Book Jacket

 

rank 137
word count 41022
date submitted 04.02.2011
date updated 03.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
classification: universal
incomplete

Skullsong. Part 1 of the Gobbledygook series

Mat Morgan

A thousand years ago Merlin was tricked and buried beneath rock and spell. With him the most powerful book of magic ever known, Gobbledygook.

 

In the fetid darkness he opened an eye, and madness was awoken once more. With skeletal fingers he brushed the cobwebs from his beard and sniffed the thousand year old air of the cave which was his tomb.
'They come,' he announced in a whisper so light that the spider on his lips just heard it. 'The bloodline returns to the mountain range.'
In reply he heard her voice, the scaly rasp of dragon tongue. 'Which does not mean freedom for you nor I.'
'But it does,' he told her. 'I have seen the moment of release, Idwell and Gareth, both will see to it that you and I are crowned again.'
'To do their bidding,' the dragon said with scorn.
'I've only ever served one master,' Merlin said and closed again his eye. 'They'll discover that soon enough.'

 
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tags

adventure, dragons, fairy tale, magic, merlin

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158 comments

 

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Software wrote 238 days ago

Not surprising that Skullsong rides high in the chart. The story has been well architected, as if with storyboards, and then skilfully crafted into a series of images and dialogue that propel the story along at a brisk pace. This is by no means a one dimensional fantasy. It contains elements of suspense and humour, blended into a base of quest and journey. The mix makes for entertaining and enjoyable reading. High stars and WL'ed. Probable bookshelf candidate when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Nick O Teen wrote 265 days ago

Read the first three chapters. They just get better. Wasn't sure where I was at with the prologue, not saying that's a bad thing. Intrigue is good. And then the Scrubbets humor, and then the violence with the Scrubbets, and then the screams, racing through the night.
Really enjoying it.
Very good.
High stars.

carol jefferies wrote 265 days ago

Hi Mat

Skullsong. Part 1 of the Gobbledygook Series

This is a return read.

I liked the simple short sentence with which you start the book. It made me wonder how did the table get cracked. Tables only get cracked by violence, don't they?

Then I wanted to know why did the Daminids disgust Mirdrake, and what were the Daminids?

I liked the way you made Mirdrake's armour an essential part of him confirming what a warrior he was.

Tension builds when Mirdrake enters the fortress, not knowing if the thousand year old spell of protection still stands, or not, making him come across as very courageous. His powerfulness is further emphasized by the way he tears the doors open.

There is suspense and intrigue in Mirdrake's uninvited appearance at the meeting, as it is not clear until he gets there what his intentions are.

I liked how the evil of Mow'rath is highlighted by the way he suggests that Mirdrake feeds his army with Daminid children.

Chapter two contrasts sharply with the first chapter as it is set in comparatively recent times and focuses around ten year old John Scrubbet, (great name) about to embark on his family's annual holiday.

Everything seems predictable until the arrival of Mow'rath, by which the reader knows from the previous chapter, is wicked. I liked some of the phrases you used to describe him, such as, 'His face was sharp enough to draw blood.'

I wondered how John had already imagined what he looked like.

Nose-picking like scab-picking, is a very popular pastime for young children.

I especially liked it when John's mother says to him, "Don't be such a stupid boy, John, you behave like a child."

And John says, "I am a child."

I enjoyed the humourous scene of Bob Scrubbet hitting the car-door.

Tension builds again in chapter three when Mow'rath not only offers to repair their car, but also provides them with shelter for the night. I liked the fact that John's parents are a bit clueless about accepting accommodation from the sinister character of Mow'rath. By comparison John seems to be a lot more sensible.

This chapter is full of action and makes compelling reading from when the family find themselves in a dark tunnel until the end with the beast, Dubros, attacking the darkness and the shadows attempting to pluck Jennifer from her mother's arms.

The characters are well described and the dialogue is believable. I can see a lot of thought has gone into this well-written and imaginative fantasy story and it has done so well being on so many book-shelves.

High stars and good luck with it.

Carol Jefferies
(The Witch of Fleet Street)

carol jefferies wrote 265 days ago

Hi Mat

Skullsong. Part 1 of the Gobbledygook Series

This is a return read.

