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King of prophecy. Part 1 (2776)

Blessed peace

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Welcome to Reading Excuses!
First off, it always takes courage to put something out in front of people, so well done! Developing a thick skin is useful in relation to critiques. We're all here to help, so although most of my comments here are negative, I'm noting the places where I think you can make it a better story--hopefully it will help you out. Here goes.

Overall, there are bones of some good character interactions in here, but I think it needs some more development before it gets there. I don't really know anything about the plot yet.

To your questions:
a) I have to say, I'm not really interested yet, simply because I have no idea what's going on. Some people are discussing religions I'm not familiar with in a bar, and then some of the people go on a walk to their inn afterward and talk about magic. There's nothing really to hook me in yet.

b ) The characters are not really unique so far, except for Ranar, as he asks a bunch of pointed questions. I don't know anything about the two other characters in the first part, except that they have different religions. If you include some descriptions with the characters or something else to tie them to a certain feature, it would be easier to remember them.

c) I'm not really sure why this is a question. Is the city going to play a big part in the story? Right now all I know is that it has bars and inns, which isn't anything unique.

also, there's quite a bit of grammar and sentence structure problems. This could probably go through another read through.

Notes while reading
pg 1: The sixth paragraph is pretty awkward, and is also the first hint of any action.
"flared  his  temper  as  if  it  had  a  will  of  its  own"
--I'm not really sure what this means.
"last  comment  was  a  well-traveled  path  the  ruts  so  deep  they  were  leading  like  reins"
--Also not really sure what this means. especially why it would anger him if it's a common comment?

End of page 1: I guess there's a religious debate in the city? And not a lot of people leave? I'm not really sure what's going on yet.

pg 2: "bursted  in  anger"
--"bursted" isn't a word.

pg 3: "His  name  is  -  don’t  smile"
--Is his name supposed to be funny? I think I missed it.
--edit: okay, you do start to explain this, but then never actually say what it means. I feel like I'm still missing a joke.

End of page 3: There's a break here, and I think you're changing POVs, but I don't really know which character is which. There aren't a lot of descriptors for the characters except that one of them has a beard, and now I can't remember who it is. Maybe Ranar?

Pg 4: I guess the joke is that Atu's name means peace? Still don't get it.

pg 5: "Or  maybe  a  rock"
--I had to read this several times. Do you mean "rook," the chess piece?

pg 6: the banter about healing is pretty good, but at this point I'm not sure where any of this is going.

Edited by Mandamon
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Hello and welcome to Reading Excuses! Also congratulations on submitting your first work for critique! It's never easy to take that first step into review. :) 
Just one quick formatting note, I see it looks like you have put two spaces between each word in your piece. Normally, the "double spacing" requirement in most submissions guidelines (including ours) means double the usual amount of the empty space between each line of text on the page. For people like me who have trouble reading on the screen, double spacing between lines of text is massively helpful, plus it's a good habit to get into if you ever intend to submit work to a publisher.
If you've never encountered that requirement before, it can certainly seem confusing and labor-heavy! Fortunately, almost all the word processing programs I know of have easy ways to double-space the lines of text in your document. Here are a few tutorials if you need a guide:
MSWord: From support.office.com and from a different site ; 
WordPad: From WikiHow ;
GoogleDocs: From support.google.com and from WikiHow ;
Apple (* -- I don't actually have a mac so I can't verify these instructions. They look right though) from support.apple.com  ;
Adobe inDesign: (* -- again, I don't have inDesign, so I'm mostly guessing. Seems decent, though) from forums.adobe.com . 
Anyway, on to the real critique:
Overall, I think there's a good basis for a story here. I enjoyed the way the story introduced the Chosen One from a different angle and was interested in why the Prophesy pair were in the city. However, there are a great many tense shifts and grammar issues that made it difficult for me to get invested in the story. I also had trouble keeping track of what was going on when the POV shifted, and during some of the dialogue exchanges. Like @Mandamon, I was a little confused as to what the purpose of the story (was it a chapter?) by the end -- it didn't seem to go anywhere, and the shift away from Y and A to the Prophesy pair made me feel confused as to who were the actual protagonists. 
To answer your questions
A/B: Interest and Characters -- Overall, I was minorly interested. I thought Y and A had far more personality and more interesting interactions than the Prophesy pair (I keep calling them that because I'm having a hard time distinguishing between them and remembering their names), though I do like how grumpy the Chosen One was. The grammar and language usage issues, and lack of focus kept me from being fully engaged, however, and even with Y and A, the lack of descriptions made the whole thing feel sort of disconnected and floaty for me.
C: The city -- I don't have any real feelings for the city right now because I know nothing about it. For me, just from the text, all I know is that it's a city, it's old, and it has an inn or two. I would need a lot more description and character observations to form any opinion of my own about it. 
Again, welcome, and I just want to reiterate that I think there's the bones of a really neat story here. Don't get discouraged and I look forward to your next sub!
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Sadly I'm on mobile so it will be short it's half a thing.

