Reviews for The Tale of Everwood
Emma Zule chapter 1 . 2/20/2009
Hm... this is a little disjointed. It feels a little rushed, and honestly, feels more like a summary of the premise of a story, than it does a prologue or (as I think it is meant to be) a letter.

I think the main problem is that it feels less like "let's allude to/foreshadow/set up the plot", and more like an "infodump"; too much exposition in one giant lump, basically. Particularly the portion after "She has raised the power of La Magra, The Demon of Blood, and Sacrifices." but before "we need the help that only one can give".

I would suggest either expanding it to be less vague and disjointed, or (even better, since this appears to be functioning as a prologue) trimming it, particularly the "infodump"-y portion I just mentioned, and maybe trimming the last part to simply, "We need the help that only one can give, but the people fear he may already be dead. His disappearance has caused fear that this time, they may not survive. "

More nitty-gritty little things:

*Notice how I changed that last ellipse to a comma? It flows better that way, I think. Dramatic pauses can be really neat, but they have be used carefully, and frankly, I don't think that was a good place for one, as it seemed a little melodramatic and a tad cheesy. A simple change of punctuation removes the melodrama though, so that's definitely fixable. :)

*Actually, a lot of the smaller bits of awkwardness can be fixed mostly by changing the punctuation, like here: "She has a new army, her dragon soul has been reawakened and her powers are blowing full blast through the dark corners of Everwood forest, and something has been brought back to life that nobody has seen in over a millennium. She has raised the power of La Magra, The Demon of Blood, and Sacrifices. "

I would suggest rephrasing it as "She has a new army; her dragon soul has been reawakened, and her powers are blowing full blast through the dark corners of Everwood forest. And something has been brought back to life that nobody has seen in over a millennium: she has raised the power of La Magra, The Demon of Blood, and Sacrifices."

This is the kind of thing that is very subtle and can be hard to do well, especially in early drafts, but the good news is that you will eventually get a better feel for it. :) I also think that picking up (or at least reading) a copy of Lynne Truss' book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" could be of potential improvement on the punctuation front, because she makes it very easy (and fun!) to improve one's grasp of the mechanics and more complex effects of punctuation and emphasis. I cannot tell you how much my own writing improved on the prose level after I had finished that book!

*This part: "we need the help that only one can give, but his unimaginable evil is even worse than that of the witch, his power is drawn from the souls of all those he kills, this power gives him unimaginable abilities that even the witch cannot nearly compare to, but no one has seen him since the last attack on Everwood by La Magra, and people fear that he may in fact be dead. His disappearance has caused fear that this timeā€¦ they may not survive."

Is so breathless it gets confusing. Are you still referring to the bad guy, or to a dangerous figure intended to defeat the bad guy? (Also: you shifted tenses there. "we" turns into "they", very awkward and distracting, you may want to fix that in the next draft)

From what you did write, thinking about it, I'm going to guess - and please tell me if I'm right, here - that it is the latter, and that that figure is Bigby (Big Bad Wolf), and "the witch" is the Black Forrest Witch... unless she's simply gaining power in a similar manner to the BFW? This is a serious point of confusion, here, actually: it almost reads like a summary of a piece of original fiction with none of the characters ever given a name or title... instead of something established as coming out of the Fables series. And you're introducing so much material at once that... well, like I said, it feels like an infodump, and a confusing, jumbled one at that.

That said, it DOES have potential. Like I said, with a little trimming and a couple of minor grammar tweaks, this would make for a fantastic prologue; I think I'll quote Roxy Hart on this one - "Always leave 'em wanting more" - and all those makeup counter ladies - "less is more". You want to tease a bit, without confusing the reader too much or forcing them to absorb too much information at once.

I would suggest not mentioning the year in the body of the letter, coincidentally; if you are dead-set on keeping it in there somewhere, I would recommend putting it up top, like people dating a letter would do. That has the double effect of not only NOT seeming like an infodump of a very random fact, but also of giving the reader a cue that it is meant to be read as a letter instead of "regular" narrative, something that I think the opening of this prologue/first chapter needs to do, since as it currently is (with no sign that it is a letter until the end), it kind of throws the reader for a bit of a loop, distracting them and making it difficult to focus on the actual content of the story.

I would also be happy (assuming I have the time, of course) to take a look at any second draft you came up with. If you have any questions, you can just PM me or whatever. I love helping other writers out on this kind of thing. :D And if I'm right and you're using Bigby in some way, I'm even happier to help out, because I've always thought that he's one of the more interesting characters from the series.
ShadowDragon2005 chapter 1 . 4/3/2007
0.0 wow...is this like a one shot or a full story?