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Old 01-06-2014, 10:15 PM View Post #1 (Link) Arise: Chapter One
never.ending.story (Offline)
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OKAY! Here is the first revision of Chapter 1. Critiques are greatly appreciated! A lot of things have changed, including the entire way that The Hatching ceremony works. Hopefully the way it is done now will add some suspense to the story. I also cut out the info dumps and tried to relay more information through dialogue instead. Sorry if it seems long, you can critique in sections if you'd like!

I'd also like to know what you guys think of the character's names. I know the spelling is different (Adam/Adem, Claire/Klaere) but I'm hoping nobody had trouble pronouncing them. The girl's name changed about ten times when I first started writing and I finally settled with Klaere. I feel like it suites her but I wasn't sure what everyone else thought? Feedback about that is appreciated.

I'll quit rambling. Enjoy

Spoiler:
“Adem?”

The boy looked over his shoulder at me, his bronze curls reflecting the rays of sunlight. He sat on a rock ledge with his legs hanging over, his toes creating ripples in the cool water of the creek below. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” was all he said in a monotone voice.

This was our peaceful spot, where we went to think. We called it Keeper’s Rock. It sat in the woods at the edge of our city’s limits, overlooking the bare farm lands.

I picked up a limestone rock and rubbed it between my fingers before tossing it into the stream. I wasn’t sure how to reply to him.

“You’ll scare away the fish if you keep pelting them with stones like that,” he said.

I walked to the ledge and sat beside him, but I came nowhere near to touching the water. He snickered at my short legs. “Why does it matter if I scare them since you’re not fishing right now? Don’t you think your hideous face is enough to startle them?”

Before I could stop him he reached over and playfully shoved me. Too hard, though. I fell from the ledge and into the water roughly five feet below. Thankfully it was fairly shallow and only came to my thighs when I stood, and the loose pebbles at the bottom softened my fall.

“Oh, so you can gripe at me for scaring the fish with rocks, but it’s perfectly fine to shove innocent girls into the creek?” I snarled, wringing the water out of my hair. I was tempted to grab his feet and pull him in with me.

He laughed. “I really didn’t mean to push you that hard, I swear. But if anyone’s ugly face is going to scare the fish away, it might as well be yours.”

A smile that I had not seen in a while spread across his sunburned face. It made me remember why I had come out here to talk to him in the first place. I grasped the slippery, moss covered rocks and pulled myself back onto the ledge.

“Your mom told me to find you and talk to you. She’s going to be mad if I don’t come back with an answer as to why you’ve been acting different lately,” I blurted out.

“How’d you know I was out here?”

I raised my eyebrows. “What kind of stupid question is that? You’ve been spending all your free time out here. I didn’t even have to look anywhere else.”

“I’m fine. Really, nothing is wrong.”

“That might be the biggest lie I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth. I’m your best friend. You can tell me anything.”

“Well, this is something I don’t want to discuss.”

I bit my lip. “Is it about Rosie?”

His eyes darkened. “No, it’s not about my sister. I told you I don’t want to talk about it. Change the subject.”

The tone of his voice warned me to stop being persistent. We sat in silence for a few moments, soaking in the last warmth of autumn.

“The Hatching is today,” I said quietly, trying to spark a different conversation.

From the corner of my eye I saw his head bob up and down in a nod. His calloused hand patted my knee and the corner of his lip rose in a reassuring smile. He was trying hard to act like nothing was bothering him. “Are you nervous?” he asked.

“Not as nervous as I thought I would be.”

He kicked his leg and created a splash. “Do you know what dragon you want?”

“You shouldn’t ask me that. I don’t know if I will even be chosen or not. Even if I am, I don’t get to pick my dragon, you know that. It’s the government’s decision.”

He shrugged and gazed at the trees around us. “I know. I was just wondering if you had a preference. I was lucky whenever I was chosen, considering there were ten other candidates, and I even got the dragon I wanted. You’re only up against two other kids your age this year. You’ll have a better chance.”

“I’m not getting my hopes up.”

He let out a loud breath through his nose. “Okay, but if you could have a dragon, what type would you want?”

I looked down into the creek at my reflection, as though I was expecting it to give me an answer to Adem’s question. I had thought about what dragon I wanted if I was chosen, but I was fairly certain he’d laugh at me if I told him.

“Come on, tell me,” he chided. “There are twelve different types. You could get something cool, like a white dragon, and spend the rest of your life reporting weather and making maps. Or a purple dragon, and be a guard at a prison or be a night watcher. Maybe you’d get a green dragon like me, and be a farmer. They come in pretty handy for pulling plows and harvesting.”

I rolled my eyes and leaned back on my elbows. “No offense, but I don’t think being a farmer is the right career for me. Jeb wants me to get a yellow dragon, and be a healer like him.”

He snorted. “Who cares what your grandfather thinks? What matters is what you want. Do you want a yellow dragon?”

“No.” I looked at him from the corner of my eyes. “I’d want a black dragon.”

Adem turned to me. “A fighter dragon, huh?” He smirked. “For some reason I had a feeling you’d say that. Aren’t you a bit petite to be protecting the country and fighting for the government? You’d have to move to the capitol.”

I grit my teeth. I disliked being underestimated for my size. “Anything to get away from this village. It doesn’t matter, anyway. There is only a third of a chance my name will get drawn.”

“You need to quit being so negative.”

“I’m not. I just have common sense. Why would I get my hopes up whenever there are two other sixteen year olds that could just as easily get the dragon’s egg instead of me?” I stopped and turned to him. “I do have a question, though.”

“Alright, ask it then.”

“Why would the government only allow one person from each town to receive a dragon each year? How would that benefit the kingdom of Tamisin?”

Adem furrowed his eyebrows and tapped on his chin. “Too much power, I’m guessing.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if everyone had a dragon, they wouldn’t be considered as valuable. It’s illegal for any female dragon except the king’s to breed. That’s how he controls the population. If all of the people in our realm had a dragon then we’d be too strong for him to control.”

The peaceful September morning was interrupted by the loud flapping of leathery wings over the hill in the distance. An emerald blur appeared, gliding low across the meadow in front of us. Soon Ivius, Adem’s dragon, sat across the creek, her long neck stretched over the waters and her broad head resting on the ledge between Adem and me, taking up most of the room.

“Couldn’t help but overhear your conversation,” she said aloud. “Sorry if I’m interrupting, darlings. I was done hunting for my breakfast though.”

Adem winked at me. “If you haven’t noticed, not only are dragons pretty darn fast, they also have excellent hearing. It takes time to get used to constantly having someone eavesdropping on you. No privacy at all.”

“Don’t let him fool you. I give him plenty of privacy. He’d better quit complaining, or I may have to singe his rear end,” she warned.

He scratched the leaf colored scales behind the spikes that protruded down her neck. “Someone’s grouchy.”

She ignored his comment and turned her head towards me. “Do you even want a dragon, Klaere?”

“Yes, I’m just afraid. Whenever someone gets a dragon, their career is usually decided by what the dragon’s type is. What if I didn’t like my destiny?” I asked.

Ivius closed her eyes and sighed. “We dragons know your fate well before you do. We are intelligent creatures. As soon as we hatch, we know our purpose. It is merely our job to help our rider figure out their purpose as well. Just because you get a dragon of a certain color doesn’t mean you’re going to have to choose a career that includes them. Your dragon could simply be a companion instead. Most riders, however, do choose a path that suites their dragon as well though.”

