First Flight-- Read, Critique, Mock... You pick!

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First Flight-- Read, Critique, Mock... You pick!

Postby GwenElf » Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:07 pm

...actually, I'd love it if you avoided the mocking. ;)

A short story that I wrote on a dare. :D I have since tweaked and improved it and thought I might see what you guys here think. The story is set in the world I've created for my novel, but has nothing to do with said novel.
Still, I'd like to know if I'm leaving too much up to the reader as far as the world background goes--should I explain more about the Shis, for example? Is the nature of Daevion's insult clear? Etc.
Or just read. :)


First Flight


Kendarin cringed whenever he saw anyone dive off the edge of the city. He cringed when he watched his older sister riding the violent currents of air that tore through the outlying fields, her arms outstretched, a wild grin on her face. He cringed when he gathered the courage to crawl to the end of Teiria and peer over the side to the mountains far, far below, swirling in painted greens and blues like an ocean of branches. He cringed so often that he rarely looked happy and instead looked perpetually afraid, and when he did look happy, the expression seemed forced and altogether unnatural on his face.

At first glance he seemed perfectly normal, provided that a chronic expression of fear was a component of normalcy in some way or another. His silver hair waved about his head like a halo that wasn't quite certain its wearer was really holy, and according to one of his neighbors, he possessed "a good, strong soul," which no one understood, because his behavior was anything but strong and his soul, while obviously that of a Shis, seemed unable, or perhaps simply unwilling, to manifest its full power in the body of the small, morose boy.

"He'll grow out of it," his mother assured her friends, the ones who stopped by all too often to offer her advice on how to deal with her...well, how might they put it nicely? Problem son, perhaps? "Little Kendarin" was usually what they said, even though Kendarin was far from little and they all knew it. But how could they relate? Their sons and daughters had all come of age years ago, at the normal time—"but don't worry, I'm sure he'll make his first flight soon! After all..." And they would offer a weak profession of Kendarin's good qualities, and quote the neighbor who had declared the state of the boy's soul, and then return home to their "normal" children and sigh with relief that they were not the parents of such an abhorrent son.

At times like this, Kendarin sat on his bed and pretended he couldn’t hear them discussing his problems and offering solutions that were "just bound to work!" Bribes, threats, removal of privileges, and loving care were just some of the suggestions that Kendarin had heard, and none of them had any effect, and he knew because his family had tried them all. So he would perch on his bed and finger the rough sheets, trace the pattern of the blanket his mother had woven for him years ago, and wait until the neighbors had gone before reinstalling himself in the household. Sometimes he wondered if they knew he could hear them, but really, he didn't have to wonder. It was just another of their bound-to-work techniques. Shame.

His sister was especially fond of grabbing him and then taking off into the sky before he realized what was happening. Then, when he did, he kicked and screamed and clawed and did whatever it took for her to put him down, and if she did put him down, it was usually in the midst of the market at the center of Teiria, right alongside a group of his snickering peers or amongst a cohort of ladies who shook their heads in dismay. "Humiliation is the best teacher!" That was what Sisapha thought.

"What does she know?" Kendarin grumbled to himself. He hoisted his sack further onto his shoulder and felt his school books slap against his leg as he trudged along through a field of unkempt grass, fiddling with the silken tassels on his coat for lack of any other entertainment. There was no need for tidy pathways in the city, no reason to trim those bothersome branches that cascaded from the trees and blocked Kendarin's otherwise peaceful trail back to his house. It had irked him at first, arriving at his front door with leaves in his hair and in dire need of a brush, but now he couldn't find the energy to care. Anything was better than flying. All of the other students in his class flew home, but Kendarin walked. It gave him time to think.

It also made him an easy target in open fields where anything could be spotted from above. Usually it was water, sometimes wine or kinso juice. Today, it was mud.

