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View Full Version : We'll Always Have Wizmar (~1,100 Words)(Genre: Fantasy/Dark)



Madame
December 14th, 2010, 07:48 AM
Warning: Contains strong language if the German words peppered throughout are translated into English.

This story is based on a couple of characters I used to Role Play with on a forum called Feila. I'm mainly looking for a critique on three things, but I'm happy for any commentary.

(1) Is the piece understandable without being familiar with the setting or the characters' full back story?
(2) Is the piece too wordy. I posted this on another site and this was one of the critiques I received. I have since revised it to, hopefully, cut down on wordiness.
(3) Are the characters written in such a way as to inspire sympathy, and interest in future tales involving them.

--- --- ---



The weather over Wizmar wouldn't make up its mind. For the past week, fortune-tellers with their runes had called for rains from the pot-bellied clouds that would make the Squalls of Mitternacht look like a mere summer drizzle. But still, not a drop had fallen, though the oppressive moisture collecting in the air had Fire Sages cursing with every fizzled spell and dampened spark.

Beneath the fickle skies, the denizens of the city scurried about their business with suspicious eyes and Shield spells prepared to deflect the oncoming storm. Among the bustle, Madison Eyes dragged her useless left leg along behind her, a broomstick her only support and comfort. That invisibility among the multitudes was her curse, though -- Master's curse.

Although the pine marten limped through one of the main squares in Wizmar, her clothes and ears in tatters, her third eye unveiled for all to see, and her leg a rotting, pulsating mass of Dark magic, nobeast spared her a glance.

She had cried at them at first -- begged, entreated, and threatened -- as she had crawled away from her former master's summer home, unable to stand, but certain the Hurensohn wouldn't follow. The creatures around her had not responded, had not looked, had not even gasped at the sight of her hideous wounds or the blood dying her fur and clothing red.

So, she trudged toward the one creature she knew would be able to sense her, to help: Delia Boxwood.

Of course, the idiot lived half the city away.

"I can't live near you, Mads," the honey-colored stoat protested, sticking out her tongue while she rearranged a few vials in her study. "Markem's Dark magic throws off my experiments. Isn't he an Archsage? You should tell him to work on the other Branches; he oozes Dark like an Undead." She sniffed and shielded her vials, pink tongue reappearing momentarily. "It gets all over you, too. I have to cast Banishing spells every time you're over."

"It's not like he'd listen t' me. An' stick that tongue out one more time an' I'll bite it off," Madison warned with a snort.

"You wouldn't bite my tongue off," Delia said, waving away the feeble threat. "You like kissing me too much."

Madison tripped, her whole weight crashing down onto the cobbles; she didn't have the strength to break her fall. The broomstick skittered away, and a badger stumbled over it, nearly joining the marten in her horizontal communion with the streets.

"Sheisse!" He snatched up the offending object and chucked it over one of the lush hedges that lined the walk.

Don't cry, the marten chided herself as the badger stormed away.

"Don't cry," she said aloud when the mental directive wasn’t enough, a familiar, tingling sensation gathering at the corners of all three eyes. "Don't you dare cry, Madison Eyes." A salty drop trickled down her cheek. Another joined it, and another, and another. "It won't do any good." The tears took no notice. "You've been in worse scrapes a-an' it was fine! All completely fine!"

It wasn't fine, though. She no longer had Master. No Master to regale with stories of heroics and crafty spells, impossible mazes and wondrous treasures, grateful guildmasters and menacing marauders. No Master to --

"Stop it!" Madison started at the feral snarl before realizing that it had come from her own muzzle. Feeling sorry for herself would be the death of her if the Dark magic that was creeping slowly up her leg, obliterating her fur, blackening the skin, and driving bloody splinters of pink and red across the surface had anything to say about it.

She needed Delia. Delia would fix it.

The marten's blood-slicked claws scrabbled for purchase on the cobbles as she brought her good leg up and pushed. Inch by screaming inch, she pulled herself forward.

"I won't," she hissed, the seconds staggering by in nausea-inducing agony. "Won't give him... satisfaction." Here. Delia's flat was here. Madison sensed the indelible Light magic seeping through every crack in the door ahead. "I will not die just because I refused t' marry some smarmy old ferret!"

Her body had other ideas, arms giving out just a sigh from Delia's home. Madison's vision blurred to muddy streaks of red wood and gray stone, and the pain in her cursed leg spiked as if the magic were tearing the flesh from her very bones, which might not be far off.

