Apr 15 2009

Dinhilion’s Review Forum

Published by at 5:22 am under Review Forums

What I’m writing: I want to start this as a very classic fantasy novel and build it into something else. It is about a main character that is brought down an evil path by untrustworthy mentors. The main character is not the protagonist.

Target audience: My target audience are people who have read multiple “high fantasy” fantasy novels.

What I’m looking for: Tough advice. I have thick skin– let me have it.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Dinhilion’s Review Forum”

  1. Dinhilionon 22 Apr 2009 at 5:40 am

    My very own section… Thanks!

    I have thick skin- let me have it.

    My target audience are people who have read multiple “high fantasy” fantasy novels.

    This is a very short and raw version of my plot synopsis:

    I want this to start as a very classic fantasy novel and build into something else. Many fantasy protagonists blindly follow the “mentor” that they find, even if they have no proof of who is in the right. While some are very credible, others do not. I was re-reading The Wayfarer Redemption and was struck by how the protagonist almost blindly followed the advice of people who he knew were manipulative. I could not see someone trusting them even after they fessed up. What struck me even more was that when I first read it several years ago I took their advice just as blindly as the protagonist. I never thought about if they were wrong.

    As I saw this I decided to create a novel about the creation of the guy every fantasy hero fights. He would slowly be lead down a path of evil instead of good. “The path to evil is paved with good intentions”. I want to have him coached my two mentors to lead what he believes is a righteous battle against a corrupt church/government. He will slowly be coached to employ darker and darker techniques for the sake of power. In the final quarter the novel I want him to willingly sacrifice a human and enjoy it. Soon after he will learn that everything he had been told was a lie and decide that he does not care. He will become a willing participant. I want it to end with him being killed (by decapitation?) by the “Hero” of the story. An apt comparison would be Raj Ahthen of The Runelords series. He is a not the protagonist but his character is focused on often in the books.

    Here are some problems I already see…
    –I need to walk a fine line between keeping my mentors trustworthy and foreshadowing the reveal. I think this will be the hardest part of the book. They need to appear trustworthy but I need a little bit of niggling doubt over the course of action they are choosing.
    –I plan to have open critiques of their methods by other people.
    –I will have the protagonist himself question their methods.
    –I need to keep them interested.
    –This will start off kind of cliché so I need to hook them with a well-written story.
    –Partial solution: I’m planning on him making an animal sacrifice for power in a debated circumstance within the first three chapters to show the moral ambiguity of the novel.
    –Confusion. If this is done wrong, then the novel will be a cryptic, boring and confusing pile of crap. When the reveal happens, the reader should say “yeah, that makes a lot of sense” not “What!?! OMG what just happened!?!”

    Strengths
    –It plays on the readers’ expectations
    –It’s an intentional subversion on the corrupt church trope.
    –Agatha Christie held the wool over our eyes by showing even the Watson-like narrator could not be trusted in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I want to show that the Gandalf-like characters can not always be trusted either.
    –It examines something fantasy handles very well: good and evil.
    –There are a lot of people who read very cliché fantasy novels. I want market to that crowd. Once reading it I think they will be amenable to the way I play with the genre.
    –It is something that seems very comfortable but ends different.

    Influences/similar works: The most similar work that I have read is The Runelords by David Farland. My inspirations, however, are much more varied. Everything I ever write will be influenced in some way by Tolkien. Not in the elves, orcs way, but in other ways. He subtly wove both his faith and his experiences into the novel in a way that I one day hope to accomplish. For this novel I also think I was influenced by The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie and The Man who was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. Both of those novels played with your expectations and tried to get you to see things in a new light. As I write this I also realize that I am drawing influence from two of my other favorite stories: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Both of these explored the idea of perusing greatness for the wrong reasons and both are tragedies. Edit: Oh and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for his treatment of evil.

    The setting is a classic fantasy setting. In short, the early medieval period with magic.

    In the first chapter, a sixteen year-old is walking through a meadow and meets two men. One is nearing sixty and the other is in his mid 30s with a sword. They ask him if there is any place they can stay the night. He accidentally performs some small degree of magic. They spend the night at his house.

    They let on in the morning that they are monks of an obscure order. The mother and father kick them out, claiming that they are “evil” and against God. The boy is confused and hurt. Two weeks later, they return.

    They warn the village that raiders are nearing. Most of the village is killed, but not his parents. He is protected by the monks.