I nodded, and then glanced at Adem. He seemed to be stuck in a trance, his eyes casted out towards the fields, lost in thought. I snapped my fingers in front of his nose, causing him to flinch. “You okay?” I asked, remembering our conversation earlier.

“Yeah, I’m alright.”

Ivius snorted and nudged his stomach with her large nose. “He’s lying.”

I sighed. “I’m well aware. I already tried getting him to talk about it and he got incredibly defensive. No reason to pressure him I guess. If he wants to stay bottled up then I will let him pout.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted them, knowing I had offended him. He immediately stood up. “Ivius, it’s time for us to go.”

His dragon obeyed, stretching her large body across the creek and placing her claws on the ledge. She bent her legs so he could reach her back. His bare feet found a stirrup, and with a grunt he pulled himself into the saddle that sat at the base of her neck, right before where her wings began. Leather straps crisscrossed over her chest to hold the saddle in place.

“Adem, I didn’t mean to upset you,” I managed to say.

Ivius reached her broad head to me and licked my cheek. “Darling, don’t worry about him. He won’t tell me what is wrong either.” She brought her legs down from the ledge. “Good luck today at The Hatching. Let fate do its own work.” She started to turn, but then stopped and looked me up and down. “Also, why are you soaking wet?”

I took a deep breath and shrugged. “Adem thought I needed to take a little swim earlier.”

“Hmph. Well, make sure you change clothes before the ceremony. You look like a drowned rat.”

I rolled my eyes at her motherly instincts. "Thanks Ivius, I’ll be sure to put a pretty pink bow in my hair too.” I stole a glance up at Adem, who was studying me with a blank expression. He gave me a single nod before grasping the reins.

Without another word, Ivius launched herself into the air, and within seconds Adem and his dragon were a speck in the distance, flying through the clouds with more skill than any bird could attempt to master. I smiled, hoping I would be soaring alongside them soon.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the result of waking up at midnight and not being able to sleep. I've been revising it for about a week, now it's time for someone else to take a hack at it! It's pretty long and I apologize for that, so if you don't want to critique all of it I totally understand. Also, there is one part in the story where I've made a comment surrounded by a bunch of *'s. You'll see it once you get there though! Thanks for taking your time to read it! Don't go easy on me! Want to improve my writing skills, not just correct mistakes. Enjoy!

Spoiler:
Chapter One

“Adem?”

A tall boy looked over his shoulder at me, his bronze curls reflecting the rays of sunlight that shimmered up from the creek in front of him. He sat on a rock ledge, with his legs hanging over, his toes creating ripples in the cool water. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” was all he said in a monotone voice.

This was our peaceful spot, where we went to think. We called it Keeper’s Rock. It sat in the woods at the edge of our city’s limits, overlooking the bare farm lands.

I picked up a limestone rock and rubbed it between my fingers before tossing it into the stream. I was not sure how to reply to him. He had been acting strange the past few days and keeping to himself.

“You’ll scare away the fish if you keep pelting them with stones like that.”

I walked to the ledge and sat beside him, but I came nowhere near to touching the water. He snickered at my short legs. “Why does it matter if I scare them since you’re not fishing right now? Do you not think your hideous face is enough to startle them?”

Adem rolled his eyes at me and threatened to push me off the ledge and into the shallow waters. I squealed with laughter and scooted backwards towards the rock wall to avoid an unwanted swim.

A smile that I had not seen in a while spread across his sunburned face. Perhaps his strange attitude was exhaustion from the harvest. I decided to be cautious and not pressure him to talk about his behavior yet, and bring it up later. He had a tendency to anger quickly and calm slowly, so saying something to set him off right away would be a bad idea. After all, he was my best friend, we told each other everything. If something was actually wrong then I would be the first person to know, I had no doubt.

We sat in silence for a few moments, soaking in the last warmth of autumn.

“The Hatching is today,” I said quietly, trying to spark a conversation.

From the corner of my eye I saw his head bob up and down in a nod. His calloused hand patted my knee and the corner of his lip rose in a reassuring smile. “Are you nervous?”

I laughed. Was I nervous? The Hatching was a big step in a person’s life. Each year, every town in our land picks three sixteen year olds to attend The Hatching. From there we will each be granted one dragon egg by our king. Whichever egg we are given determines our future career, and that dragon becomes our partner for the rest of our lives. “Nervous does not describe me enough at the moment. I’m to the point where my heart is beating so fast, I nearly expect it to burst out of my chest.”

He kicked his leg and created a splash. “Do you know what dragon you want?”

I leaned against the cool rock wall of the bank. There were many dragons available, but of course, I did not get to pick. My dragon would choose me, and that was it. If I did not approve of what I had been given, I could not exchange it for another. There are twelve different types. The red dragon symbols flame. The turquoise symbols water. Silver means ice, gray means mineral, green means nature, blue means worker, gold means versatile, purple means guardian, white means air, orange means charmer, yellow means healer, and black means fighter. It is normally easy to tell what their type symbolizes by their color. *****I hate this paragraph but I'm really not sure how to tell what the twelve colors and types are of the dragons. Any ideas on how to include this instead of doing it the way I've done?*****

“If I had to choose, I’d pick black. But I’m mainly just thankful I was one of the three that were chosen.”

He smirked. “I had a feeling you’d say that. A fighter dragon, huh? Move around and protect the country, fight for the government army? A bit petite to be doing that, aren’t you?”

I grit my teeth. If there was one thing I absolutely hated more than anything, it was being underestimated because of my size. “Nothing is impossible. And I want to be away from this village,” I said, and then paused. “My grandfather wants me to get a yellow dragon, in hopes I can follow in his footsteps and become a healer as well. Possibly take his place after he passes away.”

“You’re grandfather has more energy than ten mules pulling a plow, he will still be around for many years. But it is understandable, as you already have quite a bit of his natural talent. If I was hurt or sick, you and your grandfather would be the only people I would trust to take care of me. But do not hope for much. Eowyn is a small town, Tamisin is a large realm; we are destined to get the eggs of dragons that are considered less important, such as gray or green. The larger cities are more likely to get the eggs of those dragons that are considered valuable. Hate to ruin your plans, but you are most likely stuck here forever.”

I raised my eyebrows. Two years ago, Adem was chosen to receive an egg, and was given a green dragon, which symbolizes nature. Together he and his dragon work the fields on the outskirts of town, bringing in an incredible crop each year that he would not be able to manage without his dragon’s assistance. “Don’t let Ivius hear you say that she isn’t as important as the other dragons, or she’ll singe your rear end.”

As if on cue I heard the loud flapping of leathery wings over the hill in the distance. An emerald blur appeared, flying low across the meadow that stretched to the horizon. Within seconds Ivius sat perched across the creek, her long neck stretched across the waters and her head lying in Adem’s lap. I scooted back to the edge of the rock by him to greet her.

She blinked her golden eyes. “I know I am not as important as the others, Klaere, but I am thankful I was given a partner such as Adem. I hope I can someday be the dragon he deserves.”

“It amazes me how you can hear things from so far away,” I said, and looked to the hill she had just come from. It was about half a mile away. Her speed was astonishing.

Adem winked at me. “They’re pretty darn fast, and have excellent hearing. In a few hours you will know what it’s like to constantly have someone eavesdropping on you. No privacy at all.”

“Is that so?” I pondered. I had never wondered about whether it would be a good or bad thing.

“Klaere, don’t let him fool you. You will enjoy having someone who hangs on every word you say, unlike some dragon riders,” Ivius said with a pout, giving a subtle hint to Adem that he had better choose his words wisely and be kind before she turned him to ashes.

