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Ramla

by GodfreysBouillon


     

    Summer, 1101 AD            Near Mersivan, northern Anatolia.      

Two thousand hooves beat on the yellowed sand, their rhythm growing in intensity.

Estienne let his horse fly under him, and rode ahead of his charging men, feeling the saddle pulse like a beating heart. Giving a quick glance behind him, he gazed upon his six hundred knights, pondering their facial expressions. Some men rode with a visage of anger, some wide alert, some with a blank stare.

Estienne wondered if they would die with that expression on their face. Noticing their commander look back at them, many raised their lances, crying out.

Estienne did the same, lifting his to the skies, and put all of his newfound adrenaline into a cry.

Deus lo Vult!”

DEUS LO VULT!” he heard it echo behind him in the hundreds.

His horse was now in a full sprint, gliding across the hill, and he could see the white in the Turkish eyes ahead of him. He lowered his lance, knowing his men did the same.

Estienne targeted one man directly ahead of him, a wiry sergeant with a scaly coat of mail.

The Turks, looking to challenge the crusaders, lowered their spears and gave a call of their own.

Allahu Ackbar! Allahu Ackbar! Rafae alramah!

Estienne’s horse has impaled by five separate spears, and his mailed form sent flying forward into the Turkish crowd. His lance, still in hand, missed the sergeant but gored into two others.

Estienne slammed into the ground, flopping into the soil like a wet rag.

His knights pushed into the wall of spears, most being flung from their horse and dropped fifteen feet away. Some managed to swerve through the spears and skewer unlucky Turks with their lances, soon switching to their longswords that gleamed in the flaxen sun.

Estienne was awoken by a sandal crushing down on his windpipe. With a startled coughing fit he ripped the foot off, swinging himself up on his feet, surrounded by four spearmen.

Hastily drawing his sword, he slapped one’s spear away, stepping up to slip his sword across his throat. The man fell to his knees, gloved hands convulsing around his neck as blood bubbled over his knuckles like a mountain stream.

One Turk rushed forward with a sabre, while the other two were obliterated by a Frankish destrier crashing into the crowd.

Estienne turned to find the Turk stabbing into his lower rib cage, and he felt the bite through his chainmail. Clutching his chest he chopped down into the man’s arm, severing the tissue.

The Turk simply gazed in frozen shock at his stump, and Estienne kicked him to the ground.

Estienne looked up to see the battle raging around him. Many of his knights were eerily still on the ground or impaled on someone’s spear, and the others were viciously fighting for their lives in a symphony of cuts and hacks. He heard a rally call, and shielded his eyes to watch his friend Conrad riding circles on his horse, trying to gather all the survivors to himself.

Versammle dich hier, Ritter des Herrn! Versammle!

Estienne found an unscathed horse running amok through the bloodbath, and quickly mounted it, grasping the reins. Galloping over to Conrad, he helped gather the remaining knights, seeing many of the faces he observed earlier.

Conrad was relieved to see Estienne had survived, and grasped his shoulder.

“Where in God’s name are the infantry, Estienne?” Conrad’s voice was shaking.

“Were they not right behind us?” Estienne shielded his eyes from the sun.

An exasperated squire steered to a stop in front of the two generals, gasping for breath.

“Sir, Raymond and the infantry have been surrounded by Sipahis, and they are trapped. He calls for your aid.”

“Sipahis? We didn’t receive a report of any Sipahis in the area….Tell him we ride to his relief.”

Estienne did not sound like he meant it.

The squire urged his exhausted horse away, jumping over a pile of mangled corpses from the initial charge.







Estienne and Conrad rode their horses to the crest of a small hill, overlooking the disastrous scene.

In a stroke of genius military tactics, the Seljuks had separated Estienne and the knights from Raymond and his infantry, and were now spelling out the final steps of their doom.

Circling around the exasperated infantry were swarms of mounted bowmen, the Sipahis.

Nobles and rich landowners of Anatolia, they were the finest horse archers this region had to offer. They were dressed in shining scale armor, with conical helmets and golden greaves.