but i have something that might help people understand. 

The ting i was most scared of was, in fact that there are not enough description. So thats that.

Onward, these are not excuses but explanations.

I'm not native to English, nither had i ever formal education in it, so my grammar is off and I know it.

Anyway, thank you @Mandamon and @industrialistDragon.

Do i at least use the comma right?

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6 minutes ago, Blessed peace said:

I'm not native to English, nither had i ever formal education in it, so my grammar is off and I know it.

I was wondering if that might have been the issue. So again, don't be discouraged! Writing anything in a non-native language is super difficult, and while it does need work, it's not a bad start by any measure. I studied German for eight years and I know, even at my best, I couldn't have done a story this well in that language. Improvements come with practice, though, so the best thing to do is just keep at it.

It might be worthwhile, if you haven't already, to look up some ESL/ELL resources on the internet (ESL is English as a Second Language, and ELL is English Language Learner. Sometimes you also see EFL, English as a Foreign Language). Honestly, I think most of it you will find you already know, but if you look for things like "present vs past tense" or anything about verb tenses and point of view (POV) in general, I think it will be helpful. 

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Hey hey, welcome to RE, and congratulations on your first sub! 


This is a good place to start, but it needs some work. The big items missing right now are: 1) character buy-in; 2) inciting incident; 3) through line. I saw from above that English isn't your first language so well done, because there is no way I could write a story this well in any of the other languages I know. 

Grammar and spelling aside, I think it just needs a few more passes for basic structure, as indicated above. Regarding your question about the city, I can't really answer it because I don't know enough about it. I'd like to be more invested in the characters because I really enjoy religions and religious debate, but I can't seem to parse the reasons behind their arguments.

So maybe another pass or two and then send it back through? Well done on submitting, regardless. It takes a lot of courage!


As I go

- there are a lot of tense changes throughout this document

- the leading paragraph doesn't have much of a hook. It might be worth asking yourself, what makes this story stand out? How is it different from any other bar/tavern story in a medieval setting? How can I best hook the reader? What is the inciting incident?

- pg 2: I'm not following any of the dialogue because I don't yet have any character buy-in. I need more world sense and why I care about the characters before I'll get too into arguments, especially about made up religions

- pg 5: I'm still not sure where this story is going or anything about the characters

- pg 5: generally, although especially on this page, the dialogue reads really stilted. Also all the characters appear to speak with the same 'voice'


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Ho, heed me all who live, hearken to my words all sentients, for I am the emissary of the One.

Gather and listen to the tale of the beginning, for before all was the One, and after all shall he endure, and all that is - is him. There is none but the One, no mind nor wisdom, no time nor place, No existence.

Will that kind thing hook you? @kais

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Thoughts As I Go:

Pg. 1 – It takes a while to find out what a ‘night like that’ is

Pg. 1 – I see you enjoy using the exclamation mark mid-sentence. It’s not often that technique is seen this side of the millennium.

Pg. 1 – Is this supposed to be a friendly discussion, or more of an old rivalry? I can’t get a good vibe on either.

Pg. 2 – It’s a bit disjointed, to be sure, but the priest’s introduction is alright.

Pg. 2 – R’s name is a palindrome. Huh.

Pg. 4 – R claims the beer was good. But the introduction states otherwise. Does R just have that bad of a taste?

Pg. 5 – Rook, not rock, assuming this is chess. This would make the setting Medieval Europe.

Pg. 5 – ‘Guy trying to mug him.’ Guy is modern English, something like ‘vagabond’ would better suit the piece.


