?

Log in

No account? Create an account

__fantasynovel

The Accost Of Prince Atlas

« previous entry | next entry »
Feb. 7th, 2012 | 11:02 am
posted by: caffeinehype89 in __fantasynovel

Hey, I'm caffeinehype89.
I began a promising piece about a strong female knight,
who has set out to kill a very naughty Prince Atlas.
It is a fantasy romance. And there will be explosions resulting from science experiements.

So here's a snippet. Critiques?


The Accost Of Prince Atlas

Written by Jacqueline Woods


Chapter One
Walking barefoot on the blue glass floor in Ryan’s study was one of her favorite impulses, like drinking brew faster than most men, reading erotica in the early dawn, and creeping up on him when he was conducting experiments.
She was tall for that day and age, being 5’7. Emma had shoulder length auburn hair, brown eyes, pretty features, and a lean, strong build. From her father, she had learned had to fight with sword, arrow, axe, and fists. Her mother had educated her from dusty attic books. And so she had grown, from a babe to a woman in her early twenties, like a weed.
Ryan was an enchanter, self taught, and because of this fact, things exploded a lot. But he was a genius, and she had come to him as an apprentice. He was quietly attractive to her, with black hair, soft features, and sky-blue eyes. He wore glasses, and odd contraptions on his face that covered his eyes from earth shattering explosions.
There she stood in her armor, which despite what peasant girls and baby making machines thought, was very heavy.
He took her arm and dragged her over to the counter.
"To be an enchanter, knowing potions, understanding chemistry, memorization and validating to me that you can do as I show you is the first step."
Together, they leaned over the endlessly long table that stretched throughout his enormous study.
She had come to Ryan because she respected him. He was one of the few men who didn’t treat her as a woman, or tried to grab her backside or flip her over and try to unbutton his trousers. He was interesting, and interesting was important when one wanted to learn a trade from another person. Like her, he was of mixed race, and knew not when his day of death would arrive. They just lived, and did what each day needed of the next.
He handed her a frock and motioned to her to remove her armor. He wore the same shabby frock. He glanced down at her bare feet, and shook his head.
Next came gloves, thin, but securely insulated, another thing Ryan had invented.
She was to write her own formulation for magnetic air, a thrish-thrash of elements that could be skewed together 23 different ways with different ingredients.
He watched her carefully, her gloved hands grabbing liquids, weeds, and hard materials with her gloved hands, mixtures from previous elements that they had worked with and she had mastered.
What she chose, was not only dangerous, but the most effective and daring way to create such a thing. She had forgotten a few steps, side steps she had cut, but had corrected them, unsafely of course. Safety was never a concern of Emma’s he mused.
After boiling a liquid that almost exploded in her face and he had tried to snatch away from her, what arose from the concoction was a beautifully perfect example of magnetic air, a gray, hard substance that floated delicately before their eyes. She caught it and handed it to him, with a look of smugness. He took it, feeling it over and over in his hands.
Instead of scolding her for the usual lack of care and grace, he grinned sheepishly, and nodded. "Very good." He noted, scribbling something down into one of his largely bound books.
A friendship of sorts had blossomed between them, and nothing more at that moment in time. Ryan was reserved and awkward with women, and Emma was precocious and was disappointed with past men she had been with. He now challenged her to a match, in which involved stars and bits of tree trunk. It was for a spell he knew she would love, as for her general love of the underwater rainforest.
Stars, if successfully caught (and there were still those out there that partook this once hobby as a career) worked miracles on trees, even sodden and sad ones. Many of them had become miserable due to Prince Atlas’s Forbidden Decree.
The forbidden decree was simply this; no one was allowed to assist any of the trees or living creatures in the Underwater Rainforest, simply because he wanted to start his own, in with the new, out with the old.
Emma was planning her rebel against him, and Ryan knew that this was partially her reasoning to becoming an enchanter. He liked this about her, loved it.
When the purple sunset cast over her hair from outside of this enormous laboratory windows, he knew he loved her.

Ryan dreamt of equations, the genetic makeup of everything, and extinct dragons he knew were hidden in off shore caves and in the mountains of mist.
He also dreamt of her, and her lips pressed to his. She always seemed to be running towards someone or something (very fast) with a sword. Her strength surpassed his prerequisit ideas of what a mortal could do.
Not only that, but her traveling impressed him. She had been around the globe, to nearly every kingdom, drank with warlords, ate a dead witch’s carcass to save a man she once loved, and rode a horse like a man. He could never tell her how magnificent she looked in her armor. Or that he had adored her from afar before she came to him.
Emma was more infamous, than famous, as she ‘was only a woman’ as Ryan had heard other men say. He had been annoyed by this comment......

