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for A Tale of Spells and Tribulations

8/4/2010 c1 4lookingwest
...over the cart, landed on his feet and continued to run.

-Style Edit: would add comma after "feet"

The man groaned, 'please your nobleness...'

-Edit: capitalize "p" of "please"

'...all that chipper either,' retorted Reyer,

-Style Edit: would replace "retorted" with "said"

-Edit: period instead of comma after "Reyer"

"Whatever," said Reyer.

-Edit: you've started to use the more common double quotation marks for quoting dialogue here. I'm a little confused because you were using the single quotations before this point, and that usually indicates that the story is being told by an outside narrator-since you started with "once upon a time" that made sense to me, but now I'm just thrown off by the addition of the double quotations. Make sure that you stay consistent with your formatting because it can disrupt the flow of the writing itself

That explains Annika's mood, Raoul pondered.

-Style Edit: since we're in third person and this is an inner thought, I would suggest italicizing Raoul's thoughts

Everyone around the castle knows...

-Edit: "knows" should be "knew"

...time means hell for all in contact with them.

-Edit: "means" should be "meant"

"...He wants to see you in the hall,"

-Edit: would replace comma with period

Raoul muttered his thanks...

-Edit: would start new paragraph here

I liked your opening because it had me wondering what was going to happen, XD. Bless you for not putting the dream in italics, because I think that gave a good trick effect for the reader, where they were thinking it was too good to be true too-it had the feeling of a dream. I thought your transition was unique, though I've never woken from a dream like that before, in that sense, of having the princess tell him to "get up" inside the dream so it becomes lucid, it felt a tad cartoonish to me. Otherwise though, it was a great way to introduce us to Raoul.

The dialogue was believable to me, it seemed like the right age for the characters. There wasn't a lot of description of the setting described after Roaul woke from his dream, and that I think, quickened the pace of the first chapter with the incorporation of the dialogue. I liked how you portrayed the relations between brother and sister, and you did that through the dialogue. The only real description I found of the setting, the room, the castle (?) and even his bedroom, was just the fact that he dressed with some grey breeches and a ragged tunic. I would have liked to have seen more on that front.

Overall I enjoyed it though, and I think you've perked my interest about the prince and all, I'm wondering where you'll take this and how it will set itself apart from others in the genre-or at least, I'm really excited to see your incorporation of the fantasy elements!
4/28/2010 c1 6notveryalice
- Opening

I wasn't hooked immediately by this beginning because there was nothing original about it; it wasn't clichéd, exactly, but I steeled myself for yet another plot I couldn't care less about. You're sneaky! Even though the "it was all a dream" is a well-used trope, you made clever use of it. I regained full confidence in you after the "bread and cheese" line.

I would consider making the beginning so over the top you can hardly bear to write it; this grabs the reader's attention in a "no way would she write that" way, and makes it more likely they'll reach the part where the story starts getting down to business.

I love "tripping straight into his arms", which cracked me up.

- Dialogue

Informality between young people is always good in a historical/fantasy novel, lest the author be caught up in flowery prose where flowery prose is simply unrealistic. However, phrases like "your ugly butt", "that was so funny I forgot to laugh" and "whatever" are just so day-to-day that they completely undo my suspension of disbelief.

- Relationships

The sibling relationships in this short extract do seem a little forced... Pouring water over someone's head is a bit extreme. I'd either shake his shoulder a bit or sit on the edge of the bed and say his name, even if I were in a bad mood. If I were in a really bad mood, I might yell his name from the doorway.

I also think that if you changed the dialogue a bit (as above), the relationships might benefit - at the moment part of the stiffness is because the dialogue sounds a little odd.

- Writing

Try to avoid sentences constructed like this one:

"Leaning down to pick up a bag, the hero handed it to the onlooking maiden, who gazed at him with admiration."

The main subject-verb pairing of an independent clause is the heaviest object in a sentence of any language; in English, we usually prefer that verb to be as far front as possible. I don't mean as far front as possible when considering word count; what I mean is that English speakers tend to like an "anchor" of sorts to hold a sentence down before they consider clauses that are dependent on that anchor.

So, for example, your sentence has this basic structure:

dependent clause, main independent clause, dependent clause

It sounds a bit better like this:

"The hero, leaning down to pick up a bag, handed it to the maiden, who gazed at him in admiration."

This is because the sentence is now structured like this:

main independent clause (dependent clause inside), dependent clause

I hope that's not confusing!