    The parents thank the monks but make it clear they do not like them. They let him with them against their better judgment. The monks convince the protagonist to run off with them.

    The monks blame the “corrupt church” for indirectly inciting the raiders. He leaves and trains with a group of several hundred people (15-25ish) for five years. This includes training in magic, including sacrificing obviously helpless animals for increased power. Some people leave at this point.

    At the end of five years, the monks tell him there is a prophecy about him. This prophecy has spread in the past five years. He was sequestered and unaware it even existed. (Spoiler: the monks made it all up and spread it themselves).

    From there he will lead his small elite force and take a small outpost. He will draw support from a populist desires and also recruit many less then desirable people. He will be genuinely powerful but will struggle a lot to build his name. Eventually he will increase his atrocities and capture the capital city. The “other hero” will then arrive and take it back. This entire story should take place over 1 to 2 years.

    This is all I have mapped out right now. I plan on getting started on the first chapter soon.

  2. B. Macon 22 Apr 2009 at 6:19 am

    Here are a few initial thoughts and observations.

    This is an interesting concept. I’m looking forward to the first chapter.

    It looks like your first chapter will be extremely long. I would recommend keeping it within 5-10 pages. Splitting this up into several chapters may help.

    I think that the element of the fake prophecy is a cool idea. However, when it comes up, I fear that it will be hard to separate it from the cliche.

    A publisher might wonder whether this book should be marketed as religious fiction. The first chapter suggests the book is about a religious dispute and a lot of your writing references/comparable books are religious in some way. (GK Chesterton is sort of well-known as a Catholic theologian and there are a lot of religious allusions in the works of CS Lewis and Tolkien). On the other hand, the works of CS Lewis and Tolkien are generally marketed as straight-up fantasy with a slight religious angle. I think it could go either way here, so I’d recommend being clear.

    A secular publisher’s assistant might be worried in the back of his mind that this is a parable about the Protestant Reformation, with the good Church being the Catholics and the sinister monks being Luther and his cohorts. If that is the case, selling the book might be tricky because 75% of the US population is non-Catholic. (Also, my impression is that most of the consumers in this market are evangelical Protestants).

  3. Dinhilionon 22 Apr 2009 at 6:30 am

    Thanks- for early advice

    I want to write more in the vein of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. Fantasy first. In fact, I tend to dislike C.S. Lewis’s novels because they are often religion first but fantasy second (In my view).

    The the Reformation view- one of the things I want to make clear in the novel is that other belief systems exist in the characters world. The dominant one may be the target but there are others. Also, I want the point to be made that you should always be evaluating where you faith is guiding you. No matter who is doing it. I have actually been mulling over in my head how to avoid the target church coming off as perfect and inhuman. A mary sue of churches if you will. This is another area where I am going to have to have a balancing act.

    Oh and I didn’t make this clear but the outline is supposed to be the first 3 chapters or so.

  4. Stefan the Exploding Manon 22 Apr 2009 at 7:59 am

    Religion in fantasy. I like it.

    The most obvious way from preventing a single religion from becoming Mary Sue-ish is to create a second religion with a fundementally different belief system. Or, for irony, you could have two religions fighting even though they believe in pretty much the same thing. Like in the Crusades.

    Also, it could be just me, but I think many monks in fantasy fiction tend more towards Friar Tuck than Shaolin. This is disturbing, because kickass monks are definitely cool.

  5. Holliequon 22 Apr 2009 at 8:49 am

    Well, Christianity definitely had bad points – or, rather, the leaders did. Maybe the religion is really intolerant of another section of society (the Monks who train the MC?), employs Inquistion-style methods on occasion, or hordes books/information of some sort. If they keep hidden certain kinds of books, these Monks might argue they’re keeping something great from society. However, the religion might be keeping them hidden away because there are some dangerous things in them – in the end, hiding the information is still denying people that freedom, but you could see they were trying to help.

    Also, hiding information about the MC’s uprising from the general populace could probably be skewed as an evil deed or some sort, even though keeping that information secret is probably a smart option.

    I think it would be difficult to portray them as a lighter shade of grey rather than pure good, but it’s definitely doable.

  6. Ragged Boyon 22 Apr 2009 at 9:35 am

    Hola, Dinhilion.

