Reviews for Skullduggery
SilverStarlightXD chapter 7 . 1/6/2013
I love that he's a dragon. ) And Rodwen is quite likable.
Complex Variable chapter 7 . 1/6/2013
[questions," She reasoned ] - - - lower-case "she"

["But I am his guest. He probably won't even notice that I'm clean."] - - - This does not sound like reasoning, it sounds like gibberish! XD What does Virginia being Magnus' guest have to do with whether or not Daeron notices that she is (or is not) clean?

[ room, the carcass of deer staining the floor. ] - - - I would make it " room. A fresh deer's carcass leaked blood onto the floor.", or something along those lines; basically, split it up into two sentences, somehow.

[He pawed at it, slicing the flesh and blood poured from the animal.] - - - " He pawed at it, slicing the flesh. Blood poured from the animal."

["Uh, hello," She began] - - - lower-case "she". Also, I would write the dialogue as "Uh... hello" or "Um... hello".

["How do you cook it exactly?" She ventured] - - - "ventured"? XD You need to hold back on your use of so many exotic synonyms for "said"; it feels amateurish, otherwise. Also, there should be a comma between "it" and "exactly".

[ Rodwen." He said, amused, his] - - - should be: [ Rodwen," he said, amused; his]

"I don't usually," He answered and licked his lips. - - - lower-case "he"; make it "answered, licking his lips."

[earlier," She said,] - - - lower-case "she"

[ wing flexing irritably] - - - should be one of: "flexing his wing irritably" ; "flexing his wing in irritation" ; "his wing flexing irritably"

[Daeron growled slightly, steam coming out of his nostrils.] - - - "Daeron growled slightly. Steam rose up from his nostrils."

["Damn that bird and his big mouth, he never could shut up."] - - - make that two sentences ; "He never could shut up". Also, I would italicize the "could". Also, also , it doesn't really work, IMO, for Magnus to call Ainion "chicken"; it's cute when the bird does it ("lizard"), but, if the dragon does it, too, it just makes the story seem more sit-com-y—and, in this case, that's a very bad thing. Just have him call Ainion by name, or "the hawk" or "the bird". Cool it with the humor, okay?

Although I think this chapter is better than the one before it, the problem I suspected in chapters 5 and 6 has now matured: you're no longer writing/telling the story in the style that you started it with. Looking back, I now realize that it was actually a GOOD thing that you skipped over bits of time in your story. Doing so created a sense of disconnection that worked well with the short length of your chapters; also, it forced the reader (and you, as the writer) to focus more on the craft and the emotions/mood. Now, however, you're telling a contiguous narrative. The brevity of the chapters no longer works to you're advantage. Now that the plot has taken hold of the story, I feel like it is demanding more of you than the need for mood-painting, and, as such, you spend more words on the plot than on the nuances. As a result, your chapters have taken a double-whammy: not only are you not cultivating the powerful mood-painting that made the initial chapters so enchanting, but, you are doing a disservice to your plot by chopping it up like this. If you can no longer tell the story in snapshots, stop trying to do so. Wait until the time is right once more in the plot, until then, write a chapter long enough to contain the scene you have in mind, rather than interrupting it mid-way—stopping and starting and stopping and starting—over the course of several 300-word drabbles.

Complex Variable chapter 6 . 1/6/2013
[That's odd," She said and began the water in the tub.] - - - the "She" should be lower case. Also, "began the water" is a very, very strange turn of phrase. You shouldn't be afraid to go a word or two over 300, if it means you get to use a more natural phrasing.

Also, this castle—this castle that's, to use your own words, "dirty, decayed with time, and collecting mountains of dust"—has functional interior plumbing? How does that make any sense?

[The hawk would have laughed if he could,] - - - He can talk, (and go "ooh", for crying out loud! XD) but he can't laugh? How does THAT make any sense? XD

[expectations, hm? ] - - - "hmm" (minimum of two "m"s are required).

[I thought he'd kill me on sight." She said] - - - should be [I thought he'd kill me on sight," she said]

[water. She sighed in content.] - - - I would make this "water, sighing contentedly."

[He used to be a fine scholar." The hawk said] - - - should be [He used to be a fine scholar," the hawk said]

[you're lucky then girl.] - - - should be "you're lucky then, girl."

[You managed to find the nicest dragon out here] - - -"out there", I think.

This chapter is weaker than the others; it doesn't really have a strong "mood" to it. I think Ainion is the problem, actually. His chipper disposition throws a wrench in the gothic, brooding atmosphere of the story. The strong, pungent moods of your drabbles have been your strength. Making Ainion a bitterly sarcastic and/or cynical character might allow you to keep both humor and broodiness in the story, however, him being cheerful simply ruins the delicate atmosphere that you've evoked so well in the previous chapters.

