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for To Sleep Perchance to Dream

2/28/2013 c1 1Cinnamon Shards
I really like your attention the detail -I found the bit about the flowers being crushed underfoot and scenting the air especially clever. Nothing is more off putting to me than a half dozen chunky paragraphs of exposition right at the beginning of a novel, so I'm very glad that you kept this prologue light and centred on the characters. Having someone interesting to follow right away made it much more engaging.

This portion is a little short, so I'm going to go ahead and read chapter one before I get too wordy, but be assured that I'm quite enjoying myself.
2/28/2013 c23 5Dr. Self Destruct

[ Every few steps Aurelia winched and cried out in pain. ]

typo: - winced.

[She gritted her teeth and hissed, "it feels like he's between my legs." She cried out, shaking her head when her mother tried to coax her, "I can't move."]

Punctuation should be formatted like this:

"She gritted her teeth and hissed. "It feels like he's between my legs," she cried out, shaking her head when her mother tried to coax her. "I can't move.""

["When you were born your father was so proud," she tied the opposite end to the bed post, ]

Comma after "proud" should be a period.

[He had died with his eyes open, that same fleeting and desperate look that he had given Brynhild moments before she plunged the blade in was locked onto his face as though even in death he was seeking reassurance.]

This sentence is kind of confusing because of all the movement. Maybe break it into two sentences or tighten the wording.

[Brynhild stammered, she began to mutter inarticulately.]

"Brynhild stammered, and she began to mutter inarticulately." - The "and" keeps this from being a run-on sentence.

["Yes," she smiled when Aurelia's mouth opened at her mother revelation.]

- "Yes." She smiled when Aurelia's mouth opened at her mother's revelation."

Scene: I think you do a really good job with this scene where Aurelia is having the baby. It's very suspenseful, and highly emotional. I don't really know all that much about childbirth, but it seems real enough to me, haha. And I think Byrnhild actually fulfills a really great role here, helping Aurelia deliver her child... no matter if Brynhild is absolutely crazy and seems intent on stealing the baby. Everything felt so cinematic, and I could picture it really easily in my head.

Pacing: The way you broke up the dialogue and action with Aurelia's contractions was really cool. I think it really evens out the pacing and gives the entire proceedings a nice rhythm. I think the scene lasted just as long as it needed to, as well. We get some more plot development near the end, and character development at the middle/beginning. Those large paragraphs with Brynhild talking about delivering Oren were a nice break away from the scene, too, and I don't think they lingered too long at all although the paragraphs were rather large. It was all interesting information and back story. I'm really sad to see Oren is truly dead, though. :(

Dialogue: While I did like those large paragraphs, I feel like maybe taking out some of the speaker/action tags in the first one while Brynhild is talking might be something to consider. I don't think you need all of them because the dialogue itself carries it's own weight and delivers the emotion in Brynhild's voice. You could even work her actions into the dialogue if you wanted to, using Brynhild to kinda narrate what she and Aurelia is doing while she's talking. I hope that makes sense... like, Byrnhild telling Aurelia "No, sit up straighter. Breath." stuff like that while she's talking about Frederick or whatever. But, I mean, that's really minor stuff - the dialogue itself is great just like the other chapters.
2/28/2013 c3 2MariaHarundinis
I really like this 'background' to the fairy tale: it's a great concept. The way you portray both women in this chapter is really interesting I think. You really give the queen a personality, she's not just a random character that's simply there and will be killed, which will be great in later chapters when Brynhild will indeed carry out her plans and you will feel somehow connected to her - I'm sure the murder will have much more effect like that: you'll really experience it as a reader, not just something that had to happen for the plotline. (So I'm curious to see if it will indeed be like that, or if you have done something completely different with it!)
The shift from the conversation to Brynhild's thoughts worked really well. It really develops Brynhild's character, and it's very interesting to be inside her head through it all.
Looking forward to reading more!
2/28/2013 c7 9Infected Beliefs
I like the idea of a Tomb of Queens, which seems a novelty to me. It makes complete sense, I am just used to thinking about Royal Mausoleums, Barrows of Kings, and the like. I had never considered a separate burial site for the female royalty.

