Review Request: The Iron Teeth

Hello fellow readers and writers of webfiction. After a lot of anticipation on my part my dark fantasy web serial The Iron Teeth just got listed here. Thus I would like to ask for some reviews. I'm more than willing to do a review trade. So check out my story if you like dark fantasy, suspense, comedy, tragedy, and goblins. Sorry for being so unoriginal with this request.


Also How do you use xhtml to add a hyperlink to text? I can't figure it out.

Sure, I'll give it a spin while there's a manageable amount.

Anything in particular you'd like me to look out for? I presume this is more for useful critique than reader information, but I'm still not au fait with this forum's culture so I may be wrong.

Definitely critique. I was even going to ask Patrick Rochefort to review it because he gives very critical reviews but there doesn't seem to be a message system in this forum. I'm not looking out for anything in particular so feel free to discuss anything.


I'll also give you one. Like Grey said, anything in particular you want feedback on?

Nothing in particular... However I'm a little worried about plot, pacing, having too much repetition, and the character having distinct personalities I guess.

Thanks again.

Hi @ClearMadness. I'm a relatively new writer, though a lifelong reader, so keep this in mind as you evaluate my comments. This is a critique, not a criticism. :)

I read the Prologue for now.

You have good descriptive power overall. A good logical flow I could visualize. An interesting world and lots of good things happening.

My suggestions are

1- trim/edit/reduce - too many words, especially during fast paced action scenes, tends to slow the movement. I'm betting you can lose about 1/2 to 1/3 of that page. For example a quick edit.

"The young man shivered as an arctic gust blew in over the city walls and slammed into him. It stripped the warmth from his body as it blew past, and filled his vision with a storm of snow that drowned out the rest of the world. He huddled down and pulled his fur coat and heavy cloak tighter in an attempt to keep some remnant of warmth safe within himself."

The young man shivered as the arctic wind slammed into him. It stripped the warmth from his body, and filled his vision with white. He gripped his cloak with numb fingers in a futile attempt to block the frigid air.

I'm not saying this is a good rewrite, just easier to illustrate my thoughts this way. 70 words becomes 40 and still conveys the basic info and feeling.

2- vary your sentence length. For example shorter sentences, and even some fragments, during action tends to speed things up and add to tension, and can enhance stuff like the confusion or fear of the protagonist etc.

3- use two or more senses, where possible to better anchor your great descriptions so it becomes more part of the scene.

4- look out for places where you tell stuff, and see if you can show it in others ways i.e. instead of sayings "it's terribly cold" he could 'feel the ice crystals forming in his nostrils'

5- when using descriptive words consider using words that convey or tie into the imagery. For example you use the word 'drowning' to describe the snow blocking his view early on which doesn't feel cold and white to me - if that makes sense.

Wow thanks Burtabreu. I'm gonna copy your points and add them to my notes.

Burtabreu covered a lot of points I would.

You can really cut down on your word-count - a lot of it feels drawn-out to little purpose, in a way that hurts pacing and feels like verbosity for its own sake. To that end, you may want to consider your choice of words more carefully; when you're aiming for concise description, nuance is a vital consideration.

Burtabreu is bang on about the use of sensuous language. Smell is a particularly powerful one.

You also really labour some points, saying the same thing in different ways across one paragraph. It's made 1.1 a bit of a slog, for me.

You can get away with high-immersion prose in a fantasy setting, but you have to provide enough contextual clues to carry events without defaulting to exposition - the Malazan Book of the Fallen is a great example.

Honestly, the best advice I have, on reading, is that you read more fantasy fiction.

Oh, and not to focus on the mechanical side too much, I do really like the 'tamed goblins as sewer maintenance' idea. That's the kind of human banality I like seeing in fantasy settings; makes them feel more inhabited by real people rather than dramatic archetypes.

I'll have more for you in the next day or so, once I'm caught up with my posting schedule (let it slip due to technical and personal problems this week).

You do use a lot of, It's one of those things that most critics will scream at you to avoid at all costs. I'm one of the few that will disagree. In the right circumstances, it can be beautiful and artful and unforgettable. But those circumstances are few and far between, something best left to literary masters and as writing challenges to improve one's craft.

Oh, and you may want to edit your website a bit. Your homepage displays the chapters in reverse order, which might cause people to read the story out of order.

I'm chewing through the story and should have a review ready by tomorrow. It's fairly solid so far.

Ya, when I wrote the first few chapters I had a problems reaching my word quotas so I may have padded them a bit. I'll try and keep the purple prose down in the future.

@Grey: Well if you like human banality in your fantasy stories then I assure you that you will love The Iron Teeth. I constructed this world from the ground up to be super realistic, or at least as realistic as a fantasy world can be. I have notes on everything from the mechanics of the magic system to ecology and economics. Expect lots of boring explanations of everything from mortar kilns to currency systems. ;)

I'd suggest you just write smaller chapters instead of having a word quota. Perhaps a weekly word quota, but not a chapter quota... two small chapters can be remarkably easier to write and to enjoy than a single big one, especially if smaller chapters means twice as much actually happens in the same number of words.

Personally, I find chapters over 2-3k are usually a waste. Either because there's word padding to extend a scene, or because there are multiple scenes that could have been broken up into multiple chapters for ease of consumption. That's not true of every story, but still worth considering as you go forward.

Oh, and review done. Once I got past the prologue and first two or so chapters (well, one and a half ish...), things really picked up and I read the rest pretty quickly.

Thanks for the great review TanaNari. I will keep everything you said in mind.

I'll take a look probably in a week or two. I have a well-deserved reputation for being a critical reviewer, but I don't want to be the guy Bigfooting down newcomers. Take some time to apply what prior reviews have said, and then drop me a line when your story is ready: [email protected]

Patrick, you've earned my respect with that one. Honestly, based on your other reviews I don't think you'd say anything much different than the rest of us have anyway.

This really is a story with a lot of potential. I know I can't wait to see how it improves itself with the advice given thus far, and am waiting to re-review it when it does.


While I do much the same in my world-building, because I write more RPGs than I do fiction these days, see if you can tell us about the kilns and currencies through context rather than explanations of how they work. Tie them into the narrative.

@Patrick: Ya that makes sens to me. I have enough feedback for now. Thanks.

@Grey: Ya I was thinking about doing something like that. I was joking around a bit when I said there would be lots of boring explanations.