First page critique

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Welcome my friends to the first first page slaughter. Ahem, critique. Sorry about that. Seriously though, I plan to offer my feedback, but I am interested in yours. I’ve got four weeks to do these at this point, so we will double up on a couple of days, but today is all Firn. You may or may not agree with me, so feel free to offer your opinions. I hope this critique will be constructive. I’ll put my thoughts in square brackets. I apologize in advance for being horribly blunt. I try to be tactful, but blunt usually wins out. Thank you Firn for being willing to play.

 

ANOTHER SWORD by Firn C. Hyde

 

Chapter One

 

Smoke curls [present tense instantly makes me nervous. It’s not that you can’t carry it off, but a lot of readers hate reading it and it may turn off an editor before they read a full line] against the stars like blood in water. [I dig that image] My horse dances underneath me, snorting in fear, but I rein him in and stare. That unnatural plume of smoke has no place here in this still summer midnight. And there’s only one thing I can think of that would create it…

 

[as first paragraphs go, it’s okay, but it doesn’t really hook the reader, and doesn’t offer anything compelling to make us to keep reading. Here’s why. The horse is dancing (sounding joyful) and supposedly in fear. Contradiction that. Then your character just stares. The smoke is unnatural and has no place—redundant. The last line doesn’t do anything to offer real tension or suspense. The paragraph doesn’t offer character or tension or real interest.]

 

The reptilian shape lifts above the dark hills and writhes in the air, its silhouette cutting a sharp black hole in the star-studded sky. Batlike wings spread on either side of its long lithe body, a spike-tipped tail following the sinuous motion of the beast, deadly claws groping for balance as it gains altitude.

I’m safely hidden in the forest and downwind of the creature, but my heart still does a nasty little somersault in my chest. Dragon!

 

[The reptilian shape? What shape? You’ve not mentioned anything like that and it’s out of the blue.  A sharp black hole? Suggest a round shape and I don’t think that’s what you’re going for. The tension is still not particularly real here. The character seems totally uninvolved and unimpacted by the dragon. The fear isn’t believable. Plus, being in the forest suggests that he shouldn’t be able to see so far.]

 

The dragon swoops again and dives behind the hill, and I know that I’m probably the only Arishean alive who knows about it. It was flying low enough that the tall crest of the ridge on my right will have hidden it from the guards at Ardara, our capital. I look up at the ridge that hides the castle I’ve called home for the past eight years, fear prickling in my blood.

 

[don’t buy the fear. And why the only one alive? There’s no real action, no real threat, nothing to really draw a reader into the story]

 

Then the hills explode. Big as houses, spewing smoke, their ponderous claws tearing at the sky, a battalion of monstrous beasts climbs into the air. These make the first dragon look like a lizard; it must have been a scout. These are for battle, giant spikes protruding from their backs, the tiny figures of their riders clinging on between the spikes.

 

Correction. Dragons!

 

[cut that second paragraph. There ought to be visceral reaction. I don’t really have a sense of dragon size or how many or the real threat. Part of it is that I don’t care anything about anything in this world. I’m okay with dragons eating everybody or whatever their threat is. You need to make your reader care about something and feel the threat.]

 

Tariq tugs at the reins and snorts, shifting uneasily. Like me, he’s never seen a dragon before, but his instincts are telling him that it’s not a friendly thing. Unfortunately, it’s more than just instinct that makes me nervous. Those things shouldn’t be anywhere near here. Where there’s a dragon there’s a Bahaduryan controlling it, and they’re even worse than their scaly mounts.

 

[super mild reaction. Feels like he just saw a few mosquitoes come out of the woodwork. Underwhelming. Plus whether or not you’ve seen scary predator, instincts will tell you to flip out, I should think. In fact the dragons would be something that the horse would probably try to go raving mad about, even though he is a trained war horse. The last sentence doesn’t make sense to me in this context. Why introduce that idea at all?]

 

“Bet I know why it’s here, though,” I whisper to Tariq. His neat, black-edged ear flicks back to catch my voice. “We must be, what, two leagues from Ardara. Ariella’s Day. The Royal Family will all be in the hippodrome watching the midnight joust.” I snort. “I knew it was a stupid idea, but just because it’s been done every year for five hundred years means they’ve got to go on doing it.” I turn the horse’s head east, towards Ardara, and nudge him into a trot.

