Reviews for Horse Feathers
Mi.Ishi chapter 1 . 10/28/2014
I am going to review this chapter, then I'll kinda skip ahead to a later one like you requested. So let me dive right in! This is going to be lengthy, the second review less so.
The second sentence is full of redundancies. A shabby stableboy will obviously smell like horses and have patched clothes. It's not gripping, certainly not after the first sentence. Consider: { "A real sorceress?" a little boy asked, blue eyes shining bright with curiousity from a face smudged with remnants of hard work. The smell of horses clung to his shabby clothes, evidence of his work as a stableboy.} Then you contradict his "shabbiness" with the last sentence in the paragraph. Either he is or isn't shabby - you can pretty much assume there isn't a grey area in this time period you're emulating.
I am going to make a recommendation for how you phrase your quotes. Limit your use of extended sentences after you use "said," and unless if it's very important to use something otherwise, try to use "said" as much as possible. If you ask any writer, editor, writing teacher, they would agree that it really slows down the pace of the reader to have to slow down after quotes. And unless if you mirror these closer together, I would rephrase: {"Yes," Phillip said with the tired tone of a youth who had answered the same question over and over with the same answer.} and {"...tell you," his father said in the tired tone of a parent who had said the same thing over and over.} ESPECIALLY since you can really describe these tones in a better way.
Another thing about quotes: it's super difficult to try and figure out what those accents are! So if certain sounds as replaced by others because of the accent, for instance v's sounding like f's, then describe that, but write out the sentence normally, especially if the main character actually understands what's being said to him.
Secondly, a salad? That's not a common thing to be served in a tavern or inn wherein a stableboy would frequent (which in a stableboy wouldn't actually frequent). I would perhaps do more research about the timeframe you are trying to emulate. Obviously this is a fictional world, but you are clearly framing the daily life as if it was the middle ages? Maybe only as late as the 1700s? So research how a person would live in that time.
There's some merit to this first chapter, and if you'd like I'd love to coach you a bit on how to better it a bit more!
Cheers. MI
Bobbie chapter 3 . 7/31/2014
On your note, I agree. I read the chapter without even noticing the lack of plural.
I though the second paragraph was very awkward and could be tightened up. Also, the passage about the children going "to school three days a week in the morning" read a bit odd. Perhaps "in the mornings, three days a week" would work better. His thought that he didn't go to school because he lacked a mother was a nice touch.
The ending sentence could be written more dramatically if Phillip hears his father say it. "There's just no point in him going," he heard his father say. "We're..."
Bobbie chapter 2 . 7/31/2014
Hi, this chapter moved things along well. I get where you're going, but the lecture seemed a little preachy and I fear you might lose some readers with it. If there was a way to shorten it, I think it would work better. Without having read further, I question how critical this passage may be to the overall story. I may revisit my comments after I read further.
Bobbie chapter 1 . 7/27/2014
I find it curious that at the beginning Phillip talked to the stranger about a sorceress granting wishes, yet spoke to his father about about her healing sick people. Although the mention in his conversation with his father may be foreshadowing, it is inconsistent.
Also, you mention in your solicitation that some readers wanted more description and that you had tried to comply. Yes, sometimes more is good, but some information is not necessary and adds nothing to the story. It only slows things down. (And, truthfully, some people what to know every tiny detail.) I feel that the description of the stable may be a bit too long. Also, the description of the father could be compacted so that it read less awkwardly.
There is a distinct charm to your style of writing, but if feels as if it takes the "long way around" to tell the reader something in some spots. The bit about the "sun traveling to the west" adds nothing here. If the sun traveled to the east, then it might be significant to your worldbuilding (but likely not in a short story). Also I question whether it is necessary to mention that the traveler's name and age were not mentioned. As I said, perhaps style, but not necessary.
Plot point: I think Phillip would take his time eating his salad, so that he could listen as long as possible. Also, couldn't he just "eat" the salad? "Chewed" disrupted the flow and dropped me out of the story.
On a suggested rewrite of a line: names did not teach him much beside themselves. I'd suggest "beyond" themselves. I've heard "beside" used in this manner, but it was by old country folk and that is not your target audience. Young people would likely not understand its use.
I would also suggest a new paragraph when the man at the inn speaks to him, and attributing it to the neighboring table. As written, it sort of blindsides the reader from nowhere. I had to reread it several times to figure out what was going on.
You write well and I enjoyed this piece.
Guest chapter 1 . 1/6/2014
very good. I wish I could write like this. .
Dreamers-Requiem chapter 1 . 10/13/2013
The style for this, (and I know, I know, you’ve heard this from me before. I hope.) is lovely. It really has that fairy-tale quality to it, and makes it easy to get drawn into the story. I love the accents of the men in the inn, and I like the character of Philip. He seems like an interesting character to read about and I can’t wait to see what he gets up to throughout this. Will have to keep an eye out for when Seventh Night is out.
Count-By-Zeros chapter 2 . 9/27/2013
I like this kid. He seems very wise beyond his years, but still with a youthful dream and willingness to believe in magic. I am definitely intrigued about how this is going to end up. The only thing I would do is add some more physical details here and there about what the people and places look like just to help people form a better mental image.
The Tactician chapter 1 . 9/13/2013
Wanting more from this world after Seventh Night (Can't wait for it to come out so that I may finish it)

