Author Topic: Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)  (Read 1042 times)

freeverse

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Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:10:24 AM »
Hello everyone! I have already completed my fist YA Fantasy at 108, 000 words. I am posting the first 1,777 words of The Blood Ruby Obsession here to get your feedback. I know its a lot of words, but I just couldn't hep posting the entire first scene. Please don't hold back on anything. If you found it boring or simply confusing please say so. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. Here it goes:


“Princess Ivory is getting married?!” cried Malvar. “Is this a lie?”

Malvar could not keep the anger contained in his voice. He, together with twenty of his father’s greatest warriors, had traveled to Citrine with the intention to marry Princess Ivory.

The journey had been hard. Though it would have been much easier for everyone, had Malvar’s father, The Benevolent Raul, allowed them to use the dragons in their kingdom for transport. However, his father had been most severe in punishing him when he had voiced out his request. Malvar and his men had to steal an assortment of horses and donkeys along the way so they would not have to travel on foot all the way to the Kingdom of Citrine. A weak man would have surrendered easily given the difficulties they had to endure, but Malvar was not weak. He was a strong determined man who was on a mission. His mission was to go home with Princess Ivory as his bride and he was certain he would succeed.

It had been midday, during their fourteenth day of travel, when Malvar had finally caught a glimpse of Citrine’s magnificent castle. He had let out a sigh of relief knowing he had reached his destination at last. With his eyes gazing up at the white castle calculatingly, sprawled in the middle of an enormous emerald-green field, he led his men forward. Even at a distance, the castle was discernible to Malvar not only because of his superior sight but also because of its sheer enormity.

By afternoon that very day, they had at last reached the castle’s colossal gatehouse where a vast vertical portcullis, made out of what seemed to be pure gold, blocked the gateway. A humanoid Gargoyle was standing next to it, looking bored and stony.

Malvar was aware that members of Citrine’s Fire Fairy Militia were watching them through the narrow lancet windows, which was why he tried to make himself appear as important as he could. For him and his men to enter the walls of the castle, he knew he had to show the Fire Fairies guarding the gatehouse that he was a man of consequence. Sure enough, a tall man with graying hair, wearing crimson velvet robes, went out to greet them.

The man introduced himself as Ailred and claimed that he was the captain of Citrine’s Fire Fairy Militia. After a brief introduction, Ailred asked Malvar’s reasons for visiting their kingdom. When Malvar announced that he came to marry Princess Ivory, Ailred simply smiled as he told him that the Princess was already betrothed.

“Are you telling the Most Sovereign Malvar the truth?!” bellowed Malvar, causing a significant amount of his saliva to sputter over his thick red beard. Ignoring that little mishap, he corrected his position sitting atop the fat donkey he had stolen from a merchant. Wearing his bearskin cloak while holding the hilt of his sword, he knew he looked formidable. He hoped to intimidate the insolent oaf who dared speak to him and tell him such a lie. However, at that exact moment, his donkey went wild and began to prance in complete disorder. Malvar, who was not a good horseman, fell to the ground with a loud thud—
   
“Are you alright, young man?” asked Ailred, looking genuinely concerned.
   
“Why wouldn’t the Most Sovereign Malvar be alright?” spat Malvar, as he pulled himself up. “It is Princess Ivory’s engagement that the Most Sovereign Malvar is interested in! He wants to know why she has finally agreed to marry someone!”

Malvar knew Princess Ivory had continually declined every offer for her hand in marriage. No one knew what her reasons were in trying to delay her marriage, and no one dared question it for the Fire Fairies were the richest fairies in the entire world and so no one dared frown upon the Princess’ strange decision. Though rumor has it that the Princess was looking to marry someone who could match either her legendary beauty or her enormous wealth. However, both of which seemed impossible to surpass.
   
Malvar knew his father’s wealth was paltry in comparison to Citrine’s riches. He came from the Kingdom of Scapia, hidden beneath the rockiest and most mountainous parts of the world of fairies. His land though vast, was useless. The area was insufficient and ill equipped for agriculture, producing more rocks than crops. His community survived through mining and hiding underneath the earth. They could only mine coals and rocks for even the precious gems have eluded Scapia’s mining grounds. What little gold they earn, they bought weapons of war and barrels of cheap liquors. Malvar’s instincts told him he could never win the Princess with the use of his riches because he possessed none. Nevertheless, he knew that with his fine looks he could easily succeed in seducing her into marrying him.
   
Malvar knew his appearance was hard to resist. He was tall and built muscularly, with nary an ounce of fat in his body. His unusually bronze hair fell gracefully around his shoulders, framing the well-defined features of his enormous head to perfection. His eyes, though slightly crossed, had the color of yellow-green grass. His nose was straight and flawless. His mouth was wide and thin lipped, decked with fine teeth that had turned black and jagged from constantly munching on rocks. His skin, a true mark of his exotic beauty and rarity, was the shade of dark sappy yellow. Moreover, to top it all, his skills at warring were simply phenomenal.