Adem laughed and kissed his dragon’s forehead, then scratched her leaf colored scales behind the spikes that protruded down her neck. A deep purr vibrated from within her throat. “Every. Single. Word. She’s not kidding. It takes a while to get used to. But you’ll love whatever dragon you are given. Like you said earlier, be thankful you were chosen. It is an honor that some people need to be more appreciative of.”

Ivius gave a toothy smile, happy with his response.

“How will I know what to name him or her?”

He laughed and threw his hands into the air. “Klaere, you’ve asked the same questions a million times. You know all of the answers I will give you!”

“I could hear your responses a thousand times and still want to hear them again, just to be sure.”

Adem looked up at the sky, and then shrugged, knowing I would continue to be persistent until he replied. “Some people name them after things. Some people name them after other people, or dragons in legends. I chose Ivius’ name because she is a nature dragon. The first part sounds like ivy, a plant. After some thinking, I decided that since we were considered a team, I would add the word ‘us’ to the end. The product was Ivius, which fits her perfectly.”

“Something more elegant would have been better. I have a friend named Estelleria. Isn’t that pretty?” Ivius added.

I scrunched my nose and shook my head. “Ivius, dragons with names like that usually have owners who hold their noses up in the air. They think they are better than everyone around them. I like your name. Adem did well.”

She flopped her tail down on the ground as a way of agreeing. “Have you thought about any names, my dear?”

I reached over and patted her snout. “No, not yet. I’m hoping once my egg hatches, a name will come to me.”

Ivius moved her head to my lap. “Your dragon will be lucky to have a rider like you. When I first saw Adem, he was so scrawny looking that I was sure I would be the main one tending the fields instead of him, and doing all the hard work.”

He flicked the side of her head, and then studied his body to see if her words were true. I couldn’t help but giggle at him.

“Adem, that was unnecessary. I did not say you were still like that. You’ve grown quite a bit in height and strength,” Ivius added.

Adem stuck out his tongue, but the shimmer in his eyes showed he was thankful for her compliment and he truly loved her. Seeing the way he peered at Ivius settled my nerves some. In about an hour I would be watching my egg hatch, and looking at my own dragon with that adoring gaze.

“How did you know that you and he would be farming together?”

Ivius closed her eyes and sighed. “We dragons know your fate well before you do. We are intelligent creatures. As soon as we hatch, we know our purpose. It is merely our job to help our rider figure out their purpose as well.”

I nodded, then glanced at Adem. He seemed to be stuck in a trance, his eyes casted out towards the fields, lost in thought. I snapped my fingers in front of his nose, causing him to flinch. “You okay?” I asked, remembering earlier that I had planned to ask him about his behavior.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Ivius snorted and nudged his stomach. “He’s lying. He’s gotten barely any sleep this past week.”

He spoke up. “Next week, it will be a year since Rosie passed away. My mother has been going out to the tavern every night and drinking. I’ve been waking up shortly after midnight every night to bring her home. It’s just wearing me out.”

Ivius snorted again. “I went to go get her one night so that Adem could get rest, but it didn’t go well. Apparently it’s unsettling for a drunken person to see a dragon of my size coming at them in the darkness. Wouldn’t know why, it’s not as though I was planning on eating her.”

Rosie was Adem’s younger sister, who died at the age of five last fall. We were not sure why, but she had been sick every since she was a newborn. No amount of medicines my grandfather had given her would help.

“I’m sorry. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. I wouldn’t mind giving you a break and getting her for you if you needed me to.”

He shook his head. “I’ve had enough of it, to be honest. After The Hatching, I’m going to talk to her about it. Possibly try to convince her to quit. If she refuses, I will lock the doors then tie her to a chair if I have to. If Rosie had seen her like this, she’d be upset. There is no way I will let my mother become like this.”

I patted his back, knowing no words I could say next would be what he needed to hear. But I was glad he had told me.

He stood and brushed off his pants, then picked up his dragon’s saddle from behind a rock. As expensive as they were, it was important to hide them when not in use. Ivius stretched her body across the creek until her front legs were propped on the ledge. Adem leaned over her and placed the saddle at the very base of her neck, right in front of her wings. Adem pulled leather gloves from his pockets and slipped them on, then wrapped his muscular arms around Ivius’ neck, right behind her skull. She lifted him up and placed him in the saddle. His bare feet found the stirrups, and he leaned down to secure the leather straps of the saddle around his dragon’s chest.

“I do not mean to rush off, but Ivius and I need to head to town to sell grain before stores close for The Hatching. We will see you at noon. Good luck, Klaere. And thank you for listening.”

Ivius reached her broad head to me and licked my cheek, her form of a kiss. “Darling, do not be nervous about The Hatching. Everything that happens has a purpose. And each occurrence, big or small, is just another stepping stone added to the path of your life. Remember that. Farewell.”

Without another word, Ivius launched herself into the air, and within seconds Adem and his dragon were a speck in the distance, flying through the clouds with more skill than any bird could attempt to master. I smiled, knowing I would be soaring alongside them soon.
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:07 PM View Post #2 (Link)
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Originally Posted by never.ending.story View Post
This is the result of waking up at midnight and not being able to sleep. I've been revising it for about a week, now it's time for someone else to take a hack at it! It's pretty long and I apologize for that, so if you don't want to critique all of it I totally understand. Also, there is one part in the story where I've made a comment surrounded by a bunch of *'s. You'll see it once you get there though! Thanks for taking your time to read it! Don't go easy on me! Want to improve my writing skills, not just correct mistakes. Enjoy!

Spoiler:
Chapter One

“Adem?”

A tall boy Referring to him as "a tall boy" strikes me as if you're establishing they're strangers, when I'm guessing they at least know each other. looked over his shoulder at me, his bronze curls reflecting the rays of sunlight that shimmered up from the creek in front of him This is a bit purple, but it also seems... I dunno, the reflection of the sun is reflecting off of his hair? Not the sun itself? I get that you're trying to establish setting as smoothly as possible, but this is tipping the scales in a completely different problematic direction.. He sat on a rock ledge, with his legs hanging over, his toes creating ripples in the cool water. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” was all he said in a monotone voice. I generally like this opening, from a tone perspective

This was our peaceful spot, where we went to think. We called it Keeper’s Rock. It sat in the woods at the edge of our city’s limits, overlooking the bare farm lands.

I picked up a limestone rock and rubbed it between my fingers before tossing it into the stream. I was not sure how to reply to him. He had been acting strange the past few days and keeping to himself. I can see myself disliking how much inner monologue the narrator will have if it keeps up at this pace. I'm not putting the story down yet, but I feel like i'm being told more things than I'm being shown, and I think a fair bit of it you can establish through dialogue, actions, and implication.

“You’ll scare away the fish if you keep pelting them with stones like that.”

I walked to the ledge and sat beside him, but I came nowhere near to touching the water. He snickered at my short legs. “Why does it matter if I scare them since you’re not fishing right now? Do you not think Style suggestion (so please, take this with a grain of salt) but I think it would read naturally as "don't you think?" especially considering the age of the character. your hideous face is enough to startle them?”

Adem rolled his eyes at meWe know why he's doing it because you just showed us this and threatened to push me off the ledge and into the shallow waters Why don't you show us this by having an actual line of dialogue where he says the threat?. I squealed with laughter and scooted backwards [towards the rock wall to avoid an unwanted swim.] I think you can cut this line and rewrite it along the lines of "scooted away from him" since we know why he's scooting away and right now it just feels a little wordy.