I liked the simple short sentence with which you start the book. It made me wonder how did the table get cracked. Tables only get cracked by violence, don't they?

Then I wanted to know why did the Daminids disgust Mirdrake, and what were the Daminids?

I liked the way you made Mirdrake's armour an essential part of him confirming what a warrior he was.

Tension builds when Mirdrake enters the fortress, not knowing if the thousand year old spell of protection still stands, or not, making him come across as very courageous. His powerfulness is further emphasized by the way he tears the doors open.

There is suspense and intrigue in Mirdrake's uninvited appearance at the meeting, as it is not clear until he gets there what his intentions are.

I liked how the evil of Mow'rath is highlighted by the way he suggests that Mirdrake feeds his army with Daminid children.

Chapter two contrasts sharply with the first chapter as it is set in comparatively recent times and focuses around ten year old John Scrubbet, (great name) about to embark on his family's annual holiday.

Everything seems predictable until the arrival of Mow'rath, by which the reader knows from the previous chapter, is wicked. I liked some of the phrases you used to describe him, such as, 'His face was sharp enough to draw blood.'

I wondered how John had already imagined what he looked like.

Nose-picking like scab-picking, is a very popular pastime for young children.

I especially liked it when John's mother says to him, "Don't be such a stupid boy, John, you behave like a child."

And John says, "I am a child."

I enjoyed the humourous scene of Bob Scrubbet hitting the car-door.

Tension builds again in chapter three when Mow'rath not only offers to repair their car, but also provides them with shelter for the night. I liked the fact that John's parents are a bit clueless about accepting accommodation from the sinister character of Mow'rath. By comparison John seems to be a lot more sensible.

This chapter is full of action and makes compelling reading from when the family find themselves in a dark tunnel until the end with the beast, Dubros, attacking the darkness and the shadows attempting to pluck Jennifer from her mother's arms.

The characters are well described and the dialogue is believable. I can see a lot of thought has gone into this well-written and imaginative fantasy story and it has done so well being on so many book-shelves.

High stars and good luck with it.

Carol Jefferies
(The Witch of Fleet Street)

Gold Fitch wrote 266 days ago

Excellent.

Ian Beale wrote 266 days ago

This is really good. The imagery is excellent. I'll be back to read more.

Mr.Cut wrote 267 days ago

Really loving this. I joined to upload my own book, but I think I'll go back to editing it for a while if this is the standard of the books on the site.

L.Lombard wrote 279 days ago


This is very well written. I read to chapter 4 and thoroughly enjoyed what I read. The imagery is well crafted. I love magic, and you write it as it should be. High stars from me.
L-
EBO

The Imagineer wrote 306 days ago

Chapter 1 was an amazing display of imagery and descriptive story-telling. I am thoroughly impressed.
However, some minor errors.
Prologue (Chapter 1) -
"...concerned by this, was almost..." [You need a conjunction here.]
"...roads behind him; stepped from the pathways..." [conjunction?]
Chapter 1 (Chapter 2) -
"...before you wanted(,) but if things carry..." [Necessary comma]
Auntie Fen? Seriously laughing. You named a character after a swamp.
"I'm hot(,) Mum," Juniper... [Comma please]
"...all hot(,) Juniper," his... [Comma]
Dialogue after the car breaks down, funny.

It has sucked me in with its provocative story-telling. You deserve this ranking and higher.

Mawdlin wrote 309 days ago

YARG review

Some great writing here packed full of humour and great imagery. I am not a big fan of prologues, something in me just switches off when I have to read one. I'd rather just get started with the main story. However, your prologue is pretty intriguing but I would definitely try and make it more concise.

I love the ordinariness of your family's situation juxtaposed with the dramatic and magical meta drama. Love the line about the farts. There's also excellent characterisation and you deliver a lot of the plot through dialogue without it seeming clunky or forced. I would maybe try to add in some more obvious plot points because I'm up to chapter 5 and I am still not sure where this is all going. But that might be me.

The first paragraph of chapter 4 is too long and I would break it up. I would also be careful about jumping pov too much too, but again that is something that maybe bothers me more than other people.