I find this to be interesting, and at the least I’d read a few chapters further. I do like the routine that R and P have, though the city has done nothing to capture my interest, except for an oddly named tavern. The beginning was a false start, as R appears to be the main character, and Y and A serve nothing to introduce him, but if they aren’t going to be characters, you might consider rewriting that segment from R’s perspective as well, to avoid giving the readers false impressions.

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They are going to be characters, they are both friends and their religions contradict, so they decided to not talk about it, the stress brings out their bad sdie.

I fix it some, if it will not work I'll change the PoV.

And this is not the regular medievil European setting.

yesthe rock/rook thing is like chess.

About the bar, the beer is good, but the establishment is Unreputable as well the part of the city it's in is not the best.

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Okay, so a brief reaction based on the first page (I'm sorry, I haven't read through your content in its entirety yet, hoping to get to it later today):

Your paragraphs are short, almost slide-like. I'm finding them jarring and hard to follow. You spend a lot of time telling us what is happening, but not showing us. Case in point at the beginning:


Taverns tend to be full, especially at night times, but at nights like that… well, you were lucky to get in. The Olive was not the best place to drink, but in a night like that nowhere was.

What made this night stand out was not the weather, nor was it any holyday - though in a city sacred to all seven gods these were not want - it was a night of overcast sky, from smoke that is. At that night war loomed over the denizens of this greatest of cities.

The crowd at The Olive was mixed of regulars and those who came to drown in ale and beer, lest reality and the fear it brought will catch them. Conversations and arguments were abundant and quiet.

Aster sat by his regular table with his usual drinking companions Yalleg was droning on and on, state affairs, conscripting orders from the king. Rounding stars! but the man could bubble.

You start with the tavern, jump to the night, then jump to the crowd at the tavern, then suddenly we're on a first name basis with Aster and Yalleg, but with no idea who they are. Perhaps this gets explained later, like I said, this is a brief reaction.

NOTE: I will come back and edit this once I've read more, but since I'm at a computer I have to jot down my notes as I have them, or else I won't remember what I'm thinking, or have to reread what I've already read.

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Hi there!

I think it's pretty good writing for a non-native writer. That said, the grammar mistakes did make it hard to get into the story.

A. are you interested?

I'm minorly interested. I'm interested in the characters and what a bunch of priests and religious figures might be doing in a city, and what kind of story would develop in such a place. There were also many tense shifts and POV changes, I was fairly confused about what was going on. 

B. how are the characters?

I liked the banter and interaction between the characters, even though I rather lost track of who was speaking and since so many were introduced a one, the details about them. Their dialogue itself was fairly interesting, flowed pretty well and was easy to digest.

I couldn't decide who I was meant to be following, or figure out whose story it was. One thing you might want to consider is to add some movement in between their dialogue and changing some paragraphs. Because how it seemed to me was that the characters exited the Olive, talked and got attacked in the same spot, talked some more and suddenly found themselves in front of their inn.

Actually, I liked the last 3 paragraphs and the doorkeeper the most. The contrast between her role and her actions make for an interesting character and her I think I'd love to read more about. 

 C. what is your feeling of the city?

Not much description about it, so intrigued but can't say much about it.

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On 1/7/2019 at 4:33 PM, Blessed peace said:

Will that kind thing hook you?

No, because I'm missing buy-in. In order for that kind of wording to work, I need to care about who is saying it and why they are saying it. Although I do love religion in my fantasy and sci fi so the right elements are there, I just need more of a hook.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am very late with this, and haven't read what the others have said about. 

The thing I liked most about it was the voice. It was consistent and revealed something about the characters personality. When you slowed down and described people, I had a very clear picture of them. 

On to your questions.

A. are you interested?

A little because I like the voice, but I am also lost and confused and don't think much has happened that seems significant. This could be a typical night in his life for all I know. Were this something I was browsing in a store or library, I'd probably leave it on the shelf for that reason. 

B. how are the characters?

I feel like I can almost get a grip on them, but they keep slipping away. I think I'd need to reread to get a better sense of the narrator. P is a little clearer, but I still don't know what to make of him. I think I'm missing some kind of context or background.

 C. what is your feeling of the city?

The pieces you focused in on while they were walking seemed clear. I got the sense it was a place where a lot religions came together. I felt like I didn't have the big picture -- just snippets of vivid detail and a few general things, but it didn't all come together. 

