|Reviews for Friend of the Knight|
| Guest chapter 29 . 2/10
Thank you! This is the best Batman story I have read!
| erica.phoenix16 chapter 17 . 10/27/2014
I love Sarah's story. :)
| superwholockian101 chapter 29 . 8/30/2014
Omigosh, this is a work of fandom art! I love it! Its like 3am right now, but I couldn't stop reading! I just love stories like this! You are an amazing writer! When I was reading, sometimes during chapters, I had to stop and calm myself down because this story is awesome!
| GottaLoveTen chapter 29 . 4/21/2014
HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY!
| GottaLoveTen chapter 6 . 4/20/2014
AAAHHHH YES! Everytime those moments get me.
"Who are you exactly?"
"Who are you?!"
*straightens bowtie* "I'm the Doctor."
"I don't even know your name!"
"The name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker St. *click* Afternoon."
| Guest chapter 19 . 8/22/2013
The lyrics were unnecessary and otherwise destroyed the tension of the scene.
| PepperCornPie chapter 29 . 6/17/2013
very cool plot and great ending : )
very well done
your Oc was awsome and i like how you fitted your Oc into batman begins witout drasticly changing anything about the movie.
have a good day : D
| Lasgalendil chapter 6 . 4/14/2013
Time. Time. Time.
Two days to get out of Juvy? A 'warrant' to remove her forcibly? Research-even the slightest-can pay off in terms of how realistic this story feels. It would be more realistic that Josh is never caught with the knife-after all, it's his word against a mute girl and a 2nd grader. It's his parents money against the school. Or, if Nathan was bold enough (and it seems he is), than Josh would be permanently expelled, and placed most likely not in Juvy but a private psychiatric hospital due to the corrupting influence his parents can have on people like GCPD and judges. In order to seem believable, you need to choose one of these two routes. I prefer the latter, as a reader (the former seems far to Lemony Snickets). We think progress is being made, that evil is being punished...only to find out that it's in name only. A farce of justice.
Pacing. Pacing. Pacing. She goes to bed...and with self-admittedly no idea why, she somehow manages to find herself at the docks in the same paragraph? No!
Something has to drive her there. Something has to pull her from her bedroom to the docks. Show us her fear sneaking around in the night. Show us her intelligence by how on earth she manages to get miles away from Wayne Manor to the nastiest part of town on an ISLAND without being seen, mugged, or killed. Without these details, these are plot holes a mile wide. We know it's entirely implausible that she could do it. We know there's no believable way this 12 year old could, would, or should do this. Your job is to make us forget. Your job is to show us a Bonzo Madrid, and Arya Stark. A child capable of cruelty and cunning, not some Sansa Stark blonding in by mistake. So far she's run from all her fears in silence. You need a plot device between last chapter and this chapter showing us-and Sarah-that she can't be afraid all the time. Maybe she stands up to bullies again. Maybe the real time to have her take the comic out of a bully's hands was AFTER she'd been attacked by a bully of her own. Maybe she sees the Batman on the news, and thinks, hey, if only I was brave enough to do that. Maybe she's disgusted with Bruce for NOT feeling anger/rage/sorrow at his parent's death that she decides she not going to be like him (again, a shortcoming of parental Bruce is that she can't feel these things because she sees him as this perfect guy, rather than the playboy the media shows him to be. Which raises the question, could you up the stakes by having Bruce torn between the Playboy facade in order to become the Batman, and the vow he made to her parents to protect their child? This might give Edgar's presence and threat much more menace and gravity. It would give her a reason to dislike Bruce and to disobey. So far she's been Victim! Trope, and now she's suddenly Spunky Sidekick! Trope. There HAS to be a reason for the change. And we HAVE to see it as readers. She has the LIVE it as a person before we can buy it. She might not be called Robin, but that's what she's becoming in our minds, a female child sidekick to Batman. There's a reason all superheroes have an origin story. We wouldn't accept their antics as anything by psychosis otherwise!)
| Lasgalendil chapter 5 . 4/14/2013
"Gotham City Private" doesn't sound the a name of a prestigious private school for Gotham's Elite. Play around with the name until you come up with something that sounds fancy and bureaocratic. Try googling or wikipediaing the names of famous people either in Gotham's or America's past, like politicians or educators. Give us a crisp sense of adult, boring realism when it comes to institutions.
