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Cassafrass
August 3rd, 2014, 09:46 PM
Rating: PG (at the moment)

Words so far: (around) 2,497

Genre: Fantasy

Hello everyone! This is my new novel I'm working on, and I would appreciate any and all criticism, advice, reviews, and feedback on how I can improve my story and how you liked it. I'm trying to go for the goal of creating a good, clean teen story - being 15 years old myself, I find it hard at times to find a good fantasy story for others around my age, so my goal is to make one myself that is as high quality as can be. Enjoy!

P.S. The title may change eventually... just a heads up!

~~~


Chapter One: A Whole New World

Heather woke up. She looked around, wondering where she was. This wasn’t home… this was... she didn't even know where. She stretched as she got up, her eyes flitting about as she examined the place she was in. It looked like some kind of cave. She got up – but fell down alarmed. What was… how did… it wasn’t possible.

She sat up as she stretched out her wings. How did she…?! She lifted her hand – but as she looked at it, it wasn’t one… well, it was kind of, but not really. She had claws at the tips of her toes! She felt the top of her head, which seemed to have two… no, four… wait, six hard bumpy things all in a row on top of it! She also felt a strange pair of ears, and a… wait, was that a snout?! There were also strange ridges that seemed to be running down from the top of her head and down her neck.

As she did this, she looked around frantically for a mirror of some sort. Or at least a puddle so she could see her reflection! She tried to stand up so she could run out of the cave, but ended up tripping over her own feet – which she had four of! She craned her long, slender neck – wait, when had her neck been this long?

I need a mirror… now! She thought to herself, as she tried to run the best she could. Thankfully the mouth of the cave wasn’t too far ahead, but when she got there she had to scramble to not fall down into a dark abyss. Thankfully she didn’t, although she looked down into it, as she watched a small pile of rocks fall down. It was so deep she didn’t even hear them reach the bottom.

She didn't know how she should feel right now. She was freaking out internally, but struggling as hard a she could to stay calm. It's going to be alright... it's just a dream... yeah, that's it. She thought to herself.

She gulped, looking around. Unfortunately, she was separated from the rest of this strange new world by this strange abyss. But the good news was that there was a ledge she could maybe jump to, directly in front of her. It was a little far though, and she had no idea if she could make it. She looked around, surveying her other options. She was on a small ledge that jutted out from the cave she had just been inside, and that was all.

This was when she got a brilliant idea, however – she could just climb to the top of the cave mouth and somehow glide over to the other side! She noticed that she was rather large – the cave mouth was pretty big, and she reached halfway to the ceiling. She got to the top of the cave mouth, and got ready to jump to the other side – hopefully luck would be with her. I can do this...

She gulped, taking one last glance at the abyss below, and then jumped! She felt herself falling for a moment as she struggled to fly, or at least glide over.The wind enveloped her as she struggled, but thankfully there was no way she could miss reaching the other side of the ledge – she had taken off from a high enough point that all she had to do was jump.

Although when she reached the other side, she found herself crashing into a huge heap on the ground. She found her tail on top of her head – wait, she had a tail too?! Never mind that right now, although this was getting stranger by the minute. She had a feeling she knew what she was, but there was no way she was going to confirm it until she saw her reflection for herself. She slowly got up and brushed herself off, feeling dirt stuck in (what seemed to be) scales.

She took a moment to look back at the cave she had jumped from, and felt proud of herself. She smiled, pointing her clawed hand at it. Take that, cave! She stopped as she took another deep breath. She needed to stay focused on her mission.

She took a look around, trying to remain calm as she took in her surroundings. She was in a beautiful forest, with large oak trees surrounding her. Butterflies and other insects flew through the air, as well as a pack of birds as they flewover the large trees and hills. Strangely enough no one else seemed to bearound. She looked to her right, seeing a large patch of pink flowers, and walked over to them. She was strangely compelled to pick one up, although she didn't know why. She picked a rather small one, looking it over. It was beautiful.

She stopped when she saw a large lake in front of her. The water was shimmering as the warm sun hung over it. She took a deep breath, nervous and excited to see what her reflection would hold. She reached its edge and peered in. No... no, this isn't right... no!