Once again, I must insist: why is the narrative voice calling Virginia "Rodwen"? It would make more sense if you referred to her as "Rodwen" in the Magnus-centered chapters (his "viewpoint", in essence), and "Virginia" in the Virginia-centered chapters. What bothers me about the names isn't that they come in pairs, it's that you don't use the other halves of those pairs! If you give characters multiple names, you should use all of them, otherwise, there's not much point in giving them a name that they never use, wouldn't you agree?

[Chapter 5 was a extension of Chapter 4, think of it as part II.] - - - Then combine them into one chapter! XP

[The reason some of my dialogue sounds strange is because I have simply not explained the reason behind them yet, everything will make sense] - - - You do realize that this is a terrible, TERRIBLE justification? XD Plot points, you can justify with this logic; writing style, not so much. XO

[But like Rodwen, being so new to everything, so is the reader in her experiences.] - - - Hence, it is your job as the author to make her familiar to the reader. It's called "characterization" for a reason. XD

[While it is set in a fantasy world, her maturity is still the same as it would be here, though not as much.] - - - If that's the case, it should pop up more often, then. Compared to what you've written for the rest of the story, she comes across as more mature than that. If you give characters certain personality traits, they need to be distributed throughout the story in a homogenous manner, otherwise, it will seem as if they are constantly becoming completely different people for no real reason. A sense of continuity is what is needed, here, especially give the brevity of your "chapters".

Ney13 chapter 6 . 1/2/2013
You're welcome:) And thanks for giving us responses to our reviews I once had someone come and review on my story "You shouldn't have done that. Don't put that there. I don't like this because of whatever reason." I didn't really get discouraged, just angry. I control where my story goes, just like you control where your story goes. The only thing I can and will offer you is advice on how to make it better. I like your story, so I don't want to change it.
Ney13 chapter 5 . 1/2/2013
I read some of the other reviews. One, by someone anonymous, said that you should change your title because someone's already used it. I found that utter bullshit. Your title is perfectly fine the way it is. Nowadays, you can't say a single sentence without someone thinking, "That sounds like what so-so said! She's copying/stealing!" Poppycock.
Although I agree with CV on the part of tongues was slightly confusing, I don't really agree with his 'only choose one name' approach. I'm assuming (I know, don't assume, it makes an 'ass' and of 'u' and 'me') that renaming the characters puts them in a separate world, almost. It isolates them together.
Also, I loved your last sentence. Great cliff-hanger:)
Now, you may or may not even care about my opinions, but I just thought you'd like some support. This is your story. Don't let the readers take it away from you.
Complex Variable chapter 5 . 1/2/2013
[The hawk also nipped at her hair and clothes,] - - - The beginning of this chapter doesn't work. I think it's the "also" that's the problem; it makes it seem like this is just part of chapter 4 that you didn't write, rather than a stand-alone chapter. Getting rid of the "also" should fix the problem. Also, (XD) you might want to consider merging this chapter and Chapter 4 into a single 600-word chapter, just because this feels more like a continuation than a new chapter. Your previous chapters felt like different chapters from those that came before; the change in scene, I think, helped to create that sense of punctuated time. Here, though, I don't feel that way, and it bugs me. X[

["Well, open the door, I can't turn into hands."] - - - This sounds wrong for some reason. Something needs to be fixed.

I like that Ainion calls Daeron "the lizard". XD

What's with the prompts? Where do you get them?

Also, I don't get the title of the story. "Skullduggery"; who is being—to quote the dictionary—"underhanded" or "unscrupulous"?

Finally, the name thing is starting to bug me.

I think the problem lies in this line from Chapter 2:

["That will not do. In my tongue, you'd be named Rodwen. I am Daeron or Magnus in your tongue. Daeron will do."]

1) "In my tongue" can have several meanings here: dragon-language, or, foreign human language that Virginia doesn't speak. However, it's bothersome: why "Rodwen"? A name doesn't "translate" to another language unless a) the two languages get the name from the same source (e.g. most christian names; "John"/"Jan"/"Johann" are the English, Czech, and German versions of the name of St. John, so, due to the common religious influence, the single "root name" has a parallel presence in each of the languages. b) a name that has a literal meaning "Minnehaha" ("Laughing Water", a native american kenning for "Waterfall") In that case, "Rodwen" would have to mean "virgin" in Daeron's' language.

2) More generally, the question remains: is the language that Daeron calls his own a human language, or a dragon language?

Likewise, the statement "in your tongue" works to much the same effect.

3) "I am Daeron or Magnus in your tongue." is confusing in several ways: first off, there should probably be a comma after Daeron. Second: once again, what's with the one-to-one translations of names, here? More generally, why are you compelled to give characters multiple names? XD Why does the narration change to calling Virginia "Rodwen"? That would imply that she's renamed/reinvented herself—which, obviously, has NOT happened.

