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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » RYOJI AND THE RIDDLE MASTERS, first 13

   
Author Topic: RYOJI AND THE RIDDLE MASTERS, first 13
Ben Brooks
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Just finished up the second draft of this middle grade fantasy, and figured I'd send the first 13 out into the world and see if they resonated with anyone. Any and all feedback welcomed and appreciated!

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Ryoji hadn’t been in this much trouble since that terrible day three weeks ago when the chickens escaped. Master Yamato hadn’t yelled at him yet, but there wasn’t much need for yelling. The old man’s stare, devoid of the slightest hint of emotion, said it all without uttering a word. Ryoji fell prostrate, arms outstretched, nose smashed against the bamboo mats on the floor. The bamboo’s earthy smell filled his nose, eliciting thoughts of his own room over the western gate: a place he’d give anything to be right now instead of here in the main hall of the Fox temple, cowering before its master. Masao sat beside him on his knees, arms folded over his chest, lips twisted down in an exaggerated frown. Just like he exaggerated everything else. Of course, given the trouble Ryoji was in for interrupting his friend’s trial, it wasn’t much of an exaggeration this time.

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Bruchar
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I like how these lines transport me to a simple Japanese setting, but I'm confused by the characters and don't feel a very strong reaction to the "trouble" and why it's important.

In particular, half-way through I wondered if the main character is a dog. That made me re-read from the beginning and broke the initial illusion of a boy/servant.

quote:
nose smashed against... filled his nose,... his own room over... cowering before its master.

And then we find out about his friend's trial. Dogs have trials?

Maybe this is all revealed in the following lines, but it might be good to rework these thirteen for clarity.

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Denevius
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hey, i just sent you an email if you're interested in exchanging material for critique. let me know.

todd

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Ben Brooks
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Thanks for the offer, but I've got pending critiques to do for about four others right now. Maybe when my queue thins out a bit =)
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micmcd
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The part that bugged me a little was the "eliciting thoughts of his own room over the western gate." It didn't have a lot to do with what was going on, and it felt like attempted injection of plot.

Otherwise I dig the setting and start.

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Estee
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I agree with micmcd. I think you have a good setting here, but could really use more of Ryoji's voice and personality. I don't get a sense of what "trouble" means here, because I'm not seeing it through his eyes--if he's in big big trouble is he thinking about chickens or his cozy room?
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