Each held a shortbow that they could aim well enough to find the gaps in any knight’s armor.

They buzzed around Raymond and his heavy infantry, sticking them with searing arrows.

From his viewpoint he watched a single horsemen ride through the fray, taking down four separate crusader footmen. They fell to their knees, grasping the arrow in vain.

Estienne’s horrified stare session ended as a black-shafted arrow pierced into his helm, embedding itself in the metal. The force of the arrow nearly sent him sprawling from his horse.

Conrad looked up to see a small band of Sipahis riding their direction.

He saw two pull their drawstrings back, and managed to raise his kite shield in time to block the two arrows that came whistling his way.

Estienne was nearly blinded from the stars that blinked and popped in his distorted vision, and the world swirled before his eyes.

Fear ruled his mind, and he thought of the deadly riders coming his way, seeking to kill him with their blinding hails of endless arrows.

He no longer felt any pride or duty to the soldiers under his command, and only sought to run away from this horrible place.

Estienne reared his horse up into the air, and gored his spurs into its sides. The horse whinnied in fright, and sprinted off away from the danger.

With a startled yelp as another arrow whirred inches from his face, Estienne fled the battle.











1 day later                      On board the Grendel bound for France.

Estienne couldn’t bear it. He hated himself. Here he was, resting on a ship as his camp full of women, children, priests and wounded were likely in Seljuk chains, forced into an endless hell of labor. He was their leader. He was supposed to protect the afflicted and innocent, he had taken an oath at his knighting long ago and before this dreaded crusade. He had failed.

Sitting miserably in a mess of netting, Estienne was avoided by the rest of the knights who fled with him. They too felt the pangs of guilt that came after failure, and the ship was silent.

Days passed, with each bleak morning seeming to worsen Estienne’s depression, and each dreadful night spent in anguish.

With Estienne’s sorrows came haunting nightmares that entered his mind through the pain.

Estienne was locked in a cage.

Looking down at his wrists, he pulled on the shackles that bound him. With a startled cry, he beheld the sores that wrapped around his skin, results from days of being bound.

The cage was crammed full with starving priests and women.

He heard an infant start to cry, and saw the mother try to hush its pleading.

She looked exhausted, starving, and rabid, with rings around her eyes. Her hair was matted and soaked with dried blood. Concealing the infant in what was left of the folds of her dress, she closed her eyes, praying.

Outside of the cage, a Seljuk footman pounded on the bars. He was the same sergeant Estienne had seen in the charge and missed with his lance.

With a smile, he gestured towards the infant under the cloth, and whispered to her.

The mother was terrified.

Estienne saw that there were no other babies in the cage.

The horses pulling the mobile prison were brought to a halt, and the sergeant ordered two of his men inside.

With a crash, the barred door was thrown open, and the two men surrounded the mother.

Pulling out a curved knife, one of them rushed towards her.

Suddenly, a priest tackled him to the ground. His helmet flying off in the impact, his head crunched against the bars, and the guard was left dead under the white robes of the monk.

The other guard, alarmed at the sight of the men’s open skull, pierced the monk’s body with his spear. His white robes soaked up the blood like a sponge.

The sergeant saw his man die, and started screaming to his other soldiers. Five more entered the cage, stabbing the mother who still clutched her crying infant.

The priests rose up, crying out. They clustered in the corners of the cage, desperately seeking to get as far away from their bloody spears as possible.

The Seljuk spearmen gored the priests one by one, until all the begging and screaming had stopped. They turned towards Estienne, who was unnoticed so far, simply watching the horrific scene play out.

Two came forward with their spears, and Estienne made a hurried attempt to swipe the points away. But they struck home, and searing pain shot through his body as the spears stirred his intestines around.

He awoke, screaming, on the bottom deck of the Grendel, with Conrad clutching his shoulders.

“In the name of Saint Boniface, good man, what is wrong with you?”

Conrad had heard Estienne scream, and rushed below to see what was going on.

Estienne turned towards Conrad, his shadowy eyes lit with energy.

