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The hunter's apprentice (YA, prolog)


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#1 Aquinesse

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:15 AM

Hi :) I've just finished editing the story I wrote. My biggest problem is that I'm not a native English user and while I love writing in English I'm wondering if my language is good enough. I don't have any English speaking friends, and I would rather not ask my English teacher to read this... Thank you in advance for any comments!

***

A lonely crow was sitting on the branch of a withered tree just above the graveyard’s gate. It  tilted its head hearing a giggle coming from the path leading from the village and cawed with indignation; nothing disturbed the silence of the dead more than a loud, carefree laugh of the living.

It saw two figures emerging from the green of fresh, young leaves covering the bushes overgrowing both sides of the track.

The first one was huge; the animal, furry and as big as a bear, had a tail and a long muzzle of a wolf. The bird looked then at the second figure, two-legged, short and slim; it was most probably a child, following the creature. The child's features were hidden under a dark cloak; the crow nodded with approval, seeing the cloth was as black as its wings. There were quills of arrows projecting above his shoulder, and a bow in a case hung over his back.

The boy swung a thick stick, and the furry monster jumped, trying to catch it with its tusks. The bird cawed angrily once again; this time the child looked at the withered tree, and the hood fell from his head, uncovering a mop of curly, brown hair. When theirs looks met, the crow noticed that one of the human’s eyes was hazel, while the other was ice blue.

“A young mage”, it thought.

“Jules! Stop this nonsense!”, a male, deep voice came from behind the bushes.

The boy shrugged his shoulders, then smiled at the furry creature and tossed the stick as far as he could. The beast caught it in flight and crushed it between its big tusks.

“Jules, come on!”, someone else called, “Ravin wants to talk to us again.”

Now two bigger human beings approached the smaller one, provoking the crow’s curiosity. Both the strangers were adult males, clothed in similar black coats, and carrying something looking like a sword with an enormously long hilt. They didn’t wear hoods, so the bird could examine their features. The first one, tall and muscular, appeared to be older. His face was blemished by a scar, and his eyes, dark and narrow, seemed menacing. The younger one was taller and slimmer, with blue-gray, merry eyes and blond hair tied in a short ponytail on the back of his head.

And then, the black bird noticed a detail it had missed. There was something embroidered on all the humans' cloaks, on left chest. The crow spotted a crest with a flying raven, extending its talons, ready to catch its prey.

“Hunters”, it though and shook its head. It spread its wings and flew away. Whatever they were planning to do at the cemetery, the bird didn’t want to witness it.



#2 JoQwerty

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:50 AM

My biggest problem is that I'm not a native English user and while I love writing in English I'm wondering if my language is good enough.

 

Neither Nabokov nor Conrad were native English speakers, but their books won multiple awards, so don't be afraid. I don't normally read YA fantasy books, but I think your grammar is fine for that genre where compound-complex sentences are frowned upon. While not a grammar issue, you do need to watch your POV, there is a jarring change in the 4th paragraph. Instead of

 

He swung a thick stick, and the furry monster jumped, trying to catch it with its tusks.

 

 

You probably want to write:

 

The boy swung a thick stick, and the furry monster jumped, trying to catch it with its tusks.

 

Otherwise it sounds as if the raven swung the stick. Also, I think you should just go ahead and give the furry monster a moniker. If the raven knows so much about humans, it surely has a name for their pets.

 

In the last paragraph there is a typo:

 

“Hunters”, it through and shook its head.

 

I guess you mean:

 

“Hunters”, it thought and shook its head.



#3 Aquinesse

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:12 AM

 

You probably want to write:

 

The boy swung a thick stick, and the furry monster jumped, trying to catch it with its tusks.

 

Otherwise it sounds as if the raven swung the stick. Also, I think you should just go ahead and give the furry monster a moniker. If the raven knows so much about humans, it surely has a name for their pets.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks a lot! I haven't noticed that. And you're right - the monster is a special breed of dog and the raven should know it. I'll remember to change this when I'll be rewriting the prolog next week.



