first chapter. That in it of itself, I appreciate – so long as the casualty count doesn’t drop. It’s a cheap trick to murder characters in Act 1, Scene 1 and then never let another named character die for the remainder of the book. A little more development for V’s father and T would go a long way into making me more invested in the characters that survived.


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I think I agree with @Mandamon that I liked the original chapter one better as chapter one. This chapter is good, but seems very "chapter 2" to me, if that makes sense. I can't go back and not have read the original chapter one, but it seems like if I was just picking up here for the first time, it wouldn't be as clear. Personally, I think that if you were to make another pass on the original chapter one, it could be a really strong first chapter. (I would suggest seriously trimming the training scene or cutting it altogether, and cutting the story-telling part, since the prologue basically gives the same information.) Without that first chapter, I just don't really care about V or his dad or his friends. 

On another note, there are a lot of spots where it says something along the lines of "Character A gave ____" such as "V gave a smile" or "O gave a spit" or something like that. I would suggest rewriting most of those to use stronger language because it is a little awkward to read. For instance, you could simply say that "V smiled" or "O spat" or something like that. 

I'm not exactly sure why he trusts this assassin lady. She doesn't seem that trustworthy. I get this is the start of the journey, getting him moving, but I see no reason why he would believe this lady who just came in and killed somebody. Just my thoughts. 

The action was good, and fast-paced, and I liked the emotion of V. (Especially since he seemed very macho in the first chapter--seems like he got humbled a bit here, and i liked how you described him wetting himself without really saying it.) The prologue was a bit confusing, and gave off very similar energies to the prelude to TWOK, but neither of those are necessarily a bad thing. I'm interested to learn more about the F Knights and what exactly makes the Blades so special. 



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What's this? Silk just posted a critique actually on time? What sort of weird alternate world are we suddenly in?

I do want to note before I get into the comments that it’s been a while since I’ve read anything I would call grimdark, so keep in mind that I’m not your target audience here.

As I read – prologue

While I don’t have anything against prologues personally, I’m leery of the combination of prologue and POV of apparently dying person. Taken together it seems like a signal to readers that we shouldn’t engage too much with the characters or events on the page right now, that they only exist to provide information for what’s to come.

The revelation that A has of these two important characters is not very impactful, since I have no idea who they are or what they mean.

S is a surname, I guess? I can reason my way through this one, but was initially a bit confused as to who S was.

As I read – Ch1

Bottom of p2, V names the Blade, but in the first scene with O and M they noted that the Blade hadn’t told V its name. Was he lying to them or is this new? If the latter, we should see it called out explicitly.

It’s worth keeping tabs on the types of devices you use to provide information to the reader. This is the second “POV character eavesdrops on a conversation” scene we’ve gotten in as many chapters.

“You were not supposed to be here.” Isn’t this his house? Why would she or V’s father assume that he just wouldn’t come home until it was convenient for them?

I had some trouble with references to the knife going into M’s throat “just over the shoulder” as “over the shoulder” would communicate to me that the knife went, well, over its target and missed. I understand the intent is “just above shoulder level” but it was a stumbling block; maybe “just above the collarbone” or something similar?

I am not getting much emotion from V in this scene, considering his father has just died. I think it would be fine for V to be in shock and detached from it, but the narrative would need to sell that if that’s what you’re going for.


Having read the first chapter, I’m still not convinced that we need the prologue. I appreciate that it’s setup for V’s discovery of the blade in the first Ch1 scene, but I don’t think it gives us much that we can’t infer – for example, M’s comment about the blade maybe being a twisted remnant is enough for us to assume that’s a bad thing.

I think this is a better place to start Ch1 than the last version in terms of “in late, out early” but what I’m missing, this time around, is a sense of engagement with the characters. I got more of that last time, partially because we spent more time with V, partially because we got a better sense of character dynamics in the first scene with V and his friends in that version than we do in this one.

In this version of the chapter, we have so much happening at once that it’s hard to invest in any of it. V and his friends are leaving, but we have less of a sense this time why that’s important to them; in the meantime, in the second half of the chapter, we’re introduced to 3 new characters, two of whom end up dead shortly thereafter, plus a revelation about V’s father who we didn’t know anything about anyway.