Buses...buses don't typically come from private schools, do they? You can fix this one of two ways: either Sarah attends the public school for the Pallisades, which is bound to be the best in Gotham by far given its demographic, or you'll have to cut the bus scene and have her arrive by chauffeur-either Alfred or Bruce.
Relatives as antagonists...it's an understandable plot. I don't like it as the overarching one, though. Why does this private prep schooler feel threatened enough to take the knife to school with him? Kids can be cruel, psychotic assholes, but the trope of evil relatives is feeling thin and not deep enough to warrant this level of physical threat or violence. Being a dick and a bully, yes. The punching? Barely plausible. The knife? He's no longer evil, he's the bumbling, moronic henchman. And there is NO WAY he would still be there at a private school after that physical attack in the last chapter. I don't care how much money his parents give to the school, Bruce would've made sure he never set foot there/bullied another kid again. (How about a midnight visit to Cousin Evil from the Batman? Just to scare some sense of humanity into him last night?) What if instead he verbally bullies her? Taunts her? What if it's one of her cousin's friends, angry that his pal got expelled? Makes her retreat in tears? Sarah is fragile, and the words about rotting seemed to hurt her more last chapter than the bloodied nose. Her running from school, then stumbling upon a crazed man with a knife (like Victor Zsasz) seems a lot more just the horror of Gotham than a forced attack by Inhuman Relative #4.
It's understandable that as a Parallel fic Sarah will stumble into so many people and key plot points that will strain plausibility. Your job as the author, however, is the make sure the reason she meets these people and the reason she becomes privy to this all-important knowledge is so realistic, and so seamless that we don't stop to question the likelihood of her being there. Play up the terror, and chase, the reason Falconi's henchmen would let a 12 year-old girl in through the front doors. Perhaps Falconi himself has them bring her a hot drink, and tells Flass to leave her alone (Flass is a known pervert). The Mafia-especially Italian-tends to leave women and children out of the picture. Falconi would see Sarah as someone needing protection, not a threat in the least, given her fright and her silence. I also think it much more likely her presence would be noticed than not noticed. Play this up. Would Flass even recognize her, dressed as she is in fancy clothes? How much terror does she feel knowing this is the man who killed her parents, and this man she used to/should have/ trusted has been working for him the entire time? Or, since she's so bookish and sheltered, is it possible she doesn't know who Falconi really is? That she can overhear a piece of oh-so-important information without realizing its value? I think this would feel less like a trope. And having a grumpy, evil, yet grandfatherly Falconi compared to Alfred's more kindly take on the role would seem even more like a Fairytale, two colliding worlds, two opposite sides of the looking glass.
| Lasgalendil chapter 4 . 4/14/2013
I know this scene is for our benefit, to show us how cruel her relatives are, even as kids, but is it realistic that she'd go back to school over the weekend? Her parents were killed, the will is most likely going to be dragged back into court (if they want the money so badly), and Bruce just showed up in Gotham City. Here he is being depicted as the world's model parent...but wouldn't it be more likely he'd give her time to herself, knowing what she's going through? Wouldn't it seem more magical if he hired her tutors or just whisked her around town, doing playboy antics like buying her a pony and an entire store full of clothes? Rather than being a comforting shoulder, I'd like to see your Bruce be more of the Batman against her enemies: fighting fire with fire. Let them think he's blowing through her inheritance money as fast as he can. This would help fuel their anger and desperation-and might make a jealous, spiteful confrontation between her and the cousin seem much more likely. I know that kids are cruel (again, Ender's Game/Shadow. Best books ever!) and need no reason to bully, but I think for this story to work we really need to see and feel the reasons behind the hatred, rather than just "scummy". If she's so intuitive, can we see her thinking about his jealousy? About how brain-washed he is from his parents? Does she hate him? Pity him? The violence here just seems unnecessary. Granted, he's a rich, spoiled kid and a bully who gets whatever he wants. But on those same lines, he's a rich, spoiled kid and a bully who is used to immediate capitulation. He's the king of the school yard who doesn't have to get his hands soiled to get what he wants. The kind of kid who'd send minions to do his dirty work. The manicured hands that haven't thrown a punch in his life. In order for this violent confrontation to seem real to us, we need to understand him as a human, a person, rather than just "Insert Crabbe/Goyle 2.0".