“I-I saw them, Conrad. All those we left to die in Mersivan. I saw them chained in a cage, I saw them stabbed, I saw the poor thing crying, I heard the screams-”

“Estienne, it was just a dream. We don’t know what happened to them, and it wasn’t our fau-”

Estienne rose in anger.

“You do know what has happened, you just refuse to admit it! It was our fault! It was! We abandoned them, we left them to their deaths, to a life of slavery!”

“There was nothing we could have done! We were defeated. We were destroyed by the Sipahis riders, our army split in two. What, did you expect us to just die with them? Would that have been better?”

Conrad spread his gloved hands in an expression of disbelief.

“We were cowards, Conrad! We ran from the field of battle, the great revealer of all men’s character. We found our character, alright. We are cowards! Vermin! Traitors!”

Estienne started to weep.

Conrad looked down at him in pity, and climbed back above deck.

Estienne saw his friend go, and continued to feel the consequences of his cowardice. There he was, a knighted man of valor and bravery, collapsed in a pile of guilt and misery.

He felt the ship rock under him, more powerful and sudden than the usual swaying. His sadness was replaced by suspicion, and he stood up to gaze out of the hatch that led to the deck.

Heavy, dense clouds choked the sky with an ugly purple haze. Out of the soup came a crackling lightning bolt, which snaked through the sky like an angry python.

Thunder followed, shaking the ship with its intensity.

A storm was brewing.


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Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:32 pm
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Vervain wrote a review...



Alright! Finally, I'm going to tackle this, where it all begins. I don't know if I'll end up reviewing the other parts, but I wanted to drop in and give you a bit of help. I've only glanced over the other reviews; hopefully I can bring something new to the table.

I want to make clear before I jump in that everything in this review is meant to help this work become as good as it can be. Nothing I say is ever meant to make a writer stop writing—in fact, the opposite! There would be nothing better than to have you come away from this review feeling you've learned something about your own writing.

We'll start with the thing that made me want to review this in the first place:

“Allahu Ackbar! Allahu Ackbar!"
It's a trap! Lightheartedness aside -- though it is spelled akbar, not ackbar -- the phrase you use here is... potentially very alienating. It's the Takbir, which is used in many contexts, but has an unfortunate correlation to modern radical terrorists.

While it is true that the phrase was used as a battle cry historically (thinking of the translations, the cries aren't so different -- "God wills it!" and "God is greatest!") you might want to shy away from having a crowd of Muslim people screaming it while rushing at your Christian main characters. There are other phrases you could use, or simply leave out phrases altogether and replace them with "The Turks screamed their battle cry in response, muted by the sound of hooves on earth" or something like that.

While this is a piece that (I believe) is written for a Christian audience, as a writer, you don't want to alienate chunks of an audience you may claim. Falling into traps, like demonizing the Muslim people and narrating their actions in a racist manner, is cutting yourself away not only from a modern Muslim audience (after all, not only Christians were involved in this historical conflict!) but from those of all cultures and faiths who sympathize and empathize with modern Muslim people and may put this piece down as a result.

I don't believe you included the phrase because you meant harm to a modern culture and people, but there are certain parts of writing that the real world influences too much to ignore.

Moving on to some other notes of mine:

"Looked" is dead. As are "noticed", "watched", wondered", "saw", "felt", and "heard", along with other passive sensing words.

Instead of telling me that Estienne wondered if the men would die with that expression on their face, give me the narration: Would all his men die with that expression on their face? Instead of Estienne feeling the ship rocking, give us The ship rocked; instead of looking to see the battle raging around him, The battle raged around him. It ties into the use of passive voice -- active voice gives the phrase more of a punch to the reader, and brings the emotion home for us.

The emotion is actually one of the issues I had with this piece. While this is a scene that should be emotionally fraught, filled with the tension and fear and fury of Estienne and his soldiers and the forces opposing them! -- I don't feel any of it. The emotions are glossed over in favor of describing the landscape, which isn't a bad thing, but don't be afraid to stop for a paragraph and go into how broken Estienne feels because he left his people to die.

