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Author Topic: The Brother and the Phoenix Feather: Fantasy, 5k words
officefan55
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So here's a piece I wrote between Script Frenzy last year and my last novel, but I'm also planning on using it to send to some grad schools, so the more specific criticism I can get, the better I can make it. Just lemme know what you think, and if you want to read the whole thing.

Imagine a land of high mountains and wide plains, dark forests and raging rivers. This land is Suidia, where almost anything is possible. In one particular section of the land, there is a tall stone tower, a tower ruled over by a very powerful lord. On this day, the lordís two sons have answered his summons, as this is the day their farther will announce his successor.

Ivory rested his hand on the cool stone of the balustrade and looked out over the land. The view from his fatherís tower was breathtaking; he was able to see for miles around in the late afternoon sun. His gaze reveled in the sight of the trees that covered the mountains to the north like an enormous living blanket.


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WouldBe
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I've indicated some suggestions for tightening the prose <like this>, where I thought some cuts would help.


Imagine a land of high mountains and wide plains, dark forests and raging rivers<. This land is>, Suidia, where almost anything is possible. In one <particular section of the land>area/town[or give it a name], there is a tall stone tower, <a tower >ruled over by a <very >powerful lord. <On this day, the>The lordís two sons have answered his summons, as this is the day their farther[father] will announce his successor.

Ivory rested his hand on the cool stone of the balustrade and looked out over the land. The view from his fatherís tower was breathtaking; he <was able to>could see for miles <around >in the late afternoon sun. <His gaze reveled>He reveled [gazes don't revel] in the sight of the trees that covered the mountains to the north like an enormous living blanket.

The first paragraph is a preface, in present tense. I assume the rest of the story, like the second paragraph, will be past tense.

Good luck with it.


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jayazman
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This is an interesting example of a cinematic viewpoint for an opening, with the author directly addressing the reader. I don't see this used much, especially for short stories.

And there is a reason why it's not used much. Mostly because this is a very slow opening. This could work very well in a longer work, but here the entire first page is taken up telling me... well nothing.

I know I'm in a land where almost anything is possible, which tells me I'm in a world with no rules so setting up a plausible conflict that I could care about is going to be difficult at best.

I know one character, Ivory (if his brother's name is Ebony I'm throwing the story in the trash ). I don't know if Ivory is wanting to be named successor, if he cares about being successor... well, I don't know anything about Ivory at this point.

I know there is a lord and another son, but they are not names or given any information.

So far there is no conflict, no story, no characterization.

There is setting, however implausible.

I might read further, but really I don't know how sustainable conflict is going to arise in a land where anything is possible. I have a hard time getting past that point.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

Imagine a land of high mountains and wide plains, dark forests and raging rivers. This land is Suidia, where almost anything is possible. In one particular section of the land, there is a tall stone tower, a tower ruled over by a very powerful lord. On this day, the lordís two sons have answered his summons, as this is the day their farther will announce his successor.

Ivory rested his hand on the cool stone of the balustrade and looked out over the land. The view from his fatherís tower was breathtaking; he was able to see for miles around in the late afternoon sun. His gaze reveled in the sight of the trees that covered the mountains to the north like an enormous living blanket.


Nice picturesque scene. There is a hint of what conflict is to come with the brothers. But I think the line about "This is the land of...." is out of place. Maybe leave off the "This is".

Actually the opening sounds like it's more for an epic Fantasy. But that's all I have.


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NoTimeToThink
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As said, nice, picturesque, cinematic opening. The first paragraph has a storyteller feel (sort of like the film version of "The Princess Bride".) If you intend to have this voice interject every so often it would work, but it would also turn it into something slower moving and longer than a short story.

If you want to keep it as a short story, you should probably drop the first paragraph, which also feels like "I'm trying to get started on this story and here I go", and start with the 2nd paragraph. Then through Ivory's thoughts and the actions that follow, you can convey everything that is in the first paragraph and how he feels about it (and how we should, too.)

And yes, telling us it's a land where almost anything is possible does leave me wondering how our hero will have any problems that he can't conquer without us having to break a sweat.


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