Critique Group – Castle in the Clouds and The Chronicles of Keriddon

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Are you ready for two more chances to critique? Of course you are!

Don’t forget the critiquing guidelines. We have had a couple of commenters who forgot to begin with a positive comment, so please be sure to be positive fire. Also, if yours is one of the pieces being critiqued, it would be a good idea to thank the people who offer critiques. Not only is it polite, but it will give them a reason to return to critique more often.

To critique, all you have to do is post a comment about the submissions below. Don’t feel like you need to critique both or the whole piece of either one. Even a short comment on one aspect can be helpful. When you critique, be sure to mention which piece you’re critiquing.

This post will stay active indefinitely, so you can come back and add comments at any time. If you are one of the writers who is being critiqued, you should subscribe to this post so you can be notified when any comments are added.

Submission #1 – Castle in the Clouds by Emily

“Friends, family, and subjects of Shontèm. We gather here today in remembrance of our dear and beloved queen, Lanthirdis.” The elven minister stated. This phrase was the only part of the whole service Princess Ashetha could remember. The death of her mother came so suddenly, and hit her hard.

The whole week she stayed in the same state of shock, as everything passed by in a blur. People shaking her hand, with sad yet smiling faces that tried to console her deep anguish. Nothing could sooth the pain, not yet; it was all so fresh in her mind.

Nightmares of that day tormented her, depriving her from sleep. The assassins moved in quickly, and without warning. Ashetha shuddered as she lay in her bed. She looked at the ceiling, pondering what to do. This had been happening all week. Lying awake in her bed every night was getting tedious. She couldn’t go on this way. She had been shutting everyone out, even though she knew it wasn’t right. She had to open up to someone.

Ashetha quickly got out of bed. She opened her bedroom door quietly, and peeked into the hall. Coming into the open, the soft, thick carpet embraced her bare feet. She looked up at the paintings and dimmed chandeliers as she walked towards her father’s chambers. The closest painting to her was the one of her parents and her, which she got last year for her fifteenth birthday. A flood of memories came to her. She remembered walking through the halls with her mother. The gracious elven queen had always been there for her, and now she was torn away from the princess’ arms.

Her teen years had been the hardest to go through, and she needed her mother to help her through it all. There were so many changes happening, it was almost too much to bear. She didn’t want to grow up. Her father didn’t understand like the queen did. Her mother was gentle and understanding, while her father was more stern.

“It must come with being the ruler of a kingdom,” Ashetha supposed. As she walked further on, tears streamed from her eyes, splashing on the velvet carpet. She kept recalling things as she strode on.   Not noticing how far she had walked, her memories were shattered by the something that nudged her.

“Princess?” whispered one of the guards, “Princess, are you alright?”

“Oh, yes,” She managed to sputter out. She took a deep breath before inquiring, “May I see my father?”

“Yes, your highness. Would you like me to rouse him?” asked the fatigued soldier.

“No. No, I will do it, thank you.” She stepped closer to the door, and slowly turned the handle.

Ashetha slowly stepped into the room and examined the familiar chamber. Her father was facing her, startled by her entrance. He had always had a keen sense of hearing. He was sitting at his desk with his lamp was lit. She assumed he was studying something.

“Ashetha? What are you doing up so late?” the king asked.

“I… um… I couldn’t sleep,” she replied timidly, staring at her feet.

“You, too, eh?” He sighed. The good king could read her like a book and sat her on his bed. His tear stained face told her that he too had been crying. His warm smile and wise eyes seemed to stare into her soul. She couldn’t keep it in anymore.

Digging her face into her father’s shoulder, she soaked his tunic with her tears. He held her close to him and they wept together. After a while, the king lifted Ashetha’s head and said, “My daughter, I know how much this hurts you, it hurts me just as much.”

“What are we going to do now?” she asked desperately.