A smile that I had not seen in a while spread across his sunburned face. Perhaps his strange attitude was exhaustion from the harvest. I decided to be cautious and not pressure him to talk about his behavior yet, and bring it up later. He had a tendency to anger quickly and calm slowly, so saying something to set him off right away would be a bad idea. After all, he was my best friend, we told each other everything. If something was actually wrong then I would be the first person to know, I had no doubt. Again, I'm wondering if there's some way you can find to at the very least imply this if you can't show it through their conversation. There can't be layers and subtlety to the conversation if you give us all his thoughts, and while you definitely don't need either I think it could help.

We sat in silence for a few moments, soaking in the last warmth of autumn.

“The Hatching is today,” I said quietly, trying to spark a conversation.

From the corner of my eye I saw his head bob up and down in a nod. His calloused hand patted my knee and the corner of his lip rose in a reassuring smile. “Are you nervous?”

I laughed. Was I nervous? [The Hatching was a big step in a person’s life. Each year, every town in our land picks three sixteen year olds to attend The Hatching. From there we will each be granted one dragon egg by our king. Whichever egg we are given determines our future career, and that dragon becomes our partner for the rest of our lives. ] This is an infodump, and it would be so easy to establish it in dialogue--I even have a feeling we're going to learn most of this in dialogue later. Just the next paragraph, the "Do you know what dragon you want" tells us loads about the context. “Nervous does not describe me enough at the moment Seems a bit mechanical. I’m to the point where my heart is beating so fast, I nearly expect Only nearly? it to burst out of my chest.”

He kicked his leg and created a splash. “Do you know what dragon you want?”

I leaned against the cool rock wall of the bank. There were many dragons available, but of course, I did not get to pick. My dragon would choose me, and that was it. If I did not approve of what I had been given, I could not exchange it for another. There are twelve different types. The red dragon symbols flame. The turquoise symbols water. Silver means ice, gray means mineral, green means nature, blue means worker, gold means versatile, purple means guardian, white means air, orange means charmer, yellow means healer, and black means fighter. It is normally easy to tell what their type symbolizes by their color. *****I hate this paragraph but I'm really not sure how to tell what the twelve colors and types are of the dragons. Any ideas on how to include this instead of doing it the way I've done?*****

I'm glad you hate it, because I hate it too, because it is just an infodump. I also hate it because things like "black means fighter" and "yellow means healer" make sense to me, but something like "white means air" makes no sense. What career do you get if you get "air?"

My first question towards answering your own, is how important is it right now that we learn what each colour means? I would be satisfied not knowing that their dragon determines their job until later on, maybe at the Hatching.

Now, I'm venturing into trying to write your story for you, which is ground I don't normally like to cover, but it's the best way I can try and address your question.

What I'm picturing for the Hatching is a big public event, similar to, say, the sorting ceremony from Harry Potter, or the drawing of the tributes in the Hunger Games. So let's say there's an administrative figure who's there to announce what dragon colour the boys get. So if your MC got a black one, the administrator could be there to say "So-and-so has been chosen by a black dragon. A fighter's life it is." Etc. If you did this for enough characters, the same way J. K. Rowling tells you who got into Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw even though those characters never come up again, you can show us different types of dragon and what occupation that comes with. "So and so has been chosen by a yellow dragon, so he shall be a healer, and so and so has been chosen by a green dragon, so he shall be, etc." If you do this enough, the reader will eventually realize that the dragon's colour is linked to the human's occupation. That way, when you later introduce other characters with different colour dragons, you can show this information in reverse. So when So-And-So is introduced as a, let's say, garbage man, and you establish he has a grey dragon, the reader will realize "oh, anyone with a grey dragon becomes a garbage man." After that, you can casually show characters with grey dragons, and you don't even have to mention they're garbage men. At least, that's the way I would go about it, and it's your story, so you should do what you think is best.


“If I had to choose, I’d pick black because I want to be a fighter" - BAM, now we have the notion that a black dragon gets the young men in this society into a warrior caste.. But I’m mainly just thankful I was one of the three that were chosen.”

He smirked. “I had a feeling you’d say that. A fighter dragon Even better., huh? Move around and protect the country, fight for the government army? A bit petite to be doing that, aren’t you?” This is too "as you know" (google it if you don't know what I mean) for my liking. I think you could rearrange it like "I had a feeling you'd say that. A fighter dragon, huh? Aren't you a bit petite to be flying around for the government army, protecting the country?" or something like that. Something like that construction.

I grit my teeth. If there was one thing I absolutely hated more than anything, it was being underestimated because of my size. “Nothing is impossible. And I want to be "be" is a really weak verb, especially weak in this context. You could find stronger. away from this village,” I said, and then paused. “My grandfather wants me to get a yellow dragon, in hopes I can follow in his footsteps and become a healer as well See? You're doing a fine job establishing that colour equals power. I think you could cut most of that paragraph you don't like and we'd still be fine. Possibly take his place after he passes away.”

“You’re Your grandfather has more energy than ten mules pulling a plow Are they especially energetic because they're pulling a plow? Wouldn't that make them less full of energy?, he will still be around for many years And, like that, Adem doomed your MC's grandfather to die in the next five chapters.. But it is understandable, as you already have quite a bit of his natural talent Feels mechanical.. If I was hurt or sick, you and your grandfather would be the only people I would trust to take care of me. But do not hope for much. Eowyn is a small town, Tamisin is a large realm; we are destined to get the eggs of dragons that are considered less important, such as gray or green. The larger cities are more likely to get the eggs of those dragons that are considered valuable If the wand chooses the wizard dragon chooses the human, why do they care about where the human comes from?. Hate to ruin your plans, but you are most likely stuck here forever.” I cut "most likely" because I think it would make the desperation your MC feels over not getting the dragon of his dreams stronger, as the narrative is pushing against that happening so hard. There's a big difference between "it's never going to happen" and "hey, maybe, but maybe not." And when he either does or does not get the dragon of his dreams, we'd feel either his jubilation or his dissapointment just as pointedly.

I raised my eyebrows. Two years ago, Adem was chosen to receive an egg, and was given a green dragon, which symbolizes nature. Together he and his dragon work the fields on the outskirts of town, bringing in an incredible crop each year that he would not be able to manage without his dragon’s assistance. I think you can cut all of this. After what Adem just said about green dragons being of less importance, when Ivius shows up and the reader sees she's a green dragon, I think it will be clear to an astute reader where he's coming from. “Don’t let Ivius hear you say that she isn’t as important as the other dragons, or she’ll singe your rear end.”

As if on cue I heard the loud flapping of leathery wings over the hill in the distance. An emerald blur appeared, flying low across the meadow that stretched to the horizon. Within seconds Ivius sat perched across the creek, her long neck stretched across the waters and her head lying in Adem’s lap. I scooted back to the edge of the rock by him to greet her.

She blinked her golden eyes. “I know I am not as important as the others, Klaere, Is this pronounced like "Claire" and does that mean your MC is a girl? I honestly didn't know either way, and I'm still not sure. but I am thankful I was given a partner such as Adem. I hope I can someday be the dragon he deserves.”

“It amazes me how you can hear things from so far away,” I said, and looked to the hill she had just come from. It was about half a mile away. Her speed was astonishing.

Adem winked at me. “[They’re pretty darn fast, and have excellent hearing] You just showed us these facts with Klaere's comment, and the fact you showed how quickly she could fly.. In a few hours you will know what it’s like to constantly have someone eavesdropping on you. No privacy at all.” I like this banter.

