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for Black Ribbon

3/26/2013 c1 8Adrenalin
I'm not sure if I like your opening or not. On one hand I think it would be better to use something else, a saying that belongs only to your world, to start off and establish immediately that we are NOT in a normal one, but it also works because it's fun and since there are witches/sorceresses in your world, it also makes sense that they would have a similar expression (but only if witches are disliked or hated).

I like your characters, you make a very good job at establishing their different personalities early on. I liked that they had such an important age gap, and that Jascha was actually intending to make Marek his father-in-law. Marek is very interesting, I liked his point of view on his daughters and how he thought they would never bond. It gives us a first insight into their personalities without having ever seen them, and I think it was cleverly done.

As for the mood of this chapter, I didn't feel it was that well done compared to what you usually can do. I think you could establish something more creepy and worrying, especially considering the moods you manage to create in your poems :) I'd like to feel a bit more worried about Jascha and Marek here, because I don't put it past you to kill one of your characters in the very first chapter (that's a compliment, though it may not sound like it. I like authors who kill their characters, it ups the stakes), but here I never felt like they were in actual danger.

I really enjoyed the nymphlings though. They're original, interesting, and creepy (though more description might make them even more so). I'd like to see more of them.
3/24/2013 c1 4lookingwest
Opening - The first line was definitely a fun one, and you know me, at the mention of witches I was intrigued to read further, ha! I have to say that at first when Jascha brings up the Nymphlings, I thought he was just mentioning that they didn't like light in the context of them just perhaps being this harmless fae-like creature, so I didn't necessarily feel the threat right away. That later was resolved, but right off the bat I wasn't feeling much tension about what they were doing, other than there were men out in a forest walking around and talking with one another. I want to say your first line captured me, but I would've liked more of a sense of danger or fear in the atmosphere earlier on than when we get the mention of "if we make it through tonight" imparted to us through dialogue later - which I think is the first real moment I figured out they were in a dangerous situation.

Characters - I think you've created an interesting dynamic between Marek and Jascha. I like that Jascha is younger and you have that age gap kind of thing happening, that makes this close-narration from Marek unique. So far I don't think I have a favorite since it's so early in the story and anything could happen to them by chapter two, but I liked how you created a sense of community out of their exchange and also a way of life when you incorporated mentions of Marek's daughters and whether or not they're bonding-material. After reading your summary, I know of course that Taja wil become a main focus, so I'm curious to see what her reaction to this exchange with Jascha might be - and how she regards him. From the hints that were dropped, Marek makes his daughters seem like quite the handful. My curiosity was prompted by their discussion of the daughters.

Other/Descriptions of Creatures - I really liked what you did specifically with the setting towards the end regarding the Nymphlings in the trees and the creatures themselves. I could really get a good picture of the little monsters and the glowing eyes and stuff, which I thought was pretty creepy. At the same time - I feel like at the very end of this when the "climax" happens and Jascha is attacked by one of them, the opening chapter lost its spark because it seems like they just kind of stare at one another and then remark on how many there are. Plus, they just all retreat back to the village too. After talk like "if we don't survive the night" I was kind of expecting a really big fight sequence with these things running while and people dying everywhere in Nymphling battle - but eh, perhaps that will happen in chapter two. At any rate, I expected a bit more from the creatures to see their "danger" demonstrated, but what you did with having one of them land on Jascha also worked.

Enjoyment - I think I like this so far - it didn't really grab me into the story as much as I would've liked, but at the same time, I'm really intrigued by where you might take this story judging by the summary. I also did like your inclusion of the Nymphling creatures, and I'm curious to see what other monsters might infest this world. I enjoyed the dropping hints of the daughters too, like I mentioned, and I think this story has good potential for me to get entrapped in its world! Too early to tell at the moment though, but overall, I think this first chapter does give us as readers the correct cues of an unfolding fantasy story, and I'm looking forward to reading another one of your fictions besides To Sleep! Oh - and I also enjoyed the overall hinted setting of this forest-like community and the mention of the candles in the windows - beautiful moments here!
3/23/2013 c1 14emmadotlouise
I love your use of language. It's elegant, clean and easy to read. The way you craft sentences such as this: [Behind him Marek could see the small cabins only by the smoke that rose up from the chimneys. A few box windows held candles— including his own, where his daughters waited—but beyond that only the empty miles of black were visible.]

The image this evokes is stunning.

The way you narrate in third person, yet share multiple points of view... I never felt like I was getting lost with who I was trying to read as. The same goes for your pacing, it is neither too fast nor too slow and the way you show, not tell, works beautifully for your story.