“I don’t exactly know. I do know that we are hunting down those vial creatures that murdered your mother, and avenge her death. But after that, I’m not too sure what we will do. My world has been shattered to pieces, as I’m sure yours is, as well. But at least we still have each other,” He embraced her again, “All I have left is my faith, to believe is that the Master has a plan for this. Something good must come out of this, even though we can’t see it yet,” He looked into her eyes and said, “My dear Ashetha. I love you so very much.”

“I love you, too, dad,” she managed to let out before a lump choked her and tears once again flowed. The king caressed her face as he gently wiped away her tears.

“I am going on a trip to see a friend of mine. He lives in the other world, in the city of the clouds. Do you remember…?”

“Yes, of course I do,” she interrupted.

“Well, I intend to bring you with me this time. I’m hoping this trip will let us bond and help us to recover. Does that sound alright?”

She gasped with excitement, but her smile soon faded as she said, “But why now? How can we leave now? Our kingdom is in peril, and if the people see you leave…” she protested.

“You don’t want to go?”

“Well, yes I do, but not now.”

“I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon. I also have a surprise for you. I’ll see you then, my dear?” He asked, and by the look in his eyes she could tell he wasn’t giving her an option.

“Yes, father. Goodnight,” she replied obediently. She softly rose, and left the room.

Submission #2 – The Chronicles of Keriddon by Kate

Prologue

Tusdar stalked down the dark passageway, careful not to fall on the rough terrain. His torch illuminated only a few feet in front and on either side of him. The path declined steeply causing him to lean backward to keep his balance. At one point he slipped and instinctively reached to the side to stop his fall. He stopped his hand just in time, only inches from the thick dark liquid that oozed along the walls. To touch it was to die. He slowly pulled his hand back as if the any sudden movement would cause the poisonous substance to spatter and burn him. He picked himself up and continued down the tunnel with even more caution than before.

As the tunnel leveled out and widened, Tusdar stopped before a large stone archway. He took a deep breath of the stale cave air before passing through into a large cavern. As soon as he entered, the smell of rot and decay assaulted his nose. He winced and glance around. The cave was massive, with walls and ceiling shrouded by darkness. A table filled with hundreds of candles lit a path to a carpeted dais where sat a dark throne of black and silver marble. Torches were placed in tall stands on each side of the platform and a dark leathery curtain hung from the ceiling behind it. On the throne sat a large figure clothed in black and silver armor. A wide hood hid his face in shadows. In his hand he held a long staff which end in a sharp blade.

Tusdar walked slow toward the throne. “My lord Zelroth,” He said, bowing deeply. “You called?”

“Rise,” his voice was low and guttural, like the moaning of the wind; ancient as the dawn and cold as ice. At the sound of it, Tusdar’s heart froze in his chest. He stood, shivering slightly. “Long have I waited; watching from the shadows.” Lord Zelroth croaked. ” My poison has gone forth, weakening my enemies. The alliance of the Seven kingdoms has been broken and Keriddon is ready for its finally destruction. Now is the time of my revenge. My victory.” Lord Zelroth stood and looked for the first time at Tusdar. The light from the torches illumined the top half of his face revealing eyes the color of blood. “Ready my army. We march to Ash Gate Pass at dawn.”

The curtain behind the dark lord vibrated and shook, seeming to come alive in the dim light. Tusdar bowed to Zelroth before hurrying out of the cavern. As he left, he was sure he heard a deep growl, like a purr of some monstrous beast.

Chapter one

Anna awoke with a groan. Her neck and shoulders ached. Bright sunlight shone on her face blinding her as she blinked open her eyes. Why had the servants opened the drapes already? she wondered. They were supposed to wait till after she woke up. And why was her bed so incredibly hard?

As the fog around her mind cleared, she realized that her bed was not a bed at all. She sat up, puzzled as to her whereabouts. She sat at a desk covered with books and paper. Lining the walls and filling the room were bookshelves containing every kind of book imaginable. Anna recognized the royal library. She vaguely remembered coming here the night before to read history of Keriddon in hopes of finding a solution to the problems facing the kingdom today. After a while she must have drifted off. A large volume of The History of Keriddon had acted as her pillow for the night, an uncomfortable substitute for the soft silk pillows she was used to.

