Thanks to Miladysa and Robert Rogers for their reviews of Dragon Wars

Well, it seems that I still need to do some work on characterisation, and it seems my quest to avoid purple prose has led to beige prose instead. :-) This is good to know, I can't improve if I don't know what's going wrong.

I do have one comment that may soun slightly snappish, though it's not meant that way. The characters are quads not quins. Robert. ;-P

Thanks again,


I was probably way more harsh than I needed to be in that review (I was grouchy, uncaffeinated, and preparing for work), so for that I apologize--the other thing is, I hope that my comments/reviews don't discourage you from continuing the story. As I'm not a big fan of Tolkien (which your work is obviously in the vein of), I'm predispositioned to dislike it *anyway*; I still think the bulk of my criticisms are relevant, but you should probably keep in mind that I'm already probably not going to be a fan of the style you're aiming for. Also, I'm not a professional writer or editor so anything I say should be taken with several prescription-sized boulders of salt.

And pardon the quadruplets/quintuplets thing! I always get my q-words mixed up.

Not at all, the review expressed your opinion and highlighted the bits that you found okay. In doing so you warned off people who share your tastes, while saying enough that others should be able to decide if they do. This is a good thing. We need more well-written and thought out negative reviews around here.

Many of the things you said other people have said to me. Especially about characterisation.

And don't worry, bad reviews just encourage me to do better. :-)

Thank you Shutsumon.

Since my review I have witnessed the effort you are putting into rewriting certain parts & it is already paying off :)

Hi Shutsomon,

I've been reading, and I can see what people mean in their reviews, I have to agree with the flaws they point out, yet at the same time there's something so inviting about the story. I can genuinely never predict what's going to happen from one chapter to another. I think it's very clever how so far no-one can clearly be identified as a bad guy even though they're all working at cross purposes to (and even trying to kill) each other.

Regarding the first chapter, I had the same frustration that the kids too easily accepted what was happening. Now this makes sense if they have experienced supernatural happenings in the past, which there are some hints they have. (I mean beyond the one that's just been mentioned that they can't remember - trying not to give away a spoiler here!) Now maybe you have some plot related reasons for being mysterious about this.

In any case, I think the solution to enabling the reader to identify more with the main characters is to let us more into their heads, more description of their inner thoughts (without getting into long flashbacks which would detract from the flow of the plot and probably aren't what you want to do anyway). I think this could be done in a subtle way without giving away anything explicit that you dont' want to reveal yet. I may be wrong but just my 2 cents.

Thanks for writing.

Hi Fiona,

Thanks for the feedback.:-) I'm glad you're finding the story inviting.

There's no real reason I haven't gone into the kids' past experiences (except for the one of Karen's which obviously has plot importance) except a desire to avoid burdensome backstory. I'm currently writing something which might be a side story or prologue if it works out. It's set a few days before the portal opens and has a weird event in it which is witnessed by others who actually question their lack of panic. (Current opening line "A few days before the portal opened it rained blood in the afternoon. In retrospect it was probably a warning, but at the time it was just another weird thing." This will probably be edited a lot before it hits the site, but it gives a feel for just how weird their lives are when blood rain doesn't even raise an eyebrow.)

Other than that I'm trying to get people more into the character's heads and give a touch more description.

Thanks again, feedback is a wonderful thing.


Sounds good!

Hi again,

The prologue is still a work in progress - my beta reader thinks a rain of blood is too much. She's probably right. So back to the drawing board.

However, I've put a couple more tweaks into part one this evening to try and make the kids emotions more present. I'd value opinions on if it's working.


I looked at the revised first post and I like the additions. Not sure about the bile rising in her throat though, is that a common reaction to fear or shock?

It is with me. When something shocks, upsets or scares me I get reflux. Maybe I'm weird and other people don't, but I really only have my own physical sensations as a guide when describing emotions.

It seems you're not the only one...