Critique Group – Veiled Intentions and True Strength

Tangled-tangled-Critique

Let’s get ready to untangle some words and straighten out two new submissions.

Don’t forget the critiquing guidelines. 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.

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Submission #1 – Veiled Intentions by Natasha

“Let not a single dragon that roams this land live.”

The words echoed in Fennec’s head as he trudged through the deep snow, pulling his thick dragonscale coat tighter around his shoulders. Four months ago the decree was made, and four months since he was sent out to kill every dragon he came upon. By his side hung his enchanted Blacksteel blade, with which he had slain six dragons already. A scale of each dragon he killed hung around his neck as a symbol of his success. His seventh dragon had made its home on top of a snowy mountain north of the city of Jurin.

He’d lost track of how far he had gone when he almost tripped over a hidden rock beneath the snow. Through the swirling whiteness, he could just barely make out the shape of a cave mouth above him. Pushing on, he made it to the cave and stepped inside. The sound of the wind and the blinding whiteness of the outside world faded away, replaced by dull gray that faded to black. The tunnel seemed to stretch back several yards before widening into some sort of chamber, although it was impossible for him to see further.

The faint singing sounded of metal on metal echoed through the cave as Fennec drew his sword and began walking forwards. His footfalls were muffled by the soft fur on the bottom of his dragonscale boots, and he made it all the way to the chamber before he heard the first scrape of scales against stone. As he stepped into the chamber, his eyes struggled to pick out the dragon’s form in the almost non-existent light. Using his left hand, he slowly reached for the small staff strapped to his back. Pulling it free of its sheath, he clutched it tightly in his hand, his heart racing. Even though six dragons lay dead by his hand, he always felt the same fear just before confronting one of the mighty beasts. He took a deep breath.

With a whispered word, a bright ball of light shot from the staff and to the ceiling, where it hovered like a tiny star. The dragon was awake in an instant, leaping to its feet and rounding on him. The beast was truly a sight to behold. It was pale blue in color, and it’s scales shimmered like sunlight on ice. White spines ran down its back that matched its mottled whitish gray wings. With a snarl it attacked.

Its jaws opened and it let out a burst of fire. Fennec quickly raised his shield, deflecting it. The beast’s tail whipped around and sent him sprawling. A moment later, it was upon him. Its claw landed on top of him, slowly crushing him as he struggled to free himself. Its blue eyes gleamed with hatred, and its jaws opened. He brought his sword up and drove it deep into the dragon’s foreleg. It let out a screech of pain and reared backwards, smashing into the cave wall.

Letting out a roar, it swiped at him with it’s claw. Fennec jumped back just in time. Swinging his sword, he landed a blow on it’s claw. Before he could regain his balance, its head snapped forwards to crush him. Fennec fell backwards in his haste to dodge the attack, managing to slash the beasts snout. It jerked back, dark indigo blood dripping to the floor. Rearing back, it let loose more flames. This time, Fennec waited until the very last second before dodging forwards and striking a solid blow across its shoulder. It shrieked in rage, its injured leg unable to support it.

Fennec took advantage of its pain and rushed forwards. The enchantment on the blade would only slow down the beast for a few seconds. With a mighty swing, he struck the dragon full in the chest, driving the sword home. Indigo blood welled from the wound and the beast gave a single keening cry before slumping to the floor. A weak, hatred filled snarl came from it’s jaws, then it lay still.

Fennec’s chest heaved from the exertion, and for a moment he struggled to breathe the stuffy cave air. Once he was certain the beast was dead, he took a scale as a trophy, adding it to the rest. Turning his back on the dragon, he walked back towards the cave exit. Suddenly, pain spiked through his back, as if he had been stabbed. He gasped for air, falling to his knees. His sword clattered to the ground as he pressed his hands to the floor in an effort to steady himself. His mind grew cloudy, and the world seemed to shift sideways. The ground rushed up to meet him and darkness overcame him.

When Fennec awoke, his entire body felt stiff, as if he hadn’t moved in days. Letting out a soft groan, he pushed himself into a sitting position and leaned against the wall. He felt sick, although it wasn’t like other illnesses he had. This was like a churning, twisting dread that seemed to pool in his chest. Looking around, it seemed everything was just how it had been before the thing, whatever it was, attacked. Slowly, he stood, leaning against the wall for support.