    I’m Ragged Boy. Please to meet you. :-D

  7. B. Macon 22 Apr 2009 at 9:57 am

    “If they keep hidden certain kinds of books, these Monks might argue they’re keeping something great from society. However, the religion might be keeping them hidden away because there are some dangerous things in them – in the end, hiding the information is still denying people that freedom, but you could see they were trying to help.”

    For example, magic and witchcraft. We already know that the group of monks training the main character is fond of magic fueled by animal sacrifice. It seems kind of plausible that the Church would not be keen on that. Then you could have moral grayness: are the benefits of magic worth the moral and physical risks it entails? Or is there too much risk of being corrupted by the power?

  8. Dinhilionon 23 Apr 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Hmm, I’m in the process of writing the first chapter but wanted some feedback on it.

    How many words should an average chapter be?

    Also, what do you think about changing the focus of their loathing from corrupt church to corrupt government? I could leave the religion implied like LotR (Gondor). Also, this way the theme is automatically expanded to all religions and (hopefully) any type of leader. I want people to be able to say “Well, his focus might be Religion but it is applicable to the Nazi’s, Race wars, and leaders in general”. I don’t like things to be a 1=1 metaphor. That’s why I get tired of Narnia- they lose a lot of readability. You can only go so deep.

    I think this would have been my original idea if the last two books I read were not The Man Who Was Thursday, which has a strong Christian theme, and The Wayfarer Redemption, which also had a very anti-religious theme.

    Any input on the slight change of focus?

  9. B. Macon 24 Apr 2009 at 12:10 am

    “How many words should an average chapter be?” At the beginning of the book, I’d recommend no more than 1000-1500 words. After chapter 5, I think it’s easier to get away with longer chapters. Generally, shorter chapters give the reader a greater sense of accomplishment and create the impression that the story is moving more quickly. That’s particularly important at the beginning, when the reader is still considering whether he wants to buy the book.

    As for the slight change of focus, I don’t feel confident enough to hazard a guess about how a typical fiction publisher might react to it. The concept– using a fictional religious dispute to write about leadership in general– sounds like it could work, but I think that it may be hard to execute smoothly. A publisher may wonder why you want to use religion as the vehicle rather than something less touchy (like a conflict between two kingdoms, say).

    Finally, if this is just meant to be about leadership in general and not a moral allegory about religion (a la Narnia), I would recommend making the religions unrecognizably fictional. That will reduce the odds that people bring in their emotional baggage and preconceptions about religion.

    What do you think?

  10. Dinhilionon 24 Apr 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Hmmmm- I see what you are saying. I am going to do some thinking I think. I am going to lay out some ideas and see all the wrong ways they could be taken.

    Good feedback though

  11. Dinhilionon 27 Apr 2009 at 3:25 am

    Ok here is the first chapter. I want you guys to tear it to shreds. This is a very rough draft and I usually do my best work after some harsh (but constructive) criticism. If you are on the fence about saying it. SAY IT. I will listen. I am always open to it. My only request is that you do your best to justify your criticisms. That being said, if you can not think of any logical reason that something looks wrong, if it just feels wrong. Go ahead and put it anyway.

    I decided to just go ahead and write. I am going to let the plot fall where it may as far as the religion thing goes. I am aiming for somewhere in the middle though.

    A final note: All NAMES ARE PLACEHOLDERS ONLY. That includes all religions and character mentioned.

