Y/A fantasy novel start.

redzwritez

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Hi all, I've been working on my first novel's start but I'm not sure about what I've written so far. I can't tell if it works as is or if it's a bit all over the place for readers. I've not written something with so many perspectives before so I'm also worried it seems a bit disconnect. Any feedback would be great.


*For some context. This is the first book of what would hopefully be a series but it's very early days. It follows a group of magical teens/young adults as they try to find out what creature has been terrorising the small town they live next to. It primarily focuses on Emmy, an identical twin with air magic (manipulating air, flying when he's brave enough etc.) who has been sent with his brother to stay with family friends. This is because the family friends have a house that's being used to protect and preserve magical things. (Items, creatures and occasionally people). I've also got parts from the creature and Jinx's perspectives. So, for some background on them, the creature has been summoned for the first time in centuries and, at this point, that's all that's known about it. Jinx is one of Emmy's old friends who lives in the house/sanctuary with her adopted mother who runs the place.

Hopefully that's not too much information.




The world had changed. The creature found itself weaving through alleys that should have been fields, bashing wispy strands of dust off walls and windows. Dark windows in dark homes that sat sleeping beneath the void’s twinkling gems. They glinted down at the land, battled against rows of metal sticks, each holding a glass of unwavering flame. A sorcerer’s work surely. How else would they go on like that. Never dimming. Never flittering in the breeze or burning up until the glass panes cracked. But what sorcerer would do such a thing? Make rows and rows of immortal light. Light that battered and bruised the nature. Light that burned over flagstones and cobbles until Celryssian the great constellation drew back into the void.

Things were simpler up there.

Cats scamper under the creature’s gaze but it did not watch them way up there. Now, they hissed and darted under it. Feral things slunk behind the brown stones. Fat, fluffy tails raced to doors and windows and desperately yawled. Up there, the human homes, structures of grey and reddish brown, looked bigger. They were growing, the creature knew that, but down here they were the height of trees. They towered over it like the hill tops towered over them.

They had not taken everything though. Not yet.

The fae or spirits or whatever had took the mourne lands, the creature couldn’t keep up they had kept those areas. Humans would not build there. The only thing that changed out there was normal change. New trees swishing through the wind as if they thought they were still the oldest things there. New animals and reclaimed structures from back when the line in the sand was constantly being snuffed out by cheeky things that would make their homes and their towers wherever they wanted to. Thank you very much.

The creature breezed over the wilderness. It soared over the now blackened road like it was just another dark cloud in the sky’s moonlit collection. Over the road where the magics had always been, one way or the next. Where carts were pulled, the blood was shed in battles, dragons had blew by before they packed their bags for the last time and, last it checked, the livestock walked in front of their master. Where the fields were now flattened to farms. Where the wild grass and flowers now played host to a big, lone house. To a light flicking on in its window. And then another and another. And an impish flash of colour.

Joyful whispers pulled in every grain of dust, every piece of matter the creature had been able to clung together. Every inch of the cloud line form it had just about manifested in jumped and ached with nostalgic bursts. It looked along the road again. On and on until a movement caught its gaze. One, two figures. Three. Some things never changed.


*******


Jinx’s fingers tingled. She’d say it was the cold but her feet were jittering, sparks hopping up and down her toes like Jumping Jinnies. It hurt, the cold. It nipped at her fingers, clawed up the bones in her bare feet. She pulled her coat tighter over her shirt but it was a coat not a cloak. The black fabric barely covered her legs. At least, Jinx thought, she hadn’t changed into her pyjamas.

Her mother might have been one stray sock away from developing an involuntary twitch over her messy ways but sometimes it was just easier. Jinx teleported in and out like a pinball caught set off at the rise of the sun, the sound of the paperboy. The twist of something off.

Something not quite right. It pulled her stomach into knots. It snapped her eyes open. It ran up her spine like an orchestra of fleas nipping and pricking every hair on the back of her neck upright. It was like remembering something important and immediately forgetting again except when Jinx remembered things like that her knees jerked up. The violet rays flashed before her eyes and, before Jinx could even think to blink, her feet were touching floorboards. Her toes were hugging a carpet. She didn’t have time to flick on her lamp and think over the muffled whines from the hole in the wall they called AJ’s half of the room. Jinx poked the head out into the hallway. Nothing. Closed doors. Switched off lights.

