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A new story.

one month ago
With the contest over and with it all the stressfull writing, I'm starting a new school-based story. I'm still unsure of a lot of things and appreciate all the feedback before I'm neck deep in shit.
So here's the first page. I wanted to try a whole other style than Treatise, keep it far more light and innocent. Does this page work for you?

The mighty horse charges his target. His hooves trample any who dares stand between. All you need to do is couch your lance. The wooden stick hits its target hard. Success.

"Ow! What did you do that fow?" your little brother asks with a refined indignation far beyond his years.
"I will become a great knight one day!" you respond back beaming with pride. You usually missed. Today was a good day.

It was your big dream to be a hero. Mama always told the best stories about them. They saved princesses, slew dragons and - most importantly - were handed all the sweets they could eat.

"Come kids, dinner's ready!"

You approach the table with trepidation. The food was tasteless, like always, and looked even blander. Your life was a load of pants. Nobody ever treated you with respect, you were always the little boy, and --most importantly-- never received the sweets you wanted.

"Momma, Adam did it again!"
You almost forgot that little monster. He always claimed all of the attention. Somehow he received it too.
"Oh sweetey, let me give you my magical healing kiss," your mother coos back. It was frankly disgusting.
"Hmmpf. It still huwts," your little brother replies in disgusting sweetness. It's shocking how the grow-ups can be so blind.

Against all your sincere protestations you're promptly dragged back to your room. Adam had done it again, was always the bad guy. Your life was indeed a load of pants.

You fill the vast oceans of time with naive fantasies, full of adventurous heroes and heroic adventures. They're almost enough to forget your rumbling belly.


A new story.

one month ago

Is it an elementary school story? (I'm not sure this would work as a 'when I was young' page for a high school story.)

Besides a lot of missing commas, the big thing for me was it was unclear how many brother's there were, and who was who. I finally got that the unnamed brother who gets all the attention was the one crying to mamma and wasn't a third brothere - I think the dinner call threw this off. Why would he wait to tell mama? How would Adam forget about the brother he just hurt in space of two minutes? The mom could have easily cleared this up by calling her kid's names vs. just saying "kids."

Also, it's not like Adam is being unjustly sent to his room, so the characterization of the younger brother as a "monster" for validly claiming his brother hurt him - especially when it is implied this has happened before - makes for a very unreliable narrator. The fact the main character refers to himself in  the third person in his own thoughts only increases this vibe.

Which could work. A school story with a boy set on proving himself a hero but who messes everything up and hurts everyone with his dellusions could be interesting. It would definately subvert expectations. If that isn't intentionall, though, and you want a sympathetic main character, perhaps reframing the scene as an accident or making it clear that his brother is a baseless tattler would help.

[It's also odd that the thing he loves most is sweets, lots of sweets, but he calls his brother's speech "disgusting sweetness." Perhaps a different descriptor would be better.]

But, the missing commas:

After back, before beaming.
After dragons, before and.
After somehow, before he. After it, before too.
After kiss (this should be a comma, not a period.)
After was and frankly.
After huwts (this should also be a comma, not a period.)
[Also, "the grownups" is a little ambiguous. If he means grownups in general, perhaps drop the "the." If his dad is in the room, too, we should be informed of that. But if it's just his mom, then "she" would be preferable to "the grown-ups" since she is just one person.]
After ptotestations, before you're.

A new story.

one month ago
Ah, thank you very much. I thought I put those commas in there... must've been too tired.

Yes. As I picture the story now, you see the world through the eyes of a small kid. He'll eventually grow up some more, find a true and dashing knight, and become his squire. Eventually, he'll grow disillusioned, have his dreams shattered and leaves for a mercenary company. There the school story comes in, cutthroat as they come.

The narration will follow his look on the world throughout. It starts off young, lively and full of dreams. As the little kid grows up and gets exposed to the real world it turns darker and realistic.

So it's a lot of plot that would need a really fast pace to pull it off: short pages with a high information density.
I think I need to back to the drawing board and slow this whole beast down.

