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  1. #1
    Kelsey Cox

    fantasy story in need of critique

    I just joined WN today, so forgive me if this is completely in the wrong place. I'm not even sure if WN gives critiques. But, here it goes anyway.

    Here's an except from the fantasy novel I'm working on right now. I've finished a couple novels before this, but they were all basically crap and not worth publishing. This one, I have some hope in. But I've never had someone critique it who knows what the hell they are talking about. Friends and family just don't cut it. Brutally honest, please! I promise I won't cry. And if I do...you won't see me So here's the first two chapters:


    Chapter 1

    “Wow, thanks Catherine!” Six-year-old Joey exclaimed, eagerly taking the pastry from Catherine, his round freckled face lit with a wide thankful smile.
    “I swiped them from Ms. Wilsterman’s pantry,” she said grinning down at the little boy, a rebellious gleam in her eye. She continued passing out the pastries she had filled her pockets with to the circle of anxious children around her, their grubby hands reaching out the desserts they rarely got. In fact, Ms. Wilsterman never allowed the children of Primrose School and Orphanage any kind of sweets. The only desserts the children ever received were those stolen by Catherine. Ms. Wilsterman was the cold, rigid headmaster of Primrose who felt that strict rules and harsh punishments were more important than love and compassion when it came to raising children. Ms. Wilsterman had it out for the children, a predatory eye always on the lookout for a toe that fell out of line. But there was no one in Primrose that Ms. Wilsterman despised more than headstrong Catherine Denmor, and the hatred was definitely mutual. Catherine had arrived at Primrose a bold, seven-year-old girl after her loving parents died in a car crash. Ms. Wilsterman had been determined to “set that brat straight” but could never break her spirit, no matter what punishment she inflicted on her. After ten years in the orphanage, Catherine had formed a protective and maternal bond toward the children and found herself a modern day Robin Hood, stealing everything from toys to food to clothes for them.
    “You better be careful, Catherine,” a little red-haired girl said in a quiet, worried tone while tugging on the edge of Catherine’s sweater. “Ms. Wilsterman will be really mad if she catches you stealing again.”
    “Don’t you worry about me, Penny,” she said smiling and tapping the little girl lightly on the nose before handing her the last pastry. “I can handle that old bat any day.” She joked, reassuring Penny with a wink.
    “Oh, you can, can you?” Came a cold voice from the doorway. Catherine straightened her shoulders before turning to look defiantly at Ms. Wilsterman. The children froze, pastries halfway to their mouths. Ms. Wilsterman had her graying hair in the usual bun coiled tightly at the top of her head. Her clothes, a long tweed skirt and a crisp white blouse buttoned to the neck, were prim and proper to match her personality. Her small dark eyes glared down at Catherine with utter hatred while her thin lips were set tight in a permanent grimace.
    “Oh, Ms. Wilsterman, how lovely to see you.” Catherine said with a falsely sunny disposition. “I happened to walk by your private pantry today, and I noticed you had these delicious pastries. And I thought that since you were able to enjoy them, you wouldn’t mind if the children did as well.” She said with a bright smile that made anger flash dangerously in Ms. Wilsterman’s eyes.
    “That is quite enough, Miss Denmor.” Ms. Wilsterman warned with clenched teeth. “You know very well, that sweets are not allowed in Primrose.”
    “Oh yes, I know that, but you see I find that these pastries are much more enjoyable than that mushy crap you feed us.” She answered, grinning as a nerve seemed to twitch with loathing in Ms. Wilsterman’s face.