What she saw staring back at her was stranger and more familiar than anything shehad ever seen – it was a dragoness. She had blue scales that shimmered a light purple in the light, and she saw the rows of bumps on top of her head – they were horns, as she had suspected but not wanted to admit. She had small but glimmering eyes that were a deep blue, as if they could pierce into your very soul.

Her wings were large and leathery, although they weren’t entirely transparent. They actually let the sun seep through them a little bit. She lifted over her tail and looked it over, seeing rows of large scales running down along it. Her paw had four toes with long, sharp claws, and her neck had smooth scales that ran all the way down to her tail. Her ears were almost like fish-like in a way, having ridges that ran along them.

She found a warm feeling rising up from her, and belched what seemed to be… fire! She was now positive that she knew what she had become – a large, monstrousdragon. She had heard of them before… although she couldn’t remember where. No! Stupid, stupid...! She thought, hitting the water with her claws, causing it to ripple. She watched as it did so, but it didn't help any. She began to panic, fear gripping her. This wasn't scientifically possible... this was just a dream... none of this was real...

“Hello there!” A voice suddenly intruded her thoughts. She jumped, startled, as she looked around trying to find whoever was trying to get her attention. She turned around, seeing what seemed to be a Velociraptor of sorts.

He was rather large and had brown scales. His big eyes blinked as he looked at her with a big, goofy grin which had rows of sharp teeth. His feet had a large claw sticking up on either of them, and he was slowly walking towards her.

“Don’t eat me!” Heather said, keeping her distance from the raptor, although he didn’t seem like he meant any harm. She had seen velociraptors before... but she couldn't remember where. She knew that they were carnivores, however, and didn't want to think about what could happen to her if he was hungry.

“Whoa, I wouldn’t eat you – do you think I’m an idiot or something?” he laughed, pointing at Heather. “You’re a funny one… anyways, I’m Chomp. Who’re you?”

“Um… the name’s Heather.” She said as she carefully eyed the dinosaur. Maybe he was friendly... “May I ask where I am?”

Chomp looked at her with blinking eyes. “Whoa, you don’t even know where you are? You’re weird. You are in theland of Fantalia!” He said, using one of his feet to roll around a large rock that was on the ground.

“Fantalia? That’s a lame name.”Heather laughed, but stopped when she saw Chomp glaring at her. It felt good to laugh, although not with the look he was giving her... it shut her up quickly. It was such a funny look, but scary all the same.

“Don’t you know anything? This is our homeworld. Did you bump your head on a coconut or something?” Chomp said, looking a bit freaked out. He wasn't sure what to make of this dragon, although he was sure that he had never seen another that looked like her. He wasn't sure what it was about her...

“No… I don’t think so… but I don’t remember anything… I don’t even know how I got here! But I know I’m definitely not a dragon.” Heather said, looking down at the ground. She was very confused. It felt as if her heart was tugging inside her chest, and she was almost compelled to cry but couldn't.

“OK… yeah… well, if that’s the case I think you need to go visit old Miss Fang. She will be able to give you your memories back.” Chomp said, coming over to Heather and trying to look up at her face, which was still lying low to the ground. He wasn't sure why he was wanting to help her, but he felt it was the right thing to do. She was sure strange, though.

“Is she like… a wizard or something? That’s totally impossible.” Heather said, rolling her eyes. Seriously? Old Miss Fang? She sighed. She was going to be stuck here forever, wasn't she?

“Well, kind of… but not exactly. Just follow me – I will take you to her! She lives over there.” He pointed past a patch of trees and towards a large mountain which was in the far distance. “You can fly us there!”

“Fly… both of us… there?” Heather said, a bit hesitantly. She sat on her haunches, fidgeting with her front claws awkwardly.

“You can fly… right?” Chomp asked, puzzled as he continued to peer at her.

“Um… well you see… no, I don’t know how… yet.” Heather said slowly, looking away from the raptor. How embarrassing... I'm a dragon who can't even fly!

Chomp stared at her, as a laugh slowly rose up inside of him. He burst out laughing, turning away. He hadn't laughed this hard in who knows how long! “You’re a dragon that can’t fly? How lame is that!?” He said in between laughs.

Heather gave him a sharp glare, which shut him up quickly. “I mean… I can teach you. I don’t have wings, but I’ve seen other dragons do it plenty of times before.” He quickly said to cover up his mistake.