I'm enjoying this immensely and you have something which is shaping up to be epic! Rated this big.

Mawdlin
Hubble Bubble, Toilet Trouble

jessicaminor wrote 323 days ago

Yarg review of chapters one through nine
I am horrible at editing and I don't try to offend people
first few chapters could use a little cropping but the story is great. I can't write horror or suspense to save my life but I love to read it. I really love the hanging tree in chapter 8 and I can't wait to read more of it later when I can

jessicaminor wrote 323 days ago

matt '
hi there im jess I have been in the forum a month or two im also a fantasy writer I read your pitch and I plan to read this when I can, I've got young boys that get into everything , one of them is named matt. anyway from the pitch I can't wait to dive into it. I am new to sharing my work, so its a little raw, im currently working on a series called land of galderia if in your spare time you would be kind enough to read one of them, i'd love to see what you think, its all a work in progress im in the middle of writing book 4, the first eleven chapters are posted. I read a lot in the forum and my two faves are magical and supernatural ones.

AudreyB wrote 383 days ago

Hi, Matt—I owe you a read but I must confess, I’m not much of a reader of fantasy. That means I’ll focus more on mechanics than on plotting or pacing. I hope that’s useful to you. I just don’t know as much about this genre as I do of others.

I think there’s too much detail in your long pitch. It’s as if you’re trying to offer the story. See how much you can cut out. Or, as an alternative, give us a brief glimpse of a scene, much the way movie trailers do, that we cannot resist.

I’m not crazy about the word gobbledygook. I suspect you could make up a better word.

I’ve read just a half-dozen paragraphs and want to insist that you fix your pitch. Because your writing is vastly superior to what’s in your pitch. You are losing potential readers.

Well-written, yes, and also longish. This introductory sequence, which is essentially shows us Mirdrake taking a walk, is a bit action-less for YA. I imagine the kids who are already fantasy fans will be enthralled, but those who need a little nudge won’t make it through.

As much as male YA readers like farts…I thought it was odd to open your second chapter with one.

I’m not sure what you mean by “posted the house keys through next doors.”

Kids know that car trips are tedious. I’d recommend trimming some of these details in favor of getting to the startlingly tall mechanic.

The Hag has just this to offer: You under-use the invaluable comma. Many, many sentences would read much clearer with a few well-placed pauses.

I see you’ve been here a long while. Have you considered joining a crit group? It’s a good way of getting feedback. I’d have never made the desk without the ideas and reactions of the members of my various crit groups.

Best of luck to you--

~AudreyB
Steadfast

Andrewallen82 wrote 414 days ago

I am a new author and would greatly appreciate a quick read it is only 5 chapters and think it a an a decent story so far and will return all reads will give me a chance. I am looking more for pointers than anything else if you love great, but if not please tell me all the same I WILL return the read and back it if I like it. Thanks David It is called Forsaken a not so human man who banished himself to the shadows for 60 years until now. Please consider I am new here and anything would be appreciated.

amadeusandy wrote 432 days ago

Thumbs up ;)
Look, even though this is not my genre - it sure caught my attention. About Half-way down the first page i got hooked and fell into the World of the story. You are good with words and descriptions. You successfully dump the reader into your world magic. I enjoyed the way you personify emotions and objects in your writing - such as:
"A mild claustrophobia tried to touch him as he entered the labyrinth tunnels."
Only thing which threw me off a bit was the quantity of different names of races, characters and places all put forth within the first paragraphs. It kicked me out of the world into an exterior position with names with no 'visual' - while your descriptions of the scenes managed to compensate for this and pulled one right down into the plot again.
So in short - hat of to your descriptions.
Overall I was entertained - your going on my watchlist. ;)

Andreas Amadeus - "Andreas & The Worlds."

Seringapatam wrote 437 days ago

This is a really good read. i like the descriptive voice here and the way it matches the flow of the characters. As soon as you feel the book dropping off a tiny bit the characters are re introduced very cleverly to boost sales once more. I like this and call this 'intelligent writing'; I can see this doing well. Nice pace, good story and new ideas. I like it and high score from me.
Sean Connolly. British Army om the Rampage. (B.A.O.R). Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Thank you. Sean

Neville wrote 438 days ago

Gobbledygook.
By M. L. Morgan.