“Seek the cure for your poison at the ruins of Shammah or perish within the week.”

Fennec screamed in fright. His cry echoed down the tunnel before slowly fading out and his heart pounded in his chest. He could feel himself trembling. The guttural, whispering voice came from seemingly nowhere, yet it sounded as if it were all around him and right in front of him.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “If your intent is evil and you have poisoned me, then you will suffer the wrath of my blade.”

“Your blade cannot save you. You must seek the cure at the ruins of Shammah. Seek what lies at Shammah.”

“Tell me who you are! What do you mean cure? What did you do?”

Submission #2 – True Strength by Alexis

With a roar the dragon charged. I leaped to the side as it snapped its massive jaws at me. Since we had intruded into its marshy territory, it was bound to defend it. My boot slipped in some mud and I slid a good distance before I fell back on my rear.

“Adelaide!” came the sharp cry. I turned in time to see the giant dragon bearing down on me. I scrambled to my feet and sought to find the place where I had set my sword, the dragon’s ground shuddering footsteps were right behind me. Where did I put it? The dragon bellowed, and I turned and saw a sling stone sink into the mud beneath its head. It turned its head and emitted a throaty growl as it eyed my friend, who just finished putting away his sling. It charged at him with a roar.

“Look out!” I screamed, but Erminigild was calm, cool, and collected, despite the fact that he was standing on a muddy peninsula of earth that reached out into the swampy river. His sword drawn and firmly held in both hands, he was ready to take on this beast. My eyes quickly skimmed over our wooded surroundings and I spotted my sword embedded in the mud at the base of a tree and ran to get it. I wrapped my fingers around the leather bound hilt, and, with a great heave, the mud released its hold from my blade. I turned to help my friend / Ermin, who had, so far, kept the beast at bay.

The dragon towered over him, eyeing him with its golden eyes; trying to find a weakness. When it spied one it would either snap its toothy maw at him or swing its enormous claws at him. He fought well keeping the monster from striking him, that is, until I came near. Erminigild turned his attention towards me. “Stay back!” he cried. At that moment the dragon saw its chance. It swung a claw at him that struck him in the side, sending him careening into the murky water. The dragon now had the advantage. Eagerly it plunged into the water after him, searching for its prey. His head bobbed to the surface gasping for air, his brown hair sticking to his face. The creature shot towards him, jaws wide for easy prey. I began to wade into the murky stream shouting, “I am coming!”

The monster was upon him, and it clamped its jaws on his tunic. “Stay back!” he cried again as he lashed out at the great reptile with his sword. The dragon roared in pain, releasing its hold on him. Quickly he struck out for shore, paddling his arms with all his might. With a hiss the serpent swam after him, only its eyes, nostrils and sail stuck out of the water. I reached out my hand to him as he closed in to the shore. His wet hand grabbed a hold of mine, and I pulled with all my might against the pull of the mud that tried to suck my feet deeper. We stumbled onto the shore just as the dragon snapped at the seat of his trousers. We backed away from the water quickly, and the dragon remained in its watery home hissing its defiance.

“That was way to close,” I said as we reached the surrounding forest.

“Then why did you not help me?” Erminigild asked in a hurt tone. I glared at him / put my hands on my hips. “You would not let me,” I stated. He placed his hand on his stubble covered chin thoughtfully, as if recalling his actions. “You know, I think you are right,” he said with a smirk. I shoved him teasingly. “You worrywart. You get all the fun.” He chuckled. “Oh, do not worry. I will let you take on the next one.” I shook my head and laughed. “Come; let us go find Krijsen and Eachann.”

Not that far away we spotted our mounts tied to a tree. Erminigild walked up to the brown stallion that reached out with its muzzle towards him, seeming to smell the scent of the water dragon on his drenched clothes. Erminigild stroked its face. “It is all right, Eachann. The danger is past.” I walked up to my dragon, Krijsen, who sniffed my face, her warm breath caressing my forehead and blowing wisps of my hair around. “I know. You can smell it, too.” I crooned to her as I rubbed the crest along the top of her head. “But all is well. We are safe now.” We untied our steeds, mounted them, and directed them back the way we had come.