    “That is the last straw, you ungrateful brat.” Ms. Wilsterman screamed, losing her composure and grabbing Catherine roughly by the arm. “You can spend the night in your room and you’ll wish you had some of that…of that ‘mushy crap’ when you miss dinner tonight!” She pulled Catherine from the room as the children looked on anxiously. Catherine turned around to give them a quick, reassuring wink. She smiled to herself as she realized Ms. Wilsterman had been so preoccupied yelling at her, she had forgotten to confiscate the pastries, leaving the children to enjoy them. Ms. Wilsterman continued her lecturing as she shoved Catherine up the stairs. “I’m sick of you. You are nothing more than a petty, worthless thief. That’s all you’ve ever been, Catherine.” Ms. Wilsterman spat, tightening her grip on the girl’s arm.
    Catherine refused to so much as wince as the headmaster’s nails bit painfully into her arm. She wouldn’t give her that satisfaction. She simply smiled warmly as she retorted, sarcasm dripping with her every word, “Well, then I’m sure glad I’ve had you Ms. Wilsterman to straighten me out.”
    Ms. Wilsterman’s jaw clenched as she stared down at Catherine incredulously. “As soon as you turn eighteen young lady, I’m throwing you out on the street! And you’ll be begging me to take you back.” She screamed as she thrust Catherine into her dingy bedroom, locking and bolting the door behind her.
    Catherine stared at the back of her locked door, shaking with fury. As much as she loved the children of Primrose School and Orphanage, she lived for the day she turned eighteen and could leave it all behind. Every night, her dreams were haunted with memories of her former happy life, when she had a family, when she had and identity, when she had belonged. Now when she thought back to the time prior to her parents’ death it seems like another lifetime, it was a series of shadowy reminiscences. She could barely remember her parents now. What she did remember was that they had loved her and that she had loved them. That scrap of knowledge is what kept Catherine sane. It’s what kept her spirit intact all these years. Because she knew she was worth much more than Ms. Wilsterman pretended she was. She knew she deserved to be loved and admired and understood, and she knew that was true for all the children of Primrose.
    She looked around the shabby excuse of a bedroom, which looked like every bedroom in Primrose School and Orphanage. It consisted simply of a rusty single bed, an old dresser, and a foggy floor-length mirror, complete with pealing white paint and the noisy buzzing of the old ceiling light. Piles of ancient dust and dirt had collected in the corners, while loose floorboards provided a place for her to hide the books she loved but were forbidden to read.
    However, the difference between her room and all the other rooms were the many locks and bolts. Catherine was known to sneak out and roam the town, either to “borrow” things for the orphans or to simply escape for a few hours. Because of this, Ms. Wilsterman had applied a series of locks to her door, even a padlock to her window.
    Catherine needed to get away, even if just for an hour. She needed to cool off and get some fresh air, not to mention dinner. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Large cornflower-blue eyes stared back at her, framed with thick jet-black lashes. She had a small feminine nose, high delicate cheekbones, and small pouty lips, but her pale ivory complexion was smudged with dirt and grime. She had on a simple pair of jeans and a sweater much too large for her petite frame. She was only 5’4’’ but stood straight and carried herself proudly. Her thick, waist-length, black hair was pinned up carelessly in a messy bun.
    She pulled a small bobby pin from her bun and began to pick the padlock on her window, which opened in a matter of minutes. She had mastered that technique over the years and Ms. Wilsterman never could figure out how she escaped from her high-security room.
    She looked down from her third story window and surveyed her surroundings. After she was certain the coast was clear, she lowered herself out of the window, her feet prodding carefully for a secure ledge on the old stone building. She continued down this way until she could reach the sturdy oak tree, which she heaved herself onto and shimmied down to the safety of the ground.
