Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drop the Needle: EXPLOSIONS! #10

TITLE: Dragoneer: HARD TRUTHS
GENRE: Upper MG Fantasy

In the final battle between a young peacekeeping Dragoneer and the dark rider who was hired to kill the good dragons Princess Reyna faces her enemy. She loses her temper and almost loses control of her magical powers.



Again and again she shot her power at him and his dragon, backing them towards the castle walls. Wild bolts of light blazed like the sun. Her eyes and even her mouth appeared to glow as she yelled. “You will never again kill for money. You will never again kill for sport. You will never again prey on those weaker than yourself.”

With one final heave she balled her fists and slammed them to the ground the power so great it ripped through the earth splitting it open in a path that lead directly to her enemy. With an explosion or light and fire the wall of the castle behind them lost its foundation and came crashing down.

As the smoke and dust cleared she saw that the blood red dragon was half buried in the rubble, one leg bent at an odd angle. Reyna lay on the ground completely spent after her display of power. A burning sensation still resonated through her whole body and she choked on dust from the crash.

Her friends, running to her aid, stopped in their tracks when they spotted the dark rider. He was cradling the blood red dragon’s head in his hands and crooning.

“My good dragon Bubbie, my loyal friend.” He stroked the beast’s face talking in a soft almost singing voice, “My Bubbie. You were all I had in the world. I’m sorry my friend.”

Lowering the dragon’s head gently he stood. Fury burned in his eyes hotter than a dragon’s fire and he now had only one purpose. He was going to kill princess Reyna.

10 comments:

  1. Reyna's righteous indignation while she's fighting the dragon is well done, especially because it's socially, not selfishly, based.

    The second paragraph has a run-on sentence that distracted me.

    I'd love to hear more of Reyna's thoughts while she's fighting. There's a disconnect between me and her, and I think I'd identify with her more if I knew what she was thinking.

    The dragon's name threw me off - it was almost comical how the dark rider was crooning to the dragon, and I'm not sure if comedy was the intent.

    That said, the offbeat nature of the dragon's name, and the rider's crooning, followed by fury, was where I started to get invested in the excerpt. It was so unexpected, it really got my attention!

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  2. Yay, dragon fight!

    This is a fun scene, but there are punctuation errors and a bit of over-writing that get in the way.

    "Her eyes and even her mouth appeared to glow as she yelled." -- This is a POV error. If we are in your MC's viewpoint, she would not know what her eyes and mouth appeared like.

    Example of paragraph with corrections:

    With one final heave she balled her fists and slammed them to the ground {COMMA} the power so great it ripped through the earth {COMMA} splitting it open in a path that [LED] directly to her enemy. With an explosion or light and fire {COMMA} the wall of the castle behind them lost its foundation and came crashing down.

    Also:

    As the smoke and dust cleared she saw that the blood red dragon was half buried in the rubble, one leg bent at an odd angle. Reyna lay on the ground completely spent after her display of power. A burning sensation still resonated through her whole body and she choked on dust from the crash.

    The above paragraph can be tightened.

    For instance:

    The smoke and dust cleared, and the dragon was half buried in the rubble, one leg bent at an od angle. Reyna lay on the ground, completely spent. A burning sensation still resonated through her whole body, and she choked on the dust.

    Also, this:

    Her friends, running to her aid, stopped in their tracks when they spotted the dark rider. He was cradling the blood red dragon’s head in his hands and crooning.

    The above is a POV error. Rayna is lying on the ground, spent. She is not watching her friends see something. Keep things from Rayna's viewpoint, and keep them immediate:

    The dark rider cradled the dragon's head in his hands and crooned.

    And finally:

    “My good dragon Bubbie, my loyal friend.” He stroked the beast’s face talking in a soft almost singing voice, “My Bubbie. You were all I had in the world. I’m sorry my friend.”

    You don't need "talking ina soft, almost singing voice" because you've already told us that he is crooning. So just:

    "My good dragon Bubbie, my loyal friend." He stroked the beast's face. "You were all I had in the world. I'm sorry [COMMA] my friend."

    Lowering the dragon’s head gently [COMMA] he stood. Fury burned in his eyes hotter than a dragon’s fire [COMMA] and he now had only one purpose. He was going to kill princess Reyna.

    Good work! Keep going. :)

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  3. I loved the action in the scene and the way you described the battle. I also liked the bit of empathy you create for the Dark Rider.

    The explosion works well and you describe the aftereffects nicely.

    I would suggest some minor tweaks.

    "explosion or light" typo or=of
    " lost its foundation" snip
    " only one purpose. He was going to kill princess Reyna." Might I suggest you change the period to an emdash and cut the passive to be. "only one purpose-to kill princess Reyna."

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  4. Not really into fantasy, but I was intrigued by the peek into both the protagonist's and the antagonist's character. Now the reader is invested in a revenge-fest!