Next to the history book was a sheet of paper containing her notes from the night before. At the top was a list of major problems and below that was a list of possible solutions. While the top list had over a dozen entries, the lower half only had a single line. Anna picked up the sheet and stared at it sullenly. Behind her a door opened. Anna turned to see a servant poke his head into the room. When he saw her he stepped into the room uncertainly. Anna rose gestured that he was allowed to approach. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry to disturb you, my Lady.” he said meekly. “Prince Philip has requested your presence in the council chamber right away.

Anna glanced at the water clock sitting in the corner. It was only a few minutes before eight. Something must have happened for the council to assemble this early.

“Did he say what it was about?” she asked the servant.

“No, my Lady. Only that you were to come right away.”

“Very good. You may go.” As the servant left the room, Anna looked down at herself and winced. She was still wearing her outfit from yesterday which was now quite wrinkled. She ran her fingers through her long, thick hair. It was hopelessly tangled. I look like I just woke up, she thought, then smiled ruefully. She had. For a moment she considered going by her room to change and brush her hair but then, as she remembered the servants words, decided against it. This wouldn’t be the first time she had showed up to a council meeting looking out of sorts and Philip would hardly care, even if he did notice. The nobles would notice. And Uncle Arnold. She frowned at that last thought then shrugged. All he could do was make one of his disparaging remarks about her. He would do that anyway. Well, no use putting off the inevitable. She left the library and made her way down the hall toward the council chamber. Her stomach rumbled reminding her she hadn’t had breakfast. She sighed. It was going to be a long morning.

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  1. Submission #1 – Castle in the Clouds by Emily

    Emily, I enjoyed the start of this story. I felt the emotions and wanted to know more. It’s a good beginning.

    The first couple of paragraphs confused me at first. I didn’t know where the point-of-view (POV) character was or what she was doing. I didn’t learn that until the third paragraph. I think you should start with her lying in bed so the POV is established right away. That way, readers will be situated immeidately

    When using a speaker tag such as “the elven minister stated,” you need to end the previous sentence with a comma and begin the tag with lower case, like this:

    “Friends, family, and subjects of Shontèm. We gather here today in remembrance of our dear and beloved queen, Lanthirdis,” the elven minister stated.

    I think it’s better to identify the speaker as soon as possible, so you could move the tag to the first convenient pause, like this:

    “Friends, family, and subjects of Shontèm,” the elven minister stated. “We gather here today in remembrance of our dear and beloved queen, Lanthirdis.”

    Even better, use an introductory beat that introduces the speaker and provides something for readers to look at, like this:

    The elven minister stood next to the casket, his hands folded at his waist. “Friends, family, and subjects of Shontèm. We gather here today in remembrance of our dear and beloved queen, Lanthirdis.”

    Also, while describing Ashetha’s musings on her bed, you do some telling instead of showing. Don’t tell that she was deprived of sleep. Show it. Don’t tell that she was pondering what to do. Show her pondering. Don’t tell that she could remember only one part of the service. Show it.

    In addition, work hard to go for vivid imagery and strong phrasing, and try to construct sentences in order to avoid repeating pronouns such as she and her. Every time you refer to your POV character, you risk sounding like a narrator. This harms intimacy.

    Now let’s put all of these suggestions together for a new opening:


    Ashetha lay in bed and stared at the dim ceiling. The mattress felt like it was filled with stones, the pillow with broken glass. What time was it now? Maybe three in the morning? Way too late to still be awake, but who could sleep with so many horrible memories?

    She tossed to her side and closed her eyes. As usual in recent nights, visions of last week’s funeral flowed in. The elven minister stood next to Mother’s casket, his hands folded at his waist. “Friends, family, and subjects of Shontèm. We gather here today in remembrance of our dear and beloved queen, Lanthirdis.”