    John walked through the wispy grass, savoring the walk back from the neighbors. He stopped and looked the lights of the village being encompassed by the night sky. He stood there, lost in contemplation when a voice said “Are you ok boy?” John twitched and turned around, blinking, to look at the source of the voice. Two men in cloaks stood behind him. John’s face grew red as he said “How long have you been there?” He squinted trying to make out their forms from the starlight. He could see that the smaller one had grey hair and a comforting smile. The other one was tall and powerful and had a hood pulled over his head, casting a shadow over his face. “Not long” the old man replied. It had been his voice who had spoken first. “We saw you as you were walking and thought you might be able to help us. My name is Ted and this is Brad.” At the mention of his name the second man stepped closer to John. From here John could see that a sword hung at his side. “We are monks” explained Brad “traveling from town to town. We were wondering if you could give us lodging for the night”. John looked downward at the grass, shifting his weight to his left foot. “Well…” said John “I can’t. I only have one small room myself but lady I let from, Mary, may be willing to put you up for the night though.” Ted smiled and said “That would be fine.”
    As they walked Ted turned and said “Have you no family? You seem young to live alone.” John laughed and stood up a little straighter. “I have family” he said “I chose to move here seven months ago so I could support myself. I have three siblings and though it was time to take a burden off my parents. It’s not bad, Laura, my landlady, is kind to me and makes sure I eat” Brad and Ted exchanged a small smile as John began to walk with a little more purpose. John now turned to Brad and said “You said you were monks. Who do you follow?” Brad continued to look ahead but said “We are a small group called the Dendites. We follow the spirit Denda that unites us all. We are few in number; I do not think any of us have passed this way in quite a few years.” They continued walking. Each of them lost in their own private contemplation; their dark silhouettes framed against the light of the town.
    The town seemed desolate now. As they had gotten closer and closer the lights from the town had actually gotten darker as flames were extinguished and windows closed. A few small lights danced in the outskirts of the town but they mostly walked by starlight. As they walked John’s body tensed and his eyes darted from monk to monk. He had the sensation that they were judging him. He tried to keep his head facing forward as his eyes flirted from one to the other, trying to get proof to back up what his instinct was telling him. He found nothing. A few moments later, John’s body visibly relaxed as his knocked on the door to his landlady’s house. A moment later, the door opened to reveal a middle aged woman in a simple cloth dress answer the door. “John!” she said “What brings you here so late?” John stepped sideways to reveal his companions. “These monks were seeking a place to stay for the night. I told them you may be able to take them in. I hope you don’t mind.” Mary smiled and said “Of course not, I can give them a room for the night. Come in.” At this Ted came forward and said “Thanks you. My name is Ted and fellow brother is Brad.” They all entered into a small kitchen. A plain wooden table, surrounded by obviously homemade chairs was framed by a stone fireplace with a small fire in it. The wooden walls were mostly left bare, except for the occasional shelf with pots or pans on them. The flickering flames and warmth of the flame seemed to combine to form that intangible feeling that is home. Mary opened a small cupboard and took out a loaf of bread and several cups. Filling the cups with water, she placed it all on the table, motioning for them to sit down. “I am afraid this is all I have to offer you at this time of the night” she said “But I will have a more substantial meal for you in the morning.” They sat down as both of the monks thanked her. In the light John could now see that the cloaks they wore were an identical deep green and made of fine cloth. The fastened around the neck and swept down over their tan clothing. Brad’s sword seemed to be of fine workmanship and hung half hidden behind his cloak. Ted appeared unarmed. As they lifted and ate their bread, John could see that Brad’s hands were much more calloused then Ted’s. Ted’s hands were not by any means smooth but they did not have the same rough grain. All of the lines that were on Brad’s hands, seemed to be on Ted’s face. Looking at him, John could tell that Ted’s face was one of pre mature aging. Brads face did not yet have those lines, but he showed signs of forming them. Realizing they had been sitting in silence Mary asked “What order do you follow?”. Ted looked at her, swallowed and simply said “That of Dedra”. At this Mary stood up, a cool stare coming over her usually welcoming face. “I am sorry” she said “You have to leave”. At this John started, his eyes widening in shock, body slack. Finally, as the monks slowly stood up to leave he finally said “Why?” Mary looked at him and said “We will talk when they have gone. “ Her tone was expressionless. The monks again thanked Mary and walked out the door. As the door closed John looked from the closed door to Mary and asked again “Why?” His face was tangled and confused. He leaned on a chair for support. The coolness left Mary’s face and was replaced with a slightly kinder air. She looked at John and said “If you bring home monks from any dozen of the obscure religions I will keep them here. If you bring in a Dama, or a Kith, a follower of Haze or a sister of Cand then I will bring them in. But, I will never allow a follower of Dedra to stay here. Their practices go against everything that is human. Remember that.” In shock John looked again at the door. He could not rectify his own impressions of the monks with Mary’s description. With one final look at Mary he left, running after the monks. Catching up with them he said “I’m sorry for how she acted”. Ted stopped and turned a kindly face to him. “Do not worry” he said “Many people believe lies that are told about us but we weather them all. We know that the power we draw on not only exists, but is limitless. Go back to her now or you will scare her”. John, so shocked by his words, did just that. He turned and left without even saying good bye. They exchanged a meaningful glance as they watched him turn away then turned and slowly walked off into the starlight.

  12. B. Macon 27 Apr 2009 at 5:31 am

    Here are some thoughts and observations.