When we reached the edge of the forest, we halted our steeds and scanned the tall waving grass. Since we were unsuccessful hunting in the marsh, maybe we would find something to bring home on the plains. The wind played with the grass causing it to dance to and fro without informing us of any prey to find within them. Krijsen, not liking to stand still for long, stomped one of her hind feet and snorted. I patted her scaly neck. “Easy, girl,” I whispered. She snorted / sighed impatiently and waited. I saw some distinct movement in the grass. I withdrew my bow and arrow, and waited to string them. Erminigild did the same. The movement came closer to us and we readied our bows, but did not aim them yet. Along with the movements the wind carried the sound of little demanding shouts. We unstrung our bows and waited for the intruder to emerge. Finally, we saw my little brother riding his new mount – a dragon. After he finished demanding its obedience, he looked up at us with a smile.

“What are you doing out here, Najden?” I asked a little flustered. With his little voice shouting orders for all on the plains to hear, it was safe to say we wouldn’t find any game here.

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  1. Submission #1 – Veiled Intentions by Natasha

    Natasha, this is really good. I am impressed. My only negative comments will be technical in nature. Your storytelling is excellent.

    First – “Let not a single dragon that roams this land live.”

    This is a great hook. Well done.

    Next: A scale of each dragon he killed hung around his neck as a symbol of his success.

    I think you can delete “he killed.” It’s pretty obvious.

    Next: Through the swirling whiteness, he could just barely make out the shape of a cave mouth above him. Pushing on, he made it to the cave and stepped inside.

    What does “above him” mean? Do you mean up the slope? If so, write it that way and have him walk up the incline instead of just saying that “he made it.”

    Next: The sound of the wind and the blinding whiteness of the outside world faded away, replaced by dull gray that faded to black.

    Cool descriptions.

    Next: The tunnel seemed to stretch back several yards before widening into some sort of chamber, although it was impossible for him to see further.

    I think you can delete “for him.” Since it is his point of view (POV), the “for him” is obvious.

    Next: The faint singing sounded of metal on metal echoed through the cave as Fennec drew his sword and began walking forwards.

    The drawing of the sword comes before the sound, so change the order this way – As Fennec drew his sword and began walking forwards, the faint singing sounded of metal on metal echoed through the cave .

    Next: His footfalls were muffled by the soft fur on the bottom of his dragonscale boots, and he made it all the way to the chamber before he heard the first scrape of scales against stone.

    First, “were muffled” is passive. It would be better to write it in active voice. Second, try to find a more vivid verb than “made it.” Thrid, try to get rid of “he heard.” That’s a narrator phrase that takes away the intimacy of the POV.

    Suggested way to write it – The soft fur on the bottom of his dragonscale boots muffled his footfalls, allowing him to skulk in silence to the chamber. Just as he passed the opening, the scraping of scales against stone sizzled in the air.

    Next: Using his left hand, he slowly reached for the small staff strapped to his back. Pulling it free of its sheath, he clutched it tightly in his hand, his heart racing.

    I suggest “free hand” instead of “left hand.” Also, you can delete “in his hand.” Since he pulled the staff out with his hand, it is obvious that he clutches it with his hand.

    Next: Even though six dragons lay dead by his hand, he always felt the same fear just before confronting one of the mighty beasts.

    “He always felt” is another narrator phrase. Try this – Even though six dragons lay dead by his hand, he shivered. Every one of the mighty beasts raised the same chilling fear.

    Next: The dragon was awake in an instant, leaping to its feet and rounding on him.

    “Was awake” is weak. How about “awoke with a start”?

    Next: It was pale blue in color, and it’s scales shimmered like sunlight on ice.

    Take out “in color.” It’s not needed. Remove the apostrophe from “it’s.” I would rewrite to remove the weak “it was” phrase—something like this: Its pale blue scales shimmered like sunlight on ice.

    Next: Its jaws opened and it let out a burst of fire.

    Insert a comma after “opened.” This is a compound sentence.

    Next: Fennec quickly raised his shield, deflecting it.

