Book Jacket

 

rank 5350
word count 68222
date submitted 10.07.2009
date updated 21.07.2009
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
classification: universal
incomplete

Dragon Child

Stephanie Park

Serali is an unusual child who may someday change her world. But now all she wants is to find her own place in it.

 

Ever since her adopted parents told her the story of how she was abandoned in their inn on the night she was born, Serali has wondered who her birth parents were, and who she is. But on the day when Serali discovers that she can turn into a dragon she realizes that she needs to ask not who, but what. Is she a human with an unusual ability, or she is a dragon somehow born in human shape?

As she learns and grows she sees much of her world and the different peoples that live in it, and she begins to think that the real question is not who she is, nor even what she is, but where she belongs. A child of two worlds, she feels like an alien in both. Can she ever feel at home among the strange society of dragons? Can she ever live without fear among humans, who call dragons monsters?

 
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tags

coming of age, dragon, dragons, fantasy, magic, teen, young adult

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55 comments

 

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PeeJay wrote 1735 days ago

Stephanie,

Woah! Where did this come and why haven't I read it sooner? This is exactly the kind of thing I love to read (ie. buy), to curl up in a chair with and while away the hours getting lost in. And Dragon Child is a very good specimen of that kind of work.
Clearly this is fantasy, but you don't get bogged down in over-zealous worldbuilding and unpronouncable names for people and places. Indeed, I can imagine you have lots of background work for this book, perhaps some maps and character CVs stashed away somewhere that'll never find it's way into the book, but it's that level of detail that oozes through your words and makes me feel in safe hands, that this a writer who knows what tey are talking about and won't lead me wrong.

Serali is thoroughly likeable, with a real feisty personality, and it's a delight to be in her presence. Especially bearing the pitch in mind, it's clear to see the hints of what she truly is - but perhaps a little too obvious? One question I think you should ask yourself is: will you want readers to begin this book knowing what Serali is from the start, by giving them the pitch on the back cover of the book, or will you keep it hidden fro them, so the reader and Serali share that journey and discovery. Each has it's own dynamic, pros and cons - indeed, you may have already decided - but in case not, it's something to bear in mind.

You've got a nice pace, especially when characters are interacting, but I think that when Serali launches into introspective thinking, it can get a little wordy. I'm not saying cut it out - you have some wonderful descriptions and, of course, some vital information in them - but some trimming could work to keep the pace propped up between actions.

You should also be careful of wordiness and overdescription. I did find that height and tall-ness are oversubscribed somewhat. Generally, a reader only needs to be told a physical description once, and it's set. Only when it comes up for comparison, eg. 'She was a head taller', does it bear repeating.

But wow, your story really kicks up several gears when Patren reveals his true self, and chases her. Right here, your story enters that special realm of must-read-on-no-matter-what. I felt truly terrified for Serali, could feel my own pulse quicken, so you must be doing something right. But for me, the real highlight is the transformation into dragon, her first flight. It's so full of raw elation, I was totally lost in the moment. And, of course, I joined in with Serali's grim satisfaction as she got her own back on the would-be-rapist. You go, girl-dragon!

If I could make a suggestion: If you notice in ch.2, Serali twice has a quandary about her parenthood. Once, shortly after breakfast, and again, as she ponders her new body. I reckon there's a lot of mileage to be had out of making her believe that Falio and Marilla are her real parents, UP UNTIL her first flight. Not only will it make the moment more shocking for her, but it will cut out the first reverie, AND her confrontation with Falio and Marilla afterwards, about her real parents, will be all the more charged. This is merely an idea that came to me whilst reading, and it may not actually work for you in the long run, but it's there if you want it.

But I really, I absolutely ADORED this. Whisper it softly, but I've read nearly 100 books on this website, and however much I've liked some of them, there's only been about 4 or 5 I've wanted to genuinely read on, and would honestly, truly part money for. Hand on heart, this is one of them. Whatever smll reservations I had about your book, midway through chapter 2, right when Patren lays hand on Serali's shoulder, they were gone, and I was hooked hopelessly in our story.

Honestly, this isn't a Disney, sugar-sweet review, this is my honest-to-goodness declaration of how much I love your work. This is my reading gold: as you probably found out from my book, 'Tick', I'm a big fan of people turning into creatures, but even so, this an outright belter of a novel regardless. One of my absolute favourite finds, and a joy to be in the company of. Well, you've made a fan of me!

PeeJay.

DMC wrote 1746 days ago

Stephanie
What a wonderful premise!
Your pitch has me hook, line and sinker.