I really can't find anything to criticize. Grammar is spot on as far as I can tell. Philip's personality is certainly portrayed nicely. So far, I like the traditional fantasy theme of an average boy looking for adventure, it has been a successful theme for stories through time.

The Netheriaden accent is extremely hard to understand, though I suspect you did this on purpose. I honestly think I would have better luck at reading Russian or something.
Lolitroy chapter 1 . 8/29/2013
Okay, so.
I apologize first of all for such a crap review. I'll be reviewing more decently next chapters, since right now I'm kinda supposed to be doing classowkr (*v*)'b

So it's fine for a first chapter. I don't think it was either particularly exciting or drop-dead boring. However, I found the first few lines to be highly amusing, and thus gripping. However, the middle part where they talk is a bit monotone, perhaps because we don't know the characters much and thus whatever they say doesn't really seem relevant to me. But yeah, as I always say, it's just the first chapter. So even if it doesn't make sense right now, it will later, huh? ;)
LunarSolar chapter 11 . 8/18/2013
OK so in Phillip's world, they use copper and tin as small denominations of currency, but what exactly is the exchange rate? In reality, tin is more valuable than copper, but in a fictitious context, there are too many variables we don't know about, so relative values are really up to the author.

I like the story thus far by the way. Phil has some stamina, living off lemons!
Erlich chapter 2 . 8/14/2013
Awesome chapter! I seriously enjoyed it, and Phillip is an awesome character. His inquisitiveness is seriously intriguing. I find that I'm connecting with him as well as some of the best fantasy MC's I've ever read (and that's definitely high praise).

The rest of this is whatever stuck out as I read.

" need to crowd together when they had the whole hall." I liked your description of the hall; I had a definite image in my mind, but I wasn't sure what this particular line added to the sentence. I'm not suggesting you take it out necessarily, but maybe if you added in something about how people were spread out or something. Also, in the same paragraph you need a hyphen between "dark" and "haired." One other thing in that opening paragraph: I believe that "shined" should be "shone." I checked, because I wasn't positive, and it appears as if "shone" is typically light shining off of something, where's "shined" is typically the past-tense verb meaning "having polished."

"You and I have no more control over the nature of the unseen as we do..." The "as" should be "than."

"...but conduct. Morality." I'm all for kick the rules in the pants, but because you are generally pretty rigid in your adherence to grammatical fundamentals, I would suggest converting this to achieve parity with the rest of the work. Otherwise, my brain hiccups as I readjust the way I'm reading your tone. Maybe "...but conduct, morality - this is within the domain..." or something.