    She hopped the small fence dividing the imprisonment of Primrose and the freedom of the outside world. She wandered onto Main Street, the tree-lined road that ran down the heart of the small, quiet town of Greenville. Already feeling better now she had put some distance between Primrose and herself, Catherine decided to visit Mrs. Harrison, the kindly elderly lady who ran the town grocery store. Mrs. Harrison was always more than happy to provide Catherine with food when Ms. Wilsterman was in the mood to deny it to her. She made up for all the food given to her by reading to Mrs. Harrison in her free time, a privilege deprived of the elderly lady due to poor eyesight.
    But on the way to Harrison Markets, something caught her attention: a boy her age, a boy she had never seen before. In a small town like Greenville, a stranger was uncommon and almost unheard of. She gazed at him for a second. He was very handsome, in her opinion. He was tall, much taller than she was, probably around 6’2’’, Catherine guessed. He was lean but muscular with short golden hair. He had chiseled features but a youthful glow that told her that he was no more than nineteen years old. Catherine considered introducing herself to this intriguing newcomer but quickly abandoned that idea as she was suddenly all too aware of how dirty her face was, how messy her hair was, and how baggy her sweater was.
    It was then Catherine noticed his strange behavior and much stranger attire. She had been so enamored with him a second ago she hadn’t even realized how out of place he looked. He was standing in the shadows, watching the people around him. He was wearing a white shirt buttoned halfway up with the cuffs rolled up to his elbows. He had on loose linen pants gathered with a leather belt and cuffed at the ankles. Slung over his shoulder, what Catherine had momentarily mistaken for a knapsack, was a set of bow and arrows. She squinted at him, as if it would help make more sense out the odd picture.
    Then the boy started off towards the forest that surrounded Greenville. Curiosity got the best of Catherine as she quietly followed him. He stopped at the Great Oak, a massive tree in the middle of the woods, just out of sight of the town. She quickly ducked out of view behind a nearby bush, mere feet from him. The Great Oak was the biggest tree in Greenville’s forest. It was easily as wide as five people with intricate roots weaving in and out of the ground and branches sturdy enough for children to climb on. Catherine stared, confused as the boy placed his hand to the tree and stared intently as if waiting for something to happen. And to Catherine’s shock, something did. She blinked repeatedly trying to wipe the image away as a soft glow formed around his hand. Even though she tried her hardest to blink this away, the soft glow became a bright circle of light around his hand, growing steadily until it was the size of a doorway. Then the light died away to reveal a whole new world beyond this mysterious portal. Catherine’s heart began beating rapidly as she tried to wake herself up, and when she couldn’t, she did the only thing that made sense- she screamed. She screamed for help, she screamed for sanity, she screamed for pure shock as she hastily and clumsily backed over a protruding root and fell painfully onto her back.
    She heard running footsteps coming towards her from town. She continued screaming in hopes that someone would find her as she attempted to scramble away. But her escape and her screams were abruptly stopped, as the stranger appeared, hovering above her. He pulled her roughly to her feet and clasped a hand over her mouth. She struggled against him but it was no use. He held her close, one arm pinning her to him and one hand keeping her quiet. He towered over her and was stronger than her, by far. He looked around and saw the people running to the source of the screams. Then to Catherine’s horror, he pulled her into the portal and closed it behind them with a flick of his wrist.