And what follows is beautiful, enchanting, engrossing and intriguing. I love the opening – some would say don’t start with the weather, but this works for me. You paint such amazing scenes that I’m in your world straight away.
And I love your characterisation. What a thing to have to deal with. Serali is a worthy protagonist and I think your target reader will identify with her very easily. I also like the end of chapter hooks you use. Great work.
Well, I could go on and on and on about how much I like this but I’m going to pick up on some small points that could improve this (in my humble opinion) –
- When a person starts to speak, begin on a new line.
- I’d also suggest breaking down your paragraphs into smaller ones to enhance flow.
- And maybe divide the chapters up a little to make them shorter.
That’s all. No other issues and these are really only minor ones that could just be down to personal preference.

This is a fabulous piece of work and I’m looking forward to you uploading more.
Best of luck.
Already backed with my very best wishes,
David
Green Ore

JD Revene wrote 1745 days ago

Stephanie,

Thank you for supporting Appetites. I'm returning your read of yesterday.

Your long pitch is intriguing (and reminds of a youth mis-spent with Dungeons and Dragons) but I think you miss an opportunity in your short pitch: I'd like to see the word dragon in there (yes I know it's in the title, but I think it's worth mentioning).

Opening three paragraph are dramatic, but I feel there's a little too much description, I'd try and condense this down to a single paragraph revealing the dragon flying across the lightening lit, dark sky.

Then you come to the village, again I'd like to get the stranger quicker, saving the description for when the reader is engaged by the story. And you report the stranger demanding a room: There's a chance here for dialogue to introduced the character and let us see that is she is imperious.

The dialogue between the strangers--husband and wife--is buried in narrative. I'd try and break these liines out. This would vary paragraph length and also give impact to the words, which are important to your story.

I like the penultimate paragraph of the chapter. I'd consider moving this to the end (just delete "Back at the inn" from the last paragraph and move it up one).

Chapter two, from the pitch I know time's moved on and Serali is the baby from the first chapter, but that passage of time is not evident from the text, at least not immdediately.


I'm liking the dialogue in the second chapter, which moves thing along nicely.

Watch out for telling us things you then show us. For example there's a paragraph beginning: "Happily content to sit in a corner." I don't think you need to tell us she's happily content (but if you do, either happy or content, not both!) as her observations show us that.

When you get into Serali's head (and the exchange with the smith about the stranger was a good example) I'm engaged.

And that exchange nicely foreshadows her confrontation with Patren.

This scene nicely sets up the transformation--but then I want to feel the experience more. And I'd like short paragraphs building up to the leap, empahsising the tension.

This chapter is becoming quite long for YA and I wonder whether the moment of discovery would be a good time to end the chapter . . . seems to me that would guarantee readers turned the page to the next chapter.

Again, I think the penultimate paragraph of this chapter is great and would consider finishing on Serali's thoughts.

In summary, I see an interesting premise, a good structure, with a plot that makes sense and advances well, but I think the pacing could be improved and the writing tightened, particularly in terms of brining us closer to Serali,

On the basis of undoubted potential I shall give this a spin on my shelf.

Stephanie225 wrote 1416 days ago

I read chapter 5
Good pitch. Good descriptions. Good characters.
Some nitpicks:
(Grown up since I last saw you...) idea was repeated twice
I also think the Bandit (from a different area/lifestyle) almost deserves a more different, rougher speech/slang to him.
I also think you need to break the chapters down a little more. This chapter just seemed really long.
Also, think about what is most important to the story. Is there anything that is good, but not ultimately critical to the story. (Does she need that relationship with the knife trader? Do we need so much detail about the bargaining? Is there a faster way to deal with the "what do I do with the dragon skills I have and when do I reveal them" question?)

lizjrnm wrote 1505 days ago

This is so well crafted and so very imaginative - it's the perefct bedside read! BACKED

Liz
The Cheech Room

lizjrnm wrote 1505 days ago

This is so well crafted and so very imaginative - it's the perefct bedside read! BACKED

Liz
The Cheech Room

lizjrnm wrote 1505 days ago

This is so well crafted and so very imaginative - it's the perefct bedside read! BACKED

Liz
The Cheech Room

lizjrnm wrote 1505 days ago

This is so well crafted and so very imaginative - it's the perefct bedside read! BACKED

Liz
The Cheech Room

Vastdistances wrote 1703 days ago

I've been trying to make up my mind about this story, I'm a sucker for this kind of plot and I don't want that to colour my review. On the one hand your characters are strong, your concept is well executed and as of chapter 9 I'm really interested to know what happens next. But, because there is always a but, I feel that it deserves a good edit. There is a hook into the origins of Serali at the beginning, but the next time you hear about that part of the story is some sixty thousand words on, and as, I assume, finding out the cause of her being abandoned is the plot this is paramount as more casual readers will have lost interest.

I'm not saying you need to take out great swathes, or that Serali's childhood is boring as it isn't, but chapter nine was the first time I felt something was actually happening, and that's way too deep into the text in my opinion.

Jenni_James wrote 1722 days ago

Stephanie!