The slimy brown mixture of dirt and water assaulted his hair and found its way down his shirt, his pants, and in between his toes, all the while accompanied by a cascade of cruel laughter which seeped far deeper than the mud would ever penetrate. In a swirl of wind which blew Kendarin's filthy hair into his face, a pack of his classmates landed with a flourish at his side, preventing him from going any further. Kendarin bit his lip to stop himself from cursing them all the way to Sovinthrau. Little good it would do, anyhow.

"By the Spirits, Ken, what did you get yourself into this time?"

Ken. The biting word and Daevion's mocking laughter were eternally worse than the feeling of the mud that was sliding slowly down Kendarin's back. No one stooped as far as Daevion when it came to insults, not even his companions. Even as the boy said it, Kendarin could hear some of the others murmuring amongst themselves. It was only mildly comforting to know that they, at least, did not think him unworthy of his entire D'lion soul, rather than the third Daevion had just granted him. But then, Kendarin thought with a suppressed sigh, perhaps they were just too polite to voice was Daevion was awful enough to say.

Maybe they're right, he thought glumly as a stream of muddy water dribbled from his hair onto his coat. He watched the liquid gather in a little pool within the folds of the red fabric, growing larger with each dirty droplet until it couldn't hold under the pressure; it released its inmates, which chased each other down the threads until they came to the tassels at the bottom of the coat and clung to them like carefree children swinging from ropes. Kendarin raised his eyes and frowned at the mob of classmates gathered to witness his daily torture, but all he could bring himself to say was, "Hello, Daevion."

"Haha, look at him!"

"He's filthy!"

"He smells awful!"

"Why doesn't he just fly?"

"He can't!"

"He can't? Every Shis can fly!"

"He can, I've seen him do it! He's just afraid to be up so high!"

"He's afraid to fall! Hahaha!"

Their words pierced his ears and chewed their way down into his heart. Daevion reached out and snatched at his wrist, then dragged him from the solid earth into the swirling mass of blue-white sky. The crowd of students rose as one, battering him from all around with teases and torments that stung far more than the pebbles and small stones, snatched hastily from the ground, with which they pelted him.

"Let go of me!" Kendarin shouted, feeling the familiar panic rise in his stomach. Where was the ground? He needed to feel the ground! He kicked his legs, frantic, hoping they would find something—the earth, Daevion's stomach, anything at all. Instead he felt nothing, only the emptiness that he dreaded so much; it filled his lungs, and suddenly he couldn't breathe. "Let go!" he screamed, forcing the last air from his chest. The wind rushed through his mud-soaked hair and into his mouth, but none of it made it any further. Cruel, spiteful, it danced past his teeth, cooled his tongue and the back of his throat, then gleefully fled out the way it had come. Kendarin could hear his heartbeat pounding in his ears, louder even than the roaring of the wind as Daevion flew higher and higher, faster and faster. Even the laughter of his classmates was nothing more than a tingling in his ears, like a bee which had managed to get caught and was fluttering about in silent protest. The world flashed by, blue and green and white and green and white and blue.

"Put me down!!" Kendarin howled, drawing air from some unknown source. He flailed about in Daevion's painful grasp, only partially aware that he would fall to his death if his classmate actually did as he demanded and released him.

No sooner had he thought this than he felt himself begin to fall. He clenched his eyes shut and the bile rose in his stomach again. Sure that he was going to be sick, he wrapped his arms around himself, waiting for the world to stop spinning, swirling, whirling, turning. An awful sensation ran up and down his throat with each turn while the wind bit into skin, caking mud on his face and arms, and blew the tears from his eyes into the cold, heartless sky.

Then something sharp latched onto him and he felt himself drawn up from certain death by Daevion's nails which were now firmly embedded in his wrists. Kendarin opened one eye and peered downward to see a bed of grass just below. Daevion's claws released his wrists and he fell unceremoniously onto the ground. Laughter, horrible laughter, rang in his ears.

"Was that so awful, Ken?"

