1. I would question this as a prologue, especially in a commercial fantasy (as opposed to a literary story set in a fantasy world).

  2. I had an answer all lined up when you first said 60k (assuming 100-120k average novel length), but if that translates to just 1/3 of the way through the book, my answer changes.

  3. Just make sure that if magic/spirits are used in the murder, that the rules of your system are set in stone and available to the reader, otherwise they'll feel cheated.

  4. A trad publisher almost guarantees that the version of your book in front of the public is the best (i.e. most salable) version you can get. Their methods are industry standard, and trying to duplicate them on your own ends up butting into lack of knowledge on your end, lack of resources (because most--not all--of the best editors are already on salary at a trad publisher instead of fishing for pay-by-word gigs), and economies of scale that self-publishing can't match.

  5. For the editor's comment, I'd say it's a bell curve. Most good to great editors prefer having a fixed salary, but the amazing ones get more benefits from freelancing their work. Then, there's the lot of rookie ones whose work I cannot comment on, as I don't know all of them, but are often below the level of skill that you'd expect from a professional.

  6. Probably right, but who do you think the best ones freelance for, and how much does it cost? I'd say that their client list is pretty small and exclusive, or that you would have to sell a ton of books to afford them. That leaves trad publishers with the ones on salary, and self-publishers looking for bargains at the lower end.

  7. Very well done. Clear, concise writing with an eye for detail and a consistent voice.

  8. Try revealing your first half pseudo-villain as a minion of the princess, working on her behalf the entire time. Kill the big bad only to realize that there's a bigger bad pulling the strings...

  9. Just want to say, I was thinking about your advice this morning, and I think I've finally worked out what I need to do. Thank you!!

  10. That's great! Good luck with it.

  11. Nate Ebner. Olympian, rugby star, and selfless special teamer.

  12. I'm interested in what you consider "one-dimensional?" Usually that means that your protagonist isn't facing enough adversity, or that he/she is able to deal with adversity too quickly or easily. If your MC goes through meaningful hardships and a meaningful transformation over the course of the book then it's a fully-realized plot. You can add depth to your world and to your MC's story with additional characters or locations, but they shouldn't be obvious as "filler."

  13. This is a great response, and I think that might be part of it. I have just one POV, and the protagonist just sort of goes from A to B with some struggle, but nothing too major. He's able to overcome most of it with a slight struggle but then ends up on top. This is likely what I feel as one-dimensional or unsatisfying as I look at the outline.

  14. I think maybe the proximity thing comes from the idea that they would both face the exact same adversity, and deal with it in different ways. Otherwise, to be a mirror of your MC you would have to set up entirely new places and plot lines just to get this anti-character into the same situations. It just seemed like all of that setup was overkill for the payoff of being a reflection of your MC.

  15. As a prologue, it would probably serve the story better if you gave the reader some insight as to why Princess Cora was trying to escape. Some foreshadowing that will tie into the main story later on. Right now I couldn't tell if it was fear or determination that drove her, and who or what had brought on her need. And what are the stakes involved - either if she succeeds or if she gets caught? High enough to make her take her own life when she fails, but not made clear to the reader. Was getting locked back in her room by the guards a fate worse than death, or was it something much more frightening?

  16. The only repetition I saw was "pirouette[d]." It's a unique enough word that you probably don't want too many instances of it in a row, but there are plenty of synonyms.

  17. You seem to be more concerned about your story being character driven vs. plot driven. The fantastical elements that you mentioned would already tip it into the fantasy genre. Whether it's a sweeping epic with gods and kings, or a story of one being trying to navigate a strange world, they're all in the same bucket. That's what makes fantasy so great.

  18. Why does the attack have to be random?

  19. Thanks. I am not the OP, but have the same issue. I agree with all your points and I believe I have made sure to fix all of them in my case. But my issue is that the whole novel is in 1st person from my Mc's POV (there's a very good reason for it that which the reader finds out in the end), but there are a couple of secondary characters for whom I am using Prologue, Interludes, etc. with their POV in 3rd person. My Prologue is badass action/magic and I kept the amount of exposition as lean as humanly possible! Yet the event that takes place in that scene is vital to the book and it has to happen before the rest of the chapters. I have a lot of flashbacks, but this Prologue needs to be read before the rest of chapters for my story to achieve its goal with the reader. I have already cut everything I could with the help of my beta-readers, but I can't cut anything more without ruining the whole thing.

  20. Sounds like you've done your due diligence. If you're using these 3rd person scenes as a literary device more than a plot device, then starting the book with one is a narrative choice that's completely at your discretion.

  21. That's up to you. You know your meaning better than anyone. Trust your instincts, because you'll be in situations like this over and over again if you continue writing, and you won't want to keep coming back to Reddit for answers. That's like writing your book by committee rather than realizing your unique vision.

