|Hi, my name is Bertie. I am reviewing this short story on behalf of WDC POWER REVIEWERS GROUP. These are my opinions, as such, you may take all of my suggestions or none at all. In the end, only you know how you want your work to read.
PROUD MEMBER OF WDC POWER REVIEWERS GROUP
PROUD MEMBER OF TGDI REVIEWERS GROUP
TITLE: FOURTEEN YEARS AGO IN DUSKWOOD, (PART 1)
The title is too long. It also has nothing in it that fortells the story or that intrigues the reader. That really is the purpose of a title. Try to think of what your story is about and write a title appropriate to that. You want your reader to say, "hmmm, what is this story about?"
This title makes the story look as though it was a long list of happenings fourteen years earlier.
THEME: A veteran Guardsman in the King's service meets an intruiging set of people on his watch at night.
"The routine evening fog flooded in from the hillsides at its usual time . . ."
Omit the word 'routine.' In my opinion, the word limits the reader and makes the statement mundane. If you say that it floods in at its usual time, you don't need the word 'routine'
" . . . shrouding the landscape of Duskwood . . ."
Place a period after Duskwood, begin the next sentence with 'Under'. This prevents the long, run-on sentence that you have there now.
"The heavily wooded forest surrounding the small, fatigued road was as dark as black ink, . . ."
Try this: 'A heavily wooded forest surrounded the small, fatigued road, dark as black ink.'
Your sentences are too long. For description heavy narratives like this, it is best to condense where you can to keep your reader's interest.
"distorting shape and concealing the creatures that moved stealthily along its borders, searching, sniffing, hunting."
So, the rest of the sentence would read thus: distorted shapes concealed creatures that moved stealthily along its borders, searching, sniffing, hunting.'
"An eastward wind was blowing in from the direction of Westfall, carrying with it the scent of golden wheat and sun dried hay to the edge of the forest."
'An eastward wind blew from the direction of Westfall. It carried the scent of golden wheat and sun dried hay.'
You see, if you eliminate the words 'to the edge of the forest," then the next sentence needs no changing except the tenses, where 'goes' would become 'went'. If you keep the sentences the way they are, the second sentence, which is really more important becomes redunant and less explanatory.
"Quite a ways down the road strode William Parker, that is, Guard William Parker . . ."
Omit 'that is,' and don't use his name until you use his title along with it, like this: 'Quite a ways down the road strode Guard William Parker.'
In a long narrative like this, always consider the saying, "less is more."
Your sentence structure truly is too long. Make several smaller sentences and the action will come to life with a more intense immediacy.
" . . . a large and stern faced man clad in a light protective leather garb bearing the mark of Stormwind on its breast (normally he would be in his full guard plate, however on such a long patrol it was deemed acceptable by his superiors that he wear a lighter armor for traveling purposes."
'A large, stern faced man, Parker was clad in light, protective leather garb with bore the mark of Stormwind on its breast. Normally he would be in his full guard plate, however, on such a long patrol his superiors deemed this acceptable.'
"They didn’t see it fit to give him a horse however, oh no, no horse for poor Guard Parker who was so far from his home and stuck on patrol in the God forsaken black forest in which no one wished to guard). "
Omit, 'however, oh no.' Add a period after horse. Try: There would be no horse for poor Guard Parker; he was to far from home; stuck on patrol in the God forsaken black forest which no one wished to guard.
Omit the close parenthesis.
" . . . picked up the pace of his walking a little bit . . ."
Try: picked up his walking pace. Omit 'a little bit.
"No need to take his time here,"
Place a semi-colon here to unite the two thoughts into one sentence.
". . . slowly slowing down as he convinced himself . . ."
"He chuckled slightly to himself. . ."
"(probably once a part of a fence that ran parallel to the road)"
Omit this, it is unimportant to the narrative.
". . . and shook his head slightly."
Omit slightly. This too is unimportant information.
" . . . to it as a road anymore, its cobbled stones . . ."
End the sentence with 'anymore. Begin with 'Its cobbled stones . . .'