He rolled over, moaning softly, and then the breath flew out of him as though Daevion had rammed a fist into his stomach. Not an arm's length from where he lay was...nothing. Complete, utter nothingness. Clouds ambled past on their way to the sea, and down below sprawled the city of Theselica, nestled within the mountains, a haven for the D'li and a death sentence for anyone who fell and couldn’t fly. Kendarin sucked in a shallow breath and climbed slowly to his feet, certain that at any moment, he would slip and tumble over the edge. Something was thundering within his chest, deafening him. The wind howled its warning and Kendarin cringed; he would get as far away from the edge as he could, and they wouldn’t stop him.

He turned, prepared to run, and nearly collided with Daevion. Behind the smirking young Shis stood the rest of Kendarin's classmates, a group even larger than it had been before, a shifting mass of silver and purple and red prepared to stop him from fleeing no matter the cost. Kendarin stumbled backward; Daevion's hand shot out and seized the front of his shirt.

"What do you think, Ken?" he asked in the same tone that he might have asked 'What color is the sky?' "Are you going to fly today?"

"Leave me alone, Daevion," Kendarin grumbled. "Why do you care so much?" He tried to free himself from the boy's grasp but succeeded only in smearing mud across the other's arm, which should have made him feel better, but did not. His heart continued to race, and its echoing beat threatened to render his ears useless, to destroy them with sound alone. The sun peered out from its shield of clouds, unwilling to miss the impending spectacle, and the mad wind raced down from the north in eager anticipation.

"I just want to help you, Ken," Daevion murmured, pasting an insincere smile across his face, a smile so cruel that a new terror climbed up from Kendarin's stomach and settled itself into his throat. The boy patted his mud-covered companion's shoulder and steered him around to face the edge of the city. Shaking wildly, Kendarin forced himself to control his breathing, but it was no use; the breaths came in short, uneven rasps, so pointless that he may as well have been holding his breath.

"Come now, Ken, what's so frightening about this? It's wide open! You can go wherever you want! You can be free!" He waved one arm dramatically and clutched Kendarin's shoulder with the other.

"The only free I want to be," Kendarin managed through clenched teeth, "is free of you. Leave me alone! Let go of me, Daevion!"

Daevion released his hold on Kendarin and sighed. "Very well." He turned away and Kendarin managed a shaky breath, and then suddenly there was a rustle of grass, and right in his ear, Kendarin heard, "Enjoy the breeze, Ken!" A pair of hands settled on his back as though attempting to draw forth a pair of wings, then propelled him toward the empty sky, and he knew he was falling even before he began.

He stumbled forward, forward, casting his eyes this way and that to see the world around him, the world which had slowed so abruptly in order to get a better look at him, tumbling downward in ridiculous horror. Even his heartbeat had slowed—it now pounded against his chest like a funeral drum, his funeral drum. He threw his hands out to steady himself, but where the grass should have been, he felt only air rushing around his body, gathering the folds of his clothing and tossing them back and forth. The wind screamed out a welcome and the sky opened its arms for an embrace, and Kendarin bit his lip against the cry that was trying to escape from the clenching fist inside his chest. He tumbled over and over in a series of grotesque somersaults while his arms flailed and flapped and waved in wild circles all completely of their own will. As the inextricable knot in his stomach slowly began to unwind, he felt himself growing nauseated, but sickness was far from his mind, pushed rudely away by cold thoughts of death. His eyes glazed over and then found sharp focus in a matter of seconds, and by the time they settled on the city high above him, it had all but vanished, and with it went the red and purple mass of Shis standing on the edge of the floating mass, watching him fall, fall, further and further, calling after him to fly, so certain that he would obey.
Last edited by GwenElf on Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:07 pm

Ahhh! It's as great as when you submitted it to my contest. You need to submit it to my next one. I loved it. It came so close to winning!!!
should I explain more about the Shis, for example? Is the nature of Daevion's insult clear? Etc.


