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stardust_and_plastic

One sick kitty
I have a novel that I'm trying to get to an agent and then to a publisher as soon as possible, but I'm terrified it's terrible. I want people to tear it apart (with the understanding that it is an early young adult novel) and make me feel more secure. That said, I can't post it here, it's 50,000+ words and I'm a bit protective of the idea of it, so I'd like to PM those interested the google doc link.
It's fantasy, almost high fantasy, has tones of furryness in it? It's mostly a mixed up fairy tale. Here's the back cover: Andra is a girl with nothing when she falls in love with the prince, Andrew. When he wants to marry her, his father, the King forbids it unless she can prove her worth by completing a set of "impossible" tasks. With the help of demigod-like beings called Reinku, she might just be able to pull it off.

Edit: I decided I can post this bit.


‘I’m sorry I have to do this...’ Andra thought, shielding her eyes from the sun as it reflected off the smooth metal surface of the aircraft. An aircraft she was about to break into, she reminded herself.

Thinking of what the King’s task was, and what it was forcing her to do turned her stomach like she’d eaten something rotten and sent shivers down her spine. Previously, she and Zein had visited and tried to buy, barter, and even beg. Each of their attempts had failed, and since going home again without the plate wasn’t an option, they had reluctantly decided to steal it.

‘After all, what’s one dinner plate with everything he has?’ But it wasn’t the price of plate that mattered to the owner, it was the sentiment. It was the last thing his daughter had painted on before she died.

The aircraft rose over the canyonside. It was elongated like a zeppelin, but copper in appearance and smaller in size. It was beautiful, in its own industrial way. Glass windows, a rare commodity only permitted to the rich, allowed a glance into the various rooms in the flying house. The domed surface shone brightly, propellers spinning lazily around it in the morning sun. The owner had enough money that he didn’t have to worry about going anywhere quickly.

“Are you ready?” asked Zein. He was odd looking and acted even more so. His predominantly black hair stood out from the sides of his head like dry grass. A bright red mane ran down the center, taller from the rest. This alone would have earned a few double takes from the townsfolk back home, but there were other more peculiar things about her traveling companion. His eyes were entirely black, except for a ring of red sandwiched between two layers of ebony. Growing from his forehead were his horns; thick, curled, black horns with red tips. The left was adorned with a golden ring, intricate writing she couldn’t read scrolling around the band… words of a promise, he’d told her.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Andra whispered, pushing her short red hair into a ponytail and tying it off with a scrap of fabric.

“Well then, hop on,” Zein knelt on the sand of the red and orange cliff they had spent the entire day prior climbing.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” she smiled, and with some hesitancy, jumped on his back.

“You’d still find a way. Or die trying. You’re too stubborn that way,” Zein stood and hopped from one foot to the other like the added weight of another person was a small inconvenience. She felt a slight vibration as Zein accessed a primal part of himself. Without warning, he broke into a run.

Andra closed her eyes to keep from getting ill. Zein could run faster than any transportation she had taken in her life. That list was short, she being a poor girl from the slums, but Zein’s speed would have impressed anyone, shortly before it caused violent motion sickness.

When he reached the edge of the cliff, he didn’t stop, but jumped. Andra instinctively held her breath and curled her arms tighter across his chest. She could feel the adrenaline curling through her body, surrounding her heart with a mixture of panic and elation. She clenched her mouth shut to keep from screaming. Her hair tie came loose in the currents of wind and flew away, allowing the rush of air to spread through her hair. She allowed a brief moment of fancy where she thought of catching it before her mind reminded her that go would be a folly and, likely, deadly. She would have to deal with the lanky strands getting in her vision.

Zein landed perfectly on the copper surface of the airship. She didn’t hear any noise pass through the metal, she simply felt her body stop falling and her hair flop onto her face.

“Try to be quiet,” Zein whispered, kneeling down to let her walk on her own feet.

Shaking, Andra opened her eyes before placing her feet on the surface and bent over, trying to catch her breath. Her hair covered her face so she could only see the surface of her worn shoes. Nausea enclosed her stomach and she forced herself to ignore it, swallowing down the hard knot. She told herself to breathe steadily.

“You’re such a wimp,” Zein chuckled.

“I’m sorry, I don’t often jump off cliffs,” Andra glared, trying to remain on her feet. She trusted Zein not to fall off a cliff; she did not trust herself to stay standing on the hot, flying metal ball for long.