- Spelling/Grammar

I noticed a few minor mistakes:

1. "Surrender, vermin and I may just spare your life" = "Surrender, vermin, and I may just spare your life"

2. "The man groaned, 'please your nobleness' " = "The man groaned, 'Please, your nobleness' "

3. "'Now it's time to wake up,' her breath suddenly smelled of stale bread and cheese." = " 'Now it's time to wake up,' she said. Her breath smelled of stale bread and cheese." (I would also strike out the "suddenly" in this revision, but that's stylistic, not grammatical.)

4. "'What?' he asked confused." = "'What?' he asked, confused."

5. "Cold and foul smelling water poured over Raoul's head, 'NOW!' shouted his older sister" = "Cold and foul smelling water poured over Raoul's head. [new paragraph, perhaps]'Now!' shouted his older sister" (Again, I took out the all caps for stylistic reasons, not grammatical ones.)

6."'Someone's not a morning person.' he huffed grumpily." = " 'Someone's not a morning person,' he huffed grumpily."

7. "'What good part?' Asked his twin brother, Reyer" = "'What good part?' asked his twin brother, Reyer"

8. "Raoul jumped in fright, 'None of your business, why is Annika in such a huff today?'" = "Raoul jumped in fright. 'None of your business. Why is Annika in such a huff today?'"

9. "retorted Reyer," = "retorted Reyer."

10. "Our darling 'prince' wants to see you immediately, he has company, again," he said." = "Our darling 'prince' wants to see you immediately. He has company again," he said."

11. "'He wants to see you in the hall," = "'He wants to see you in the hall."

12. "Raoul jumped out of bed and threw on the first thing that he touched, a clean but ragged tunic and grey breeches." = "Raoul jumped out of bed and threw on the first thing that he touched: a clean but ragged tunic and grey breeches."

Colons are demonstrative.

- Word Choice

"That explains Annika's mood, Raoul pondered." = "That explains Annika's mood, Raoul thought."

To ponder an issue requires that the person pondering not being sure about their opinion on the matter, or not being sure about the truth of the matter. Use "thought" here.

- Enjoyment

It's far too early to tell whether I'm going to enjoy the entire story, but I did very much like the switch you pulled on me at the beginning. Very clever.
8/7/2009 c4 2dragonflydreamer
Aw, the woman seems so sweet. Someting tells me she's a twisted old coot, though. "Don’t worry about it yet, dearie, I’ll ask you when the time comes."...Nice foreshadowing there.

Overall, this is a pretty good piece so far. The pace is a bit fast to digest-it would help a lot to slow things down more. Already, we know the main character, his love interest, his rival, and his route of overcoming it. Adding more description could help, and also adding some subplots and twists to keep it from being so direct.

But on the plus side, it is an interesting premise, and some good characters to convey it. Raoul is a great main character. He's such a wimp that the readers automatically find themselves sympathizing with him.

Good luck with the rest of this :)

~Sparkles from the Review Marathon (link in profile)
8/7/2009 c3 dragonflydreamer
I like the introduction of Melanie. She seems like a good sidekick. Maybe she'll help the poor guy grow a spine, haha.

I've been noticing that you use adverbs a lot after dialogue. Try to avoid that as it becomes annoying to readers. Instead, you can show actions that demonstrate their mood.
8/7/2009 c2 dragonflydreamer
I don't like how you started off the chapter with so much description. A lot of that could be gathered through action and dialogue without having to take up so much space to explain it.

I do like the description of Belle, though. It's exsessive, but its fitting since it's the way that Raoul views her.

Speaking of Raoul, I'm liking him so far. He seems so pathetic, haha. I assume this is leaving room for some good character development as this progresses.
8/7/2009 c1 dragonflydreamer
Ah, I love the name Raoul! Not really for any reason related to your story, but it remind me of The Phantom of the Opera, and that equals instant happy! ^^;

I like the start of it. At first, I thought the whole "valient prince" thing was overdoing it, but then it turned out to be a dream. That was effective in establishing his social status without having to say it.

Interesting premise. Kind of like a reverse Cinderella, haha. I'd like to see where this goes.

~Sparkles from the Review Marahon (link in profile)
4/24/2009 c2 7Duckies
Hi! I really liked this chapter because it had a lot of description and really gave us some insight into your characters.

Okay, just a few grammatical errors and/or suggestions:

"He held a grudge for a long time" - change to: 'he held grudges for a long time'

"Raoul was sick of the constant punishments he received and the pathetic excuses that the lords’ son made for them but knew that if he complained to the lord he would most definitely lose out to the son." - This lines sounds really awkward (yes, I know I wrote it and all that, but it's crappy imo anyway xD) Not sure what to change it to, maybe just split it and chuck in a couple of synonyms?