That's what I would like to see. A teensy bit more explaining about that.
It was only mildly comforting to know that they, at least, did not think him unworthy of his entire D'lion soul, rather than the third Daevion had just granted him. But then, Kendarin thought with a suppressed sigh, perhaps they were just too polite to voice was Daevion was awful enough to say.

This is slightly unclear. I'm guessing it's an insult to shorten someone's name? Maybe be a bit more clear on that.
His eyes glazed over and then found sharp focus in a matter of seconds, and by the time they settled on the city high above him, it had all but vanished, and with it went the red and purple mass of Shis standing on the edge of the floating mass, watching him fall, fall, further and further, calling after him to fly, so certain that he would obey.


And this here, what exactly does the "city" look like from below? Is it a mass of ground, floating in the sky?

Seriously, you should submit it again to my next contest.
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Postby GwenElf » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:16 pm

:) Thanks, Lalaith! I'd be happy to answer your questions in here if you really want to know. ;) You confirmed my suspicious-- I kinda suspected those were going to be problem spots.

Except for the floating city. I guess it never occurred to me that it could be anything other than a giant floating mass of ground.. what else did you have in mind?
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Postby undomiel » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:21 am

Sil, I think you're a very good writer. Your prose is solid, unlike much you see on the internet. However, I do think there are some problems. I'm going to tell you how I felt while reading it. No offense, ok? :)

I found the story (which I'm assuming isn't over?) a bit... boring. I understand that exposition is necessary in every story, but in the beginning of the story, I expect something to happen. There needs to be some action to capture my interest to start the story off. Some situation that intrigues me or a fascinating character.

Kendarin obviously has a problem, but right now I don't really care. I've absolutely no emotional investment in him. And because I don't understand the society that he lives in his deficiency doesn't make any impact on me in the beginning. It slowly dawns on me as the story progresses, but by then I'm frustrated with you for not making things more clear.

The whole Shis and D'lion thing has me very confused. I'd say it's more than a bit vague.


Ken. The biting word and Daevion's mocking laughter were eternally worse than the feeling of the mud that was sliding slowly down Kendarin's back. No one stooped as far as Daevion when it came to insults, not even his companions. Even as the boy said it, Kendarin could hear some of the others murmuring amongst themselves. It was only mildly comforting to know that they, at least, did not think him unworthy of his entire D'lion soul, rather than the third Daevion had just granted him. But then, Kendarin thought with a suppressed sigh, perhaps they were just too polite to voice was Daevion was awful enough to say.


This made no sense to me. What is a Shis and what is a D'lion and which characters are which? It isn't clear at all. Also, I hate it when authors descirbe actions in vague ways so that I don't end up understanding what just happened. The whole sequence where Daevion took him up to the sky city... I didn't know what was happening until later.

I'm sure some people will disagree with me, but I like what I'm reading to be more clear than not. I like to know what's going on and I like to be presented with an interesting conflict in the beginning. I can't be interested in a problem I can't understand and I'm generally not interested in a group of women gossiping. Well, that's my two cents. No offense, because I do enjoy your writing. :)
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Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:48 pm

I was just thinking a mass of floating ground, I'd think something that had jagged rocks underneath, coming down to a point where it floated there in the air with a little grass there at the edge.

I agree with Undomiel on a lot of things. There are things that are rather unclear, and that need to be explained more. And most people would agree they want things to be clear. A writer is not doing her readers any favors by being vague. That doesn't create a mysterious, intriguing character, but rather the opposite. A rather shadowy, formless character who loses readers' sympathy, or perhaps never gets it. And a little action would be nice, too. Though I do find myself being concerned for Kendarin's plight.
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Postby GwenElf » Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:00 am

:) Thank you, Undi and Lalaith. :)

Lalaith-- That's pretty much exactly how I imagine the city--Laputa comes to mind.

undomiel wrote:The whole sequence where Daevion took him up to the sky city... I didn't know what was happening until later.


