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[ . . .] I'm captivated. As I was reading tonight, an odd feeling swept over me. It's kind of hard to describe, and it may have been exacerbated by the fact that I was watching very odd movies, but I'll do my best:
Maybe the best way to put was that I felt like I was in the presence of greatness. I had in my hands something I truly, truly feel will change the world someday. If you can figure out how to get it to the publisher, how to solicit it, it will get published. There is no doubt in my mind. I just kept thinking "I have never, never read anything like this!" [ . . . ]
This creativity you're displaying here, these original ideas, I just...I don't...I cannot scoop out the right complimentary words from my vocabulary to do it justice. I just couldn't believe what I was reading. I couldn't believe that this thing in my hands was something that I printed, not something I bought at Waldenbooks. AND ITS GONNA GET BETTER? WHAT'S THIS YOU SAY? ROUGH DRAFT??? Nuthin rough about it honey. [ . . . ]
So, when this novel makes you rich and famous, got room on your coattails for some moron in Missouri who thinks he's half as good as you [ . . . ]?
Andi: To be honest, I'm having a hard time finding things to criticize. The most I can say is that I felt the prologue dragged a bit. Not enough to make me want to stop reading -- even if I had picked this up in a bookstore as one of many, I would have kept going out of sheer curiosity thanks to the premise -- but it did feel a little... gummy? Not quite sure what word to use here. Like I was running across solid ground and ran into a stretch that was a bit softer and required a little effort to get through. [ . . . ] I love Delia as a character. Her motivations make complete sense to me so far, and you're doing a good job of creating an ominous air around her without actually making her a bad person. The setting is tidily thought out and laid out patiently, without exposition dumping, so I never lost track of new pieces of information before having time to file them away. Most importantly (to me), I never caught myself thinking "I wish this would pick up" or conversely, wishing it would slow down. You're not just setting the stage for interesting stuff coming later (unless the stage is also made of interesting stuff, haha).
Michael: I was really able to empathize with Delia and felt, in turns, disappointment, dread, determination and triumph along with her. I think part of what makes this character really work is that, despite being an essentially benevolent prodigy, she has a number of flaws and often doesn't have all the right answers.You very carefully to counterpoint her brilliance with her inexperience and lack of maturity in a fashion that made a consistent amount of sense. The pacing was excellent. At no point did the story feel like it was bogging down. The two primary narrative voices worked really well to handle the handle the info-dump, carry the pace and foreshadow events. I was kept guessing at the outcomes of a number of events, notably the trial. I often found myself surprised to some of the same measure that I imagine Delia must have been, despite the use of foreshadowing. (Surprising me is no mean feat!) I like the inclusion of Wiccan/Pagan elements.
Amanda: For me, Delia's gradual developing awareness of herself and surroundings from early life was a key "hook" if you will. It's just something unique that I've never encountered in a story before, and what better way to start this memoir-esque tale? Being led by the explorative, reflective manner she holds, her stream of consciousness, I did not put this sample down once you should know.
Jaron: I love the introduction to the story. I've always enjoyed reading about protagonists that are hated or misunderstood by the world, especially if the world doesn't know the whole story. I got the impression that the bad fairy's story is going to be tragic, and that made me want to read more. [ . . . ] Describing the world through an infant must have been difficult to write, but I believe you pulled it off successfully. It's interesting to see the bad fairy recalling her earliest memories; it was a very fun read. I did notice some repetition in the bad fairy's reflections in the first chapter. [ . . . ] Magick in this world is simple and it makes perfect sense. Rather than having a complicated and convoluted system of magick with a ton of rules, the magick here feels like a true extension of nature. Changing the states of matter by moving energy was very entertaining to read, and it was fun to see Delia's discovery of the world through experimentation.
Dorian: I like the idea of the story being from her point of view, and how her arts are seen as dark because others believe them so, not because they are particularly. [ . . . ] The whole story so far is fascinating and intruiging. You really have a knack for storytelling. [ . . . ]
I also enjoy how you write her relationships with each person (or group) in the story, and most especially with her mother. Each relationship has its own depth according to how important it is and how it works for Delia. I appreciate especially that her rivalry (and the hatred of this group toward her) with the "triplets" isn't the usual surface feuds that are often in school and told about, but has an unseen, more unnerving depth that is reminiscent of religious persecution, of the fashion of "I am right, you are wrong, and you will suffer for your wrongness by my hand." [ . . . ]
As I had said before, the part where she visits the souls was extremely fascinating, and well told. Even just relating it in summary to my girlfriend had her fascinated as well. (I tend to be a bit verbal when reading, varying things like "wow" or "oh that's cool!", and she'll often ask what I mean, and so I quickly summarized). I also like how you dug into the story behind Sleeping Beauty and didn't just throw it aside, but pulled up what had been told to us, and then contradicted it nicely. [ . . . ]
I really love overall in the story how you discuss her attraction to the spirit world and how difficult it is for her to pull away from it, and also her connection to Aurora. The depth of both just makes the story that much more full and fascinating, and what I've read so far just makes me want more. [ . . . ]
I enjoyed this story immensely. The overall flow and storytelling are smooth and even, well paced and entertaining. The story is informative without being boring, and the dialogues and monologues are well transistioned. Each part entertained, intrigued, and fascinated me in it's own way. This is a book that, were it ever published, I would purchase a physical copy, in order to read it regularly. My girlfriend would like me to note that her initial reaction the the story [ . . . ] was "Wow." [ . . . ] I hope that this eventually gets published.
