|Reviews for The Wind Dancer|
| deadaccount2019 chapter 3 . 7/20/2014
[Opening] Opening on the reiteration of Ragv's previous statement works well here, imo. We're reminded that a new character of significance has just entered the scene, which serves as an orientation point for those who took a break after the previous chapter, but it's also works to tie the two chapters together who don't take a break.
[Character] Once again I find myself thinking there's more to Kerim's reluctance than just cowardice. Reading this chapter, it feels like he's trying to convince himself that everything is okay, rather than trying to tell himself to be brave. (on a side note, it seems I was wrong before about the swordsman, but that's aleight. :D also, Fabioro's name kinda bugged me before it's revealed he's been patronizing the working ladies. Now he's kind of imprinted as Fabio in the back of my mind. XD ) .
[Plot] I had gotten so comfortable in the mundane nature of the story that the introduction of the Touched took me completely by surprise, and I loved every moment of it! I had been theorizing potential directions for the story, but the omission of majics had me thinking outside the fantasy scope. This seems far too significant to not be relevant to the plot, and I'm very eager to see how it will play into things. :D On more critique-y note, some might call its introduction a bit expositional, but given Fabio's link to it, I think this was as good a time as any to introduce it. What's more, you delivered enough info to clarify that this is going to be important (whether in the book or series is yet to be seen). It's also a great way to weave the plots together, and a technique I'm hoping will continue in future chapters. :D
| deadaccount2019 chapter 2 . 7/20/2014
[Character] This chapter introduced too many names, imo. I could certainly see Vex, the brothers and Caj (who could have been the one to deliver Ragv's message), but the others felt a bit like rushed world/society building. I'd certainly like to know more about them in the future, but for now I think the chapter would have benefited from more focus on the aforementioned characters so we get to know more of them, and then save the others (like Tammany) when they become more relevant.
[Setting] The settings are certainly familiar, which works well in keeping the reader immersed imo. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I noticed the inn and the cellar are handled differently in terms of sensory information. Upstairs there's a very vivid focus on smell, but down stairs it's much more about light and shadows (although the sound of Ragv's breathing was a beautiful detail). Personally I thought the heavy focus on single senses made the settings feel a bit incomplete in different ways, however I could also see it working as a stylistic thing.
[Writing] The details felt much lighter this time around, which I really appreciated. It does start out heavier in the first half again, but I didn't necessarily unenjoy it. Sometimes it feels like the really nice imagery is poorly timed, though. For example, it didn't make sense for Kerim to take such notice of the door, particularly when he's anxious to get out of the rain and the thought is ended on the fact that he doesn't know or care about wood, but if he was being roughed up and got shoved/pinned against the door, then it would make a lot of sense for such focus and imagery to pop up then. So I guess what I'm getting at is that while the imagery is lovely, sometimes their timing and relevance could be improved.
[Plot] Once Kerim learns that his father's waiting for him, I really started getting into the story progression. I was nervous for Kerim (and later Vex), and the entire time they're talking/waiting, I kept wondering "What about those other guys? What's going to happen to them?" I love that Vex's introduction pushes the plot forward without sacrificing characterization. It really helps create unity between chapter and story. I am guessing Fabioro is our bipolar swordsman, and using his arrival at the end was a good way to tie the rest of the starter strings. We know how these three have come together, now what sort of trouble are they going to get themselves into? The summary is ambiguous on this front, which works wonderfully in favor of the story; I want to read on because at this point there's no telling what could happen, meaning greater potential for surprises.
| deadaccount2019 chapter 1 . 7/19/2014
[Writing] The writing in the first half of the chapter is too detailed for my taste. That's not to say that it isn't nice imagery, but when paired with the crime subgenre and compared to the second half of the chapter, it feels over-embellished and slowed things down to a point where I didn't get a sense of tension until later. It's by no means bad, but in this case I felt as though the chapter would have benefited more with a little less attention to the setting right off the bat.