The whole thing takes place in the sky city. Out of curiosty, what was it that made that unclear?

I have yet to find a good way to explain my fantasy societies without bluntly saying "The Shis are a subrace of the D'li; the Shis live in a floating city, are the incarnation of the Wind element, and fly, which is why Kendarin is so scorned." Etc. I think (hope) I do a better job of it in my novel, since I have more places for exposition, but I've found that I tend on the side of vagueness a lot of the time. :roll:

About the insult--would I be better off just saying that it's an insult and leaving it at that? I don't really want to have to explain the origins of the D'lion naming system and their beliefs on the composition of their souls. I dunno; to me, that seems like too much explanation for a story this short--am I wrong?

Thanks again! :)
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Postby undomiel » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:36 pm

GwenElf wrote:
The whole thing takes place in the sky city. Out of curiosty, what was it that made that unclear?


Really? You mean from the beginning? Wow, I really had no idea. I sort of had the impression that they flew him up to a sky city.

What makes it unclear? Well, you don't really ever say there's a sky city. The only two details that gave it away were the part when he's an arm's length from nothing, which could just be a cliff or something so this isn't conclusive, and then the part where he's falling and looking up at the group standing on the edge of the "floating mass". That last part was what finally made me realize where he was falling from, but still nothing up to that point gave the impression that they had always been there. In fact, the part where they picked him up and flew around with him led me to believe they were taking him somewhere different entirely.

Personally, I like description to be short and accurate. I'm not impressed with authors who try to describe things in vague but supposedly clever ways using lots of fancy adjectives and such. In fact, I get bored with them very quickly. For this reason I really like Issac Asimov's writing style. It's so clear and easy to read but not in a juvenile way.

I understand what you mean about finding it difficult to explain all of the intricacies of the culture, especially in a short story. My advise would probably be maybe this isn't the best subject for you to write a short story on. If to understand the plot you need to know the complex background material, but explaining said background would horribly bog down the story, then you're probably better off not writing it.

Believe me, I've learned that lesson. Many times. :roll:
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Postby GwenElf » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:33 pm

undomiel wrote:
GwenElf wrote:
The whole thing takes place in the sky city. Out of curiosty, what was it that made that unclear?


Really? You mean from the beginning? Wow, I really had no idea. I sort of had the impression that they flew him up to a sky city.

What makes it unclear? Well, you don't really ever say there's a sky city.


.....huh.

Kendarin cringed whenever he saw anyone dive off the edge of the city. He cringed when he watched his older sister riding the violent currents of air that tore through the outlying fields, her arms outstretched, a wild grin on her face. He cringed when he gathered the courage to crawl to the end of Teiria and peer over the side to the mountains far, far below, swirling in painted greens and blues like an ocean of branches.


That was kinda supposed to imply floating city. Apparently it implies city on a cliff near the coast? (That's what someone else said...)

I don't know if you really need to know that much background material to understand this.... it's a race of people who fly and live on a flying city. One of them is scared to do so and so is the victim of a lot of cruel torment. Shortening someone's name is a terrible insult--I can probably just leave out the reasons why. *shrug* There's a lot more I could add to it, but I don't think it's necessary to understanding the story.

Then again, I'm the author and know all of the stuff I'm leaving out. :whistle:
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Postby undomiel » Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:31 am

GwenElf wrote:
Kendarin cringed whenever he saw anyone dive off the edge of the city. He cringed when he watched his older sister riding the violent currents of air that tore through the outlying fields, her arms outstretched, a wild grin on her face. He cringed when he gathered the courage to crawl to the end of Teiria and peer over the side to the mountains far, far below, swirling in painted greens and blues like an ocean of branches.


That was kinda supposed to imply floating city. Apparently it implies city on a cliff near the coast? (That's what someone else said...)



Ummm... I might have missed that part. When I was reading it, I didn't really have any impression about the setting except that I had no idea it wasn't normal. I think setting is really something it's better to just come out and say instead of trying to describe it indirectly. It would be more effective if you mentioned their society living in a city in the sky instead of beating around the bush.

