In my last blog, I invited my loyal blog readers to submit a few paragraphs for critique on their Motivations and Reactions (which I’ve just finished discussing at great length). Today, we’ll look at the first submission by Sina’i:
Starfa was still in shock. “Are you telling me that that woman has kidnapped my brother?” Well, at least that would explain Veylan’s absence from this meeting.
“Think, Starfa!” the king snapped. “That woman has been imprisoned for over a thousand years with no difficulties! How, all of a sudden, do you suppose she escaped from under the eyes of her guards? And then kidnap your brother, Veylan, of all people?”
Starfa hated being scolded like a child, even if he was not thinking too clearly. If anyone besides the king had spoken to him in such a manner, he would have had the man’s head on a spear immediately. Because it was King Terdan, however, he swallowed his pride. “So you’re saying…she escaped like she did the first time. She had help.”
The king nodded.
“And…Veylan…helped her?” Starfa was having far more trouble with that idea. He knew that Veylan was soft-hearted, particularly where women were concerned. That was one of the problems the nobles had with him. But could he really be so stupid as to help her escape? Starfa would have to have a serious talk with his brother once he became king. That is, if Veylan was still alive. He had a knack for getting into trouble on his own. He could only imagine what dangers Veylan would blunder into under the influence of that…that witch.
King Terdan interrupted his thoughts by dismissing the attendant. “Starfa, you don’t seem to understand what this means. Your kingship is in danger.”
Randy sez: Well done! This appears to be part of a fantasy novel. We have two characters, King Verdan and Starfa. The Point-Of-View character is Starfa, and Sina’i is doing an excellent job of putting us inside Starfa’s skin. We see what he sees; we hear what he hears; we think what he thinks; we feel what he feels.
Notice that we have six paragraphs, and three of them are Motivations (external to Starfa and objectively shown) while three are Reactions (internal to Starfa and subjectively shown). These are perfectly structured. As a result, it’s easy to follow the scene and understand the conflict.
I really can’t find anything to complain about here. There is one ambiguous sentence: Starfa would have to have a serious talk with his brother once he became king.
Given the context that follows, the “he” who is going to become king is probably Starfa. But it’s not obvious from the sentence alone. It’s possible that it could be Veylan. But we’re jumping into the middle of a novel without context. If we’d read the preceding chapters, we’d presumably already know this and there would be no ambiguity.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at Camille’s submission.