"“Enter” said the younger lord called out," - redundant repition. Change to 'the younger lod called out' - see if you can find any other terms for 'lord' because we seem to use it quite often.

"whenever important guests were present;" - change to 'whenever there were important guests', or something similar. Just shorten it so that the story doesn't dag on too much.

"along with the most beautiful" - change to ' next to the most beautiful' - I'm a nit-pick, I know, but whatever :p

"Raoul bowed as low as custom allowed to both nobles and waited for instructions." - may want to ennunciate the difference between his bows more - he practically kisses the floor for the girl and barely even nods for Malvern.

"Although, it isn’t like Malvern to try." to 'But then again, it wasn't exactly like Malvern to try' - that way I think it flows better and also keeps you in the proper past tense instead of jumping from past to present.

"“Father tells me you are quite an excellent runner so from now onwards you shall be running messages and errands for my darling sweetheart.” Malvern looked at his guest with a smile that made him seem ill."" change to: ' Father tells me you are quite an excellent runner, so from now onwards you shall be carrying messages and errands to my darling sweetheart" Malvern uttered the last with a smile to his quest that made him seem more constipated than happy. (Or something along those lines)

"to carry out her orders, yes?”" change the yes to an indeed, it gives off a higher air of superiority.

"nobles’" Singular, so it should be "noble's"

"The please made no difference, this beautiful maiden has manners but she is still a Lady." - 'The please made no difference; the beautiful maiden may have manners, but she is still a lady'

"“What is your name?” She asked gently. Oh no, Raoul thought. He tried to answer her; he really did but simply couldn’t, and almost choked himself in the process. Anabelle smiled at him. He swallowed his heart which had chosen that very inconvenient moment to try and escape out through his throat. Raoul opened his mouth, uttered a small mouse like squeak and suddenly imagined himself as a fish. Held out of water, suffocating in the air, he as a human needed to survive. He closed his mouth. Her smile widened to a very unladylike grin." - Lurve it xD Add a comma after his heart - Really liked the 'held out of water' line, it was very poetic :)

"mouth, “m-milady" change to: 'mouth. 'M-milady..'

Btw, I thank a term other than rolling on the floor should be used, I doubt her reaction would be THAT extreme :P

"he would get, he had just.." - 'he would get - he had only just..'

"Maybe a month or so of isolation will help." change to: 'Perhaps a month of isolation would help."

I quite like the paragraph preceeding this line, but it is missing a few commas."

You don't have to change anything you don't want to, but they're just a couple of thoughts :)

- Beatrice (I'm doing the Review Marathon! Check out the link in my profile :D)
3/14/2009 c3 9Narq
Hmm. i take back the part where I said the repetition at the start wasn't annoying. Frankly, it does get a little irratating what every chapter starts with a sentence and is repeated.

Otherwise, good chappy~

3/14/2009 c2 Narq
I reckon you did a good job describing the son. I really dislike him - you put in a lot of emotive language and it worked miracles for you.

Are you not continuing with the story or is it already finished?

3/13/2009 c1 Narq
This seems to be an interesting story but you've repeated 'once apon a time ago' twice which kinda doesn't fit. I could hazard a guess that this is fictionpress at work here because I used to get double first lines too.

Good chapter.

12/3/2008 c4 3Vinc3nt
Haha, nice story. You and your friend are DEFINETELY talented. The whole story was excellent...oh wait there's more? Hehe, I knew that. Yay, I finally did get to read the story that you kept from me, though hurry up and post the other chapters. Good job B&E.

From "V"

Ps. I wasn't being sarcastic, just exaggerating like. :P
11/30/2008 c1 7Duckies
Hehe, very nice.

Whoever wrote most of this story must be very talented. Especially whoever came up with the main beginning and plot line. *wink* Wow, I'm just so impressed, I can't believe how well you and your friend worked together to create such a masterpiece. Your friend must be some amazing author. But not the fat bride one. The French one.

Dear anyone reading this: no, I am not crazy, merely speaking in code.. kind of.


anyway, nice work E :D
9/10/2008 c4 1Wallflower.x
Really good chapter.

I really cannot wait to read more.

I think the story line seems really interesting!
9/2/2008 c3 1HisFiestyBeauty
Awesome chapters! I cant wait to read more chapters! I cant wait to see where it goes!
9/2/2008 c3 1Wallflower.x
I liked this chapter alot.

I like that we met Raoul's friend.

I can't wait to read more.

and yay, thanks for mentioning me in your authors note! :) and i've squealed a few times when people have reviewed my story too ;).
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