Brynhild, I feel, is acting in character in this chapter; she has been psychotic, secretly sociopathic, and dangerously obsessed since chapter one. The King, on the other hand, I feel is not acting in a believable fashion. His wife, who he professed to love very much, is only two days dead. He is clearly still in shock. And yet, despite this, he allows Brynhild to verbally molest him, half make-out with him, and then lets her off with a little push and a stern talking to? Like she was some annoying kid? He is the KING, he doesn't need to explain himself to his servants, no matter how many times he fucked them.

Out of place though it may seem (to me) your dialogue flows very well in this scene, especially near the end. I love the idea of Brynhild losing her shit and coming up with all manner of excuses and explanations. It really plays towards her egotism.

I like Brynhild (and please! PM me with how to pronounce her name!) or at least, I like that I don't like her, if that makes any sense. However, I am starting to tire of her. You have the King, though he is somewhat of a static character, and you have Oren, who is hardly an engaging member of the small cast. Other than that, the cast of characters is fairly thin and I am starting to crave some more meaningful interaction. Byrnhild has no friends, it seems, and no acquaintances that she will say more than a word or two to. Maybe that is just her character, which is fine, but are there no other prominent figures within the castle? A minstrel, perhaps? A persistent suitor (she has the looks to capture the eyes of the King, after all)? Another childhood friend of she and Frederick's? Someone who is suspicious of her to create some conflict? Maybe something will come up soon.

I will read more when I have the chance, but until then...

Good Luck to you and your writing!

2/28/2013 c6 Infected Beliefs
[...quickly lighting the single candle kept by her bed side.] - You probably don't need to add this as most people would probably read over it without a second thought, but my mind instantly jumped to the question of "how?" She has no lighters. Matches weren't invented yet (though in your world it can be however you like, of course). Most often, medieval residents would keep low burning hearths in their rooms for the sake of lighting (through tinder wicks), cooking, and heating. Often they just worked in the dark.

[She had never seen the poison's effect before.] - Er, didn't she see the girl, Meg, from the previous chapter in much the same condition after she drank the poisoned water/mead?

Well that was a dramatic death, though I suppose in a Fable that is the way things are. All is as it should be. The wicked prosper.

Brynhild is really kind of...thick? In the head. Or maybe she just completely and utterly fails to understand the emotions of anyone around her. She tries to engage the King in conversation within a minute of his wife dying, in front of a large number of nursemaids and whatnot. Then she has the gal to not only call him by his first name (which a servant should never do) but also to TALK BACK and SECOND GUESS him after he has instructed her on what to do. On top of all that, she does "not understand why [Oren] doesn't believe her" that his mother is not just sleeping! Can we say narcissistic? Egocentric?

I feel like I am watching/reading a Disney princess film, with what I have read so far being the the little prologue/intro part about how the princess came to be cursed, or living with her evil stepmother, or held prisoner in a tower by a witch. Only, instead of this being the princesses story, it is the witches! Sort of like the Disney version of "Wicked."

I cannot decide whether I will be happy if she dies at the very end of your story or if I will be disappointed, as I have grown quite attached over the years to the idea that "Often, Evil does prevail."
2/28/2013 c5 Infected Beliefs
Your writing style is archaic, which is good given the setting of your story, but it is modern enough not to blow over the heads of your average twenty first century reader. Many writers on this site write medieval-esque fiction with completely contemporary diction and it drives me up the walls. It is a welcome relief, a breath of fresh air to read well written, unpublished fiction.

Er, it seems kind of disgusting to me that the Queen would drink mead that has been sitting out all day, although I suppose their ideas of what was tolerable and not tolerable were different in medieval periods. Still though, have you ever accidentally taken a sip of a half finished beer that had been sitting out all day/night? Raunchy. And this is the King and Queen we are talking about; the would merit the highest quality for everything.

[She could tell in her husband's face that he was worried.] - This seems like an abrupt perspective jump to me. One minute, we are viewing the scene from the perspective of Brynhild hiding behind the tapestry, then suddenly we have this brief glance into the Queens mind, then three lines later we are back to Brynhild. Why not say that Brynhild could tell, from the King's facial expression, that he was worried? It provides the same information, and the same effect, without the perspective reversal. Just a thought.