The book is a pleasure to read, good characters, description and dialogue.
Plenty of mystery and magic in this fantasy story, the twists and turns are an added attraction.
For me, it’s written with a lot of thought to detail—my type of read.
Love it and will come back to it later to complete the rest of what’s uploaded so far.
Happy to star-rate it high.

Neville. Secrets of the Forest (Series).

Chloe Louise wrote 438 days ago

It must have been over a year since I last looked in on you. I've already read all of your chapters, though I've only commented on a few.
I love it. It is to be loved.
Why are you still here, have you been sending this to anyone?

Swisscheese wrote 438 days ago

This is quite a twist on the story of King Arthur and Merlin :}. A very creative one at that. I liked how you mixed suspense and horror with an unique plot. As mentioned before, I found the dialogue between the family members very entertaining. I think I even understand why you wrote the prologue you why you did. Did you intend to make the wording sound more attuned to the time period of Merlin? If so, very clever. However, my only suggestion would be to make the prologue easier to understand without ruining the historical feel to it.

rikasworld wrote 438 days ago

I'm a bit torn about this book. I couldn't really get into the prologue but I loved the part about the family. Then you killed them off. You've got such a clever and rich way of describing the family interactions. Juniper with his sugar rush and poor old John saying 'I am a child' made me laugh. 'I can't stand the way she talks to her husband' - great line. I thought the whole trap was delightfully creepy and well done, and some beautiful lines 'flowers thought forgot and trees older than mountains'. Then I couldn't really get into the next bit.
Basically, I think I'm saying that I really loved (and envied) your style but not in the 'serious' bits. Could you simplify those parts at all? Obviously this is just me so feel free to ignore.

I

Jon Schafer wrote 439 days ago

Great story idea. Very well written, and it flows nicely. Maybe throw a few contracted words in to make it smoother, but as it sits, it's a good read.
Rated and on my WL for later.

Thanks,
Jon Schafer
Dead Air
Immigrant Song
Normal is a Washing Machine Setting

Kate LaRue wrote 440 days ago

Gobbedygook
This is a dark, mysterious opening. Mirdrake is quite a sinister character, and the story seems to be steeped in legend.

Something I noticed over the beginning of the prologue is that there is quite a bit of pronoun usage, which can make the narrative hard to follow. Also, his purpose in breaking into the underground stronghold is unclear, and I was surprised to find he was there to demand more food for his army. As I know nothing of his army and what kind of food they require, it seems like such a benign request after the buildup of the beginning, and all of his stealth and hoping for a challenge, etc.

Hopefully this is helpful. An interesting beginning. Best wishes.
Kate

Truth One Note In wrote 442 days ago

Your flow of words come across so easily, making it easy to read.
The plot line seems original, I'm not too well versed in these sort of themes.
One thing about the opening chapter is that there is a lot of time between dialog. It has a small tendency to run on, which could be a little too much for some readers.
Grando work.
Toni [Cavern of Time]

Abby Vandiver wrote 606 days ago

Rowan Martin? As in Rowan and Martin? Now that's funny. You write very well. I enjoyed the story and the dialogue was good.

Great job.

Abby

Tod Schneider wrote 699 days ago

Well written! Not my usual genre, but compelling nevertheless. The voices are particularly strong, as is the atmosphere. Best of luck with this!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

Cupcakecalamity wrote 699 days ago

Nice work here! Enthusiastically backed!!

The Knowledge wrote 701 days ago

Due to time restrictions I could only read the prologue, but what I did read, I enjoyed.
Not usually my first genre choice as there appears to be an abundance of similar mystical-land books on this site. The book title alone stands out though and that's what caught my eye.
I think this story will be go down well with writers of the same type of genre as it is extremely well written, hence I have awarded it highest stars.
David (The Knowledge)

SirFurboy wrote 703 days ago

Not read this yet, just spotted the pitch and wanted to point out that "millenia" should be "millennium" (singular and double n). This looks like an interesting book though so I have watchlisted it.