" . . . but he wasn’t a naive and optimistic recruit who thought that something would actually be done about it." .
Omit this sentence, it not necessary to the story
"The Alliance was already spread to thin . . ."
This should be 'too' thin. Two- number, To -going to something, Too- too much of something.
"The Alliance was already spread to thin in its war against the Horde"
End your sentence here and begin with 'The Alliance'.
This keeps the sentence from being too long.
"Parker reached into his worn leather satchel that tightly hugged his right hip and began to sift through it, looking for his small pouch of tobacco (how he wished that he had been able to get some tobacco from Fras Siabi back before the recent fall of Stratholme, now if you could even find any it was being sold for an absurd price that his measly guardsman salary could never afford) and rolling papers so he could fashion himself a cigarette."
This is all one sentence and commands almost the entire paragraph. This part can be replaced by several sentences that will move the story along much better.
In example: Parker reached into his worn leather satchel that tightly hugged his right hip and began to sift through it. He looked for his pouch of tobacco. How he wished he had gotten some tobacco from Fras Siabi before the fall of Stratholme. Now, tobacco was sold at an absurd price which his measly salary could never afford. He fashioned himself a cigarette.
"He knew it was forbidden to smoke while on duty, but it wasn’t like his superiors would exactly happen to be strolling along the road in the dead of night in Duskwood."
Omit this sentence. You are correct, why should he care, and why should you make a statement about it? Instead go right to the action with "As he was in the middle of rolling his cigarette . . .". Leave in the part about the "certain woman," as it humanizes Guard Parker and gives the character depth.
" . . . cigarette and just . . ."
Place a period after cigarette and begin a new sentence with 'just' omit the 'and'.
"No answer, just the continued . . ."
Place a semi-colon after 'No answer".
" . . . although now accompanying the sound was a distant light bobbing up and down."
This sentence needs clarification. What was bobbing up and down? Was it something visual? Bobbing up and down does not necessarily make a noise.
". . . leaving the strange bouncing light . . ."
Here, you clarify the bobbing, but the reader is already confused by the previous sentence. Either explain the bobbing in the first sentence, or omit references to it in the first sentence and let the reader discover the bobbing object in the second sentence.
"He raised his sword to striking position as the light (and whatever was with it) finally broke through the fog and became legitimately visible."
Here we are confused once again, but this time by too much information. Omit the statement "(and whatever was with it)" also, omit the word 'legitimately'.
Let the next sentence reveal the small girl. The question will be raised in the reader's mind as to whether the girl emitted the light, was it magic, as you suggested, or, is something else at play?
" . . .and she almost . . ." .
Omit and, end the sentence with 'behold' and begin it with 'She'.
" . . . joyfully humming a sad sounding song, . . ."
This is a conflict of emotion. Say instead that she was 'humming a mournful song,' or, she was joyfully humming a song.'
" . . . holding her unblemished dress with crusted fingernail hands . . ."
Place a comma after crusted and place an (ed) after fingernail.
That still makes this sentence awkward. Try to find another way to say this.
" . . . the girl just looking up at him . . ."
Omit the word 'just'.
" . . . walk as wolk he noted . . ." .
Place quotation marks around the word 'wolk', as you are quoting the little girl.
"He suddenly remembered his duties as a guard."
Omit this sentence as it weakens the character of the guardsman. A veteran as he appears to be would never for one minute forget his duties.
"She hummed another stanza of that song that Parker did not know before twirling back towards him."
Try: 'She hummed a bit more as she twirled back toward him.' Try not to restate information you have already written unless it moves the story along.
“I’m out with my father (fawthur), he’s a grave digger . . ."
Since we already know that the girl has a strange accent, just write out her statements as she would say them.
In example: "I'm out here with my fawthur, he's a grave digger." When you are writing as someone speaks, spelling is used to show the differences in their accents and mis-spellings are acceptable.
" . . .what he’s doing and then when we . . ."
Omit and, make this two sentences.
". . . he’s got to go slower then me . . ."
'he's got to go slower than me.'
"He should be along shortly though . . ."