Silence.

You never got silence in Jinx’s house unless it was truly a peaceful night.

Jinx shuffled her feet over grime and shards of smashed in potholes, back towards the battered old phone box in the vague hope that its dim, yellow light could make the black abyss at the end of the road clearer like a torch pointed out into the night’s air. Black brambles stuck firm in earth, clambering up the trees across the road and walling in Creedy’s field. The only thing that dared face into their home. It all just sat there, sifting through the crisp breeze. Backing off into the bottomless velvet sea that hung back almost as ominously as the hills. Almost because, as ever present as it was and as many accidents as there were out there, the sea didn’t loom. It didn’t stare every inch of land down like a principle looking down their nose at delinquents in ties. Jinx thought about the hills again. She glanced up at the masses of land shrouded in the night and the mist that hung over the tips of them.

Maybe, she thought.

Ida’s reading light flick on. AJ thought finally to switch one on in the turret of their tower. Jinx looked to her mother’s side of the house, the side where only she and the empty room slept on, and then Tino echoed into her ears.

“They’re gone!”


********


Emmy and Nixie were mistaken for vampires with the blood in their faces but with it drained away they were zombies. At least it felt that way. Emmy tried to kick his brain back into gear but it wouldn’t budge. His mouth was too busy fighting the urge to tremble to try and speak to the … the thing. His eyes stared with Nixie's, two sets of ice blue rings transfixed on two beady green eyes. Maybe it's frog, a optimistic voice squeaked at the back of Emmy's brain. Frogs were weird. Frogs could be all kinds of colours and sizes and maybe some were different shapes. Maybe some walked on two webbed feet. Maybe their heads were held up from their bodies on short, thin necks. Maybe their mouths full of teeth. Who were they to say frogs couldn’t chew if they really wanted to?

“Is it,” Emmy dared to whisper. “Like a little animal? Like-like something from a pond? L-like-like a, err … a toad or ...”
“What toads have you been looking at?” Nixie hissed.

Part of Emmy wanted to look at his brother. To shoot him a sharp glare, a sneering glance but the beady eyes flittered like an inmate waiting for a watchtower's light to trickle off their cell. One set of webbed fingers, garnished with four tiny claws, shook over the old leather bound book. The fingers curled through the air as if begging to reach out and snatch at it. It would have it the second Emmy looked away, wouldn’t it? It would snatch it and disappear to whatever realm things like it lived in. Emmy would be apologising to ancestors for a lifetime and there’d always be one still holding a grudge by the time he kicked the bucket. He thought of snatching the book again. He thought of nudging Nixie but when it was clear this thing only cared about the book his interested had really died down. Emmy was sure he was still spooked by it but it was a slimy, greenish demon that only wanted one thing.

“Why’s he doing that?” Emmy whispered as calm as he could with the amphibian face curling its top lip back from rows of fine pointed teeth.
“He’s angry,” Nixie said.
“Why?”
“He really wants the book, Em.”
“Tough! It’s family book!”
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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Perhaps you could make Jinx's part more linear? I get the sense that you started in the middle and then went back to why she's standing barefoot in the street. Is it literal teleportation? I get the sense that she sleeps in her clothing for convenience because she starts moving around in the morning without being properly awake.

I started getting really lost at the toad-demon, like I didn't get right away that it was in the room and they weren't trying to explain it to someone else.

I did like the part with the old thing. I get the sense that it lived among the stars and was distant enough to barely notice what humans were doing.
 

tinkerdan

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I liked this.
I liked the images.
Or at least I think I did after I did some internal editing.
What I mean is, for example in the first paragraph::


The world had changed. The creature found itself weaving weaved through alleys that should have been be fields, bashing bashed wispy strands of dust off walls and windows. Dark windows in dark homes that sat sleeping slept beneath the void’s twinkling gems. that They glinted down at the land and battled against rows of metal sticks, each holding a glass of unwavering flame. A sorcerer’s work surely. How else would they go on like that. Never dimming. Never flittering were they never dimmed, never flittered in the breeze or burning burned up until the glass panes cracked. But what sorcerer would do such a thing? Make rows and rows of immortal light . Light that battered and bruised the nature, . Light that burned over flagstones and cobbles until Celryssian the great constellation drew back into the void.