The locket. The song. These are tropes. Tropes are necessary. Tropes are inevitable. Tropes are the essence of fairy-tales, so they might not seem out of place here. But tropes can also be the mark of poor writing, where tropes dictate the characters and plots instead of the vice-versa. You've mentioned the locket several times before, but if it's an important device, like the song, it needs to be prominent from chapter 1. Having the song suddenly play now that she's upset takes us dangerously close to song-fic territory, a known habitation of Mary Sue and her ilk. It's the reason that TV shows feel forced when a 'long lost parent/sibling/lover/mentor' shows up who our protagonist has this 'long-standing' connection to...but has never been alluded to in the show. Ever. By giving this lullaby some history, it will seem so much more poignant for her to sing it to herself here. What if she sings it every night? You don't have to end every chapter with it. Just tell us, before now, that she sings herself silently to sleep. But that even in her head, it wasn't her voice singing, it was her mother's.
"I was asleep, with the stars and Moon watching over me"-see that? That fairy-tale element that you do so seamlessly? I love it! There's the magic and imagination and innocence of a story-book Princess. But this is also the reason you have to make all the people in your story characters rather than tropes. We KNOW they are filling the places of Evil Step-parents, Ogres and Trolls. Your job as author is to make us FORGET. Your job as author is to make us-and Sarah, unlike the heroines of Grimm's-feel empathy and pity for the Monster Under the Bridge. Snape became the good-guy in book seven only after he died. Make Sarah better than Harry. Don't make her TDKR's Bruce, willing to trust Selina for no apparent reason even though he's an embittered adult...but make her a child, an innocent, imaginative child, capable of weaving a story for WHY her enemies might be bad. What if this cousin was under the spell of an evil witch, and that's why he did these cruel things? She doesn't have to forgive him, ignore him, or even like him (all which fall under Mary Sueness), but she needs to try to understand him. Sarah is a human. She's your creation. Don't lose her to the Victim! trope.
| Lasgalendil chapter 3 . 4/14/2013
Again, I think that a close-third person narration might lend more credibility to your story. The scenes with Sarah's family are essential, as well as those between Bruce and Alfred, but having them happen in front of her makes her relatives seem like cookie-cutter caricatures spewing ridiculous hatred rather than actual people. What if instead they were honeyed and too obviously kind to her? Fighting over who got to keep her? This seems a more likely scenario given that her care-taker might stand to inherit a large chunk of money.
Structure: if you keep the Sarah scenes vs. the third person narration scenes, can they happen in alternative chapters? Can we see a large potion of the story occur through her eyes, perhaps with confusion and suspicion, then see the next chapter following the other characters? This would allow us some initial surprise and speculation as to what's going on and why, but still allow us "behind the scenes" to see the adults' emotions and work. Telling us a story "out of order" is a unique way to take an old, cliche plot and make it seem new and exciting. It's often employed in Doctor Who, and even Boondock Saints.
Question: why did the relatives show up if the will hadn't been read yet? They clearly spat on her in chapter 1, so they didn't know at that time. Could you heighten this sense of greed by having the will read even before the funeral service? Or could you show us that some of the relatives had found out in the interim by trying to take Sarah away from Bruce between chapter 1 and the burial service? This would make Bruce suspicious of the truth, and might make a sudden abundance of "loving relatives" a much more plausible premise.
Sarah is smart. Choosing a password that is so unlike her is an intelligent choice. However, a three letter/digit password wouldn't provide adequate protection for a bank account. Also, she wouldn't have access to the trust money until she turned 18. I like that Bruce is essentially signing himself OUT of the trust by giving her control, but it still stands that the money will not and cannot be accessed by Sarah until she turns 18 (unless Bruce keeps control of it and takes money out on her behalf for her expenses, no doubt as the relatives planned on doing for their own benefit). Again, with a magical realism sort of setting, emphasizing the realistic, verisimilitude-like aspects of Gotham will draw the readers in further.
| Lasgalendil chapter 2 . 4/14/2013
I know you said to begin with 'Friend of the Knight', but I felt I needed to know the characters from their beginnings. I don't like starting with sequels! I once read Ender's Shadow before Ender's Game, even though they tell the same story, and it permanently altered the way I viewed the characters. (If you're not an Orson Scott Card fan, imagine J.K. Rowling writing the whole series from Neville's POV 25 years later, and you reading that first. You'd think Harry was a jerk!)