 

 

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {8}

rhiannon_black

...

from: rhiannon_black
date: Feb. 7th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Link

Just a cursory glance, but some of your word choices are strange. "Accost" is a verb, not a noun. Having an error right off in the title of your piece raises a big, bright red flag.

"Forbidden decree"--another thing that doesn't make sense. It sounds like the decree itself is forbidden. "Skew" and "formulation" also don't make sense. I suspect, in the case of "formulation," the idea you're going for is "formula."

Add space between paragraphs to make this more inviting to read. Run this through a spell checker. Have someone read it through for grammar and punctuation.

In the vaguely medievaloid setting of your piece, I envision pre-printing press era books. If so, they are extremely rare (even early printing press era books were rare and valuable) and as such, not likely to be kept in a "dusty attic." A substantial library in medieval Europe might fit in a single chest. A better grounding in real medieval technologies, cultures and attitudes might make your story seem more real. Go check out some source material and history. Read better books.

I don't need to know how tall she is, down to the inch, really, who cares. Nor do I need to know the color of her eyes, etc. The cataloguing of such minutiae is a staple of bad YA writing. Stop cataloguing the characters' attributes and start telling your story. As the story enfolds, the characters will be revealed.

What the hell is an underwater rainforest?

Reply | Thread

caffeinehype89

...

from: caffeinehype89
date: Feb. 7th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
Link

lol. rawr. an underwater rainforest is something I will get to later in the novel, and explain breifly towards the end of chapter one.

Definition of ACCOST
transitive verb
: to approach and speak to often in a challenging or aggressive way

Accost is indeed a verb, and I chose it because that is what the main character, Emma, is doingon the harshest level.
Perhaps "accosting" or a similar word would be better for the title.
Of course, paragraphs, this is the very rough draft.
Decree; yes i could see how I could have used a more accurate word.
Formulation: could be better as formula
and skew, I like to use because it is commonly used as a form of muddled, confusion.
Are there online spell checkers? Google word may have one, since I only have Word Pad -_-
As far as "real medevial technologies" go, all of the fantasy novels I have read as far as C.S. Lewis, Anne Mccaffrey
and Ursula L.e. Guin all have different technologies, cultures and attitudes. I do know what you mean, but I also enjoy both reading and writing fantasy that has been constructed and redifined by each writer and how they perceive their imagination :D
As far as what my characters look like, I feel that it is important, because when I am reading, I love to picture it in my mind, so I love knowing what they look like, our characters, and what everything looks like. I think that comes from reading alot of Anne Rice novels when I was young, she is incredibly visual, and good at it.
I realize that I and many others on here, while we hold talent, there is so much to learn and build on as writers.
I don't think any of us will ever stop learning, but I enjoy it, and that is why I ask for criticism. Whether or not it is accurate or if I agree with it or not, I find it very helpfull, regardless. Thank you for your review :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

'Ghan the wonder llama

...

from: bloodied_aura
date: Feb. 8th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Link

Firstly I would like to note something you mentioned in your reply to rhiannon_black - grammar. Something that a great deal of uni has taught me is to always put your best foot forward - regarding your 'this is just a very rough draft' comment. You should always present something polished even if it is unfinished, so that people can see your work for what it has the potential to be. Thinking "this is only a very rough draft" is all well and good when you know how you want the story to flow and unfold - but poor paragraph structure, syntax, grammar and spelling errors are very distracted for a potential reviewer who knows nothing about you. They are likely to assume you don't know how to do these things properly rather than that you just put them off for later. You owe it to yourself and your work to never do this - always present your work in the most polished and professional way that you are able. Then people can address real issues that you may have, or simply focus on assisting you in improving your story.

Besides, self-editing a piece of work for presentation is extremely helpful - the more you edit and review your work yourself, the better it will be.

Also, Livejournal has an online spell checker. Or maybe it is the browser I am using - I use Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, both of which are free, and both of which are equipped with a default US English spell checker with downloadable international dictionaries.

Down to business.

I also dislike the phrasing of "The Accost of Prince Atlas." If you like the word 'Accost,' perhaps you could change the phrasing - Accosting Prince Atlas, or similar.

"Walking barefoot on the blue glass floor in Ryan’s study was one of her favorite impulses, like drinking brew faster than most men, reading erotica in the early dawn, and creeping up on him when he was conducting experiments."

I like your opening describing her actions, but I think by the end of the sentence 'and creeping up on him when he was conducting experiments,' has become a bit ambiguous. While it is clear that you mean Ryan, I think you could rephrase this to make it clearer. Perhaps try changing the 'and' to 'or'. You could possibly remove one of her other impulses to shorten the list and create a snappier, more readable sentence. I do this all the time - in fact I don't doubt that I have done it in this comment - and as a fellow rambler I know it is hard to stop doing this, but that's what editing is for! You could mention her impulses again later in the story and re-use the one that you cut if you are attached to them. You want to be clear and succinct here, as this is the very opening of your story and you need to sink your meat hooks into your reader!

