Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

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Hillsy
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Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

Post by Hillsy » May 1st, 2012, 9:06 am

Hey,

This the opening to the last thing I wrote before, well, I got a little lost I guess....=0)

Really I'm just after some feedback on the writing at the moment. I lean toward verbosity and purple prose and just wondered if it's either getting in the way or adequate enough to suffice? Is the voice Ok? Does it....I don't know....engage, is that the word?

-------------
Chapter 1

Makki swept over the thin morning mist with an army at his back. The dragon beneath him beat the air with ponderous strokes; it sounded like some great beast’s even breath. Brightwater Lake winked from the horizon, clear and sparkling in the dawn.

“Can you hold, Melu?” He asked. Meluphotia, his dragon, his friend, arced her long neck. Red scales flashed iridescent and one golden eye, the size of his fist, regarded him. She grinned, arm length teeth the ivory colour of milk.

I must. Her voice resonated in his head, silken and light. I don’t wish to drop from the sky any more than you do. Makki puffed out his cheeks. Here, high above the land, his breath plumed.

“I hope that’s enough.”

It will be. I can see the lake, so Brightwater Keep will be just beyond the horizon. She looked away as a thermal punched into her wings; Makki’s stomach barely lurched. The world tilted then levelled.

“His Majesty will not welcome our news.” He said.

He has many problems.

“Still, I don’t want to add to them. I doubt he will thank us for bringing it.” For a moment the mist thinned and the Mekbarim army took rough shape far behind him. Four smudged and smeared squares of soldiers, barely more than faint shadows, marched ahead of a large arc. Cavalry. Any war engines were unlimbered and stowed in the wagons following behind. Forty thousand men, leading thirty thousand horses. Kavernath had half that at Brightwater Keep.

Makki hunkered back down. The saddle shaped ridge at the base of Meluphotia’s neck resisted the predawn chill but her mane, a thin crest of sable hair, began to crust with frost. His leather gauntlets kept out the cold, but attracted moisture like fresh grass, and he gripped her tighter. Makki yawned.

He and Melu had been on the wing since an hour before dawn. Scouting an invading army was more than strafing advancing lines. Supply lines, reserve troops, the state of townships abandoned by the citizens; tacticians had an unending list of details they required. Melu was tired, but she powered on through the sky. Makki smiled. She didn’t do it for the Kingdom, but for him. As a soldier, a Lieutenant no less, he ought to feel disappointment at her lack of patriotism. Nowhere else in the Southern Kingdom’s were Dragons so welcome as Kavernath, and yet they cared not for its imminent collapse.

Hold fast. Melu said and Makki pressed himself against her warm nape as she glided into a larger thermal, musky scent of her damp mane in his nose. Warm air filled her wings, huge leather sails as long as any farmhouse in Kavernath. Makki felt his heart quicken, his stomach clench in anticipation. Despite the army at his back, the grim news he carried and the grimmer news likely waiting at Brightwater Keep, the joy of being astride the heaving flanks of a dragon was never dulled. At the thermal’s peak Melu almost came to a halt. Then she tucked in her wings and lanced earthward like lightning, Makki’s cry of elation the thunder of its passing.

Wind clawed his face, snatching away his breath. Melu gathered speed, the mist below tearing upwards. With a quiet whump, all but lost in the wind, her wings unfurled and the world lurched again. Makki stared down the arrow of her neck, over the two black horns jutting from her bony frill. Brightwater Lake, moments ago so distant, suddenly burst across the horizon, flooding it with mirrored azure rippling with gold. Tears streamed from Makki’s eyes like ice down his cheeks, over his grin. For a moment there was no invasion, no prophesized destruction of his home, no grave news in his mind. Only the thrill any young man was helpless too.
-----------------------------

Gypson
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Re: Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

Post by Gypson » June 3rd, 2012, 9:43 pm

I think you're doing well! I don't see purple prose; in fact, you're pretty succinct. The tone is good, the setup is good. The thing I think you do best in this excerpt is revealing information over time. (I am prone to infodumping, so I envy and applaud you.) You unfolded information about the man, the dragon, and the situation in logical progression that both gave me enough info to go off of, but also invited me to learn more. Nicely done.

My one immediate suggestion is here:
“Can you hold, Melu?” He asked. Meluphotia, his dragon, his friend, arced her long neck. Red scales flashed iridescent and one golden eye, the size of his fist, regarded him. She grinned, arm length teeth the ivory colour of milk. I think you can go ahead and trust the reader a bit more. You mention the dragon in the previous sentence, and I think the reader will catch on fine if you simply say: Meluphotia arced her long neck.

hagenpiper
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Re: Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

Post by hagenpiper » July 18th, 2012, 10:24 am

Hillsy wrote:Hey,

This the opening to the last thing I wrote before, well, I got a little lost I guess....=0)

Really I'm just after some feedback on the writing at the moment. I lean toward verbosity and purple prose and just wondered if it's either getting in the way or adequate enough to suffice? Is the voice Ok? Does it....I don't know....engage, is that the word?