Laura: I really like the voice of the narrator. It suits her well.
One thing that I noticed as I was reading is that there doesnít really seem to much difference in the narrative between the italicized portions and the regular portions. Iím not exactly sure what kind of effect you are going for, but all of it seems to be Delia now narrating what happened then. Are they supposed to ďsoundĒ different?
In any case, Delia has a very definite voice. Itís obvious that you have a very good grasp of who she is and how she speaks. Iím really enjoying what Iíve read so far!
Steve: Overall this writing is great. There are rough spots in the first part (pages 1 to 120). I think this is because it simply took awhile for you to hit your stride.
Specific: The first part of this writing needs some work. Two things:
Fred: I am so proud of you!! :) Bad Fairy is very very good!! I have read the first 71 pages so far and I am quite entranced by it... I love your character development... how she is "dark" and is thus perceived as "evil" by others simply because they do not understand... I think you capture her isolation very well... The switches between regular text and italic text were a little bit jarring at first, but I am used to them by now and they are very helpful and integrative to the story. So I'd say to keep that format... Another thing I had a bit of difficulty understanding at first was reconciling her intelligence (for example page 41 where she is conversing with the adult teacher quite confidently and eloquently) with her inability to write... I finally put two and two together and realized that fairy society probably didn't spend much time teaching kids to read and write. At least there was not that much practice... Its not like they were nobles or monks... I like the idea of the magic nut in order to solve that problem. I bet the nut helps the fairies with their vocabulary so they can get jobs with royalty and such. I must say I also like the format of the magick school... That it is very vocational--education programs were very much like that in those days, what with guilds and apprenticeships and all. I wonder if JK Rowling even thought of that for Harry Potter... I mean, think about it, Harry is not getting what we would consider a "well rounded" education...
[ . . . ] Book 3 was a very powerful book... Very strongly emotional. I liked it very much. I loved your depiction of the world of the dead, and "how it works" in the afterlife... So far this novel is quite a classic work of art... Very very well done...
I really really love the way you describe Delia's feelings... Oh I should say that I love the way you have described the fairy race in general... so detailed and interesting and real and cool!! It is interesting how Delia being in disguise seems to "open her up." Like she is exploring a whole side of her she didn't know existed. It is also interesting to read how her instinctual urges overpower her "plans," no matter how sacred or important those plans are... I should also say I am very glad you have chosen to write a detailed book four, instead of making 15 years pass by in a flurry. It really adds to Delia's character and personality. [ . . . ]
I'm not sure if I've told you before but I also really like the description of the death world. I find it fascinating... Maybe I have a bit of "bad fairy" in me too eh? ;)
Jessie: You do a good job setting up what's normal and not normal in the magickal world; to us, of course, it all seems possible (as it does to Delia)...so it's interesting to think about what would be possible for some and not others.
[ . . . ] I do not have time to keep reading right now. I am going to keep reading anyway. Bother your awesome story taking up all my time. :p
[ . . . ]I loved it! I really, really enjoyed the story. How exciting to read an unpublished draft of something that is yet publishable in quality. I feel like I'm reading a proof or something (except that those have more typos, hah).
It's not hard to convince people to align themselves with an unusual protagonist, but most stories do this by showing that the character isn't actually as dark as she seems. The triumph of Bad Fairy is that it manages to convince us that the dark itself isn't bad after all. It's not familiar and it's not comfortable, but it's not evil. And yet, for all her darkness, and for all her amazing talents, Delia is like almost all of us. There's something in this Bad Fairy for every reader to relate to, and that will leave an impression on them long after they finish the book.
Mikey: [ . . . ] I took a longer journey through another more lengthy MASTERPIECE BAD FAIRY! And I still think of it daily. Delia and her world have left a mark never to be removed, From my mind and heart. So much again no meager words of mine could do them complete justice.
Jeaux: [ . . . ] I like how you're pointing out that she's a freak of nature to be able to use magic so early, and without a wand.
