Critique Group – The Treeman of Roses (Resubmission)

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The Treeman of Roses – by Tamra (Resubmission)

First submission – http://www.theauthorschair.com/2017/02/17/critique-group-the-treeman-of-roses/

Goewyn wandered deep into the forests of her homeland in the southwest of Avalon. She was on a mission of exploration; living around the forest-bordered House Meridian all her life had not dampened her passion for going for rambles in the woods. Goewyn knew every inch of these forests… all except for this one. The forests were dark and deep, dangerous to those who didn’t know their way. Goewyn knew the tricks of the forests, but kept her wits about her, her sword in hand and her harp on her shoulder. On her right ran a creek with high banks and low places where little waterfalls bubbled over the rocks, to her left, dark deciduous woods.

Soon she came across a tall hedge of thorns. They grew almost to the tops of the trees.

“How strange,” mumbled Goewyn to herself. “I don’t remember anyone mentioning this.”

Goewyn found a small space in the hedge and crawled inside, pulling her harp in after her. As she crawled, a smooth lawn of grass opened before her eyes, and the very air was saturated with the smell of green things and flowers. Putting her head out of the tunnel she looked around and was amazed. Spreading as far as she could see was a garden, so beautiful and vast it took her breath away.

Goewyn walked through the garden listening in marvel to the voices of the flowers, all their languages she knew. Most beautiful of all were the roses. A thousand different kinds and colors, all breeds of the “king of the flowers” bloomed around the center of the garden. The air was heady with the scent and the sound of the drone of bees. A lane ran through garden to a throne made of willow branches and roses. It was empty, but Goewyn walked around it, examining it from all sides.

“A kingdom of flowers. The caretaker of this garden is quite good at what he does.”

Goewyn noticed the stream ran by the rose garden, being careful not to touch anything, she knelt down by the water for a drink. Then she remembered, she had heard of such a garden before, sitting at her mother’s knee. The old song of Meridian floated through her mind, singing of a time long ago, and of a dryad of great power.

“Rhodon. The King of the Flowers. But that’s impossible!”

Goewyn rose to one knee, deciding that if this was the garden of Rhodon, it would be wise for her to leave. He might not take kindly to trespassers.

“Are you aware that you’ve been trespassing?” said a resonant voice from somewhere.

Goewyn jumped, sitting down heavily and looked across the stream. The voice’s owner glided into view. He was a tall creature, taller than an elf, with green and brown skin that was the texture of bark and green eyes shot through with amber. He wore moss on the upper portion of his body and a woolen kilt on his lower half, complete with sporran. Goewyn knew his species, he was a tree man, but she didn’t recognise his kind of tree. He looked at her with a mixture of curiosity and caution, like someone who had been hurt before.

“I apologize, it was just so beautiful, I had to investigate.” stammered Goewyn getting to her feet.

“I understand, that’s why I put up my fence.” said the Treeman, walking toward her and through the stream.

“Your pardon sir, I meant no harm.” said Goewyn with a curtsey.

“I’ve been watching you, you came only to look, not to touch. You showed respect for me and my flowers, though you didn’t know I was there. It would have been easy to pick some flowers and no one would know.” said the lordly tree man.

“I wouldn’t like it if someone came into my garden and took my flowers without permission.”

“A wise answer.” remarked the treeman “What is your name, elf’s child?”

“Oh, prince of the trees, I am called Lady Goewyn Nic Mannan of House Meridian.” said Goewyn falling into the old fashioned speech that some tree men still used.

“Few of your kind have set eyes on me in these many long years.” said the treeman, for a moment looking far away. “I am Rhodon.”

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8 replies

  1. This is an interesting piece, I’m curious to know what happens. A few minor things though: first of all, it’s a little awkward when Goewyn is thinking about how she must not trespass, and immediately, someone tells her she’s trespassing. I would put more time in between those, or change that first thing the treeman says to her. Also, the treeman seems rather gentle and nice, which is a bit of a contrast to his first greeting.
    I hope these help, and that you keep on writing this story!

    As a side note, Mr. Davis, I have a question I would like to ask. If I have a story I would like to critique, but it’s 2000 words long and there is no good stopping point at 1000 words, can I send it in anyway? Or should I stop it at 1000 words even if it makes no sense to stop there?

