My thoughts of reviews of “Brotherhood”

Wayyyy back in July, I posted my second short story that I wrote for a WDC narrative contest, titled “Brotherhood“. So, I’m going to talk a little about that story.

“Brotherhood” was written as a parallel story to “The Cyclic Ruse“, the latter telling the story of a warrior selected to abolish an elemental evil ritualistically. Specifically, there is an orb which controls the weather of this land, pushing extreme heat or extreme cold depending on its current color/mode. Using an elaborate method of gathering, creating and forging of a weapon, and warrior-selection, this unnamed kingdom resets the orb before it becomes too extreme, eradicating life with intense cold or intense heat. I absolutely loved this base concept/plot, and with some work and practice I plan on developing it further.

Because of how excited I was at the world in my head that stemmed from The Cyclic Ruse, I used the prompt of the next round of the contest to further plunge into this world that was newly developing. Now, I still won that round, but I personally feel this story (Brotherhood) was written with too much spontaneous backstory, was unrefined, and did little to make the reader comfortable and knowledgeable of this world. It should have  been a self-sufficient piece, and not rely on The Cyclic Ruse for any sort of information. Unfortunately, I set the winter scene, mentioned the orb, and made the protagonist of Brotherhood intimately linked to The Cyclic Ruse. So, a good story, but definitely a learning experience.

Brotherhood is set in the same world as the Cyclic Ruse. Venn, a young mage, is searching for a winter dragon, along with others in the kingdom. The purpose is to extract its heart for use in creating the tool/weapon that’ll reset the next iteration of the orb. These dragons have been hunted for centuries, and lately have been becoming more rare; not only from excessive hunting, but there seems to be some sort of plague affecting the beasts, which I hinted at, for some unknown reason. Venn is on this search to show to his parents and brother that he’s worth something; his brother happened to be the warrior from The Cyclic Ruse. Venn decides that he wants his brother’s sacrifice to be worth nothing, and plans to kill the dragon if found instead of calling the other searchers to extract its heart. The dragon is found, yet Venn loses the spell that will subdue the dragon, so he follows it. It acts strangely, pops out an egg (which in my head was implied to be rare, although not sure if I mentioned that), then it promptly dies. He has a brief moment of “nice guy” syndrome and considers the value of his find, but his dastardly jealous self says “screw you” to his brother and the kingdom, and fries the egg.

A good story, I think, but definitely needed work. As my second short story, ever, I feel it was a good effort.

It received two reviews on WDC.

Review #1:

First Thoughts: Venn is a young magician who desperately wants to prove himself against his older brother Deric. When his quest for the Cyclic Orb fails, Venn volunteers to find the last winter dragon. This makes me believe that Venn is a driven man who once has been beaten will get back up and try his hand at something else. 

What I liked: I liked this description. “The dragon was not white, as he expected, but almost pitch black. It’s body was large, round and muscular, the four leathery legs driving it powerfully forward. The head was flat and broad, with frost tipped ridges lining the eyes and skull. Short spines snaked down its back to the end of its narrow rough tail, and they were all tipped with icy excrescence”. Information and creative. 

Not so good: The dragon was already dead! How could you do that?!?! I think the story would have been better if Deric was about to be killed by the dragon and Venn had to either save him or leave him. 

Final Thoughts: Venn has finally achieved his own glory and will return to his family. This could be open to a much larger story that I would definitely read. Cheers and write on!

My thoughts: I have no issues other than the reviewers “Not so good:” comment. I figure the reviewer felt that I could’ve made the story a bit more dramatic, perhaps with an appearance by Venn’s brother, and a choice to save him or let his brother die by the dragon. A much better ending, I will admit. Kudos to the reviewer for being smarter than me. 🙂

Review #2:

I like your writing style a lot. It flows well, has enough description to tell what needs to be told but is concise enough to keep the story moving. The story is good too, though I think I may be missing some backstory (I haven’t heard of the Cyclic world before and so some of the detail in here was lost on me). That said, it was still well done despite my missing knowledge.
Keep up the good work!

My thoughts: Short and sweet. Absolutely right, I should have not made this story contingent on another without any sort of independence. Lesson learned.

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