-------------
Chapter 1

Makki swept over the thin morning mist with an army at his back. The dragon beneath him beat the air with ponderous strokes; it sounded like some great beast’s even breath. (The simile makes the idea easier to understand, not harder. That's good.) Brightwater Lake winked from the horizon, clear and sparkling in the dawn. (Clear description that's quick, artistic and easy to picture. That's good.)

“Can you hold, Melu?” He asked. Meluphotia, his dragon, his friend, arced her long neck. Red scales flashed iridescent and one golden eye, the size of his fist, regarded him. She grinned, arm length teeth the ivory colour of milk. (well... teeth ARE ivory. So the logic here doesn't work so well for me. And Teletubbies aside, milk is the last thing that comes to mind when I think of dragon teeth.)

I must. Her voice resonated in his head, silken and light. I don’t wish to drop from the sky any more than you do. Makki puffed out his cheeks. Here, high above the land, his breath plumed.

“I hope that’s enough.”

It will be. I can see the lake, so Brightwater Keep will be just beyond the horizon. She looked away as a thermal punched into her wings; Makki’s stomach barely lurched. The world tilted then levelled. (I LIKE that last sentence. Easy and FUN to picture.)

“His Majesty will not welcome our news.” He said. (...our news," he said.)

He has many problems.

“Still, I don’t want to add to them. I doubt he will thank us for bringing it.” For a moment the mist thinned and the Mekbarim army took rough shape far behind him. Four smudged and smeared squares of soldiers, barely more than faint shadows, marched ahead of a large arc. Cavalry. Any war engines were unlimbered and stowed in the wagons following behind. (How could they be unlimbered and stowed at the same time?) Forty thousand men, leading thirty thousand horses. (Being picky to the point of unfairness, he seems to have a good eye for judging numbers. Might you say... "Maybe forty thousand men, leading thirty thousand horses." Nevertheless, you get my point.) Kavernath had half that at Brightwater Keep.

Makki hunkered back down. The saddle shaped ridge at the base of Meluphotia’s neck resisted the predawn chill but her mane, a thin crest of sable hair, began to crust with frost. (How can Makki know how chilly or not Meluphotia's neck feels? That sentence stumps me.) His leather gauntlets kept out the cold, but attracted moisture like fresh grass (this simile doesn't make the idea easier. And the idea doesn't need simplifying - just say it. Though damp inside, his leather gauntlets kept out the cold.) , and he gripped her tighter. Makki yawned.

He and Melu had been on the wing since an hour before dawn. Scouting an invading army was more than strafing advancing lines. Supply lines, (two "lines" too close together.) reserve troops, the state of (abandoned) townships abandoned [[by the citizens]]; tacticians had an unending list of details they required (the list of details tacticians required seemed unending.) Melu was tired, but she powered on [[through the sky]] (we know where she is). Makki smiled. [[She didn’t do it]] (, not) for the Kingdom, but for him. As a soldier, a Lieutenant no less, he ought to feel disappointment at her lack of patriotism. Nowhere else in the Southern Kingdom’s were Dragons so welcome as Kavernath, and yet they cared not for its imminent collapse.
-----------------------------
Reads very well indeed! Not overwritten. 8-)

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sldwyer
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Re: Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

Post by sldwyer » July 20th, 2012, 1:40 pm

Very good. I agree that the description of the dragon was a little much and can be shortened. Most of us know what a dragon looks like but the colors gave me a picture of her. The prose is fine. In fact, I felt the cold air and the motion of the ride. Her reply to being able to hold showed her personality, which is hard to do with an animal. Well done.

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: Sacrificial Kingdom - Epic Fantasy

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 21st, 2012, 7:07 pm

Not over-written at all. I like it. You capture the mood well. As already mentioned, I think you can omit some of the specific references to Melu being a dragon at the very beginning. Just give the physical descriptions (which I liked a lot) and trust that the reader will figure it out. I personally find that when a writer's prose assumes the reader is "in" the world (such as describing the dragon but not stopping to tell us that yes, it's a dragon) things flow much more smoothly, and if you are deliberate with context statements you can convey a lot of information without having to explicitly state it. I know it's not always possible, but I think fantasy readers in particular know their genre well enough to make the leap. Unless you're Steve Erikson and you just like to <bleep> with your reader endlessly. He needs to write faster by the way.
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

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