I am writing this as part of the TGDI’s spotlight review forum. Thank you for sharing your writing, and for choosing to write in my favourite genre – fantasy fiction. As usual, this is just my opinions – no offence is intended by anything I say and it is at your discretion as to how much of my blabbering you choose to listen to.
Plot (as I understood it):
A teenage boy unexpectedly wins glory in a grand, medieval tournament. For his reward he requests a knighthood from the king and is told it shall be his, on the condition that he rescues princess Eli who has been kidnapped. The boy sets off and finds the fair maiden in a strange tower which has giant’s stairs and midget’s doors. As they begin their escape, the boy receives a static shock which wakes him up - rousing from his sleep it becomes apparent that the entire escapade had been a dream which he soon forgets. However, the reader soon sees that the reality is reflecting the dream world when a new girl named Eli arrives at his school.
This has the potential to be a very adventurous tale and there were several points that stood out for me (see Best Bits).
I think the story maybe suffers in its current state from using too many well-established tropes (‘boy becomes a knight’, ‘save the helpless princess’ and ‘it was all a dream’ to name a few) – although it is great to use tropes to engender a sense of familiarity in the reader, there is also a fine line between that and cliché (I certainly struggle with this in my own writing).
Additionally, for my taste, each individual part could have done to be a little longer and included more narrative description to set the scene. I also would have enjoyed more character description and perspective to relate to Felix and the others a bit better –the best way I have found to flesh out a character is to think how you or a friend would react to a situation and what they might be thinking.
Finally, I found rescuing the princess to be quite anti-climactic; I was expecting that the story was building to a showdown with Eli’s captor – but we never met her captor... Unless the enemy king was, in fact, the evil bunny?
I quite liked the fact that you didn’t explain how a boy without armour or a sword had won the tournament – it should have been my first clue that it was a dream, but I didn’t pick up on it.
I also liked the nature of the dark tower with the enormous steps and the tiny door – it kept me, as the reader, guessing as to what kind of creature/bad-guy I was expecting to be encountered (despite the fact we never did find out).
My favourite bit, though, was the line “When Felix landed on the step with his armour, he looked at it with regret to leave it behind, but he knew it was more important to get Eli to safety than to wear some shiny armour”. This sentence was quite touching and has the potential to serve as a moral, or grander point, to take from your story – that obtaining the trappings of a knight doesn’t matter half so much as obtaining the sense of honour – if this idea was developed further I think it could transform your tale into more of a fable.
Gremlins (spelling, grammar and bits that I found odd):
I will start with a list of simple corrections:
•‘He won the tournament that was going on during the feast and earned right to sit at the table of the lords’ = ‘He had won the tournament held during the feast, and had now earned the right to sit at the table of the lords’
•Suprised = Surprised
•‘Felix, eating quite messy’ = ‘Felix, eating quite messily’
•‘he had to rescue the king’s daughter who was captured by ...’ = ‘he had to rescue the king’s daughter who had been captured by ...’
•‘he fulfilled his wish, and now he can save a princess from an evil lord’ = ‘he had fulfilled his wish, and now he could save a princess from an evil lord’
•‘enthousiasticly’ = ‘enthusiastically’
•‘Slowly he reached the base of the tower’ = ‘Slowly he approached the base of the tower’
•‘The stairs were as high as his height’ = ‘Each step was as tall as himself’
•‘...rest in the middle of one of the huge stairs’ = ‘...rest in the middle of one of the huge steps’
•‘atleast’ = ‘at least’
•‘The key was still on the lock’ = ‘The key was still in the lock’
•‘He said in a trusting and comforting way’ = ‘He said in a trustworthy and comforting way’
•‘silence, only broken by Eli’s happy sobs’ = ‘a silence that was only broken by Eli’s happy sobs’
•‘occured’ = ‘occurred’
•‘and there were tears everywhere at her face’= ‘ and tears covered her face’ or ‘tears streamed across her face’
•‘it seemed there were only a few steps were left’ = ‘it seemed there were only a few steps left’
•‘still slightly reminding some of the things that happened’ = ‘still somewhat remembering the events of his adventure’
Some of the less simple things that I would probably look to change include:
• Repetition of words in a sentence, e.g. ‘The time was the medieval times’, ‘ There were no guards and Felix remembered the guard’s words’. Try and look for synonyms to avoid this as it can be jarring to read – it is an easy mistake to make; I usually pick up quite a few instances when I come to check over my own work.
• Occasional apparent contradictions e.g. the distance issue that Yuuyake pointed out (you also state near the end that ‘Felix told her that they still are some minutes away from her father ‘ which adds to this confusion). Also you state in one sentence that “A boy named Felix Erchoq with the age of fifteen was the talk of the day” and in another “The lords [...] ignored the boy and were talking to the king about who gets the newly conquered castle of Desiva” – is Felix being talked about or ignored?
As Yuuyake also said in their review (in such a comprehensive manner that I shall not go over the same ground, but merely lend my support to all that was suggested) utilising all of the senses and showing rather than telling would add a great deal of depth to your work.
This review is now longer than the story it is reviewing, which is a little excessive, hence I will stop. As I said before, I think the story shows promise, but I do think it needs some work. All I can say is keep at it! Keep writing, keep reading and, once again, keep writing – practice is the key to everything. Thank you again for sharing your work – I look forward to reading more of it in the future!