Why would it not be? After all, Malvar’s father, the greatest warrior that has ever lived, had personally trained him. The Benevolent Raul had painstakingly perfected secret techniques that will soon put him on the history as the greatest combatant ever and he has passed these secrets to his son. The secret was constant practice with various weapons of war during the day and indulging in cheap liquor and whore all throughout the night to make one’s self constantly sleepy. Irritability and jumpiness were the much-desired effects of the lack of sleep and regular consumption of liquor, which, in the Benevolent Raul’s opinion, were the recipe for making fine warriors.

Malvar has never shied from admitting his fine skills in warring. He was certain Princess Ivory has never laid eyes on any man as fine looking, as manly, and as accomplished as himself.
   
“Yes, my good man,” answered Ailred, cutting short Malvar’s musings. “It is true that our beautiful Princess has given her hand in marriage to a very worthy man.”
   
“But two weeks ago it was known to all that the Princess was still unclaimed and has declined any offers for her hand!” bellowed Malvar. He was so angry that his whole body was shaking.
   
“True indeed, true indeed,” Ailred nodded still sounding pleased, though a slight frown had crossed his face. However, it was only momentary and his expression lightened back. “But a great time has passed since then and it is fortunate that our beloved Princess has found a man very much worthy of her.”
   
“This is preposterous!” shouted Malvar, causing a group of giggling female fairies passing by to look at him and his men intriguingly.

Malvar could not think straight, he wanted to panic and blame the old man for the catastrophe he was facing. What would his father do if he knew that he had failed? He would be punished, for sure. Maybe even flagged and humiliated in front of his men like countless times before. Had he not promised to return home with Princess Ivory at his side? Had he not bragged in front of his men of the things he would do with the vast fortune of the Fire Fairies? He should not accept defeat so easily! But what can he do to change the situation?
   
“I understand the news is a bit of a shock to you,” stated Ailred, still smiling kindly at Malvar and his rough looking warriors. “But I hope you and your men will still stay for the celebration, the wedding is to take place in three days time and it would be an honor to have you as our guests.”
   
Ah, yes, thought Malvar. He should stay in the Kingdom of Citrine so he could convince the Princess to change her mind. That would be an easy enough task, he was confident he will have her falling for him in no time at all. Why would she not choose him? Was he not Malvar, the greatest and most powerful warrior in the entire world? Was he not, the most handsome man to ever exist?

Malvar had no doubt that once Princess Ivory catches sight of him, she would undoubtedly beg him to marry her. He would try to play a little hard to get, just to punish her for even considering marrying someone else. And when he would deem that she has been punished enough, he would then agree to marry her.
   
“Yes, the Most Sovereign Malvar should stay,” announced Malvar, looking at Ailred’s fine robes. He was sure the old man’s outfit costs more than all the gold he had in his pouch. The realization made him feel relieved that he would soon have control over Citrine’s wealth. He would make certain not to waste his future wealth on inconsequential matters such as the clothing of common slaves. “The Most Sovereign Malvar wants to honor your King with his presence, he is sure that your King will be thrilled to see him and his fine warriors.”
   
“That is without doubt,” said Aired bowing low. “Now, if you would please follow me. Just leave your mounts where they are, my men will be sure to take them to the stables.”
   
Ailred turned around as the twenty-one warriors, crudely dressed in matted garments and heavily armed in various weapons, followed him as he stepped inside the open portcullis.

Malvar and his men stopped in their tracks and stared in amazement at the huge silvery-white castle that glimmered and sparkled before them. The soft rays of the fading sunlight made the castle look more majestic as it hit the high turrets and massive walls. Fountains with various designs and of different sizes cluttered the spacious courtyard in artistic disarray, spewing not only water but also other liquids in all colors of the rainbow. Joyful laughter echoed throughout, mingled with the musical songs of birds and the sound of twinkling that came from the sparkling golden statues of the fountain. Malvar eyed the richness around him greedily. He took a step inside and smiled, he was finally inside the walls of the famed castle of Citrine.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 03:19:16 AM by freeverse »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 10:09:00 AM »
HI - there's an awful lot to write about here so I'll only mention the bits that caught me...

Felt that some of it was too wordy eg
Malvar could not keep the anger contained in his voice.
might be simpler if cut to...Malvar could not contain the anger in his voice. Or even more simply.. He was furious.

There are more examples of the same sort of thing...needs pruning...get rid of the padding and find a more concise way to describe the situations...consider if they actually enhance the scene or provide necessary information for the reader.

The repetition of 'castle' in the first paragraphs is annoying.

With his eyes gazing up at the white castle calculatingly, sprawled in the middle of an enormous emerald-green field, he led his men forward....confusing..the castle or the men sprawled in the middle???

Maybe even flagged and humiliated...flogged?

A humanoid Gargoyle..sounds a bit futuristic and sci-fi

This isn't my genre so I can't offer any crit on the style..came across more fairytale-like to me than anything else. The title suggested more action/adventure to me so I was a bit disappointed JMO.

Good luck.