"She was tall for that day and age, being 5’7."

I think 'for that day and age, being 5'7.' could be removed. Mentioning the 'day and age,' to me, fractures suspension of disbelief. The reader is reminded that they are not in the same place as the character, and I at least find this jarring. You could simply write "Taller than most," and carry on from there.

OMG. I swear lj used to allow decent length comments

Reply | Thread

'Ghan the wonder llama

...

from: bloodied_aura
date: Feb. 8th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Link

"Emma had shoulder length auburn hair, brown eyes, pretty features, and a lean, strong build. From her father, she had learned had to fight with sword, arrow, axe, and fists. Her mother had educated her from dusty attic books. And so she had grown, from a babe to a woman in her early twenties, like a weed."

I think you have fallen into the trap of "telling" rather than "showing" here. You mentioned that you like Anne Rice in your reply below, and the way she constructs highly visual scenes. I don't believe you would catch Ms. Rice describing a character in this way. Try to capture a moment in Emma's morning, rather than take a photo and tell us what you see.
One second ago Emma had been caught in an engaging moment where she tip-toes barefoot across a (wizard's?) blue glass floor. To me, this is a very intriguing image and I want to know more about it. If you are writing a novella, you have plenty of time to tell us about Emma's background, and Ryan's as well. Right now, it's more important for you to get us to like Emma, to want to know more of her story.
You could tell us that "she grins, eyes gleaming darkly from behind the fall of her untamed hair, as she struggles in vain to move silently in her gleaming suit of plate." This tells us enough about her appearance for now.


If she is wearing full plate, it makes sense that she would be fit, so describing her as lean is a little superfluous. However, full plate means she is probably more likely to be heavily muscled than 'lean'. I think this is a decision you need to make for yourself - a woman would be more than capable of wearing and moving in full plate, but like a man in plate, she would have to be more strong than fast. Think of a female weightlifter in comparison to a runner - they are both very fit, but there is an acute difference in the type of muscle they develop. A runner has muscles trained for endurance, and a weightlifter for immediate strength. Neither one would be very good at the other. Obviously a knight is something different to either of those, but many kilos of plate armour does not make for swift, light fighting - it is mostly about brute force, as the need for maneuverability is negated by the protection of the armour.

I know that plate is very appealing, but try to think about the downsides of the armour as well, and I don't mean you have to consider removing it all together. But full plate is really, really heavy, awkward and restricting. It would be hot and very smelly - it would need to be oiled, and steel has a smell to it all its own. These details - perhaps Emma whinging about the smell, or the upkeep of her armour - can add colour and credibility to your story. Possibly she could wear pauldrons and greaves for every day wear, or a light breastplate, but I believe medieval knights probably only ever wore full plate in battle, and probably avoided wearing it when not immediately near a war horse. Not to mention how valuable plate was. As a final note, I'm not certain, but I would be very surprised if plate is something you can put on yourself. I think Emma would require an assistant to get kitted up.
(I know you mention that the armour is very heavy, but I don't think you've touched quite enough on just how heavy it really is - and I think her description as "lean" betrays perhaps not a great deal of specific knowledge about armour, forgive me if I'm wrong but Medieval history and specifically arms and armour are an interest of mine. That, or it is possibly not the best word choice! :))

Still more..

Reply | Parent | Thread

'Ghan the wonder llama

...

from: bloodied_aura
date: Feb. 8th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Link


I think your main downfall is that you seem concerned with telling us everything you know about your characters as quickly as possible : it is getting in the way of your story.


"Like her, he was of mixed race, and knew not when his day of death would arrive. "
I think this is one of my favourites of your describing sentences. Do you see how this is showing rather than telling? You mention their mixed race heritage in passing, as a segway into a different concept, presumably something that will come up again later. If you had mentioned either of their mixed race heritage in the same breath as their hair or eye colour, it would seem shallow and unnecessary - mixed race, why do I care? It would have no meaning. In this way it becomes an intriguing point for future reference, and is much better. Obviously hair and eye colour aren't the same as culture or race, but you can use them to enrich scenes, a flash of colour, and so on.

"She was to write her own formulation for magnetic air, a thrish-thrash of elements that could be skewed together 23 different ways with different ingredients."

This is a niggly-naggly thing, but I think your sentence would look better if you wrote "twenty-three" rather than "23" here. It seems pedantic, but writing the words "twenty-three" gives them weight - it says "gee, look how many different ways there is to make this thing." It draws attention to it, defines it. Writing the number as numerals removes some of its importance, and since you have bothered to write it at all (rather than "could be skewed together in myriad different ways" or whatever), suggests that you want to stress that we aren't talking about five or six different ways here, and that it is tricky.