 

[it’s a bit info dumpy (or a lot) and he just sort of walks off in the direction of apparent danger, but no sane idea of why he might do that. Plus no urgency. It’s more like he said, well, gotta get to the grocery store now.]

 

I can’t really say that I have a plan. I force myself to stay calm, to breathe, to resort to cold calculation instead of emotions and the panic that comes with them. Those are Bahaduryan without a doubt – Bahadurya has been at war with Arishea for hundreds of years. They must be members of the Bahaduryan warrior elite, the feared Ghalib. It makes sense for them to make a beeline for the capital. Their target is almost certainly the King, without whom Arishea will fall apart.

 

[info dump and I don’t care. I don’t know these people and right now, I’m rooting for the dragons. I don’t know why your character says he cares. I don’t buy the fear. There’s nothing to back it up but what he says. No showing.  Who is this guy? Why should your reader care about him?]

 

And I’m the only thing standing between him and the Bahaduryan battalion. I’m the only one who can warn him before it’s too late.

 

[yawn. Okay, that wasn’t nice. But I think it’s accurate. Your reader wants to feel worried and be carried along on a tide of action and emotion and impending horror. There’s nothing here of that.]

 

Dragons breathe fire and have impenetrable scales; their only vulnerabilities are their eyes, bellies and wings, and even if you get past the dragon you have its rider – a Vulture – to deal with. They’re master swordsmen and dead accurate (literally) with a crossbow. Facing one of those, I’m in trouble. Facing a battalion, I’m toast.

 

[info dump]

 

I’m also extremely stupid, so I urge Tariq into a canter. War dragons are big and slow and Tariq is the fastest horse in Arishea, so my only chance is to outrun them to Ardara and raise the alarm and die afterwards. Of course, I’ll probably die long before I get there, but I guess I’ll just have to take my chances. My options are limited.

 

[I don’t really believe the voice here, but I do like it. It’s the first of the personality showing through. You need to bring this to the forefront sooner. Plus all this thinking slows your pacing. You need to drop less info in throughout here in terms of thinkiness, and find ways to let it drop in in smaller pieces. Like what if you started this with him running into a bad guy up front? Killing him? Maybe killing the scout? And then the rest arrive? Start with some action to really grab your reader]

 

I hear the whoosh as the dragons pull out of their slow circling and glance over my shoulder to see them file into ranks and head purposefully for Ardara, still below the crest of the ridge. Even if the night was bright enough for the Arishean guards to see them, they’re still behind the ridge’s protection. Thinking time is over. Acting time is now.

 

[why has he been waiting at all? Why were they circling? I had no idea they were really. I thought they’d already headed off.]

“Go!” I gasp, clapping both heels into Tariq’s sides. He surges into a gallop, breaking cover and skimming up the steep, silver slope of the ridge ahead of the dragons, snorting with each stride as he climbs. His hooves don’t hammer, they fly, touching the ground simply for the fun of it. He flattens out, black mane lashing against my gloved wrists, and accelerates like a diving falcon.

 

[action at last! And well described. You should have put that right up front. A stronger, visceral reaction. Except for the ‘simply for the fun of it.’ Doesn’t fit here at all. Not in this context. Also, not sure I buy that he accelerates like a diving falcon. It makes him sound like a super horse, and so far you’ve not made seem beyond a war horse, even if he is a good one.]

 

The spring wind rips back the hood of my cloak and blows through my hair, making my head feel cold. I wish I’d thought to bring a helmet. But I’m just a first-year squire riding back to knight school after the holidays – probably the only one brave/stupid enough to do so in the dark at new moon – so all I have is a hauberk.

 

[the spring wind does that? Or is is the wind caused by the speed of the run? He’s thinking helmet? He’s a squire? To this point he’s sounded sort of seasoned and knowledgeable. I totally don’t buy this. It totally doesn’t fit for me]

 

So the upshot for me is this: not enough character, not enough action, not enough tension. Too much info-dumping, and too much contradiction.

 

I think you need to put your character right into action. Maybe having him run from a dragon and trying to get away. Maybe killing one, though he’s never seen one. He’s entirely too calm for a mere squire. Until the last bit, I thought he was a seasoned/jaded warrior. Maybe a merc who didn’t feel too obligated to warn anybody. I thought he could easily ride off without doing anything. No skin off his nose.