And of course what's wrong with it. For this, I'll give you the notes I made as I read:

"At that night war loomed..." These opening paragraphs didn't work for me. I didn't know anything about the city or its people or the main character. I was sick of hearing the word night and didn't care if there was a war coming.

"Regulars and those who came to drown" So you mention people but you don't describe them visually, and since I don't have any idea what kind or world or time period it is, I can't really picture them. 

"Rounding the stars! but the man could bubble" The first part of this sentence was one of those little details that added to the voice and made the world feel unique. I have no clue what the second part means. 

"Odd that" I'm getting bored with vague description and no action. I'm not sure what the main character's goal is or who it is even is.

"Temper flared....He's been listening with half an ear..." I have no clue what the conversation was and feel like I'm walking into the middle of something I don't have the context to understand. 

"offended" What does this character look like when he is offended?

The thing about the fallen four and leaving the city came at me out of nowhere. It seemed like it was important or should be a big deal, but I didn't have enough context to understand. 

"Y... bursted in anger" While I like the verb bursted, I don't have a good picture of Y yet and how he looks bursting with anger. This would be a good place to work description in.

"Clearly wasn't native to" How does the narrator know this if the other person speaks impeccably?

"Bless the fool" One of the details I like, that builds voice and character subtly.

"The man had a sweeping white beard..." This paragraph was a great description, but I needed more visuals like this sooner.

"returned to his more or less coherent self" Since he was just shrieking, I don't believe this

"Why not" seems unnecessary 

"don't smile" this and the part where the mc asks why the name needed a warning confused me. What say this if the mc isn't going to get it. Then the other character refusing to explain was even more frustrating. 

"They stood up and left..." I had to reread to figure out who left. 

"Towering lean and muscular..." Why did you wait until now to give this description? I needed it pages ago. 

"Brooding on the sad truth..." I got a little confused here.

Not sure what the point of the footpad encounter was. 

"Almost every time I requested..." Seemed like a lot more than 1 in 10,000...

When you first described the women's hands with smashing rocks and embroidery, it wasn't clear she was actually working on embroidery until a few sentences later. At first, I thought the narrator was making an assumption about her since she was a woman. 

Overall, the way the information was delivered wasn't working. I didn't think the character had a clear goal or purpose in mind, and because of that, there were no stakes. It was just two guys in a bar arguing with two other guys and almost getting robbed and those things weren't stopping them from doing something they wanted to do. It seemed more like a vignette. Too much came through fast dialogue. I was more confused than anything.   

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On 1/9/2019 at 11:37 AM, Lost Owl Needs Tea said:

I think it's pretty good writing for a non-native writer. That said, the grammar mistakes did make it hard to get into the story.

There were errors but they didn't impact my reading. I didn't comment on them because I thought the story had other issues. 

On 1/7/2019 at 6:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

and while it does need work, it's not a bad start by any measure.

 At my day job, I teach English Comp at a community college where most of my students are not native english speakers. Your grammar is better than many of my students who have had formal training in English. 


On 1/7/2019 at 3:33 PM, Mandamon said:

pg 6: the banter about healing is pretty good, but at this point I'm not sure where any of this is going.

I did like this banter despite my comment about the 1 in 10,000. 


On 1/7/2019 at 6:48 PM, industrialistDragon said:

Honestly, I think most of it you will find you already know, but if you look for things like "present vs past tense" or anything about verb tenses and point of view (POV) in general, I think it will be helpful.

I'll add to this. Look for patterns of errors. Pick one thing you struggle up grammatically. Research it, and focus on fixing that one type of error in your next sub. Do a round of editing where you just look for that one error. Tell us what it is and ask us if you did it right. Pick a new one the next time. Anyway, that is what I would tell you if you were one of the students in the Writing and English Skills center.

On 1/7/2019 at 3:33 PM, Mandamon said:

Overall, there are bones of some good character interactions in here, but I think it needs some more development before it gets there. I don't really know anything about the plot yet.

I agree with this. There is a lot of potential, but for me, the information wasn't delivered clearly or in the right order. I just felt like I was missing something the whole way through. 

I'd be happy to read a revised version at some point. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi there, I am so sorry it's taken me so long to get to reading your piece. I've been so busy writing to be honest, which is great, but it just eats up everything else. I've got a new system of writing 500 words per day, which doesn't sound a lot, but at my rate... Anyway, enough excuses, I hope these comments are still of some help, and not all commented on by others.