Heather weighed her options. She could either follow this really weird dinosaur with the flitting hope that she could be saved from this strange world, or try to remember her memories and try to survive on her own. Yeah, she new which one she needed to choose. "Alright, lead the way."

Chomp quickly nodded his head. Yes! It worked... he thought to himself secretly.

Heather followed him to what seemed to be a large meadow. It had a large cliff-like boulder that seemed sort of out-of-place, and a large waterfall off to the side. Chomp gestured for her to come over and climb on top of it.

“We'll start with gliding. First, you need to climb on top of this rock. Then, stretch out your wings. We will continue from there.” Chomp said, stating everything out clearly with a prideful air about him.

“Thanks, teacher.” Heather said in a sarcastic tone of voice, and spread her wings out when she reached the top. I can't believe I'm taking orders from a dinosaur... “OK,now what do I do from here?”

“The rock is large, but not so large that if you were to crash into the ground you’d be so far up that it would hurt you. Now, try to catch the breeze… feel it surrounding you… your wings should be able to glide over it effortlessly… be as light as a feather…” Chomp said, saying these phrases over and over. It helped calm Heather down as she jumped off the ledge. Chomp smiled, seeing Heather enjoying this.

She was in the air now, her wings wide open. She did what Chomp had said, and could ‘feel’ the wind carrying her down below. It wrapped around her, almost as if she was in the middle of a wrapped up blanket. She felt refreshed and happy. This is... amazing. When she opened her eyes, she was on the ground just as if she hadn’t even glided at all.

Chomp grinned once again as he ran over to Heather. “That was great! You’re a natural. I think we’re ready to skip to flying now!” He said excitedly, clapping his hands together as he urged her to do what she had just done, but this time while flapping her wings.

This was harder. She closed her eyes once again, trying to feel the wind ‘lift’ her up into the air. She smiled, taking in a deep breath and once again took off, feeling her claws leave the smooth rock that she had been standing on. This time it didn’t go as well, however, and she ended up crashing down below. Chomp told her that she wasn’t flapping hard enough, and made her try again. Once again she failed. Argh... why can't I get the hang of this?! She thought, her patience starting to leave her.

About an hour later, and what seemed to be like a million more tries, she finally got the hang of flying – and was doing it very well! She soared through the clouds, letting the sun warm her scales. She had never felt like this before… she was so happy. Man, this was so worth it... She took a steep turn as she got ready to dive back down below to where she could land to talk to Chomp. The air came rushing at her, as the wind once again felt as if it was enveloping her in its cool caress. She then realized something – she hadn’t learned how to land yet!

“Ahhh! Try to… forget it, it's too late!" Chomp yelled, running out of the way as he tried to doge the blur that was Heather. She came rocketing towards the ground screaming, and landed in a heap as she made impact with the earth below.

“Ow…” she moaned, once it was all over. So much for a smooth landing... Heather thought to herself as Chomp came over to her and peered at her.

“Are you OK? No broken bones, right?” He said looking her over worriedly as she slowly got up.

“No, I don’t think so…” she said, expecting to feel like she was very hurt, but surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as she thought. This body is quite durable it seems... wow.

“That’s good. Dragons have such tough scales and bones that they are very hard to break or damage. Kinda like mine!” Chomp said, laughing. A flock of brown and black gryphons were in the distance, moving along after having eyed the whole fiasco. They raised their beaks high in the air as they sniffed at the odd pair. Some unicorns were heard neighing in the distance as well, as they grazed among the grass.

“Is this world just a mishmash of different creatures?” Heather asked Chomp as he got up, noticing the world that was going on around her. It was rather fascinating, she had to admit. All of these creatures that seemed so familiar and so strange all at the same time.

“Yup, pretty much.” Chomp said, nodding his head. “There are legends stating that we are creatures known to others as being ‘mythical’ or ‘extinct’. Can you believe that? There are also legends that there is another world beyond ours… which has strange creatures of their own. But I don’t think its true.”

“You don’t?” Heather said, having an odd feeling but trying to shoo it away.

