>She came to the village from the barren, wasted fields when the autumn sun was halfway to zenith. He saw her from the height of his tower long before the other sentries.//
Since pronouns function with antecedents, it's generally a bad idea to use one before you've established any possible antecedents, even generically, like "the stallion."
>denocked the arrow in his crossbow//
Nocking is more for a standard bow. I'm an archer, and while I've never used a crossbow, I've also never heard of that term being applied to one.
>throguh the hole//
Typo. I'll go ahead and get this out of the way. I've heard that this story had a lot of editing problems, and if I point out every single one, it'll take me days, so I'll have to point out the types of problems I see and rely on you to find them all. Ones like this would easily show up in a spellchecker.
>One of the guards shook free the mare's knapsack.//
That doesn't mean he empties the contents. That means it was attached to him, and he rid himself of it.
>with a dull sound, glittering with gold//
Watch those stacked "with" phrases. They can sound repetitive.
>The caravaneers said, you've scrappers without par, who can trap a twig blight for us.//
Neither of those commas is necessary.
At this point, I'll say that the conversation is pretty dry. It's a bit talking-heads (lack of action to remind us that the speakers are actually characters who do things while they talk), and we're not getting any indication of emotion from them.
>Without a word//
Exact same description of Monsoon's action, only 3 paragraphs apart.
These are hierarchical (versus coordinate) adjectives, and so don't use a comma between them.
>Mighty trees, covered with slithering vines, blotted the sun with their leaves.//
There's some nice imagery in this paragraph, but all of the descriptions are very similar in structure and length, so it gets bogged down. Each image should seem fresh, not another part of a list.
>Monsoon followed Flint, carrying a bundle of thin prods. She spat them on the ground//
The second sentence here tells me that Monsoon was carrying the prods, but the placement of the participle in the first is ambiguous, tending more to identify Flint as carrying them. Participles like to latch onto the nearest noun or pronoun, so you have to consider their placement in a sentence carefully. It's a common problem, and I'm not going to mark any more, unless they're in a sentence I'm copying out to make another point. You'll have to find these on your own.
>Flint climbed the tree and returned with the strings in his teeth, tied to a hidden trap above.//
I lied. I'll mark this one because it's particularly bad. It saya his teeth are tied in the tree.
>He hammered the prods in the ground//
Okay, now I think you meant "rods," now that I can see how they're being used. A prod is a stick you use to poke an animal, for instance, to get it to move where you want.
>A quiet sounds//
>Its teeth were white like a sharpened palisade.//
I don't get this simile. A palisade isn't typically white.
>The heavy trunk pressed what was left into the ground, leaving only a head and a paw to stick out.//
Every sentence but one in this paragraph starts subject-verb. It's fine to have a number of those in a row, as it's the most common type of sentence, but you have to vary the length to keep them from getting in a rut, unless there's a compelling stylistic reason to do otherwise. You do change up the length a bit, but this just goes on too long, and it gets very repetitive. Your sentences start with the, a, the, it, with, the, the it, splinters, the.
>Flint let out a breath he's been holding and turned to Monsoon.//
Change to present tense, but I suspect it's just a typo.
>he lied in his bed//
Lay/lie confusion, and wrong form at that. Lie/lay/had lain does not tak a direct object. Lay/laid/had laid does take one.
>circling the palisade, pushing crunchy leaves and twigs out of his way//
It's usually a bad idea to stack up multiples of the same element in a row, like these participial phrases. It tends to be clunky. Participles are particularly bad at this, since it frequently results in a misplaced modifier and unclear timing (they imply concurrent action).
>The boulder was on the usual place//
in, not on
Flaky. but that's an odd word for describing soil.
>Somepony moved the stone and then replaced it.//
This is a completed action in the story's timeline. Use past perfect tense (had moved).
In this sense of the word, the preferred past tense is "knit."
>Flint grit his teeth.//
>Something long and thin whistled before her nose.//
That's a movie effect. Arrows don't whistle. I suppose you could fashion them to, but I wouldn't see the point. Their stealth is part of their effectiveness.
>He reached the end, tasting the night breeze with his nose and spit out the dirt from his mouth.//
You need another comma after "nose" to mark the end of the participle.