This is a problem I have in my writing, too. Something doesn't have to physically happen in every paragraph. Sometimes you can have paragraphs that exist just to show us or tell us that this character really can't handle this situation, or they're emotional, or this is affecting them in some way.

You do a really good job of showing and not telling in this piece, but the truth is, "Show, don't tell" is a lie. A dirty, terrible, awful lie. I saw it put that you should show emotions -- show us Estienne's hands shaking, fingers clenched around the reins of his horse, show us his skin pale and damp with sweat when he wakes from his nightmare -- and tell feelings (tired, sore, wet, hungry, etc.). All of them are important to a story, and I felt like this piece was lacking them somewhat.

Your paragraphs could stand to be a little longer. There's a cool tip to remember when to split paragraphs: TIPTOP. If Time, Place, Topic, or Person (speaking or described) changes, it's time to split the paragraph. Before that, you're usually good to keep going for five or six sentences.

Your action doesn't come across quite right for me. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but your sentences are really long and tend to take too much time to tell the reader things. Here's a helpful guide on refining action! While we're at it, this is an excellent guide to battles. While the first part (about crafting fantasy battles) doesn't apply because you're drawing directly from history, it also goes into the feeling and mood you try to get across during a battle sequence.

The dream sequence is a bit long, to boot. I personally don't like dreams in almost any fiction, but I think you could keep it shorter/dreamier (how many people have exact catalogued detail-perfect nightmares?) while still integrating it into the story. It brings a good weight to how Estienne feels about the people he left behind.

I kind of wish that Estienne saw the battles less as "we are 100% in the right and these people are slaughtering ours", because if his side won the battle, wouldn't they be doing the same to the Seljuks? Maybe he wouldn't condone it, but it's something that was done in many, many battles won by different sides of wars.

Estienne, in that regard, feels a little... idealistic, for a Crusader. Yes, he should believe in the glory of his God and the people for whom he fights, but most soldiers are human and at least realize they're also killing people -- with wives and children and families as well. It's something they would have been actively trained out of feeling, but that can always come back in the form of guilt and emotional trauma.

Besides that, there was one phrase that caught me as anachronistic -- "horrified stare session". It sounds like something that would be written or said by a modern teenager or young adult, not by an adult commander of a military force. You could possibly replace it with "Estienne's spell of motionless horror was broken as..." Or something similar to that.

Overall! It felt like we got a decent introduction to our characters and conflict in this, but it could definitely use equal parts less info dumping through description and more giving us context to what's actually going on. Not everyone who picks up historical fiction is 100% familiar with the time period or conflicts, after all, especially if you change the names. You could use some work on the emotional language -- your characters' emotions fell flat in your sparse prose.

I probably wouldn't keep reading this of my own volition if I saw it on the Kindle store or picked it up somewhere along the way, but this is closer to first draft quality than final draft quality, so it's got room for you to wiggle and tweak and fix things.

Keep writing!






Thank you for your review!

I've been waiting a long time for this, and I'm glad to know I received all the help I had hoped for.
You really took your time to analyze my writing, and i really appreciate it. You found my struggles, struggles that are really quite embarrassing to me now, and you showed me how to fix them, not just how they were wrong.
This piece is a disgrace to me now. You ever painted a picture and thought it looked okay at the time, only to come back and realize just how terrible it actually is? Same thing here for me.
This piece was written months ago as my first attempt at any story outside from school, and my first ever chapter story.
Its chunky, unedited, has no paragraphs, awkward, the characters are weak, and like you said the emotion isn't portrayed right.
I don't want to specifically thank you for every critique you made, but know i did read each and agreed with every word.
You said a lot of things that are similar to other people who've read it before you, such as the emotion part and all the terrible wordings. Through those people and their words similar to yours I improved greatly, and Im saddened to see that you're not interested in the following chapters of the story because of my mistakes. You can take my word that I did improve from my lowest, which is this story. I learned how to actuall make paragraphs lol, I learned more about character development and emotion, and i learned how to make writing flow smoother and go through multiple drafts.