    –The paragraphs are really, really long. If I’m looking at this correctly, we have 1300 words split up among three paragraphs. I’d recommend keeping your paragraphs to 200 words or fewer.

    –”I decided to just go ahead and write. I am going to let the plot fall where it may…” This is a very healthy and productive attitude.

    –The opening sentence probably needs more flair. Walking through wispy grass is not that interesting. I’d recommend foreshadowing the mysterious encounter.

    –There are some comma issues. “He stopped and looked the lights of the village being encompassed by the night sky.” I think that’s a run-on sentence. You could revise it to something like “The lights of the village were swallowed by the night sky.” (I removed the detail about him looking because I feel that’s self-explanatory by the fact that we’re getting this detail from his POV).

    –”He stood there, lost in contemplation…” This is something that you could probably show with a detail.

    –”…when a voice said “Are you ok boy?” First, I’d recommend giving a word or two to describe the voice. Second, there should probably be a comma after ok. Third, “ok” might not be the best word here. It’s very modern and doesn’t seem to fit in with this character’s voice very much.

    Each line of dialogue should end its paragraph. “Are you ok, boy?” [Paragraph break.] John twitched and turned around.

    “John twitched and turned around.” There’s probably a faster-paced alternative to turned. What would you think about spun?

    “He squinted trying to make out their forms…” Comma after squinted.

    “The other one was tall and powerful.” This is probably something you could show with a visual detail or a bit of imagery. For example, “The other one looked like he wrestled bears for fun.” Note that this imagery develops his toughness in a more rugged, maybe dangerous direction. (I think we’re supposed to get a vibe of danger from that character, though… his face is shadowy).

    “Not long” the old man replied… Comma after long.

    I don’t get why John feels uncomfortable about how long they have been watching him. Why does that matter? If he cares, it gives the impression that he’s watching the town for some seedy or criminal reason. I think it’s more intuitive that he would be creeped out that someone just snuck up upon him. Unless he’s doing something criminal, that matters more than what they saw. Does that make sense? If people are uncomfortable about being watched, they’re probably doing something they’re not proud of.

    “It had been his voice who had spoken first.” This is an awkward and probably unnecessary bit of choreography. First, I don’t think it matters which monk spoke first because the first line was so bland that it could have been either. Second, I think that it would be a better idea to imply who spoke first with different voices and personalities. For example, the friendly monk has a warm and inviting voice and speaks in a welcoming tone or whatever. The more sinister monk doesn’t talk much, he has a softer voice and is more guarded about his intentions. He might sound creepy or dangerous.

    “My name is Ted and this is Brad. At the mention of his name[comma] the second man stepped closer to John. From here[comma] John could see that a sword hung at his side. “We are monks[comma]” explained Brad[comma] “traveling from town to town.” I’d recommend cutting this down a bit.

    Hello! I am Ted and this is Brad.” Brad stepped closer [how close?] to John. John could see that a sword hung at his side. [If he is really close, I'd recommend describing the sword in more detail. Also, how does John react? At the very least, I'm be tensed and ready to run.]
    “We are traveling [or wandering] monks,” explained Brad.

    “shifting his weight to his left foot.” This is an interesting detail. On one hand, I think it’s a strong way to show us that he’s not entirely comfortable. On the other hand, mentioning his left foot might be a red herring. I’d recommend changing “his left foot” to “one foot.” Otherwise, readers might wonder if you’re trying to show something about whether he favors his left leg or something.

    “I only have one small room myself but lady I let from, Mary, may be willing to put you up for the night though.” I think a word is missing in front of lady. Perhaps “the”? I would also recommend shortening this. “I have only a small room myself. But the lady I let from, Mary, could help you.”

    “Ted smiled and said ‘That would be fine.’” There should be a comma after said. I’d recommend just breaking this into two separate sentences, the smiling and the talking.

    As they walked Ted turned and said “Have you no family? You seem young to live alone.” John laughed and stood up a little straighter. “I have family” he said “I chose to move here seven months ago so I could support myself. I have three siblings and though it was time to take a burden off my parents. It’s not bad, Laura, my landlady, is kind to me and makes sure I eat” Brad and Ted exchanged a small smile as John began to walk with a little more purpose. John now turned to Brad and said “You said you were monks. Who do you follow?” Brad continued to look ahead but said “We are a small group called the Dendites. We follow the spirit Denda that unites us all. We are few in number; I do not think any of us have passed this way in quite a few years.” They continued walking. Each of them lost in their own private contemplation; their dark silhouettes framed against the light of the town.

