The Skellington Queen


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Thread: The Skellington Queen

  1. #1

    The Skellington Queen

    Id like critiques on my writing that I share here, preferably constructive.
    People say I write well.. but I do have a desire to write more than non-fiction/blog-style stuff.

    I guess Ill share a short story I wrote and let you guys judge it. =O
    So far Ive been told it is too expositional [information dump] and not enough character introduction.
    Thats just for the first *chapter*. Nobody has critiqued my other *chapters*.

    Heres a link to my Wattpad and to the story I am talking about specifically:
    https://www.wattpad.com/story/66826736-the-skellington-queen

    and a summary for it to hopefully pique your interest:
    Madosa was a skellington princess.. She didn't act much like a princess, though. She had no patience for trivial time wasting non-sense like cloth napkins and eating with 40 different types of spoons.
    She spent her days reading books about war tactics and strategies..
    Her wish was to take-over the human continent, Ardaga.

    The day her father was murdered, she received her chance to shine in the moonlight, polished bones tinged a blood red from the glimmer of the planets overhead..

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    A sprawling kingdom spanned across an entire half of a planet.. At it's center stood a timeless castle built into the largest mountain of Zeppod, the kingdom of the Skeel, where lived the Skellingtons, as the humans called them.

    King Urgo had been the undisputed ruler for who knows how long.. what am I talking about.. they didn't have a sense of time back then..

    He had raised numerous children.. building them from the bones of the defeated human warriors that invaded their lands.
    There were fewer female Skeel for this reason, and they were generally considered weak and cowardly in comparison to the strong boned, sturdy male Skeel.
    If they ever saw battle, it was as bonesmiths, the healers of their people, or as destruction mages.
    Everyone aside from the king was a prince or princess in those days.. The king's favoritism was all that it took to decide who lived where and who did what.

    Their planet was a cylinder shape, hollowed out by the dwasha, or dwarves as the humans called them..
    The gravitational field was strong enough to suck in other planets into an awkward spiralized dance. Several of the planets gave off colored lights, and the Skellingtons LOVED to bask in the red glow of planet Zweeba.
    The Skeel had no short young except for the rare dwasha boned Skeel, who were exceptionally rare due to the uneasy alliance with the Dwarven kingdom of Sevril.
    Being long lived, they mostly only had younger or older human boned Skeel.
    Their common language was Rancor, but the elite class had a language called Tu.
    Their poor lived in tiny sparse huts made of human leather.
    They had no reason to eat, but they liked to try to anyways as a regular running joke.. They even had taverns where the Skeel could go to blow off some steam. Small comedy clubs and bard troupes gathered there to play their instruments and tell stories of accomplished Skeel knights.
    Their temples were important to them.. and in their beliefs they found themselves united, with little argument.. They worshipped death and relished nightmares.

    Their flag was black and red, with a grimacing Skell head motif.
    Despite the kingdom's morbid and terrifying beauty, their people were largely unsatisfied with the witless ancient king. Assassination attempts had increased more and more, but the King's power seemed limitless..
    His people thought him weak in his unwillingness to push further into human territory.

    King Urgo had many beloved sons and daughters that lived in the castle and the surrounding areas. They were built from the best bones, trained from death in their predetermined careers.

    Could you imagine their currency? Why yes, it actually WAS human bones.. until they became scarce from the lack of wars against their human prey.. Afterwards, they collected shiny things they found or traded with the dwasha.
    It didn't matter much what shiny things, but it was widely agreed that the more shiny, the happier they felt.

    Many brave adventurers lurked the human lands, unearthing old bones in graveyards, hunting the humans as they slept, but the humans were not exactly defenseless...

    The humans possessed life magick, which turned Skellingtons into ash with a single upturn of their lips.. It sprung from the human passions for life and living.. and the liveliest of humans could make a brave and ancient skellington warrior weep and turn tail.
    Anyways.. one dreadful day, something unforeseen happened..
    King Urgo was assassinated by an unknown opponent. All that was left of the king were his ashes, his robes, and his crown of shininess.

    The kingdom was in an uproar.. he had been so calm and confident and powerful, he had not even thought to choose an heir..
    This was totally unheard of.. the kingdom became divided, and skirmishes broke out anywhere and everywhere.

    but there was one thing that everyone in the kingdom knew for sure.. The king had been murdered by a human life mage.