I didn’t have any problem with the fight scenes themselves – they seemed clear enough, and I appreciate the fact that they were quick and to the point (which is sort of a strange thing to say about a fight scene, but a fight scene that drags on too long can get very dull very quickly and is also not terribly realistic), though I thought the insta-death of both T and V’s father was a little convenient. Or maybe it was just that not only did they both die very quickly, but V seemed very quick to accept that they were both dead, whereas it would be a very normal reaction to want to confirm that was someone was dead, whether you hoped they were or hoped they weren’t. That said, in my opinion what makes a fight scene exciting is not the scene itself, but the narrative tension that supports it, and we don’t have that yet. I don’t really have a good sense of why I should be rooting for V or rooting against any of these other people, except that he’s our POV character and the others aren’t.

I think there’s a happy medium between this version and the one you subbed first, where you focus more on the moments of change (or just prior to) as you do in this chapter, but spend enough time that we feel grounded in the characters and the world before the knives start flying. 

7 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 7: "V. gave her a defiant look, but he knew that this was not a time to be arguing"
--Ah...I'd be arguing. His entire life was just upended. I'd think he would want a few answers before going off with this strange woman.

I kind of wondered about him just going along with this too. I could see if if he was presented as so shaken up that he just grabbed onto the first person who offered him a kind word - shock is one heckuva thing - but we're not getting the emotion yet to frame it this way.

6 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Pg. 6 – It’s raining assassins, apparently. This is actually kind of interesting.

Extremely tempted to bust out into an "IT'S RAINING MEN" parody here but sadly, "assassins" doesn't scan.

6 hours ago, aeromancer said:

It’s a cheap trick to murder characters in Act 1, Scene 1 and then never let another named character die for the remainder of the book.

Good call here. You are making a promise by having events go down this way.



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Hmm. Well I think the prologue can easily go. Chapter one is both better, and too cut down. We need the significance of the sword to give us buy in to the character as he gets set up on his hero's journey. And I think we need....just more grounding in the world. What sets this world, and this hero, apart from all the others? What is unique about this story? Why should we care about this hero?


As I go

- pg 1: They have destroyed themselves <-- this whole paragraph is deeply melodramatic and makes it hard for me to take this seriously.

- pg 2: a Hero of the Stars <-- still melodramatic, but with a Chosen One trope added on

- Prologue overview: I don't think this is necessary. It's so tropishly over the top that it almost lends itself to comedy. Nothing stands out as necessary--no characters really attach themselves to me. Aside from pointing out that the book will follow a Chosen One trope, I'm not sure what it gives the story

Chapter 1

- pg 2: the opening this time is too quick, I think. Let us get a bit of the inciting incident (the sword arriving), so we have the significance of the event, before people move on

- the scene with the father and the woman is better now, much quicker and to the point. I think it would work well if the first section had a bit more meat to it



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As I go:


I feel like the whole conversation between J and S was really maid-and-butlery. They keep saying things like "as you know," which makes the conversation awkward. It also just feels drawn out and repetitive, and I think they say each others' names too much. In an actual conversation you don't say the other person's name every single time you speak but that's what they're doing. Also, I don't really get what happened with A getting the book and a new name... I just don't get how he would just kind of accept his new name so fast. Other than that I don't think I had a whole lot to say about the prologue... it seems important, but I didn't really understand it.

Chapter 1:

Pg. 1 - I already think that this would definitely be a better second chapter than first chapter. If I was starting here, I would have no information about who V is or how he got the sword, and I definitely don't have a reason to care about him. Since I was already not feeling invested in his character in the original first chapter, I'm even less invested in him in this version.

pg. 1 - "Never heard of a Smith with a dragonfly.” What? I have no idea what this means. (I think I should also mention that if I had picked up this book in a library and started reading it, I would have put it back on the shelf by now. I'm just not feeling connected enough to the plot/characters to really want to read the story.)

pg. 1 - "I’ve always been a better swordsman than smith, which is why..." This also sounds maid-and-butlery. Wouldn't O's best friends already know this? This is something you could probably put after his dialogue as V's thoughts about O if you still want this info in here.

pg 2 - "V could feel F's song..." Didn't O just say on the previous page that the sword hadn't told them its name? I'm a little confused here. Is F the sword's actual name or did V just come up with it?

pg.3/4 - This conversation sounds awkward, and I agree with @Mandamon that I'd enjoy reading it more if V was more involved in getting the information.

pg. 5 - Woah. A bunch of people just died. That was... weird. I feel like this could have been accomplished without the chain reaction of "surprise" deaths. You said you wanted to make the violence gritty and realistic... but honestly, this just feels like the opposite because it's just so clunky, for lack of a better word.

pg. 6 - Okay, I have no idea what a Fell Knight is. This is something else that might be helpful to put into exposition in the old chapter 1. Also, why is he just going along with this newcomer? I guess maybe he's in shock? But she doesn't strike me as trustworthy, since the last newcomer killed his dad.

pg. 8 - "The path will not be easy." What path? Is he going on a quest? What quest is he even going on?