“Is that so?” I pondered. I had never wondered about whether it would be a good or bad thing.

“Klaere, don’t let him fool you. You will enjoy having someone who hangs on every word you say, unlike some dragon riders,” Ivius said with a pout, giving a subtle hint to Adem that he had better choose his words wisely and be kind before she turned him to ashes. I have no idea what that means. What is a subtle hint for "shut up or I'll torch you, but in a playful way"?

Adem laughed and kissed his dragon’s forehead Depending on what your dragon looks like, her forehead could be huge, and it could be out of reach. I'm not really getting a sense for the size of Ivius, to be honest. She's big enough to be clearly visible from half a mile away, and her neck is so long that it spans the entire creek, but her head is small enough that it fits in the lap of an eighteen year old? I dunno, I'm just having trouble picturing it. then scratched her leaf colored scales behind the spikes that protruded down her neck. A deep purr vibrated from within her throat. “Every. Single. Word. She’s not kidding. It takes a while to get used to. But you’ll love whatever dragon you are given. Like you said earlier, be thankful you were chosen. It is an honor that some people need to be more appreciative of.”

Ivius gave a toothy smile, happy with his response.

“How will I know what to name him or her?” I got a bit farther into the story before I realized this question is a bit odd. Wouldn't the first question be "what will I name him or her?" instead of "how will I know what..."?

He laughed and threw his hands into the air. “Klaere, you’ve asked the same questions a million times. You know all of the answers I will give you!”

“I could hear your responses a thousand times and still want to hear them again, just to be sure.”

Adem looked up at the sky, and then shrugged, knowing I would continue to be persistent until he replied. “Some people name them after things. Some people name them after other people, or dragons in legends. I chose Ivius’ name because she is a nature dragon. The first part sounds like ivy, a plant. After some thinking, I decided that since we were considered a team, I would add the word ‘us’ to the end. The product was Ivius, which fits her perfectly.” This strikes me as extraneous. I don't really care what she names her dragon. I don't really care how Adem named his dragon. It's just not developing anything for me. The plot's not going anyhwere. It's not really developing character. All it feels like is you, the author, had a clever reason behind the name Ivius and wanted to make sure the reader knew what it was. That just strikes me as self-indulgent.

“Something more elegant would have been better. I have a friend named Estelleria. Isn’t that pretty?” Ivius added. I do like this line, though, because it establishes some things about Ivius.

I scrunched my nose and shook my head. “Ivius, dragons with names like that usually have owners who hold their noses up in the air I don't like this, either, because it means Klaere is just making this broad generalization against on of Ivius' friends. I mean, if you want Klaere to seem like kind of a bitter person, then you did well, but it seems a bit out of character. It also feels too much like "as you know" for me to like fully.. They think they are better than everyone around themI don't like this line either, mostly for the same reasons as the last, and it's just redundant after his previous sentence.. I like your name. Adem did well.I don't think you need this, as it's redundant.

She flopped her tail down on the ground as a way of agreeing. “Have you thought about any names, my dear?”

I reached over and patted her snout. “No, not yet. I’m hoping once my egg hatches, a name will come to me.” So why did she ask "how will I know what to name her?" in the first place?

Ivius moved her head to my lap. “Your dragon will be lucky to have a rider like you. When I first saw Adem, he was so scrawny looking that I was sure I would be the main one tending the fields instead of him, and doing all the hard work.Come to think of it, why do farmers have dragons? What does the dragon do for the farmers? Can ou only be a farmer if you have a dragon--obviously not, or the entire agricultural economy would crash and everyone would starve. Why would they choose only three people a year if the possibility was to have such a menial task such as farming? I mean, I understand why fighters and guards would get dragons, and I can take a few guesses as to why a healer would need a dragon, but why would they waste a dragon on farming? It just seems like building this great machine of war and travel, and handing it over to a peaceful and landed population.

He flicked the side of her head, and then studied his body to see if her words were true Show us how he studies his body to see if her words are true, don't tell us he does it.. I couldn’t help but giggle at him.

“Adem, that was unnecessary. I did not say you were still like that. You’ve grown quite a bit in height and strength,” Ivius added.

The lovely banter has been going on long enough now that I'm a bit bored of it. It feels like we're meandering around, and while you are establishing character, and a bit of worldbuilding, I'mr eally itching for you to start moving the plot forward some.

Adem stuck out his tongue, but the shimmer in his eyes showed he was thankful for her compliment and he truly loved her. Seeing the way he peered at Ivius settled my nerves some. In about an hour I would be watching my egg hatch, and looking at my own dragon with that adoring gaze.

“How did you know that you and he would be farming together?”

Ivius closed her eyes and sighed. “We dragons know your fate well before you do. We are intelligent creatures. As soon as we hatch, we know our purpose. It is merely our job to help our rider figure out their purpose as well.” I'm still not getting why a farmer needs to ride a dragon--especially now that you've etablished that Adem tends the land more than Ivius.

I nodded, then glanced at Adem. He seemed to be stuck in a trance, his eyes casted out towards the fields, lost in thought. I snapped my fingers in front of his nose, causing him to flinch. “You okay?” I asked, remembering earlier that I had planned to ask him about his behavior. I'm glad you finally remembered, because I was going to comment on how it felt like the narrative had forgotten that Adem was acting oddly. I feel like you should add a little more indication to that effect in order to keep the reader remembering it, and believing that there really is something wrong with Adem.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Ivius snorted and nudged his stomach. “He’s lying. He’s gotten barely any sleep this past week.”

He spoke up. “Next week, it will be a year since Rosie passed away. If Klaere is such a close friend to Adem, wouldn't she know this and thought of this? My mother has been going out to the tavern every night and drinking. I’ve been waking up shortly after midnight every night to bring her home. It’s just wearing me out.” He's pretty forthcoming with a lot of this personal information considering he was hiding it before. I mean, I get that he and Klaere are good friends, but he was trying to keep this from her, and it seems unnatural that he'd go from telling her nothing at all to telling her some really personal things. It feels more like a way to conveniently continue the plot rather than a natural progression of character.

Ivius snorted again. “I went to go get her one night so that Adem could get rest, but it didn’t go well. Apparently it’s unsettling for a drunken person to see a dragon of my size coming at them in the darkness. Wouldn’t know why, it’s not as though I was planning on eating her.”

In a country (kingdom?) where dragons are apparently so commonplace that they're helping people farm, would there be this same fear of them? Sure, they're big and dangerous, but so are hippos and most people think hippos are adorable just because of TV commercials. Are there wild dragons that spread terror? How do they fit in with this symbiotic relationship? If there are no wild dragons at all, it strikes me as odd that people would be afraid of dragons since dragons, in this universe, are intelligent creatures that help with human work and are able to communicate; if there are wild dragons, then I don't buy this "I'm born knowing I have to help humans" nonsense that Ivius is spouting.


Rosie was Adem’s younger sister, who died at the age of five last fall. We were not sure why, but she had been sick every since she was a newborn. No amount of medicines my grandfather had given her would help.

I don't think we need to know, at least right now, who Rosie is. The important thing is that she died, and sent Adem and Adem's mother into a depressed funk (and since that establishes Rosie is not his mother, I think it's a pretty easy guess that Rosie was a sister). Maybe later you can expand on this, but I think you can either show us the information if you really need to (i.e through subtle dialogue) or just save it.
Also, if Klaere's family had a hand in trying to stop Rosie from dying, wouldn't Klaere definitely remember that Rosie died almost a year ago and just know that that's what bummed Adem out?