    Indeed, panic had set in for the citizens of Zeppod..


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    For over a century, Medosa, a princess that had only ever lived within the walls of the castle, had found herself quite bored.. Bored with the king, bored with the kingdom.. bored with the boringness of being heavily guarded by her brothers and sisters.
    She was glad to hear of her father's death.. Ambition brought a broad, toothy grimace to her face..

    She wasn't the only one that was excited, by far, but most were distracted by their fears of the loathsome human that had invaded their country. Or they were too busy brawling in the streets to decide who became the new king.
    This could take a while, she thought happily.
    Having the run of the castle and a protected status, she had found herself more often than not in the library towers.

    She read stories of enthused humans, fables of brave skeel heroes that had made their marks in the history of Zeppod's creation.
    She had studied books of tactics and strategies and understood humans as a personal expertise.
    She had long yearned for firsthand experience, to meet a human, even a Life Mage.

    As was normal for all the Skeel, she had been trained in combat, and had surpassed her brothers, and shown remarkable potential.. but her pitiful father had favored her too much, and was unwilling to use her as a knight.
    A true mark of weakness, she thought fiercely.
    but now.. she grinned loudly.. now is the time to escape this prison.
    Her bodyguards had been paying much less attention to her, less sure in their duties now that their father was dead.. They had resented Medosa anyways.. envy had crept in long ago, corrupting the holes where their hearts should have been. They glanced after her from time to time, but that was all they could feel obligated to do.
    They too, would begin dueling each other or searching the castle grounds with the other Skellingtons.
    and she took that opportunity to find her way out of the winding and labrythine castle fortress.

    This was her chance to shine beneath the ominous glare of the planets.
    She skulked and shuffled and rattled as quietly as she could through the many tunnels.. a map she had found in an ancient text firmly gripped in one claw. She lit up at the thought that she might someday bring the humans to their knees, once and for all. Never again, would they reach such power, and they would quake with fear and horror of her noble people.
    Something tugged at her attention, though..

    Why did her father spare the humans in the first place.. Had he really been so scared of the Fleshlings?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Medosa shivered and clacked in the darkness.. the tunnel went on and on.. she no longer heard the voices of her brothers and sisters. She couldn't see the map in darkness this black.

    She started to hallucinate.. she thought she saw herself breathing. Terrified, she wanted to turn back, but she pushed herself forward..

    Where am I going?! What am I doing?! I don't even know anymore..
    She kept walking on and on until her joints ached and rubbed together painfully.
    Eventually, a small light appeared, and she shuffled forward until she reached an exit.
    A barred door with lights shining through stood before her. She took a pouch from her bony shoulders, and retrieved a small key. She opened the door and was met with a painfully bright light.
    What IS that? she wondered, attempting to shield her eyes with her humerus.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Madosa felt a burning sensation, and shrieked angrily. As suddenly as the sensation appeared, it disappeared.

    What on Trell was that?! she panicked.
    A young Skell stood before her. She knew he was a youngling because he was made of young bones free of wear, tear, corrosion, ect.
    He gave her a questioning look. "Are you going to challenge me to battle? I'm kind of busy at the moment."

    "I will require your assistence, so yes, let us duel." She grinned menacingly.



    He was grouchy, but accommodating. He threw her an old dagger he had sheathed at his hip. "Here, don't expect me to hold back on you just because you're a female, though."

    She took the dagger gratefully, and took her position, as did he.

    She waited until he marked the start of battle, and then for his lunge she knew was coming, and upended the gleaming sword from his grip. She then knocked him to the ground for good measure and held the dagger to the place where his throat might have been if he had had one.
    "Okay, okay, you win.." he muttered. He seemed a little disappointed, but he didn't seem too surprised.
    "What do you need?" he asked, slightly wincing.
    "I need supplies. Armor, the best weapon you can get your claws on, a map that will lead me to Ardaga and a pack kind of like that." She pointed to a large human skin pack not far from his camp.

    "and I would also like to know what that light was.."
    He stood up and walked to his camp. He began rumbling through some things in an old ornate chest. Pulling out some armor, and a good-sized, well balanced sword, he handed the items to her. Then he picked up a pack from under his bed.