"...but only has true control and therefore true responsibility," I would consider surrounding "and therefore true responsibility" in hyphens, as it is a grammatically unecessary insertion (though it is perfect in the dialogue!).

"...who drink more and quickly..." I'm assuming you threw in "quickly" when you were writing and you realized that technically, one man could drink more than another and still be more sober if he drank more quickly. Valid point, but I feel like, as the speaker is saying this off the top of his head, he would probably just say "more," but I don't know him as well as you do. ;-P

"When out meat rots, when bread rots..." Don't need the word "out."

"Rot of the barley, becomes rot of the mind..." Don't need that comma.

FANTASTIC job on the dailogue there. You really got into a rhythm with that, and it was a very enjoyable read!

"...and began attending a few months, he had..." Need "ago" after "months."

"...and had little cause to worry on their short walk home." I sort of got what you were going for here, but I was a little fuzzy on what they would have to be worried about. Maybe you meant the sun going down or something?

Love the teacher's Middelford joke. Felt super natural!

"The teacher echoed the question again." The last question he asked was how water enters the body, so I was little confused on what you were getting at in reference to Phillip's "God" question. Then I figured out you were saying that he repeated Phillip's question back to him. Maybe consider wording it differently so that mule-brains like me don't get all cross-eyed, lol ;-P

"You have to seek those sort of answers elsewhere." I believe that should be "sorts."

"I will say few things irritate" comma after "say."

"...does not endear me to him either." Should be the other way around: "...does not endear him to me either."

"Phillip's frowned deepened..." Should be "frown." Also, you say he pondered "this one" in that same sentence, but it didn't feel like it matched the tone to me. Maybe just "as he pondered the idea" or something.

Have I mentioned how fantastically adept you are at dialogue? How much do you charge for lessons? ;-P

"He was usually kept out of sight when the nobleman came to inspect his horses and had no real idea of what sort of man he was." So I would recommend, after "...his horses, and as a result they had no real..."

"The meeting hall was most clear now." Should be "mostly" or "almost."

"Phillip grinned, far more satisfied with this answer than the last..." The "two" answers were in such close proximity, they really felt to me more like one, two-part answer, but that's just a thought...

"While the stone road ran beside the stables, there was a dirt road that ran directly north to the center of the estate with the main house and quainter quarters for the field and stablehands." This felt a little long-winded, maybe consider breaking it into two pieces.

" keeping his eye on the road particularly where the buildings cast a shadow, and stepped carefully to avoid any animal droppings that might be left behind." Comma after road, and "he" after the "and."

"...home alone in the dark night" "Night" felt redundant; I felt like "dark" would cover it.

"The presence of men and number of fences..." Consider "the" before "number."

"Still he picked up..." Comma after "still"

I really enjoyed this chapter. Actually, what's really impressive is that I didn't even wonder if there was going to be any action, nor did I find myself expecting it. I was completely satisfied with the combination of dialogue and Phillip's thoughts, purely attributed to your great story-telling ability. Nicely done!
Vladvonbounce chapter 6 . 8/14/2013
Another nice chapter. Again really enjoyed the philosophical musings. I like the way you consider that people often marry for more practical reasons as well as love. That in fact there can be different kinds of loves and marriages.

""What stops the bank from just keeping your money?" Phillip asked." They do a pretty good job of this a lot of the time. Evil banks.

I also appreciated that you split the chapters up with line breaks. makes it easier to read.
Vladvonbounce chapter 5 . 8/6/2013
I am continuing to enjoy the philosophical points in your story. The idea that heroes should use wits rather than a sword. Not wasting all your money in a single afternoon, the difference between charity and gifts. Phillip is continuing to develop nicely as a character. He is very consistent in his personality. There wasn't really anything to dislike about this chapter. You could perhaps end the chapter with a bit more of a dramatic note. Remote lives surrounded by a forest isn't that fascinating :P
Vladvonbounce chapter 4 . 7/30/2013
It is a bit slow but I think you have done a great job of rounding out the character of Phillip and his father as well as the background setting. You also drop some interesting hints about whether there might be more to his father and what really happened to his mother which is cool. I think you make an interesting point about taxes which I don't think many people in the real world seem to understand. Taxes are paid so that the government can spend them on things like roads, schools and hospitals. Albeit not all of it ends up there but still a lot of it is for our own benefit in the long run.