    Chapter 2

    Catherine thought that her heart would surely pound its way right out of her chest as she stared at an exact replica of the Great Oak. But this Great Oak wasn’t in the midst of a small town forest and as her eyes darted frantically around her she couldn’t seem to find Greenville or anything familiar at all. The stranger finally released his painful grip and she quickly got out of his reach, spinning swiftly to glare at him. Trying desperately to catch her breath, she rattled out a chain of hysterical questions, “Who are you? What are you? Where am I? What did you do? Why did you kidnap me?” She felt trapped somewhere between tears and fury.
    “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He answered calmly taking a step toward her.
    Catherine let out a shriek and took two steps back “Don’t come near me!” She warned. “You…you kidnapped me…you…you opened a tree!” She shrieked incredulously, his serene attitude infuriating her further.
    “I didn’t mean to kidnap you, but you were drawing attention.” He explained in the calm steady voice one uses when speaking to a small child.
    “Yeah, well I have a tendency to scream when strange men with bow and arrows open shiny portals in trees!” She spat, taking another step back.
    “If you would just listen to-” he began walking towards her.
    She shrieked as he got within arm’s length of her. “You stay away from me you psycho! I don’t want to listen! I want to go home now!” She screamed but before she knew what happened he was upon her, grabbing her by the arms and forcing her to look at him. She went silent, staring up at his emerald eyes, sparkly furiously. Catherine noticed how his ears came to a nice and curious point.
    “Listen to me!” He roared impatiently. Fear flashed over her wide sapphire eyes, she had no idea what he was capable of. “I will explain everything if you will just calm down and stop acting like a complete lunatic. I did not kidnap you and I am not a psycho,” he said firmly. “And I am not going to hurt you, do you understand?” He added softening his tone and lightening his grip on her arms. Catherine nodded wordlessly, her heart rate steadying as she gathered her shattered composure.
    “Okay, that’s better.” He said, as she stood motionless and silent in front of him. “Now, my name is Gavin Willow and this is the elfin town, Wellington.” He motioned to the collection of quaint wooden houses. “And you are?”
    “Catherine Denmor,” She answered, finding this whole introduction a bizarre haze.
    “Now, if you will please come with me to my house so that we can sit comfortably and I can explain everything to you.” He said in that same patronizing tone, but he didn’t give her time to argue as he turned abruptly on his heal and headed off toward the town. Catherine hesitantly followed. As they walked, she began to calm herself down. She ran the past events over in her head, trying to comprehend the impossible fact that this was really happening. She was always able to sort out her thoughts and put hurtful or shocking moments behind her and look ahead to the future. This was a talent Catherine had discovered in herself after her parents’ death, and perfected over the years in a cold, unloving orphanage. In the short time it took for Gavin and her to reach the village, she had gotten over her initial shock and resolved to get herself out of this mess.
    All the houses in Wellington were made of beautiful unpainted wood and looked as if they had each been painstakingly built and perfected by the owner’s themselves. Instead of the golf course lawn and perfectly manicured flowerbeds of Greenville, Wellington homes had the natural yellow-green grass of meadows spotted with brilliant wildflowers. There were no paved roads, but a dirt path worn away with travel by foot and horse. This path led to a small market square with stables for horses, carts filled with an assortment of things to buy, and a large empty hall used for town meetings and festivities.
    The streets were filled with playing children and adults chatting casually to one another, each and every one of them with the same golden hair and the same pointed ears. Catherine suddenly became aware of just how jet-black her hair was as elves here and there stopped their conversations dead and stared her way.
    She walked closer to Gavin, as if to use him to protect her from the curious gazes, though she really didn’t know him any better then the rest. Gavin walked up the dirt path to the fourth cottage they passed and held the door open for Catherine. After a moment of hesitation, she stepped into the house and surveyed its cozy, welcoming atmosphere. As with the outside, the inner walls were left the bare, paintless wood. The house was furnished in neutral colors and hardwoods. A bookshelf covered the far wall crammed with strange books entitled How to Get along with Warlocks, Household Magic 101, The Dangers of Wolfsbane and other helpful cooking tips, and Merlin’s Guide to Magical Creatures.
    “Mom!” Gavin yelled as he walked through the swinging kitchen door, leaving Catherine standing uncomfortably in the entrance, her hands knotted together in front of her. Gavin recounted the story of Catherine’s abduction to his mother in the kitchen who gasped loudly and threw open the kitchen door.