[Re Chapter 3] I liked this chapter a lot. There were no problems with it that I remember. I was kidna disappointed that Delia didn't wow the meany face teens with a display of her magic, but it made sense of course.
[Re Chapter 4] very good chapter, I'm guessing fear of the unknown is going to be a continuing theme throughout the story. I like how that fear keeps manifesting and how delia seems confused by that fact. It's only unknown until somebody figures it out right? [ . . . ] I really did like this chapter. and I thought her initial fear at the orientation meeting was really cute.
I like Delia :) she's really cute. I had to let out an awwwww when you wrote out her whole actual journal entry. How cute! And I enjoyed her conversation with her mommy about her clothes
Her being able to so easily determine the nature of the magic of her translating nut thingie came kinda suddenly. She didn't seem particularly surprised at being able to get so much information about what it did.
Keggernaught: I thoroughly enjoy the writing style you present. Not too flowery, yet descriptive enough to engage my imagination. It is sort of Hemingwayish in its ability to keep things short and to the point.
You also do an excellent job of developing the distinctive voice of your main character. Your secondary characters are also well fleshed out. [ . . . ] I also enjoyed the little things like the discovery of scrying through her fathers dagger. The chapter that had the study of elements and her totally taking to each one in her own unique way was another great device.
[ . . . ]This was a character study/journal/blog, not a story. Yes, there were plenty of neat anecdotes, and a theme (coming of age), but not an underlying story to meld the whole. It was at least seventy pages before the girl turns seven, and we only have a slight indication that she might be having a problem in life later on. Someone once wrote that great literature is about love and death, so this has the possibility of being great literature, since she is obsessed with death and she is loved by her mother. Unfortunately their is no great tragedy, no overwhelming loss, no tremendous gain, just her getting wings and realizing that she is different. She realized she was different from basically the beginning of school, and a little before then at a ritual.
I did like the way you tied the beginning to the end. I wasn't quite sure where you were going with that, but it worked out in the end.
Also, no one likes a know it all. Since you are using first person voice, her telling us constantly that she knew she was so much better than all her older classmates becomes tiresome. I started to cheer a little for the triplets because of it. And please include a real sympathetic character. This "I stand alone against the whole world because I am the only one that understands what I am going through." attitude alienates even the reader. Even if it was just a familiar that was her ancient relative's familiar would take some of the alienation away. Her goddess was introduced to late to be useful that way. Not being an expert in mythology I don't know if fairy's are even allowed familiars, but being half human could be an excuse to introduce it. That was something I did find interesting and enjoyable. The way you made flying, something fairies did naturally, as a little bit harder for her than her classmates was the one real sort of flaw that made the main character more accessible to this reader.
Overall I feel that if you just reworked the character a tad, the triplets to be a bit meaner or in an actual story, and give the main character a sympathetic friend or familiar, this has the possibility of being excellent literature.
Please don't think any of my comments in the negative are in anyway a reflection on your writing ability. I do think that with a little polish you have the ability to become a great writer.
Ronni: It reads quickly, is very interesting, and just fascinating stuff, Ivy. [ . . . ] The story is so different and fresh, unlike anything Iíve ever read before. [ . . . ] You really do have a knack with tension and suspense, Ivy. [ . . . ] You are coming up with some awesome and creative things. Thatís why I think this book will take off. [ . . . ] I LOVE the exchanges between those mean girls and Delia. They are funny, fast-paced, and exciting.
Great story. I liked reading about Deliaís life. Although I think itís more about her entire life rather than ďher sideĒ of the Sleeping Beauty story.
I think the narrative voice might be a hinderance to you getting this published. With all the attention stealing stuff out there (DVDs, internet, TV) itís going to be hard to keep your readers engaged if Deliaís only talking and nothing is ďhappening.Ē I loved your scenes. They really helped move the story along. One other thing is her magickósome of the uses seemed to be too convenient. Now, everything she did was COOL, but I wonder if she shouldnít have had some struggles with some things even as she got older. I canít remember her having any challenges as she grew with her dark magick. Wait, not true. She had a lot when she tried to cross the veil. Anyway, I understand the struggles with the light magick (duh!) but a *few* of her tricks seemed to be too convenient. I canít remember which ones, specifically, though. Not many, though.
Overall, very intriguing and interesting story.
Trisha: I have a question for you... in what age group are you planning to set, "Bad Fairy" into? The first six paragraphs of the prolouge are too much of the same thing....sorry. In book one, the very beginning, you used 'light' too many times. Do you think that faries should experience childbirth the same as humans? [ . . . ] Your story sounds great so far, besides a few minor things, it's excellant. I will finish it soon
Zack: The way you alternate between time with the italics can be a bit jarring at first, but I got used to it very quickly. The style of writing is easy to read; itís not too flowery like a lot of fantasyís are, but it fits the fantasy motif all the same. And on a technical level itís perfect; not a single grammar or spelling error to mention. (Though, given your profession and expertise, thatís not too surprising) If I didnít do a little nit-picking, I wouldíve probably had to stay silent the entire chapter. Thereís absolutely nothing in this first chapter that I could imagine keeping you from publication.
