Author Topic: Winter's Bite Chapters 1&2, YA Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic, 1365 words  (Read 4735 times)

Artemis Quark

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This critique process is so helpful. The suggested edits were on my hit list to omit but, as you have observed, clinging to the 'material' (read Wicca research) is still a problem. I have already deleted 25% from earlier drafts. More darlings to kill I'm afraid.

The one key takeaway I want to remember is your advice to drip-feed relevant facts with more subtlety. And do it in language that is more understandable to the target audience. I need to translate the research language into YA/MG-speak.

With an attitude of gratitude,


Offline Clarius

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Based on your comments to date and reply to my personal message.   

   Your MC is an orphan. Doesnít know her father, her mother is dead. Sheís too young to live alone so someone is bringing her up. Whoever is bringing her up is aware of her past and wants to protect her from it. She doesnít feel comfortable living in their world, she feels thereís something out there calling to her. This character is your naive hero; Luke Skywalker, Katniss Everdeen, Prince Arthur etc.
   Later in the narrative your character will discover that they have a power that enables them to confront the antagonist on equal terms. This power will be latent and needs to be developed. Harry Potter goes to school, Arthur learns to be a knight, Luke trains with Yoda etc. This is part of your heroís journey/character arc.

   Itís not enough for your character to have this supernatural power. They need a natural edge that gives them the advantage. Show us this edge early on in the narrative. Lukeís skill as a pilot, Katnissí skill as a huntress etc.

   Since they donít know who they really are someone needs to tell them. This wonít be their guardian(s) who are trying to protect them. Someone has to come along and set them on the road to finding their destiny. This character is your mentoring wizard; Obi-Wan Kenobi, Merlin, Haymitch etc.

   There has to be a trigger event to make this meeting happen. Guardianís normally try to keep these two apart because they know that this meeting threatens the status quo and hence safety of all concerned.  Luke saved from the Tuscan raiders by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Arthur accompanying his father and brothers to the tournament, Katniss volunteering to go into the tournament etc.

   As well as imparting some knowledge, the wizard usually has an object to give to the hero. This object will aid them on their quest and is the physical embodiment of their power. Think Arthurís sword, Lukeís light-sabre, Katnissí bow etc.

   Now that your hero knows they are bigger than their surroundings they need a reason to move on. Usually this is some sort of quest, generally a sub-quest that sets their feet on the road. Think Luke rescuing the Princess, Frodo taking the ring to Rivendell etc.

   Itís important that your hero doesnít know everything right at the start. Learning this is a vital part of their character arc and we need to go with them on the journey. Tell us everything right at the start and there is no more story to tell.

   This sub-quest is usually not enough to get the hero moving. Often there is a dramatic event that burns their bridges for them, leaving them no reason to stay and making them angry enough to go forward. Think Lukeís Uncle and Aunt killed by the troopers searching for those droids.

   This is the beginning of the novel I think you want to write. This is an imperfect description of the beginning of the heroís journey. Itís something Iím still learning myself. Iím sure other members could explain it much more eloquently.

   Your chapters are probably as follows.

1.   The restless hero living the status quo. We learn something about them and their world. Something happens and we get to see the talent that gives them the edge over the antagonist.

2.   Something happens to bring hero and wizard together. The hero learns their potential/destiny. The challenge of the quest is laid before them. The hero is unsure of themselves and reluctant to set off on their journey.

3.   Something happens to galvanise them into action, to set their feet upon the road. The journey begins.

As you can see this beginning is split into three parts; your beginning has a beginning, middle and ending.

A couple of other things to consider.

1.   Your hero will be reluctant to take this journey, to explore their potential. Some flaw in their character will make them so. Overcoming this flaw is part of their character arc. This is (wo)man vís self

2.   The antagonist will initially be more powerful and controlling. This control will be the accepted status quo of their existence. To overcome them the hero will have to become a rebel. This is (wo)man vís society.

Iím sure thereís moreÖ
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 05:11:56 AM by Clarius »
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns


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^^^ He's good. Listen to The Man.


Artemis Quark

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You have nailed it Clarius. The outline of a hero's journey you wrote will help me organize a more natural flow to the story that's stuck in my mind. I was thinking the story was a coming-of-age for Carnelian but she is also the heroine so both themes work.

My initial idea for the story evolved from a photograph of an icicle taken during a particularly cold winter on Cape Cod a few years ago. The stark background (and yes the weather) inspired me to write a short verse.

Oh glistening shard of Winter's Bite
Icy tooth from coldest night
Sharpened tip piercing dark to light
Bring sunshine warmth to air at dawn
Rising heat until you're gone.

The image and verse were combined to create a book cover. Cart before the horse, but the story followed, including the Wiccan slant, since the verse sounded like a witch's enchantment. Funny where inspiration is born.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments, suggestions and encouragement. You too Hilly.