[Character] Immediately I'm surprised by Kerim. By cowardly northerner, I had expected total running from responsibility, but the earlier half of the chapter indicates there may also be a bit of a morality thing going on as well. But in any case, I think you do a good job balancing out his fears with his selfishness, and he definitely feels like he's got more going on under the surface. I'm looking forward to learning more about him.
[Dialogue] I have to say that I really enjoyed the dialogue. It's clear enough for the reader to follow along without needing to reread to catch everything, but it doesn't lose the sense of fantasy either (even the use of fuck, which felt quite suitable coming from a crime boss's son). The one thing that stuck out to me (in a good way) is how Ragvald's dialogue seemed much gentler than I expected. This of course could be because it was Kerim's memories coloring Ragv in a nicer light, but his voice didn't come across as an archetype villain.
[Ending] The chapter ends on an unexpectedly positive note, which I'd have to say is a very good thing. It's quite possible next chapter Kerim will find himself at the wrong end of a tongue lashing, however for now it promises that the story won't be entirely in one dark tone. Outside of tone, it doesn't hint either way whether or not Kerim will get away with his misdeeds, which definitely has me hooked for the next chapter.
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 2 . 12/22/2013
Your prose here is really captivating. Although you’ve introduced quite a few characters, you’ve done it in such a way that it works nicely and the reader isn’t left confused. The characters themselves stand out well, and as a reader, we get a really strong sense of each of their individual personalities, and you make great use of showing rather than telling. Good ending, too, nice hook with that to keep us coming back for more. Good stuff. Really enjoying it.
| Kristin Li chapter 7 . 6/26/2013
There were a lot of characters you introduced here, but with the exception of Noami, they weren’t very memorable. Whenever I have a lot of characters in a scene and I don’t want to spend too much time introducing them, I usually select one odd detail/quirk so people can remember them.
[Tammany was a good sort, so far as they came. He was dangerous but, well, who wasn't around here. Truth of it was, he treated Vex with a good deal more respect than some of the other unsavories Old Man Ragvald kept around, particularly the Von Stiel brothers. He'd gotten the quick talking thief out of some circumstances in the past that a rapid mouth hadn't helped with also.] I find this description dull and very abstract. Like the part where you introduce town, it’s kind of full of general statements like “he treated him with respect.” I’d prefer the show don’t tell method in character development, meaning that I like to read stories that show the characters interact. The most recent example of a book I read that develops a relationship between characters memorably is “A Game of Thrones” when we are first introduced to the King Robert Baretheon. What makes it effective is that the author does not rely on one method to develop the characters, but several; through the way they speak to each other, their backstory, and their interactions. It is a good balance between scene and summery.
That being said, you did a much better job developing the relationship between Naomi and Vex. Personally, I would have liked to see Vex a little bit more in the story. His narrative kind of sounded the same as the other, aka their style of thought was similar, whereas I’d have prefer it to be different.
Plot: At this point, I feel like I need stronger motivation to keep reading. I also do not understand why he is stealing money for a lone. Why does he not steal all his money if, so that if he gambles it away, he can steal some more. Since he’s supposedly a good thief, it seems like that would be a more probable life style.
Just a suggestion, but why not raise the stakes? What does he have to lose if he fails to get the money? At this point it seems that if he doesn’t get the money, there aren’t really consequences; he just has less to gamble away. Give him consequences. If he doesn’t get the money, he loses something important to him, but if he does, he gains something huge. Make him really want whatever he has to gain. Make it be the difference between happiness and grief.
Endings: Personally, I wouldn’t worry about your endings. Conclusion in a short story are important, but not during actual chapters. An end of a chapter shouldn’t feel like it just drops off. That being said, I feel like your chapters stop at a natural place, even this one. If you are worried, then I find it helpful to reference something at the beginning. Somehow it gives the effect of a full circle.
| Kristin Li chapter 6 . 6/26/2013
Writing: It’s good to keep it economical. Example: ["I fucking heard you," she snapped irritably, still not looking about. Under her breath, almost as an afterthought, she added, "He is my brother too,” she added.] I find too much description boggles down the scene, and people mostly skim them anyway. To say someone snapped irritably is also a little redundant.