I think this chapter would be much improved if the old chapter 1 was again chapter 1. It just gave so much more information and helped me understand what's happening. I also think the scene where a new person comes and is killed and someone else comes and kills someone and then someone else comes and kills someone could be shortened to make the story less chaotic and confusing and just generally easier to understand. But your sentences were less choppy this time, so good job with that! Keep up the good work!


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An interesting start! I like the idea you present that these blessings didn't have to be swords and the possibilities that opens up.

At first read, I didn't understand that TTM was there and speaking, I thought they were just being referred to. It made sense on the second pass though. 

S speaks very well for someone with a stab wound in their chest and who is being crushed. 

Chapter 1:

I'm able to understand the first few paragraphs, but I think only because I've read the previous draft. There is a lot of new information in a very short space on the page. This is something I'm guilty of too, so I feel your pain. 

In this draft, I'm not sure if M and O are friends, employees or what the relationship is to V. 

V seems to recover very quickly from urination terrified to planning what to do next. I'm not sure if this rings true to me. 

This draft is definetly more kinetic and impactful. I don't know of I would have been able to track it without previous knowlege of the story though

V's voice is much clearer and consistent and I feel like I know him better here that before. 

Thanks for sharing!




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Hey, @sniperfrog, glad to reading this week's submission on time(-ish) :) 


(page 1)

- If he's trapped under the horse, how can his breastplate be heaving? Okay, I know his legs can be trapped, but he's gasping for air, which implies to me that he can't take an effective breath, i.e. his chest is constrained.

- "dead thing off of his broken body" - You won't see this form in a mainstream published work (in narrative). I never have. The 'of' serves no function grammatically, and clutters up the flow the language. Your choice, of course, but look out for it when you're reading I'll be surprised if you find it any where.

- I'm completely lost. Who is talking? Who is J?

- "matter of factly" - hyphenated, matter-of-factly.

- "could not see the speaker from his place on the ground" - I know you've described a battlefield, but I would like a stronger sense of the environment. Is it warm/cold, sounds/smells? I feel rather remote from what is happening.

- "not all powerful" - This need a hyphen too. It's a compound adjective. 'we are not all powerful' means not all of us are powerful, as opposed to 'we are not all-powerful', which I think is what is intended.

(You'll have gathered I'm a grammar 'evangelist'. I apologise to nitpicking over this stuff, but I don't feel it's nitpicking. Still, this is a draft, and you're looking for broader comments, I know. I'm trying to learn to overlook this stuff at early stages, so I'll try not to mention any more line edit things.)

- "The words made A gasp" - It's the wound in his side that should be making him gasp. I know you get a degree of licence with wounds in fantasy, but an arrow there easily might have punctured a lung. A seems largely unaffected by the wound, and its the horse on top of him that seems his only real impediment.

- "weeze" > wheeze.

- Huh. I though The J was their god, an omnipresent spiritual being. Slightly thrown that he's tramping around a battlefield. And... The Man of T? I snorted at first, but I'll give you this, it's original, It just seems too meta to me. All I can think of is that the person who does the twisting (in a plot sense) is the author.

(page 2)

- I don't understand the context of the conversation between The J and the Man of T (Oh, does that mean he's Mr. T?). It sounds all very weighting and portentous, but...

- "sit in your hole all this time" - Oh, so is Mr. T the devil?

- This dialogue is not convincing to me. For one thing, if one person is speaking to another, they would not use the other's name so often if at all, because they are only speaking between the two of them. The end result is that this all sounds very maid-and-butler. Honestly, I preferred the storyteller in the inn. While that was rather a cliche, it was well done, and a scenario like to happen. This, to me, feels contrived.

- "A Bargain.” The T Man said" - Punctuation. I can't go past these things. 'The T man said' is not a complete sentence. Why is bargain capitalised? The more things you capitalise for emphasis, the less emphasis they get.

