forum Into the Darkness, Critiquing Chapter by Chapter
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@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

I know that people don't like to critique chapter by chapter, but it helps me figure out what I could possibly fix. Please include your thoughts on plot, characters, events, settings.

Just going to give a warning that this story was co-written. I didn't actually officially start writing for it until chapter 6 (I think), though I did help with the first few chapters by editing them.

@PurplePartyTiger You said you were interested.

@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

INTO THE DARKNESS
CH 1: FALA
Everything was black. Everyone was running, screaming.
“Run, Fala!” my mother yelled. I raced to the horses as my father prepared my horse.
“I need you to take them to the safe hold,” my father said. I stared at him.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Fala, don’t look back; never look back,” he said, handed me the reins, and pulled me into a hug. I swung into the saddle.
“Don’t look back,” my father whispered as I rode off into the dark with the others.

It took five days of riding until we reached the safe hold.
“HALT!” an elven guard yelled. I pulled the group into a stop.
“Who are you?” the guard asked.
“I am Fala; Princess of the Forest Elves.”
“What is your business here?” he asked.
“We are looking for shelter; our homes were attacked in the middle of the night,” I responded.
“You may enter,” the guard said. I unmounted my horse, and led my people in.
“FALA!” Lilly yelled, seeing me. She was my aunt. I walked past her, leading my horse into the stables. I walked out to see her standing there.
“Fala, where are-?”
“Dead; they stayed behind,” I said, removing my cloak. She stared at me. I hadn’t seen my aunt in years.
“You’re so grown up; your hair,” she said. My hair was black, brown and red. I had grown up, and now I would become the leader.
“We need to call a meeting of the Elven Council. Can you do that?” I asked. My aunt nodded, and I headed to a room to change. I searched through my old clothes, only finding jeans and a shirt; it would have to do. I braided my hair, and traced the scar on my arm. I wouldn’t look back; I would move on.
“Fala, they’re ready.,”
I went out to the Great Room.
“Hello, Fala,” Peter said, seeing me.
“I’m not here on a social visit,” I said as I opened the Great Doors. The Elders turned. Seeing me, a great uproar occurred; The Council never really approved of me.
“Why is she here?” one of them yelled.
“LISTEN! My parents are dead. I am now in charge of my people, and I am going to declare war!” I said. I would not let them beat me down.
“YOU CAN’T DECLARE WAR; YOU’VE NO ARMY!” Lilly yelled.
“I do not need an army. Those who will follow me are welcome; those who wish to stay at peace may stay,” I snapped.
“And how do you plan to declare war?” Tritain asked.
“In an hour I will be riding out. I will come across the camp, and will kill all but one. That one survivor will return to its kind with a message,” I announced.
“You are destructive!” Lilly yelled. I turned on her.
“At least I can get things done without cowering behind others; asking them for help,” I stated.
“You can’t do this!” Lilly snapped.
“I don’t need your permission,” I said back. The Elders knew that once I had a plan I wouldn’t stop until it was done.
“Fala, you may do what you want,” Evon said.
“Thank you,” I said, bowing and walking out.
“Are you insane?” Peter yelled behind me.
“No.”
“You could die!”
“Thanks for the warning,” I said as I opened the stable door.
“Fala, you can’t,” he says grabbing my shoulder. I turned on him, and put my knife to his throat.
“I will, and I can. I trusted them, and thought that they were my friends. This is my fault, and now I’m going to fix it!” I said. He stared at me as I removed the knife from his throat. I mounted Raka. She was my friend, and the fastest horse we had. Other than the white moon on her forehead, she was pitch black.
“Fala,” Peter pleaded. He reached for my hand, but I kicked Raka into a run.