So, this is how it ends, eh, Mads? she wondered as she let her nose find an uncomfortable place in the muck. You get close enough t' touch an' can't make that last step. Always were rubbish at follow-through. Master said so, too.

She bared her teeth as another pulse of Dark magic stole the breath from her lungs with its shreddingrippingflaying. Master had called this one 'Necrosis'. What a perfect name for a curse.

The door to Delia's flat cracked open, then pulled wide, the Light magic rushing out to greet the marten as a well-remembered friend. The Dark magic surrounding her leg and eating away at the core of her own magical energies recoiled from its opposite before regrouping and driving back.

"Mads? I thought I sensed..." The stoat, her amber eyes radiating confusion looked out from the doorway. Then, she looked down. "Madison!" Quick as a hawk before a gale, Delia shot to the pine marten's side. "Madison? Madison, can you hear me? Gottverdammt! What did that drecksack do to you?"

She felt Delia pulling her up, cradling her head against the soft warmth of the stoat's breast.

"Maddie, just hold on. Hold on! I-I don't know what this is. Oh, fick! I'll kill him! I'll kill him!"

"Not very... Light Sage... you," the marten managed. "Got him... good, Del. Got... got the Hurensohn." She coughed and tasted blood. How long had she been bleeding?

"Well, I'll get him better!" Delia challenged, tears coursing down her cheeks as her paws glowed white with her magic.

Madison decided it was too hard to point out how silly that sounded coming from a Light Sage given the spirit in which it was meant.

Some of the aches began to recede, but mostly there was the comforting aura of concern radiating from her friend’s every hair and whisker.

Overhead, the weather finally did make up its mind, and as the first fat raindrop descended, striking the highest tower in Wizmar, Madison Eyes fell mercifully unconscious.

Sync
December 14th, 2010, 12:37 PM
Hello Madame,

Welcome to the site, and well done on critiquing others.

I'm not quite awake yet to give a critique, but by end's day, I will and also will answer your questions.

Sync

Sync
December 14th, 2010, 02:08 PM
okay, no coffee but at least my mind is open with my eyes.

Your beginning opens with weather. I've always heard never to start with the weather, the good thing is, the next para is a great opening and allows - because of its association to weather, you to put your first sentence behind it. The time line words and the flow remains the same. - something to consider.

you wrote:

The weather over Wizmar wouldn't make up its mind. For the past week, the low, steely sky had threatened a deluge of mythical proportion, the fortune-tellers with their runes calling for rains from the pot-bellied clouds that would make the Squalls of Mitternacht look like mere summer drizzles but still, not a drop had fallen, though the oppressive moisture collecting in the air had the Fire Sages cursing with every fizzled spell and dampened spark.

you go a bit too much into the weather. remember its the background not the foreground because it effects and sets the story. What I'm saying is what the weather causes is more important than it. so you need to find that balance.

The bolded words and suffixes are just words that could be removed.. 'the' is an over used word, writers barely see it anymore, just add it in.

you wrote:

She had cried at first -- begged, entreated, and threatened as she had crawled away from her former master's summer home, unable to stand, but certain the Hurensohn wouldn't be following.

why is this here? you are in the village, still developing the setting, and then you go off to another place and character, then back to the villagers again. the disruption of time-line threw me off. do you need an exact age? 27 years old ? if so, why? I do not know, but since you mentioned it so concisely, shouldn't i know why those amount of years are important...is she long living? a sign of maturity? Every word should have a reason to be in your story, you can't just throw a phrase in, well you can, but that depends on the writer you wish to be.

you wrote:

And now, she trudged toward the one creature she knew would be able to sense her, to help: Delia Boxwood.

I think this is the 3rd or 4th instance I've seen you use present tense indications in a past tense told story. 'now' is present...'and now' is solidly so. you should go through this piece and fix them.

* like your voice and you can write a nice story, the trick now is to make it stand out from the others, sometimes rewording does this*

you wrote:

Delia said, waving the threat away as she would a mosquito. - tense shift but....

rather than use a simile why not try

Delia said, waved his mosquito-sized threat away..."Besides, you like kissing me too much."

in your own words, but as you polish look for ways to say things better, not cliche(not saying your writing is, but its good enough to be better if you want it to be)

you wrote:

The tears took no notice of this proclamation.

you have to remember that each sentence has a reason to be there/told. the subject is tears, how she fights them, but you end with 'of this proclamation' so this is over tell, you distracted from her pain/tears and went to an image of a legal document/declaration

remember what you want to say, focus on it. this will draw the reader in and keep them there.