Once again, thank you so much for your critique. Have a wonderful night


(PS about the Allahu Ackbar thing, you're right that was used as a battle cry for muslim armies for centuries, as well as in holy dealings. I don't think I'm being racist here by portraying history, facts never can be, and never will be racist. The muslims are the enemy here because they were the enemy of crusaders, and the main characters are all crusaders. I dont see how its offensive to portray antagonists to your character, and i think its silly to get caught up in the bindings of political correctness when writing something that deals with real events.)



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Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:16 am
Radrook wrote a review...



The first thing that stood out immediately to your story is that the formatting in the page is all wrong. The excessive spacing is distracting as well as that huge picture showing a cavalry charge.

Also, starting a chapter with a host of people who haven’t been properly introduced is another basic mistake. They are just bodiless faceless, names so the reader won’t care who gets wasted since the reader hasn’t been made to care via proper introductions.

Regardless of all their furious antics, they will all come across as caricatures. In fact, these are worse than comic book characters. At least comic book characters have been properly introduced, but these are just stick figures mindlessly jabbing one another. It comes across as a story lacking substance but trying to give the appearance of substance via excessive violence.

Calling someone by his first name repeatedly when it isn’t necessary is another thing that is extremely annoying in this story. How many times does the reader have to be reminded that this fellow, whoever he might be, is named Entienne? Use pronouns. The name is used a grand sum total of 35 annoying times!

Also, using foreign unintelligible expressions gives the impression that a writer hopes to appear sophisticated at the cost of clear communication. A reader might perceive it as a kind of bluster. In short, it tends to lose the audience.

The piece also p has basic grammar mistakes, syntax peculiarities, misspellings, and bombast otherwise called purple prose:

Below are some helpful suggestions:

longswords
[long-swords]

Silly, bombastic or redundant expressions:

. . . . try to hush its pleading. [Bombast!]

. . . . initial charge. [Bombast!]
[ . . . . first charge.]

Fear ruled his mind . . . . [Bombast!]
[He was fearful. or He felt fear.]

Thunder followed, shaking the ship with its intensity. [Bombast![

. . . . in the Turkish eyes ahead of him. [Silly]

From his viewpoint he watched . . . [Redundant and Bombast!]
[He watched . . . .]

. . . . as the spears . . . .
[ . . . . as they . . . .] [Needless repetition.]

Estienne reared his horse up into the air,] [Redundant]

[Estienne reared his horse . . . .]

Her hair was matted and soaked with dried blood.[Dried blood can’t soak because dried blood isn’t wet.]

[Her hair was matted and soaked with[] blood.]

, . . . . sticking them with searing arrows.
[. . . . piercing them with . . . .]

squire steered to a stop [Bombast]
[stopped or halted]

. . . . sticking them with searing arrows. [The work "sticking"seems trite and childish.] I would prefer the word "piercing".

lightning snaking like a python?
[False analogy. Pythons are far too sluggishly slow to compare with lightning.]

Reader doesn’t need to be told that nightmares occur in the mind.

With Estienne’s sorrows came haunting nightmares that entered his mind through the pain.

[With Estienne’s sorrows came haunting nightmares caused by pain.]

You also don’t seem to know what a paragraph is.






Thank you for your review!

Everything you said is true here, from the overuse of his name to not properly introducing the characters. Even when i first published this I realized it was pretty bad lmao

Keep in mind this was the first story I've written outside of school, and the first multi-chapter story I've ever written.

People like you have pointed out the faults and problems in this, and it is from their words that I gained a lot more experience, skill, and better writing techniques. If you look at any of the other chapters you will find paragraphs, better character introduction, no grammar or spelling mistakes, and foreign expressions are used in a way that is understandable to the reader.


Thank you for your review, I am grateful to receive your feedback.
(See? One doesn't have to get mad if someone leaves a scathing review on their work! They accept the feedback like a man.)



Radrook says...


There is a difference between a review that points out ways to improve a work and a review that tells a writer that the work is totally inherently. worthless. If the difference between the two isn't clear then beter not to review at all.