You are a writer. This is vivid, lush, intriguing and glorious. I love it! I love the way you opened the book--it's perfect! Instantly, from the start you are thrown in a rush into a violent storm that holds an exciting undertone throughout the mysteriousness of the rest. You capture your reader immediately. Such talent! I'm so impressed.
Thank you for allowing me to read your book!
Shelved of course!
I wish you the best of luck!
Jenni James
The Northanger Affect

cara_ruegg wrote 1726 days ago

"Their underbellies painted red by the dying light" wow that was such beautiful heartwarming imagery. LOVED IT.
If you wanna reach perfection though I'd use the thesaurus to come up with another word for "flash" just cause you typically don't want the same word too many times esp not in a paragraph...then again who am i to talk? it's a hard rule to keep lol :p i always break it.
nonetheless this was brillantly worded and flowed very nicely. i love the scenery and how you described everything. seems like a great tale. you are very creative and beyond talented. shelved of course.
-Cara

Maria Luisa Lang wrote 1731 days ago

Dear Stephanie, One reason this is such a pleasure to read is that your narrative iswonderfully visual. Indeed, as I was reading I felt as if I were watching a movie: your first three paragraphs constitute a long shot; next the camera moves to the interior of the inn for a series of two-shots—the innkeeper and his wife—and close-ups—the pregnant woman, then the man.

You cut the Serali fourteen years later and continue to proceed cinematically: when she learns how to transform herself into a dragon and fly, her point of view shots could only be managed by a camera mounted in a helicopter. With the appearance of Donovan, there’s a long sequence in which interior shots—the inn—are intercut with exterior ones—the surrounding countryside. Then there are more shots of Serali aloft, both her point of view and that of spectators on the ground; close-ups of her and Donovan; an action sequence when Serali has to fight off the invaders.

That’s as far as I gotten before stopping to write my comment, but I’m sure that as I continue reading I’ll encounter shots and scenes just as well composed and exciting. And it’s not just your narrative structure that’s cinematic: it’s also your precise, vivid, richly detailed prose, and youry premise—a human who can transform herself into a dragon—is also a brilliant special effect.

Serali is not only a fascinating protagonist, but a stunning phenomenon. On my shelf. Maria, The Pharaoh’s Cat

Amerynthe wrote 1734 days ago

I'm really enjoying this, both for the writing itself and for the storyline. The question in your pitch - is she human or is she a dragon - is intriguing and I think will appeal to any young adult who has questioned their place in the world and longed for something extraordinary to happen.

You convey the impetuosity of youth very well - action over common sense! An older person would be more cautious but Serali is bold and counts her own safety below the safety of others.

I loved the expression 'someone had threaded the needle with gold thread', when Donovan goes to meet the Dragon Serali at the needle's eye. I think a slight tweak to 'someone had threaded the needle with gold' would enhance the image, but that's just personal prefence.

Donovan seemed to disappear rather abruptly after their meeting, which I felt was a little strange, and the appearance of the bandits a month later seems a natural start of a new chapter.

I wondered at Land's End being so defenseless for such a remote place - historically, border towns are usually quite well-defended against attacks from neighbouring countries/states, in this case, the Badlands. These are very minor points, though, and do not detract from the overall magic of a charming story, beautifully written.

Happy to give Dragon Child a place on my shelf and best of luck!

Best wishes
Amerynthe

PeeJay wrote 1735 days ago

Stephanie,

Woah! Where did this come and why haven't I read it sooner? This is exactly the kind of thing I love to read (ie. buy), to curl up in a chair with and while away the hours getting lost in. And Dragon Child is a very good specimen of that kind of work.
Clearly this is fantasy, but you don't get bogged down in over-zealous worldbuilding and unpronouncable names for people and places. Indeed, I can imagine you have lots of background work for this book, perhaps some maps and character CVs stashed away somewhere that'll never find it's way into the book, but it's that level of detail that oozes through your words and makes me feel in safe hands, that this a writer who knows what tey are talking about and won't lead me wrong.

Serali is thoroughly likeable, with a real feisty personality, and it's a delight to be in her presence. Especially bearing the pitch in mind, it's clear to see the hints of what she truly is - but perhaps a little too obvious? One question I think you should ask yourself is: will you want readers to begin this book knowing what Serali is from the start, by giving them the pitch on the back cover of the book, or will you keep it hidden fro them, so the reader and Serali share that journey and discovery. Each has it's own dynamic, pros and cons - indeed, you may have already decided - but in case not, it's something to bear in mind.

You've got a nice pace, especially when characters are interacting, but I think that when Serali launches into introspective thinking, it can get a little wordy. I'm not saying cut it out - you have some wonderful descriptions and, of course, some vital information in them - but some trimming could work to keep the pace propped up between actions.

You should also be careful of wordiness and overdescription. I did find that height and tall-ness are oversubscribed somewhat. Generally, a reader only needs to be told a physical description once, and it's set. Only when it comes up for comparison, eg. 'She was a head taller', does it bear repeating.