“I’m sorry. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. I wouldn’t mind giving you a break and getting her for you if you needed me to.”

He shook his head. “I’ve had enough of it, to be honest. After The Hatching, I’m going to talk to her about it. Possibly try to convince her to quit. If she refuses, I will lock the doors then tie her to a chair if I have to. If Rosie had seen her like this, she’d be upset. There is no way I will let my mother become like this.”

I patted his back, knowing no words I could say next would be what he needed to hear. But I was glad he had told me.

He stood and brushed off his pants, then picked up his dragon’s saddle from behind a rock. As expensive as they were, it was important to hide them when not in use. Ivius stretched her body across the creek until her front legs were propped on the ledge. Adem leaned over her and placed the saddle at the very base of her neck, right in front of her wings. Adem pulled leather gloves from his pockets and slipped them on, then wrapped his muscular arms around Ivius’ neck, right behind her skull. She lifted him up and placed him in the saddle If he can place the saddle on her, then he can climb into it by himself, probably with less strength and energy than holding on to her neck for dear life.. His bare feet found the stirrups, and he leaned down to secure the leather straps of the saddle around his dragon’s chest. I really just can't get a sense for how big Ivius is. She must not be as large as I think. But I don't think I'd be able to comfortably secure a saddle to a horse from its back, so either your dragon is smaller/skinnier than a horse, or there's some inconsistency here.

“I do not mean to rush off, but Ivius and I need to head to town to sell grain before stores close for The Hatching. We will see you at noon. Good luck, Klaere. And thank you for listening.”

Ivius reached her broad head to me and licked my cheek, her form of a kiss. “Darling, do not be nervous about The Hatching. Everything that happens has a purpose. And each occurrence, big or small, is just another stepping stone added to the path of your life. Remember that. Farewell.”

Without another word, Ivius launched herself into the air, and within seconds Adem and his dragon were a speck in the distance, flying through the clouds with more skill than any bird could attempt to master. I smiled, knowing I would be soaring alongside them soon.
So I'm a bit torn on this. There's a lot I like. I like the premise, specifically, and I like some of the character interactions. I got a sense that Adem and Klaere were friends, and I really liked Ivius as this sort of maternal figure while also being a friend. I'm also puting a lot of stock into the potential of what this could be, rather than what it is.

I think the biggest complaint I have is that you tried to do too much in a first chapter. You tried to establish too much, from the worldbuilding, to the character development, to physical descriptions. A lot of it came across as telling, and extraneous, and interupted the pace of the story. This also felt like a chapter devoted to establishing character, getting us familiar with Klaere, Adem, and Ivius, and while that worked it also made the chapter incredibly slow. I was bored, to be honest. There was no conflict, other than a promise of the Hatching, which is a weak conflict because it's not like there's anything Klaere can do about it--you make it clear that she has no control over what dragon she ends up with, and it sounds like she'll basically go there, get a dragon, and then the Hatching is over. That's uninteresting conflict because Klaere isn't actually doing anything, she's just reacting, and this chapter was them sitting around, waiting for things to happen. That's dull. You did have a bit of conflict at the start as Klaere tried to figure out what was bothering Adem, but that was quickly forgotten until the end in favour of worldbuilding.

Speaking of worldbuilding, I had some issues with it, as I pointed out in the LBL, besides the infodumps. I don't really understand some aspects of getting a dragon, like why only three people are chosen (would it not benefit the country/kingdom more if they could have as many dragon rider soldiers fighting for them as possible?) or why there's a dragon for farming (what does that dragon do?). I don't feel like this is a universe that exists with dragons that work with humans and can communicate. I don't feel like this is a universe where dragons are relatively commonplace. I don't understand the scale of the dragon and I don't think it remains consistent. There's a lot I'd like to be cleared up as soon as possible, while at the same time it doesn't come in the form of an infodump. I have a feeling I wouldn't have a lot of these questions if you just cut large swathes of the infodump: I can only question why only three people get to choose a dragon when I know only three people get to choose a dragon, and while that question will come up eventually you will hopefully have more room in a later chapter to address that question.

I think, with a really solid edit, this could be a really cool opening to a piece. But right now it just feels a little unpolished.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:22 PM View Post #3 (Link) This post is a reply - don't critique it
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First off, thank you so much for the awesome critique! I've literally been on here every hour watching to see if anyone had posted yet!

Secondly, to answer a question, Klaere is pronounced Claire, and she is a girl. Smacking my hand to my forehead right now; I really should have made that more clear, haha. Sorry!

I've made a list of everything I gathered from your critique, so could you scan through my list and make sure I've written down everything that needs to be fixed? I would greatly appreciate it.

1. Fix info-dumps; can explain later on in story, or use dialogue
2. Make more exciting (Boring chapter)
3. Describe dragon size more
4. Cut out unimportant parts (What to name dragon, etc.)
5. Create connection between dragons and occupations that their riders will have.
6. Explain Rosie later
7. Stronger, more interesting conflicts

Once again, thanks for your time!
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:31 PM View Post #4 (Link)
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Originally Posted by never.ending.story View Post
Secondly, to answer a question, Klaere is pronounced Claire, and she is a girl. Smacking my hand to my forehead right now; I really should have made that more clear, haha. Sorry!
No worries! I generally just assumed afterwards that it was pronounced that way and that she was a girl. I was just surprised because I had assumed beforehand that it was a guy.

I've made a list of everything I gathered from your critique, so could you scan through my list and make sure I've written down everything that needs to be fixed? I would greatly appreciate it.

1. Fix info-dumps; can explain later on in story, or use dialogue
2. Make more exciting (Boring chapter)
3. Describe dragon size more
4. Cut out unimportant parts (What to name dragon, etc.)
5. Create connection between dragons and occupations that their riders will have.
6. Explain Rosie later
7. Stronger, more interesting conflicts

Once again, thanks for your time!
Generally that's it. Point 2 and 7 are pretty much the same thing, and I'd be careful about point 3--don't infodump the description, but pay more attention to trying to create a consistency rather than just establishing.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:37 PM View Post #5 (Link) This post is a reply - don't critique it
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How do you suggest that I properly describe a dragon's size (Without an info-dump, of course)? I'm not quite sure how to imply it. They are definitely big enough to ride, but they aren't enormous.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:27 PM View Post #6 (Link)
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Originally Posted by never.ending.story View Post
How do you suggest that I properly describe a dragon's size (Without an info-dump, of course)? I'm not quite sure how to imply it. They are definitely big enough to ride, but they aren't enormous.
I think you have some good things in the story, as is; describing Ivius' neck as crossing the whole creek gave, while maybe not an exact length, a generally idea of proportions and size--it implied that Ivius had a long neck, if nothing else. Also, the description of Adem mounting Ivius, how he fits snuggly in front of the legs and is able to reach the neck just before her skull... these things are effective on their own, my issue with it was that her size seemed to kind of change every once in a while. If you could find more clever ways of fitting in hints as to the scale of her parts, we might get a better idea of the overall scale. But, like I said, I think the most important thing is to remain consistent.

It's also possibly just my reading. I'd recommend you try and get at least one more reading, and see what they think, before you make any major changes.
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Alright. Thank you! Hopefully another person will critique soon. For now I will go through and fix some of the other things you mentioned.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:44 AM View Post #8 (Link) A few pacing issues, but really enjoyable!
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Hey never.ending.story! First off, let me just say that your grammar is really good. Other than some weird spacing, it's great. So you're solid on that front. Your story is really interesting too! As you can see below, I was really trying to puzzle out your plot, and now I'm really interested to see your spin on the good ol' dragons. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel some Inheritance Cycle vibes from this chapter! And you have an interesting system with the Hatching day and the different colored eggs. I'd love it if you answered the questions I posed in the full review.