 

Now that I’ve said all that, I think you’re getting close. You’ve got good description and clearly a good sense of adventure to come.  So, questions for me? Anybody else have thoughts? Anybody think I’m

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25 comments to First page critique

  • Very similar reaction to the ending – now we find out he is a squire? Totally changed the image I was forming in the head. Need to get hints of who and what he is earlier in the story. Also agree he is way too passive at the beginning. The trickiest thing in the world – when does the story actually start. He is telling the story in first person. If he was telling this story in a bar, after surviving the day, year and half a lifetime what would he be saying.

    “When I first saw the dragon rise, its black shadow cutting a hole in the night sky…”
    or maybe
    “I was gathering wood for the castle, being the lowliest and youngest of the squires. I erroneously thought of myself higher than I was and was complaining the whole time to the Patrick, the warhorse I was tasked with excising that day.”

    He would either (1) establish his emotions to get the audience transfixed or (2) draw them in by identification – the “you have all done this”. The sitting back and relaying what was seen – well, that is an observation report to your knight. (Sorry, I am assuming a “he” – and that hasn’t been established yet either. That is going to slap people a little in their main character picture.)

    I agree with Diana Pharaoh Francis about the “dancing” and “fun”. I also had a problem with “still summer midnight” – it reads either it is still summer or it is still midnight, not what you mean of a still night.

    Where the scene is starting – at the beginning of the attack – is great. I think this is the scene the novel should start at. Telling it in present tense is going to be difficult, trying to limit to what the character sees and understands for himself in that moment. Just watch out for the info dump – because people do not info dump in their own heads. They remember what they need for that exact moment.

    You strength is images – like blood in water, the dragon using claws to climb in the air, etc. Take these images and make them more immediate to the main character, more what he would think as a squire, more emotional. And your story will sing, call, and draw the reader in for a day of reading.

  • sagablessed

    First, let me say mea culpa to Firn if is reading this, as well as to all MW people. I suck at communication via interwebz. So please read this as a critique I would have given and received via my writers’ group: without intended malice or being a general snozzwanger. We re-write some of a work to show how different writers do it, and to help us become better. Moving on.

    I think you are spot on, Diana. While I agree the images are neat, action is needed, and more of who this person is via the action. And the contradictions are offsetting. My second biggest issue after present tense is the introspection:ie why the Royal couple are wherever they are. If you see a dragon, your first thought might be “I am crunchy with self-made ketchup. I need new underwear.” 😉

    To be honest, I had a hard time following this. One issue was the massive amount of new names/places etc. Why are they important? Info dumps pulled me away from what is happening.

    I love the imagery. Very nice descriptions. “…like blood in water” is one of the best. Gives the reader a thrill knowing something dangerous is coming.

    I agree with Erin in a way. Start with the charge or first sight of the dragon/s.
    Another way to open?

    My duties as a squire left me free time in the mornings to exercise my gelding.
    (There we establish who or at least what position in life the character holds, and why /she is out.)

    Normally a placid beast, today he was skittish: cantering around, nostrils flaring, eyes a touch wild. Looking up at the pre-dawn sky, a shadow cut a bat shaped hole in the stars. Flame and smoke swirled across the heavens like blood in water.
    (First sentence here establishes something abnormal. It is a set up to what might be happening. Second is Firn’s wonderful descriptions and introduction to the danger. I wish such wording came easily to me. Here, Firn, you have a gift!)

    Now this only my style of writing, and not very good at that. Your style, Firn, will of course be different. Make us feel the squire’s terror. You can do it.

  • Hepseba ALHH

    First, Firn, thank you so much for putting your writing out there. I love revisions as they can teach us so much, but the critique part that comes first can be really brutal, and you’re a brave soul for doing this.

    I too think the descriptions are great. They would keep me reading this longer than usual despite the who-what-why-ness of the opening.