    The plump, rosy-cheeked, fair-haired woman bustled in with a tray of freshly made cookies. Setting the cookies down she rushed to Catherine, “Oh you poor dear, the shock must be awful!” She exclaimed with such genuine concern in her eyes that Catherine couldn’t help but smile. “Now, please sit down dear, these cookies are fresh from the oven, help yourself.” Mrs. Willow pointed to the cold, empty hearth where a bright fire leapt immediately to life, crackling warmly.
    Catherine obediently sat down at the table as Mrs. Willow and Gavin sat around her. She reached for a cookie, suddenly remembering how hungry she was. “I’m Hannah Willow, Gavin’s mother.” The lady said warmly, reaching out a plump hand to Catherine.
    Catherine took the hand gratefully. She was enchanted by the kind and concerned mother figure, the kind of person she rarely encountered. “Catherine Denmor, it’s lovely to meet you Mrs. Willow.”
    “Catherine, dear, you seem to be handling yourself very well considering you recently found yourself in a new world you didn’t even know existed.” Surprise and a little admiration filled her voice.
    “Well, I was in an extreme state of shock just a few minutes ago.” Catherine said, blushing. “Just ask your son. In his opinion I was a ‘complete lunatic.”
    Mrs. Willow shot a disapproving look at her son before hitting him in the arm. “Gavin! You drag this poor girl out of the only world she’s known, scare her to death, and then insult her?” She asked, waiting impatiently for an explanation. Gavin looked apologetically at his mother. She gave him a dismissive look and turned her attention back to Catherine, “Sweetie, I’m sure you have some questions you’d like to ask.”
    “Just a few,” Catherine joked sarcastically. “For one, where am I?”
    “You are in Farida. It is a world, here on Earth, parallel to your own.” Gavin said, taking on that sickeningly calm tone again.
    Catherine tried to swallow this new bit of information along with a warm chunk of cookie, while she asked her next question, “And how, how did you, how did I get here?”
    “I opened a portal connecting our two worlds.”
    Gavin sighed as if he was extremely bored with the conversation and annoyed at having to explain such a simple idea to her. “I used really simple magic.”
    Catherine ignored his tone and continued, “Why did you take me with you?”
    “That was your fault,” Gavin said before his mother slapped his arm again. “You saw me opening the portal and then started screaming like a lunatic. Which is exactly why we don’t go around telling your kind about Farida. When you screamed, people from your town started running to your rescue. I couldn’t risk them all seeing the portal or me. They were bound to do something drastic. So I took you with me and closed the portal behind us.”
    “If you know about our world, why can’t we know about yours?” Catherine demanded.
    “Because your kind wouldn’t know how to deal with it, they can barely handle the simple lives they have now.” Gavin snorted.
    Anger suddenly flared up in Catherine at his uncalled for rudeness, “I’d have you know that-”
    Mrs. Willow cut her off, in hopes of stopping a full-fledged war between the two, “Now, Catherine, this is just the way it has always been. The few humans that have discovered our world have been traumatized with shock. Who knows how the entire human race would react if our worlds were suddenly combined.”
    “Now, that isn’t fair, I am not traumatized with shock. And I don’t think every person back home would be either.”
    “Yes, maybe, but it’s just too high a risk. Besides there are some dark magicians here who find humans easy prey. It is just best to keep our worlds separate. End of discussion.” Mrs. Willow said with such finality that neither Gavin nor Catherine dared to discuss it any further. “Now, are there anymore questions you have, dear?” She asked softening her tone.
    “When will I be able to go home?” Catherine asked. Sitting there around the family dinning table with the warm fire to her back, Catherine found it funny to call her bare room back in Primrose “home.” But Catherine didn’t miss the subtle glances Gavin and Mrs. Willow shared. Mrs. Willow began nervously cleaning the crumbs off the table before she waved her hand over the empty plate making a new pile of fresh cookies appear instantly upon it.
    “Um…we aren’t sure when you can go home.” Mrs. Willow said gently.
    “Or if you can go home.” Gavin added, not so gently.
    “What?” Catherine demanded, trying to figure out if they were serious. She had been expecting them to send her on her way after she finished her milk cookies.
    “Well, I wasn’t supposed to take you.” Gavin said grudgingly.
    “No one is supposed to cross from one world to the next.” Mrs. Willow added, narrowing her eyes at her son.
    “Yes, under normal conditions. But I had permission to open a portal, as long as I made no contact with the humans, only observed. That’s when you blew it for me.” He said rounding on Catherine. Her brows snapped together and she was about to open her mouth to retort but he cut her off. “Why were you following me anyway?”
    Catherine blushed and began trying to put together some excuse, because she wasn’t about to tell this arrogant egomaniac that she had followed him because she thought he was cute. “I…well…look at yourself, you look ridiculous. People in Greenville don’t dress that way or carry around bows and arrows. Any idiot would have realized that.” She snapped, satisfied when his faced flushed with embarrassment. But more importantly, Catherine was overwhelmed with relief that he hadn’t discovered her foolish crush. “Why does that mean I have to stay here, anyway?”
