Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Calling All Critiques: Entry #10 - Guardian of the Cursed Crown

Thank you to everyone who has shared their work for us to critique. We hope that our feedback is useful.

Also, please note that we still have spots open: Submit your first 500 words to Critiques@Saboviec.com for inclusion in this week’s blog posts. We need it by tonight at 8 p.m. if you want to be included tomorrow and spots are still open.

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Guardian of the Cursed Crown

by Jevon Knights - http://www.knightswrites.com/
Genre: Fantasy

    The stench of filth offended Larsen’s nose, overcoming odours of decay and moss in the unkempt cemetery. It easily identified the person who approached from behind, stepping weak like the light of a lone candle in a cave. Larsen gave no sign of interest, knowing that there was no threat. “Still mourning, my king?” said a cracked voice.

    Even though Larsen didn't want anyone to see him in this state, his face hidden deep under the cowl of a patched brown cloak, he also didn't care to play the game of pretending to be someone else. His sorrow was far more important and he just wanted to be left alone. “Malick is your king now,” said Larsen. “Go and serve him in whatever way you wish.”

    “There are many who still think of you as their king, you know,” said the voice.

    “And there are many more who don’t, so what of it?” said Larsen with an annoyed tone.

    “My lord, you had everything a man could dream of: wealth, power, fame. Your name was praised all across the lands. You could have gotten any woman with just the point of a finger. But you traded it all for an old forgotten cemetery. Could she really have meant that much?”

    At these words Larsen turned and grabbed the throat of the stranger with one hand and drew his sword from under his cloak with the other. The man dropped his crooked walking stick as Larsen slammed him into the trunk of a tree, tall and leafless, one of many that grew among the waist-high grass. The tree shook with the impact, and Larsen pointed his sword at the man's jaw.

    The man wore a hooded cloak, black and tattered. There was a strange rune on his old and wrinkled face, imprinted just under his right eye. His grey hair and beard made a long and matted tangle. “I know who you are,” spat Larsen. “I’ve seen you before, beggar, and I smelled you coming from a mile away. What business have you here? If you’ve come just to mock me, you’ve made a grave mistake.” Being drunk on his sorrow and wanting compensation for this mockery, Larsen pushed tip of his sword against the beggar’s neck, revealing a bead of blood.

    The beggar clenched Larsen’s wrists as he tried to pry himself free, his legs flailing. “My lord, I was simply wondering if you were willing to go just a bit further, is all,” said the beggar as he gasped for air.

    “What are you babbling about?” said Larsen as he loosened his grip on the beggar’s throat just enough to allow him to speak more clearly. “If you have a point, you better make it while I’m still merciful.”

    “The illness that infected Gwen, I’ve seen it before,” said the beggar. “And it can be cured.”

    “Cured!” bellowed Larsen, feeling an instant hatred building in his gut. “Gwen is dead. How can you talk about a cure?”

There’s More to Critique!

After leaving your comments, don’t go yet! That is, if you have time, we cordially invite you to give more feedback on some of our other brave souls. Head on over to one or more of these blogs to see some more great entries:
Thanks again to everyone participating in this critique event!


Michelle Clover said...

This one definitely got my attention. I love the fantasy genre, both in reading and in writing. The mysterious beggar's cure for the illness, will it cure death as well? I really liked that part and would love to delve further into this story.

The only real issue I had with this was the confusion of past and present tense usage within the text. Most of it is written in past tense, but occasionally, there is a slip into the present. For example, "Even though Larsen didn't want anyone else to see him in this state...". It should have read, "...to see him in that state".

Also, the line, "If you have a point, you better make it while I'm still merciful" probably should have read, "If you have a point, you better make it while I'm still feeling merciful."

Overall, amazing job. I can't wait to read more.

Brian Basham said...

I'm loving the concept of this one. You also mix your description, dialogue, and your character's thoughts very well. The hook is compelling, and draws the reader in. This piece seems to slide by quickly, leaving the reader wanting more. This is my favorite piece out of the ones I have read thus far out of all the submissions, but I haven't read them all just yet.

My only real suggestion would be to tighten up a few of the sentences. For example "Even though Larsen didn't want anyone to see him in this state" could be cut out. In place of that phrase you can reword the sentence to say "Though the cowl of his brown patch cloak hid his grief, he didn't care to..." There are a few places like this where you can tighten up the language without losing any of the charm or meaning. Especially in the spots where you use two commas.

Samantha Saboviec said...

I love the first line. This starts off strong, but I feel like the second line could use some work. “It easily identified” is a passive construction. The second half of the sentence starts, “… stepping weak like …” “Weak” should be “weakly” because this is an adverb, but I think you could do better. What does “stepping weakly” look like? Is the person limping? Tiptoeing? Dragging along?

And then in the third sentence, “there was no threat” is also passive. Shine up that first paragraph—I really think the ideas conveyed are a great opener and wouldn’t change them, just the language.

Some of the passive language continues throughout, but I won’t point it all out. I would just encourage turning some of those less exciting words into action verbs and taking out extraneous words.

The strong interest continues to the end. I'm interested in the idea of the king hiding from the world and then being confronted by a beggar who is going to raise his love from the dead. Yes, more, please!