But wow, your story really kicks up several gears when Patren reveals his true self, and chases her. Right here, your story enters that special realm of must-read-on-no-matter-what. I felt truly terrified for Serali, could feel my own pulse quicken, so you must be doing something right. But for me, the real highlight is the transformation into dragon, her first flight. It's so full of raw elation, I was totally lost in the moment. And, of course, I joined in with Serali's grim satisfaction as she got her own back on the would-be-rapist. You go, girl-dragon!

If I could make a suggestion: If you notice in ch.2, Serali twice has a quandary about her parenthood. Once, shortly after breakfast, and again, as she ponders her new body. I reckon there's a lot of mileage to be had out of making her believe that Falio and Marilla are her real parents, UP UNTIL her first flight. Not only will it make the moment more shocking for her, but it will cut out the first reverie, AND her confrontation with Falio and Marilla afterwards, about her real parents, will be all the more charged. This is merely an idea that came to me whilst reading, and it may not actually work for you in the long run, but it's there if you want it.

But I really, I absolutely ADORED this. Whisper it softly, but I've read nearly 100 books on this website, and however much I've liked some of them, there's only been about 4 or 5 I've wanted to genuinely read on, and would honestly, truly part money for. Hand on heart, this is one of them. Whatever smll reservations I had about your book, midway through chapter 2, right when Patren lays hand on Serali's shoulder, they were gone, and I was hooked hopelessly in our story.

Honestly, this isn't a Disney, sugar-sweet review, this is my honest-to-goodness declaration of how much I love your work. This is my reading gold: as you probably found out from my book, 'Tick', I'm a big fan of people turning into creatures, but even so, this an outright belter of a novel regardless. One of my absolute favourite finds, and a joy to be in the company of. Well, you've made a fan of me!

PeeJay.

Elaina wrote 1736 days ago

Hello Stephanie

I rather enjoyed chapter 1- evocative. But, yes, perhaps the story only properly begins in chapter 2. However, the pace is very slow and I'm not sure you'll keep young adults interested enough to move on. You have some wonderful descriptions, the kind this reader and writer certainly identifies with, but younger readers might not hark too. I remember when I was in my teens I used to skip the descriptive parts, ha ha!

Great premise, flowing writing, and wishing you every success!

Elaina

Debbie wrote 1738 days ago

Just my opinion here, but I wonder whether you’ve started this in the wrong place. The weather report at the beginning put me off and then the scene at the inn following was you the author telling us a story, as there was no emotional connection for me as the reader to any of the characters. It’s not until chapter 2 that the story actually starts, when we get to meet Serali and get inside her head. I do think you might be better dropping this backstory in later on when you’ve got us into the novel.

Now we get going as you start showing us Serali’s world. Serali is a charming child and I like the way she has these odd compulsions – good foreshadowing of what is to come and a great hint of mystery to keep us reading. Not convinced about the attempted rape scene in a YA book, but that’s easily changeable if an editor asks. But you can’t have Donovan the Dragon Slayer. Please! It’s comical and this isn’t humour. :-)

Great story and I enjoyed reading it. Happy to shelve.

mikegilli wrote 1738 days ago

Love your book. On my shelf!
Serali is a delicious magical creation!
Best of luck with it.......................Mikey (The Free )

Cas P wrote 1739 days ago

Hi Stephanie.
I have just read your first two chapters and here are some thoughts.
Ch 1
I liked your opening scenes, the descriptions of Serali's birth were quite atmospheric. I did think that there was a bit of over-writing going on and some of the sentences sounded slightly awkward. I would recommend getting someone who doesn't know the story to read it aloud to you, you'll soon hear where the writing needs changing.
'But as if...' Try not to start sentences with 'But', it's not good grammar. Dialogue is ok, but not prose. And you didn't need it here.
Also watch out fot too many 'had's and 'had been's, as in 'he would still have known she had come..'
'Only moments after she had gone out the door it was flung open again...' This could be tightened to 'Only moments after she had gone out, the door was flung open again.'
'It shrunk until it fit...' it *shrank*.
Ch 2
'Happily content..' both say the same thing. Either 'happy' or 'content', you don't need both.
Watch for repetitions such as '...worrying at a tooth...worry at the impulse..'
'She had taken to Brek...' typo, Breck.
'Serali awoke with a start...' you need a scene-break here to indicate the extra passing of time. Three centred asterisks is the norm.
'not really that good of a blade..' not really that good a blade' or 'not that much of a blade.'

IMO, ch 2 was far too long. I would have ended at 'She turned and leaped', which would also be a terrific hook. Otherwise, the end of ch 2 is quite weak.
I also thought there wasn't quite enough action in ch 2. You have long passages describing Serali's family and her life in the village, which don't really move the story on at all. The important bits of ch 2 are Patren's appearance and attempted abduction, and Serali's incredible transformation. Beware of getting bogged down in everyday details that aren't really neccessary.