- "There was the sound of spit" - What is it about this book and spitting? Everyone in this book spits! I've never read the like of this before. I don't know what to say.

(page 3)

- "He looked around wildly" - I mean, we don't actually know that it's a battle. Is it still going on? Is there an army in the field? The landscape feels kind of empty.

- Wait, who is S? I'm really quite confused.

- "the broken arrow clattering to the ground" - This is a battlefield, presumably churned mud. The arrow is not going to clatter on the ground.

- "smooth as a baby’s bottom" - rampant cliche. And he's a decades old man: even in normal conditions his skin will not be a smooth as baby's bottom.

(page 4)

- "S looked down at the book" - So, who is S? I mean it seems to be Ar, but it's unclear to me what transition happened, and why A accepts being renamed and doesn't question it in any way.


I'm posting this up because I'm going to read the new Chapter One tomorrow.

I know I had a lot to gripe about in the previous Chp.1, but I still thought it all made sense. I thought you might trim it down, inject some more character, make different choices in some of the more 'familiar' bits. This prologue, it really does nothing for me. I'm confused, and I'm not convinced. For me, the but that I did enjoy was at the end when Ar receives the book and has a chat with the devil. All the stuff before that, I don't think you need it. It sounds forced to me. If I was reading this in a shop, I would not walk out with it.

I'm looking forward to reading Chapter One, because I have way more faith that it will give me characters that matter, and hopefully I can invest in as characters I will follow through a novel, instead of ones that I'm confident I'm not going to see again, and don't really grab my attention, because it seems clear that they don't matter as characters.

High hopes for Chapter One.


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On 10/11/2020 at 0:32 AM, Silk said:

What's this? Silk just posted a critique actually on time? What sort of weird alternate world are we suddenly in?

What the....? Did the world just end? Is this the Twilight Zone? :lol:;) 


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I should have added, @sniperfrog, that I continue to enjoy your prose.


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Okay, second instalment of comments.Interested indeed to see where this is now, given how I felt about the prologue.

Chapter 1 (new version)

(page 1)

- Double use of 'blade' in the first sentence is really awkward.

- "sharp on both sides" - Kind of simplistic. If you are going to write sword fights, you need to convince the reader that you know something about it, unless the character has no skill. There was an excellent example in the WE podcast recently, where Cory Doctorow was talking about how to sound like a gun expert when you don't know that field. His 'trick' was to refer to a 'modified' Walther PPK (for example), which he said would send all the gun-nuts wild trying to figure how it was modified, and that they would forgive anything that the normal gun should not be able to do. Okay, this will not work in all scenarios, and not at all for swords, IMO. For swords, IMO, you need to know enough to be convincing, and you get that by reading sword forums (probably on Reddit, for example), and doing to research, and just reading stories by other writers who have done this already. So, here, I would at least say that the sword has two edges, or is 'double-edged' (Hah! Wouldn't you know, that is a saying for a reason).

- "He gave a grin to the other two people" - This is really cluttered, and I noticed you used this in the previous version. He just grins at them, IMO. You don't give people a grin, or give a spit. Extra words hamper flow and cause confusion.

- "exchanging dumbstruck looks with one another before looking back at" - Every word on the page should be doing work, and you don't need words that are doing work that's already been done by other words. Okay , maybe this is polish. I cut from my work too, but if it's there, I'm going to comment on it.

- "dragonfly" - Huh? I don't understand.

- "like it was made by Or.” Or gave her a small scowl, which she gave a grin at" - The odd one of two of these would be okay, I think and I think this one sounds less awkward than the earlier one, but if we're going to get two or three a page, I think it's going to stick out a mile as a style 'tick'. I mean, she can totally just grin at it, rather then giving a grin. Also, new paragraph after the first instance of Or, IMO.

- "hardly true.” He protested" - Not a new sentence. 'he protested' is the dialogue tag that belongs at the end of the previous sentence. I'm kind of surprised to have to comment on this kind of stuff, to be honest.

- "why Father is letting me leave with" - Is this just his dad? Should not be capitalised. Every time you capitalise a word, it weakens the emphasis on every other word you have capitalised. The fewer the better. 

- "goes to the capitol" - capital.

(page 2)

- "truly worthy" - one word, trustworthy.