>The Elder was already waiting, her dusky eyes narrowed, her hoof gripping her staff so hard that it shook.//
Here's a case of multiple absolute phrases stacked up.
>A warm droplet streamed across his brow from the gnash on his forehead//
gash. And it's odd for a single droplet to "stream." That'd be an awfully fast pace.
>groaning with pain//
You're not often telly (well, you don't even take many opportunities to be showy, for that matter), but I've caught you doing this a number of times. "In/with/of <emotion/attitude>" phrases are telly and often redundant with an action they follow.
>they landed close to the palisade near the forest//
Another spot that needs to use past perfect tense.
>Flint led in front//
Missing a space.
>They came to a massive oak when Monsoon noticed a flicker of light in the pond nearby.//
The cause/effect is backwards here. Long story short, you need past perfect tense in the first part (had come).
>as if shook by invisible hooves//
>Flint and Monsoon laid in the pond, half-submerged in water reeking with plants//
Lay/lie confusion again. And I guess it depends on which plants. Not all of them reek.
>What seemed like an eternity later, the cicadas sang again.//
Missing an "after."
>"Lilliputian?" Flint asked.//
Why is he reacting to what the narrator said?
Shaky, but a fairly bland choice of word.
I don't know what you're trying to say here, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it.
>They briskly trotted past a field of grass stained red and besieged by swarms of flies.//
They did this after they camped? And they camped during the day? That's just… odd.
>Coversations tired them a long time ago//
Conversations. And I can't tell quite what you mean here. It's oddly phrased.
>It was closer to end of yet another tunnel//
>He laid down on the blanket>She laid down next to him.//
Lay/lie confusion again.
>flakes of frost falling from it//
All that (unintentional?) alliteration of soft sounds is undercutting your tension.
>We've to go!//
"Have" is only worked into a contraction when it's an auxiliary verb (You've been friendly) or it indicates possession (primarily British usage, as in: We've three hours left). Either expand the ontraction or wedge a "got" in there.
>He winced his eyes against the morning sun, but it wasn't on the sky.//
Winced is intransitive; it doesn't take a direct object. And the sun is in the sky, not on it.
>The tunnel opened into a free-standing bridge//
Onto, not into.
>Flint pulled back to make a running start. He lowered his head and broke into a gallop towards the gorge. He jumped, pushing against the edge with both rear legs and landed on the other side. With a loud crack, the planks under his rear legs broke, falling into the void. Flint fell on his chest, scratching at the smooth planks with his front hooves as he slid down. Monsoon jumped to him, grabbing his hooves and stopping his fall.//
See, this just comes across incredibly flat. They should both be in panic mode, and you should be flooding me with their emotional states, but I'm just getting a sterile list of facts.
>Monsoon lied on her side//
More lay/lie confusion.
>they told me that they're dead//
Verb tense problem and ambiguous pronouns.
>I've told that Juniper was dead, but her body never found.//
Verb tense and missing word.
>"Care to tell me, how?"
"Let's get this fixed, first."//
>The section's a couple meters long everywhere.//
I don't understand what he means.
>The tunnel led down, into the depths.//
>With a surprising satisfaction, Flint noticed that they were getting closer to the source of that cursed sound of dropping water.//
The opening phrase is very telly. Dripping.
>Another lied down on the ground>A sheet of webbing lied on the ground//
Lay/lie confusion again.
>Tremors shook the ground as it advanced.//
I can't find an antecedent for "it."
>fell right on his way//
>The crossbow laid on the ground behind a fault in the wall//
More lay/lie confusion.
>a smell of mercury//
I didn't know it had a smell…
>His ears perked to the cracking of a fire.//
I believe you meant "crackling."
>He was covered by a thick quilt, embroidered with colorful thread.//
Read this paragraph again. Except for the last sentence, every one is identical in structure and length. It's very plodding to read repetitive forms like this.
>He tried to nudge her awake when a metallic click sounded from the door.//
It's unlcear to me that this is the cause/effect relationship you wanted. It says that the click cause him to try nudging her awake. If you reword as "He was trying…" it would mean that the click sounded while he was trying to wake her up.
