Comments 10


by Antonia Brennan


Tara had watched her father smile as he tore the heart out of the King of Dondara’s chest. It had not been the first act of complete brutality she had seen, her father’s campaign had been saturated by similar murders and executions. Something had terrified her though, something in the old King’s eyes in the moment before Forbeath ended his life. He had looked at the eight year old girl standing in the doorway to the throne room, recognised her, and offered her pity.

Afterwards her father had the body taken away to be burned, leaving strict instructions that the blood was to be left to dry. No one questioned the new King as he picked up his daughter, streaking her face with blood as he pushed her hair away from her face.

It had been blonde then, the same colour as her mothers, but he made her dye it later on. He couldn’t stand to be reminded of his wife.

“That is how you get what you want in this world Tara.” He’d said, chuckling as her tiny hands had tried to wipe the flecks of blood from his cheeks. “You have to take everything or end up with nothing.”

She’d nodded, not really understanding the meaning behind her father’s words but sensing she needed to agree. Everyone agreed for with Forbeath, those who forgot that simply vanished and no one spoke of them again.

Her father was not always cruel or evil. There had been times when he showed sparks of kindness. He’d rumbled into her chambers one night with a fistful of ragged cloak and a dark skinned girl scrambling along beside him.

A few snapped words to the servants and he was gone, leaving the girl alone in the midst of strangers and Tara staring on in confusion.

A friend was his explanation. Aysanté was a thief who’d managed to kill three guards with a dagger from her boot before they’d pinned her down. This horrified Tara’s ladies in waiting, but fascinated the young princess. Aysanté was older, wiser and in Tara’s opinion, a lot more fun than anyone else in the entire castle.

They were not friends right from the start, in fact Aysanté treated Tara with an air of complete indifference for the first year, the fear of Forbeath’s wrath the only thing keeping her within the castle walls.

Rebels had broken without the guards noticing. Slipping through corridors as silent as nights and stealing into the Princess’s chambers with only one task in mind, to kill Forbeath’s only joy.

Aysanté had stabbed them.

Here is the prologue for my manuscript Obscurité (working title).

What I desperately need for you is feedback. Would you read this if it was a completed novel?

What do you think of the characters so far?

Do I need to develop the characters or plotline further in the prologue or should I save that for the main body of the novel and jump strait into chapter one? (The book will be set during Tara’s 17th year where Aysanté is 19 and the pair of them are looking out for ways to rebel against Forbeath.)

Overall, does this work? What do you like, what don’t you like and how do you think I can improve it? (If you can think of any improvements)

I’m hoping to work on this manuscript over summer and I will keep you all updated on my progress. This will hopefully be the first manuscript that I try to send out to publishers on completion, so wish me luck.

This entry was posted in: Blog


Carol J Forrester is a writer and a history geek. Her debut collection 'It's All In The Blood' came out November 2019. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon.Her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.


  1. I would definitely read this if it were a completed novel. It has enough intrigue to keep me wanting more, and you have introduced characters that I want to know more about.

    I really like the darker tone this piece has, and I expect that the rest of the novel will follow suit (even though I have no idea). I will say, though, that I prefer a prologue that pulls you in a bit more. You summarize a lot in this, and I realize that you are doing so to convey a lot of information, but maybe you could focus it in a bit more, make it a bit more personal for the reader. Summaries are very useful, but vivid scenes spark more interest.

    Also, I’m a bit confused with the ending. Was Aysanté trying to kill the King, or was she trying to protect the princess? Is she with the rebels or not? Some clarification would be awesome here.

    Overall, though, I think it’s a brilliant concept that I would love to see fleshed out. This type of fantasy/fiction is my genre of choice, and I’m really picky about what I read, but I think this has the potential to be brilliant! How much have you written?

    Best of luck!