"Diving off the edge of the city" could very easily just imply a cliff or a mountain top or something. Opening the story with a statement that isn't very clear probably isn't a good idea. And honestly, I always think opening a story by describing the setting is a very bad idea. Because, as a reader, I tend to just kind of skim over it until I get to something interesting.

I agree that the story probably can be understood well enough without the background. It can be shown that shortening a name is an insulted without dragging in vague references to "D'lion" or "Shis". People will just take it as part of the culture since this is fantasy.

My big question is: Is that really the end of the story? Did I misunderstand again, or am I correct in thinking you never stated whether he survived the fall? It just feels unfinished. Unless you're going for an infuriating "Lady or the Tiger" sort of thing. :wink:
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Postby GwenElf » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:32 pm

Maybe I'll add "floating" before "city" there at the beginning. Or just start somewhere else. Or just start over. Like I said, I wrote it on a dare. :D

I took out all references to the D'li, since no one needs to know that the Shis are a subrace of the D'li in this particular story anyway. :P

And yes, that's the end of the story, and I don't intend to add any more or write a part two. It's supposed to just end with him falling and the reader having no idea whether or not he's going to get enough control of himself to fly, or whether he's going to fall to his death, or what. Lady or the Tiger, good story. =:)
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Postby MouseofMordor » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:34 pm

well, i don't really know much about technicalities in writing, but i do know one thing...i liked the story.

Now to get to the point where i try to explain myself further. Even though the story is clearly not finished with just this. My feelings are opposite to what Undomiel said, you did get my interest at the very beginning. Some people may say that it is unclear at many points and i agree, but most of it is actually logical if you put it in the right context. For instance, He peers down to the mountains far, far below. Which indicates to me that he is either on a very high mountain or on a floating piece of land high up in the sky.

I'd say good job on writing this! If this is part of your novel i really am curious about the whole thing. you got me interested at least.

Mouse :roll:
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Postby GwenElf » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:46 pm

MouseofMordor wrote:For instance, He peers down to the mountains far, far below. Which indicates to me that he is either on a very high mountain or on a floating piece of land high up in the sky.


Mouse wins a ...well, something!! ;) I had hoped that someone diving off the edge of a city, plus mountains really far below it would be enough to show that the city's floating.
I think Undi's right in saying that, at least to begin with, setting descriptions should be fairly straight-forward, since you don't want the reader's stuck on "where are we?" But I do like to leave some things up to my reader's imagination, which is why my descriptions tend on the side of less-than-straightforward. :P

I'd say good job on writing this! If this is part of your novel i really am curious about the whole thing. you got me interested at least.


Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) It's not part of my novel, but the race and setting are part of the fantasy world in which my novel takes place. I had parts of my novel posted here for a while, but took it down when the novel started changing so much that there was no point in going over the old stuff. :P
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Postby undomiel » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:34 am

GwenElf wrote: I had parts of my novel posted here for a while, but took it down when the novel started changing so much that there was no point in going over the old stuff. :P


Don't I know how that is. My husband refuses to read anything I write anymore because it changes so often that he's thoroughly confused. ;)


I would say, Sil, that my opinion represents the portion of the readership that is the hardest to please. I tend to have VERY high standards. (Which is one reason I can never finish my book, it's just never good enough for me.) Nazzy told me he refuses to talk to me about the books he recommends to me because I have a tendency to rip them to shreds. (I'm sorry, but Magic of Recluce was just asking for it.) The only books I haven't been able to criticize into oblivion are LOTR, Harry Potter and the Dune books. So... you can probably ignore me and still write a book that most people will think is fantastic. Also, I was reading it between phone calls at work, so I wasn't able to devote as much attention to it.