“Nope… some say there is a special portal hidden in our world which will allow you to go to their world, but there’s never been any evidence of this being true. All the evidence in the past that has been used to back up this myth has ended up being a hoax at one point or another… I mean, come on, how could that even be possible?” Chomp said, remembering the tales his parents used to tell him before he went to sleep at night.

Heather thought about this for a moment. Why does this sound so familiar... could it be...? Her thoughts were soon interrupted when Chomp jumped onto her back, however. “Hey, what are you doing?!” She said, turning her neck to look at him with glaring eyes.

“Didn’t we agree that we were going to meet Miss Fang?” Chomp said, trying to balance himself as he sat between Heather’s neck and her wings.

“Yes… we did.” She replied with an annoyed tone. “But you’re heavy!" She whined. "How am I supposed to fly with you on my back?”

“Oh trust me – you can do it.”Chomp quickly replied with a mischievous look in his eyes. Oh man, this is gonna be awesome!

Heather rolled her eyes once again, and then tried to take off into the air with Chomp on her back. But there was no way it was going to work – Chomp couldn’t stay situated on her back correctly with his tiny arms and large, awkward feet. He kept falling off! And he was much too heavy for Heather, as a beginner flyer. Ugh... maybe I should dump him here and now... I mean, I don't really need him... right? She then sighed. No, I need him...ugh.

“See?” Heather said after they had tried taking off about a dozen times, but having failed each time. “I told you it wouldn’t work.” She huffed.

“Shut your mouth.” Chomp said, getting off of her. “Well, I’m sure you don’t have a good plan… do you?”

Heather smirked, starting to take off into the air. Chomp gasped. “What are you…? Hey, stop! Ahhh!”

Heather had grabbed him by her back claws, and was now flying towards the mountain. “See? I do have a plan.” She said in a smart tone. Heh... that should teach him to question me. Chomp stopped screaming, and just glared at her even though she couldn’t see him doing so.

The two flew towards the mountain at a considerably good pace. Heather just hoped that this ‘old Miss Fang’ could really help her. Will I ever get home...? I can only hope.

thepancreas11
August 4th, 2014, 02:31 AM
What a lead off, Cass. Have you ever read Metamorphosis? I haven't, but I've heard that the book really screws with the mind. A guy basically becomes an insect. Not my favorite image, I think I might like yours better, but you get the gist. When you make a bold choice like that in the first paragraph, you have a strong start. Scene initiation can be incredibly difficult, and you've really nailed it on the head. Immediately, a dozen questions come to mind, all of which could make a good plot, so kudos to that! I must also add a commendation for taking the unveiling rather slowly, piecemeal, the way one might image waking up as a bird. It's better not to get it over with too quickly; something of that magnitude needs some time to sink in and some imagery to help it.

After that start, though, you kind of petered out. I saw a lot of sequential stuff. "Then she did this. Then she did that. Then she did this." You want to be careful just delivering action. It's kind of like charades, here. All this stuff, and no explanation. I'm not saying be expository, but reveal the motivations, reveal the emotions through the sentence structure. You do a fair job of this in the first couple of sentences, so use them as a good guide. Remember, action does most of the work, but action alone ends up looking like a Jean Claude van Damme movie (although we'd watch it, we'd all agree, it measured as deep as a rain gutter). What makes your story unique is this layering of multiple things (emotion, action, character development, dialogue) in a way that really propels the plot.

I would read your dialogue out loud, too. Kind of corny, to be honest. It sounds a bit unrealistic. Speech has a beautiful rhythm to it, for one, meaning that it should really sound spoken when you write it, and two, it needs to be more honest. Would they really do all that exposition? Does that make sense for them? I can see a bit of explanation coming from your raptor friend, but I'd rather see the dialogue work towards that emotional depth than propelling yet more action along.

Also, against Michael Crichton's wishes, the Velociraptor is actually the size of a chicken. The dinosaur we so famously know from Jurassic Park more closely resembles a Deinonychus, not that that name really clicks with the same passion (I'm just a dinosaur stickler).

A healthy dose of story, though, and one that moved rather quickly, actually. I just think it could use a little more oomph, if you catch my drift, a little more to substantiate it.

