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Devotion of the Enemy: Chapter One (1 Viewer)

Aiyooona

Senior Member
This is the first fantasy novel I have ever written, and I realize that it is by no means perfect. I would appreciate all and any advice or critiquing. I have always had problems with development of the scene and creating an image for the reader. I have tried really hard on this, and I would love to know if I succeeded. I also plan on making it lengthier at some point… if it needs it. I'm hoping to add a little more detail. Thanks in advance!

Chapter 1
The rush, the adrenaline, the freedom!
“Shalako! Fraer! Come on, We’re going to be late for supper!!!”
*Thud dud thud dud thud dud*
“Come on, Hercules! You can run faster than that!”
The wind ran through my hair and tears began to stream down my face. My companion and I pushed forward, desperate to beat our opponent. Just as we were about to reach the lightning tree, a shadow blocked the sun from my eyes.
Thump!
Pulling to an abrupt stop, I jumped off of my trusty sleipnir.
“Touche!” I told my brother, Fraer. His eyes sparkeled as they allways did when he was happy. Which wasn’t very often.
“Shalako.” My sister, Zinnia, gasped and wheezed(she wasn’t used to running). “Jump on that eight-legged beast. Fraer, get on that Fenrir. We need to get home. “
I gasped. “That’s offensive! Hercules may be eight legged, but he is certainly not a beast! But Raize is a beast, so you can call him that.”
GRRRR.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding!” I found myself instantly pinned to the ground by my brother’s monstrous Fenrir. His red mane shone in the sunlight, and his eyes gleamed with enjoyment. He wasn’t the stereotypical Fenrir. He was good-hearted and adventurous, not dark and heartless, although his mean-looking demeanor would scare people that he didn’t know or didn’t want to know him.
“Come on, Zinnia. Get on Chrysanthemum. Let’s go. “
I effortlessly swung onto my pal’s back.
I turned Hercules back in the direction that we came: towards home. We made our way across the hillsides until we could see our home from the peak. The marble walls and high towers weren’t exactly welcoming. Everyone I knew envied the fact that I lived there, when all I could do was wish I didn’t.
“Yo’re so fortunate to live in a castle!” Some said.
Others said, “I just wish I could be as skilled at hunting as you are! You’re only that skilled because you’re in the royal family! “
Yes. I was the elf princess ;so was Zinnia. Unlike your world, the princes and princesses here aren’t spoiledbrats. Sure, we are given a life of privilege and opportunity, but comfort isn’t everything our life is about. I’m an esteemed archer. Most elves, if they are handy with a weapon, are handy with a bow. I’m not bragging, but I was one of the best in the kingdom, Argas. My father told me that one day, I would lead the elves into battle and be victorious; I couldn’t wait for the day that we would bring the dark elves down.
They would fall, and I would help.
“Shalako!”
I was brought back to reality by my brother’s cry piercing the air. A lower hanging branch threatened to knock me off of Hercules. I ducked just in the nick of time.
ROARR!!!
I turned my head around, trying to match a creature with the sound, and in the process, almost causing my Sleipnir to fall. But that was the least of my problems
“Oh no.” I whispered.
A black and tan beast emerged from the bushes, confirming my suspicion.
“Where have you been!?”
I leaped off of Hercules and made my way to the Griffin. His fur was soft, as always, and I could feel his eyes on me. On top of the beast, sat my betrothed, Thomnas Rye. He was from our sister kingdom, Shenadon. When I was young, I was promised to Thomnas to make a pact between the kingdoms.
“I-I” I began.
He cut me off. “you were supposed to meet me for lunch in Shenadon an hour ago!”
“If you can’t be dependable, then how are you supposed to make a good queen?”
That was how our relationship was. I did something, and he lectured me about it. Then I argued and he threatened to punish me. Sounds more like my father, doesn’t he?
“And how can my parents get to know you if you’re never around? They have to like you if we are to get marri-” The tips of my ears began to burn, as they always did when I became angry. Sometimes, I blew my top and let all the anger out. This was one of those times.
“I don’t like this engagement any more than you do! And who cares if I make a good queen if I’m married to you? You will be just as controlling as you are now! I won’t have a-”
The air wooshed in front of my face when Thomnas raised his hand. I stopped in mid-sentence.
Thomnas!” My brother came between us. “Why would you do that? What’s wrong with you? “ My twin brother was born just after I was, and I couldn’t help but feeling guilty. He wouldn’t be king. He loved me, regardless, and protected me in every way he could.
“no.” I whispered. “No, he’s never hit me.”
It was almost true. He’d hit me a few times, when it was the only way to get me to shut up. I knew he hit hard, and I usually stopped before he had to.
I felt my brother’s curious eyes on me, then he slowly moved away from us.
“Come on, Shalako. “ Thomnas gripped my arm and pulled me toward his Griffin. I pulled away and ran for Hercules.
“Fine!” he exclaimed. “Just wait and see what your father says!”
I stopped for a moment, but then kept going.
“I don’t care what he thinks!”
Zinnia suck her tongue out at Thomnas while We jumped on our animals. We finally began to gain distance between us and the one people call my boyfriend. Ugh. My father had told me that I would fight the dark elves when I was a little girl. But now, I was betrothed to a jerk. There wasn’t much chance that I would go to battle if I was married to him. I was determined to know which one I would do.
“Father!” I dashed into the castle gates, leaving Hercules to my brother’s care.
“Why, Shalako, what is it?” He turned his attention from sharpening his knife to me.
“Do you remember when you told me that I would battle against the dark elves?”
He nodded.
“And do you remember when you told me that I was betrothed?”
He nodded again.
“You’re my father, and you’re the one making the choice. If I marry him, I won’t be given the chance to fight. If I fight, I won’t be marrying him. Which is it?”
I looked at him expectantly.
“Shalako.” his hand encased mine. “ It’s your duty as princess to make a pact between the kingdoms. “
“It’s also my duty to fight the dark elves!”
“Sweetie. I know you don’t want to marry-”
I pulled my hand from his. “Don’t even talk to me!!”
“Shalako, wait!” He rushed after me, but I ran to my room. The door rattled against the force I used to shut it.
“Shalako, you come out here right now!” His voice rang louder than I had ever heard it.
“I’m not coming out! I’m never coming out! “
“Or what?” I smacked the door. Blood ran all over my white robe.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” My sister’s voice entered the scene.
“Zinnia, just go practice some archery with Fraer. Don’t come back in until supper. Your practicing time has been reducing lately. The footsteps faded and I knew my father was the only one outside my door.