What I said last chapter about Parallel Stories, structure and pacing becomes more apparent here. This is obviously a story that is closely tied to the events of the movie. Firstly, for structure, be sure to break the story with LINES, not "Readers POV". Lines are like chapters/page ends, a visual cue for a scene or narrator change. Mid-story author's notes are just jarring. Better yet, get rid of the Reader's POV/Sarah's POV entirely by writing a fic either solely through the eyes of Sarah, or solely told third person narration. I think this will lend a greater credibility to your story. And pacing. Pacing. It's happening far too fast. Don't be afraid to take it slow. Go read Clockwork, by Hoist the Colours. It's a story of the Joker finding a little girl in an abandoned house...and nothing happens for perhaps 10 chapters. And by "nothing" I mean "everything". It's not the best written story, no, but it takes the over-used concept of "Joker meets woman and is pulled into her spell/wants to turn her into a monster" and places it on its head! There are multiple fics on this site with Bruce Wayne's ward, daughter, sister, girlfriend, etc. What you need to do is ask yourself "how do I make mine unique?"
I do like that she's afraid of the Dark. It gives an even more "fairy-tale" like aspect to their relationship and her character. It's also excellent because it is so different from Bruce/Batman!
While I admire her and Bruce's relationship, I'd really like for him to do something for her that makes her trust him. If your parents were horribly killed then the man who was supposedly their friend had been gone when it happened and had abandoned you, too, wouldn't you be the slightest bit angry with him? Wouldn't you have a hard time trusting him? Wouldn't you feel suspicious? I'd like to see something transpire between Bruce and Sarah before she trusts him so complicitly. I love this scene, don't get me wrong, but it's misplaced in pacing and structure and time. Could we see a mirrored scene with Alfred, the first night in the abandoned manor? I think his age-like Mr. Tumnus in the Narnia books-would make him feel less of a threat to a young girl. Bruce as the stranger in her bedroom without a previous relationship to fall back on feels strange. We know it's Bruce/Batman, there's nothing to worry about, right? But too Sarah it's a strange man she's never met suddenly tucking her into bed. And THAT should give even us readers a moment of pause.
| Lasgalendil chapter 1 . 4/14/2013
It's an interesting premise, to be sure. But I do agree with some of your other reviewers in that everything here seems to happen much too quickly. We barely receive the news of her parents death and suddenly, tada! Bruce is alive and everything's okay! I like the idea of there being a large gap in time between these events, for us to see Alfred doting on her because he feels it makes him closer to Bruce, etc. I know that hurrying this up like you did gets us closer to "the action" as it is, but honestly, you're missing out a great opportunity to show us some character. Maybe she can even stumble, secret garden like, onto the caves beneath, see the bats like Bruce did, she can wander around and look at paintings, hang out in the library like Belle from beauty and the beast. Even a one-shot with this sort of fairy-tale atmosphere I think would be rewarding both for you to write, and for us to read!
First person POV. The seemingly easiest to write, widely popularized by Twilight and The Hunger Games. First person present narration, just think and type! No. If only it were that easy! First person POV is the HARDEST narration to sell. You are not an author. You are an actor. Every word, every comma, everything, must always be in character. And if you break character-even once-it spoils the illusion. Bella and Katniss' descriptions of themselves and their worlds felt forced, given how informal and haltingly they spoke in their supposed 'dialogue' lines. You've placed your Sarah in a unique position in that she likes books. She retreats into them. Descriptions of her surroundings rather than her feelings seem more natural to her than expression. Dive into this. Help us see the world through the eyes of a lonely, frightened, hyper-imaginative child. Think of the stark horror of Gotham in the movies and especially the comics, and show us that nightmare through Sarah's eyes. This will make Alfred's sudden, (quite literal) substitute fairy godfatherly-like appearance and redemption seem all the much more magical.
Character and plot are essential for any story. Structure and pacing, however, are tools we use to get there. I don't know exactly where your story is going right now, but from the many I've seen (and yes, written) on this site, this seems to be a 'parallel' fic, where the events of the movie will unfold as planned, just with the addition of a character OR we'll see 'cut' scenes from the movie that involve your characters as essential to its plot. While there is nothing wrong with a story of this type, it tends to put us as authors in a bind. We can't wait for the story to start! Our readers want the story to start! Quick-rush to the plot of the movie because that's the start of the story!
...no, wait a second. The story begins with the characters you're writing. You have to pace and structure 'The Story' of Nolanverse around it! How can you do this? Meta-fiction is one way. Details in Sarah's world that she doesn't see as significant because she's 12, but that the reader will immediately recognize as clues as to what's happening in Gotham. Were there case files in her house about Bruce Wayne? Zsasz? Meroni? Is there a photo on Gordon's desk of Bruce Wayne, the boy he once helped? ( Does this make her trust Gordon more since her parents knew him? Or, does she, in her head, make up a story of how Gordon might know Bruce Wayne?) Radio broadcasts over the police scanner in the station? Any of these details will help entrench us in the mindset of the "Movies" without having Sarah sound like she's much older than she is.