Carla Holmes 100 wrote 706 days ago

Brilliant. Just need to pick up on the few edits that have already been pointed out to you,

Marthin Smarties wrote 706 days ago

Just read the uploaded chapters, would love to read some more. Excellent.

wagid62 wrote 727 days ago

ML
I've read the first few chapters and realy enjoyed the story so far. Love the descriptive language and am very sure any YA would thoroughly enjoy the story. Have to read others, but will definitely get back to GOBBLEDYGOOK
M Cirillo
SERVED COLD

Adeel wrote 732 days ago

A very fantastic and imaginative read. Your style of telling story is quite lucid and writing is polished and crispy. Highly rated.

Karen Eisenbrey wrote 764 days ago

M L,

I read the first three chapters of Gobbeldygook, and I'm very impressed by this well imagined fantasy. I would back it just on the strength of the monster description in Two Tents: "a great collage of menace"; "They were every colour of nightfall, every shade of woe." Wow! Young readers who like magic and don't mind something scary will love this.

Right from the outset, the language has a quiet, ominous grandeur, appropriate to high fantasy, without being overdone or hard to understand. You set the stage with large-scale, evil doings afoot -- and then bring in an innocent contemporary family who think they're on a typical holiday. They have a lot of dysfunction, but it's familiar and it's theirs. Then they meet monsters. Yikes!

John is an appealing young hero. He's young enough to still think like a kid, but because he's the eldest, he already has a lot of maturity -- maybe more than his parents. He has imagination and intuition, and he's still young enough to listen to them.

Throughout, the setting descriptions, whether of the mundane (car trip on a hot day) or the magical (the enchanted campsite) are nicely concrete with just enough detail. And the monsters are genuinely horrible and scary. Dubros is kind of scary, too, but in an awesome way.

Not much to nitpick. What I noted is genuinely tiny stuff, but I hope my comments help with the polishing. Throughout, remember that when characters address each other by name, the name needs to be set off with a comma. A lot of possessives have lost their apostrophes. I note as many as I caught below, but there might be some I missed. Some sentences ramble and might benefit from being broken in two. The best way to catch them is to read some aloud.

Prologue
A millenia . . . Millenia is plural, so you want either "A millenium" or "Mellenia" depending on whether you're talking about a thousand years or several thousand.

a staff which had been his fathers' You want father's

from there hinges You want "their"

Car Trouble
We'll be at your sisters well ahead of time. sister's

hand-break You want "hand-brake"

fathers lead, fathers face, fathers strangely positioned body father's

Two Tents
Junipers hood Juniper's

Johns head, Johns heart, Johns way John's (This sounds like an alternative title!)

wells mouth well's

guardians name guardian's (This sentence would benefit from being broken up into two or three shorter sentences).

Junipers joined hers Juniper's

Exciting stuff! Good luck to you. I hope you will be moved to read and comment on one of my books.

Karen Eisenbrey
CRANE'S WAY
ENDURANCE
TIME SQUARED

marfleet wrote 801 days ago

It was quite a long chapter so I have put down corrections only for Chapter 1.
The imagery is good but I felt marred a bit by the grammar. The first chapter could be made a bit shorter without detracting from it.
From chapter 2 the feel of the book lightens and swings along well. There are areas of dialogue where it is confusing as to who is talking and also stretches that may not suffer from being shortened a little.
A very powerfully written book with great imagery that will do well. I enjoyed it and my only negative comment aside from some grammar points, is that sometimes the paragraphs get a bit unwieldy and could be revisited from the point of view of the flow of the book as a whole. Great effort.


