Hello. Occasional reader, first time submitter. I have finished a fractured fantasy about a boy who is a clown that wants to become a knight. Lots of physical comedy, flatulence and quirky characters. I wanted to write a fun story and let my inner child have the reigns. Title: The Misadventures of Iffy Mar-Mar and Sir Fardolotte: Dragon Trouble. Total manuscript is 85,000 words. I was hoping to have a few folks read through it to see what they think. If you're willing, let me know. Here are the first 13 lines. (I'm not sure if the "lines" are supposed to be as viewed on 8.5 x 11 paper or if they are to be the first 13 sentences or 13 lines packed into this message box, but this is what you get). Here goes:
The dragon’s massive head hung over the fallen king, its forge-fire breath stirring his sweaty locks. “Have done with it, beast,” spat the king. “Alas, we are the twain of us undone, little king.” The dragon turned and coughed a great gobbet of phlegmy blood. King Wayk flinched, crimson spattering his face. “Thy sting has brought me low,” croaked the serpent. “Then mine purpose is ended; the land rid of thy foul ilk.” “An unfortunate misunderstanding that has brought two great houses to the dust.” The dragon’s head dipped lower, becoming too heavy to hold up. Their faces almost touched, like a final kiss goodbye. A single eye of spun gold as big as the king’s head drowned him in its abyss. She whispered, “I curse thee with a
[Note from 2nd assistant: It's the 1st 13 lines in proper manuscript format, which will also fit nicely into the message box (actually it holds 14, so you can run over by a word or two to finish a sentence).]
[This message has been edited by Second Assistant (edited July 25, 2006).]
I liken this to something Piers Anthony writes, maybe you should bring it down to a more juvenile level..keep the words in english that would be understood by them
Posts: 287 | Registered: Jul 2006
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Aside from that I found it all very nicely written, except for the penultimate sentence--"A single eye of spun gold as big as the king’s head drowned him in its abyss." It sounds a little clunky to me and I had to read it twice to get it. I'm sure there are some technical names for what's going on, but I never know them. Personally I'd just rewrite it a couple of times so it sounds a little smoother.
Off the top of my head: "An eye the size of the king's head descended, and he drowned in its golden abyss." Something like that... I'm sure you can do better than me.
Sadly I don't have time to crit a whole novel but good luck. Maybe you can start a reader's group in the "Hatrack groups" section.
Thank you so far for all of your comments so far. The language appears to be the top pick, then the 'King Wayk' confusion. As the story goes on for another page or so, the reader will suddenly realize they are watching a puppet show along with Iffy Mar-Mar (MC). The archaic language used by the puppeteers is used to convey the antiquity of the event in history. The story then picks up in regular modern english. I'll fiddle with the 'King Wayk' abyss-eye-dragon-speaking confusion. I agree that that can be improved for readability. And let me know if anyone wants to take a stab at the book. If not, I understand. It would be quite a burden on ones time when the real passion is to be writing your story. Thanks again!
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"...the reader will suddenly realize they are watching a puppet show..." Wow. That has to be handled so very delicately, as I'm sure you know, to avoid losing the reader's trust.
IMHO you have to let the reader in on the joke earlier. Phrases like "its forge-fire breath stirring his sweaty locks" and "coughed a great gobbet of phlegmy blood" and "a single eye of spun gold as big as the king's head drowned him in its abyss" firmly establish your scene as "real". Additionally, it seems to be from the king's POV (although this point is arguable). If you later tell me these were puppets, I'm going to feel deceived by the vivid descriptions of hot breath, sweat, and blood.
If you tell me they are puppets straight on, and tell me "the dragon's felt nose brushed the king's yarn locks" and "the dragon coughed lint", etc., I would embrace the inflated language and be amused by the premise. Especially if you include some description of the MC being aware of the puppeteers.
I don't think you can successfully navigate the transition you want, if you leave this fragment as it stands. In order for your intent to work, you would need to keep your POV limited omniscient, or introduce the POV character early on. An earlier introduction could establish why the POV character becomes so fully engrossed in a puppet show, why he/she experiences the story from one of the puppet's POV. I'm not saying that's impossible, it just requires an MC who is able to suspend disbelief and allow their imagination to take over, which you would need to describe ahead of time.
I was intrigued by your plot summary, and like the title. I'm not sure I know what kind of story "fractured fantasy" describes.
[This message has been edited by Novice (edited July 26, 2006).]
quote:As the story goes on for another page or so, the reader will suddenly realize they are watching a puppet show
Then that's all the more reason to use modern dialogue. I have never seen a puppet show for kids that uses that kind of language.
But the real issue is whether people will want to continue reading. Personally, if I saw this kind of dialogue for the first couple of pages, I'd flip forward to see if it went to Modern English. Since it would in this case, I'd probably see how many pages it went on. The problem that presents to you is that that's a terrible reading pattern for a reader (or potential buyer) to take, and editors trying to work through a slush pile may not be as patient as I am thumbing through something in a bookstore.
That's just the language issue. I also agree with Novice with respect to letting people in on the joke earlier.
I unfortunately don't have time to crit right now, but otherwise I'd be willing. You sound like you have an interesting story brewing, even if I'd change elements in your approach to the beginning.
quote:If you later tell me these were puppets, I'm going to feel deceived by the vivid descriptions of hot breath, sweat, and blood.
Exactly, especially since puppets would have a hard time doing any of these things. I'm a professional puppeteer, in real life, and there's nothing here that would prep me for a thinking that it is a puppet show.
quote:I have never seen a puppet show for kids that uses that kind of language.
I have. More importantly, puppet shows are not automatically for children. They have a much longer history as adult or ritual entertainment.
That said, I was really put off by the language because my assumption as a reader is that it the whole book will be written like this. Now, if I know it's a puppet show from the beginning, then the language can be seen as funny and archaic. Without knowing what lens I'm supposed to be viewing things with, I'll default to the most common, that this is a literal opening.
Maybe you could keep the beginning, only include that the MC is doing the talking. Insert applause for the live action parts, or boo's as required..."the audience listened intently....or ohh and ahhed..
Posts: 287 | Registered: Jul 2006
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