However, these are only my opinions. You have clear writing and story-telliong skills and I'm sure that Dragon Child will appeal to your target market. I wish you all the best with it!
Cas.
(KING'S ENVOY)

Stauna wrote 1740 days ago

I was practically purring as I read this, snuggling with my laptop and watching the story unfold in from of me. Your setting is vivid and the birth of the baby and subsequent actions hooked me instantly. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Up on my shelf. :o)
Stauna

ML Hamilton wrote 1741 days ago

Stephanie,

I loved the opening with the setting. You orient us well in your world. Then the description of the inn and the innkeepers, followed by the intrigue of the woman arriving in the doorway. You do a nice job showing us the midwife arriving without telling us and the scene with the man entering made me tense.

The writing flowed smoothly throughout the whole chapter until the second to last paragraph. There's something really awkward about the "flew up to the roiling clouds". Maybe the sentence needs to be broken up a bit. Other than that, it was a very entertaining read.

On my shelf,

ML

nsllee wrote 1741 days ago

Hi Stephanie

Great opening, well-told. I'm not usually a one for lots of descriptive writing, especially right at the start of a book, but somehow you manage to pull it off.

Shelved.

Nicole

Sammy23 wrote 1741 days ago

I won't bother repeating the tips that others have given you about the formatting of your story but I will agree that it's a very interesting start and I look forward to reading more. :D

Happy Writing. :)

shawnette.nielson wrote 1742 days ago

Excellent writing! Descriptions of landscape and weather, which usually leave me bored silly, are truly beautiful. The dialogue seems very natural and interesting. I love the hook at the end of the chapter. Really, beautifully crafted.

Sometimes paragraphs run rather longer than I'd prefer, but other than that, great job! A wonderful read! I'll give it a spin on my shelf.

Shawnette

the dragon flies wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 2: it read like a train. If I have to say anything, I would shorten the chapters a bit. Apart from that, I found a story that came alive.

Well done!

Peter
(Dane Redhill)

the dragon flies wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 1: great start. You pull us immediately in with making it sound as if the water is alive - which it naturally is in those circumstances.

When the new guest arrives and the innkeeper's wife takes her up, I at first thought it was the guest who went down and searched for the midwife. Grammatically spoken you are right, though, so maybe I shouldn't make too much of it.

Also, let the wife, husband and child sleep in the room. When the innkeepers wake up the next morning, they find a package with the child in, a note and a sack full of gold coins. I cannot imagine that anyone would let a mother disappear without her child - if only because we don't expect anyone to do that and we, ourselves, don't always see how to take care of a child that isn't ours.

Great ending of this first chapter, BTW. You drag people on to the next chapter, so off I go, to chapter 2.

Peter
(Dane Redhill)

The part where the father of the newborn appears, was a bit off. I mean: he comes in, uses swearwords and all and suddenly calms down again after his wife said something? Make him the father you want to depict: a man worried for his child, but also afraid of what is going to happen. Why not let him enter with his wife and make him worry even more? The dialogue between the wife and her husband would be far more realistic, I think.

Ariom Dahl wrote 1743 days ago

Good story, Stephanie - it moves along well and I enjoyed the two chapters I read. I glanced at the other comments and do agree that you could weed out some of the descriptive bits. (Always hard to do; we get attached to our writing and tend to love words a bit too much sometimes.) This should do well, even though I am far from being a YA reader it appealed to me. I'll come back to read the rest.

Dania wrote 1743 days ago

I like the premise and Serali is an interesting character. I’m not the target audience but I think this is the kind of plot that would pull YA readers. Glad to shelve.

Some nitpicks:
Ch 1: I like the scene setting but felt it could be cut down to move us faster to the baby.
Ch2: I like the pace more. Perhaps the writing still has room for tightening. For example: “The village was small, consisting of..” maybe you can turn it into a more active sentence, e.g. “the small village consisted of” and maybe no need for the word “small” since the description shows it.
Same with “there was a commotion behind her and her two brothers spilled …”.

Good luck!
Dania

Nel wrote 1743 days ago

Very enjoyable storyline and very engaging characters. There are a few too many adjectives at times. It makes things slightly cumbersome at times, but that is outweighed by the enjoyment of the storyline.