Chap 1
- The cavern in which was his home, …. || feels a bit clumsy - maybe: The cavern in which he made his home, …
- The magic it had been infused with through training harder than battle coursed from it to him and back. || The magic it had been infused with, through training harder than( any) battle, coursed from it to him and back.
- Merlin had summoned the fortress from (the) Earth’s foundations.
- ..rock and stone had then filled ..|| don’t need “then”
- … a final gift to the sisters who buried him then beneath their magic. ||… a final gift to the sisters, who then buried him beneath their magic.
- As rumoured || as was rumoured
- Were it so(,) then the …
- ..had awaited || had waited for
- Ahead of him now(,) the effects..
- Goblin(s)
- …door he was after, upon which were incantations laid …..
- Me and me (alone)!
- ..stopped accusingly… |||…stopping accusingly….
- …..the magic from it could be released(,) the table….
- Up it rose and as it did so (it) solidified into a form (barely) resembling that of a face. || Up (the vapor) rose and as it did so it solidified into a form vaguely resembling that of a face.

Chap 3 starts with reference “true to his word” but there is no prior discussion that it points to – perhaps it needs to be put at the end of the 2nd Chap.

Andrew

A Fatal Misuse of Time
Short pitch: Ever tried waking up yesterday instead of tomorrow? That is just the beginning of Tristan's troubles as his life is hijacked to reveal the future.

ericardoz wrote 829 days ago

I agree with a previous comment I think the prologue is to long. You introduce a lot of characters..Le' Faye, witches, mou'rath, a murdered father, goblins, mountain folk, etc..in every other paragraph and it makes it hard to get into the story. I like the siblings/parents characters you've created. It really establishes John character as being the voice of reason out of the whole family early on in the story. The tunnel you used to transport them to the fantasy world reminds me of my story. A really great way to foreshadow what is to come once the family uses the key to unlock the door.

David J Baron wrote 833 days ago

Hi M L

Will definitively have a nose through this as I have a few spaces on my book shelf and WL. Would you be so kind as to have a quick look at my book - The List. Feel free to leave a comment.
ta very much.

David J Baron

GCleare wrote 836 days ago

In general this is good, but the beginning is hard to get through because it takes so long to get to the real action,i.e. his arrival at the meeting. Why don't you start when the doors slam open? It would be much more dramatic. I like the mood and language, though it is very formal and keeps the reader at a distance from the drama. This whole intro part needs to be cut to the bone and made more vivid and immediate. When the scene changes at chapter 2 your writing warms up and starts to flow. Love the "smell like a dirty purple fog" and "his mother must have heard a silent creak of his lip," etc., some great phrases in here that made me smile! ~Gail

AuroraNemesis wrote 838 days ago

Forgetting the grammar, which needs a little looking at?
The story is a good one.
Your characters are good too.
Try to cut some of your paragraphs down a bit and tighten them up.
Pov is good and your pace is too.
Don’t give up; I have been where you are now. Just keep writing.

Bethanie wrote 839 days ago

Ok, just finished to the Two Tents. I found myself confused as the Prologue that started a little of Merlin, didn't really catch me. Then the next chapter went to a family's holiday. Sometimes prologues are better left off, especially since there was nothing in the next chapter referring to anything in the prologue. It was somewhat disappointing.

The tatoos on Mow's hands to me felt like they were describing the first part of the book. Chaos until it seemed to straighten out to Order towards the end of Two Tents. Mow's character though interested me, I am not sure whether he is Merlin or not. Depends on who Merlin is--good or bad--in your story. The darkness put into Mow, made him mysterious, and I could sense his evil. I really enjoyed the part towards the end of Two Tents where the family was pulled into the darkness.

The full pitch you wrote, my guess would be is more about things further into the book. Although I understand the story, it was somewhat chaotic. There was too much shifting of viewpoints, that is what made it seem chaotic. Now that being said, I truly believe you have a great talent for telling a great story, the structure just needs a little straightening.

WIth a little more work, I feel as if this story could be great. Of course we all, as writers, can always work on a story a little more to make it better. I hoped I helped some, but as I tell everyone, my opinion is my opinion and if you feel you have done your best then I say Bravo. It is your book, you are the one that should be happy with it. Best Wishes!!

~Bethanie

pb_journey wrote 839 days ago

Hi - thanks for your message asking me to have a look at your novel. I hope my comments are helpful.