As we get more mature with our writing abilities, sometimes (especially if you're writing a long continuum) it can be exciting and rewarding to come back and with a little editing magic make the tone and style consistent across the whole story. I like what you've tried to do here, starting in the dark, retreating to a fairytale world in books, dispassionate and distanced, then she gets transported to a real magical world at Wayne Manor. The skeleton is there, but the flesh isn't. I would love for you to really SHOW us, not just tell us, how terrible this day is for her. Meeting some of those distant relatives, or at least watching in sick anticipation and disappointment as they hang up on Gordon one by one. Perhaps having a social worker there arguing with Gordon about needing to get her to a foster home so she'll have a place to spend the night, etc. Details such as CPS involvement will heighten the realism-and when you've got an environment that screams magical realism, you have to capitalize on the realism part to draw in the more skeptical reader.
She's a very intelligent, very intuitive 12 year-old girl, I'll give her that. This feels a bit like Labyrinth, or Pan's Labyrinth, almost, in the storybook quality of it. I'd love you to pick back up and enhance this ember of magical realism to a full-fledged fire, given how bookish and alone she is. Another reason I'm encouraging a large gap in time between meeting Sarah and meeting Bruce is to give us more time to get to know this character. If I wrote as a summary: Recently orphaned very lonely 12 year-old Sarah with extraordinary wisdom for her age gets caught up in the exploits of the Batman... people will stop reading the summary and never click the story. Unless, of course, they're close to Sarah's age and want to take a journey with her. You are currently very well placed to pull a J.K. Rowling and have your readers grow up with this character. But there's a difference between stories that can be enjoyed by everyone, 12 year old girls included, and stories that can be enjoyed only by 12 year old girls. I'm sure you are trying to fall into the first category! I saw on your profile your opinions about Mary Sues, and you're correct: most of us are sick to death of them and terrified of them. We see them everywhere. They sleep under our beds at night. So when I see a 12 year old girl sitting-just like Bruce-in Gordon's office after the sudden tragic deaths of her parents, my mind screams Mary Sue. I don't know anything about this girl. She's 12. She probably needs my help. My fanfiction reading brain tells me to get as far away as I can. That's called prejudice :) Your goal as a writer is to convince us, from the very moment we look at the summary of your story, that your character is a person...NOT THAT YOUR CHARACTER ISN'T A MARY SUE. Saying 'anti-mary sue' just makes Sarah easy prey for flamers.
How can you attempt this? Distance Sarah from Bruce's story. Not every one on Gotham has to know everyone else. Perhaps it can come as a shock to Sarah that her mother was actually from a rich family. Perhaps it can come as an even larger shock to find out that Bruce Wayne-the Bruce Wayne!-is her godfather...and the disappointing realization that it means nothing because he's gone. Not every death in Gotham has to be a murder, either. Bruce became the Batman because he saw his parents die violently in front of him. What if Sarah's parents weren't killed on duty, but instead killed in a car wreck or a sewer explosion or something unrelated? Something so pointless and without purpose that it leaves her with the numb feeling of shock and muteness that we see here? There are only so many plots that we can write and recycle. Plots will always feel cliche. Our job as writers is to make the structure and pacing of our recycled stories so unique they feel original. Distancing her backstory from Bruce's is one of these methods. Surprise you have a rich missing Godfather's manservant! is the equivalent to "You're a wizard, Harry." Alfred is her introduction to a life she's never had. Spend time on this. Foster this. We can meet Bruce Wayne later.
One note of constructive criticism, though: contractions. Use all the contractions you can. There are a few points during her narration where you don't and it makes your author sound both older, and a little bit posh. And I don't think that was your intention with Sarah's character :) I know she's meant to sound bookish and very smart, but most readers won't pick up on this subtlety.
| IronJedi chapter 29 . 2/22/2013
| ReaperNunnally chapter 4 . 2/12/2013
Abella: I love Baby Mine! That's from Disney's Dumbo isn't it? I get bullied for being related to Serena, who apparently is a walking freak, and for being a 'midget'.
Serena: I'm scared to tell my mum or dad :(