A new story.

one month ago
A few quick hit thoughts:

For your opening sentence, I think you could either cut it down, to make a short memorable hook, or expand it into something more vivid. Either way, there's probably a stronger noun for horse in this situation. I'll provide an example of each below.

Short and sweet: The destrier charges. [Proceed as desired from here. Point is a crisp opening line.]

Fancy: The destrier charges, hooves thundering over cold hard ground, trampling soldiers, lying broken and bloodied, cursed to leave behind a village of widows and fatherless children. You couch your lance, locking eyes with your foe, never wavering. Wood splinters.

I think the second paragraph really has a strong punch after a real clear image of the charge. You can throw in a line about the broken stick in the second paragraph too. If your protagonist is imaginative, the fancy way shows that too. But terse vivid imagery would work well too.

Another alternative for horse could be courser. But since it's a kid imagining himself in a joust, I image he'd visualize the biggest baddest meanest horse around. And destrier trumps courser as a warhorse. He'd probably know the different classes of horses at a young age, especially if he knew anything about knights.

Next Topic: It was your big dream to be a hero.

I'm not a fan of sentences that start with generic words like "this" or "it." They don't really convey anything (at worst they can cause confusion about who the subject is supposed to be). And I'd rephrase the sentence to turn dream into the verb, giving you a stronger verb. Also, I recommend putting the focus on "you" as the subject.

Example: You dreamed of becoming a true hero, not just a play one.

Next Topic: You approach the table with trepidation.

You're telling. Show me his reluctance

Example: You approach the table, eye the gray mush, and frown. Gruel. Again.

Final thoughts: Is "load of pants" a Euro phrase? I've heard of "load in the pants" - that means you defecated in your trousers. Anyway, I've never heard of "load of pants" - I can guess what it means from the context though.

A new story.

one month ago

I've heard it, though it isn't common so might be British. I think it means something like unfair or difficult-to-deal-with nonsense.

A new story.