I unmounted Raka as I found the camp, and she ran off. I pulled my cloak’s hood up around my face, and raced into the camp. I grabbed a piece of burning wood, tossed it on to the nearest tent, and watched as it erupted into flames. I held my sword at the ready as people came running out.
“Kill all but one!” I ordered.
“P-please don’t,” a boy pleaded.
“Tell your leader that she has sparked a war that will end in her death!” I say. As I turn, the boy goes to attack me. I spin around;, slicing his hand off. I whistled and Raka came running to me. I swung onto her back.
“Tell your leader that she has been warned!” I yelled while riding off back to the safe hold.

“You have an army Fala,” Peter says. I look at him.
“What do you mean?”
“We’re willing to follow you to the death, My Lady,” Dread (Gae) says.
“How many?” I ask.
“There’s 15 of us. Me, Dread, and some of your people that followed your parents,” Peters says.
“Bring only what you need; we leave in two days,” I order.

@PurplePartyTiger languageTheCrystalChronicles

(Lmfao sorry this took me so long. Ooh writing with elves? Awesoooome
My initial critique is that it's quite fast-paced, jumping between scenes and introducing people we don't really get to see. Peter, for example. He seems to be an important character, but his appearance left me wondering who he was and where he came from. I would suggest using longer sentences to help with the pacing. For example:

Everything was black. Everyone was running, screaming. (This is pretty good)
“Run, Fala!” my mother yelled. I raced to the horses as my father prepared my horse.
(This could use a bit more detail. Since the story says a few paragraphs ahead that she is with others, use them here. "I raced through the town with my people, struggling to keep my footing as we ran. We reached the stables and started mounting our horses. I came to a halt near my father as he finished preparing my horse."

Another thing that could help is some written body language. Facial expressions, showing movement in the arms and hands.

“I need you to take them to the safe hold,” my father said. (A bit weak, use something that conveys his emotion here, like "commanded" or "pleaded".) I stared at him.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Fala, don’t look back; never look back,” he said, handed me the reins, and pulled me into a hug. I swung into the saddle.
(The transition from hug to saddle could also use more detail. "I held him tight and scrunched my eyes shut, before he pushed me away and helped me swing up onto the horse.")

“Don’t look back,” my father whispered as I rode off into the dark with the others.

The gravity of this scene, the supposed death of her parents, is lost because there's no description of why people are running and why they're afraid. Whatever's happening, give visual descriptions or hint at it, to help the reader understand the reactions of the characters.

These are all just suggestions, you know the story better than I. But I like what I'm reading so far! 😄👍)

@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

Little side note that I don't know what the elvish in this chapter means.