Gotch wrote 1743 days ago

• I am old school. I like my stories to have descriptions. But even so, there are way too many in this first chapt. There are some spots where you really load the sentences down. This is just a made up example but you’ll get the idea: The tall soldier rode the white horse down the deserted road toward the burning sun.
• There is a storm that starts one of my books as well but it is integral to the plot. Is yours important enough to merit three paragraphs in your first chapter? This is where your reader is going to make their decision about your book. This is where you should sell it.
• Enjoyed the line: “…hardy enough to brave the watery downpour in search of more pleasant liquids.”
• Chapt. 1, paragraph 2: “The sun had set and now and the frequent flashes…” I don’t think you want both “and’s”.
• “She was tall also, taller than any man in the room and a wealth of golden hair, wind-blown and rain-sodden but still striking all the same, fell down her back.” Way too long. Keep it but break it up. Maybe: “She was tall also, taller than any man in the room. She had a wealth of golden hair fell down her back. It was wind-blown and rain-sodden but still striking all the same.” It has more punch. If you wanted to, you could even compare it to one of the waterfalls you’d described earlier.
• “demanded the location of his wife” rather than “location”, maybe “whereabouts”. “Location” is almost mechanical in tone.
• First chapter, last paragraph: “The child began to fuss as any baby might, and indeed she looked like any other baby, her golden bracelet the only sign that she was not.” Break this up. It’ll have more punch: “The child began to fuss as any baby might, and indeed she looked like any other baby. Her golden bracelet was the only sign that she was not.”
• Chapter 2, paragraph that begins: “Happily content to sit in a corner,” Leave out happily or content and this would be your best paragraph so far.
• Desert floors are usually dry.
• “worrying at a loose tooth” is a good expression. Don’t weaken it with the second “worry”.
• “he’d be uglier than the horse is.” Leave out the “is”. It’d be a stronger sentence.
• How about: “It makes me feel dirty when he just looks at me.” or “Just his looking at me makes me feel dirty.” or something like that. You don’t want to have “look” twice in the same sentence.

Sorry about the alignment of the bullet points. I copied from my notes in Word and it didn't transfer very well. Anyway, I'm not a follower of dragon books although there are a lot of people that are. And there's a lot of such books already out there. You have your work cut out for you. But I did enjoy the story. You build an interesting world. The characters are good. Shelved.

Paolito wrote 1744 days ago

Dragon Child...

C.3, nice. Poor Serali is now threatened even more seriously than by mere bullies...just what you want to do to your MC and you do it at exactly the right time.

Exclamation marks are now out of fashion, so eliminate them...if the phrase needs more oomph, then change the phrase.

This is a delightful story, and targetted ideally to your market. Your MC is intriguing and the reader cares about what happens to her. Nice suspense touches, and with a tiny bit of editing, this could be a winner.

Bravo, and shelved, of course.

Cheers,
Sheryl
IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES (would love your honest reactions)

Paolito wrote 1744 days ago

Dragon Child...

C. 2 is a little long; I'd split it into two chapters, but this promises to be a great story.

Check the actual meaning of 'presently'' because you've misused it.

If you want your reader to identify even more with Serali than s/he currently does, then eliminate the Watching Syndrome (heard, saw, watching, etc.) because it distances the reader. Here in c.2 you're using Serali's POV, so once the reader knows whose head s/he is in, you don't need the Watching Syndrome.

Reading on...

Paolito wrote 1744 days ago

Dragon Child...

Great opening chapter which develops both sympathy and interest for the child. My only nit is the adverbs...better to avoid them (Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages), and it would be a shame to have your work rejected simply on the basis of the adverbs.

Reading on...

berni stevens wrote 1744 days ago

Hi Stephanie,

This is a great idea, a dragon child - love it. Almost a 'were-dragon' in a way :)
Your descriptions are lovely, although I think maybe the storm sequence should be a little shorter at the beginning, to enable the reader to get into the story quicker, but that could just be me.

A beautiful tale - incredibly well told - and I wish you loads of luck with it.
Definitely shelved.

Berni x

Cellardoor wrote 1744 days ago

Dragon Child.

This is an amazing story, full of lush and vivid imagery. Stephanie, you are so talented and this is a wonderful story - I have had a lifelong obsession with dragons and have read every dragon book/watched every dragon movie. This is perfect :-) Backed in admiration.
Melanie.

Ayrich wrote 1745 days ago

A dragon bard. Nicely done. I love the transition from girl to dragon and back. I love storys about dragons particularly when they have a human form.
Shelved,.

JD Revene wrote 1745 days ago

Stephanie,

Thank you for supporting Appetites. I'm returning your read of yesterday.

Your long pitch is intriguing (and reminds of a youth mis-spent with Dungeons and Dragons) but I think you miss an opportunity in your short pitch: I'd like to see the word dragon in there (yes I know it's in the title, but I think it's worth mentioning).

Opening three paragraph are dramatic, but I feel there's a little too much description, I'd try and condense this down to a single paragraph revealing the dragon flying across the lightening lit, dark sky.

Then you come to the village, again I'd like to get the stranger quicker, saving the description for when the reader is engaged by the story. And you report the stranger demanding a room: There's a chance here for dialogue to introduced the character and let us see that is she is imperious.

The dialogue between the strangers--husband and wife--is buried in narrative. I'd try and break these liines out. This would vary paragraph length and also give impact to the words, which are important to your story.