-"Time to go tell Father, he thoughtmaking his way towards his home" - (a) as above. This reads like he's the holy father of the world, supreme being, benign deity; (b) We're in V's POV, so everything is something he thought, therefore, don't need to say this at all; (c) Primary and Recency: this 'rule' says that the things that have the biggest impact with the reader are those at the start and the end of the sentence/paragraph. Therefore, end on something with a bit of momentum, i.e. going to tell father, which pushes the reader into the next section.

- "and pulled F from behind his belt" - So, we didn't see the blade tell him his name. This I think is the first instance of the blade being named, so I personally would like it called out that he knows the name, and therefore is withholding that information from his friends. Is that right?

- inconsistency in the spelling of sheath/sheathe.

(page 3)

- "slid the blade back into the sheath, cutting off the Blade’s low hum" - This is repetitive of him experiencing the hum at the top of the previous page. It reads like he's experiencing it for the first time, in the book, but it happened a page ago. Suggest deleting this.

- "he began to hear voices" - he heard voices: the time between him beginning to hear it and hearing it I nothing.

- "red haired woman" - red-haired woman. It's a compound adjective. 'red haired woman' reads like 'red, haired woman'.

- In my opinion, there are too many new names in the one chapter to keep any kind of meaningful track of. The three youngsters talking, fine. The dad's name, fine, and the sword, but there is as cavalcade of new names on Page 3 here, and I've stopped trying to remember them after the first two, because it's just going to confuse me.

General note: I like how you are conveying background, setting and probably some plot through dialogue; that's a good idea. I just think it's a bit clunky in places, and does not sound quite as natural as it could. First draft card gets played though. I think a lot of this will refine out quite nicely. And hey, it works fine for Aaron Sorkin, walking and talking.

- "from the Guild City " - Why is this capitalised? I'm getting really frustrated with all the capitalisation. It's so unnecessary, like shouting, or capital letters in texts. I mean, look at this sentence:  "He had heard of T L before, a F K who had been a bloody mercenary commander from the G C of M whose terrible exploits had been told of even across the entirety of S N" - Nine capitalised words, out of a total of 37, that's 25% of the words in this sentence capitalised. I would seriously rein back on that.

- General point: I love the fact that V's dad is some renowned figure of history. That is completely awesome. It's a really strong trope, very satisfying. Surprising and intriguing.

(page 4)

- "Wasn’t even his son?" - I'm not convinced about the paragraphing. I think this should be in a new paragraph. If nothing else to give it the big emphasis it deserves as being a big old surprising reveal, but also for the fact that it's in his head, whereas the dialogue he's hearing is from her.

- "heard the sound of someone spitting" - Will you stop doing that, please?

- "trying to get it drawn. He got the blade drawn clumsily" - Really awkward, stuttering action: he tried, and he drew it. 

(page 5)

- "He spat at her feet" - Right, look, you're going to have to explain this to me. What are you trying to achieve with all this spitting?

(page 6)

- "striking twice with those two wicked blades" - So, is that four strikes or two, total?

- "I am sorry I did not get to her" - I think I mentioned this in my comments on the last submission but, because the characters all speak in quite correction language, they all sound the same. There's a major opportunity to create differing characters, or rather to show those differing characters, but treating each person's dialogue differently. Even slightly different 'rules' and patterns of speech between characters can go a long way in this regard.

(page 7)

- "pack he always kept packed " - awkward word repetition. It's always easy enough to pick a different word: rucksack he kept packed; pack he kept ready. It doesn't need to sound awkward.

- "sat waiting by the window" - she told him to go to the hill. I can forgive him for forgetting though.

- "The horse is out front" - Which one, there are two?

(page 8)

- The ending is awkward. For one thing, I don't think he feels enough emotion about his death 'father'. I does not seem that badly affected by it after the first few moments. I mean, one minute he's pissed himself, even though the redhead specifically said she was there to take him away (not to kill him). Then he (a) sees a man killed that he thinks is his father, but (b) has just learned that he's not (maybe); before (c) seeing his attacker and his father's murderer killed by anotherperson he doesn't know. It's so much, and he thinks he's going to die, but recovers almost instantly, and enough to start asking cogent questions? The emotional impact and reaction is way off, for me. Not believable in this form, I think. And then, less than a page later, he's already disobeying the fearsome murderer, having completed regained his courage. I'm not convinced.


