Critique Group – The Dragon Tamer

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The Dragon Tamer –  by Shana and Taryn

A roar echoed across the darkened plain. Pools of dark liquid collected in hollows, and the trees at the edge of the field rustled ominously in the growing breeze. No light brightened the field, for it was a moonless night, and blackness congealed like blood in the crevasses. Not a sound stirred the darkened night except for one; the sound of battle.A great black dragon, scales shining like the star-lit night, and knight, clothed in strange dark armor, fought in the field, locked together until death. The dragon was weakening, his wings drooping, the light fading from his once-bright blue eyes. Horrendous wounds marred the gleaming perfection of his scales, wounds that not even his self-healing power could help. At last his legs gave out from under him, and he collapsed to the blood-drenched earth. Only his weary eyes moved, following the footsteps of the man who had come to kill him. “You will not defeat me, Valkrie.”

The words were so sudden, the dark knight stopped in his tracks. Then, from beneath the dark helm came the sound of his cold, cruel laughter.

“Are you sure about that, Malloren?” The knight stepped closer and placed his sword at the dragons belly. “It seems,” he said with a smirk, “That I am the one who will triumph. Not you.”

“That is not true,” the dragon rumbled. “One will come… But it is not my place to tell you.” The knight almost dropped his sword in his sudden fury.

“Of course I will win!” He yelled. “This victory will ensure that I am victorious forever! I must know of any threat!” He moved his sword closer to the dragon’s snout. “You will tell me!” He pressed his sword into the pressure point in between the dragon’s nostrils. The dragon groaned, and writhed in pain. “Tell me,” the knight growled. The dragon let out a weary sigh.

“Very well,” he moaned. “There will be a… a Dragon Tamer! And she will be the last! She will lose to nothing, and nothing will triumph over her. She will be The Last Dragon!”

“But I will defeat her, right?” The knight asked eagerly. The dragon’s eyes met his, and for a long moment, silence reigned.

“No.” The dragon finally replied.

The knight let out a yell of rage, and stabbed his sword deep in the dragon’s belly. As the hot fluids rushed out, the sky went dark, and the wind abruptly stopped. And then, as the stars clouded over, the knight grew and grew, and the body of the dragon shrank and shrank, and then there was only one figure on the silent field, an exact image of the great black dragon, except for his blood-red eyes. The dragon opened his jaws, and let out a roar of triumph, along with a great gout of flame that singed the trees and turned them to ash.

“I am Valkrie!” The dragon cried. “I am ruler of all! I will destroy all the dragon tamers, and defeat the prophecy! I AM VALKRIE!!”

And with that, the great black dragon, scales as black as the soul within, flung open his wings, and rose into the night sky.

And he left behind him a silent field filled with death.

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6 replies

  1. I don’t have time to do a critique today, but I will say that I’m very interested as to how the two switched (ish), and who/what the last dragon tamer is. Very interesting story!

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  2. I LOVE the feel of this story, here are one or two things you could tweak to make it even better!

    1) You mention in the first paragraph that the night is really dark; but then that the dragon is shining like the starlit sky. Could you add that all was dark apart from the few stars that twinkled? That would make it more consistent.

    2) I understand that the knight is a very formidable warrior; though he is fighting a dragon that he has wounded with not even a scratch mentioned, or even that he is tiring like the dragon. If you added even one thing along those lines (for example heavy breathing could be heard though light reflected off his still fiery eyes or something), I think it would benefit the scene.

    If I started this book, I likely wouldn’t put it down for awhile. Keep it up :)!

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  3. OK. That was way cool. I like the vivid use of details and descriptions that left no guessing for the readers . I love the way this story’s going. That Valkrie fellow seems a little on the kooky side doesn’t he? 🙂

    Really the only thing I think could use fixing is this small part:

    …the sound of battle. A great black dragon, scales shining like the star-lit night, and knight, clothed in strange dark armor, fought in the field, locked together until death.

    I had to read this sentence three times and the sentence before it twice to understand what it was saying.

    I would rewrite this into something like this:

    …the sound of battle. A great black dragon, whose scales shone like a star-lit night, and a knight, clothed in strange dark armor, fought in a field, locked together until death.