Page 1 - I'm enjoying the conversational tone, there's a friendly air to it that draws me in. I am guessing that English is not your first language? Forgive me for saying so, but it seems very clear from the diction and grammatical issues. I won't say any more about that, because such things can be refined and addressed in editing, of course. It seems a little odd that Ya is waiting until tomorrow to flee. Fleeing suggests panic to me, and yet he's got time to go drinking one more night. Odd, I thought. 

Page 2 - "unable  to  form  anything  but  oaths" - Lol, good line.

Page 3 - So, bar scenes are very, very, very common in fantasy stories, as I am sure you know. That makes sense, because it's somewhere that people came together to relax, maybe let their guard down, talk about wide ranging subject. I think there are two ways to go with them, either try to make them stand from all the other bar scenes, or make it so generic and unremarkable that the reader concentrates on the characters. Seems to me you did the latter, and I have no problem with that. I was happy to imagine the usual bar rumblings going on in the background, because the dialogue was always moving, holding my interest. The characters themselves don't seem all that remarkable, but I think their respective characters are clear enough. There is conflict between them, which is interesting. I'm not sure I would want to read a whole novel about these two, or if I did, I would want their characters to be much deeper, but as a starting scene, for me this is okay, maybe not spectacular, but enough for me to keep reading.

Page 4 - The language does make it hard to read, but I'm still finding that the dialogue is nicely balanced and entertaining. Still, there are parts that, because of the language, I just don't understand what's meant. "they  run  out  of  stones... blood" - good line, I like it.

Page 5 - "later  than  any  sane  man  would  go  out  in" - but surely the inn is still full of people. It doesn't feel all that late from what's happened so far. "lovely  implement" - I love this phrase. Fantastic. So clinical and casually chilling. 

Page 6 - "almost  every  time  I've  requested  healing" - this is a bit 'telling'. It's information that these two know about, and so why would they speak of it? Only so the reader can hear it, which makes it sound rather stilted and artificial. Are you familiar with the term maid-and-butler? You might with to consider that :) 

Page 7 - (nothing to note).

So, the punctuation, word choice, tense issues are pretty clear, an did somewhat get in the way of me enjoying this completely. Also, the situation itself, impending war, is a bit generic, so the characters have to be intriguing and entertaining to keep the reader interested. I think you manage that. There is decent banter between them (which of course would be improved by correcting the language). There are things I'm unclear on because of the language, but all that could be fixed. All in all, I'd be happy to read some more of this, although I don't think I could read a whole novel with the language issues.

I hope this is helpful!


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On 08/01/2019 at 0:20 AM, kais said:

I saw from above that English isn't your first language so well done, because there is no way I could write a story this well in any of the other languages I know.

Yes, I heartily agree with this statement! I think my French is reasonable okay, but I would never attempt what you have here, or manage it to the degree you have. So congratulations for that, and I hope you keep trying with the story. I wish I had more time, I would offer some assistance. Is that something that would interest you at all? I would be willing to send you back some tracked comments on the language issues, if you could use them :) 

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Of I'm interested, @Robinski. And actually I'm in the process of correcting my errors (and of course making new ones), and i will repost it soonis.

17 hours ago, Robinski said:

. Are you familiar with the term maid-and-butler? You might with to consider that

I'm not familiar with it, what is it?

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6 hours ago, Blessed peace said:

Of I'm interested, @Robinski. And actually I'm in the process of correcting my errors (and of course making new ones), and i will repost it soonis.

I'm not familiar with it, what is it?

So, it comes from theatre, where a maid and a butler (for example) are talking to each other, and they say things for the benefit of the audience, things that they both know, and so would have no actual reason to say to each other. For example...

Maid: "I'm just going to take the master his tea, because as you know he gets up at seven each morning to go riding in the forest."

Butler: "That's right, he does that every morning, except on Sundays, when he stays in bed until nine."

So, the maid and the butler have been working at the house for many years, therefore they know very well what his lordship's routine is, they both know the times he gets up. Thus, there is no reason for them to say these things to each other, certainly not in so blatant a way. The only reason they do this is that the playwright wants the audience to hear the information. It's really a kind of breaking the fourth wall (between the actors and the audience).

Edited by Robinski
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