Unfortunately the prologue didn’t exactly invite me into the book nor raise my motivation to read more. However as soon as I got into the first chapter, I could start to relate to the family members as they started their holiday. Maybe the prologue was too dark, too quickly. I guess it depends on your target audience. I also thought that some of the comments and observations made by John seem to be a bit mature for a boy of ten. I also wasn’t sure about the use of “Mr and Mrs Scubbet” – if this is being written from John’s perspective (and this is not always clear about the novel’s perspective) then wouldn’t it be Dad and Mum? It was sometimes confusing when you used "Mrs Scrubbet", "Hilda Scrubbet" and "Hilda" all in the same section.

It took a few reads for me to understand the long pitch for this novel, which is usually most effective if you can determine the plot by a quick glance (ie. of the cover at a bookstore) rather than having to concentrate on the detail to discern the plot.

Peter
Falscastra - Journey to the King

Lulie wrote 861 days ago

Hi. I agree that this is great writing; to me, if you can write well but the plot/structure needs work you have a ball to run with. If you can't write there's not much point in continuing. So much on this site is clunky, full of badly-worded and inaccurate English. THIS IS NOT YOU!
Maybe your opening chapter is a bit long and wordy, with not enough punchy dialogue to grab your younger reader; it's difficult to generalis, though, as some people love that Tolkein-esque style.
Perhaps you'll take a look at 'Jelly-Boy - assuming you can stomach a hungry teenager gutting and cooking a seagull!
Thanks in advance.

Ian Walkley wrote 891 days ago

Hi Matty
You write well, and have a good basis for a plot. At the moment, the main issues I think holding the story back are the multiple shifts in viewpoint, and the length (and complexity) of the chapters. If you are writing for younger readers, it might be good to try writing some of the chapters from a single point of view (say, John’s) and see if it reduces the complexity. Maybe reduce chapter length and some of the more complex words too (eg the prologue).
Some specifics:
Short Pitch: I think it would be good to see what the high stakes are here. Something like: “Over a millenia ago Merlin was tricked and buried, and with him the most powerful book of magic ever known, Gobbeldygook. Now, the book has escaped...”
Long Pitch: Good, but maybe a little too complex for the back cover of the book. Second para: too much info about the doorways. It might be better to cut this back. The penultimate para is probably unnecessary.
Prologue: As this is supposed to be pitched at young readers, I think you need to either ditch the prologue or radically amend it to simplify the language. Even most adults would struggle to wade through the amazing use of words. Nice to be literary, but better to be read, in my view.
Ch1: I guess if you start with a fart, it might be good to try and get a little more humour into these paras. Also, would someone be woken by the noise of a fart?
I also found it a little weird reading “John-boy” and the name “Scrubbet”.
The writing is fine. No comments there.
I found it a little hard to figure out the POV here. I thought you were in John’s viewpoint, but then you talk about Bob smiling with good reason, and I’m not really getting a sense of John’s thoughts and particularly his age, his child/teenager’s? POV on things. It seems to be omniscient POV, and for a young adult novel I would have thought it should be John’s POV.
I thought the wife’s attitude a little to demeaning to be true, and you shift into her POV finding Mow attractive. Then Bob “was running to keep up with his body.”
Then John thinks “The scene did not fit too well into daylight...” Would a kid think this?
Unfortunately, the whole car thing just didn’t work for me. I thought it was too long, and the multiple shifts in POV made it difficult for me to feel any empathy for the characters. I think it would be good to write the scene in one point of view (John’s) and shorten it by about half.
Ch2: You seem to get into Johns POV better here, but then you switch to Bob’s POV.
Again, I feel there is too much happening before we actually get to the tunnel.
Hope these comments help. You have clearly got writing talent, so best wishes with your stories.
Cheers
Ian

Noelle J. Alabaster wrote 916 days ago

A YARG review
You've a got a good idea here. I liked the dialogue between the members of the family in chapter two. But the first chapter was confusing for me; it was hard to follow.Try trimming your paragraphs and shortening your senteces a bit, and I think that will make this so much better.
Keep it up!
Noelle J. Alabaster 'Dark Origins'

Sinharani wrote 920 days ago

Wow, that was interesting. I read three chapters and was sitting at the edge of my seat. You tell the story well. There is a lot of description which is good but sometimes I found it was too much and too drawn out. The pace moved well from the beginning but the long chunks of description tended to pull it back and I think this is not good for the story.