Btw - excellent scene

****I have to say, every time I see a present tense used in this story. I almost want to stop reading. which is a shame because I am enjoying this piece. The thing is, because they riddle the story, each snag of them that catches my eye, makes it harder and harder for me to continue.

you wrote:

Now, she was just a deformed, bleeding, sobbing apprentice without a master.

*you are over-telling. You showed me all this, and even in the proceeding para you touched this and her feelings, so why 'tell' me again? does it improve your story in anyway? does it tell me something I don't know but need to know in order to continue? does it move the story forward? no

we all have lots of blood inside us, to show the 'a lot of her inside' you'd have to show that expelling of blood previous, or show me it on her outsides. stained fur/clothing and such.

************************

you questions:

(1) Is the piece understandable without being familiar with the setting or the characters' full back story?

Yes, the story is perfectly understandable as is.

(2) Is the piece too wordy. I posted this on another site and this was one of the critiques I received. I have since revised it to, hopefully, cut down on wordiness.

wordiness is a hard thing to judge, it is an individual's perspective. But you do over-tell in some areas, remember what you want to say, don't distract a readers eyes with info that doesnt' need to be known until it effects the story.

(3) Are the characters written in such a way as to inspire sympathy, and interest in future tales involving them.

Yes. I like the mc, felt empathy towards her. I like her friend, and the master also drawn nicely

****

fix those tense issues, that is so important.

thanks for the read

enjoyed very much

Sync

Madame
December 14th, 2010, 07:29 PM
Thanks so very much for the detailed critique, Sync! I'll certainly take it all under advisement as I refine this piece. I hadn't noticed the tense thing, so that's good to note. However, I was a bit confused about the example you gave and decided to ask a friend of mine about it. She's a (self-proclaimed) "Greek major participles expert" and had this to say:


See, the waving is concurrent with the speaking. It's a participle right there, and a present participle at that.
Delia said, while she waved the threat away as she would a mosquito.<---another way of thinking about itHaving it as 'waving' just shortens things up, eh? Definitely going to revisit my word choice, though, and keep whittling away at the unnecessary bits. Thanks again!

Sync
December 14th, 2010, 07:40 PM
Hello, its hard to say, show/tell a delicate balance. whenever you place one image,(this being her 'whatever' humorous attitude) and replace it with an image of a mosquito, you then have two images for the reader to form, the lasting image is that of a mosquito here.

a participle geek eh :) I salute her tenacity. Sometimes rules are boundaries that confine an image, we see the rule first and last, and i just believe that shouldn't be the case.

Still....foremost, you are the writer, it is always your choice and always should be in your own voice. I hate writing examples because my voice is not yours :)

thank you for replying, and giving another way. I am still learning also

feel free to take a look at my piece titled 'Nomads'. I would appreciate any thoughts you would have.

Sync

Madame
December 14th, 2010, 08:27 PM
Revised a bit as per your critique. And I took a look at your 'Nomads' piece. I'll comment on it when I get back from the computer lab later this evening, but my initial, knee-jerk reaction is to ask: "What purpose does this being in present tense serve?" I'll read more closely when I return, though.

Also, I didn't quite understand this part of your critique:


why is this here? you are in the village, still developing the setting, and then you go off to another place and character, then back to the villagers again.
The story starts in media res. The bit you pointed to is describing something that happened to the m.c. slightly before the start of the story. I was trying to explain how the curse works/how she got to be trudging with a broomstick and nobody noticing her in a crowded street. Is the transition just not clear enough? I tried to clean it up to make it clearer in the revision.

Sync
December 14th, 2010, 08:41 PM
Hello again.

any thoughts I had on your piece are just one pov, just because I noticed things doesn't mean they need fixing. I used to put a disclaimer on my critiques but to be honest, if its a critique, there shouldn't be a need for one.

present tense - why? - because ... because...because too many shy away because past and 3rd is easier to write. That is my reasoning why.

as for that mis-understanding. I understood what you were saying, it was (again, just to me, un-necessary to go back and forth when you had an opportunity in the reflection with your friend.)

Now remember, this is just my thoughts. I'm learning how to write also, so in no way does this mean it requires changing - this is my disclaimer :) If you disagree with anything I suggested, I take no offense. To me, this is a site about writing. what I don't know or am short of learning. I will improve through the help of others like you.

thank you

Sync