CHAPTER 2
Two days had passed, and I stood at the gate.
“You’re going to die!” Lilly snapped.
“Then I’ll die for a reason,” I said back.
“Tritain only lets you because she hopes you’ll die.”
“Then let her hope; I’ll survive,” I said back.
“You’re an idiot!”
“No. Not even close. That would be you!”
“We’re all ready, Fala,” Peter said, coming up to me. I walked away with him, mounted Raka, and lead my small army off in silence until we reached our first stop.
“Fala?” Dread asked me curiously.
“Yes?”
“Why did we stop in a human place?”
“Because it’s safe here,” I mouthed as they all headed into an inn. I took the horses and took them around back. A hand touched my shoulder, and I spun around.
“Deldir?” I said. He smiled.
“Remove your hand,” I said, and he did.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” He said with a smile.
“Leave me alone.”
“Come on,” he said.
“I said leave me alone!” I snapped. He grabbed me, pinned me against a wall, and stood inches away from me.
“What happened to the Fala that I knew?” he said. I could see Dread coming.
“She became a leader,” I whispered.
“Oh? I highly doubt that anyone would follow you!” Deldir whispered. Dread grabbed him.
“Is he bothering you?” Dread asked while holding him off the ground.
“Yes he is. Thank you,” I said.
“Put me down!” Deldir yelled.
“Should I put him down?” Dread asked.
“Over a cliff would be nice…. Wait, on the other hand, put him down,” I respond to Dread, who put Deldir down. He walked away. “That’s why we’re here Dread; he’s gonna lead us straight to our target,” I said.
“Should I get the others?” Dread asked.
“No. This is a job for me and you. Deldir has a habit of drinking too much,” I said.
“Ahh,” Dread said.
“Why don’t we follow him?” I said. We followed Deldir to the inn. “Keep your distance,” I mouthed to Dread, who nodded. He blended in with the rest, and I sat down at a table where one of Deldir’s men sat down.
“Do I know you?”
“Maybe?” I said with a smile.
“I do know you! You’re the girl that Deldir kidnapped, and then gave that scar-!”
“You have a good memory.” I say, cutting him off. He smiled proudly.
“You come back to see him?”
“Why yes, I did!” I said with a smile. He got up, headed over to Deldir, whispered something into his ear, and pointed to me. I waved at Deldir as he walked over.
“So, your bodyguard is off duty?” Deldir asked.
“Maybe,” I responded.
“Well, why are you here, Fala?” He said while sitting down.
“I need information,” He looked at me for a minute.
“On what?”
“A person named Tritain,” I said.
“I thought she was on the Elven Council?”
“She is.”
“Well, why are you looking for information on her?”
“Because she’s the one who lead an attack on my family.”
“How do you know this?”
“I know this because she pretended to have her daughter become my friend, and then she herself pretended to be a friend to my parents.”
“Wait. What?” Deldir asked while leaning forward across the table.
“When I got away from you, and went back home there was this girl. She was short, and had short brown hair. I became friends with her, and thought she was actually my friend until she started yelling at me one day; saying that everything was my fault…. I later found out that she was Tritain’s daughter.”
“Oh hell. What was her name?”
“Daeris,” I whispered.
“I know her; she was in here the other day looking for someone named Dread.”
“Why?”
“She said something about him owing her.”
“What does he owe her?”
“Owed her his life or something,” Deldir said, watching my facial expressions which never really changed.
“How did he owe her his life?”
“Said she saved him from dying.” Could I trust Dread? Could I trust Deldir? Who could I trust? I stood up suddenly when I saw the boy with the missing hand talking to Dread.
“Deldir, I’m going to do something,” I whispered, grabbed Deldir, shoved him out of his chair, and held a knife to his throat.
“You know if you wanted to-,” I hit him in the face before he could finish his sentence. Deldir’s men lurched forward, trying to get to him. I leaned down, and put my mouth next to his ear.
“Omenta fui tulwe,” I whispered, and took off. I mounted Raka, and left a note for Peter. I knew Deldir would come with the one-handed boy. I got to the pillar at the top of a the hill, and took everything off of Raka; telling her to stay close, and to only come when I whistled.

Come midnight I lay hiding. When I heard Deldir he tossed the one-handed boy into the light. I walked forward from my hiding spot.
“Thank you Deldir for bringing me the one-handed idiot.”
“What do I get in return?”
“Um. Living!”
He stared at me.
“What, it’s fair that I let you live!”
“That’s not at all fair.”
“It is too!”
Deldir sighed and left. I picked the one-handed boy up, and tied him to the pillar.
“Mankoi lle Dread. Cora a’kwentra ho tanya a plan.” The boy responds. “Mani? Ndengina lle,” The boy says. I unsheathed my knife, and slit the boy’s throat.
I started to walk away towards the woods when I heard Dread. He was yelling, and I started to run. My feet barely touched the ground as I ran.
“I WILL KILL YOU, FALA!” Dread yelled into the darkness. I already knew that he would try.

@PurplePartyTiger languageTheCrystalChronicles

(Several more people have been introduced, with no description of what they look like. I will say that introducing them in great detail, right down to the color of their hair, isn't always needed. I will use an example from Jay O'Callahan of a Ms. Stevenson:
"And then Mave turned the face of the dummy over. 'Look at the face.'
It was a woman, maybe seventy-five, eighty, and a woman clearly used to money and relaxed with life. She was wearing pearls and had a blue dress. Quite a large, but handsome woman."
This description gives the reader – or listener if you have the audio clips – just enough detail to tell them something about the character, and lets them come up with the rest. I typically imagine Ms. Stevenson with short, slightly curly black hair and a nice hat to match the dress.
The description Fala gives of Tritain's daughter works because of the situation she's in, and how much time has passed since she saw her supposed "friend."