I wish the chapter was longer or you had already uploaded more chapters because I envy your writing style and wish I knew where the story was headed. If you ever complete this, please get it published! I know it's only in its baby stages at the moment, but what you have thus far is extremely promising.
3/23/2013 c1 19Anihyr Moonstar
[This night is colder than a witch's tit, mused Marek as he and the other men made their way through the village toward the tree line that bordered the darkened forest.] Given that this is your first line not only for this chapter, but for the entire novel to follow, a lot of responsibility rests on it, and while it's not bad, I can't help but feel like you should avoid using a cliche phrase - obviously not of your own creation - in your kick off sentence. Ideally, you don't want to use cliche phrases anywhere in your text (particularly not a fantasy novel where one would expect the imagined world to have its own turns of phrase very different from our own), but it does become more important to set yourself apart when we're talking the first sentence in your entire project.

Other than that, though, I really like this opener chapter. I enjoy the premise presented in the summary (perhaps a *little* cliche with the concept of prophecies and chosen ones, but I can't really talk there, since I have been known to use the same concepts in my own writing ;]), and I am very curious to see how Jascha and Taja will interact as well as, assuming things go well, seeing what role Jascha plays in her destiny.

I enjoyed both of the characters that we met this chapter, Marek and Jascha, and it will be interesting to see their personalities expanded upon in later installments. As I said, Jascha in particular. He feels like a very interesting mixed basket so far - clearly Marek respects him and cares about him, so their relationship presumably goes a while back - Jascha is intelligent (one can assume, at least, if he is prone to "riddles" in his speech) though perhaps not the best fighter (guessing only from his one show down with the Nymphling). All of it makes me wonder more about him.

I think the aspects of world-building that you brought in were also nicely handled - the Nymphlings, the way Jascha describes their heritage (presumably dragons of days gone by?), etc. - and, again, it'll be neat to see how you expand upon all of it.

[Its frightening green eyes dilated wider from the light.] Dilated is usually used to describe pupils, and pupils tend to shrink, not grow wider, when faced with an increase in light. I don't know if these creatures even have pupils or not, but I figured I would at least mention that this sentence confused me a bit on the first read-through.

Nice job overall, though. I look forward to watching this grow into a full-fledged novel. :)

- Moonstar
3/23/2013 c1 8Sombrette
Opening: The very first thought Marek had was amusing and I thought it was a nice start to this story. The expansion on the setting was well done and I felt I could picture it easily. I also liked that we were dropped in right at the beginning of this hunt for the nymphlings, the build up to it worked well. Just the very top few paragraphs mentioned two different races: The witches and Nymphlings and I found my self curious as to how they would tie into the story.

Dialogue: You're dialogue is natural enough, it doesn't seem stiff given the setting and era of the story which is nice. I liked the conversation about Jascha asking for Marek's daughter, it left me wondering what was wrong with Linza since it kind of looked like it was hinting at something. Though, at times I felt like the dialogue tags you used were being used too often too closely. Especially 'he added'

["Aye," Marek added slowly. "If we make it out of this tonight you have my permission. Though be warned," he added quickly with ]

The dialogue has 'added' for a lot of the speaker tags around that area so I'd suggest using a different variation to avoid repetition.

Also, when a character is addressing someone personally in dialogue, you want a comma before or after their name/ title they go by. For instance:

["I will go first{ }lad!"] Comma before 'lad'
["Come on{ }lad,"] Same thing here.

Enjoyment: I did like this chapter, It makes me want to know more about this world you have going and what conflicts are going on within it. You write very well and it's easy to follow along with the narration. I also like the description, it's not heavy nor too little but still gives me an idea of the scene to where I can picture what's going on decently. I also enjoyed the character interaction, between Jascha and Marek. They seem to work well together, I'd guess from the little this chapter shows that Jascha looks up to Marek.


[Trying to aid Marek in his decision{ }Jascha quickly added] - Seems like there should be a pause there, a comma.

[ The rest of the men followed after him quickly{ }hoping that Ben as decoy could distract the Nymphlings enough so that some of them could be taken down.] Same thing here, it reads quickly hoping, instead of reading they ran quickly, hoping that...

[The creature clung to the side of the trunk, its tiny webbed feet...]
[The Nymphling clung to the side of the tree at an...] These two sentences(only separated by one sentence) read as repetition, they are too close to each other for them to start in the same manner. So, maybe

[{It's} frightening green eyes dilated] - 'Its'

[Each tree around them was covered in {Nymphlins},] - Missing a 'g', unless it was intentionally spelt that way, if so ignore this.

Anyway, a nice start :)
3/23/2013 c1 9Infected Beliefs
[This night is colder than a witch's tit] - I love this simile, I tried to use it in my own story once but you know what? In the end, I decided that fantasy worlds would have their own proverbs and sayings. You are a fantastic writer; I think you have the ability to come up with a metaphor that means much the same thing but uses a different comparison. I challenge you. You can do it! *cheers*

Love the little banter about ill omens. It made me chuckle. Well written dialogue always adds so much to a story (profound, I know). This piece in particular, though, tells much about both the characters and their relationship to one another.

