Saturday, February 26, 2011

Critique Session Entry #1

TITLE: Darkblood
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Chains and rain. Ice cold band around my wrists, water dripping off my face. It was salty rain again, cursed and foul.

“Stand.” The grating voice of Sliy broke through my ringing ears, loud enough to hear, soft enough to send a ripple of hatred through me, making my new scars twinge. He walked along the rows of people chained together. As he passed I heard them whimper or shriek in pain. Then he was beside me, looking into my eyes with his own colorless ones. The pain was blinding all over again.

“We have reached our final destination,” he called as he reached the end of the line, his voice ringing through the stale air. “Should you show any talent, consider yourself lucky. You will become a yovi for the high King.”

He was coming my way again. I didn’t think I could last another wave of pain. The girl in front of me was crying quietly, I heard the word ‘betrayer’ amidst her sobs. It was the rhythm of all our heartbeats. We had been lied to, deceived. Except for me. I knew.

“Should you fail,” he continued, enunciating the last word. Pain pulsed and shuddered through me as he passed again. I could feel the screams I held inside. “Consider death your luck.”


  1. I love this.

    Be careful of over-writing. For example:

    The grating voice of Sliy broke through my ringing ears,


    Sliy's grating voice broke through my ringing ears.

    Subtle, but it cleans up the writing.

    Also. This:

    He was coming my way again. I didn’t think I could last another wave of pain.

    I was confused, as I'm not quite sure where the pain is coming from. Perhaps a little more clarity about what, exactly, this mean dude is doing that causes her physical pain.

    WONDERFUL world-building. I totally want to read this. :)

  2. Hooked! I want to read this!!!
    I agree with what authoress said above about those lines and I too was confused about where the pain was coming from. Like Authoress said, I want to know what the man is doing to cause it.
    All that aside, the story captured my attention immeaditly, I could see what was at stake and you showed us what was at stake instead of telling us, which is good :)
    Great Job!!

  3. Hooked. Absolutely 100% hooked.

    Though I'm confused by the sentence: "Ice cold band around my wrists". Do you mean ice cold bands? As in like manacles?

    I totally feel for your MC and her people. I want to know why they were betrayed, and why your MC thinks she was the only one who wasn't deceived. I need to read more of this! Awesome job!

  4. I like this!

    My suggestions:

    The first few sentences, although evocative when I read them over, could be made more obvious, I think. 'Cold metal shackles around my wrists' or somesuch would put me right there.

    Also, you use the word 'pain' four times in this short sample. Maybe experiment with other ways to express pain?

    I love how the narrator lets us know s/he knew what was coming while others didn't. That sets up a really interesting dynamic. Well done!

  5. You already KNOW I love this, so I'll just reiterate...I LOVE THIS! Just make sure you remember to keep things tight and clean! :)The tighter the better. I agree with Authoress, too; just a couple of tweaks and this'll be absolutely lovely. <3

  6. Awesome world building. I felt and heard and tasted this place. Also, I instantly gravitate to your MC. Pain, determination, knowledge—all traits that make a reader sympathetic. Great work!

    As Authoress said, consider tightening up some of your sentence structure and you're golden.

    I would definitely read on!

  7. Chains and rain. What a great opening line. How could I not read more?

    A few suggestions.

    He walked along the rows of people chained together. -- Perhaps say who the people are. He walked along the rows of prisoners/rebels/outcasts/ whatever.

    -- and they whimpered or shrieked in pain. No need to say things like 'I heard, I saw, I felt,' because we assume he or she is the one hearing because they're the MC.

    Colorless eyes -- perhaps give us a bit more description since colorless eyes is pretty unique, and maybe show him inflicting the pain through those eyes somehow (or however he is actually doing it)

    The pain was blinding all over again -- that's pretty generic. SHow us his pain. Where is he feeling it? What is he feeling?

    He was coming my way again. -- He never left your MC.

    I didn’t think I could last another wave of pain. -- I couldn't last . . .

    The girl in front of me was crying -- cried. cut the 'was' and change the ing word to an ed word and you change passive writing to active writing.

    In the last parg. you might cut the sentences about his pain and just keep sliy's comment. You've done the pain several times, and it's always the same generic pain. It also interupts Sliy's comment and weakens it.

    Give a bit more attention to the little details and this will be stronger than it already is.

    I would definitely read more.

  8. I'm hooked too! I want to find out what happens next!
    But, I agree that it's a little confusing where the pain is coming from when Sliy looks at people. Does it come from his eyes? Does he have some kind of power that allows him to inflict pain somehow? And the color of his eyes. Are they clear like water? Is that what you meant by colorless? Also, when I read this, for some reason I imagined everyone standing shoulder to shoulder in a row facing forward, instead of front to back in a line. And Sliy's name, is it pronounced like the word Sly or differently?
    Other than that, you've got a great story! I totally want to read more, find out what's going to happen, etc. Good job! :D

  9. I absolutely love the 'should you fail' bit. Great set up.
    Well done.

  10. I really like this--awesome title! And a very hooking opening. Like others have said, tighten a bit, and it's great. My only comment for now is that 'Sliy' seems nearly impossible to pronounce, like the 'y' is extra, or something. I might alter the spelling just a bit to make it more clear on how you want people saying it. Yes, I would definitely read on. =)

  11. I would read on! I liked the suspense you created the only problem was I spend so much time trying to work out what a 'yovi' was that most of the suspense you have been building up disappeared in that one sentence to be replaced by confusion. Maybe add a little more like "You will become a yovi, a ?slave?, for the high King.”

    I also think it was very sudden and I didn't link the reaction of the younger girl with this announcement. Mainly because it was separated by the line about Sliy walking towards the MC.

    Last of all I don't think you can have 'stale air' during rain. It could be cold and windy, or hot and sticky rain/air but not stale.

    All in all a great start and I would read on just to find out why she knew all along and the others didn't :)

  12. Awesome! I love the diction, it totally brings me into the narrative. I can't say anything much that another hasn't yet said, but one thing I don't think mentioned yet was the repition of "ringing voice"/"voice ringing". I don't know if it's particularly bad, though maybe a bit redundant. I would definitely read on! Awesome start!

  13. Hooked. The minute I read salty rain, I knew we weren't somewhere in our world. You could make it more clear that she's wearing shackles though to ground the reader a bit better. Good luck with this.

  14. Nice, nice, nice.

    Iteresting point that the MC knew something that no one knew at the start of their journey. This is a huge hook point.

    Here: "he called as he reached the end of the line, his voice ringing through the stale air."-> I think 2 phrases in this dialogue tag was a bit too much. You may want to choose just one or break them up.

    With "...his own colorless ones," the image is terrific but the word "ones" didn't work for me. Maybe orbs? Or something that fits in your world you've created.

    And then, I thought Sliy was still standing by your MC until the 4th paragraph when it says, "he was coming my way again." Consider moving the 4th paragraph before the 2nd. The hook is so strong, and may make it more fluid movement-wise.

    Loved the pain in the scars. Does that make me evil?

    Great work.