Offline LRSuda

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 03:27:41 PM »
I agree with 510bhan on the wordiness. Tighter sentences and fewer words would carry the reader along at an easier pace, rather than causing the reader to hesitate to form a clear picture. I also noticed a common problem with telling versus showing at the conclusion of the third paragraph.

 A weak man would have surrendered easily given the difficulties they had to endure, but Malvar was not weak. He was a strong determined man who was on a mission. His mission was to go home with Princess Ivory as his bride and he was certain he would succeed.

This is the sort of information that you really want to allow readers to discover on their own and decide for themselves. Instead of telling us that Malvar is this type of man, trust that his actions and words throughout the story will show it. Actually, I think you could cut the first three paragraphs and begin the chapter on It had been midday.

Another thing that struck me was the use of the word alright. Given the era in which this seems to be set, alright comes off too modern. Dialogue can be tricky, especially when attempting to make it sound authentic to a bygone era. So be vigilant to word choices here and that you don't overdo it on the sound you're going for.

Twice I noticed that you used ?! in your punctuation. Never, ever do this. For many editors, that doubled punctuation mark is enough to make them put done the entire manuscript. I also feel obliged to warn against the use of exclamation points. Sprinkling them all over the place is never a good idea. They should punctuate exclamations only. Stop! Don't! Expletives in some cases. Punctuating sentences with exclamation points, especially two in a row, is another of those errors that will likely cause an editor to determine that you are relying on tricks instead of solid writing to get the point across and, again, the manuscript will like be read no further than that point.

Overall, however, the composition is solid enough, the pace works; it's mostly the small things working against this piece. So, my suggestion, is to go over it and remove unnecessary words, keep an eye out for telling instead of showing, and avoid the double punctuation and exclamation points.

Welcome to MWC,

Lisa 

Tempered

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 08:56:35 AM »
Hello

One of the best ways I've learnt to write is through critiquing others.

I am going to look at your first para and give some thoughts, feel free to disagree.

you wrote:

“Princess Ivory is getting married?!” cried Malvar. “Is this a lie?”

Malvar could not keep the anger contained in his voice. He, together with twenty of his father’s greatest warriors, had traveled to Citrine with the intention to marry Princess Ivory.


I can not stress the importance of an opening in a story. The first few lines often make up the decision to continue reading or stop. It should be as close to 'perfection' as possible.

Dialogue at the beginning of a story should be there for a reason, it is in a way a continuation of a conversation. Here he must have replied to something noticed or said to him, so I wanted to know what. But it can be shortened and used. You don't need the first question because you mention that he is to be marrying the princess in the next para. so instead, if you choose to use the dialogue. give that shock of disbelief, make that the focale point.

"It's a lie!" Malvar could not contain his anger. 

...it sounds like Malvar and twenty of his men have come to marry her, not just Malvar, so watch your wording, sometimes in a rush we don't notice what we are saying.



The journey had been hard. Though it would have been much easier for everyone, had Malvar’s father, The Benevolent Raul, allowed them to use the dragons in their kingdom for transport. However, his father had been most severe in punishing him when he had voiced out his request. Malvar and his men had to steal an assortment of horses and donkeys along the way so they would not have to travel on foot all the way to the Kingdom of Citrine. A weak man would have surrendered easily given the difficulties they had to endure, but Malvar was not weak. He was a strong determined man who was on a mission. His mission was to go home with Princess Ivory as his bride and he was certain he would succeed.

Try to control the use of 'had' I know it is often used to show a defined moment in a past time, but if the story is in past tense, you have the option of lessening the usage. Why would a ruler force his son to steal horses, and not provide them? would not their appearance in a rag-tag suit of bridles/saddles show a diminishing strength to his kingdom(normally we show our wealth and good standings when we present ourselves to others)

watch for repeats - a weak man/not weak/a strong man....- you are telling me the same thing a few times, if he is not weak, then he must be strong. Extra wording, sometimes called padding, is dangerous because when you repeat something a reader skips, if you do it enough, they get used to skipping and soon the whole story is missed.

It had been midday, during their fourteenth day of travel, when Malvar had finally caught a glimpse of Citrine’s magnificent castle. He had let out a sigh of relief knowing he had reached his destination at last. With his eyes gazing up at the white castle calculatingly, sprawled in the middle of an enormous emerald-green field, he led his men forward. Even at a distance, the castle was discernible to Malvar not only because of his superior sight but also because of its sheer enormity.

was the opening dialogue for his reaction when he reached the castle of Citrine?  Because your time-line shifts back and forth and I'm trying to understand the reasoning. This could be attached to the opening dialogue or the dialogue could be moved down here, but going back and forth too quickly, before I have(as a reader) settled into the characters and scene, is distracting.

Build your foundation, then the house around it. that way the reader is secure in the story they are standing in.


***
Just some ideas to add to the helpful ones provided by 510 and Lisa

thanks for the read


Tempered

freeverse

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Re: Young Adult Fantasy- The Blood Ruby Obsession (1,777 words)
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 11:24:32 AM »
Thank you so much for all the comments and for taking the time to read my work. I will take everything into consideration.  :)