[The initial cry of her pleasure, hear from across the room, was deafening to Brynhild.] - I believe you meant "heard from across the room" rather than "hear from across the room." Little things.

You write very good love scenes, by the way. They remind me of the writing of Laurell K Hamilton, if you have heard of her, though slightly less violent. K though? :P

Your story is fantasy/romance, but I think you should add horror to the list. Brynhild is really starting to frighten me. I am getting a "Fatal Attraction" vibe from her that is difficult to shake.
2/28/2013 c4 Infected Beliefs
Starting off with small, little things:

[None of the other girls who were busy with their own work noticed or cared what she was doing.] - You need a comma or a dash between "girls" and "who" and than another respective punctuation mark between "work" and "noticed."

I am curious; you address the possibility of Brynhild's poison seeping through the queen's skin and harming the child. This I find rather unlikely (not that Brynhild wouldn't worry about it, but about the likelihood of it actually happening). what I do question is whether or not the poison would seep through into the breast milk. Whether or not anyone IN THE STORY would consider this possibility is neither here nor there, but it is an interesting thing to think about in regards to the future development of Princess Aurelia (though considering I am twenty-eight chapters behind you have probably already passed the point of relevancy for this).

Really good twist with Prince Oren spilling all of the Queen's mead. Good or bad, it is always more entertaining to see things not go according to plan for your main characters. That should put a frustrating kink in Brynhild's plan (though I doubt for long).

[Brynhild didn't chase after him. Neither caring, or worrying about what kind of mischief he might get himself into. His tutors would eventually find him and Oren would then become their responsibility, not hers.] - She really is a terrible nursemaid, though little actions like this really help to paint this picture of a somewhat psychotically obsessed, spurned lover. She obviously cares only for the King, and not at all for the rest of the Royal family (the Queen was a given but were she somewhat good she might have held a little sympathy for the rest of the family).

Good use of Meg's daughter to play up sympathy. Children always evoke sympathy from the reader. It also speaks towards just how far Brynhild is willing to go in this scheme of hers. She doesn't care who becomes collateral.

[Brynhild smiled at the Queen, and did what she was told.] - This line gave me shivers; it is simple and downright creepy. I find that short, abrupt sentences often have the greatest emotional impact on me.

On a side note, Brynhild's name reminds me of Broomhilda from Django Unchained (if you have seen it) every time I read it. Not her character, just the name. Nuf said, on to the next.
2/27/2013 c22 5Dr. Self Destruct
I like that little hint you give at the beginning with the shovel leaning against the barn. I think it's a nice way to foreshadow what happened to Oren, whether or not it's true. The shovel is obviously supposed to give me the impression that Brynhild killed Oren and used it to bury him, but I'm not 100% sure she actually killed him. Pretty sure she did, but I'm in that state of mind where I won't be too surprised if he pops up again, somehow escaping her the night before. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my end.

Ah, so her agreeing to stay with Brynhild was just a lie. I'm glad that clears that up, because Aurelia lost so much face in my eyes when she did that to poor Oren.

I like the descriptions you give at the end of the chapter regarding Aurelia's pregnancy. The image of the skin over her belly being taught and the bulge being lower than the night before really appeals to the senses of sight and touch. And I think it's a good way to show she's about to have the baby rather than just saying she's going into labor. Just like the previous chapter, this is a great cliff-hanger, too.
2/27/2013 c21 Dr. Self Destruct
Similar to the scene where Byrnhild has Oren down on the ground kicking him in the barn, I'm not too convinced she'd be able to overpower him so easily. Maybe if she caught him by surprise, but she's talking to him face-to-face and standing right in front of him. Oren's been to the city and isn't completely naive, so I imagine he'd know to back away from her or keep his distance through past experiences of almost being mugged or something. It's described that she stabs him "slowly," too, so I don't know if I believe that Oren wasn't able to move or at least fight back before she got the knife into his stomach. Maybe playing more on Oren's size compared to hers or something will make that more believable, I don't know. Or if Brynhild somehow blinded him with something... you mention the herbs and stuff in the beginning, and how Brynhild knows what herbs are poisonous, so maybe she grinds some up and throws them in his face? Just some ideas. The way things are now, it just seems way too easy for her and the plot.