Which brings me to my next critique. It's difficult to discern what the relationship between Deldir and Fala really is. When they first meet it sparks hostility, and later the reader is told that Deldir once kidnapped Fala and gave her the scar on her arm. But then she follows and confronts him for information. They chat like old friends until she straight up punches him in the face. Despite this, he brings her the one-handed boy and they end up bickering like an old married couple.
The reader is being told conflicting things about their relationship. Are they friends or enemies? This could work with some ironing out – perhaps they've come to a mutual understanding after what happened between them, but Fala is still sore about it and uses Deldir as her punching bag. In which case he might be a little wary of her.)

@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

Forgot to mention that it was originally supposed to be set in Middle Earth. I plan on making my own world for the reworked version.

Chapter 3
I didn’t stop running until I reached Rivendell. Raka reared up high as she followed me into the courtyard. Peter stood there, worried. I ran into his arms.
“Fala. Dread said that you were dead, and that you killed an innocent,” Peter said.
“I killed no innocent. That person that I killed sent a message to Dread telling him to kill me,” I said, backing out of his arms quickly.
“Fala, listen to me. He said that Deldir-.”
“No. No. No. Deldir is innocent,” I said, interrupting him. I raced past Peter. Dread held Deldir at sword point.
“NO!” I yelled, running into Dread, knocking him down. I stood up, knife in hand. Deldir lay knocked out.
“Touch him and I’ll kill you!” Dread smiled while coming towards me with a sword. I timed it perfectly. I brought my knife up cleanly through the bone of his finger, slicing it off as he dropped his sword.
“What’s he to you?” Dread yelled.
“None of your business.”
“So, you’re in love with the enemy.”
“Deldir is not the enemy, nor my lover; he is my brother!” All eyes turned on me, surprised that I had a brother. It never surprised me when I found out, because we were alike in many ways; we didn’t trust. Dread thought fast and lunged for his sword, but as he did he grabbed my hand, driving my knife into his chest.
“Now you’ll be labeled as a killer!” Dread said with a smile.
“No!” I yelled. I pulled the dagger from him, and whistled for Raka. I placed Deldir on Raka, and mounted behind him.
“Run,” I whispered. Raka raced off. The sun began to set, casting an orange glow over the land. Raka ran until we reached a small village.
“HELP!” I yelled, dismounting Raka.
“What in Gandalf’s name?” A voice said. I turned around.
“Sarah!” I exclaimed.
“Fala!” She rushed forward.
“It’s Deldir; he’s hurt!” I said.
“Take Raka to the stables, then come inside,” Sarah ordered. I did as she told me, and walked into her house.
“He’s going to be fine Fala, but what about you?” Sarah asked, seeing the blood that was on me.
“I’m not hurt…. I-I’m on the run,” I said in barely a whisper. Sarah nodded, and left to attend to her chores. I left Deldir, packed food, and opened the chest where Sarah had stored my armor for me. I packed it, and then searched for my weapons. I found my bow, and snuck out. I mounted Raka; I still had a war to win. Deldir would be safe with Sarah.

@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

Chapter 4
The sun was rising; a light red marking the sky…. I rode into the camp of Deldir’s men. They all stared. I had to convince them to fight alongside me.
“Where is our leader?” A boy yelled.
“He’s healing; listen to me…. There is a war starting against Daeris. Will you fight alongside me like you would Deldir?” I said.
“Why should we fight alongside you, Fala?” Urdir said. His hair was pitch black, and he had blue eyes.
“Because I am Deldir’s twin…. We have the same blood in our veins; the same hate and evil,” I said.
“Prove it!” Urdir snapped.
“Have I not proven it every time that I fight? I do not give anyone a chance to live once they have waged war against me!” I snapped back.
“We will follow you, Crow,” Urdir said, bowing.
“Dearis’ camp is a three nights ride from here; we leave tonight!” I ordered. They all hurried to pack up. I forgot what it was like to have actual warriors that followed my orders. They were all packed up in under ten minutes, and then we rode off.
“Crow. They’re all awake, and there are ten guards. They are positioned here and here,” Urdir said while drawing a map of the camp in the dirt.
“Split people up, and make it even on each side. We’ll surround the camp to make it so that no one can escape.” I said. Urdir got his men ready. I grabbed my sword, bow, other weapons, and mounted Raka.