I'm not a fan of the prologue, but, I like Chapter One better in the sense that it goes straight to the intrigue, and yet...and yet, it's lost the atmosphere of the tavern. Where does the three's conversation take place? I don't have any sense of place. The form of the dialogue and what it conveys is good, but I can't help feeling there's no substance around it, no framework of background and story to give it relevance. I guess the prologue is aimed at doing that, but the prologue feels flimsy to me, and kind of contrived, as not above.

There are a lot of good emotional beats in Chp.1 one, but then a whole load more arrive and I can't help feeling it so overloaded with events, and people popping up out of nowhere that's it's difficult to swallow the last bit.

I must stress, go tense, conflicting story events and twists, but I don't have time to take them in, they happen so fast, one after another.

There's is still an underpinning of good writing, IMO, in terms of the prose, but this feels way more like a first draft that doesn't have the greater degree of polish that the first sub did, IMO.

Thanks again sharing :) 

Edited by Robinski

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Keep in mind, I never read the first Chapter One. So this will hopefully be informative for you.


Pg 1, "He lay underneath his fallen mount," Well, if he isn't dead yet, 1,200 lbs will definitely quicken the process. And that's if this is a lightweight horse. Warhorses weigh more.

Pg 1, "but the strain was too much." If there's any consolation, you aren't moving a 1,200 lb deadweight horse without a pair of horses hitched up to drag it away anyway. 

Pg 1, "That would make the other voice…" Don't know who these two are, but I think they are Important with a capital I.

Pg 2, "I will send someone," Lemme guess, that will end up being our protagonist for the rest of the book.

Pg 3, "The skin was as smooth as a baby’s bottom." As much as this got a chuckle out of me, I feel like it took away from the seriousness of the event.

Pg 3, "Why me?” Looks like we have our unlikely prophet?

Pg 3, "“You will be the Hero these people need." I was incorrect.

The end kind of lost me. Why A? Why chose him? I understand why he is emotional - I would be too if I thought I was going to die and then was saved by the gods - but it fell emotionally short for me. 

Chapter One V.2:

Pg 1, "The Blade was burnished orange in color with a long, elegantly curved blade that was sharp on both sides." Repetitive. 

Pg 1, "A finely wrought chain hung in a coil at the hilt," A long one or a short one? Why would a sword (sword? maybe this is a dagger God of War style) have a chain and ball to one end? Seems like a tripping hazard.

Pg 1, "had discovered the sword a few hours earlier," Like, where to do find one of these? I sincerely doubt it was just sitting by the edge of the road.

Pg 1, "Never heard of a Smith with a dragonfly.” Confused? Does this reference a maker's mark?

Pg 2, "First Meal" This makes me assume there are more than three meals a day and they are like hobbits with second breakfasts and elevenses. 

Pg 2, "He took off his cloak and pulled F." Hold up, the sword has a name now? Why was it behind his belt? Weird place for a sword.

Pg 7, "No need to have people see you leaving town." I would personally be confused on why I would need to leave town. Like...some woman just killed his dad, a second woman just killed the first woman...and he is going to just...go with her? I feel like this is a pretty simple case of "My dad got murdered, I'm going to leave the local law enforcement to figure this out and stay with my friends." I'd trust his friends way before this random stranger who seems happy his dad is dead. 

Pg 7, "She was not giving him very much information." Yeah, which is why I would not trust a random murdering lady to take me on a field trip to who-knows-where. 

Pg 8, "we will find the way." What way? What goal are they trying to reach? At this point, I'm just confused. mourning for dad besides peeing the pants? 

Pg 8, "went to find his friends." As he should have done straightaway. 

On 11/13/2020 at 3:03 PM, Robinski said:

I don't have any sense of place. The form of the dialogue and what it conveys is good, but I can't help feeling there's no substance around it, no framework of background and story to give it relevance.

I am going to echo this. Also, unless explicitly mentioned, I am assuming this is the go-to Medieval England setting. If it isn't...might want to mention something.

On 11/13/2020 at 3:03 PM, Robinski said:

then a whole load more arrive and I can't help feeling it so overloaded with events, and people popping up out of nowhere that's it's difficult to swallow the last bit.

Yes, I have to agree. I felt like every sentence was introducing me to something new without a full explanation (or any at all), and I didn't have time to digest. It was a trifle overwhelming.

You killed a horse right off the bat which makes me sad, but you write snappy action scenes, which is awesome. Keep writing! 


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