I like the interaction between them, though. There's a lot of suspense. I didn't actually expect Brynhild to stab him because he's Frederick's child and still has some of Frederick in him, so it was a nice surprise when she did. It's also a nice cliff-hanger; I want to know if she finishes him off, if he somehow escapes, or if Aurelia walks up and saves him.
2/27/2013 c2 2MariaHarundinis
ooh, I love your writing style! Your descriptions are so wonderful to read. You really manage to paint a picture with your words, and I absolutely love it! Your prologue was nice and descriptive and really sets the mood, and in this chapter you managed to give a pretty good idea of your characters' personalities. I'm not the biggest fan of romance stories, but so far I really like this one! I will certainly read more of it!
2/24/2013 c3 9Infected Beliefs
I thought I'd get a few chapters in before I dropped you a review.

[The house maids scattered herbs and sundry flowers underneath the long tables in the great hall, so that once crushed under foot the scent would waft up at the King's guests. The commotion within the castle had been deafening at times, but Brynhild, at ease in her solitude, kept to her tasks. First she pulled the necessary ingredients up from the garden, gathering handfuls of fennel and sage for the roasting pork. The onions in the garden were as big as her closed fist and she gathered as many as she could into a wicker basket for the boiling pot. Then Brynhild scored an ear of lettuce with her hunting knife until the leaves were as thin and small as eyelashes. She also crushed cinnamon and nutmeg into a marble mixing bowl and blended it into the pitchers of spiced wine. When she was finished she scattered lavender under her cot, and rubbed the remainder into her cupped hands, hoping that the smell would linger on her as the evening went on.] (Chapter 1/prologue) I'm drooling, and not because of the food you describe, but rather AT the way you describe it. Your attention to detail is absolutely fabulous, you should know, and sets your story far above the fictionpress norm.

Why is your prologue so short though? Ah, it kills me. It is so short and nothing really happens, other than an artfully done delivery of exposition. Your writing deserves better than that.

In chapter one, why is the Prince seated at a side table? Would it not be traditional for ALL of the royal family to be seated at the high table? Especially if he is the heir (which he may not be, maybe I just haven't gotten far enough into the chapter yet if that is the case). But still, even if he is not the heir, IMO he should be seated at the high table with the King.

Ah, young obsessed women in love, and my, isn't she persistent. Er...frighteningly persistent. Girl needs help.

[I know you and the King were once playfellows, as you and the Prince are now.] - (Chapter two/three) That is wrong on so many levels. I don't know whether to be horrified or amused.

Dun Dun Dun, and so the evil witch of the west was born. Nah but seriously, AWESOME WRITING. I am really enjoying everything in your story. The writing is good, the detail is good, the characters are good. My only point of contention is the length of the chapters, though honestly it has been nice to be able to tear through them so quickly.

Props, props, and more props.

Good Luck and Happy Writing,

2/23/2013 c32 5Persevera
I don't think I like Lisbet. It's telling that she seems to be more affectionate to Kaspar, the future king, than to her son. Her horror at seeing Brynhilde is understandable, but not necessarily her ranting when the woman was so old and frail. That's not to say that she can outlive her evil. It's an interesting area for drama and I look forward to more.
Poor Senora, so willing to accept her position as clandestine, lowly lover. Knowing how strong her and Ranulf's feelings are for each other, that's very sad and is another strike against Lisbet.
I love that Dirk will protect Bryn because of his devotion to Aurora.
At this point I'm really interested to see if Kaspar continues being the perfect suitor or if that will change. He seems to be isolating her from Bryn and it will be interesting to see how long he resists Aurora being right next door.
["It is there way. The old Duke—my uncle—was a cold man."]-their
2/23/2013 c2 3cocoidie-27
I won't comment too much on the plot as I'm not a fan of romance stories, but I will say that your characters seem to have a whole lot more depth than you usually get in this genre.

So far, I'm not a fan of Bryn though I do feel sorry for her. I think she is more than slightly deluded about her chances of a real relationship with the King. Your writing suggests she was just a teenage fling. At least, that is the impression I get from how you portray their interactions.