I like the penultimate paragraph of the chapter. I'd consider moving this to the end (just delete "Back at the inn" from the last paragraph and move it up one).

Chapter two, from the pitch I know time's moved on and Serali is the baby from the first chapter, but that passage of time is not evident from the text, at least not immdediately.


I'm liking the dialogue in the second chapter, which moves thing along nicely.

Watch out for telling us things you then show us. For example there's a paragraph beginning: "Happily content to sit in a corner." I don't think you need to tell us she's happily content (but if you do, either happy or content, not both!) as her observations show us that.

When you get into Serali's head (and the exchange with the smith about the stranger was a good example) I'm engaged.

And that exchange nicely foreshadows her confrontation with Patren.

This scene nicely sets up the transformation--but then I want to feel the experience more. And I'd like short paragraphs building up to the leap, empahsising the tension.

This chapter is becoming quite long for YA and I wonder whether the moment of discovery would be a good time to end the chapter . . . seems to me that would guarantee readers turned the page to the next chapter.

Again, I think the penultimate paragraph of this chapter is great and would consider finishing on Serali's thoughts.

In summary, I see an interesting premise, a good structure, with a plot that makes sense and advances well, but I think the pacing could be improved and the writing tightened, particularly in terms of brining us closer to Serali,

On the basis of undoubted potential I shall give this a spin on my shelf.

Rian wrote 1745 days ago

The hook continues and is fascinating.

I love girls who are tough yet sweet as MC's

Rian

Rian wrote 1745 days ago

Wonderful (and sad) opening.

Really good hook too.

Will shelve and read one more chapter.


Rian

John Harold McCoy wrote 1745 days ago

Nice story Stephanie. I felt the rain was a trifle over described but that may just have been my mood while reading since I can't put my finger on what I mean. One thing... the rain had already shaped the ravines... don't think it really needs to shape them again. Otherwise, very nice. Good writing, good descriptions. Not my kinda thing but still deserves a little backing. Good luck with it.

Rayo Azul wrote 1745 days ago

Great start, with a touch of horror and a little bullying. Patren got what he deserved and we got a golden dragon. My only nitpick, and this I know is aimed at a young audience, is that it seemed to sway alittle between age groups for me. The would-be rape was touching on adult themes and yet the delight of the presents and her transformation into a dragon were very much in your target audience. As I said good stuff. Shelved.

Rayo

Kim Jewell wrote 1745 days ago

Hi Stephanie-

I love the premise of your book - your intro did a fine job of hooking me into the story. Have to say, though, I didn't feel like the book really took off until chapter two, when you get into Serali's story. I know the first chapter had to come first, as it set up the scene for Serali's life... But I wondered if you could open with Serali, hook the reader with her, then flash back to the birth scene. (I'm not even sure that makes sense in my head as I type that... But I just thought I'd mention my thoughts on the opening, for what it's worth.)

Your writing style doesn't leave much to nit - you're a fantastic story teller! If I had to give any advice, some of your paragraphs seem a little long and cumbersome for YA. But your dialogue and characters are authentic, and your story is fresh. Well done. Shelved!

Kim
Invisible Justice

acbrocks wrote 1745 days ago

Hi Stephanie,
I love description at the beginning of books, but i think you could have cut a bit out at the start to get the reader into the plot quicker. Also i think someone else mentioned they were a little confused about which wife/husband you were talking about at times which could be clarified.
Other than that this is a great start with plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep the reader reading on. I enjoyed reading it,
backed.
Alison - Spellcaster

alexwilliams wrote 1745 days ago

Hi Stephanie,

Opens like a sophisticated fairy tale, I like it! I makes me what to know what the life of this child will be.

Good descriptive stuff - the weather, the physical form of the dragons. I do feel perhaps that it suffers a bit from the influence of a lot of visual media ,ie TV and film. It reads like you are describing what you see on screen sometimes, with 'Another flash illuminated its wings as it landed' and the 'frame' of the door as people are revealed there.

Got tripped up once when the gold haired woman talks to 'her husband'. I think it refers to the inn keeper's husband, but had to work to figure that out. The Gold haired husband hasn't appeared at this point, and I had to scan back to check that she had arrived alone.

Final comment. The conversation between the parents doesn't ring quite right. Secret and emotive topics said out loud - perhaps have the woman innkeeper over hearing them? Just a thought.

Oh, and another comment! I like the way you drop in the detail of the quite unusual setting without ramming it in our faces. The world is carefuly brought to life around the narrative, with just a hint of magic in the shrinking bracelet (apart from the presence of dragons of course!). Good luck!

Alex
Dark Skies Dawning

DMC wrote 1746 days ago

Stephanie
What a wonderful premise!
Your pitch has me hook, line and sinker.

