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Monday, February 10, 2014

Critting THE PRINCESS OF TYRONE: flat character

THE PRINCESS OF TYRONE is a NA sci/fi Fantasy WIP. The author says: In this WiP, I can't seem to quite give my antagonist enough... depth, I guess. It's a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and this is a scene with the sorceress who cast the curse. The prince has taken a fancy to a huntress, who is secretly the hidden princess. The sorceress is trying to push the prince to the huntress so he breaks the betrothal with the princess, so sent a griffin to frighten them into each other's arms. The "Whites" mentioned are Snow White's grandchildren.

Bryanna stared at the dark green goblin blood up her arm. She pulled the goblin’s head back, making him whimper. “What do you mean there’s no record of Apolline of Mish? Did you check the Hansel and Gretel family?”

“Yes, my queen,” the goblin answered weakly.

“Urgh!” She tossed him on the ground, pacing. “And you searched for just Apolline?”

“Yes.” He shuffled up onto his knees, bowing before her. “I searched all the Apolline’s in the galaxy.”

She screamed in frustration, black lightning shooting from her fingers. “How is that possible? She can’t be nobody. She can’t…” She paused, seeing the news feed for the day and, as usual, Nathaniel White showed his cruder side. “The White’s.”

She reached over and motioned for the image to enhance. “Nathaniel White’s betrothed is kept secret and they are about the same age.” She spun to the goblin. “Look into it.”

He scrambled up onto his chair to hack into the kingdom archives.

Bryanna marched from the room, her black coat flaring behind her as she went. In the hallway, she paused as she passed a mirror. She stared at herself.

“I’m beautiful,” she whispered, touching a line in the corner of her mouth. Although in her forties, her hair remained a rich dark chocolate, and her green eyes vibrant. Many men had desired her, but only one captured her heart.

She heard a soft squawk from her chambers and rushed in. The griffin limped through, blood pouring from its right shoulder. She hurried over, stroking its head. “What happened?”

The serpent slithered up beside her. “The girl shot it.”

“I said to be careful,” she said, resting her hand over the wound. A soft green glow came from the wound, and she raised her hand to show the single bullet. She examined it closely. “She only left a slight imprint on it. I feel fear.”

She pressed it to her lips. “And a hint of love.” She looked down at the serpent. “How did it go?”

“Their bond is growing stronger. The prince protected her, and she in turn protected him. Then she saw to his wounds.”

Bryanna ran her hand over the griffin’s shoulder. “Go be seen to.”

The griffin limped into the hallway.

She looked down at the serpent. “Find out what fairies live in the town. I want to know who has taught her about magic and if I can use it to my advantage.”

“Yes, my queen.”

Once the serpent had gone, she turned to her mirror, its cloudy grey swirl barely reflecting her image. “I’m beautiful, aren’t I?”

The mirror swirled and showed Cytheria’s face. “Not as beautiful as she.”

Bryanna clenched her fist. “I hate you.”

>>From what you've sent, I would say that Bryanna lacks depth because she isn't personally involved in the story. In this scene, she's just walking around giving obvious instructions, being bitchy, and looking in the mirror. There isn't anything interesting about that, and that's why I didn't write any in-line notes -- the scene is pretty much useless as it is, IMO.

I'd say re-write this scene to show me (not tell me) how Bryanna is personally involved in this. The reader needs to meet her as a real person with motivations and the threat of consequences. Her character arc needs to be as clear as the hero's -- even if the reader does not see all of it.<<


Charity Bradford said...

I think L pegged it just right about getting your antagonist more involved. Even though she's got goblin blood on her arm, she's staying "clean" here. Let her get into the action more--maybe she does later though?

Anyway, here are some other random thoughts I had while reading.

The very first line confused me. Maybe its the "up her arm" I generally think of blood falling down, or splattering, but I couldn't wrap my head around how the blood got "up her arm" since you didn't show me or reference it again.

I'm left to assume a lot of stuff here, and that's probably because I haven't read what comes before--so all the following may not be worth reading. :)

Apolline is the Huntress/hidden princess?
Nathaniel White is the prince?
What man captured her heart? I'd like to know more about this. Is this why she's doing what she's doing?
Who is Cytheria?

There is a lot going on here that I'm not grounded enough to feel comfortable. As I said, it could just be missing whatever came before.

Interesting idea though, tying a fairy tale like vibe with scifi. This section feels so fantasy though that the reference to the galaxy through me out of the story. The news feed was easier though after the galaxy reference.

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

The line that really jumps out at me is:
“I’m beautiful,” she whispered, touching a line in the corner of her mouth.

This could mean that she is trying to convince herself that she is. It is the best line overall, an example of 'show' vs 'tell'.

Matthew Keith Reviews said...

I agree with all of the posts here. It isn't bad, and it sounds like there is a very broad and complex story here.

But this scene reads more like a screen play than a novel. There is a lot going on, but no real motivation behind it. That's the "meat" of every novel and from the sound of your query request, it's exactly what you're looking to accomplish.

In your story, you might try some 3rd Person Inner Monologue. I love it for exactly that purpose. It 'almost' gives you the kind of freedom you find with 1st person, when you freely spout out what you main character is not only doing, but thinking and feeling (or remembering? Bryanna seems the type to have more than a few skeletons in her closet).