Minor improvements. I give you five stars and will consider placing you on my shelf in the weeks to come. Have a long list to complete before that.

Shirani
Chocolate Cake Dreams

Paul J wrote 922 days ago

a good story but kind of hard to read at times. gets very clunky and the imagery is over the top. but there's a lot going for this and it's worth checking out.

why do you have goggledygook for the title? i'm not a fan of that to be honest. doesn't make sense to me.

leelah wrote 933 days ago

I like the pitch - and the truth of the spirituality in it: in the depths, ancient forms of man dwell - because we have chosen to forget these forms within our mind. And what we deny, gain power.
I love that this book shows youths what they ( and we all) must do about it.)

AdamMosely77 wrote 943 days ago

I really like this one. It's fun, easy to read, and keeps your attention.

Philthy wrote 949 days ago

Hi Matty!

I’m finally getting to this! Sorry it’s taken so long. I’ve heard good things, so I’m excited to check it out.

Title: What’s not to like? Though after reading the first couple chapters, I'm not sure how it fits yet.

Short Pitch: Maybe it’s just me, but “mountains curtain” isn’t a clear visual to me. Does the mountain have a curtain on it? Should “mountains” be possessive? Or, do you mean the mountains are a curtain, in which case, I’m still not seeing it. A curtain to what? Just something to consider. The next part of it is OK, but doesn’t really say anything that makes me want to read further. Where’s the hook?

Long pitch: What is “the range?” This needs to be clearer since it’s the first line of your LP. And, there should be a comma after “range.” The door is there charge? That’s not a charge. What are they to do with the door? Go through it? Close it? That’s a charge.

“so as magic seeps no longer into the depths”
Kind of an awkward sentence. You don’t want to the reader trudging through your pitch.

Man, I’m really intrigued by this story, but I think you’re losing some of your audience by putting too much information in the pitches. Whittle it down to the stuff that hooks, rather than fill it with too much backstory.

“Two beardless boy snow must take that charge.”
Wait, another charge? Confusing.

The paragraph that starts with Idwell…that’s your pitch. All the stuff above is back story from what I can tell. You might tie in some of the enslavement stuff, but only as it entices a reader, not for explanation.

Prologue
Lots of great imagery, such as:
--“the shoulders of his armour scraped like the claws of so many through the ages”
-- “the tunnels here were warped, not by anything geological, but by a spell greater than any he could cast.”
--“Here the rock had been dragged and twisted by the black tongue of magic.”
--“the battery behind (the magic) was not dead.”
--“Tentacles of the protection spell touched him with gossamer softness.”

There's a lot of very good language here. The biggest thing I can suggest is to clean up the flow. Sometimes the inverted word order is way over done. But the imagery is such a treat!

Good luck with this and congrats for having moved up the ranks!

Phil
Deshay of the Woods

Mark S F wrote 949 days ago

Matty

I'm halfway through Gobbeldygook and I'm really enjoying it. Your creation of a secret magical world is so intriguing and imaginative that it kept me reading way beyond what I had orginally intended.

You've created some really strong characters, both good and evil, which filled my mind with vivid pictures. I particulary like the Bear, with which I felt great empathy.

I wish you the very best of luck with this work and have highly rated it.

Mark Shakespeare Fletcher
Charlie and the men in shoes

Nightdream wrote 952 days ago

What a nice free-flowing poetic piece you got here. At first I wasn't a fan of your writing technique. It was so different from anything I have EVER read. But as I read and read and read I began to enjoy it. Is started to see visually what you were writing. When you said "The corridors of rock were not here carved by the mountain folk nor tunneled by Goblin . . ." I was in awe. You are unique, word-talented (you can put words where they don't belong and make them flow like a poet's words). But my all time favorite in this beginning is when he arrived at the door and took down the sister without alerting anyone. OMG! that paragraph was amazing. I read, saw, and captured the essence of this entire chapter just in that paragraph alone. I would like to shelf you but I need to give my book shelf a little age. 6 stars for your uniqueness and imagery.
Nightdream