And what follows is beautiful, enchanting, engrossing and intriguing. I love the opening – some would say don’t start with the weather, but this works for me. You paint such amazing scenes that I’m in your world straight away.
And I love your characterisation. What a thing to have to deal with. Serali is a worthy protagonist and I think your target reader will identify with her very easily. I also like the end of chapter hooks you use. Great work.
Well, I could go on and on and on about how much I like this but I’m going to pick up on some small points that could improve this (in my humble opinion) –
- When a person starts to speak, begin on a new line.
- I’d also suggest breaking down your paragraphs into smaller ones to enhance flow.
- And maybe divide the chapters up a little to make them shorter.
That’s all. No other issues and these are really only minor ones that could just be down to personal preference.

This is a fabulous piece of work and I’m looking forward to you uploading more.
Best of luck.
Already backed with my very best wishes,
David
Green Ore

TomW wrote 1746 days ago

Comments on Chapters 1 and 2...

I like it. Changing into a dragon. Very cool. Dragons are at risk of being done to death, of course, but this is a relatively new variation to me. The characterisation and plot seem fine in these snippets of your beginning, but I'd like you to have another look at the writing at a mechanical level...

Let's look at your opening paragraph. The similes and metaphors are fine, but you have an abundance of "was", "were" passive sentences, as well as superfluous clauses that tell us the same things you've already told us (or that we can guess from what has gone before).

What I think you do with your writing is go through each sentence and leave out words, or reword the sentence, to use less words. That would add pace and clarity to your writing, without losing anything you need to convey.

E.g.

"The sun was setting" - be more direct. How about "The sun set"?

"The sky was already black" - I assume you mean overhead, or at least away from the sun, which is still setting (and painting the clouds' underbellies).

"absorbed instantly by the thirsty ground" "the earth drank it in" are more or less saying the same thing twice.

"rain fell seldon", "Gullies and ravines that were normally dry" again repeat the same things.

"wearing the soft red sandstone away" "equally red dirt" - we can guess if the sandstone is worn away it would be the same red.

Let's try something like this...

The sun set in the west. Stormclouds gathered overhead, the first fat raindrops glittering red in the dying light. Rain fell seldom on this high desert plateau, though when it did it fell heavily. The parched earth drank its fill of the rain, but soon it could absorb no more. Water ran down the gullies and ravines that past storms had created, becoming an earthy crimson as it accumulated a sediment of soft red sandstone.

Ok, it's rough, but it tells the same "tale" more efficiently - i.e. with less words.

I'll leave you with that. Feel free to message me for more info.

Regards,

TomW

Kenneth Rogers Jr. wrote 1747 days ago

You have a great start here. Drawing mystery and creating a world very slowly in the mind of the reader, letting them get used to their new surroundings. Get it finished before it gets to the ed desk. Shelved.
Later days,
Kenny

columbus wrote 1747 days ago

Stephanie,
Wow, beautifully crafted. I hope you post more. The only suggestion I can offer you would be to look at your first sentence in chapter three, it’s a little awkward. Otherwise the story flows along seamlessly. Best, Molly

Alecia Stone wrote 1747 days ago

Hi Stephanie,

You have an intriguing premise.

Great opening. I was immediately absorbed into the story. Nice ending to the chapter.

Great use of dialogue in chap 2. It felt natural and the characters felt real.

This is very well written. Great pacing and the sentence flowed with ease which made it easy to read. This has a lot of promise and the story will be very popular on this site. All the best.

Shelved!

Shinzy :)

tojo wrote 1747 days ago

Excellent story line, I enjoyed reading this. nicely written. but great need for more chapters, so that it can go towards the front. but still on my shelf.

John Booth wrote 1747 days ago

I think this is a wonderful story, beautifully told. On my shelf.

Gosh, how do I find any words to help you. The only thing that rang 'wrong' to me was right at the beginning when you describe the previous innkeeper as 'retired'. Nobody ever retired in medieval worlds because it takes your income with it. Businesses would pass through the family, but the eldest male or female would retain ownership until death, basically to guarantee an income. Absolutely trivial and only a couple of words.

Great stuff. Hope it goes straight to the top

John Booth

I'd be delighted if you were to comment on Shaddowdon. Be totally honest and if you hate it tell me so.

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1747 days ago

Very evocative style of writing. The target audience will love this, my own family would have. On my shelf. Patrick Barrett (Shakespeares Cuthbert)

S. Park wrote 1748 days ago

When you get a chance, if you could read/comment (possibly back/shelve my book) I would appreciate your feedback in my comments section.



I will definitely have a look at your book. Thank you very much for the comment and for the back!

soutexmex wrote 1748 days ago

I backing you because I can so totally see this as a film, that's how good you are at describing the scenes. You are shelved. When you get a chance, if you could read/comment (possibly back/shelve my book) I would appreciate your feedback in my comments section.
Cheers!
JC
The Obergemau File

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