    • Ah! The question I despise because I can never clearly answer, “how much have I written?”
      I have mountains of draft chapters for this novel, ranging from awful to stuff that even I have to admit is absolutly awsome. The problem is that most of them don’t fit together, even though the characters change very little and they all revolve around similar plotlines.
      Thank you so much for your response. It is fantastically helpful and I will be keeping your advice in mind when I go back to redraft.

      • Haha, it’s okay. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve had pieces of a novel scattered about for years now, and I’m only just now starting to string them together. Stick with it, though! You really have some good stuff here, and I think it could definitely be a success.

        And it was my pleasure to help. 🙂

  2. Thomas J. Webster says

    Go for it, you’ve a pretty sound concept here, in my opinion.

  3. MonLoupGarou says

    Hi Carol!

    I really like the darker tone and child’s viewpoint, and especially Aysante. Her name is exquisite, and she promises to be an intriguing character. Though rather short, I think this suffices as a Prologue, and sets the scene well for the main body of the novel, and development of characters, though as Timothy said, focusing more on one particularly vivid scene may make it more engaging.

    The hint of gore was a very nice touch, and I love the image of little Tara wiping spatters of blood from her father’s face… Sick as that may sound, it’s so very striking in a strange way; perhaps a scene you could have made more vivid for the reader to augment its impact?

    However, I do think that the sentence ‘Aysante had stabbed them’ is a little too weak to end on. Actions speak louder than any physical description, and this one in particular says a lot about Aysante, and will be what your reader bases their initial impression of her on. Use a more unusual verb – like ‘slay’! Always underrated as too cliched to use in fantasy stories, it deserves a little attention.

    Also – just a small point – towards the end you say that ‘Aysanté was older, wiser and in Tara’s opinion, a lot more fun than anyone else in the entire castle’, which is a little ambiguous. Is Aysante older, wiser, and more fun than anyone in the castle, or is she older and wiser than Tara, and more fun than anyone else in the castle?

    Can’t wait to see how this develops! ~Amanda

  4. This works well, I’m guessing it’s either dated in medieval/ tudor times, or a fantasy novel with mythical creatures, castles, feudalism, swords and such (love those sorta stories). From the prologue I can tell that Tara and Aysante will be companions, I sense that connection strongly. Plot sounds safe, not very original with the single abusive father and the (I’m guessing) dead mother but it usually works out in stories.

    Please, please don’t make it to much like stories with the princess and the prince saving her from the tower by defeating a monster. I can tell it won’t be like that but as a warning, I advise you not to head down that track

    • I would rather tear out my own eyeballs that write a story where the Princess is rescused by the Prince from a tower guarded my mosters.
      My Princess would be shimmying down a rope made of sheets with a dagger clamped between her teeth and a sword drawn ready for action!
      Thank you for the feedback though, I really apprciate it.

      • MonLoupGarou says

        ‘I would rather tear out my own eyeballs’… See, Carol, that’s the kind of emphatic decisiveness you need in the last line! ;D Oh, and I’ve thought of another good verb – ‘slaughter’. Not as flexible as ‘slay’, but certainly sufficient.

  5. Remember that most of the writers who ever got read were those who wrote for the ink to be on the paper rather than the eyes. You shouldn’t take into consideration what someone might read when writing. Among other things, it decreases the core quality of your work both in general and personal perspective.

    Despite this, however, I will answer your question. I would probably read this if it was a completed novel. Would I buy it? Maybe. It would depend on the price. But, keep in mind this is merely the opinion I’ve formed on the excerpt I have here before me and should not be taken as a judgement on the quality of the work.

    Why am I not certain I would buy this book? It did not surprise me. Maybe its a part of being a writer myself, but I can’t get into a book unless it consistently surprises me. As someone who writes all kinds of stories, it takes a great deal for me to read something I haven’t already thought of myself in some other form. It’s not a good basis to test how the typical reader would interpret this piece, so do not consider it to be so.

Please take the time to tell me what you think, I love receiving feedback. :)

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