[Fighting down the urge to retort defensively, Nikolai took a deep breath and let it out slow. No sense antagonizing Daneli, it would just exacerbate the situation. Instead, he leaned against the dark, hardwood doorframe and said nothing, exercising his patience in a battle of stony silence. He would win, he knew, he always did. Always had.] Be careful with your use of adverbs
["yes, oh. We're ruined, Nikolai, bloody ruined. Fifty thousand shields? Your apprenticeship only cost us thirty thousand, and we thought that was a lot. Father was the only one to hear Jokeni speak, and he has been falling further and further off of his fucking rocker every day. He is out of his mind now, bat-shit crazy, and I've been left to pick up the pieces. Me! While you pranced around with big knives in the tropics, I've been here, trying to make something out of the shambles of the business father's addled mind left us! We have no stable hands because I can't fucking pay them! We're twenty thousand shields in debt as it is! The only reason Baba Jone stayed is because she will work for food and shelter, as if that old crone had anywhere to go anyways." ] Same thing goes with dialogue too! Keep it trim. Any extra words will make it seem unnatural
[He opened his mouth, waited for a moment, and then when no words were forthcoming, resolutely closed it once more. He had nothing to say] Just say he had nothing to say.
Opening: I would also get rid of the first couple of paragraphs. Start with the conversation, because that’s actually the interesting part of the story. Overall, I’d say this chapter would benefit from lots of trimming!
Overall Enjoyment: This chapter I enjoyed more than last because it had better character development and more action. I think you did well capturing the father’s crazed state. In particular my favorite part was this
["You must tell me of your time with the Wind Dancers," Markel prattled on as he gazed into the fire, oblivious to Nikolai's discomfort. "I'm sure you have many tales of your time in…your time in…"
He trailed off, his gaze hell-snared in the crackling, cackling flames. His jaw slowly sagged until Nikolai thought it might simply fall off, and all semblance of an expression slid from his face like water down a pane of glass. Then he straightened, looked at Nikolai, and beamed.
"Pash Pao Lai! Did I tell you?" He leaned forward, a sparkle to his eye, as though he was about to tell some great secret. "I have a son who lives there. He is training to become a Wind Dancer. Can you believe it?" He laughed.] It’s cool because it definitely shows that he’s lost his memory.
| Kristin Li chapter 5 . 6/25/2013
Writing: I would work on description a little bit. There were a few examples where you very vague and abstract. Example:
[The squat, sandstone buildings seemed smaller, dingier, and less grandiose then they had appeared twelve years previous and the people squatting on their cramped porches and stoops seemed poorer and less accomplished.]
This description isn’t very effective. It relies on too much abstraction. Words like dingier, grandiose, poorer, less accomplished. It would benefit from more concrete details. What did they see? Did they see a woman in tattered rags begging for chance on the side street? Did they see children sitting in squalor, hands caked with dirt? Description always benefits from less use of adjectives and more use of nouns/verbs.
Opening: Maybe it’s just me, but the beginning of the chapter seemed very filler-esque. It doesn’t seem as important to me that the characters are tired—I would expect that from anyone going on the long journey. I’m not the writer here, but I would suggest some tightening. The best way to go about doing this is to reread the story, and if you have any instances where you feel your interest waning, then you know those are the scenes to get rid of.
[The ride along the sea cliff road to Sabestello took the rest of the morning, and the better part of the afternoon as well. Had they set a determined pace perhaps the three companions could have reached the port city's outskirts while the sun still perched high in its precarious zenith. They hadn't though, and by the time outlying buildings began to crop up like curious ground squirrels atop the sandy cliffs the sun had already crept past its climax and begun the relentless descent into eventide.] I like the last sentence, because it’s a bit more of a vivid description, but for an opening paragraph, it doesn’t do anything for me. To me, the story seems to start too soon. I would ask myself what is important to introduce. If the town is important to the story, I would start there, otherwise I’d start when the main character reaches the house.