  22. If you use the existing names, you save effort explaining things, but you also lock yourself into accepting the readers' preconceptions about those same things. By using adjacent nomenclature, you will need to explain more clearly what the names represent, but their meanings will be entirely your own.

  23. Sounds like parts taken from Terry Brooks' Shannara, Stephen King's The Stand, and S.M. Sterling's Emberverse. There's a trope called

  24. This felt pretty disjointed, starting with a prosaic scene of an apprentice and his master, and Adeus's dreams of the future. Then the tavern scene, which led to an inexplicable jaunt outside the walls, even though it was forbidden - just to get some fresh air? The moon/roots descriptions didn't gel for me into anything I could picture, nor did the scale of a peak that he could climb in a moment but which was part of a mountain range that regularly got snow. Then the creature crashes to the ground and by touching it Adeus is transformed and transported to somewhere else? And of course the ending where he's ::spoiler:: hacked to pieces by an unknown assailant while in the body of a monster.

  25. Never said your fist scene was dull. I used prosaic to mean "commonplace" or just "normal," which is where most stories start out - in the protagonist's normal world. You could explore the relationship between Adeus and Tharan more. You've shown what Adeus dreams of being, but how does Tharan fit into it? Is he something more than just an instructor? Like a substitute father? Let it reveal something about Adeus's background. Is Tharan dying like you seemed to imply? Does Adeus know? Also, maybe reveal a little more about the world in general by talking about him getting his first chip. Does he have to take a test, or just turn 16? Does he have to travel to a guild hall for a ceremony? Is the journey short and easy, or long and fraught with peril? These normal parts of Adeus's life should be established first, so that when something upsets his normal life, we know what he's lost/given up to pursue his goals.

  26. I would tend to agree with your self-evaluation that you "could trim a page or two." The argument between the two groups, followed by the trip to the inner city, followed then by their retreat back to their starting point, seemed like it could have been shortened and made more "efficient" for lack of a better word. Change their route maybe, so they enter through one side of the city and end up at the guardhouse?

  27. What I learned is that Tolkein ruined fantasy writing for everyone. My concept started very simple, eight kingdoms each with different elements. But then I started getting into things like populations, extensive histories, religions, animals, and figures of speech. I spent several hours figuring out WHAT YEAR it is in the current book I'm writing and basically creating a history book and I haven't even made very much progress on my book.

  28. Worldbuilder's disease would exist even without Tolkein. The bad side, obviously, is the fact that it takes away from your time writing the actual story. The good side is that you have a solid foundation to build the story on, and your writing will be more robust and confident because of it. Just don't feel the need to include all of it in the final product.

  29. Normally I discourage prologues, especially when the writer hasn't finished the 100,000 or so words that come after. In this case though, your scene could work with a few adjustments.

  30. I guess the question now is, how well known was the Scholar at the time of the prologue. If he could be shown without a proper name, as a mysterious, anonymous figure, then the prologue could focus on Damien's speculations about who he is and why he's so valuable who (you never really set up the structure of who was giving Damien his orders)?

  31. Blurb critiques are fun, but sometimes frustrating. Almost like poetry, the placement of a single word can change the whole meaning. And like poetry, it's often hard to explain what's working and what isn't, since most blurbs are perfectly functional, even if they don't seem to leap off the screen. What usually ends up happening in a critique like this, is that instead of picking apart your blurb, I find myself writing my own, in my own style, just to see how I would have phrased things.

  32. Nice job. It read smoothly enough. Nice balance of exposition vs. action. The characters were real and the dynamics at all levels--Zyed's family, the Shurra (including Reda) and the city/nation as a whole--were clear and well laid out. Abbas was possibly in danger of becoming a cliché, but you've got time to redeem him. Zyed and the way you handle his story reminds me a lot of Jimmy the Hand from Raymond Feist's Riftwar books, which isn't a bad thing at all. Nice setup of your inciting incident, and a great dilemma for Zyed to resolve going forward--does he hitch his future to the vampire prince and all that might entail, or reject him as a monster?

  33. Honestly, the dialog was all over the place. Your POV character went from "Shut the fuck up!" and "I don't give a shit..." to "That's merely a misconception." There was no consistent voice to allow a reader to get a handle on the character. In such an emotionally charged atmosphere, dialog will be short, sharp, and blunt, not formal and philosophical.

  34. Great writing. Moody, but maybe a little flowery in parts. Most times a single adjective will work instead of two or three. You had some problems with tense, flipping between past and present. If this is a recounting of events done by a real character, then you need to carefully separate the parts that are current from the history. If it's an omniscient narrator, then get rid of the "we" and "our" usage.

  35. Transient Divinity or The Divine Transient

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