Cassafrass
August 4th, 2014, 04:39 AM
What a lead off, Cass. Have you ever read Metamorphosis? I haven't, but I've heard that the book really screws with the mind. A guy basically becomes an insect. Not my favorite image, I think I might like yours better, but you get the gist. When you make a bold choice like that in the first paragraph, you have a strong start. Scene initiation can be incredibly difficult, and you've really nailed it on the head. Immediately, a dozen questions come to mind, all of which could make a good plot, so kudos to that! I must also add a commendation for taking the unveiling rather slowly, piecemeal, the way one might image waking up as a bird. It's better not to get it over with too quickly; something of that magnitude needs some time to sink in and some imagery to help it.

After that start, though, you kind of petered out. I saw a lot of sequential stuff. "Then she did this. Then she did that. Then she did this." You want to be careful just delivering action. It's kind of like charades, here. All this stuff, and no explanation. I'm not saying be expository, but reveal the motivations, reveal the emotions through the sentence structure. You do a fair job of this in the first couple of sentences, so use them as a good guide. Remember, action does most of the work, but action alone ends up looking like a Jean Claude van Damme movie (although we'd watch it, we'd all agree, it measured as deep as a rain gutter). What makes your story unique is this layering of multiple things (emotion, action, character development, dialogue) in a way that really propels the plot.

I would read your dialogue out loud, too. Kind of corny, to be honest. It sounds a bit unrealistic. Speech has a beautiful rhythm to it, for one, meaning that it should really sound spoken when you write it, and two, it needs to be more honest. Would they really do all that exposition? Does that make sense for them? I can see a bit of explanation coming from your raptor friend, but I'd rather see the dialogue work towards that emotional depth than propelling yet more action along.

Also, against Michael Crichton's wishes, the Velociraptor is actually the size of a chicken. The dinosaur we so famously know from Jurassic Park more closely resembles a Deinonychus, not that that name really clicks with the same passion (I'm just a dinosaur stickler).

A healthy dose of story, though, and one that moved rather quickly, actually. I just think it could use a little more oomph, if you catch my drift, a little more to substantiate it.
Hm, it sounds familiar, but I've never read it to be honest. I might have to check it out though - I'm a stickler for these kinds of stories, admittedly. :D

Thank you so much for this wonderful review! This novel is an experiment of sorts - I am trying to write to the best of my potential, while also trying to get as much advice and such as I can...

Oh, I know about the raptor size issue - I was going to address it, but didn't as Heather has had all her memories wiped. I will most likely touch up on it in later chapters. :)

Hm... so more action, and smoother dialogue with more emotion? I can work with that. I am working on fixing it right now! :)

Thank you! :D

EDIT: You may want to give my story a quick read-over... I took away and added quite a bit to the story, and I'm wondering if it helped. Thanks! :)

Phase
August 4th, 2014, 09:14 AM
Rating: PG (at the moment)



Question: As an aspiring novelist, is this long enough to make a whole chapter? What is average for a story such as this one?

I tend to aim for chapter at around 2500 words so yours are a perfect size. The average novel tends to be 80,000 words.
Here's a link.
https://www.google.co.za/search?q=g&rlz=1C1CHYD_enZA573ZA573&oq=g&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l3j0l2.1456j0j0&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=average%20novel%20word%20count (https://www.google.co.za/search?q=g&rlz=1C1CHYD_enZA573ZA573&oq=g&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l3j0l2.1456j0j0&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=average%20novel%20word%20count)






She gulped, taking one last glance at the abyss below, and then jumped! She felt herself falling for a moment as she struggled to fly, or at least glide over.The wind enveloped her as she struggled, but thankfully there was no way she could miss reaching the other side of the ledge – she had taken off from a high enough point that all she had to do was jump.

The 'over' here isn't really necessary because you already explained she's heading over the caves mouth.


Although when she reached the other side, she found herself crashing into a huge heap on the ground. She found her tail on top of her head – wait, she had a tail too?! Never mind that right now, although this was getting stranger by the minute. She had a feeling she knew what she was, but there was no way she was going to confirm it until she saw her reflection for herself. She slowly got up and brushed herself off, feeling dirt stuck in (what seemed to be) scales.


Delete the one 'she found' or change it to something different.