    It flows a little better than the original version and it doesn’t really need to be read more than once (I think 🙂 )

    That was pretty much all I noticed.

    I love the story! It’s awesome! Keep up the great writing!

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  4. Woah! This sounds extremely fascinating — especially with the knight transforming into a dragon at the end. I would definitely want to read more! Keep up the good work you two! 😀

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  5. I have been out of town, so I haven’t been able to comment. I will try to post a critique sometime this weekend.

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  6. Shana and Taryn, you have the beginning of what could be an interesting story. Your descriptive prose is good, and with a little tweaking, it can be great.

    First, watch for repeated words. I think you used a form of “dark” six or seven times early on.

    Second, consider how your words come across to someone who doesn’t see what you see. As the author, you know exactly what you’re writing about, but the reader is just getting a glimpse through your words.

    For example, you wrote that there is no light on the field. If that were true, nothing that you described could be seen by anyone, not even blackness congealing like blood in the crevasses, or even the crevasses themselves.

    By the way, what is a crevasse on a plain? If it’s a plain, I think it wouldn’t have crevasses.

    Also, what is the difference between a hollow and a crevasse? Some kind of dark liquid collects in the hollows, though we never find out what that is, while blackness congeals in the crevasses. This sounds mystical, but I can’t make any sense out of it.

    It seems that you chose an omniscient point of view, which allows you to view the battle from outside the perspective of the two battlers. This can work, but you do lose intimacy. I didn’t feel close to either character. If you weren’t trying to gain intimacy and just wanted to report the battle, omniscient might be the best choice. If that is the case, you might consider this as a prologue and write the rest of the story in a more intimate point of view.

    Now for some more details:

    “Not a sound stirred the darkened night except for one; the sound of battle.”

    Since the sound of battle did stir the darkened night, that would be quite a loud sound, so I don’t think anyone would begin with “not a sound stirred,” because indeed a huge sound stirred greatly. That would be like saying, “There was nothing in the sky to brighten the field, except for one thing—a blazing noontime sun.”

    “clothed in strange dark armor” – What made it “strange”? Show, don’t tell.

    “locked together until death” – How is the result known in advance?

    The dragon was weakening, his wings drooping …” – Note that if there was no light, none of these details would be visible.

    The first paragraph is too long. I would divide it into at least two paragraphs. Three would be better.

    “the dark knight stopped in his tracks” – You didn’t say that he was walking.

    “placed his sword at the dragons belly.” – This could mean that he set the sword on the ground near the dragon’s belly. Maybe better to write – “pressed the tip of his blade against the dragon’s belly.”

    “One will come… But it is not my place to tell you.” – This makes the dragon look pretty stupid. Why bring it up?

    “The dragon let out a weary sigh.” – This should be the beginning of the next paragraph.

    Next:

    “Very well,” he moaned. “There will be a… a Dragon Tamer! And she will be the last! She will lose to nothing, and nothing will triumph over her. She will be The Last Dragon!”

    If the dragon is near death, I don’t think he would be speaking with enough energy to support all of the exclamation points. Also, giving this information makes him look stupid once again. He knows the man is going to kill him. Why help him?

    “The knight asked eagerly.” Since this is a speaker tag, the “the” would start with a lower-case “t”
    “stabbed his sword deep in the dragon’s belly.” – I thought the blade was at the dragon’s snout.

    “the sky went dark” – The sky was already dark.

    “And then, as the stars clouded over, the knight grew and grew, and the body of the dragon shrank and shrank, and then there was only one figure on the silent field, an exact image of the great black dragon, except for his blood-red eyes.” – Two uses of “and then” in this overly long sentence. I think you should break it up.

    “singed the trees and turned them to ash” – A singe is a slight burning, which wouldn’t result in turning them to ash.

    “The dragon cried.” – Since this is a speaker tag, the “the” would start with a lower-case “t”

    “I will destroy all the dragon tamers, and defeat the prophecy!” – Delete the comma. This is not a compound sentence.

    “flung open his wings, and rose into the night sky.” – Delete the comma. This is not a compound sentence.

    “filled with death.” – How is it filled with death? A single dragon died, and it shrank until it disappeared.

    I hope that helps. Keep writing!

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