Honestly, I wold just drop the whole two-names thing. Just call the girl Rodwen, call the dragon/man/thing Daeron, and stop all of these confusing forays into comparative linguistics! XD

sanguine eyes chapter 5 . 1/2/2013
Ah, I love your characterization of Rowden/Virginia! She is so naive and gullible xD The hawk seems like an interesting character too. I'm wondering where his status of 'Captian' will lead...
anonymous chapter 1 . 1/2/2013
Skulduggery is a name of a book series by Derek Landy. I bet a bunch of people have already told you, but you might want to change the title. You should really read the series, though. It's AMAZING. and irish :)
sanguine eyes chapter 4 . 1/2/2013
Wow...This fabulous! Wonderful job!
Complex Variable chapter 4 . 12/30/2012
This chapter is a little weaker than the others.

Virginia's dialogue, I think, is the problem. It feels way too... casual. Like, almost modern-teenager casual.

[Daeron scares me and I'm so bored all the time."] - - - Like this, for instance. This sounds like my little brother whining. XD

Also: she's okay with a bird talking to her, but not with a talking bird scoffing at her? XD Do animals normally talk in this fantasy-world?

[That dragon sure knows how to ruffle my feathers."] - - - Also, this pun is pretty much unforgivable. XD He's a bird, for crying out loud! XO

Also, also: why has the narration suddenly changed to calling Virginia "Rodwen", instead of "Virginia"? I can't help but feel that that kind of a change (going from her name, to the name that Daeron gave her) represents something important about the progression of her and Daeron's relationship, and hence, is happening a little too early in the story, if you know what I mean. She's still "Virginia" at the moment; her character hasn't "become" Rodwen yet.

Ney13 chapter 4 . 12/30/2012
Where do you get your prompts?
Complex Variable chapter 3 . 12/29/2012
Good, you changed the sub-genre classification. :)

*reads chapter*

Grr... It's not longer. Why isn't it longer? :[

I asked you to make them longer—why must you be so cruel?! *Whines* XD

But, seriously, you're jumping the gun, here. For instance: [A week passed, and her arm healed slowly.], or, worse: [After finally having another living person in his castle, it stirred his human heart, even though she avoided him.] - - - Even though I was expecting something along this lines (transformed human, dragon with the capacity to shape-shift, etc.) I'm disappointed that you've let the cat out of the bag so quickly (less than 900 words in, for christ's sake! DX).

First off, one should try to avoid skipping over *long* periods of time (weeks, months, years, etc.) whenever the skipped over time could have been used to develop the characters or the plot more. This is most important at the beginning of a story, when we're just getting to meet your characters. Even (and, in fact, especially) if you're not going to bow down and obey the supreme wisdom of my advice to write several-thousand-word chapters, you should try to exploit as many opportunities for a scene to write about as possible. In other words, if you tell the story in short snippets, you should advance the plot just as slowly. Even now, I can already think of a huge slew of scenes you could have written about during the week of story time that you just skipped over—likewise, I can think of many things that you could have written about before giving away Daeron's secret to the reader.

The advantage of your writing, so far, has been that you've devoted all of your 300 words to "showing"—narrating scenes; in this chapter, however, you waste words by "telling"—by telling the reader about what happened in the week that passed, rather than "showing" the reader by writing up those events as chapters unto themselves.

For instance:
—Daeron hunts down and kills an animal for a meal
—Daeron and Virginia's first meal together
—Virginia's thoughts/worries about being alone in a castle. With a dragon
—Virginia singing an "old song" (and maybe Daeron secretly listening in on it?)
—Something that explains what Virginia was doing out in these woods in the first place
—Daeron surveying his castle
—Virginia treating her arm (putting it "in a sling").


Since you're being so stubborn about writing only 300 words, you should try to take up every opportunity for a scene, rather than skipping them over. If you rush the storytelling, you're defeating the purpose of using these concentrated 300-word blurbs as the storytelling medium—the purpose being to focus on individual elements/moments of the story. Skipping them over is just stupid. X[

In other words: Make. Your. Chapters. Longer.

I. Am. Addicted. And. Want. More.


I. Do. Not. Want. You. To. Ruin. This. Story. By. Rushing. It.


LONGER! (By the way, I'm a mathematician—so I'll be able to count if you're not trying hard enough. :P)


Ney13 chapter 3 . 12/29/2012
Lol, he's so grumpy
Ney13 chapter 2 . 12/28/2012
I very rarely like short chapters, under 1000 words, but this is nice. Your chapters are nice and concise, but have meaning to them.
Complex Variable chapter 2 . 12/28/2012
These are actually quite good for drabbles! XD
I would like to see them made longer—by a factor of TEN. Or even TWENTY. :D

You have a very nice writing style; sparse, yet potent—all the advantages of minimalism, but few, if any, of its failings—as far as I can tell. ;)

Maybe it's just me, but I would put the prompts at the top of the chapter, seeing as they are the chapter titles.

[ the bloody, self-proclaiming wise chicken said.] - - - this phrase, though, is a little confusing. I would try to pick a less-awkward-sounding metaphor, if I were you.

Also—seeing as this story has talking dragons in it—you should probably change the sub-genre from "Supernatural" to "Fantasy".

All in all, very nice work. :)