    "That light was from a human lighthouse. A Life Mage lives there, or so they say. There are rumors that the light is to protect Fleshlings from Skell, and that the closer you get, the more painful and potentially dangerous that light will become."

    "How far are we from Ardaga right now?" she asked fearfully.
    "Oh yeah, you also asked for a map." He pulled out a long wooden tube and pulled out a map yellowed with age. "Six month's of walking, and you'll reach the harbor that will take you to the Lifelands." He handed the map and pack to her reluctantly.

    "Their light reaches pretty far considering it is 6 months of walking away.." She observed grimly.
    He nodded to her, done speaking.
    She started her long and treturous trek to the Sea of Adalie.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Her travels brought her through many dangerous areas of Zeppod. She avoided her fellow Skell the best she could, but there were plenty of times she was forced to prove her skill in battle. She kept to the planetlight of Gaziris, a color of light most Skellingtons found distasteful and tended to avoid. The color was called Estral and was considered only favored by feminine skell.
    She stayed in many a tavern, and drank and sang with her fellow travelers, but was careful not to stand out too much.

    [[Im not going to remember most of this terminology Im using, from here on out, am I? Lol.]]
    [[Okay, Im going to continue for the fun of it.]]
    Madosa stayed on the road for the full six months it took to get where she wanted to go. It would take a long time to describe her boring journey, so please just take my word for it!
    So Madosa finally made it to the Lighthouse. There she found a collossal white cylindrical building with a too-bright shining stone at the top of its open windowed canopy. There was green ivy growing on its sides, as if its upkeep had been neglected in favor of a more natural abandoned look.
    The stone and its mysterious light was a brilliant cerulean blue, and made her feel enfuriated and terrified all at once.
    She heard a loud humming sound, and saw humans dressed in repulsive white robes and nemyss practicing some arcane and incomprehensible rite that would more than likely spell her doom, if she got too close.
    She waited and watched from a distance.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    An elderly human with a long grizzled beard seemed to be the one in charge of the proceedings. He looked like what the Life Mages from her ancient historical books looked like.
    However.. something strange happened.
    The humans didnt smile. They actually looked very serious and grim.
    She had to admit, she liked that look on humans. The smiling humans from her books had made her physically sick and given her such sweet dreams that if she could projectile retch, she would have.
    However.. They were beginning to move in a strange manner. Oh! This must be what humans called *dancing*!
    She was more confused by it than anything.
    They were humming along with the crystal, now, and she began to shake violently and uncontrollably. The shaking made her bones rattle loudly, too loudly, and the whole congregation turned to face her.
    She saw a look of horror and panic on their faces.. Then.. after they themselves were shaking for a while, she saw another, uninterpretable emotion cross over their faces. She hissed at them in her own fear and began to unsheathe her weapon.
    Instead of moving to attack or run in fear, they made a deep bowing motion to her, one after the other. She suddenly understood. They had a deep respect for her, as if she was an omen of some kind that was feared but treated with the utmost seriousness.



  2. #2
    Hmm, overall the concept is neat. But there are some execution deatails that need work. For one thing, using ... instead of a comma or period and the frequent lines used to break up the text give the story a very rambling, disconected vibe. There really is a bit too much exposition, we don't need to know what shape the planet is, or what these skellingtons use for currency. The funny spoofy sort of tone is inconsistent, and the use of a first person narrator likewise. Both are good ideas, but the story should be more over the top funny or entirely first person narrated instead of just once or twice. I wish we could have stared with seeing the creation of a new skellington, or the moment the king was killed by a life mage, as interesting starting points, rather than just Madosa leaving the castle. Like I said, the concept is neat, it just needs less details and more laughs.

  3. #3
    Member Fiender's Avatar
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    Hello! I like to write notes into a piece of writing as I read it. Hope that works for you. I always do my best to give constructive advice, though unless otherwise asked I will assume you intend to publish this work and make money off it, which means I will read this story as if I picked it up in a store/library, and gauge whether or not I'd pay for it. Everything I say is said in good spirit and meant to be of assistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rune View Post



    A sprawling kingdom spanned across an entire half of a planet..
    [Extra period here.] At it's center stood a timeless castle built into the largest mountain of Zeppod, the kingdom of the Skeel, where lived the Skellingtons, as the humans called them. [I prefer to be dropped into the middle of a scene. Right now, you're just listing off details, not telling a story.]

