Wood, Mud, Blood by Mark Ward

Tell us what you thought of the July 2009 issue!

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Post July 15, 2009, 03:33:34 PM

Wood, Mud, Blood by Mark Ward

Overall I enjoyed this.

Thought the magic system was well wrought and that the clash between The College and the town resonated nicely. The world and the ideas at play struck me as having the expanse and depth to form the core of a longer piece or series.

Initially, the prose leaned a bit too much toward purple and I worried that the story might be smothered in a miasma of overwriting, but Mark toned it down significantly and got down to the business of spinning his tale.

Biggest problem I had was the ending. A bit too much telling, a bit too preachy. Without giving anything away, I think Edmund's journey, so to speak, deserves a more complicated nuanced path. And given the strength of the rest of piece, I think Mark has the chops to pull off.

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Post July 15, 2009, 09:57:48 PM

For the most part, I have to agree with unforgibbon on this one. I usually don't read another's critique before I write mine, but decided to read one to see if another's would sway my opinons. It didn't

The begining should grab one's attention, and this one didn't. Too much overwriting and too much introduction early in the story made it somewhat confusing at first. However, the story did settle down to a nice
clear interesting tell.

Try to suck the reader in and don't cram too much into the begining. Keep him interested.

In general the writing I found good, plot very good, character developement nice and word choices good.

Nothing seriously wrong with this story
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post July 18, 2009, 04:10:58 PM

Events vs. Style

Interesting. My take appears to be quite different.

High fantasy as a genre tends to have more baroque phrasing, so I was content with the opening.

As for the story itself however, I did not "enjoy" it at all. To still the clamoring wails of disbelief, let me remark that there are other purposes of a story than "enjoyment". One strong one is to push for a message across the words from the writer, who has thought of some insight, to a reader he wagers has not, or minds not hearing it again.

I see Edmund as an Anti-Hero. It's tricky for me to guage exactly what level he is at. He used to enjoy being called "magus", travels with some kind of Affinity Golem, and apparently is versed enough to concoct some kind of magic siphon. Yet he is flabbergasted that a particular town is an Animation talent node.

Observe the language - he routinely calls folks "fools", and has a couple of speeches full of bravado. Yet to me it seems he is wholly out of his depth in the town. With One Good Trick he accomplishes ... something... then becomes so lost in a change of perspective he becomes forced to work around his own spell.

Adam Wright, by contrast, may have a narrower range of practice, but seems to have his judgement intact. He is the lead fountain of piercing words that eventually cause Edmund to change his life.

Anti-Hero stories are tricky for me, because it's nice to pull up a mental chair in the Good Guy's home base and match wits or skill vicariously with an adversary. Anti-Hero tales derive half their point by not letting on, but still it takes a bit more oomph from the reader to avoid a sna[ judgement.

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