    First, can you come up with a more vivid, precise verb than “raised”? That way you can eliminate the adverb quickly. Also, the closest antecedent for the pronoun “it,” is “shield.” I would rename the fire, something like “deflecting the flames.”

    Next: The beast’s tail whipped around and sent him sprawling.

    You should mention that the tail hit him and where it hit him to provide a better picture.

    Next: A moment later, it was upon him. Its claw landed on top of him, slowly crushing him as he struggled to free himself.

    I am not picturing this. Was he lying on his stomach with the claw on his back or lying on his back with the claw on his stomach? Clarify.

    Next: Its blue eyes gleamed with hatred, and its jaws opened. He brought his sword up and drove it deep into the dragon’s foreleg.

    Rename Fennec here and provide a more vivid verb – Fennec thrust his sword up …

    Next: Letting out a roar, it swiped at him with it’s claw.

    Delete the apostrophe from “it’s.”

    Next: Fennec jumped back just in time.

    You didn’t show him getting up from his sprawled position.

    Next: Swinging his sword, he landed a blow on it’s claw.

    Delete the apostrophe from “it’s.”

    Next: Before he could regain his balance, its head snapped forwards to crush him.

    How would Fennec know that it snapped its head forward to crush him? “To crush” is a purpose statement, and Fennec wouldn’t know the dragon’s purpose.

    Next: Fennec fell backwards in his haste to dodge the attack, managing to slash the beasts snout.

    “Fell” often indicates an accidental move. Also, “beast’s” needs an apostrophe. I suggest – Fennec slashed the beast’s snout and lunged backwards to dodge the attack.

    Next: It jerked back, dark indigo blood dripping to the floor. Rearing back, it let loose more flames.

    Repeated use of “back” is awkward.

    Next: This time, Fennec waited until the very last second before dodging forwards and striking a solid blow across its shoulder.

    The sentence is quite long for such a quick action. Maybe – At the last second, Fennec dodged forwards and struck …

    Next: It shrieked in rage, its injured leg unable to support it.

    Too many uses of “it.” Also, you can provide more vivid imagery. How about: As the dragon’s injured leg crumpled under its massive body, it let out a wild shriek.

    Next: Fennec took advantage of its pain and rushed forwards.
    I think you can take out “took advantage of its pain.” The reason is already clear.

    Next: The enchantment on the blade would only slow down the beast for a few seconds.

    “Only” is in the wrong place. Also, it can be tighter. “The blade’s enchantment would slow the beast for only a few seconds.”

    Next: A weak, hatred filled snarl came from it’s jaws, then it lay still.

    Delete the apostrophe from “it’s.”

    Next: Fennec’s chest heaved from the exertion, and for a moment he struggled to breathe the stuffy cave air.

    The exertion part is obvious, and heaving is nearly the same as struggling to breath, so this is a bit redundant. Suggested rewrite – Fennec gasped for breath, his chest heaving as he sucked in the cave’s stuffy air.

    Next: Once he was certain the beast was dead, he took a scale as a trophy, adding it to the rest.

    How did he make certain? Did he check for breathing? A heartbeat? Stab it again to see if it flinched?

    Next: Turning his back on the dragon, he walked back towards the cave exit.

    Two uses of “back” is awkward.

    Next: His sword clattered to the ground as he pressed his hands to the floor in an effort to steady himself.

    I would delete “in an effort.” Those words are not needed.

    Next: The ground rushed up to meet him and darkness overcame him.

    Since he pressed his hands on the floor, I thought he was already prostrate.

    Next: When Fennec awoke, his entire body felt stiff, as if he hadn’t moved in days. Letting out a soft groan, he pushed himself into a sitting position and leaned against the wall.

    I think “a wall” would be better. You have not mentioned a specific wall. Did he lean with his back to the wall? His side?

    Next: He felt sick, although it wasn’t like other illnesses he had. This was like a churning, twisting dread that seemed to pool in his chest.

    I would lead off with the specific feeling rather than “he felt sick.” That sounds like a narrator. Try this: A churning, twisting dread pooled in his chest, a sickness like no other.

    Next: Looking around, it seemed everything was just how it had been before the thing, whatever it was, attacked.