The biggest issue I had with this chapter was that it revealed too much, too quickly. You could have given the reader a little less to work with, keep them on his/her toes. Also, some of the exposition was unnecessary and a little on the lengthy side, so make sure you don't go overboard with that! Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I'd like to see more.

(I still think Adem's a jerk. )


Originally Posted by never.ending.story View Post
Spoiler:
Chapter One

“Adem?”

A tall boy looked over his shoulder at me, his bronze curls reflecting the rays of sunlight that shimmered up from the creek in front of him. He sat on a rock ledge, with his legs hanging over, his toes creating ripples in the cool water. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” was all he said in a monotone voice. Good opening! We already have some nice interaction between these two characters. I'm intrigued.

This was our peaceful spot, where we went to think. We called it Keeper’s Rock. It sat in the woods at the edge of our city’s limits, overlooking the bare farm lands. I don't know, something about this exposition threw me off a little. It's not that big of a deal, though.

I picked up a limestone rock and rubbed it between my fingers before tossing it into the stream. I was not sure how to reply to him. He had been acting strange the past few days and keeping to himself.

“You’ll scare away the fish if you keep pelting them with stones like that.”

I walked to the ledge and sat beside him, but I came nowhere near to touching the water. He snickered at my short legs. “Why does it matter if I scare them since you’re not fishing right now? Do you not think your hideous face is enough to startle them?” I'm a little confused at who's saying what. I believe that Adem is the one who's talking at the moment, but the dialog before this sounded like it was coming from him as well. The main character was the one who was pelting the rocks, right? That's why I thought Adem said, "You'll scare away the fish..." You should add dialog tags.

Adem rolled his eyes at me and threatened to push me off the ledge and into the shallow waters. I squealed with laughter and scooted backwards towards the rock wall to avoid an unwanted swim.

A smile that I had not seen in a while spread across his sunburned face. Perhaps his strange attitude was exhaustion from the harvest. I decided to be cautious and not pressure him to talk about his behavior yet, and bring it up later. He had a tendency to anger quickly and calm slowly, so saying something to set him off right away would be a bad idea. After all, he was my best friend, we told each other everything. If something was actually wrong then I would be the first person to know, I had no doubt. This isn't bad exposition right here! It's pretty relevant to what's happening, and it didn't go on and on. Great!

We sat in silence for a few moments, soaking in the last warmth of autumn.

“The Hatching is today,” I said quietly, trying to spark a conversation.

From the corner of my eye I saw his head bob up and down in a nod. His calloused hand patted my knee and the corner of his lip rose in a reassuring smile. “Are you nervous?” I've noticed that you've suddenly started using two spaces to separate sentences. This isn't necessary.

I laughed. Was I nervous? The Hatching was a big step in a person’s life. Each year, every town in our land picks three sixteen year olds to attend The Hatching. From there we will each be granted one dragon egg by our king. Woah, all this time I thought they were in the modern era! I didn't even realize it was a fantasy setting until now. Whichever egg we are given determines our future career, and that dragon becomes our partner for the rest of our lives. Hm, almost reminds me of a hybrid of Eragon and Divergent. Cool idea! Even so, this information could be shown, not told. You could have even dangled this mysterious Hatching over the reader's head for a while, which would add more intrigue to your world. “Nervous does not describe me enough at the moment. I’m to the point where my heart is beating so fast, I nearly expect it to burst out of my chest.”

He kicked his leg and created a splash. “Do you know what dragon you want?”

I leaned against the cool rock wall of the bank. There were many dragons available, but of course, I did not get to pick. My dragon would choose me, and that was it. If I did not approve of what I had been given, I could not exchange it for another. There are twelve different types. The red dragon symbols flame. The turquoise symbols water. Silver means ice, gray means mineral, green means nature, blue means worker, gold means versatile, purple means guardian, white means air, orange means charmer, yellow means healer, and black means fighter. Whoa, that's a lot of info all at once! I hope you don't expect me to remember all of that. Also, why do some of the dragons represent elements, while others represent actual professions? What does white mean, for example? That you get to work in the sky? Also, why are only three teens chosen for this? Do the others get to choose what profession they would like to delve into? It sounds like they would have more freedom than the ones who were chosen... It is normally easy to tell what their type symbolizes by their color. *****I hate this paragraph but I'm really not sure how to tell what the twelve colors and types are of the dragons. Any ideas on how to include this instead of doing it the way I've done?*****
*****Disperse this information throughout your story! There's no need to dump it on the reader all at once from the beginning. If you give me tiny tidbits to work with, I can digest your fantasy setting a lot easier, which means I'll enjoy it better! *****

“If I had to choose, I’d pick black. But I’m mainly just thankful I was one of the three that were chosen.”

He smirked. “I had a feeling you’d say that. A fighter dragon, huh? Move around and protect the country, fight for the government army? A bit petite to be doing that, aren’t you?”

This guy is such a douche.

I grit my teeth. If there was one thing I absolutely hated more than anything, it was being underestimated because of my size. “Nothing is impossible. And I want to be away from this village,” I said, and then paused. “My grandfather wants me to get a yellow dragon, in hopes I can follow in his footsteps and become a healer as well. Possibly take his place after he passes away.”

“You’re grandfather has more energy than ten mules pulling a plow, he will still be around for many years. But it is understandable, as you already have quite a bit of his natural talent. If I was hurt or sick, you and your grandfather would be the only people I would trust to take care of me. But do not hope for much. Eowyn is a small town, Tamisin is a large realm; we are destined to get the eggs of dragons that are considered less important, such as gray or green. The larger cities are more likely to get the eggs of those dragons that are considered valuable. Hate to ruin your plans, but you are most likely stuck here forever.”

I raised my eyebrows. Two years ago, Adem was chosen to receive an egg, and was given a green dragon, which symbolizes nature. Together he and his dragon work the fields on the outskirts of town, bringing in an incredible crop each year that he would not be able to manage without his dragon’s assistance. Why does green represent nature, instead of farmer/farming? I mean, tilling the fields is Adem's job. “Don’t let Ivius hear you say that she isn’t as important as the other dragons, or she’ll singe your rear end.”

As if on cue I heard the loud flapping of leathery wings over the hill in the distance. An emerald blur appeared, flying low across the meadow that stretched to the horizon. Within seconds Ivius sat perched across the creek, her long neck stretched across the waters and her head lying in Adem’s lap. This sentence is slightly redundant ("perched *across* the creek...stretched *across* the waters"), but that's a very unimportant complaint. It's barely noticeable, and I don't think it's much of a problem. I scooted back to the edge of the rock by him to greet her.

She blinked her golden eyes. “I know I am not as important as the others, Klaere, but I am thankful I was given a partner such as Adem. I hope I can someday be the dragon he deserves.”

“It amazes me how you can hear things from so far away,” I said, and looked to the hill she had just come from. It was about half a mile away. Her speed was astonishing.

Adem winked at me. “They’re pretty darn fast, and have excellent hearing. In a few hours you will know what it’s like to constantly have someone eavesdropping on you. No privacy at all.”

“Is that so?” I pondered. I had never wondered about whether it would be a good or bad thing.