I agree with thepancreas11 there is a lot of 'then she did this. Then she did that. Then she did this' but that could be easily sorted out when going through it again


She took a look around, trying to remain calm as she took in her surroundings. She was in a beautiful forest, with large oak trees surrounding her. Butterflies and other insects flew through the air, as well as a pack of birds as they flewover the large trees and hills. Strangely enough no one else seemed to bearound. She looked to her right, seeing a large patch of pink flowers, and walked over to them. She was strangely compelled to pick one up, although she didn't know why. She picked a rather small one, looking it over. It was beautiful.


Just a bit of typing error here nothing much. Should be 2 words.


What she saw staring back at her was stranger and more familiar than anything shehad ever seen – it was a dragoness. She had blue scales that shimmered a light purple in the light, and she saw the rows of bumps on top of her head – they were horns, as she had suspected but not wanted to admit.She had small but glimmering eyes that were a deep blue, as if they could pierce into your very soul.


Typing error. Delete one of the 'light' or change it to perhaps something like 'faint'.
I love this line, well written.


Her wings were large and leathery, although they weren't entirely transparent. They actually let the sun seep through them a little bit. She lifted over her tail and looked it over, seeing rows of large scales running down along it. Her paw had four toes with long, sharp claws, and her neck had smooth scales that ran all the way down to her tail. Her ears were almost like fish-like in a way, having ridges that ran along them.

Delete the one 'like'.



Heather thought about this for a moment. Why does this sound so familiar... could it be...? Her thoughts were soon interrupted when Chomp jumped onto her back, however. “Hey, what are you doing?!” She said, turning her neck to look at him with glaring eyes.


Overall it's a good idea, can see myself reading it and you are doing a good job keeping me intrigued like in the above sentence. Just need to comb over it once more.

Job well done, keep on keeping on

Cassafrass
August 4th, 2014, 03:47 PM
Thank you so much for the review, Phase! :)

I was having issues with my story being copied and pasted wrong, so that is why there are so many errors with wordscoming out likethis. I thought I had caught them all, but alas I am mistaken. Thanks for pointing them out. :)

Oh perfect! I'm glad this is a good length. I will try to stay around 2,500 words from now on then. :)

I will most likely try to give my chapter a brush-up later, and then continue forth by making a new chapter, focusing on fixing the issues this chapter had.

Thank you for the compliment on that line I wrote! I love it too, and thought it fit perfectly with the scene - although I admit it was inspired by a novel I recently finished called "Dinoverse", in case you've heard of it. :)

BTW I just realized I didn't send you the link in a PM... sorry, I forgot. >.<

Keep watch for a new chapter hopefully sometime today or later this week. :)

Phase
August 4th, 2014, 04:53 PM
No don't worry I found it on your introduction page... Just check you can post your story of the Prose Writers' Workshop (http://www.writingforums.com/forums/11-Prose-Writers-Workshop) forum section. That area is also just available to member of the forum so random people browsing the site won't see it. That will help you so that people won't copy your work although it seldom happens according to the forum members.

Also you post the link to your next chapter in the forum so that people can follow up on the chapters. :icon_cheesygrin:

Cassafrass
August 4th, 2014, 04:57 PM
Oh OK, cool! So like... I post my story here as well as the Prose Writers' Workshop, and make a separate thread for each chapter?

Sorry for the newbie question but I'm slightly confused. ^^;

Phase
August 4th, 2014, 07:21 PM
You make a separate thread for each chapter at Prose Writers Workshop, and then you post the link for that thread in here so that people can follow up on chapter 2. :icon_cheesygrin:

Cassafrass
August 8th, 2014, 05:56 PM
Ahhhh, OK that makes sense! But I'm kinda not sure what exactly I'm going to do here...

I might give up on this novel and start again with a whole new one. I want to do something that's similar to Guardians of Ga'hoole or Warriors... a series that can be expanded upon, have guides made for it, etc. But I'm worried it will seem as if I am copying these latter two series. I just don't feel as if I'm ready to write more than one series at once...

What do you guys think I should do?

Phase
August 10th, 2014, 04:16 PM
I've been through that, you don't think that is unique enough but that a decision you will have to make on your own. What I do is write my basic idea and as i write on the idea expands. Remember as long as you're writing you are increasing your skills so writing any thing makes it worth it. Sorry I couldn't be more of assistance.