As far as characters go, I felt a little bit disconnected to them. Since I started late in the game, I don’t know much about the characters in the opening scene, which is okay, but I do wish they left a more memorable impression.
[Where Canemor had acquired the magnificent steed, or more particularly, why, were both questions which Nikolai filed away into the man's undisclosed past. Whatever the reason, the love Erskin held for Big Foot exceeded any bond which the Wind Dancer might have shared with him. If it came down to the horse or himself, Nikolai guessed he should start looking for help elsewhere.]
This description seemed a little bit dull. I would avoid saying things such as “he loved Erskin.” This is an instance where it’s better to show than tell. Show Erskin interacting with the horse (petting him affectionately, feeding him, calling him pet-names)
The two sisters leave the largest impression. I like how you included the part where the sister asks The Wind Dancer if he killed someone. The scene could be developed more (i.e show more of the Wind Dancer inner workings or feelings about his past). I do think it was cool how his answer implies guilt.
[with dark eyes that seemed to glare at everything at once,] I wasn’t a fan of that description. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed a little too cliché. And doesn’t glaring imply focus? If you are looking at everything you aren’t really focusing, am I right?
Practice makes perfect!
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 1 . 5/26/2013
I felt like the opening paragraph was a little too wordy. [On this night, however, Kerim Ragvaldsen could see little of the sandstone castle.] I feel like you could reword this. (On this night), I think, doesn’t quite fit, and makes it a little too long. Maybe (Kerim Ragvaldsen, however, could see little of the sandstone castle.) I think that’s the main issue I picked up on; too wordy in places, so maybe when going through it just see where you could cut out certain words and still have the sentence make sense. Other than that, it’s a really interesting opening, and it’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought into this world with the descriptions, greetings, etc. Kerim seems like an intriguing character, although the whole doesn’t want to follow in father’s footsteps/just interested in whores and drinking is a little cliché, it’ll be interesting to see what you do with it. [they made him feel uncomfortable!] Really don’t need an exclamation mark there. A full-stop will be fine. The exclamation mark feels too much like it’s being shoved in the reader’s face.
| LightningBolt21 chapter 6 . 4/25/2013
'By the time they had set off across the overgrown lawn for the house the sky outside was darkening to a deep mauve' There should be a comma after for. 'By the time they had set off across the overgrown lawn, for the house in the sky was darkening to a deep mauve'
'He winced and scratched the scalp beneath the base of his long braids' Change beneath to 'at'
'then vanished out through' Remove the 'out' 'Then vanished through'
"You're right you know," You should place a comma after right. 'You're right, you know."
'A snort of laughter escaped Markel along with some flakes of snot which caught in his thin mustache' You should place 'got' after which. 'A snort of laughter escaped Markel, along with flakes of snot, which got caught in his thin mustache'
At the end, I wouldn't write 'But men don't cry' in italic. It just seems out of place, If you want to write it in italic I would do so as such.
He did not feel like laughing at all. He felt like crying.
'But men don't cry,' The Wind Dancer reminded himself.
Sorry if the review is short, but you didn't have many mistakes that I caught. From what I've read, you seem to have a pretty firm handle on the story-line which is something most lack. So I commend you for that.
Everything I have written you can either use or chose to ignore, its up to you.
| LightningBolt21 chapter 5 . 4/24/2013
'The ride along the sea cliff road to Sabestello took the rest of the morning, and the better part of the afternoon as well.' There is no need to add the 'as well' You've already stated that the trip took the morning and the better part of the afternoon.
'They hadn't though, and by the time outlying buildings' You should change the 'the' to that. 'They hadn't though, and by that time outlying buildings.'
'Where the horse's health' It would sound better if you left out the 'where'.
'so fixated was he on building of his childhood.' I would write it as such. 'He was so fixated on the building of his childhood.' It seems to flow better.
'Nikolai, Canemor, Symon, and their travel worn horses all at a glance.' There is no need to name all the men, we already know who they are so you should just write 'the men and their travel worn horses all in a single glance'
"come here. It's time you met your brother!" Change the C in come to a capitol. "Come here, it's time you met your brother!"
