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Author Topic: Gift-Riddle
ArachneWeave
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CURRENT OPENING LINES:

The fairies owed Emmaline a favor, though she didn't know it. The belated arrival of a neighboring royal had meant the locals were amassed elsewhere when she was born a week early, and she was given no birth-gifts. Presents of milky teeth or radiant manners only stick if the gift is immediate. It was hard for them—there wasn't much they could do about an unideal father. The king was a despotic lawmaker, by fits, and otherwise too lazy to keep his corrupt ministers in line. Emmaline's life wasn't all sunshine and roses, but for a long time it was too commonplace for a miracle to fit.
When her father decided she should marry, though, he threw the castle open for a tournament. A horde of lusty young men descended to brawl for her dowry--the kingdom. The neat, dowdy fairy on watch for the week....

***

This story is 5500 words long. It is related to the Ash Lad fairy tales, if that is something anyone is familiar with. I would love to have some general critique on the whole, if anyone likes the opening enough to read on.

Thanks for your time! ^_^

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited December 11, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited January 11, 2009).]


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snapper
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Hey AW! It's been awhile seince we saw you around these parts.

About your 13 lines...

I am completely utterly confused. Too much in this opening, and what there is seems contradictory. The second sentence says she'd born born a week late but they amassed for a belated birth in another realm? How could they amass for a expected late birth when it was early? Is 'next realm' another kingdom or reality? Was a fairy the one referred to as watching?
This line I failed to make sense of...

quote:
She had been given no gifts, and that kind only stuck at the birth moment.

What did it mean?

Then...

quote:
It was hard for them—there wasn't much they could do about...

Who are 'them' and 'they'?

quote:
her despotic father, by fits a despotic lawmaker,

Is this the same person?

quote:
Though Emmaline's life wasn't all sunshine and roses, it was for a long time too commonplace for a miracle to be necessary.

Now all of a sudden, she's no longer a baby? The jump in time is too aburpt for me.

quote:
When the king decided (comma?) he threw open the castle to a horde of lusty, competitive young men to brawl for her, though, the neat, dowdy being on watch for the fortnight decided it was time.

This seems clunky to me.

Sorry, not hooked.


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kings_falcon
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I was lightly hooked by the concept. I liked the idea of the fairies messing up by not giving the princess her gifts at birth and trying to make it up to her. The writing could use some clean up.

My take:

quote:
The fairies owed Emmaline a favor. Ever since she'd been born a week early, one of them had been watching, waiting for a chance to make up for the fact that they had all been amassed for a belated royal birth in the next realm. <-- I'm not sure this detail is necessary here. She had been given no gifts period , and that kind of what? only stuck at the birth moment.

It was hard for them—there wasn't much they could do about her despotic father, by fits a despotic lawmaker, otherwise too lazy to keep his corrupt ministers in line. <-- again, I'm not sure how this moves your story Though Emmaline's life wasn't all sunshine and roses, it was for a long time too commonplace for a miracle to be necessary. I liked this line
But, on her eighteenth birthday When the king decided threw to throw open the castle to a horde of lusty, competitive young men to brawl for her hand in marriage , though, the neat, dowdy being on watch for the fortnight "for the fortnight" was confusing since I thought they were watching all of Emma's life decided it was time.



Like I said, I really love the idea. Trim this up a bit and it'll be wonderful. If you're in no rush - really I mean that - I'd look at this.



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ArachneWeave
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Hey, thanks for the welcome! I try to pop by and do a few critiques every once in a while, since I like to get them, but it can be hard to think of it. I used to do a lot of forum hopping, but that's a thing of the past for at least a little while.

I think my main mistake was trying to fix this up late last night to fit the whole opening into the 13 lines. ^_^ I apologize.

Here's the original:
***
The fairies owed Emmaline a favor, though she didn't know of it. She had been born a week early, while they were amassed for a rather belated royal birth in a neighboring realm. In result, they had been overseeing her life for a chance to make up the lost blessing of milky teeth or radiant manners, which only stick at the birth moment.
Though her life hadn't been all sunshine and roses, there wasn't much for a fairy to offer against a king father who made life difficult, by fits a despotic lawmaker, and otherwise too lazy to bother his corrupt ministers about their leeching. Nor was it a matter of precipitating an adventure to get her away to seek her fortune, which they would have done if it had been Prince Anatole who had been neglected, not the other way round.
***
It was more clear, but there was a whole 'nother paragraph before I got to the meat of the story. I'll tried again, so the original post is edited a good bit. Sorry about that mess!

It was unworthy of you. ^-^

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited December 11, 2008).]


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snapper
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Oh that is much better.

One nit for me is the second paragraph jumps right into an info-dump. I liked how you opened with the first paragraph, the second looks like you are in a hurry to work in a backstory.
Is that your intention? Could you ease in that info a little smoother as the story progresses?


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ArachneWeave
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Main Problem:

This intro is pretty much a prologue. I hate prologues. This one is a little redeemed by the fact that it at least has characters in it (^.^). It goes into Emmaline's POV after this, and is much more narrative, rather than expository.

I really need to come up with a better way to get to the rest of the story without it--but I think I'm the only one who can figure that out, or else someone needs to read the meat of the story to suggest something. Sorry! I know it's not a great piece of work.


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kings_falcon
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I don't see that as a problem. You're still in the first "free" paragraph and given the light tone, neat concept and solid writing, you should be fine starting here. I also liked that the blub gave the story a fairy tale feel as well.


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Yufae
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The original is great.

One thing I wondered about: you mentioned that the king makes things difficult for his daughter, but after that, you say, "by fits a despotic lawmaker, and otherwise too lazy to bother his corrupt ministers about their leeching." I think it might be better to save that detail for later and, instead, add a detail to explain how her father makes her life difficult.


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ArachneWeave
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Hm. It's interesting that those didn't link in your mind. To me, it sounds like an expansion on the statement. To have a dad who is making unrealistic demands on people but only erratically is making her life complicated, though not unbearably so. Surely that attribute spills over into his parenting?

I'll have to think through that. Thanks!


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ArachneWeave
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I have a new draft, and am still looking for readers!

I know. Shameless bump.


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Gan
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Feel free to send it my way. I may not be able to critique it immediately, but I'll find the time eventually
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ArachneWeave
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Thank you!
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