    But yes, you need to completely excise all info dumps. Save a draft of this in another folder and then just delete everything Diana marked as info-dump. Those things don’t make us care about what’s going on and we don’t really need to know them right now (we really don’t). As Edmund discussed in an excellent post a ways back, we create tension by doling out bits of information at a time (though we always provide the things the reader *needs* to know). For example, if scary soldiers are part and parcel with the dragons, then we can find out about them *when* the MC needs to deal with them, and the way you add in this *new* piece of information can give us more of the character’s voice, e.g., “Oh yeah, killing a dragon was never enough. Next you had to get past the cross-bow-wielding sociopath riding it.” (or whatever works for your character)

    I know that the main reason you have your info dumps is that you want the readers to know the stakes, but a much more engaging way to tell us those is to use character voice and reaction. For example, you see the dragons, you see which way they’re headed, and then you jump into character-thought mode, which will vary wildly depending on the MC. My (rather rough) example:

    Oh my stars in heaven. The King and Queen! All those people. I’ll never warn them in time. My hands shake as I yank the reigns to turn my horse’s head, then slam my heels into his sides for full gallop. I have to try.

  • This is lovely, Di, and Firn, you are brave. And yes, action on the first page, then info sprinkled throughout, not dumped. You want to tease us.
    DO NOT give up. Rewrite!

  • I’m with Faith – don’t give up Firn! Lots of potential here. I have one of these critiques coming up too, and will soon feel your pain. We can get through this together!

  • khernandez

    Wow, this is a tremendously useful post!! As a newbie I find this type of subject extremely helpful.

    Firn, kudos to you for being the brave guinea pig. I envy you! On the other hand, it must be so hard to read the criticisms and suggestions, but knowing that they are all designed to help improve your writing must soften the sting a bit.

    Every word is gold. From the OP and from all the other commenters as well.

  • quillet

    First, a big thank you to Firn for being the first victim. Criticism is tough to hear. Our first impulse is often to rage — or cry, or both — and our second is to defend our words. But just take a little time to let it sink in. Try to remember that everyone wants to help.

    I agree with what’s been said already. You’ve done some truly beautiful writing, you just need to get to the action/emotion a lot faster. Hep’s sample-paragraph is a great example of how to engage readers instantly. Action! Visceral feelings!

    And I’ll echo Faith: DO NOT give up. The ideas in this story are excellent, and I for one would read more. I love dragons!

  • Jeremy Beltran

    Thank you Firn for being the first. This has been hugely helpful for me. I’ve learned allot about getting that first page right from this critique. I’m now really looking forward to when my turn comes.

    Firn I have to say I love your descriptions, I wish mine were even half as thought provoking. Im really interested in the world and I’d also like to read more.

  • this is exactly the kind of thing I like to read. Seeing what a professional writer/editor looks for. It helps make me a better editor.
    One thing I would suggest is using a thesaurus to help find words that pin point the exact emotion you want to convey.
    I don’t think a guy running from dragons would be thinking about his choice of head wear.

    Also what time period are we talking here. You mention dragons and castles and knights. Is this the middle ages? Would a squire use the phrase “I’m toast”? keep an eye out for slang and phrases that are too modern.

    thanks for lesson and thanks to Firn!

  • So nobody wants to back out? You guys are tough cookies and I appreciate your willingness to put yourself through this. Every book a writer turns into an editor goes through this process. It can be grueling. I very much hope it’s beneficial.

  • Diana, thanks so much for doing this. I knew this opening – especially the first few paragraphs – was pretty sucky, so no worries regarding the bluntness; I needed to know how to fix this. My character has a very distinct voice, which is much stronger throughout most of the story (you saw glimmers of it where you said that you liked the voice), and the hardest part of this whole piece for me was trying to break into that voice. That’s mostly why the first few paras are so clumsy, because I was more focused on the voice than on the action (and I didn’t even manage to get that right! 😉 ). I’ll take all of your words into account when I rewrite this. The one thing I’m not going to change at this point is the first person, present tense. I know I am going out on a limb with trying that, and though it worked for Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games”, I am not Suzanne Collins. So it’s not going to be easy to pull it off, but right now, I still think it’s worth a try.
    And to everyone else who commented – thanks so much. You guys are gems!

  • TwilightHero

    Am I too late for the slaughtering? 😛

    First of all, I don’t mind the present tense. I’ve read books written this way that weren’t half bad. But using this style means it’s even more important to make things visceral and immediate – the way we experience real life. And this, I think, is where your opening needs the most work.

    I agree with everyone about the contradictions and info-dumps. This has the potential to be a really cool scene – the dragonflight part especially.(Though I fully agree that the MC should run into a dragon from the start, just to grab our attention). But the word choices, reserved reactions and shortage of action undermine the intensity you’re trying to convey – the showing doesn’t match the telling.

    And most of the things we’re being told have no relevance to the scene itself. The MC isn’t trying to attack a dragon’s weak spots, so why are we hearing about them?