>and tehn looked a little higher//
Watch the cliches.
>they convened around a large bonfire.//
>lumpy, red paint//
Hierarchical adjectives. No comma.
>It's like a miasma manufacture//
That's a pretty brittle and soft mineral. It wouldn't be very durable in something that gets used as much as a door, and if it's very old at all, it likely would have chipped away already.
>made all of them lock automatically, by just closing the door//
>This is where we've to go!//
Another place where the "have" contraction isn't really appropriate.
>A cupboard at the opposite side of the room opened//
On, not at.
Inconsistent placement of the question mark. Not far back, you put one outside the quotes, even though both of them are the same as to whether it was actually in the quoted material.
>Monsoon and Flint traded looks. He looked//
Repetitive use of "look."
>after teh herds//
>They made sure that the streets outside were empty and went outside.//
Repetition of "outside."
>with a bang//
Why wouldn't they take care to be quiet?
>the charred tower//
You just used "char" in the last sentence.
>The sun was in zenith//
Usually "at its zenith."
>they noted that they've walked//
>Flint prayed that it be open//
>Flint stood uo//
>Monsoon was tied to the altar as she was captured//
She was already captured and carried off…
>as if it was//
In hopeful/wishful/hypothetical language, typically introduced with "as if," you use subjunctive mood. as if it were.
>A piece of stained glass fell from one of the stained-glass windows.//
You don't need that hyphen, and repetitive.
>in her bounds//
>He untied Monsoon//
He did that awfully quickly…
>We'll meet at the tower.//
They just escaped from a tower. I gather that it's not the one they're trying to find, but you need to make that clear. It took me a while to figure it out.
>He reached old castle//
>hanging from teh side of the mountain//
>the charred tower stood crumbled.//
That doesn't quite parse…
>Nothing ever comes from that grove.//
And at this point, I'm going to ask what happened to Juniper. You haven't said that she's following Flint, but you didn't say that he'd made her go with Monsoon, either. So is she on her own somewhere?
>the door wringed from its hinges//
Word choice. "Wringed" doesn't work here.
Spotless wallpaper, I presume.
>silverware on the cupboards//
>The air crackled with energy, he felt it in his hooves and his eyes.//
Comma splice. You've had several others, but they were in dialogue, so I grudgingly let them go.
>the dour of juniper//
I'm guessing you meant "odor?" Dour isn't a noun.
>You almost killed me and—" Zigzag tore the silk bow from his hoof.—"you've betrayed your daughter."//
That's not how to punctuate an interruption, and your dash placement is inconsistent.
You almost killed me and—" Zigzag tore the silk bow from his hoof "—you've betrayed your daughter."
Well, that ending was completely anticlimactic. You get us invested in what happens to Monsoon and Juniper, then just drop them completely. And we never see what the purpose of the apple was, what Monsoon thought it would do, whether any of the hornheads recognized it as anything important. How is this connected to MLP? Does it come before, after? Is the miasma connected to Nightmare Moon? I'm left feeling lost.
-Lack of any emotional language. I've noted this a few times, but there were a lot of facts thrown at me, and not much about how the characters felt. There was enough action, but that can only hold a reader's interest so long. You need to connect me with the characters, and that means getting me to deduce the character's emotions and feel along with them. I can't do that if I'm never given a reason to.
-Repetitive sentence structures. That compounds the problem of fact-listing, because it robs the facts of interest when they feel like a list of bullet poins. It just didn't flow well, didn't feel like it was moving.
-Use of a lot of terminology that most readers won't know, and little to no context is given. You can only go over he reader's head a few times before he'll give up, unless it's structured in a way that he cal tell he doesn't need to understand the meaning for an effect that's being created. That's pretty difficult to do well. ANd this is such an unusual setting and premise that I felt thrown into the middle of things without enough understanding of what was going on and why. It was like reading a sequel that requires an understanding of what had happened before. I can follow along a bit, but lack the background for it all to click.
There's a good story in there, but it lacks something in the delivery, suffered from a lack of editing, and didn't really come to a conclusion. Keep writing, and have fun with it!
This post was edited by its author on .