I commend you heartily for actually getting something written! It seems to be more than I can manage. :roll:
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Postby GwenElf » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:48 am

undomiel wrote:
GwenElf wrote: I had parts of my novel posted here for a while, but took it down when the novel started changing so much that there was no point in going over the old stuff. :P


Don't I know how that is. My husband refuses to read anything I write anymore because it changes so often that he's thoroughly confused. ;)


:rofl: Yeah, that's kinda how my stuff has gotten... I've stopped asking most people to read it because it changes allll the time. :P


Nazzy told me he refuses to talk to me about the books he recommends to me because I have a tendency to rip them to shreds.


I know people like that... and I've stopped recommending books to them, too. :P I think my standards tend to be fairly low... either that, or all my friends are just really critical. :P
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Postby undomiel » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:22 am

GwenElf wrote:And yes, that's the end of the story, and I don't intend to add any more or write a part two. It's supposed to just end with him falling and the reader having no idea whether or not he's going to get enough control of himself to fly, or whether he's going to fall to his death, or what. Lady or the Tiger, good story. =:)


Curse you, Sil! :pull: ;)

Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you set out to write a story, it's your job to finish it. Otherwise, you're either being lazy or sadistic. :P

I know people like that... and I've stopped recommending books to them, too. I think my standards tend to be fairly low... either that, or all my friends are just really critical.


Actually, I've learned alot by reading books critically. Learn from other authors' mistakes! For instance, from the Magic of Recluce, I learned that if you center a story around a character whose main personality trait is being bored, you're going to write a boring story. Also, if your plot involves said bored person going from inn to inn to inn with no clear destination in mind, you're going to write a REALLY boring story. :wink:
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undomiel
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Postby vison » Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:45 pm

I liked the story, but I found it a tad wordy.

If I say it put me in mind of Andre Norton, would you be pleased? It did.

As for the ending: Well, I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish by not ending it. :? You see, it seems utterly obvious that Kendarin is going to fly. Why would anyone write a pretty excellent story only to kill the main character off so fast? While I agree that The Lady or the Tiger was a wonderful story, your story's lack of finality does not fall into that realm since Kendarin is not offered a choice. The reader is, but that's . . . um . . not fair. I don't read stories in order to make up an ending, I find it very unsatisfactory.

I don't say that as a criticism of your tale, only a comment. There is much that is original and interesting. I'd like to know more about this world and the folk who live there. :)
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Postby GwenElf » Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:19 pm

vison wrote:If I say it put me in mind of Andre Norton, would you be pleased? It did.


I've never read any Andre Norton (don't kill me!) so I can't say. I'll take it as a compliment until someone says I should do otherwise. ;)

Huh. I'm surprised at the general consensus on the ending, actually. I guess I felt like if I told the reader whether or not he flew, it'd ruin it, mostly because it'd be anti-climactic. Then again, I wrote it and have my own ideas about what might happen to the guy. :P Incidentally, if it's utterly obvious that he's going to fly, then do I really need to say it? Maybe just hint at it? (Actually, I thought it'd be more fun if he passed out and fell...maybe someone down there'd save him before he hit land...heh heh heh) I think you can blame the lack of ending on some of my writing classes, which exude this "stories must not be neatly tied up at the end!!" command. :roll:

Anyhow, good to know. Thanks for reading! :)
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Postby undomiel » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:35 am

GwenElf wrote: I think you can blame the lack of ending on some of my writing classes, which exude this "stories must not be neatly tied up at the end!!" command. :roll:


I'm willing to bet your writing classes aren't geared toward the fantasy genre. From what I've heard, all that ever gets taught in university writing classes is literary fiction and genre is always scorned. (Not that some of it shouldn't be scorned.) Literary fiction of course operates by completely different rules than fantasy. Readers of lit are expecting something different than readers of fantasy are. Fantasy readers are looking for a story to be told to them, not hinted at, and for that story to be finished with all major questions answered. I can't stand a story that asks a question and then never gives an answer. It's like the author isn't doing his work. :wink:
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