one month ago
And one more time today! First, the disclaimers: this is my review. It is likely not like anyone else’s. In fact, you probably couldn’t find anyone else who completely agrees with what I write here. But it’s my opinion. I’m also writing this as I read through this for the first time. These are my first impressions as I read it. I’m not saying they’re right, just what I’m thinking. I haven’t looked at the other reviews or read anything else about this bit before writing this other bit. This is written in the spirit of helping you see how others (okay, me) see your story and to perhaps give you ideas for improvement, and not to be mean or anything else. Please don’t take it personally. This review is likely worth exactly what you paid for it. Finally, you did ask. Here we go: The verb tense in the first two sentences hurt. You’re going to have to ask Gower for the official definition if they’re past-present passive whatevers, but my mind is spinning trying to figure out if the action is happening right now or if it happened before. Or what it seems to be: it’s happening in the past except when I read it. I’m not sure how else to explain it. But that’s okay because I’m quickly distracted by the lance on the couch. I mean sure, that might really be a thing: to couch your lance. But I’m not a professional lancer, nor am I actually Lancelot, so I just read that as someone who needs to ride their horse up to a couch and gently set the lance on the couch. And I think I’m the one on the horse. So I’m going to go sit on the couch, too, because that sounds much more enticing and comfortable than being on this horse that can’t decide if I’m in the future or the past. But at least while I took a seat on the couch, somebody hit a target with a stick. Maybe that was Carl. Oh. Someone hit a little kid with a stick. Ok, at this moment, without reading on yet, I’m now picturing a six-year old kid in a modern-day setting playing with his toys and his little brother. I’m imagining that he has something like a Woody toy and he’s imagining that he’s a knight in the past. His little brother is just five and got smacked in the head by the imaginary lance that was actually a dowel that the kid stole from his dad weeks ago. Dad has been looking for that damn dowel for weeks because he can’t fix the damn broken curtain rod in the laundry room without it and he’s too cheap to go spend the two dollars and twelve cents that it would cost to replace it. But at the same time his damn wife won’t shut up about the sun shining in her eyes when she does HIS laundry (as if she doesn’t do her own damn laundry at the same time). Hell, most of the time he only wears a damn dirty white tank top shirt anyway. And if he doesn’t fix that damn window soon, he’s going to shut her up for good and then the poor kids are going to grow up without a mom or a dad! Damn, this story really took a dark turn, didn’t it? Well, that was what I got out of that one sentence, anyway. I’ll read on now to see if the story meets what I imagined in my brain… Oh right. I’m the six-year old, the main character. I’m wondering about that statement that I "usually missed." I’m not sure how to take that. If this is just kids in their bedroom playing, there’s no way they would miss, that’s one of the best parts of make-believe! But then again, if it’s actual older kids with real horses and lances, why would I be trying to hit my brother in the head with a lance? That does not sound like a good idea. Maybe I hate him. I mean not as much as my dad hates my mom because of her whining about the damn sun in the laundry room, but why else would I try and hit him in the head with a lance from an actual horse? And wait – I usually miss? That means this is a regular occurrence. Yeah, I honestly don’t know if I’m a kid playing in my room or a person on an actual horse, riding along next to a couch. I now can only picture that I daily tie my younger brother up to a stake in the yard and gallop towards him, seeing if he will die every day. But hey, I read the next paragraph about mama and the heroes and the sweets, and now I’m back into the room with the little kids again. Dammit. Maybe I’m retarded. Because if I’m a six-year old in my room playing pretend with my lance, there’s no damn way I’m going to miss! That’s like me playing in my backyard with a bat, pretending it’s the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, two outs, full count… and then I pretend to swing and miss, losing the game. Who does that? Anyway, let’s move on. Mom is excited about the food, but I have trepidation. I’m not sure where a six-year old learned that word, but apparently I’m a special kind of retard. Am I one of those that has the autism? I learn big words but when I pretend to be a hero, I fail all the time? I’m going to be lots of fun at parties when I’m older, aren’t I? No seriously, while a kid (if this is indeed supposed to be a little kid) could approach the table with trepidation, he wouldn’t know that he was. So when it’s phrased, “You approach the table with trepidation,” it reads like I know that I’m doing that and I don’t think that works. If I’m totally off-base and the kid is 18 or something, I guess that’s okay. My life is a load of pants. Like, an entire load? What is a load of pants? It sounds fun. Oh wait, did you mean something to do with a load IN my pants? Because that’s a whole different thing. I guess it could work if written, “…life was like someone took a load in…” no, that doesn’t work, either. I think you might be better off leaving the pants out of this one. Maybe, especially if it is a little kid, his life could be like a load of poo. Okay, that paragraph threw me for a loop again. Nobody treated me with respect. Well, except for my mom (despite her complaining about the damn sunlight, even I’m getting tired of it by now) who just called me to dinner quite nicely. Oh, and I’m the little boy; well, except apparently I have a little brother who I either almost kill every day or fail to imagine myself hitting him with the missing dowel on a daily basis. Though I do get the lack of sweets. I had to read the bit with the conversation twice to get it. I finally understood that after the break above, the little brat was complaining about me hitting him in the head. Well, when dad is done with mom, me and him are… uh, I mean… I guess where I lost that was because of the break. If there are two kids playing and one gets hit in the head, I’d expect him to go running off to complain to mom before anything else happened. Even if it was right when mom called us to dinner, I’d expect that to be an immediate action, taking place before I have time to approach the table or feel sorry for myself. Huh. So let me get this right: whiny little brother complains (as he always does). Mom gives him a kiss. Everything is fine. BAM, from behind, older brother is physically dragged away from the table. No food for you, ya bastard! Well I guess since dad is still plotting on killing mom, this family is messed up, anyway. And there’s the damn load of pants again. I suppose the “load of pants” could be a running joke that I’m not getting, but I think that could be set up better in advance (or maybe it is, in another part of the story I’m not seeing yet). I like that it came back again, but I’m still picturing a pallet of pants when I read it. And I do like the last paragraph. That’s good, descriptive, and I can tell what’s going on, even if I am a six-year old autistic moron who strikes out in the bottom of the ninth inning. So hey, I’m not sure that helped at all, but it is what it is. I hope you enjoyed it and it helps you see what I saw when I read it. Good luck with the story and thank you for sharing!