[This line below confused me:

They glinted down at the land, battled against rows of metal sticks, each holding a glass of unwavering flame.

: because I was not sure if this was the gems or the dark windows that glinted. It might seem obvious however the windows could be glinting the light from the gems since glint could be direct light or reflection. I went with the gems being the things that glinted.

Then this:

Celryssian the great constellation

: First I could find no Celryssian constellation; however more importantly it might want to read.

Celryssian, the great constellation(depending on whether it is the one great constellation) or Celryssian, The Great Constellation—if it is another name for it.

Or if neither maybe it should be:: the great Celryssian constellation.

Altogether it might read like this

The world had changed. The creature weaved through alleys that should be fields, bashed wispy strands of dust off walls and windows. Dark windows in dark homes slept beneath the void’s twinkling gems that glinted down at the land and battled against rows of metal sticks, each holding a glass of unwavering flame. A sorcerer’s work surely. How else were they never dimmed, never flittered in the breeze or burned up until the glass panes cracked. But what sorcerer would do such a thing? Make rows and rows of immortal light that battered and bruised the nature; that burned over flagstones and cobbles until the great Celryssian constellation drew back into the void.]
This whole piece could use editing for clarity and a few problems with grammar.
The above example is not the worst that is here because there were many confusing sentences.
With a bit more clarity the images you are building could really pop out.
There are probably better ways to sort things out than what I did here.
Keep writing
 

redzwritez

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Jan 26, 2022
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I liked this.
I liked the images.
Or at least I think I did after I did some internal editing.
What I mean is, for example in the first paragraph::



This whole piece could use editing for clarity and a few problems with grammar.
The above example is not the worst that is here because there were many confusing sentences.
With a bit more clarity the images you are building could really pop out.
Perhaps you could make Jinx's part more linear? I get the sense that you started in the middle and then went back to why she's standing barefoot in the street. Is it literal teleportation? I get the sense that she sleeps in her clothing for convenience because she starts moving around in the morning without being properly awake.

I started getting really lost at the toad-demon, like I didn't get right away that it was in the room and they weren't trying to explain it to someone else.

I did like the part with the old thing. I get the sense that it lived among the stars and was distant enough to barely notice what humans were doing.

There are probably better ways to sort things out than what I did here.
Keep writing
Thank you both. I was worried parts weren't flowing very well and that might be because of things like clarity being an issue. I need to get better at explaining things in parts like Jinx's but this feedback is really helpful.
 

Stable

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I liked a lot of your descriptions of real things, "Fat, fluffy tails raced to doors and windows and desperately yawled." For example.

The descriptions of more abstract, world-buildy parts were tricky for me to understand, so much so that I found it hard to follow the story. "The fae or spirits or whatever had took the mourne lands, the creature couldn’t keep up they had kept those areas." For example. I don't know what a mourne land is, and some grammar seems to be missing to help me with the sentence.
 

redzwritez

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I liked a lot of your descriptions of real things, "Fat, fluffy tails raced to doors and windows and desperately yawled." For example.

The descriptions of more abstract, world-buildy parts were tricky for me to understand, so much so that I found it hard to follow the story. "The fae or spirits or whatever had took the mourne lands, the creature couldn’t keep up they had kept those areas." For example. I don't know what a mourne land is, and some grammar seems to be missing to help me with the sentence.
Thank you, it's good to know where the description is clear and where it isn't. I maybe need more practice at building worlds to avoid confusing descriptions.
 

Stable

Watching you from upside down
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Messages
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Thank you, it's good to know where the description is clear and where it isn't. I maybe need more practice at building worlds to avoid confusing descriptions.
I don't think it's the world-building itself you need to practice, just its description. Can I suggest trying to describe those things more concretely, as you've done in your other descriptions? You know what a mourne land is, for example, but the reader needs to have that knowledge emerge from the text (without an infodump), unless it's something purposely mysterious.
 

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