Where did I ever say your work was worthless?



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Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:14 am
SirenCymbaline wrote a review...



I found this to be pretty effective. The fighting was nice and swift, no fluff, and most of the time it was easy to understand who was doing what to who. There's only one part where it confused me.

'Estienne was awoken by a sandal crushing down on his windpipe. With a startled coughing fit he ripped the foot off, swinging himself up on his feet, surrounded by four spearmen.'
I'm having trouble picturing the action in between 'He ripped the foot off' and 'swinging himself onto his feet.' Not sure why.

I like the writing of this, though. The combat is visceral, it's easy to understand what's happening, it has juicy descriptions like 'gloved hands convulsing around his neck as blood bubbled over his knuckles' and 'his shadowy eyes lit with energy', but without waxing on about the horror of it any more than is needed. It's effective, it's concise, and I like that.

I like Estienne and Conrad so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go next. See you in the later chapters. Hopefully I'll have something more helpful than the praise I ended up writing here.






Nothing wrong with praise! haha

I'm actually ecstatic that you liked this chapter, in my opinion its really quite bad. Yes the example you provided is just one of the many errors in there, and I apologize.
I'm glad you like my quick, concise style of writing as that continues throughout the other chapters.

Thanks so much!



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Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:03 am
Evander wrote a review...



Heyo, Godfreys! I'm here from my WRFF thread. Sorry about the long wait!

I'm going to preface my review with this: I'm not familiar with the time period of this story, so I won't really be able to offer advice in that regard. In addition to that, I'm not that great with battle scenes and action. However, I thought this was stuff you should know before I dive into the review.

Estienne wondered if they would die with that expression on their face

Given that he's talking about multiple men, then it would be "those expressions on their faces".

Estienne did the same, lifting his to the skies, and put all of his newfound adrenaline into a cry.

"Put" should be "putting", since "put" breaks the flow of the sentence and doesn't match "lifting".

DEUS LO VULT!” he heard it echo behind him in the hundreds.

Stylistically, I heavily disagree with the usage of bold in most instances. Italics exist for a reason. Bold can be good for chapter titles, but I find it to be jarring and in poor taste for dialogue and general narration. Really, I'd change this to italics and caps. Also, since Estienne isn't the one yelling this, then I would capitalize "he".

Estienne’s horse has impaled by five separate spears, and his mailed form sent flying forward into the Turkish crowd.

*was impaled
Also, I disagree with the use of passive voice in the first clause. Passive voice obfuscates the the action, making it less direct and drawing away the impact. Why not use the active version: "Five separate spears impaled Estienne's horse"?

most being flung from their horse and dropped fifteen feet away.

*horses. This is happening to multiple knights.
Most are being dropped fifteen feet away? I would be less specific in this description, but that's because I don't necessarily believe that most of the knights were precisely dropped fifteen feet away.

Estienne was awoken by a sandal crushing down on his windpipe.

There are definitely direct and more impactful ways to write this sentence. The sandal is the force behind the action, so why not bring it to the front? "Was awoken by" is such a distanced way to go about describing an intense pain of having something crush your windpipe. Awoken is such a sleepy word, as opposed to any other descriptive verb that would fit here.

[...]stepping up to slip[...]

Perhaps you mean "slit"? Slip isn't the right sort of word to use here.

Conrad was relieved to see Estienne had survived[...]

I'd rather be shown this versus told this, especially since the reader has never run into Conrad before as has no idea what his relief would look like. Here's a good article: Show and Tell

Conrad’s voice was shaking.

Why not "shook"?

Estienne started to weep.

This specific quote brings to mind that a lot of the description feels separated from the main character. Yes, he's weeping, but we don't actually feel it from his perspective. Everything feels disconnected by about five steps, with the emotions begging to be felt but just falling short. I'd heavily suggest this article for help with this: Breathing emotion into scenes

That's pretty much all I have to say for right now! If you have any questions or comments, then feel free to let me know. Keep on writing!

-E






Thanks so, so much!