    King Urgo had been the undisputed ruler for who knows how long.. what am I talking about.. they didn't have a sense of time back then..
    [Are the double periods intentional? You don't keep up with them in the text below.]

    He had raised numerous children.. building them from the bones of the defeated human warriors that invaded their lands.
    [The double period in this sentence feels like it should be a comma instead. I'm going to stop commenting on the punctuation, and simply suggest the whole piece needs a full overhaul on punctuation. As for the line itself, Now that we're talking about the actions of a person and not just listing off details of a place, I am somewhat more interested. That said, it's still not a scene or narrative yet.]
    There were fewer female Skeel for this reason, and they were generally considered weak and cowardly in comparison to the strong boned, sturdy male Skeel.
    If they ever saw battle, it was as bonesmiths, the healers of their people, or as destruction mages.
    Everyone aside from the king was a prince or princess in those days.. The king's favoritism was all that it took to decide who lived where and who did what.

    Their planet was a cylinder shape, hollowed out by the dwasha, or dwarves as the humans called them..
    The gravitational field was strong enough to suck in other planets into an awkward spiralized dance. Several of the planets gave off colored lights, and the Skellingtons LOVED
    [all caps like this in prose feels a bit silly to me, and very atypical in the books I've read. If this was first person narration, it mightwork, especially if this is intended for a younger audience, but italics are much more commonplace for adding emphasis to a word.] to bask in the red glow of planet Zweeba.
    The Skeel had no short young except for the rare dwasha boned Skeel, who were exceptionally rare due to the uneasy alliance with the Dwarven kingdom of Sevril.
    Being long lived, they mostly only had younger or older human boned Skeel.
    Their common language was Rancor, but the elite class had a language called Tu.
    [Still just listing details. If I was reading this in a library I'd either start skimming for when the story starts, or put the book down. :/]
    Their poor lived in tiny sparse huts made of human leather.
    They had no reason to eat, but they liked to try to anyways as a regular running joke.. They even had taverns where the Skeel could go to blow off some steam. Small comedy clubs and bard troupes gathered there to play their instruments and tell stories of accomplished Skeel knights.
    Their temples were important to them.. and in their beliefs they found themselves united, with little argument.. They worshipped death and relished nightmares.

    Their flag was black and red, with a grimacing Skell head motif.
    Despite the kingdom's morbid and terrifying beauty, their people were largely unsatisfied with the witless ancient king. Assassination attempts had increased more and more, but the King's power seemed limitless..
    His people thought him weak in his unwillingness to push further into human territory.

    King Urgo had many beloved sons and daughters that lived in the castle and the surrounding areas. They were built from the best bones, trained from death in their predetermined careers.

    Could you imagine their currency? Why yes, it actually WAS human bones.. until they became scarce from the lack of wars against their human prey.. Afterwards, they collected shiny things they found or traded with the dwasha.
    It didn't matter much what shiny things, but it was widely agreed that the more shiny, the happier they felt.

    Many brave adventurers lurked the human lands, unearthing old bones in graveyards, hunting the humans as they slept, but the humans were not exactly defenseless...

    The humans possessed life magick, which turned Skellingtons into ash with a single upturn of their lips.. It sprung from the human passions for life and living.. and the liveliest of humans could make a brave and ancient skellington warrior weep and turn tail.
    Anyways.. one dreadful day, something unforeseen happened..
    King Urgo was assassinated by an unknown opponent. All that was left of the king were his ashes, his robes, and his crown of shininess.

    The kingdom was in an uproar.. he had been so calm and confident and powerful, he had not even thought to choose an heir..
    This was totally unheard of.. the kingdom became divided, and skirmishes broke out anywhere and everywhere.

    but there was one thing that everyone in the kingdom knew for sure.. The king had been murdered by a human life mage.

    Indeed, panic had set in for the citizens of Zeppod..


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [this line is a bit extra for a scene break, imo. Using a # or *** is probably enough.]

    For over a century, Medosa, a princess that had only ever lived within the walls of the castle, had found herself quite bored.. Bored with the king, bored with the kingdom.. bored with the boringness of being heavily guarded by her brothers and sisters.
    She was glad to hear of her father's death.. Ambition brought a broad, toothy grimace to her face..