    “Well, humans are not supposed to know about us and definitely are not supposed to enter Farida.” Mrs. Willow answered when Gavin pointedly ignored her.
    “What do they think I’m going to do? Gather the troops and lead them to your mysterious portal?” Catherine asked in disbelief. “If I came back and started telling people that an elf kidnapped me into a magical world, they would think I was insane.”
    “Would they be wrong?” Gavin muttered snidely. Both Catherine and Mrs. Willow ignored his rude comment.
    “You’re probably right, Catherine, but we can’t let you go home just yet. The elders will want to meet with you and Gavin.” Mrs. Willow explained. “I’m sorry, dear. They will most likely let you go home soon. For now, you can stay here. I’m sure Audrey wouldn’t mind sharing her room.”
    Catherine tried to argue, but it was no use. The conversation was closed. Mrs. Willow led Catherine to her daughter Audrey’s bedroom. “Are you sure Audrey won’t mind me staying in her room?” She asked.
    “Of course, dear.” Mrs. Willow said, waving the idea away with her hand. “Now, there’s Audrey’s bathroom.” She pointed to a door in the corner and gave Catherine a quick look over, “Why don’t you take a shower. I’ll lay out some of Audrey’s clothes. They should fit you. I’ll send Gavin in the morning. The elders will probably want to meet you then. But you need to relax for today.”
    Catherine thanked Mrs. Willow before shutting the door behind her. Catherine looked around the room. It was much cozier than her own, but then again, most rooms were. It was decorated in a soft calming lavender with a frilly downed comforter and pile of teddy bears on the bed. The dresser was covered in little bottles of perfume, framed pictures of friends and family, and a small wooden jewelry box with intricate carvings on it. She ran her fingers over the carved box and inspected the family photos. She couldn’t help but smile even though she felt a twinge of jealousy. Sitting on the dresser was a vanity mirror. Catherine looked at her reflection, at the overlarge sweater and smudges on her face. A shower did seem like a good idea. Once Catherine got into the bathroom she spotted the large tub and scented soaps. She drew herself a steamy bubble bath and climbed in. She scrubbed her face clean and washed her thick hair thoroughly before laying back and relaxing in the warm water. Closing her eyes, she sunk back into the tub and let herself unwind. Primrose had one shower, which was shared by all the fifty-two children in the orphanage. So Catherine never had the privilege of taking a nice long bubble bath. She assumed she had when she was little, but didn’t remember.
    Once the water turned tepid and the bubbles began to fade away, Catherine reluctantly got out of her tub and wrapped a warm fuzzy towel around her. She dried her hair and brushed it straight before stepping out of the bathroom. Lying on the bed were the clothes Mrs. Willow had laid out for her. Catherine smiled at this small show of affection; no one had ever picked her clothes out for her. It was a plain, yellow, cotton dress with puffy sleeves cuffed at the wrists. She slipped it on. It came just above her knees and was completely formless. The material felt light and soft against her body. She cinched the wide leather belt around her waist, which added shape to the dress and complimented her girlish figure. She looked into the mirror to check how it all came together. Her sultry raven hair swung down her back in stark contrast with her crystal blue eyes. With her face scrubbed clean, her hair shiny and straight, and a light figure-flattering dress on, Catherine felt beautiful.
    She trotted out into the family room, in a much happier and carefree mood than before her bath. She couldn’t stop herself from relishing in the fact that Gavin’s eyes widened before looking her up and down in obvious surprise at what had been hiding beneath the layer of dirt. However, she convinced herself she didn’t care what he thought.
    She was greeted by not only Gavin and Mrs. Willow, but by the entire Willow family. Mr. Willow was a tall, thin, older man with small tufts of blonde hair around his otherwise baldhead. He extended his free hand to greet Catherine warmly, while his left arm was busy holding a squirmy two-year-old. Maggie Willow was a precious little girl wearing a pink fluffy dress with a matching bow stuck in her short curly blonde hair. But Catherine was most charmed by the Willow’s middle child who grabbed her in a welcoming hug. Audrey was Catherine’s exact height, build, and age but had long silvery blonde hair and fiery green eyes. She had her brother’s eyes.
    The Willows and Catherine all sat down to a real family dinner where she was bombarded with inquisitive questions about life as a human. Mrs. Willow couldn’t believe that all human mothers did the cooking and cleaning and raising of children without any magic whatsoever. Mr. Willow wouldn’t stop asking about the machines he found so strange and fascinating: cars. Audrey giggled and whisperedly asked Catherine about human boys, especially the ones with dark hair. And Gavin tried unsuccessfully to pretend he had no interest at all in the conversation.
    Long after the food was gone they all retreated to their rooms for some much needed sleep. Catherine dozed off happily; musing over the curious fact that she wasn’t quite sure she wanted to go home anymore.