“Klaere, don’t let him fool you. You will enjoy having someone who hangs on every word you say, unlike some dragon riders,” Ivius said with a pout, giving a subtle hint to Adem that he had better choose his words wisely and be kind before she turned him to ashes. Hm, so the dragons are just as sentient as the people, I assume. Why do they have such a close cooperative relationship with us, I wonder? Interesting

Adem laughed and kissed his dragon’s forehead, then scratched her leaf colored scales behind the spikes that protruded down her neck. A deep purr vibrated from within her throat. “Every. Single. Word. She’s not kidding. It takes a while to get used to. But you’ll love whatever dragon you are given. Like you said earlier, be thankful you were chosen. It is an honor that some people need to be more appreciative of.”

Ivius gave a toothy smile, happy with his response.

“How will I know what to name him or her?”

He laughed and threw his hands into the air. “Klaere, you’ve asked the same questions a million times. You know all of the answers I will give you!”

“I could hear your responses a thousand times and still want to hear them again, just to be sure.”

Adem looked up at the sky, and then shrugged, knowing I would continue to be persistent until he replied. “Some people name them after things. Some people name them after other people, or dragons in legends. I chose Ivius’ name because she is a nature dragon. The first part sounds like ivy, a plant. After some thinking, I decided that since we were considered a team, I would add the word ‘us’ to the end. The product was Ivius, which fits her perfectly.”

“Something more elegant would have been better. I have a friend named Estelleria. Isn’t that pretty?” Ivius added.

I scrunched my nose and shook my head. “Ivius, dragons with names like that usually have owners who hold their noses up in the air. They think they are better than everyone around them. I like your name. Adem did well.”

She flopped her tail down on the ground as a way of agreeing. “Have you thought about any names, my dear?”

I reached over and patted her snout. “No, not yet. I’m hoping once my egg hatches, a name will come to me.”

Ivius moved her head to my lap. “Your dragon will be lucky to have a rider like you. When I first saw Adem, he was so scrawny looking that I was sure I would be the main one tending the fields instead of him, and doing all the hard work.” If these lucky ones become dragon riders, shouldn't they only be assigned to professions where aerial movement is an advantage? I can't really see how huge dragons would help farming.

He flicked the side of her head, and then studied his body to see if her words were true. I couldn’t help but giggle at him.

“Adem, that was unnecessary. I did not say you were still like that. You’ve grown quite a bit in height and strength,” Ivius added.

Adem stuck out his tongue, but the shimmer in his eyes showed he was thankful for her compliment and he truly loved her. Seeing the way he peered at Ivius settled my nerves some. In about an hour I would be watching my egg hatch, and looking at my own dragon with that adoring gaze.

“How did you know that you and he would be farming together?”

Ivius closed her eyes and sighed. “We dragons know your fate well before you do. We are intelligent creatures. As soon as we hatch, we know our purpose. It is merely our job to help our rider figure out their purpose as well.”

I nodded, then glanced at Adem. He seemed to be stuck in a trance, his eyes casted out towards the fields, lost in thought. I snapped my fingers in front of his nose, causing him to flinch. “You okay?” I asked, remembering earlier that I had planned to ask him about his behavior.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Ivius snorted and nudged his stomach. “He’s lying. He’s gotten barely any sleep this past week.”

He spoke up. “Next week, it will be a year since Rosie passed away. My mother has been going out to the tavern every night and drinking. I’ve been waking up shortly after midnight every night to bring her home. It’s just wearing me out.”

Ivius snorted again. “I went to go get her one night so that Adem could get rest, but it didn’t go well. Apparently it’s unsettling for a drunken person to see a dragon of my size coming at them in the darkness. Wouldn’t know why, it’s not as though I was planning on eating her.”

Rosie was Adem’s younger sister, who died at the age of five last fall. We were not sure why, but she had been sick every since she was a newborn. No amount of medicines my grandfather had given her would help.

“I’m sorry. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. I wouldn’t mind giving you a break and getting her for you if you needed me to.”

He shook his head. “I’ve had enough of it, to be honest. After The Hatching, I’m going to talk to her about it. Possibly try to convince her to quit. If she refuses, I will lock the doors then (<-- I think "and" would work better here) tie her to a chair if I have to. If Rosie had seen her like this, she’d be upset. There is no way I will let my mother become like this.”

I patted his back, knowing no words I could say next (<-- I don't think "next" is necessary.) would be what he needed to hear. But I was glad he had told me.

He stood and brushed off his pants, then picked up his dragon’s saddle from behind a rock. As expensive as they were, it was important to hide them when not in use. Ivius stretched her body across the creek until her front legs were propped on the ledge. Adem leaned over her and placed the saddle at the very base of her neck, right in front of her wings. Adem pulled leather gloves from his pockets and slipped them on, then wrapped his muscular arms around Ivius’ neck, right behind her skull. She lifted him up and placed him in the saddle. His bare feet found the stirrups, and he leaned down to secure the leather straps of the saddle around his dragon’s chest.

“I do not mean to rush off, but Ivius and I need to head to town to sell grain before stores close for The Hatching. We will see you at noon. Good luck, Klaere. And thank you for listening.”

Ivius reached her broad head to me and licked my cheek, her form of a kiss. “Darling, do not be nervous about The Hatching. Everything that happens has a purpose. And each occurrence, big or small, is just another stepping stone added to the path of your life. Remember that. Farewell.”

Without another word, Ivius launched herself into the air, and within seconds Adem and his dragon were a speck in the distance, flying through the clouds with more skill than any bird could attempt to master. I smiled, knowing I would be soaring alongside them soon.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:29 AM View Post #9 (Link) This post is a reply - don't critique it
never.ending.story (Offline)
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Thank you so much for the critique! And thank you for the compliment, I owe my grammar skills to my English teacher. She's a drill sergeant when it comes to writing.

The spacing I can explain. I'm currently taking a college class where we write a five page paper every two weeks. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I've learned how to add length to my paper in ways besides words (Two spaces after each sentence, size 14 periods, etc). Sooo sometimes I do that on accident out of habit

I'm honestly glad you think Adem comes off as a douche. That's how I want him right now! Haha.

Several other people that have critiqued (Besides people on this site) have also asked me; What do dragons have to do with farming, and other jobs, that aren't aerial? Basically all I can say is that it is one of those things where you have to keep reading to find out. That's what I've been telling everyone else too, haha.

I'm going to work on the other things you've mentioned. I've made a list, do you mind telling me if I've covered everything?

1. Reveal less, keep readers on toes
2. Exposition
3. Work on establishing fantasy setting
4. Different words (Used these words too many times; stretched, across, etc)
5. Wording errors towards end of chapter

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Tomorrow I plan on posting the revised chapter into this thread after I fix mistakes, and I would really appreciate it if someone could read over the chapter and tell me what they think! Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:08 PM View Post #10 (Link)
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Originally Posted by never.ending.story View Post
1. Reveal less, keep readers on toes
2. Exposition
3. Work on establishing fantasy setting
4. Different words (Used these words too many times; stretched, across, etc)
5. Wording errors towards end of chapter
Actually, I think the fantasy setting is already established! I don't see dragons walking about in the modern era The remark I made about it in the critique was just that, a remark. I don't see that as a negative thing which you have to change, but if you'd like to then that's fine.

Yeah, that seems to cover everything! Don't take any of the recommendations too far, though. For example, you don't want to leave your reader completely in the dark.

I have a question about your setting: how sentient are these dragons? I know they're capable of speaking human languages, but Adem and Klaere didn't seem to treat Ivius as their equal.
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