“Shalako Shara Lotus, you come out here or-”
“ Or you’ll make me marry Thomnas? Or you’ll have me killed? Please, do the latter.”
I heard a thump on the floor.
“Dad?”
“Shalako..” he whispered. His quiet wimpers broke the silence. The wimpers turned to small sobs.
“Shalako, you’re so much like Camellias. Strong, independent, beautiful…”
I sank down onto the floor as I listened to him despair.
“And… and I hate doing this to you… but I promised you to Thomnas when you were born… I’m sorry..”
My angered transformed to sadness. The world became blurry and I felt tears running down.
“So, when you told me that I would battle the dark elves, that I would be a legend, it was all a lie?” I whispered.
“No, Shalako, no! “ he exclaimed, “ Thomnas’s father and I were best friends in childhood. he’s was a nice man, and I assumed he would raise an excellent son, who was three when you were born. But, it turns out.. I have promised you to the devil himself!”
I stood up and wiped the tears off of my face. I turned the knob, to see my father curled up in the same position as I had been.
“Daddy. “ I sat down and hugged him. I felt his arms wrap around me in the way they did when I was a little girl.
“I’m so sorry. I’ve been so awful to you.” I tried to keep my voice even, but my sobs were too strong
He kissed my hair.
“It’s okay sweetie. You have every right to be. I made a mistake, and you have to pay for it with your life. “
I wiped the tears off my face and stood up. “Well, I have to live with it, so there’s no use whining about it. I won’t let him make me be helpless and submissive. “
He smiled at me and stroked my hair. “That’s my girl. Just like her mom. “ I smiled again.

From what I had been told, my mother was a wonderful she-elf. She had been beautiful, sincere, compassionate, happy, encouraging and strong. She had her own opinions and didn’t back down from them.
It warmed my heart to know that my father thought that I was like her.
“Are you ready for supper, my dear?” he asked me. I nodded vigorously and we raced down the hallway.













 

M. Cull

Senior Member
Hi there.

So after reading your story, I have a few things to tell you. Be warned, some will be fun to hear, others not so pleasant. But all are meant to help.

The good:

1) You've described the conflicts pretty effectively. That can be difficult to do, but from your text it's very apparent. Conflict 1: the dark elves are evil, and must be vanquished. Conflict 2: Not in love with my betrothed - I'm a princess destined for glory in battle, but I'm betrothed to a jerk who probably won't help me make my dreams come true. Conflict 3: Duty vs. Dreams - do I do what's right for the kingdom and go through with this marriage? Or do I ditch duty, swear off the betrothal, and go off and do my own thing?

2) I can tell that you enjoy what you wrote, and that you can really see it. If you're serious about turning this beginning into a book, that passion will prove useful during the parts of the book that are really hard to write (because they're boring, or complicated, or whatever).

What needs work:

1) Your narrative voice. What I mean is, the way you try to get your reader to see the same things you do when you think about your story. Sometimes I felt confused about what exactly you meant. Such as:
A) In the whole section from 'The rush, the adrenaline, the freedom!' to 'I effortlessly swung onto my pal’s back.' I had no idea who or what these names belonged to. Hercules, the Sleipnir means nothing at all to me; I don't know what you mean by "Touche;" I don't know if the fenrir refers to the gigantic wolf from norse mythology or is something of your own invention; and so on. Again, I see plainly that you feel the scene, that you can see it in your head. But you need to give that to us as readers. Let us know what a Sleipnir looks like, or the eight-legged beast. Give us an idea of what happened when she said "touche." Basically, help me to see what you're seeing, not just read about it.
B) The relationship between Shalako and her father seems kind of overplayed. Specifically, his reaction to her anger about Thomnas struck me as artificial and too much, with him collapsing on the floor in sobs and telling her she was "so much like Camellias. Strong, independent, beautiful…" You have to give your readers a chance to get to know these people before a scene like that will make sense. Again, help us to see the pain Shalako's father still endures at the loss of his wife and Shalako's mother, don't just pass it off and assume we'll understand. Let us see for ourselves how strong and independent Shalako is before her father says it so that we can agree with him. And so on.

2) Your pacing: I understand that your idea at the beginning of the story was to get the reader right into it, with action, movement, dialogue. But more than anything I felt lost. I think what will help you would be to slow down a little bit, and use transitions. Help your reader make Shalako's journey from wherever they were in the beginning of the story to the castle where she has her conversation with her father.


CONCLUSIONS: You have the bones of an interesting story here, one that you're interested in yourself (which is incredibly important, by the way), but you need to work on taking that awesome scene/creature/weapon/whatever that you're seeing in your head when you right this stuff, and putting it into your story so that your reader can see it, too. And whatever else happens, keep writing!

Hope that helps.

M. Cull
 

Aiyooona

Senior Member
Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate that you didn't hold back. Thanks for that. I am currently working on trying to paint that picture in the readers mind. I'll post changes ASAP! Thanks again!
 

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