Reviews for How Heroes Die
AluminumMuse chapter 1 . 1/15/2009
Good. I particularly like the line, "outside of the house that would have been theirs." It holds some nice weight.

You might want to add more character specifics to the main character and to his relationship with his lover, maybe about the war and the village itself. We've all seen something similar to this, in books, short stories, poems, movies, television shows, PBS specials, hell, even some anime series: hero leaves for war, comes back triumphant but changed, and finds his home (almost always a tiny, quaint village of dirt roads and scratching chickens and familiar, though distant faces) has changed also. Make this unique- add some personality and the film of a narrative lens over the surroundings. Even a town has personality traits: an embarrassed widow with a retarded son who she usually hides (which was common until modern times), who brings him out of the house in a rare show of actually happiness, little boy dragging his sickly twin, overly lovey-dovey couple who own a bakery. Why does hero go riding before checking on his loved one after returning home? Really fight against this fantasy cliché! You have some great stuff here- the quality of the writing is exceptional, the subject matter just needs some chiseling. The moral of this story, "immediately after the monsters, die the heroes" (one of my all time favorite quotes) needs threshing out. If it is indeed the village where he grew up, then let him talk to a few people he knew to show what he has become, instead of just coming out and saying he’s a changed man and a hero. Were battles fought right alongside the town? What sort of horrors did the villagers witness that made them so profoundly gracious to the soldiers? What did our hero see that made him go hard around the eyes? Why did he become a soldier to begin with? I know you want to keep it vague (probably your reason for not naming any of the characters), but it should still have some thickness and humanity.

Also, you can’t use a direct quote from someone else in an original fiction. It’s plagiarism, even with the disclaimer at the end. Just giving credit doesn’t excuse all uses of copy-write material. I know Holly Black gave a quote at the beginning of every chapter in Tithe (I’m assuming you read it as both quotes are in the book, but I could be wrong…?), but she didn’t incorporate it into the original text. There’s a difference, through the eyes of the law. It’s particularly off-limits in a situation where the person speaking in the story isn’t quoting, but instead supposed to sound like they came up with it themselves, even though the author makes no such claims. Like, as opposed to some girl going, “’Hell is oneself. Hell if alone.’ That’s what T.S. Eliot said. He was a genius. It’s true, though, you know?”

All the best to you and yours,

The Aluminum Muse
A. Barone chapter 1 . 12/9/2008
Who knew that you were working on this? I sure didn't.

It was good. Heartbreaking. But good.

Very powerful.

Well done.