From the way you portray Jascha in the beginning of the story, I do not feel that he would be so timid when asking for Marek's daughter's hand. I was getting the feeling from him that he had some sort of vibe around him that was unsettling to Marek, or at the very least, that he had a mind years older than his body (much more mature and skilled). He out-wits Marek in the third line of dialogue and then you go on to say [Marek's voice came out as an order, but Jascha did not object.] which makes me think that Jascha is higher ranked, or more seasoned than Marek. You also say: [Jascha was half Marek's age but on a night like this he appreciated that it was Jascha, and no other, who stood by his side.] This implies much the same to me.

[The rest of the men followed after him quickly hoping that Ben as decoy could distract the Nymphlings enough so that some of them could be taken down.] - Ehh...this sentence feels awkward to me. I am trying, and failing, to think of some way to fix it but you need a comma or something at least in there to break it up.

I like the idea of Nymphlings. It is not something you see so often. Quite original I suppose, so far as fictionpress goes. I also liked the tidbit about Marek's father dying in a previous Nymphling raid. Little details like that immerse me in the story and make me happy. :)

I quite liked this chapter! A very good start if I do say so myself, and I do...say so myself that is. You have me intrigued by this attack on the Nymphlings. Your characters (the dragon people from your summary I would assume) seem to be the aggressors in this engagement, and I am curious to find out why they are attacking. Also, I am wondering if the village is surrounded by the forest, leaving them isolated? Or is it on the edge of the forest? I don't know.

Best of luck to you and your writing,

3/22/2013 c1 2Jalux
For me the strongest part of this chapter was the characters, you've definitely differentiated them from each other and that's something I like to see. Jascha's character is especially interesting.

As for criticisms, this chapter is relatively short and generally well done so I can only say perhaps give us a little more description on your characters to help the reader visualize them. The earlier the better I feel.

I'll be keeping an eye on this.
3/22/2013 c1 1Vagrance
Opening: your writing puts strong pictures into my head. I would’ve liked you to elaborate further on their current setting.

Characters: Mark and Jascha proved an interesting pair. Their conversation fully reflects their status, experience and feelings.


: I think you meant fiery
: I think you were looking for come on

Plot/scenario: perhaps it would help to delve into Marek’s experience a little more so we can understand how Nymphlings usually acted in the past. I think this will make their shock more believable.
3/22/2013 c1 76The Autumn Queen
[although he didn't know why he carried it, it gave off little light, and no heat] – I think it would work better if either that first comma was instead a semicolon, as it reads a little distinctly from the bit before it, or before the “although”. It changes the meaning a little, especially as the image appears to be a little contradictory.
You have an interesting way of painting the scenery, giving it a nice balance between objectivity and subjectivity. It puts a very personal feel onto the setting, and that makes me wonder changes in character will be reflected by the setting.
Your description of the breath also tickles me. It’s quite basic in terms of winter, but it does a good job in illuminating the horizon and dampening the power of the torches in terms of her incapacity to give heat. Although in that same sense it renders the “it gave off a little light, and no heat” part a little redundant.
I also rather like Jascha’s character, as it turns the idea of wisdom coming with age on its head and its quite interesting to watch Marek being confused by his words. It’s a nice relation to modern society, so it provides an interesting contrast in that your scenery and the torches made me think of more olden times, as well as the mention of the village and the fantasy creatures.
I’m not sure I like the idea of Marek’s elder daughter being described as “fair”, as it seems a little clichéd in my opinion although you do counter that by Jascha’s interest in the younger. Since this is a multichaptered piece, I expect we’ll see or hear more of Marek’s daughters.
The juxtaposition between the talk of bonding and the sudden fight was well orchestrated, but the timing in retrospect seemed a little too perfect. Of course as a dramatic element that’s a little unavoidable, but it might be worth thinking about.
3/22/2013 c1 6Findus
I like the earnest quality of both the characters presented here and I thought you managed to show the relationship and the affection that both men obviously have for each other. The father giving into the younger man's request even though he had other plans for his daughters. I appreciated the neat little cliffhanger at the end with the "ethereal glow of green eyes." Your first chapter seemed polished and contained all things to make someone (well me) want to turn the page, a hook, sympathetic characters (who funnily enough after such a short chapter, I wanted to see survive whatever was hiding in the forrest) not to mention an interesting alternative universe. Though I think the stuff about Jascha's family background, the Irisa tribe and that could have been left for a later chapter, but then again maybe it's important. The only thing I might change is the "Common lad" I get that they have a peculiar manner of speaking but it comes across as a mistake(unless it's not meant to be "come on lad" in which case I'm rambling). All in all, really great writing, with lots of suspense.
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