Reviews for Gemma
Formerly chapter 1 . 2/4/2008
I don't really do the review thing anymore but I read through this. It's not really mythlike except the very beginning, looks like you started out trying to be Diana Wynne Jones and then lapsed into a pulpy Harry Potter/anime battle. If you haven't yet read Susannah Clarke's book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, it's similar to what you're trying to do in the better moments of this story.

The intro reads exactly like the recap in the beginning of book two of any fantasy series with short books, like Zelazny's Amber things ("They had one. They'd acquired one in the Sphygma Woods"). That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think it's much of a good one. "Old Magicians" is cool and mysterious, but doesn't really suit a four page battle scene. As for the battle scene, it's too repetitive. People shooting arrows/magic/stuff at each other, and almost always miss by an inch or scrape their opponent's side. You need to either talk about what's happening a lot less or a lot more (for instance: "We pushed off the ground hard with our legs and spread our wings. Carlisle and Edmund looked stunned, but only for a brief moment, before they, too, launched themselves into the air. I shot a few arrows with my bow in their direction as they gained altitude, but they moved too quickly for me to hit them." Why didn't they shoot their arrows before their enemies saw them? And if the bad guys moving so fast that they can dodge arrows, how is your character fast enough to shoot "a few arrows" at them as they're jumping?) the awkward parts of the fight scene aren't helped by the fact that you lack descriptive verbs (for example, at some point in any archery description you should use the words "nock" or "loose," probably both, and "shoot" a bit less).

I don't remember your other story, but presumably it was garbage. This one is a good idea but you have to stop getting sidetracked with fight scenes, it's very unmythical. If you don't actually know how to fight with magic, wings, and medieval weapons (most people don't) you should probably stick to a bare minimum of description (which is to say, talk more about what your character is thinking than how you character is setting things on fire) or envision things more richly (instead of a Dianna Wynne Jonesish "I made it catch fire," "I reached deep, and with a wrenching effort of will incinerated the arrow before it traversed the clearing, enveloping it in a white-hot flashfire and spattering the ground beneath with molten iron," though probably not as lame as that.)

That's not really advice for a myth, but then again you can't really call a first-person story a myth. I suggest you stick to your original idea and imitate Diana Wynne Jones, look at a Chrestomanci book or something. Just try to vary your events a little more-not so much "I shot an arrow at him and he dodged, then he shot a spear at me and I dodged but it grazed my wing, then I shot magic at him and he dodged but it scraped his leg..."