Place a comma after 'though'.
" . . . widely and battered . . ."
The word here should be 'batted' since battered means to beat something.
". . . mind having the company sir.” She smiled widely . . ."
Make a new paragraph after the girl's speech. Speech should be a separate paragraph on its own.
" . . . I wouldn’t mind.” She rocked back . . ."
do the same here as above.
"Well that’s what I call him, and . . ."
Omit this. The statement that his name is 'Daddy', gives the little girl charm. If she is not charming, if she is up to no good, then this misleads the reader and the difference in the child will be a surprise.
"Well that’s what I call him, and he doesn’t talk to other people much . . ."
Omit the and, here, and construct two sentences.
'Parker smiled at the little girl, couldn’t help but smile, as she began to hum her song again.'
Omit 'smiled at the little girl' so that the sentece reads, 'Parker couldn't help but smile atthe little girl. She began to hum that song again; a song he would come to refer to as "Andy's song."
“Oh here he comes now! Daddy! I’m over here Daddy! Do you see the light from my lantern?!”
This should be a new paragraph.
" . . . fog, and sure enough a moment later a great black mass emerged from the mist."
Omit, 'and sure enough'.
" . . . just peeking under the brim of his hat. "
Omit 'of his hat.'
"He had a large and warming grin on his face, the same grin that lined his daughter’s face, and he pulled the carriage to a halt beside the guard and his daughter."
Omit 'and' make this two sentences.
" . . . attempting to fool his daughter."
Omit either this, or "He said jokingly", it is redundant.
"(Parker thought of objecting to this, saying how dangerous it would be if she were to fall off, but decided against it. It would probably have done no good anyways)."
Omit this sentence. It is superfluous. Obviously Andy is skilled at this and would look very comfortable doing it. Therefore I don't see that any alarm would come into the Guard's mind.
“That’s right dear, as soon as possible! So sir we really must get going. I’m sorry we haven’t more time to talk, for it really is quite the lovely night, but perhaps our paths will cross again some day, and then we can talk of all manner of things and I can even show you how we prepare bodies for burial, and Andy can make us some soup for dinner because she is quite the little chef. But, alas, as I said we must be going. Take care sir! Have safety on your travels! Say goodbye to the nice man Andy.”
Eliminate the 'and' word here and make several sentences. These long run-on sentences tend to disinterest a reader.
"He faintly remembered that he had a freshly rolled . . ."
Omit the word 'faintly'.
What I am trying to do is make the action more immediate. The difference in these constructions is that when you replace the narrative with the present tense set up the action is more "in your face."
Do you see what I am attempting with your work? I am making the action more immediate so that you are more interesting to your reader. I am not attempting to re-write your story, only aid you in making it better. You don't want to bog your reader down with long, over-blown sentences. This is an action story and action is quick and easy to read, or it is not read at all.
SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND PUNCTUATION:
No problems with punctuation.
"She said with a deep courtesy . . ."
This word is spelled curtsy. Courtesy is something you extend to help a person along.
MY OVERALL IMPRESSION: There is an eerie quality to this story that stands out despite the need for editing. I would capitalize on that and amplify the darkness. To do that, follow the instructions stated so that there is less talk and more action. Make the reader feel the "now" in the story, especially when Andy comes on the scene. There is something unsettling about a little girl helping her dad to dig graves. The idea is counter to what we suppose little girls are supposed to do. This amplifys the eerieness and heightens our acceptance of the strangeness.
MY FAVORITE PARTS: My favorite things about this story is the foreboding that is evident. Guard Parker is a veteran but still afraid of the area he is stationed in. That point puts the reader ill at ease, and with the introduction of Andy the creepiness seeps through and is amplified.
MY SUGGESTIONS: Take your time and revise. This is a worthwhile tale and filled with dark moodiness that enlivens the scenes. You have done a good job, it is only a little wordy. That, however is easily fixed. If you do a re-write, I would love to read it and give you any more hints that will help. Keep me posted.
Thank you for permitting me to review your work. Keep writing and offering your work for review. Blessings, Bertie