    The subject is “it,” so you are saying that “it” was looking around, which is inaccurate. Try this – Fennec looked around. Everything appeared to be exactly as it had been before the thing, whatever it was, attacked.

    Next: “Seek the cure for your poison at the ruins of Shammah or perish within the week.”

    Why is this sentence in italics? Weren’t the words spoken out loud?

    Next: Fennec screamed in fright.

    “In fright” is telling. Show that he is frightened, and use that to lead up to the scream, like this – Fennec stiffened. A scream erupted from his gut unbidden.

    That’s about it. Again, well done.

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  2. Submission #2 – True Strength by Alexis

    Alexis,

    Hooray for dragon battles! It’s interesting that both submissions included an intense fight with a dragon. I read the battle with interest. Such action is always entertaining.

    When you begin with intense action, however, much is lost. Readers don’t know the characters yet or what is at stake. I had no feelings for either human in the battle. I sensed no potential loss. Obviously, they could die, but I didn’t know if they were good or evil, so even potential death didn’t raise any emotions.

    I think you should begin with showing what the characters are doing in this muddy place. What is their goal? Why is that goal important. Give readers a reason to care about them. Also, introduce their steeds so that they don’t seem to appear out of nowhere later. Then when the battle begins, readers will cheer for them and understand that their goal is in jeopardy, which greatly enhances emotional connection. As it stands, I had no connection.

    If you decided to change it as I suggest, the first portion would have to be completely rewritten, so I won’t provide a detailed critique on that section.

    With regard to the action, be careful to avoid long sentences during the intense portions. For example, in the following paragraph:

    “Look out!” I screamed, but Erminigild was calm, cool, and collected, despite the fact that he was standing on a muddy peninsula of earth that reached out into the swampy river. His sword drawn and firmly held in both hands, he was ready to take on this beast. My eyes quickly skimmed over our wooded surroundings and I spotted my sword embedded in the mud at the base of a tree and ran to get it. I wrapped my fingers around the leather bound hilt, and, with a great heave, the mud released its hold from my blade. I turned to help my friend / Ermin, who had, so far, kept the beast at bay.

    Usually, after someone screams “Look out!” immediate danger is about to crash in. Yet, you have five long sentences after the scream without the crash. During intense action, keep the sentences short. Try to make the reading pace match the action pace. In other words, don’t have lengthy descriptions that pause the action.

    Watch for body parts seemingly acting independently of the point-of-view character. For example, “My eyes quickly skimmed …” The POV character should be in control of the eyes. It sounds like the eyes have minds of their own. Just write, “I quickly scanned …” Readers will know that the eyes are at work.

    Also avoid making the subject of your sentence do impossible things. For example, “with a great heave, the mud released its hold from my blade.” The way you wrote it, you have the mud doing the heaving. You probably meant something like, “with a great heave, I jerked my blade from the mud.”

    I had some trouble reading the remaining paragraphs because they were so long, and you didn’t break them whenever a speaker changed. This is not an option; it is a rule. In dialogue, whenever you change from one speaker to another, you must start a new paragraph.

    Because of the trouble I had understanding the remaining portions, I will end my critique and allow others to comment.

    The main issues you need to address are:

    1. Begin with the characters by showing their goal. Let the readers get to know them.
    2. Shorten the sentences during the battle. Make the pace of the reading match the pace of the action as much as possible.

    3. Make a new paragraph when the speaker changes. This will help with reader comprehension.

    I would love to see this after you do a rewrite. Keep up the good work!

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    • Thanks, Mr. Davis! I’ll be sure to fix those.
      I thought the change in characters speaking might have been clear by the gestures leading up to the quotes, but I guess not. I didn’t know if I should have the gestures start the new paragraph followed by the person who’s saying them, or if I should start each new paragraph just with the quotes and leave the character’s gestures in the previous paragraph. Anyway, that’s why I had kept them together, but I definitely agree. I was concerned if that would be an issue.
      Thanks again!

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    • I agree with Mr. Davis. I have one question. Why a there so many / everywhere? I’m guessing it’s just a typo, but it’s a little distracting. Other than that, I love the names, they’re super creative. And dragons are always a good thing, too.