“Take my hand, I’ll take you to the hatch,” Zein sighed. He sounded annoyed at her apprehension.

“Fine…” Andra muttered, placing her hand unceremoniously in his, secretly happy for her fleet-footed companion.

Swift as a fox, Zein trotted to the maintenance hatch and opened it with his free hand. “After you, princess.”

Andra would have come up with some witty retort if she weren’t trembling from the idea of falling to her death. She climbed down the ladder into the almost empty maintenance room. Zein followed after her, closing the hatch.

The maintenance room was lined with color-coded levers and illuminated pipes with corresponding hues. Being close to the top of the external copper surface gave the room a pleasantly warm temperature. The middle of the room held the heart of the ship: a clear cylinder holding blue and silver creatures.

“They’re beautiful,” Andra muttered, moving to the center of the room.

“Your kind call them Airspringers,” Zein said.

The Airspringers looked like tiny people fading in and out of existence. Their skin and clothes were glittering white and blue like clouds on a windy day. They laughed and spun in their small, clear tube that ran, not only through the room, but also through the center of the floating home. Some of the more energetic individuals were siphoned into the exoskeleton of the airship.

“Are they trapped?” Andra asked.

“No. They’re working. Airspringers are one of the Reinku who will work for humans without being tamed. Just provide them with the right environment and lots of water and they’ll do as you ask. That’s probably why this ship is thin copper. Give them a hot area and the Airspringers become excited and make whatever they’re living in rise. Make the area cooler, and they’ll become tired and make the ship fall. Copper conducts heat. They should have cool water they use to cool the copper and control the height of the ship.”

Reinku… they seemed to be everywhere outside of the kingdom. Andra knew very little about them, Zein had explained that they were physical manifestations of parts of the world. Like guardian deities, or something. They all represented something, or a couple somethings, and their powers and physical appearance revolved around that.

“Well…” Andra whispered, placing her hand on the side of the glass. “I’m glad they’re happy here, at least.” One of the Airspringers noticed and made a funny face before laughing and spinning back into the mist.
 
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Russec

Member
Don't be too afraid of flirting with "furriness". It happens in published fantasy all the time, it's just called anthropomorphization when it happens. Sci-Fi writers (Ian M. Banks - The Culture series) and fantasy writers (Brian Jacques - Redwall) are some examples.

Fun idea with the concept of Reinku. I would love to see more of the manuscript! At this point I can't really gauge the character development and I'd be worried about Reinku becoming a crutch for getting out of situations you've cornered yourself in.

That said, if you are already looking for agents, you are likely writing at a level where my critiques aren't needed. I can only offer the general publishing advice given to me by a mentor, and he managed to break into publication without an agent, before agents were really a thing.

Just expect this to take multiple tries, and if it gets accepted by an agent and a publisher, a few years to get published. For the record, I think trying to get a publisher rather than self-publication is the right choice.

Good luck!
 

stardust_and_plastic

One sick kitty
Don't be too afraid of flirting with "furriness". It happens in published fantasy all the time, it's just called anthropomorphization when it happens. Sci-Fi writers (Ian M. Banks - The Culture series) and fantasy writers (Brian Jacques - Redwall) are some examples.

Fun idea with the concept of Reinku. I would love to see more of the manuscript! At this point I can't really gauge the character development and I'd be worried about Reinku becoming a crutch for getting out of situations you've cornered yourself in.

That said, if you are already looking for agents, you are likely writing at a level where my critiques aren't needed. I can only offer the general publishing advice given to me by a mentor, and he managed to break into publication without an agent, before agents were really a thing.

Just expect this to take multiple tries, and if it gets accepted by an agent and a publisher, a few years to get published. For the record, I think trying to get a publisher rather than self-publication is the right choice.

Good luck!
I wasn't worried about publishers, I was worried about the lack of furriness chasing you guys off ;)

I saw that as being a problem after chapter two too, so after that I just made them all the problem. I also set rules on Zein so he couldn't just fix everything and Andra had to do something for herself.

I was honestly looking for agents because I couldn't find anyone to read my novel. Literally. None of my friends would do it. I had no writing groups. I was hoping someone would rake me across the coals OTL

I'm actually rewriting a few things since the early novel was written five years prior to the rest and doesn't fit as well. Still the same story, just with more of an updated spring.
 
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