“Now!” I mouthed to Urdir. I rushed into the camp, jumped off of Raka, backflipped behind a guard, drove my sword into his back, and sliced off his head. As I could hear Deldir’s men, I fought off my own targets. I turned around and saw Urdir as I did.

I was 14 again. I had been sent away to a training camp.
“Again!” The teacher yelled at me. My arms were like rocks.
“I-I hurt,” I whimpered.
“AGAIN!” The teacher yelled, this time coming at me with his own weapon. He swung at me. My arms failed, and another sword met his.
“Leave her alone,” the new swords owner said. The teacher grabbed the kid, and tossed him to the ground.
“You will not tell me what to do, Urdir; Son of a Killer,” the teacher said. Urdir got up, and went to help me up.
“Do not judge someone by the acts of their parents! I know what you have done,” he said.

I drew my bow, and shot an arrow straight into the heart of my target. They fell dead. Urdir and his men looked at me.
“She’s-,” a man started to say, but Urdir shot him a look.
“She’s what?” I asked.

@PurplePartyTiger languageTheCrystalChronicles

(Just a lil nitpick – sword and bow are heavy and awkward enough, adding more weapons makes it harder to move and run. Unless it's daggers or something, in which case its probably fine. Take it from someone who does airsoft and archery 😆)

@SupernaturalSyGuyLovestheWinchesters group

Chapter 5: Urdir
Seeing Crow standing there as the sun set made me wish that I was right for her. Her hair was shining with an odd mix of colors; black, red and brown. Her determination was showing on her face. I had only thought this one other time, and then I stopped. Crow would never be like me then, but now here she stood, wanting revenge on those who had killed her parents. Her eyes were a chocolate brown. They were once soft and caring, but now they were hard and cold; no longer caring. As she stood there I remembered our time together a long time ago.

“Don’t let her escape!” Deldir ordered, pointing to the tent where a girl was being held.
“Yes sir!” I responded. I pushed open the flap to the tent and stared. I knew this girl.
“Get away from me!” She yelled. Her hands and feet were tied together.
“I won’t hurt you,” I said, cutting her bindings. She rubbed her wrists.
“I know you,” she whispered, pushing a strand of loose hair from her face.
“You had best not be telling anyone around here that,” I said. She lunged forward, and seized my knife. I jumped back and grabbed her hands.
“Don’t you get it girl? If you attempt to escape we’ll kill you, so don’t try to escape!” I snapped.
“I don’t want to be here!” she yelled and start to cry.
“Shhh,” I whispered. “Stay here.” I ordered, and she obeyed. I walked over to Deldir’s tent.
“What is the meaning of kidnapping that girl?” I asked. Deldir turned, and then it hit me.
“She’s my twin sister…. I am saving her life,” Deldir said.
“How do you mean to save her by bringing her into camp bound, and tossing her onto the ground like a sack of potatoes?”
“It was the only way to get her here!”
“Who is she?”
“I told you; my sister.”
“WHERE IS SHE FROM?”
“She’s from the Forest Elves. Her parents are King and Queen of them.”
“Wait. What?”
“Listen…. We were born from evil. My birth mother had had a set of bastard twins, decided to keep the female, and threw her son to the next merchant wagon that came by.”
“We can’t keep her here Deldir!”
“If I take her back there right now, they will kill us both!”
“You don’t know that.”
“Daeris’ mother is trying to get her executed!” He yelled.
“Deldir….,” I said.