    I think the key to fixing these issues is POV. Try to see things through your character’s eyes. Assuming you were a first-year squire with, I’m guessing, little to no experience of battle or dragons, seeing a giant flying lizard that could quite literally flash you, chew you up and spit you back out in pieces…how would you feel? What would flash through your mind? When you saw an entire swarm of them flying for your home? What then? How would your body respond? Increased heartbeat, cold sweat, shaking hands? Who would you fear for most? (Unless you’re a prince/princess, I doubt it would be the royal family.) And so on. If it’s something you would actually think about during that scene, by all means, put it in. If not, it has no place there.

    But of course, there really are things we need to know. The trick to fitting these in without info-dumping is simply to make it something your character would think about. Take the crossbows, for example. I doubt someone seeing a horde of dragon riders flying for their home would be pondering the riders’ weapons of choice. But seeing a horde of dragon riders and imagining crossbow bolts ripping through your loved ones while they try to flee their burning houses…you get the idea.

    I also agree about the modern phrases in a medieval setting. But that’s one of my pet peeves :) Again, your story has potential. Keep at it.

  • TwilightHero

    Oops. Flash-fry. Didn’t catch that one :)

    I’m wondering how this story was selected to be critiqued. Might there be a submission process? Just thought I’d ask.

  • I would like to point out “toast” did exist in the Middle ages, with the word first seeing use in a recognizable form in the 1400’s. Even at that point it meant both “browned bread to dry out for crispness” and also “dead”. Guess a lot of cooks burnt toast. So “I’m toast” did not bother me; flash-fry is also a cooking term, and the cooking style did exist during the middle ages. Get the oil hot enough then drop in something to cook and take out – example funnel cakes. And I can see a young, growing boy hanging out in the kitchen, a lot. So for me, food references were fine. But they should continue throughout the book, and maybe put in some more archaic ones that haven’t weened their way into modern use.

    But if you use food expression, be certain they are actually food expression and could exist – “flash in the pan” refers to gunpowder pans; “cut the mustard” actually is “cut the muster” – meaning the person didn’t qualify for military service; “piece of cake” comes from the 19th century.

    And I am going to disagree with TwilightHero about worrying about the royals. A squire, allowed to ride a warhorse by himself, would be deep in his apprenticeship. His family is likely no where around. He is already taking on the aspects of a knight, whose first duty is the one he swore fealty to. He would have entered his apprenticeship between 6 and 8, and may not have seen his family since then. (A Knight’s Tale is a good example of this)

  • @TwilightHero Diana offered to critique the first page of six stories as Christmas present.

  • Erin Penn, thanks for the history info. That was interesting. Which is another lesson to take away from this post. Research and then find an expert/enthusiast for the time period you are writing about and ask/pay them to comb through for anachronisms.

  • Firn–I often find that what I think are the first pages or first chapter or first three chapters (don’t ask) are the getting acquainted pages and I have to do a lot of cutting and tightening. I’m getting to know the character and the world there and a lot of it is for me.

  • Dude was a term in use long before the 20th century and in a similar way (not just a dude as in a greenhorn on a ranch). Nevertheless, even though it’s accurate, readers won’t accept it. Sometimes being accurate still will lose readers, so it pays to hear that criticism and decide if it’s worth keeping or not. For me, the toast comment was too light hearted for the fear that he was supposed to be feeling, so whether or not it was accurate or not didn’t matter.

    TwilightHero–it’s possible we’ll do this again after I get the other critiques done, depending on if there’s calendar room on the blog and what my time commitments look like. So watch Magical Words and if you want to join the fun, you might get a chance!

  • TwilightHero

    Ahh I see. Thanks for the info, everyone! I’ll have to keep a closer eye on the site.

    And I stand corrected on the toast. But Diana was entirely correct; despite its age, my idea of the word is a modern one – what comes from a toaster 😛

  • Ah, toast! You have all just found another massive risk I’m currently taking with the story. It’s YA; my teenaged character might be a knight in training, but he sounds like a modern teen some of the time. (In my defence, it’s not historical fiction; the story is set in an entirely fictional country, so it doesn’t need quite the dead accuracy that historical demands). The various teens who have read pieces of the story have all been able to relate better to my character because of his accessible voice. But yes, many adults don’t like it, and it’s hard to keep from sounding informal/unskilled. So I know I’m taking a big risk here, but I’m not worrying too much about it right now – this is my second draft so right now I’m wrestling with plot holes. I’ll fight with voice and sentence structure in a later draft.

