pablogcc (pablogcc) wrote,

Critique - Soulsong Ch4 Pt 4 & Ch5 Pt1

Hey there!

Alright, the second section seems sound to me, then again I'll need to wait and read ahead to be able to really comment on it. The first section, however, while beautifully written, didn't seem to advance the plot at all. We get some nice insights into the characters for sure, but I feel that could be done in anothe rway (I've added some suggestions below) while keeping us immersed into the world/story. Also, while I don't specify it, I think the first paragraph could use some help from Jane's POV. The place seems wonderful, and I think you could enhance the beginning by delving deeper inside Jane's thoughts. :)

Gale led the way through the passageways and, as they rounded a corner, Jane froze in wonder as she took in the sight before her.  The passage opened up into an immense cavern.  There were outdoor lamps filled with ember stones set every few yards along crisscrossing paths to illuminate the vast space.  To help further the sense of the outdoors, there were hundreds of individual ember stones set into the ceiling giving the effect of stars shining in the distance.  It rendered a truly romantic effect to what otherwise would have been a very gloomy place.  A large area had been devoted to an amphitheater that could seat several hundred people.  However, the most astonishing of all were the shop fronts lining one side of the cavern.  The space was vast.  If Jane had to guess, the grand cavern, with the dining area and shops on one end, the central plaza in the middle, and the amphitheater on the far end, took up two football fields in length and could hold a three story building easily.  There was a massive support pillar in the center of the cavern that housed a clock and bells, which at the moment was sounding the hour.

 The largest establishment, located near the shops, was also the most crowded with people.   It was the main dining area of the guild, and standing in the middle of it, waving his hand wildly, was Tuner.  Jane recognized his untamed hair and tall, thin form immediately.  She chuckled to herself as the image of a scarecrow came to mind.  He stood transfixed as they approached.  His only image of her, she realized, had been of a dirty, disheveled person wearing strange clothing.  She barely resembled the Jane of yesterday. (How could he barely recognise her yet wave at her first?)  

“You are undoubtedly the most beautiful young lady in attendance,” Tuner said.  Jane smiled and looked at the floor.  She didn’t believe it but it was nice of him to say. 

 “Have you eaten?” Gale asked.  “Jane and I are starving.”

“No, I’ve been waiting for you.  Let’s go see what Fiona has for us today,” and he took both young ladies in either arm.

They found a table to set down their trays of porridge and fresh fruit, and Tuner dug into his right away.  Jane noticed he also had a hunk of bread and a wedge of cheese.  She shook her head.  Where does he put it all? She spooned a dollop of honey into her porridge and took a bite.  There was more in the porridge than just oats and Jane inspected her breakfast closely to see if she could identify the various kinds of grains it contained.

“Did you find a fly in yours?” Tuner asked, watching her scrutinize the contents of her bowl. 

She grinned.  “No.  How’s your breakfast?”  He could only nod his approval as he had just taken a big bite.  “So, tell me about yourselves.  How did you come to be here?  Are you orphans? Tuner, you said most of the students here were orphans.  Tuner glanced at Gale before he nodded. (There’s something troubling me about this bit of dialogue. I would think being an orphan should be addressed with a bit more sensitivity. Right now it sounds a bit rash; it reads something like “oh hey, you’re all orphans huh?” Especially for a proper introduction to the guild members.)

“Yes, I am.  My mother died when I was very small.  My father raised me and my older brother until he died of the cholera.  My brother, who is eight years my senior, looked after me until Master Troubere discovered me fiddling at a country dance.  My brother was sad to see me go but knew I would be better off.”

“Why was he not brought here with you?”

“He is not musical.  Besides, he had found a girl and was courting her.  They were married not long after.  They come to see me from time to time.”

“Has your life been difficult for you?” Jane asked, unable to fathom losing parents at such a young age.

“No.  I at least had a loving family to warm my memories.  Many of the students here never even knew their parents.”

“And you Gale?  Are you orphaned?”  Gale looked down at her bowl of porridge.  “Oh, I am sorry,” Jane said quickly.  “I didn’t mean to pry–”     (Up until here I had thought it was Gale talking about her past. Adding a tag or two would help clarify that. Also, Jane approaches the same issue with much more emotion and delicacy here than before; which is nice but sounds contradictory –until the previous part is fixed that is :P)

“Yes, I am an orphan,” Gale interrupted.  “My parents died in a fire.  Mistress Quaverly heard me playing the recorder in the streets.  She thought I had musical ability so now I am here.”  Gale’s tone was brusque, and Jane felt embarrassed at her insensitivity.

“Oh, I nearly forgot” Tuner said, pushing away his empty bowl.  “Master Troubere has asked to see you Jane.  He said to come when you finished eating.” 

“Finally.  I really want to talk to him too,” she said.  “I have a few questions for him.”  Mainly, how was she going to get home? 

(Ok… As always, I loved your description of the place. It was vivid, magical… in a word: excellent. However, I’m not sure what this fragment’s purpose is, other than letting the reader know more about Troubere and Gale’s past. I’d suggest cutting that dialogue a bit and, maybe, you could focus on what makes someone ‘musical’? Or have Jane ask about the school itself; her fellow students and teachers, what is expected from her. Anything to advance the plot a bit, through which you could also develop the characters.)

Chapter 5

Tambour’s Vision

Not knowing her way around yet Jane relied on Tuner to lead her to the main house where all the teachers’ offices were located. He led her back through the kitchen where they passed Fiona, who gave Jane her hearty approval of the new clothing.  Jane flashed an embarrassed grin as she and Tuner continued through the house.  After many twists and turns they came to a long hallway with four doors on each side, and from one of the doors, a thin, petite woman stepped out.

“Good morning Mistress,” Tuner said with a small bow.  Jane saw this and quickly bowed as well.  She really needed to ask Gale later about all the bowing.

“Oh, good morning to you, Mr. Tuner,” the woman replied brightly.  “And who might this be?” she asked, smiling at Jane.

“This is my new friend Miss Jane Picardy,” he answered.  “Jane, Mistress Quaverly, the strings instructor at our guild.” 


“At last,” she said, peering intently at Jane.  “I am very pleased to finally meet you.” 

Jane frowned.  Why is she so glad I’m here?  “Why?  What is it you all seem to know that I don’t?” 

Mistress Quaverly looked at Jane a moment, warmth in her eyes.  “Only that you are needed my dear.”

“For what?”   

“It is Master Troubere’s wish that you hear it from him.” 

Jane was frustrated, but she kept it hidden.  Well, I’m about to meet with him anyway.  Guess I’ll know soon enough.  

“Welcome Jane.  I hope you are able to make yourself comfortable here with us.”  She bowed then Jane and Tuner watched her tiny footsteps take her briskly away.  Jane heaved a sigh and motioned for Tuner to lead on.  They knocked at the first door on the left. 


Tags: soulsong
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