    The rest of the service faded from memory, but the emotions of the day struck hard. Pain. Hot, deep pain. Ashetha clutched her blanket and wept. Oh, dear, dear Mother! You were so young! So filled with life and vitality! How could this have happened to someone so sweet and kind?

    Ashetha clenched her teeth. The assassins took no heed of Mother’s goodness. They struck like vipers, swift and silent, and left a king without his queen, a princess without her mother. Who would bring those snakes to justice?

    More memories drifted to mind—the days following the funeral. As she stared at the passing well-wishers, their faces blurred. Their handshakes felt like cold fish, and their well-meaning words dropped to the ground and scattered like pebbles. Mere talk could do nothing to ease the pain.

    Ashetha brushed away a tear. This sleepless night made seven in a row. Grief combined with exhaustion had pushed her into a dark dungeon of mourning without a ray of light. This useless monotony had to stop. But how?


    I think you should apply this kind of sow-don’t-tell intimacy to the rest of your piece. I hope this sample will be a good guide.

    Next: “Ashetha quickly got out of bed.”

    Can you provide a more visual verb than “got”? Rolled? Slid? Leaped? That way you can eliminate the adverb “quickly.”

    “Coming into the open, the soft, thick carpet embraced her bare feet.”

    The subject is the carpet, so you are saying that the carpet was coming into the open.

    “She looked up at the paintings and dimmed chandeliers as she walked towards her father’s chambers.”

    The walking occurred first, so turn it around. “As she walked towards her father’s chambers, she looked up …”

    “The closest painting to her was the one of her parents and her.”

    This is an example of an unnecessary pronoun, perhaps two. Since readers are looking through her eyes, you can just write, “The closest painting was the one of her parents and her.” The closest painting will be the one closest to her, so “to her” is redundant. Also there is a way to delete another one.

    “The closest painting was a family portrait with her parents.”

    Next: “which she got last year for her fifteenth birthday.”

    Delete “she” and use : “a gift for her fifteenth birthday.”

    Change “A flood of memories came to her.” To “Memories flooded in.”

    “She remembered walking through the halls with her mother. The gracious elven queen had always been there for her, and now she was torn away from the princess’ arms.”

    Combine the phrases to create – “Memories flooded in—walking through the halls with Mother.”

    “Her teen years had been the hardest to go through, and she needed her mother to help her through it all. There were so many changes happening, it was almost too much to bear. She didn’t want to grow up. Her father didn’t understand like the queen did. Her mother was gentle and understanding, while her father was more stern.”

    The above sounds like pure narration. I think you can alter it in the show-don’t-tell-intimate way I described above. Also, when I “met” the king later, I didn’t find him to be stern at all, so that seemed contradictory.

    Next:


    “It must come with being the ruler of a kingdom,” Ashetha supposed. As she walked further on, tears streamed from her eyes, splashing on the velvet carpet. She kept recalling things as she strode on. Not noticing how far she had walked, her memories were shattered by the something that nudged her.


    I think you can take out “from her eyes.” Tears don’t come from anywhere else. Instead, “tears streamed and splashed on the velvet carpet.” Yet, velvet doesn’t create a splash. It would just absorb the wetness.

    “She kept recalling.” This is telling. Show it.

    What nudged her? Since the nudging caused the shattering of the memories, you should mention the nudging before the shattering.

    Next: “Yes, your highness. Would you like me to rouse him?” asked the fatigued soldier.

    Can you show the guard’s fatigue visually? Can you give a quick descriptor so the reader can see him? Move that portion to the beginning of the paragraph.


    “No. No, I will do it, thank you.” She stepped closer to the door, and slowly turned the handle.
    Ashetha slowly stepped into the room and examined the familiar chamber. Her father was facing her, startled by her entrance. He had always had a keen sense of hearing. He was sitting at his desk with his lamp was lit. She assumed he was studying something.


    Two uses of “slowly.” Watch for adverb (“ly” words) use. In the remainder of this excerpt you use several more. Either show the adverbs or choose a verb that more specifically shows the action.

    “Startled.” What did this startling look like? Show, don’t tell.