"He watched her carefully, her gloved hands grabbing liquids, weeds, and hard materials with her gloved hands, "
Things like this are why it's a great idea to print your work and read it aloud, or get a friend to read it for you. I doubt you would even notice your repetition of 'gloved hands' if you re-read your work silently to edit it - but if you read it aloud it would instantly be jarring. I do this sort of thing all the time in my academic and recreational writing, and I've found that an assistant or reading aloud are the only way to catch yourself doing it. That, or leave your work alone for about 3 weeks before trying to edit it.

Yeah, I talk a lot. I'm working on it.

Reply | Parent | Thread

'Ghan the wonder llama

...

from: bloodied_aura
date: Feb. 8th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
Link

"After boiling a liquid that almost exploded in her face and he had tried to snatch away from her," this isn't quite telling rather than showing, but it is close. You could write more into this scene and improve it dramatically - the fragrances, smokes and sounds of a medieval scientist's lab could be quite something to describe. Think of the squeal Emma might let out in surprise, or Ryan's horrified gasp, only to see her victorious, sooty face emerge from the smoke with her usual reckless grin. I think you'll have missed an opportunity to enrich your story if you leave this scene as it is.

"Stars, if successfully caught (and there were still those out there that partook this once hobby as a career) worked miracles on trees, even sodden and sad ones. Many of them had become miserable due to Prince Atlas’s Forbidden Decree."

Who is miserable? The trees, or the star catchers? It's not clear.
I agree with rhiannon_black regarding the "Forbidden Decree," also. It might be interesting to look up decrees that Medieval kings of our world made. Study their wording, and I'm sure you could come up with something interesting. Forbidden Decree is ambiguous - I know you might be suggesting that the decree is so loathed and infamous that everyone knows what it is, and maybe Forbidden Decree is a colloquialism. If it is, you should list the proper name of the decree first, as we don't know what it is. Decrees should give some hint as to what they are decreeing. If you want to keep it ambiguous for now, you could change the sentence to suggest the people's loathing of it - remove forbidden, and write "Prince Atlas' hated Decree."

Oh. You describe it in the next paragraph. In that case, I think you would do better to come up with a more Kingly sounding decree name, and then you can refer to it colloquially afterwards, for brevity.

"When the purple sunset cast over her hair from outside of this enormous laboratory windows, he knew he loved her." Here is your opportunity to describe her hair colour!

"and extinct dragons he knew were hidden in off shore caves and in the mountains of mist."
Once again this is nit-picky, but if he 'knows' (either in his heart or for fact) that dragons still exist, I don't think extinct is the right word to use. Long-gone or forgotten could work better.

Reply | Parent | Thread

'Ghan the wonder llama

...

from: bloodied_aura
date: Feb. 8th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Link

"He also dreamt of her, and her lips pressed to his. She always seemed to be running towards someone or something (very fast) with a sword. Her strength surpassed his prerequisit (prerequisite*) ideas of what a mortal could do."

I think (very fast) is superfluous - running is fast. You could write (recklessly) or something similar, to show her attitude with the running, but I wouldn't mention that she is running very fast this way, it breaks the flow of your writing.

If she is stronger than a normal human in your world, you can probably ignore what I said about her armour. If this is the case though, and her condition is not normal, I think you must reference characters like Ryan being often taken aback by her strength. If it isn't normal, bring attention to it! It will protect suspension of disbelief by letting the reader know that there is something other-worldly about this girl, and that is why she can heft a great-sword as though it were a rapier, or whatever. Especially someone like Ryan - you could write things like "once Ryan would have been surprised at the grace with which Emma hefted the barrel of black powder, but he had lived with her for so long that he was accustomed to her unusual strength."

I hope you find my points helpful, please know that I'm not attacking you or your writing. I think you have the potential for a great story here, but you are falling into some really common writing traps. Do find a well-written book on Medieval Arms and Armour if you want to pursue Emma as a knight in full plate, I know that you world is set in a fantasy AU but a general staple of fantasy or sci fi writing is to keep some things 'factual' and 'realistic'. This all contributes to suspension of disbelief - it gives the reader something expected that they can relate to, allowing them to accept the things which are not.

I'll be quiet now. I sincerely hope this helps.

Reply | Parent | Thread

caffeinehype89

...

from: caffeinehype89
date: Feb. 10th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Link

Your editing is very concise, and I really do appreciate it.
I am actually taking a college course on writing. Hopefully, this will help.
The teacher is unbelievably neurotic.
I will look over my piece as soon as I get the chance, and if you would like it sent to you,
I have no problem with that. I'm not sure if I will apply every suggestion, but will certainly
use some of them. I really like this piece, I think it's promising, but it definetly needs some work.
Thanks again!

Reply | Parent | Thread