    –This paragraph strikes me as a long info-dump. This information should probably be interwoven with interesting material. (IE: We must find shelter right away; the enemies of the Dendrites are coming to kill us). I think that would be more urgent and gripping.
    –I’m not looking for an age and wouldn’t like one, but I’d like some cue about how old John is. The only one so far is “boy,” which could be anywhere from around 5 to 18.
    –Do we need to know anything about his family?
    –I’d really recommend splitting each set of distinct ideas into its own paragraph. For example, you could do a paragraph about Brad talking about the Dendites and another about John’s background. Also, as I noted above, every line of dialogue has to be followed by a paragraph break.

    Is John supposed to come off as naive and overly trusting? If so, I would make that seem a bit clearer. Right now, my initial impression is that he’s a bit slow.

    “he had the sensation that they were judging him.” What would you think about changing that to “he sensed that…”?

    I think Mary is not very interesting. She’s too welcoming. Also, adding Mary caused you to take another 4 sentences to recap what we read on the previous page. (“What brings you here so late?” John stepped sideways to reveal his companions. “These monks were seeking a place to stay for the night. I told them you may be able to take them in. I hope you don’t mind.”)

    Ted and Brad do not need to introduce themselves again.

    I feel like the Mary character is too nice. She doesn’t have much of a personality and pretty much everything she says is a nicety. Please see this article for more details.

    As soon as they get to the house, I think the pace lags. I think you need something propelling the story forward. For example, what are these monks doing here?

    I think that Mary kicking them out would be much more interesting if we had some reason to believe that they’d be in danger on the street. Right now, having a bed to sleep in seems like more a matter of comfort than safety. If they were in danger, I think it’d be more dramatic.

    “He could not rectify his own impressions of the monks with Mary’s description.” This would be a lot more believable if the monks had done anything to help him. He doesn’t seem to mind at all that at least one of the monks is armed and creepy. The other monk asked for help in a friendly manner, but hasn’t done anything that contradicts Mary’s description. When he runs out after the monks, after Mary has explicitly told him that they are up to no good, it feels like he’s holding an idiot ball.

    I’d recommend giving him more of a reason to suspect that they are kindly people. For example, let’s say a bear attacks him or something and the monks save him. On the one hand, it’ll be kind of clear that something is not right with these monks– they are just TOO savvy with swords and dark magic. On the other hand, perhaps their hearts are in the right place. They did, after all, come to the aid of a screaming boy.

  13. Stefan the Exploding Manon 27 Apr 2009 at 5:56 am

    A few things.

    - The first sentence needs to be more gripping, I think, with stronger wording, maybe. The word “wispy” in particular slows the pace down considerably, which doesn’t make for a good beginning.

    - “Are you ok boy” doesn’t seem like a logical way for the monks to introduce themselves. It has a feeling of familiarity. Shouldn’t it be the other way round, since the monks are the strangers?

    - “He had the sensation that they were judging him.” Maybe you could show us this in the monks’ actions as well? This sentence makes John seem slightly paranoid, rather than illustrating that the monks appear to be judging him.

    - In many religions, the monks and clergy are usually dressed in such a way that people will be able to tell what religion they’re from. You can usually tell a Christian monk from a Buddhist monk, for example, because they wear robes of different colours and carry different religious symbols. Mary should be able to tell if they worship Denda or Dedra (this wasn’t clear either) since she appears to know something about their religion.

    - Which is related to another problem. The religion seems to be a bit obscure in the first bit, because the monks say they are few in number, but later on they appear to be more well-known. Mary knows something about them, and the monks themselves say that “Many people believe lies told about us”, which seems to imply that lots of people know about the religion, and that the religion is popular enough that people actually tell lies to discredit it. It’s just a little inconsistency that needs clearing up.

    I like it. I think you could have done a better job of showing us that the novel takes place in a fantasy setting, but it was pretty solid overall. I’m looking forward to reading more. Sorry if my comments seem a bit harsh. I don’t mean to be!

  14. Dinhilionon 27 Apr 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the quick response. I knew this was a very rough draft so I’m glad to see so much criticism. I was planning on doing a total rewrite so all of this advice is great.

    Bmac- Thanks for the in depth critique.
    Stefan- Not too harsh at all! Thanks

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