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      • I wrote those in because I had two words or phrases come to mind, and I had not chosen which one to use yet. :} Those won’t be in the final draft. They’re just notes for me and for anyone who has a idea or preference for how that part should be written. I am open to suggestions. 😀

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  3. Natasha,

    I don’t have any suggestions writing-wise. This is excellent, and Mr. Davis covered it pretty well.
    However, in one paragraph, you had him draw his sword, “The faint singing sounded of metal on metal echoed through the cave as Fennec drew his sword and began walking forwards.”
    While this sounds very nice (I like your descriptions in this), I wanted to point out that when you’re drawing a sword, the ring of metal at the top of the sheath is wrapped in leather–otherwise it was damage the blade. So try, “The faint hiss of metal against leather whispered through the cave as Fennec drew his sword and began walking forwards.”
    Hope that helps! 🙂

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  4. Thank you so much for all the suggestions Mr. Davis! I can’t wait to rewrite it now that I have a better idea of what to fix.

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  5. Natasha: Loved it! I could picture Fennec, the dragon, and the setting easily. I especially liked the details about Fennec’s dragonscale coat and the scales he wears around his neck. The battle was executed nicely as well, and the ending left a great sense of mystery. I have questions about Fennec’s role, his enchanted blade, the poison, the cure, etc. Well done! A very polished piece. I don’t have any corrections other than what Mr. Davis mentioned. 🙂

    Alexis: You held my interest–good job! I liked how the swamp setting and unique names (which I really liked) gave the whole piece an original feel. I also enjoyed Adelaide and Ermingild’s easy friendship, and the entrance of her brother made me think there’ll be some interesting family relationships too. One thing that wasn’t clear to me was whether Adelaide’s dragon is flying–you say that they direct their steeds towards home, but is she flying above Erminigild and his horse, or walking alongside? Also, a few slashes (/) showed up within the text. But you did a great job, and I’m interested to read more one day! 🙂

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    • The slashes I had put in my document as a reminder for myself that I had two options that came to mind, and I had not decided which one to use yet.

      Her dragon had no wings. It’s obvious in my mind, but I can see how that would be confusing to the reader with the modern use of the word “dragon” today.

      Thanks! ^.=.^

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  6. Thank you for the critiques. I really appreciate your guys’ input. 🙂

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  7. Alexis and Natasha, I liked how both of your stories had dragons, I love stories with dragons. I would agree with what Bryan Davis already said about your story Alexis, and that because it had started out in the middle of a fight, their was really no emotional tie to the characters. I would say that the biggest thing about both stories I didn’t like is that they came to an end too quickly.

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  8. Oh my goodness, Natasha!! What a story! I was gonna try to critique it, but I was so into the story, that I completely forgot. You’re beginning is absolutely amazing. It drew me in from the first sentence. And I love the name Fennec. Reading it over a second time, I see that Mr. Davis pretty much covered it all. When can I read more?

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  9. Alexis,
    I think wingless riding dragons sound pretty cool. I’d love to see an illustration of one.

    I agree with Bryan Davis that you may want to change the opening. Perhaps move it back to before the dragon attacks, which would explain why they’re in the swamp and give a good description of those cool riding dragons.

    “With a roar the dragon charged. I leaped to the side as it snapped its massive jaws at me.”
    This sentence could be okay, since on could assume the narrator is leaping aside because of the dragon’s charge, but, if the character is leaping aside to escape the dragons snapping jaws, you want to switch the sentence around. “It snapped its massive jaws at me as I leaped aside.” This would allow the reader to know why the person is leaping, instead of see them leaping, then see why. (The reader should be in the MC’s head, so they’ll see the jaws coming at them before leaping aside.)

    “My boot slipped in some mud and I slid a good distance before I fell back on my rear.”
    I’m wondering how far this person slipped, since I’d assume a swamp is pretty level. Then again, I come from an area without swamps so I’m not familiar with them.
    If a person falls in their rear, it is assumed they fell back, and not forward, so “I fell on my rear” gives the reader the same picture with one less word. The same goes for things like “Fell down.” You can’t fall up, so “I fell” would give readers the same picture.