#4 BadgerFox

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 12:28 PM



Hi :) I've just finished editing the story I wrote. My biggest problem is that I'm not a native English user and while I love writing in English I'm wondering if my language is good enough. I don't have any English speaking friends, and I would rather not ask my English teacher to read this... Thank you in advance for any comments!

***

A lonely crow was sitting on the branch of a withered tree just above the graveyard’s gate. It tilted its head, [comma] hearing a giggle coming from the path leading from the village. It cawed with indignation; nothing disturbed the silence of the dead more than a the loud, carefree laugh of the living.

It saw two figures emerging from the green of fresh, young leaves covering the bushes overgrowing on ['overgrowing' isn't usually used as a verb. We would more likely say 'to be overgrown'] both sides of the track.

The first one was huge; the animal, furry and as big as a bear, had a tail and a long muzzle of a wolf.[I agree with the other poster that it would be ok to mention what kind of furry monster this is] The bird looked then at the second figure, two-legged, short and slim; it was most probably a child, following the creature. The child's features were hidden under a dark cloak; the crow nodded with approval, seeing the cloth was as black as its wings. There were quills of arrows projecting above his shoulder, and a bow in a case hung over his back.

The boy swung a thick stick, and the furry monster jumped, trying to catch it with its tusks. The bird cawed angrily once again; this time the child looked at the withered tree, and the hood fell from his head, uncovering a mop of curly, brown hair. When theirs looks met, the crow noticed that one of the human’s eyes was hazel, while the other was ice blue.

A young mage, it thought. [italicise the crow's internal monologue, or it sounds like the crow can talk and is starting a conversation with the humans. Hey, if it's YA fantasy genre, maybe the animals here CAN talk!]

“Jules! Stop this nonsense!”, a male, deep voice came from behind the bushes.

The boy shrugged his shoulders, then smiled at the furry creature and tossed the stick as far as he could. The beast caught it in flight and crushed it between its big tusks.

“Jules, come on!”[no comma if there is already an exclamation mark] someone else called, “Ravin wants to talk to us again.”

Now two bigger human beings approached the smaller one, provoking the crow’s curiosity. Both the strangers were adult males, clothed in similar black coats, and carrying something looking like a sword with an enormously long hilt. They didn’t wear hoods, so the bird could examine their features. The first one, tall and muscular, appeared to be older. His face was blemished by a scar, and his eyes, dark and narrow, seemed menacing. The younger one was taller and slimmer, with blue-gray, merry eyes and blond hair tied in a short ponytail on the back of his head.

And then, the black bird noticed a detail it had missed. There was something embroidered on all the humans' cloaks, on [the] left [of the] chest. The crow spotted a crest with a flying raven, extending its talons, ready to catch its prey.

Hunters, [italicise the crow's internal monologue again] it thought and shook its head. It spread its wings and flew away. Whatever they were planning to do at the cemetery, the bird didn’t want to witness it.

 

Well, grammatically, this is actually better than I have seen some native English speakers do! You seem to have a good natural instinct for the rhythm of language, for how to break down information into the right sentence lengths and punctuate it in a natural way. It's not 100% perfect but it certainly doesn't read as obviously non-native or garbled.

 

I really like what you've done with the crow's point of view here. It's well-handled and it makes a reader confident that you can handle more difficult techniques like point of view shifts. I would read on to find out what these characters are doing.

 

Link to my 250-word extract is in my signature if you'd like to take a look :)


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#5 Aquinesse

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 11:28 AM

Well, grammatically, this is actually better than I have seen some native English speakers do! You seem to have a good natural instinct for the rhythm of language, for how to break down information into the right sentence lengths and punctuate it in a natural way. It's not 100% perfect but it certainly doesn't read as obviously non-native or garbled.

 

I really like what you've done with the crow's point of view here. It's well-handled and it makes a reader confident that you can handle more difficult techniques like point of view shifts. I would read on to find out what these characters are doing.

 

Link to my 250-word extract is in my signature if you'd like to take a look :)

Thank you very much for your kind words and all the tips, they're very helpful!






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