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  2. Can definitely see the improvement from the first edition. Can’t wait to see where it goes. The first paragraph where you’re describing Goewyn’s surroundings and her knowledge of the forest seems to “telly” if that makes sense. Can you show it differently. Maybe, she’s exploring a familiar part of the forest (or she’s just walking) and she wanders into an area that she isn’t familiar with.

    Basically, “show it, don’t tell it” would be better for that section.

    Keep up the great work!!

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  3. Interesting read. Not a bad thing, but as a side note, how many worlds are named Avalon out in the fantasy genre. It seems like it’s the go to name of fantasy worlds. I think the one thing I would like to see is more elaborate descriptions. The phrase “show don’t tell” is certainly a very real thing, but sometimes it is ok to tell the readers things, if done artfully. Break out the thesaurus and give us some more descriptors of the garden especially.

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  4. I liked how you switched to a single point of view. I think that helps quite a bit.

    The first paragraph read like a narrator’s introduction. If you want to strive for complete intimacy with the POV character, think about showing more of the telling phrases, such as her knowing every inch of these forests except this one. Show her not recognizing something, like a tree species.

    “Soon she came across a tall hedge of thorns. They grew almost to the tops of the trees.”

    Maybe simplify this to – “Soon she came across a hedge of thorns that grew almost to the tops of the trees.”

    “I don’t remember anyone mentioning this.”

    Why would anyone mention it to her? This is an unexplored part of the forests, right?

    “Goewyn found a small space in the hedge and crawled inside, pulling her harp in after her.”

    What happened to her sword?

    “Putting her head out of the tunnel she looked around and was amazed.”

    You mentioned her amazement before reporting the reason for the amazement. Can you show her being amazed instead of telling that she is amazed?

    “Spreading as far as she could see was a garden, so beautiful and vast it took her breath away.”

    Maybe activate the verb and show a bit more, like so – “A garden spread out as far as she could see. She sucked in a gasping breath. So beautiful and vast! Amazing!

    “A lane ran through garden to a throne made of willow branches and roses. It was empty, but Goewyn walked around it, examining it from all sides.”

    Fix the typo and simplify as follows: “A lane ran through the garden to an empty throne made of willow branches and roses. Goewyn walked around it, examining it from all sides.”

    “Goewyn noticed the stream ran by the rose garden, being careful not to touch anything, she knelt down by the water for a drink.”

    Since this is Goewyn’s POV, you don’t need to say that she noticed. Just report the visual – “The stream ran by the rose garden, clear and inviting. Being careful not to touch anything, she knelt by the water for a drink.”

    “Goewyn rose to one knee, deciding that if this was the garden of Rhodon, it would be wise for her to leave. He might not take kindly to trespassers.”

    You show her rising before providing the reason for rising. To keep intimate POV, you need to show her motivation before her reaction.

    “Goewyn jumped, sitting down heavily and looked across the stream.”

    The way you constructed this, it sounds like she jumped while sitting down. Normally, the participle action occurs at the same time as the main verb.

    “Goewyn knew his species, he was a tree man, but she didn’t recognise his kind of tree.”

    This is another narrator telling. Maybe something like this – Goewyn nodded. A treeman. But what kind of tree was he?

    “I apologize, it was just so beautiful, I had to investigate.” stammered Goewyn getting to her feet.

    Put the speaker tag as early as possible, such as right after “I apologize.” You should do that in other places as well.

    I think you have too many speaker tags. Since there are only two people speaking, you probably don’t need any, just dialogue beats.

    Keep writing!

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  5. Her sword! D’oh! Thank you all so much for your suggestions! Speaker tags were eliminated and more editing work was done when I saw your suggestions. Thank you all again! I’m so happy you all liked it.

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  6. Interesting tale, Tamra. I like the characters you introduced.

    I suggest that you brush up on dialogue punctuation. There’s also tons of articles out there about writing good dialogue, would help with the ‘she said’ tags at the end of lines and help story flow.

    Clarify the opening paragraph a bit more adding emotion. How does she feel about the forests. Also, does she live somewhere surrounded by several different forests or just one large one and she was exploring a new part?

    I liked the description of the tree man. Liked that he wore moss for clothes.

    Also maybe add more about what she’s thinking. Let us get a look into her head instead of showing us what she sees.

    Keep writing. I want to read more.

    (My reply got wonky. I sent before and it showed up in a post from February. Trying again.)

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