  2. #2

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    I read the first chaper and about a third of the second. Is this for young readers? Thats the impression I got. Also there is a lot of telling going on in the beginning. It felt like it was a fast ride, one in which I was unable to get a feel for the place.
    If this is the first draft, cool, you have a lot of work to do, if not I can tell you I wouldn't read it. That is "I" wouldn't. As far as grammar and tense it needs some help, but no beyond the scope of your abilities.
    If this is not for young readers, I think you shuold reconsider your approach.

  3. #3

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    I read the first chaper and about a third of the second. Is this for young readers? Thats the impression I got. Also there is a lot of telling going on in the beginning. It felt like it was a fast ride, one in which I was unable to get a feel for the place.
    If this is the first draft, cool, you have a lot of work to do, if not I can tell you I wouldn't read it. That is "I" wouldn't. As far as grammar and tense it needs some help, but no beyond the scope of your abilities.
    If this is not for young readers, I think you shuold reconsider your approach.

  4. #4

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    If you'd post your email, I'd be happy to send you an in-depth critique of these 2 chapters. My experience? I write fantasy for mid-grade and young adult (just finished the YA and am gearing up to send it out). And I'm incredibly nit-picky. This may not appeal to you, but let me know.

  5. #5
    Kelsey Cox

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    First of all, thank you for being so honest. It's hard to take but really refreshing. Yes, this is my very first draft. I have not gone back to do any serious editing. And yes, I think I'm going for YA fantasy fiction. I'd love a very nit-picky in depth analysis. My e-mail: Arnementia815@hotmail.com

    Thank you.

  6. #6

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    Give me a couple of days--I'll send it as soon as I'm done!

  7. #7
    Gary Kessler

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    Kelsey: Did you read the Use Terms of this Web site before posting a big chunk of your WIP here? This isn't really a post-and-critique writing site. If it matters to you, you have just donated nonexclusive use rights forever on all of this material to WritersNet. (Which may cause an interesting glitch down the road when a publisher wants to publish this and asks you if all of the rights are free and clear. They now aren't all free and clear on this particular material.)

    I very recently had a long-time poster on WritersNet come to me asking what to do in this exact same instance--because a big chunk of a manuscript a publisher is now interested in was posted on this discussion board some time ago. When WN was asked to either return the rights or to take the material off the discussion board, WN demurred (or so I was told--I haven't checked that out myself). (I did advise on how to wriggle around that, but it's not something I'll post here.)

  8. #8
    Simon G

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    Your opening chapters are too busy. If I was you I would concentrate on building up Catherine's character first.
    Make her more intresting so that your reader will want to follow her from this world into the next.

  9. #9
    The Late Mitchell Warren

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    Once upon a cage and a very nice cage it was there was a bird coming down along his perch and this bird that was coming down along the perch met a nice little chick named baby cuckoo...

    His parakeet daddy told him that story: his parakeet daddy looked at him through the cage bars: he had a feathery face.

    He was a baby cuckoo. The bird came down the road where Tweety lived: she ate sunflower seeds."

    I hereby and officially sign away all rights to this short story to writers.net.

  10. #10

    Re: fantasy story in need of critique

    I agree. Slow down and let readers get a sense of where they are. Your chapters could double, triple in leangth to bring the reader in. Show us about her relationships and dont just list of the past as if it a burden that needs to be raced through, a story is in there.

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