"Sorry, girls, you know," Remove the comma after girls. "Sorry, girls you know,"
"Er…maybe." It was all the answer she would get.
It was all the answer he could give.
I would write this last part as such. "Er...maybe." Was the only answer she would get for it was the only answer he could give.
Everything I have written you can either take or ignore. The choice is up to you.
| Vagrance chapter 3 . 4/23/2013
Opening: okay, it’s like a punch to the face, but at the same time, I find swearing lazy. The following paragraph was much more engaging.
Scenario: the interrogation scene was wonderfully intense. The allusion to the Order and their missions too, was a wonderful touch.
Dialogue: rich and full of character. You’ve done very well to give everyone a distinctive voice and bounced them of each other.
Style: you have a broad and sophisticated diction. The passages were well crafted. However, the sentence below felt somewhat cliché.
“If looks could kill Steffon would have dropped dead on the spot.”
Enjoyment: I really shouldn’t have put off reading a work of this quality. It’s truly a gripping and entertaining read.
| lookingwest chapter 7 . 4/22/2013
Mannek, Dalibrat, Imritj, and Bulls-eye Andor were all absent, of course... [Why not just say "The usual bar patrons were all absent, of course..." because if those guys are absent, they aren't really important, in the grand scheme, who cares. I think I'd get the same effect if you just alluded to that group as "the men" instead of naming them all off - I don't feel like I'm losing any detail either way as a reader.]
"But it's just five hundred silver," Vex wined. [whined]
...be on the wrong side of Tammany "Chuckles" either. [Honestly until this line I was a little unsure whether these characters were the same person or not - you call him Chuckles and Tammany both through this narrative POV - I would pick one and stick to it the entire time, otherwise you're going to confuse the reader. *Especially* when you deal with so many characters that have 2 names each, usually a nickname and a real name. It gets a little disorienting sometimes.]
Me an six others! [and - or, if you're trying to do a slang on "and", make sure it has that apostrophe before it: 'an]
...Vex pointed at Naomi. [Who? Should I know this person up until this point? Is she the woman that Vex was describing earlier as being really beautiful and he wished he had enough coin, which prompted his motivations to ask Chuckles?]
Dialogue - "...Says he is so proud of me an thinks I do such a good job thieving that he wants me to go and knick a few thousand shields for him." [This is a good example where I feel like sometimes there's tension in this accent that you want Vex to have. On one hand, he's speaking in slang terms, kind of a rough around the edges dialect, and we see that with "'an" (use an apostrophe before it) and by his use of "auld" to refer to "old" in other instances. On the other hand, sometimes he slips into a really formal term, using no contractions: "Says he is so proud". I think this shows a little bit of conflict in the way his dialogue is being portrayed. Is he speaking formal or informal? I argue he's informal, and I'd prefer it that way too - it just seems to be his disposition all around. So I think his dialogue should reflect that fully through his dialect. For instance, I would revise this example I pulled as: "...Says he's so proud of me, 'an thinks I do such a good job thieving, he wants to me to go 'an knick a few thousand shields for 'em." Something like that. If you're going to give him a slight dialect - you gotta go all in with them in my opinion. I feel he's only half there. Sometimes he's giving us a slang, other times he isn't. He uses "'an" and "and" in one cohesive sentence - and that represents a bit of a split in my opinion with his portrayal/identity overall.]
Character - I like the character of Naomi - I think she presents another dimension for Vex's characterization and it's good to see him played off a woman who isn't a sex worker in this chapter. You get across his infatuation with her really well - though I'm not sure about her "mysterious lady" introduction where he doesn't name her at first until he goes to talk to the barkeep. Your cast is really large, and I think characters should make big impressions with their names so they can stick for us. That being said, I think she's one of the more memorable characters introduced in Vex's plot-line thus far, and I liked that. I'm really curious to see where her character goes, and where her thieving might leave her too.