    “She assumed he was studying something.” This is telling. Show him studying something—an open book, a piled of papers, a scroll. Did he have spectacles on? A magnifying glass in his hand? Give us visuals.

    I scanned through the remainder and found that I would be repeating myself. Here are the basics to work on:

    Show visuals specifically instead of telling about them.

    Show what the actions and feelings look like.

    Delve deeply into the characters skin and look through her eyes to eliminate unnecessary pronouns.

    That’s about it. Keep up the good work!

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    • I would definitely keep reading this to find out what happens next. I agree with all of what he says here with one exception. You call the king stern, but portray him as more caring. I personally don’t find that contradictory. You state something that she knows to be true at that time, but I know from experience that a sudden loss can change you. I think it’s entirely possible that you are hinting at him softening up a little. If, however, you are going to have him be stern throughout the story, maybe start his dialogue a little more like this and note an edge in his voice, followed by an apology.
      What on Earth are you doing out of bed? Don’t you know we aren’t safe here anymore?

      That’s all I have for now. Keep up the good work!

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    • Rex, I would agree only if the POV character reacts to his softening with at least a little interior monologue. As it is, his manner doesn’t surprise her in the slightest.

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    • Thank you so much! That really helped! there were some things you mentioned that I totally missed when editing myself. This was probably one of the hardest scenes to write yet. Thanks!

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  2. Submission #2 – The Chronicles of Keriddon by Kate

    Kate, I enjoyed this beginning. You have a good handle on consistent point of view and introducing characters. Your prose is technically sound, so I don’t have much to criticize.

    First: “Tusdar stalked down the dark passageway, careful not to fall on the rough terrain. His torch illuminated only a few feet in front and on either side of him.”

    It’s good to see that you showed us a source of light right away. I like that. Maybe add a feeling for how narrow the passage is. Are his elbows near to the sides? How low is the ceiling? Does he have to bend over? Also, you can delete “of him” since its his POV.

    Next: “He picked himself up and continued down the tunnel with even more caution than before.”

    Picked himself up? I didn’t see that he fell.

    Next: “He winced and glance around.” Change to “glanced”

    Next: “Torches were placed in tall stands on each side of the platform and a dark leathery curtain hung from the ceiling behind it.”

    Insert comma after “platform.” It’s a compound sentence.

    Next: “On the throne sat a large figure clothed in black and silver armor.”

    Maybe “humanoid figure” to provide more of a visual?

    Next: “In his hand he held a long staff which end in a sharp blade.”

    Change to “ended.” Maybe mention what the staff is made out of.

    Next: “Tusdar walked slow toward the throne.”

    Change to “slowly” or use a more descriptive verb (Shuffled? Slinked? Crept?) and eliminate the adverb.

    Next: “Rise,” his voice was low and guttural like the moaning of the wind; ancient as the dawn and cold as ice.”

    This is not a speaker tag. It is a sentence, so punctuate like this:

    “Rise.” His voice was low and guttural like the …”

    By the way, very nice descriptions.

    Next: “Why had the servants opened the drapes already? she wondered.”

    No need for “she wondered.” It’s in her POV, so any thoughts you describe are coming from her.

    Next: “As the fog around her mind cleared, she realized that her bed was not a bed at all.”

    Let’s show this and the rest of the paragraph a bit more visually and intimately, instead of just telling:

    As the mental fog cleared, she ran a finger along a surface where her cheek rested. A book binding? She straightened and looked around. Books and papers covered a desk. Shelves lined the walls and filled the room, bursting with books of every shape and size.

    Anna nodded. The royal library. She had come here last night to study the history of Keriddon …

    Next: “Anna picked up the sheet and stared at it sullenly.”

    How does one stare sullenly? Can you show her thoughts as being sullen?

    Next: “When he saw her he stepped into the room uncertainly. “

    What does stepping uncertainly look like? Can you give us one visual descriptor to let us know what he looks like?

    Next: Anna rose gestured that he was allowed to approach. “Yes?”