    She wasn't the only one that was excited, by far, but most were distracted by their fears of the loathsome human that had invaded their country. Or they were too busy brawling in the streets to decide who became the new king.
    This could take a while, she thought happily.
    Having the run of the castle and a protected status, she had found herself more often than not in the library towers.

    She read stories of enthused humans, fables of brave skeel heroes that had made their marks in the history of Zeppod's creation.
    She had studied books of tactics and strategies and understood humans as a personal expertise.
    She had long yearned for firsthand experience, to meet a human, even a Life Mage.

    As was normal for all the Skeel, she had been trained in combat, and had surpassed her brothers, and shown remarkable potential.. but her pitiful father had favored her too much, and was unwilling to use her as a knight.
    A true mark of weakness, she thought fiercely.
    [I don't know if adding "she thought + adjective" is necessary. If we are in her point of view, I feel like you don't need to attribute the thought at all and just say "A true mark of weakness." If you prefer to keep the "she thought", I believe italicizing thoughts is the common practice, to separate them from the rest of the prose. So: A true mark of weakness, she thought fiercely.]
    but now.. she grinned loudly
    [This is a very awkward use of an adjective. I'm noticing a lot of adjective use also. I don't think they're the blight upon literature that some people do, but there are often better words to use in their place. As for this particular example, if we're following Medosa, and are in her perspective right now, she can't see herself smile (she's also a skeleton, right? No lips? How... does she smile? I can't really imagine what you mean by "loudly", unless you literally mean the clattering of her exposed skeleton teeth, or something. But... again, how does a skeleton grin? It's a detail I find rather distracting.].. now is the time to escape this prison.
    Her bodyguards had been paying much less attention to her, less sure in their duties now that their father was dead.. They had resented Medosa anyways.. envy had crept in long ago, corrupting the holes where their hearts should have been. They glanced after her from time to time, but that was all they could feel obligated to do.
    They too, would begin dueling each other or searching the castle grounds with the other Skellingtons.
    a
    [Lack of capitalization here]nd she took that opportunity to find her way out of the winding and labrythine castle fortress.

    This was her chance to shine beneath the ominous glare of the planets.
    She skulked and shuffled and rattled as quietly as she could through the many tunnels.. a map she had found in an ancient text firmly gripped in one claw. She lit up at the thought that she might someday bring the humans to their knees, once and for all. Never again, would they reach such power, and they would quake with fear and horror of her noble people.
    Something tugged at her attention, though..

    Why did her father spare the humans in the first place.. Had he really been so scared of the Fleshlings?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Why the break above? The scene feels like it continues uninterrupted.]
    Medosa shivered and clacked in the darkness.. the tunnel went on and on.. she no longer heard the voices of her brothers and sisters. She couldn't see the map in darkness this black.

    She started to hallucinate.. she thought she saw herself breathing. Terrified, she wanted to turn back, but she pushed herself forward..

    Where am I going?! What am I doing?! I don't even know anymore..
    [And we're suddenly in first person point of view? This isn't italicized or given quotation marks to set it apart: It's just a part of the narration.]
    She kept walking on and on until her joints ached and rubbed together painfully.
    Eventually, a small light appeared, and she shuffled forward until she reached an exit.
    A barred door with lights shining through stood before her. She took a pouch from her bony shoulders, and retrieved a small key. She opened the door and was met with a painfully bright light.
    What IS that? she wondered, attempting to shield her eyes with her humerus.

    [Another awkward, and seemingly unnecessary line break below.]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I stopped reading there. The construction and structure is all over the place. Punctuation and line breaks aside, I think the main issue is a lack of point of view. We go from seemingly following an omnicsient narrator at the very beginning, then to third person (like a camera hovering behind Medosa), and break briefly into first person as if it were Medosa reciting the story directly to us. My strongest recommendation would be deciding one point of view, sticking with it, and getting us into an actual scene right away. I feel most readers won't care about your particular fantasy world and planets and nations and kingdoms etc on the offset. Ground us with a character, tell us only what we need to know, and show us the rest as the story goes. Medosa is a skeleton princess, the skeleton king has just died, and she seems to want his throne. Start with that and worry about the history lessons later (or not at all; even if it helps you shape the world in your mind, the reader might not need those details to follow the story).

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope something I've said helps.

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