Saturday, March 17, 2012


TITLE: The Night
GENRE: Epic YA Fantasy

Taeon strode out of the trees, fists clenched in an effort to restrain the fire as he approached.

“Get away from her, Varloi,” he said through clenched teeth.  The fire raged against his control, pressing in on him, wanting to burn this magician to the ground.

“I interrogate a prisoner,” the Varloi replied, unmoving.

The heat redoubled, and Taeon tried to think through its stifling presence, to consider the consequences.  “Leave her, Varloi.”  The fire licked at him, more insistent, and the invisible tongues of heat became claws.  The noon sun saturated the air around him.  He had to get rid of it, before it became too much to control.

The magician only smiled.

And then the heat recoiled, and light dimmed, flickering.  The Master Varloi stood beside him, holding a small golden box.  The metal inside glowed a deep, malevolent red.

The red metal drew more, though the heat was gone, pulling and grabbing at the fire that lived inside him until he collapsed.  He shuddered with weakness, and with the pain like daggers of ice.

“Stop!  You’re killing him,” Nari cried.

The Master Varloi closed his box slowly.  “Very well.”

Taeon gasped, stealing back his breath.  “What is the meaning of this, Varloi?”  He struggled to pull himself up as warmth returned in an aching flood.

“As an ehkel of fire, an uncontrolled display of power would prove fatal to many among us, including our prisoner.  It was my duty to the keralen to eliminate the threat.”

“I had it under control.  And it is my duty to keep the prisoner safe from your methods, magician.”

“That has been removed from your responsibilities.  You have proven yourself unfit to lead this mission, and, therefore, I shall be reinstated as master.  You will obey me.”


  1. I'm . . . confused. There's a lot of stakes here, some great world building, and solid writing, but I'm not quite sure what is happening--who's allied, who's hurting whom . . . etc. Part of this is because the first line is Taeon telling the Master Varloi to get away from "her," but it seems like he's the one being attacked...then at the end it seems like Taeon is allied with him. I also wasn't sure if the fire was attacking him, or if it were struggling to escape from his grasp. Everything is strong, but it's not as clear as it could be.

  2. I agree with Taryn, that I'm a touch confused. I understood there were high stakes, and that Taeon was supposed to be defending someone (who I guess is Nari?), but then he's under attack? The descriptions of the fire were a bit confusing, too. I gather it's some kind of power, or something that would be explained if I read more, but one moment he seemed to have it under control, and the next it was consuming him.

    Also, he calls his opponent (I think?) "this magician", and then you call it "the Varloi", but then he just calls it "Varloi" to its face. What IS it? A magician? The Varloi? Or just Varloi?

    Other than that, your world building seems solid. I love fantasy, so this is DEFINITELY something I'd like to read. (*cough* *cough*) Any time. (*coughcoughcough*)

    Good luck with this!

  3. This is a really great scene that just needs a little explaining, which if it part of a bigger story is probably done. Diffidently interested me though!
    Melissa Ann

  4. This definitely has an "epic fantasy" feels, so good job with that!

    Mostly, the dialogue needs work. As I keep saying (and say quite frequently to people!), I would encourage you to read your dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds natural. While I understand you're going for a certain "feel" in fantasy dialogue, it still needs to sound natural and fluid, and not all stiff and "I'm trying to sound fantasy"-ish. Reading it out loud will help you to pick out the clunkers!

    I'm guessing that your descriptions will make more sense in the context of the story (it's hard to be dropped into a fantasy scene when we don't know the world!). But do make sure your descriptions are clear and concise, so we can follow the action logically and not get bogged down by description.


    The heat redoubled, and Taeon tried to think through its stifling presence, to consider the consequences. “Leave her, Varloi.” The fire licked at him, more insistent, and the invisible tongues of heat became claws. The noon sun saturated the air around him. He had to get rid of it, before it became too much to control.

    He probably doesn't need to be considering "consequences" in this heated moment (ban pun! hah!). Stay with the action at hand. Also: Your last sentence has an antecedent error; when you say "before it became too much to control" it sounds like you're taking about the noon sun. You may want to consider deleting the noon sun sentence, since the focus of this paragraph is the fire and what your protag has to do to control it.

    Good work, and good luck with this project!

  5. Plucking out a scene from a larger work is really hard, huh? I was a bit confused, but I'm sure in context I wouldn't be.

    You've done a great job of world building here. I get your fantasy scene without being bogged down by extraneous content. (Info dump is the most common problem with epic fantasy, and you seem to have avoided that pitfall. Well done!)

    As I read it, this is a scene where the power dynamic shifts. Taeon starts as the authority figure striding in to stop the interrogation, and then the tide changes as the Valori uses the power of the fire against Taeon, seizing control. I think you just need to clean it up, because I agree that it is a bit confusing.

    Why is the Valori able to exert this shift in power? (This may be explained in the wider story.) Why, if Nari is the prisoner, does her pleading lead the Valori to stop torturing Taeon? Why would the Valori take her request into consideration?

    Make sure that the dynamics are clear, make sure your character interaction is informing those dynamics, and I think this will be even better.

  6. I agree with everyone else in that I was a bit confused about what actually happened. That said, maybe it would be clearer if we weren't dropped into the middle of the scene. I don't really have anything else to add, just that I agree with the suggestions the others have given!