  • Thank you Diana and Firn! This was great.

  • Did I miss the piling on? :) There was a ton of nice writing in this, but there was one type of sentence that worried me a lot.

    “The spring wind rips back the hood of my cloak and blows through my hair, making my head feel cold. I wish I’d thought to bring a helmet. But I’m just a first-year squire riding back to knight school after the holidays – probably the only one brave/stupid enough to do so in the dark at new moon – so all I have is a hauberk.”

    (So point 1, which isn’t all that important, but a lot of hauberks have hoods too, which are not so easy to blow off.)

    The main issue I have is the ‘false voice’ sort of writing. It’s a thing that happens pretty much only in 1st person, and probably present tense, but it means that instead of being inside the narrator’s head, we’re listening to the narrator tell the story, BUT there’s no sense that there’s someone being told the story. When people actually tell stories, they adjust it to the audience, so every sentence hints at the audience. The paragraph I quoted is one where it is very outside the MC’s head, and, yet, makes no sense to be told to someone. Anyone in his presence would know this information. Since you really want it in present tense, I think you need to get deeper into the character’s head. And that means more immediacy, fewer explanations, and fewer attribution tags.

    “The spring wind rips back the hood of my cloak and blows, chilly, through my hair. My helm is buried somewhere deep in my pack, along with my plate armor, and my light hauberk inspires little confidence. In the pitch black of the new moon night, I shouldn’t be able to see the city where my school lies, but the dragonfire lights the walls. I’ve only been there for a few months; the damn dragons better not burn it down before I finish my training!”

    You may hate this version, no worries, but I was just trying to get all the information in while removing anything that distances the reader from the character. Make sense?

  • Actually, Cara, I love your version of that paragraph – I totally see where you’re going with it. Thank you :)

  • I’m mirroring what’s already been said, but Di is spot on with everything here, though there is an interesting foundation here. I agree that it feels like there’s no immediacy (and I got tagged for exposition within my opening as well by Lucienne, and now my book is better for it…and with a publisher). The fear and urgency need to to be ramped up, made more visceral, if this is where you want to start. All that other exposition can be placed somewhere else, like when he arrives in the town/city. Jerk the reader in with the immediacy of the situation and then take them on the mad dash before trickling in that information they need to understand why this is so important.

    This would also deal with the long one-sided conversation with the horse. It does make the horse seem like something far more than just a horse, more like the one from Tangled. Even a trained warhorse will balk if faced with something it’s never dealt with before, and I’m thinking a clutch of dragons fit. As a squire, I’m not sure he’s even got the control to handle a warhorse that’s ready to bolt. That could be something else addressed later in the writing, like he was trained by someone important and/or he has a knack with animals. I’ll read action, as long as I get a little explanation later as to how he kept the horse from just running in a random direction and probably away from the bad smelling thing.

    The character almost seemed jaded, a trained veteran. Maybe that’s something you might want to think about. A part of you could be thinking young squire while another is looking at it as someone older and more experienced. I guess another way to look at it is maybe this guy is your MC’s mentor, a trained and battle-hardened knight of the realm and he dies bringing word. Then the squire is introduced that has to save the day by taking on a mantle he may not be ready for. Sure, it’s a trope (see the film Dragonslayer), but one that rarely gets old. Just a thought.

    Beyond that, it has potential to be a nice solid opening. As faith said, just take the exposition bits and sprinkle them in later, add a bit more immediacy and visceral fear, and you’ll have a really good opening. And you should have seen my crap when I was your age. I think I posted some a while back on here. It’s atrocious. I keep it to show me how far I’ve come. This is better than I had when I started writing, and with this community, you’ll definitely get there.

  • Andrea

    Oops. I’m getting a bit nervous now. But backing out? Never! 😉
    Professional critique is hard to come by and very useful. And the comments were wonderfully perceptive too. I have nothing to add.

    While I await my turn, I desperately try to tame that writhing little dragon in my stomach. But even if my beloved story is slashed to be reduced to (hopefully) readable bits, I’ll live. Er, right?

    Good job, brave Firn/Unicorn :-) and good luck. After all, you can’t revise what you haven’t written.