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Authors Seeking FREE Betas > Comic Fantasy - Completed Novel

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message 1: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Fairlamb The story is 98,000 words, and has been through a first edit to tie up story threads. I would really like feedback on how well it draws a reader in, and if it maintains enough momentum throughout. If you are willing to read the first few chapters or the whole thing, either would be useful.

Here's a blurb.

Who shaves the barber? His apprentice of course. Cuts his hair too. That’s why all the retired barbers running around the palace have such long hair and beards. They are trying to disrupt the coronation of Prince Jermyn: drugged up puppet of the evil Rhoolians who are scheming to take over the throne.

Nevin has been apprenticed to travelling barber Master Drancy since he left school, and when he reaches the city of Arpik he should receive his very own pole. But when the wagon rolls in, Nevin and Drancy find the city in turmoil. The king is dead, the princess too, and the king’s nephew has been got at by unseen forces. Prince Jermyn has been issuing some mighty strange proclamations: barbering has been outlawed for a start. Even the comforting aroma of tallow has been replaced by the scented oil of Rhoolian lamps. The chandlers unaccountably burned down just as the Rhoolians moved in to the city. If that wasn’t enough, everybody’s favourite tubular meat product has been banned by Jermyn too.

Can Nevin and runaway cobbler’s boy Drew save the day? They won’t have to do it alone. There’s a host of retired barbers with nothing better to do than get themselves arrested. And Nevin has made some useful friends on the road to the city: the ore divers of The Accused, Karzey (an arboreal dwarf with a taste for frogs), and Simmonit Brans, Manifester to royalty. They all pitch in to help execute a complex plan. Aided, abetted, even occasionally stymied by various factions of sausage activists who are running the palace guard ragged, and the crones sabotaging the new physicians’ clinic, it’s anybody’s guess who will come out on top.


message 2: by Lise8 (new)

Lise8 | 29 comments I am not looking for a full read at the moment, but I would be happy to look at first chapters if you'd like.

To show you my commenting style, here is a few comments on your blurb, in case that helps too.

Who shaves the barber? His apprentice of course. Cuts his hair too. That’s why all the retired barbers running around the palace have such long hair and beards. (I LOVE this, the tone, the humour, definitely gets me reading, especially as I do not expect barbers as main character, nice one) They are trying to disrupt the coronation of Prince Jermyn (NOW here I am lost: who is 'they'? The retired barbers? Guess so. But why on Earth would retired barbers want to disrupt the coronation of the prince??? Are they alone in this or are the whole population feeling the same? are they a cover up for more 'spy-like' activities? Too many questions too early on in the blurb): drugged up puppet of the evil Rhoolians who are scheming to take over the throne. (Here again, I am happy to just take in the 'fantasy' aspect, but I need a little more on Rhoolians so that I get a mental picture. So far, Prince and coronation set me in medieval/ regency type setting, so does barbers, but is that right? And what are Rhoolians, I am seeing big sized trolls, don't know why... I need to be sure of this, not rely on my imagination, really paint me a picture to dive in here! It doesn't have to take many words, just well chosen ones)

Nevin has been apprenticed to travelling barber Master Drancy since he left school, and when he reaches the city of Arpik he should receive his very own pole (All good till this, gives me a young male MC, but pole? what pole? Maybe I am not intimate enough with barber-dom here, but this is leaving me with questions I should not be having) . But when the wagon rolls in, Nevin and Drancy find the city in turmoil. The king is dead, the princess too, and the king’s nephew has been got (there has got to be a better verb than 'has been got at' here, surely) at by unseen forces. (and watch for anachronisms here, because I already expected the king to be bead if the retired barbers are trying to stop the coronation... do you see what I mean?) Prince Jermyn has been issuing some mighty strange proclamations: barbering has been outlawed (comma here, for emphasis?) for a start. Even the comforting aroma of tallow (had to google this, I am learning, which I like, but I would rather have the word 'candle' added, so that I didn't have to go and check what 'tallow' is) has been replaced by the scented oil of Rhoolian lamps. The chandlers unaccountably burned down just as the Rhoolians moved in to the city. (I don't think this last sentence is needed in the blurb) If that wasn’t enough, everybody’s favourite tubular meat product has been banned by Jermyn too. (I think that these two sentences about candles and meat are too much info for a blurb, and weaken that great line of ''barbering has been outlawed, for a start.)

Can Nevin and runaway cobbler’s boy Drew save the day? They won’t have to do it alone. There’s a host of retired barbers with nothing better to do than get themselves arrested. And Nevin has made some useful friends on the road to the city: the ore divers of The Accused, Karzey (an arboreal dwarf with a taste for frogs), and Simmonit Brans, Manifester to royalty. They all pitch in to help execute a complex plan. Aided, abetted, even occasionally stymied by various factions of sausage activists who are running the palace guard ragged, and the crones sabotaging the new physicians’ clinic, it’s anybody’s guess who will come out on top.

( I am in two mind about this last bit: I feel avalanched under a whole lot of imaginary realm's characters that I know nothing of, it feels a bit much, but then you also seem to convey that it is a bit much for Nevin too, so it kind of works. I am not sure about the 'can Nevin and .. save the day' bit, because at the moment Nevin hasn't been portrayed as someone who wants to do something about it, so maybe you need to give me a bit more reason why he would want to get involved in those complex schemes.)


So in short, there is an interesting premise, an unusual world, so I would be happy to give you feedback on the first few chapters if you'd like and will request more if it continues to appeal. But then my feedback style might not suit you, so it's up to you really.

Remember with this as with all things that a beta reader offers but one opinion, and you are in your strong author's right not to agree with any of it.


message 3: by Martyn (last edited Aug 01, 2016 06:25AM) (new)

Martyn Fairlamb Hi Lise8,
Thanks for the offer, and the effort already put in. I'm learning that writing the blurb and synopsis is a different skill I need to hone.

Your feedback is just the sort of thing I'm looking for. I want to know if the story engages the reader enough to keep them reading, and doesn't keep them guessing too much.

Whatever you are able to do would be brilliant. Just let me know a rough word count you would be happy with, how you would like it formatted, and how to get it to you.

Thanks again.


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