    Delete “rose.” What does such a gesture look like?

    Next: “I’m sorry to disturb you, my Lady.” he said meekly. “Prince Philip has requested your presence in the council chamber right away.

    Closing quotation mark is missing.

    Next: “Did he say what it was about?” she asked the servant.

    I think you can eliminate “the servant.” No one else is there to ask.

    Next: I look like I just woke up, she thought, then smiled ruefully.

    No need for “she thought.” Any thoughts will be from your POV character. What does it mean to smile ruefully? I don’t understand that. Can you show that her thoughts are rueful?

    Next: The final paragraph is too long. I would break it up into at least two paragraphs and maybe three.

    One crucial aspect that is missing in this piece is the need for a more specific goal. You mentioned items on her list, but readers don’t get to see any of them. We don’t get a sense of urgency. Is the kingdom about to fall? Or is it just that the plumbing is clogged? If we can also see what her one to-do item is, then we can know what her next step is. Have her working toward a goal, even if she never gets to accomplish it.

    As it stands, we have no idea of anything that’s wrong or what needs to be done about it. Give readers a need to turn the page.

    That’s about it. You’re doing a good job. Keep it up!

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  3. Those were both interesting stories, I hope to see more to both of them later.

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  4. Good job, Emily! I really liked the character relationships you started to build in your submission, and I was intrigued by the father and daughter’s conversation. Here are a couple of things I spotted:
    – You kept referring to the mother as some variation of “the gracious elven queen.” This felt a bit strange to me because the story is told from the daughter’s point of view, and “gracious elven queen” implies a distant/above-you/unreachable tone. “Mother” might fit better just because the daughter isn’t mourning some queen’s death but her own mother’s.
    – When your character concludes that she needs to share with someone, the reader doesn’t get to see any of her conflict over the idea. Does you main character fight and resist sharing her feelings and getting help from others initially, or does she not resist at all and go find her father? Based on the fact that a whole week has passed, I thought you might be going for the former, so perhaps you could expand that paragraph.
    – I, too, noticed that the Dad’s behavior contradicted what the character said earlier about him being stern. Now, near the end, I saw a bit of sternness in the phrase, “by the look in his eyes she could tell he wasn’t giving her an option.” Perhaps, you could bring a bit of this into the conversation at the beginning or just show a bit of hesitancy between the two.
    I hope this is helpful, and I really enjoyed reading your excerpt! Awesome job!
    God bless,
    Gabrielle

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    • Thanks so much! I probably should have thought of some of those myself 😛 I’ll make some of those changes 🙂

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      • Emily-
        I am intrigued by this beginning! I agree with the other critiques and just want to add a few things that stood out to me.

        You say that she’s in a state of shock, that everything is a blur, and that she feels deep anguish. While these may all be a part of grieving- I don’t think one can really be in shock while feeling deep anguish. Shock makes me think that her mother’s death hasn’t really hit her yet.

        More description (especially about the elves) would be great. You mention that they are elves- but this point could be developed.

        Also -to add more detail- maybe note how similar the protagonist is to her mother. She may have the same light blue eyes and sweet/gracious disposition. Other people might bring this to her attention as she grieves. The similarities may be something in which she takes comfort.

        “‘It must come with being the ruler of a kingdom,’ Ashetha supposed.”

        You could really use this statement as a gateway to explaining the kingdom’s tenuous situation that you mention later on. You could mention its political foundation- maybe a few details about war stirring, trading, or rebellion- I think it will add a little depth to story’s setting- even if it isn’t a main point.

        The past tense is a bit distracting for this type of narration. If you use stronger verbs and re-arrange a few sentences- I think it will flow more smoothly. 🙂

        She calls her father both “dad” and “father”.

        The guard asks if she wants him to wake her father. Would the guard notice the light in the bedroom?

        She enters the room. Maybe use “softly” rather than “slowly”?