    Periods seem to contradict yelling. Use an exclamation point, at least on the last sentence, if not all three: "You will never again prey on those weaker than yourself!"

    I agree with the comma suggestions and also with the other POV disconnects mentioned. Plus this one: "He was going to kill princess (Princess?) Reyna." How do we know what the rider is thinking if we're in Reyna's POV?

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  5. I'm actually wondering if your comma key is broken. Wow, that made for a hard read of something that I liked when I could get around the punctuation.

    The first two paragraphs had me sucked in. (Minus the "OMG, where are the commas?") After that it went downhill.

    "Reyna lay on the ground completely spent after her display of power."

    Well OF COURSE it was her display of power that made her completely spent. It's these kind of wasted and redundant words and phrases that will really slow down the pace.

    "A burning sensation still resonated through her whole body and she choked on dust from the crash."

    The way this sentence is structured weakens all the images in it. "Still" is a word to use sparingly in action. Just drop it and the sentence is already tons better. Splitting this into two sentences will give the completely different ideas of burning and choking on dust their own time to shine for the reader.

    "Fury burned in his eyes hotter than a dragon’s fire and he now had only one purpose."

    This is a weak sentence. It's a powerful image and then you've tacked on a cliched way of conveying something really important. This is a powerful scene. Don't water it down with stuff like this.

    With some SERIOUS attention to punctuation, this could be an awesome scene. Get to work on that!

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  6. This is an interesting premise and the initial battle feels quite intense.

    "shot her power at him" -- this is too neutral for me and could mean almost anything. What does it look like to shoot power at someone? Do the powers not have a name? If Reyna is untrained and just learning about them, perhaps, but if she is trained, they have jargon and terminology and as a reader we want to be included in that here.

    That's a bit nitpicky, but this is the point, in my opinion, of greatest possible gain for this work. Replace bits like this with specific, concrete details that only Reyna could know, and this reader will be standing right next to her, feeling the heat of the fire, and flipping the pages to find out more ;)

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  7. What is 'her power?' Name it. IT's too vague as is. And if those bolts of light are forcing the dragon backwards, perhaps don't describe them as blazing like the sunlight, because that's not how they're being used. Describe them in a way that coincides with what they're doing.

    Her mouth 'appeared' to glow - it either glows or it doesn't. Appeared makes it ambiguous.

    CUt 'with one final heave,' because she isn't heaving anything and it weakens the sentence. Cut 'lost it's foundation' and build up the description of the crumbling castle. This is a big moment. Make it big.

    Cut 'after her display of power.' It's extraneous, and it wasn't a display. It was a battle. You might also eliminate her friends if they're not essential, because this is between her and the dark rider.

    I read this as a serious piece until I read the dragon's name, and that changed the whole tone of the piece. If you don't want it to turn humorous, you may want to reconsider the name. But I did like that the villain loved his dragon, which is great motivation for his next attack.

    You have all the elements you need here. Work at making it cleaner and clearer.

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  8. This was a gripping scene, and Reyna sounds like an interesting character, but the technical aspects need some work. "Just Me" already made several of the points I was going to make about punctuation and POV errors.

    I would really like to see a more detailed description of how Reyna uses her power. Does it come out of her hands? How does she conjure it? What does it look like? How does she feel as it builds inside her and shoots out?

    JustMe already addressed the punctuation issues in the second paragraph as written. For rhythm, I would insert a period after "slammed to the ground." The cadence should come to a full stop along with Reyna's fists. I would break up the rest of the sentences in that paragraph, too, for a more active voice. For example: With one final heave, she balled her fists and slammed them to the ground. Power ripped through the earth, splitting a path [you could use a more graphic noun here, maybe trench or furrow?] straight to her enemy. Light and fire exploded around the castle. The wall crashed down.

    In the last paragraph, does the rider stand while lowering the dragon's head, or should it be "He lowered the dragon's head and stood." Does Reyna think of herself as "Princess Reyna?" Maybe the last sentence should be "He was going to kill Reyna," or just "He was going to kill her."

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  9. Maybe a comma: "and slammed them to the ground, the power so great it ripped through the earth, splitting it open..." Kind of a long sentence without some kind of punctuation.

    Maybe change "With an explosion" since you already have "with one final heave"

    The sentences in "As the smoke and dust cleared" paragraph have a repetitive resonance; you might want to vary the sentence structure a bit.

    Admittedly, reading the last couple paragraphs, I felt kind of sorry for the dark rider. Not a bad thing, since it shows character, but I kind of like him better than Reyna. However, being that this is probably later in the story, it may have a different resonance to someone who has seen what the dark rider's done.

    Overall, the reading felt smooth-- I understood what was going on. I might add a bit more regarding Reyna's feelings in the first paragraph, or her physical reaction, though her words do convey a lot of information.

    Good luck with it. :-)

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