"knew the man was less likely to be accustom to it" should be accustomed. :)
Erlich chapter 1 . 7/28/2013
First off, absolutely fantastic character development! Phillip is like the coolest kid ever. I love how well you've combined his obvious intellect with his boyish curiosity, along with a smattering of youthful innocence. He's extremely lovable, which is probably the most difficult relationship to establish between a reader and a character. Bravo. I also love the traditional fantasy feel; I love reading any aspiring author's work of fantasy, but it's always nice to find some high fantasy nuggets here and there.

So I did a full-on nit-pick of this thing. A lot of it is purely opinion, but hopefully you'll get one or two good ideas out of all of it. ;-D

"'Aye lad,"" said the traveler, whose clothes were more colorful and less tattered though a bit dusty and faded from his long journey on foot." I love the description here, but it felt a little long-winded, like if I tried to say the whole sentence I might just run out of breath. Maybe break up it a little like, "... said the traveler, his clothes more colorful and well-kept than the boy's, if a bit dusty and faded from his long journey."

"... and Phillip grinned skeptically." I can't seem to get a vision in my head of what a skeptic grin looks like. Maybe a tentative smile or something? (Or I'm just an idiot, which is certainly plausible ;-P)

"... the traveler said, whose name never came up in their conversation." Sometimes it serves the narration better (in my oh-so-personal opinion) to let the reader just sort of grasp things without necessarily coming right out and concreting it for them. For instance, in this case, I feel like something along the lines of "... said the mysterious traveler," would have essentially said the same thing, without just coming out and telling the reader that Phillip doesn't know his name. Am I overthinking it? Lol, I've been told I do that...

"Rumor is she heals things that no doctor can fathom." So, the dialogue here is saying that doctors can't fathom the things she heals; however, I'm assuming that it's meant to suggest that they can't fathom the healing she performs. Any wound or malaise is fathomable, I would imagine. Maybe, "Rumor is she performs healings no doctor would dream of attempting." or something like that...

"... and beyond that fields, paddocks, and horses..." I think you might want to pop in the word "were" between "that" and "fields."

I LOVE the part where Phillip muses about the sorceress while he plays with his imaginary sword. It's perfect!

"Goodbye, lad, I best be on my way." This seemed like it sort of came out of nowhere. You might try a more subtle transition in the conversation, like, "At any rate, I best be on my way, lad."

I like Phillip's dad too. He seems a perfect match for Phillip's obvious high level of energy. My mom used to only half pay attention to me like that when I was an overly energetic pain in the rear, lol.

" he choked down his indignation too" Not sure you need the "too" in there, and maybe "and" instead of "so" if I were to be super nit-picky lol.

"It was about a six mile walk, would pass faster if he kept up the run, but Phillip did not mind." I think a word or two might have been left out here.

"It might have been because names did not teach him anything beside themselves." I get what you're going for here, but the wording felt a bit awkward. Maybe, "The effort of remembering a name felt like a waste. He could repeat it over and over in his mind, but for what? It wasn't as though he could glean any useful information from a simple name." Or something... probably not that, but something... lol. Actually, you might try reading that whole paragraph aloud. I think you have some complex ideas in there that are tough to really word concisely. Sometimes I have to just say stuff out loud after I've tried fifty times to rewrite a paragraph. ;-P

"They gave him no more trouble for eavesdropping." This seems to imply that they gave him some trouble in the first place, but since I (and presumably Phillip, as well) have no clue what they actually said, it at least appears that there was no slight given in the first place.

Great job! I hope to have time to hit up the next chapter.
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