        She notes that her father’s face is tear-stained. While this does show tenderness, I think there might be a more suiting description. He is stressed and trying to be strong for his daughter and the kingdom. His face may be gaunt, grim, or tired. You could mention how weary or old he now appears. His voice might be gruff with emotion.

        These are just a few suggestions.

        This is a great beginning to an adventure, Emily. I’d like to know what happens next! 🙂

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  5. Thank you Mr Davis. I hope to make those change to my story later today.

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  6. Emma, I really enjoyed your piece. I was drawn in by Ashetha and her emotions, and I found her immediately likable and relatable. In addition, I also loved the vivid imagery you used in certain sections. As a reader, I do have a couple comments:

    The beginning was a little disorienting. When I got to the third paragraph and found Ashetha in bed, I had to reread the first two to try to figure out how and when she got there before realizing that these paragraphs are really in her head. Perhaps establishing earlier on that she is in bed will help.

    “… the soft, thick carpet embraced her bare feet.” This was actually my favorite image that you induced 🙂 I could really feel the carpet. I would love to see even more of this striking imagery. There can be too much of a good thing; however, I don’t think you are there yet.

    The scene with Ashetha’s father was sweet and touching. I identified with their pain, but I was confused about the character of the king. Ashetha mentioned that he was stern, yet he seemed as soft and kind as any father would be. I did see the sternness come through at the end, but it almost shocked me that he silenced Ashetha when she showed concern for their people. If it turns out there is an underlying reason for his apparent callousness, I’m assuming you will explain it later.

    I agree with Mr. Davis in that paring down the pronouns will really help the flow of your story.

    You mention the “elven” characters a handful of times, but I wasn’t able to create a picture of elves because of the many variations out there. ‘What makes these creatures elves? What do they look like? Are there any other fantasy species in this universe?’ These are the questions I find myself asking while reading your story. Perhaps you could weave the answers in as you go. For example, you could use the guard or the king to casually introduce the different features your elves have.

    Overall, wonderful! I would definitely want to read more. Thank you for sharing your work with us 🙂

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  7. Kate-

    I really like the presence that eminates from your piece. There is a mystery here that I would keep reading to find out.

    “Anna awoke with a groan.”

    This makes me think that she has already opened her eyes; but it later says that she was blinded by sunlight when she opened her eyes. Maybe just change the wording a little bit?

    “Why had the servants opened the drapes already? she wondered.”
    Take out the ‘she wondered’.

    Keep writing! This is a book I would keep reading.

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  8. Mr. Davis, could I put in an excerpt next friday?

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  9. Sheesh, so many good books in progress! You all are tormenting me! XD

    Emily, I really like the emotion you wove into this piece. It is well portrayed in the father and daughter scene. My only thought would be, as others have said, to make it clear that Ashetha is reminiscing over past events in the first paragraph or two. Keep it up! 😉

    Kate, your preface immediately draws me in, and I’m curious to “see” if that living curtain is what I think it is. X) My thought was to have, as Mr. Davis mentioned, a sense of urgency with Anna. Great work!

    All of you writers, both today’s and previous, keep writing! I want to hear more! 😀

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  10. Kate,
    I really enjoyed reading the beginning of your story. Great job!
    Your prologue got me hooked. You did a great job at getting me interested by the first few paragraphs. I struggle with that, but your beginning is amazing! There were a few things I noticed, though.
    “his voice was low and guttural, like the moaning of the wind”
    First off, I just really love that so much. I don’t even know how to say how much I do.
    “The alliance of the Seven kingdoms has been broken and Keriddon is ready for its finally destruction.”
    I believe you meant to say final, not finally.
    “I look like I just woke up, she thought, then smiled ruefully”
    Now I know Anna is thinking, but I’m pretty sure it should still have quotations as though she were talking out loud. And the “She had” afterwards is unnecessary. We know that she just woke up already.
    I really want to read more! Are you planning on publishing? It’s such an interesting story already!

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  11. In the second submission, the poisonous walls really intrigued me, but I think the villain could be more obscure about his goals. The protagonist in chapter one sounds interesting as well.

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