I'm glad to know people are still checking out work as old as this one, and I'm very glad to receive your review!

Yes, this has many, many grammatical and spelling mistakes and I apologize. It also runs very awkward, we don't see emotions as you said, and the spacing is difficult. Also yes, the use of bold words is pretty bad lol. I was new to writing, and that was one of the first pieces I had ever done.
As you probably already know, this is only the beginning of a series telling the previously unknown story of Estienne Henri of Blois, a real guy. Throughout the next chapters you'll notice much easier reading, no spelling mistakes, better character development, and overall better writing. I've worked hard to improve since this, and the next chapters after this one show my progress.
When you have time, check them out! I would just love to have another reader invested in my series.

I promise you the next chapters will not disappoint.
Thank you,

GodfreysBouillon



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Mon May 07, 2018 8:39 pm
Jaybird wrote a review...



Hello, GodfreysBouillon! I hope my review can do your work justice.

Overall, you did a great job with grammar. I found no errors or typos, and the writing itself was consistent with its style. I did notice that your "paragraphs" are a sentence or two. While that doesn't necessarily detract from the story, I'd suggest beefing them up when revising this chapter - it would help it flow better. The only place you should avoid doing that in is the fight scene; brief, choppy writing conveys how frantic battles can be and your writing certainly excelled at that.

I agree with what @Eve mentioned in her review. A story can be told with characters who are essentially blank slates. (A good example is Joe and Frank Hardy in the Hardy Boys. They don't have many defining characteristics but they are good at pushing the plot forward.) But from what you've written so far, it seems that this story focuses mainly on the characters and not the plot. Making the reader root for them is key to making people stay interested in the story. A chapter or a prologue before this one that gives insight into the characters' lives before the story or even during it would help the reader understand who they're reading about, and make them more likely to root for your protagonists.

Other than that, it's looking pretty good! I'm curious to see how they deal with the storm, and how Estienne lives with his guilt in the coming chapters.

I really enjoyed reading your work. While there may have been a few rough spots, it's overall a wonderful piece of writing. If you feel like some parts of my review need further explanation or just aren't good enough, please let me know. I'd gladly clear up anything about this review.

Keep up the great work (which I doubt you'll have trouble with) and good luck on your writing endeavors!






Thank you for reading it, really makes my day.

I thank you for your points and I have already taken them to heart as i work to finish the second chapter of Ramla. I really noticed what you and others said about the characters, and so the main focus of the second chapter is to give them all specific personalities. One is quiet and observant, one is rambunctious and strong, and one is a natural leader. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed when you read the next chapter.

Thanks so much



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Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:16 am
Eve wrote a review...



the plot is very good and creative I loved the idea of the historical fiction and adding an amazing twist of guilt. However, character development is KEY to attract readers. It felt just as if they weren't thought out very well. What are their personalities? What do they do in their spare time? Are they timid? Brave? Meek? you gave me two characters who were exactly the same; hardcore, guilty and frantic. I had this problem for a long time as well, don't worry, there is a cure.
Get a journal for your story and nothing else. Draw what you want your characters to look like, one character gets one page to themselves. Then, map out the character traits; favorite color, hairstyle, accents, anything and everything that makes the character different than the rest.
Then, make a few scenarios and record what the characters would do in that situation, would they run? would they stand their ground? from these scenarios, you can judge the character and weed out their personality from these scenarios. Once the characters are mapped out, you can decide which traits you want to change throughout the story.
For instance, one character could be cold-hearted in the begginning, but slowely (not suddenly) becomes on of the most selfless an loving people.

Like I said, the plot was good, but you need characters. Like icing on a cake, it's not really complete without it






Thank you for your feedback.

I really thought about what you said and I know I will be needing to flesh out both Estienne and Conrad, and give them unique personalities. I really like your idea on getting to know my characters better, i might do that.
But it is important for you to know that this is the first in a series, and that his character and description really will come into light more in these next few chapters, as Estienne grows as a person.
i promise that in the next few chapters you will be able to see his character clearly.




“Hope” is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all -
— Emily Dickinson