You made good use of your dialogue, the different personalities of your characters shone through, which made my inability to relate to Bryn clearer. I am just a very different personality. You wrote the prince perfectly, he was an obnoxious, spoilt little boy.

And now, because I'm a book editor in training, here are some speling/grammar/structure issues I came across in this chapter: (delete) [change/addition/suggestion] {comment}
. . . our honored liege lord and King!" (C)[c]ried Lord Guerin . . .
. . . he nodded his head in approval toward her. (After which)[Then] he raised his own glass and without words[,] marked a silent toast to her as well. . . .
. . . serve the young Prince a plate of umbel pie(. A)[, a] dish {a new sentence is generally a new thought but this was expanding/explaining the previous sentence so should be joined by a comma, not separated by a full stop}
. . . But despite the Prince's young age of four[,]( summers){unecessary} . . . word would reach his father[,] the King. . . . ((all be it)[albeit] a side table) . . .
. . . before Brynhild could stop him[,] Oren grabbed her by the hair . . . She was so stunned she couldn't grab (a )hold of him . . . The guests were ({or [otherwise occupied, so]}) oblivious . . .
. . . For the first time that evening[,] the King looked at Brynhild. When his eyes met hers she felt her entire body flutter, and she had to (contain)[keep] a dizzying gasp from escaping through her lips.
. . . right," he said, breaking away from her stare and turning back to his wife(,)."I think it's time that he retires to bed." {previous dialogue was a complete sentence, so although it ended with a comma, the new dialogue is a new sentence.}
. . . from her lap, gently, but forcibly[,] because he clung to her robes not wanting to go.
. . . Queen Aurorette turned back to her[, ready to ask if]( as though) Brynhild needed something else . . .
. . . In a few darkened corners[,] she saw some of the serving maids . . .
. . . She had concocted a mixture of herbs that she always kept in a (vile)[vial] tucked inside her skirts . . . It was not long (after entering his bedchamber that)[before] he (had )lazily drifted off to sleep . . .
. . . Many of her nights had been spent in [similar] ways( such as this). The waiting was (always)[made] bearable by the thought of Frederick . . .
When he finally did turn into the corridor[,] he didn't at first see her. The shadow(')s had lengthened since she'd stepped out of the boy[']s room and obscured her (there)[from view]. . . .
. . . her arms quickly encircling his neck, her (voice)[breath] hot against his ear. . . .
. . . In a single[,] quick motion she had his trousers unfastened . . . his red hair fell forward against his face(,) and Brynhild . . .
Still grasping onto him with one hand[,] she used her other . . .
. . . "You are no longer a child[,] Bryn(,) and I am no longer a boy." . . .
. . . he pushed her back against the wall forcibly, her head slamm[ed](ing) against the rough stone.
. . . She found herself wailing into the darkness, her damp cheek scratching against the (spackled)[speckled] stone . . .

Overall, I have to say that although your story description intrigues me, it is not for me. My dislike of romance, coupled with a main character that though well-written, I find not very likable, add to that the awkward phrasing you use at times and it all works against my ability to immerse myself in the story. In spite of this, I hope some of my comments have been at least a little helpful.
2/23/2013 c1 cocoidie-27
I like some of the imagery you use here, though some of your sentence structuring reads a little awkward. I am assuming once you get into the rythym of the story it will smooth out. I will also point out a small error in the second last paragraph because it jumped out at me: ranks of the King's soldier(')s bend... bend is a description not a possession.
Reading on...
2/18/2013 c21 8Adrenalin
So, that chapter is horrible for a reader who's gotten attached to your characters (the lovable ones at least). Reading it again made it worse. The first time I read it I actually thought that Brynhild would leave Oren alone after knifing him the first time, and that he would somehow make it, and I was so sad that she actually made sure he was dead. She should die burning on a stake (but hey, just an idea).

This chapter is important, I know, but I was disappointed that the PoV changed. For me, Part 1 belonged to Brynhild, and Part 2 to Aurelia, and it kinda bothered me that Brynhild was back here. But other than that, I loved it.
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