    I’d also suggest shortening your sentences for action scenes. If you have an “and” (or another conjunction) joining two clauses that can both stand as their own sentence, you need a comma before the “and.” I tend to notice this because last year, just before a writers’ conference, I learned this and had to frantically find every mis-punctuated conjunction in an 80K book.

    Also, is the stallion mentioned a male dragon or a horse? I assumed horse, but since you have horse-like dragons, I started wondering if maybe the term was also used for male dragons.
    Cool story.

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    • Thanks for the tips. I’ll be sure to fix those.
      You can actually find pictures of the riding dragons very easily on the internet. They’re dinosaurs! I’m trying to write a novel in the time after the flood and Babel, but before Abraham. The dragon the MC has is a parasauralophus if you’re interested. 😉
      I have other dinosaurs in the book as well, but Eachann is a horse. I thought stallion might limit the description to a horse, but I can see the confusion. :}

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      • Cool. I love dinosaurs.
        If you’re going for dinosaurs being called dragons, you might want to mix things up a little, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of species. I’d start by calling the one they’re fighting a swamp or water dragon (Or perhaps Leviathan) in the first sentence, then call the riding ones something like “saddle dragon” or another name so we know they’re not the same species. It might be a bit of a stretch to call of all these species simply “dragons” since dinosaurs are a pretty diverse group. (A gecko, turtle, and alligator are all reptiles, but you wouldn’t want to dump them under the same name.)

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        • I was thinking about that too.
          My idea was naming the different created kinds of dinosaurs different things. For example the dragon in the swamp is a spinosaurus (and I do give details describing it later), so I decided to name the dragon “kind” Strekel Dragons, because “stekel” means “thorn” in Dutch [but when used in a sentence it can mean “spine”]. So that was my idea of how to deal with that, but anyways I’ll stop rambling. :}

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  10. Alexis, the only thing that i don’t think others have touched on is the dialogue. While most of it was good, there were a few instances where the lack of conjunctions made the dialogue feel awkward. “I am coming” “it is alright”, may feel more natural as “I’m coming”and “It’s alright”.

    If you are attempting to have the language come across more archaic, which is not a bad idea but seems difficult to instigate, then i would suggest doing more than just a lack of conjunction.

    Overall the story was very enjoyable. 🙂

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    • I’m sure Jeremiah means “contractions” instead of “conjunctions.” 🙂

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    • Thank you, Jeremiah, for noticing. The reason I’m not using contractions [it is hard to read at times] is because the story is set in the time after the flood and the tower of Babel and before Abraham. If I remember correctly they didn’t use contractions then. XD
      I’ll try to make it sound more archaic besides lack of contractions, but I can’t think of much more than that at the moment. Any ideas?

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      • I’m not sure how to use English to give the feeling of a time period before it existed. My initial feeling would be to give the illusion by using old english, but that may backfire since “old english” is time locked, so to speak.

        Perhaps the best thing would be to communicate naturally, as whatever language was used at that time probably was natural sounding to those who spoke it.

        This is simply my opinion, as a reader, not a writer. Perhaps Mr. Davis would have a more accurate perspective. 🙂

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      • It’s tough to write old dialogue. Authentic speech from long ago would not even be understood by readers. Old English would sound unintelligible, and before Abraham’s time, the characters wouldn’t speak English at all.

        So having them dialogue in any form of modern English is not authentic. You have to translate. Does it make sense to translate to a form of English that seems unnatural to readers? They didn’t speak English without contractions; they spoke something entirely different. So why translate only part way?

        That’s why I don’t have a problem having characters from long ago use modern English, including contractions. I am translating an old language into modern speech for a modern reader.

        One way to show old speech is to look up older forms of words. These provide a rich, ancient flavor.

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        • Good points, both of you. I’ll see what I can do, and I think I will put the contractions back in for a more accurate translation. 🙂

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  11. Alexis, I meant to comment on yours yesterday as well. I really enjoyed it (dragons for the win)! And I’m genuinely curious to read more about why they are there and why they are hunting dragons.
    Also, the idea of wingless dragons is really cool. I am definitely intrigued by your story.

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    • Actually, in the scenario, I was hoping that it looked like they had mistakenly trespassed on the dragon’s territory, and that they were simply defending themselves. Hmm… What to do…

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