Plot - The plot in this chapter was a tad murky for me regarding what exactly the conflict was with Vex at first. I think I get that he needs money to square away his debts, so he's going to steal some, and that he's a really notorious thief. So maybe by this point that's all that matters. We kind of have to infer a little bit with his conversation with Naomi - since she only alludes to his "talking to" and doesn't really mention more than that. And then the part where he's thinking about settling his debt is kind of taking place in his thoughts. It'll be interesting to see what he actually does and how he acts his plans out - especially since he's so confident about them. But then I get the sense that some of that confidence is feigned, which I think makes him a complex character, and I like that.
Ending - Since you mention the ending specifically in your author's note... I didn't mind it, I think it ends on a smart note that actually ties into the entire chapter by providing it with a sense of a self-contained theme regarding how Vex is treated by other people and how other people view him: liar, thief. That's a strength, in my opinion, and I also liked the return back to the concept of Vex's luck. Overall, it also doesn't feel thematically forced, and that's a good thing too. I feel like they come across the ending conversation very naturally, and the lines are delivered naturally and realistically too - also showing us insight into their relationship and how they regard one another.
| LightningBolt21 chapter 4 . 4/22/2013
These are the mistakes I saw. Granted, I’m not the best when it comes to grammar but I am trying. You seem to have the plot pretty much down, but since I didn't read the previous three chapters I won't say anything.
‘Twelve braids, each the size and weight of a ships bowline’ It should be ‘Twelve braids, each the size and weight of a ship’s bowline,’ Ships is plural.
‘Salt touched, icy waves lapped and tugged at his naked flesh’ I might write it like this ‘Salt touched him as the icy waves lapped and tugged at his naked flesh’ It seems to flow better.
I would change clothing from ‘he had left his clothing’ to clothes. I'm taking that 'manse' is short for mansion but I could be wrong.
Whenever you have the Wind Dancer’s thoughts such as: It is good to be home. You should place apostrophes so the reader can tell that it’s his thoughts. 'It is good to be home,' He thought.
"Gods above I had to piss," You should place a comma after above “Gods above, I had to piss!”
"you'll love this." The Y should be a capital “You’ll love this”
“Grab us cups from the bags and I'll pour some." This doesn’t seem to flow well to me, it seems kinda awkward. “Go grab us some cups from the bags, and then I’ll pour some,”
"The man doesn't eat, drink, nor sleep.” You can just use an or “The man doesn’t eat, drink or sleep.”
"Just follow his footprints; he can't have gone far." Change can’t to couldn’t. “Just follow his footprints; he couldn’t have gone far.”
‘Gods, she must be beautiful now; a woman grown almost!’ There is no need for an exclamation mark. ‘Gods, she must be beautiful now; almost a grown woman,’
Everything I have written you can chose to either accept or ignore. It’s your choice.
| mingsquared chapter 4 . 4/16/2013
[Salt touched, [and] icy waves lapped and tugged at his naked flesh,]
I feel like inserting an "and" there would make the sentence flow better.
Nikolai's introduction was nicely done. Again, you pulled off excellent imagery there. I especially like who you described the water to be cold and the air bad, then at the end was like "It's good to be home."
The part where Nikolai thinks about his family is very beautiful. Makes me want to read about their
reunion. But I have to say you kinda took me by surprise with the ending there. An excellent cliffhanger. I just hope nothing *too*
bad happened to them.
| mingsquared chapter 3 . 4/16/2013
[Killing your father would bring too much of Sabestello's [wroth], but your sister…Tammany, tell me of the young Dioli maiden."]
Tiny mistake. I think you meant "wrath"?
I really like the dialogue up to this point. You do an excellent job with the dialogues. Very realistic, especially with the inclusion of the foreign tongue. I've always admired people who can make their own languages and not have it sound cheesy.
The backstory to the Order and the Touched is great too, though the whole name is quite a mouthful! I wonder if they're going to play a bigger role in the story.
Finally, I think splitting once chapter into three is better than uploading one giant chapter. The reason is
if you end a chapter at a right place, then it will keep readers hooked and they will come back to
continue it. Plus shorter chapters are, in my opinion, easier to read.