Everything is very seamless, thereís no real hang-ups I can think of, and Iím pretty much wasting my time trying to comment on any major flaws, because, for the life of me, I canít find any. The only thing I can even think to scratch at is the chapter length, which are a bit long, but thatís more preference on my part than an actual gripe. Also, you tell quite a bit more than you show, but since you tell so well, thatís not too much of a problem.
Jill: Wow. I was planning to do a version with the wicked fairy myself. But it'd take about 15 years, so you'd probably get there first. XD
The plots are hugely different, though.
Mine is more childish :S
Hope to see it in bookstores soon! :D
Janna: Commenting on the excerpt, anyway. I thought it was really well written, and that Delia is a very interesting character, but it reminds me a lot of Gregory Maguire's Wicked. For example, Delia and Elphaba are both the heroines of the story, and are originally villains; both go to school in the first part and are very unusual there; both seem rather cynical for their age and are precocious; and both stories are, in a way, fanfiction.
No offense, but your character from the story "Bad Fairy" sounds a lot like a Mary Sue. To elaborate, she's unusually young and precocious, with dark hair and violet eyes, is skilled beyond what would be expected of her age/race, is very shy, and basically looks a lot like Ariana Black, an infamous Sue from the Harry Potter fandom. (http://das-sporking.livejournal.com/561.html)
In fact, this character resembles a Harry Potter Sue in several ways.
1: Described as very beautiful for her young age, with very dark ("raven" or "ebony" are terms often used) hair.
2: Amazes her teachers with her prowess in magic. You make a point to show off that she was capable of controlling magic (and no, I refuse to misspell a common word for the sake of trying to look clever. That particular trope is FAR too common in fantasy) at an older age than the magic teacher.
3: Is very shy and humble, constantly afraid of rejection.
4: But is of course oh-so-special, and the teacher demands that everyone accommodate her.
5: Wandless magic. (In the Harry Potter universe, wizards usually produce magic with wands. A Sue will often forgo this, and have some "special" form of magic, usually without a wand, that only she can use.)
6: Is misunderstood by everyone around her. In fact, people are said to be prejudiced against her, but of course it's just racial bigotry, since I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the character has no flaws.(Well, maybe she's clumsy.)Obviously, there can be no legitimate problems any rational person would have with the character.
7: You seem to personally identify with the character, saying that you "sympathize" with Elva, who merely has the same traits. As does every other Sue like her, but that's another story.
8: The name, "Delia Morningstar." Oh be still my heart. Seriously, say that out loud, and if it doesn't sound ridiculous, please go reevaluate your life. Put it this way-renaming her "Renesmee" would be an improvement.
9: Your "candybar doll" digital representations have been used to humorously denote Ariana Black at the abovementioned das_sporking comm. You depict a doll-like girl with black hair and violet eyes against a sparkly background, and expect us to take it seriously?
Speculation (I haven't read the whole book)
1: I would be willing to bet great sums of money that later on, people irrationally dislike her based on jealousy, or she is so beautiful that boys attempt to rape/molest her. Truly, being special is a curse. Which is why she will likely go on and on about how TERRIBLE it is to be so wonderful, and how she wishes that she were normal like everyone else.
2: If she becomes villainous, it will be for an entirely-justified reason. Alternately, the villains hate Delia Morningstar (snort) and devote their every waking moment to obsess over her.
3: There is some catty girl that hates Delia Morningstar because she's jealous of her. This girl exists to be humiliated and upstaged by Delia Morningstar.
4: Everyone in the circles that Delia (heh)Morningstar frequents will obsess over her. When she's upset, everyone will rush to comfort her. When she's around, the conversation will focus on her. When anyone has a problem, they talk to her. They are what the people at das_sporking refer to as "Sue minions."
5: She's in the right all along, and anyone who disagrees with her is "oppressive." Although, given various references in your blogs to racism, sexism, and other "-ism's," this might be how you see yourself.
6: You think of her as a real person who just happens to have a ridiculous name. You are now very offended at everything I've said, and feel that I've attacked you personally.
Sorry. But really, I thought she was a parody of a Sue when I first saw her. Here are some materials related to identifying and combating the Mary Sue, so that any other characters you think up will not be incredibly beautiful, talented, misunderstood, and humble, with ebony tresses and violet eyes.
If this is actually a Sue parody, or you managed to pull it off in spite of the Sue tropes, then I apologize.