Shorthand: http://bit.ly/seB8vB s/nae/nigh/g
With gusto, as requested in the synopsis on FiMFiction (but also because your story allegedly involves “tormenting” of Fluttershy by your OC) I shall indeed be merciless.
Stream of Consciousness
First impression: your intro’s pretentious style is a major turn-off, and that’s not just because it oozes with delusions of literary grandeur. Your very first paragraph breaks the fourth wall in that the character Maximillian plays the dual role of being both narrator and a device for tossing in technical meta-commentary on formatting, pacing, exposition and passage delineation. It’s essentially just an author’s note disguised as a boring introduction gussied up in pseudo-academic diction.
Writers who switch between narrative perspectives and are skilled in it makes it clear, after introduction, exactly who the focus is on and when. By telling readers that they need to remember symbols, you’re telling them that you think they won’t be able to tell passages apart based on the writing itself. That sends them one of several messages; that you believe they’re too stupid to figure it out for themselves, or that you intentionally made your writing so confusing that it needs such a system. Or (returning later to comment here) that you’re just too lazy to pick one narrative voice for a story that centers around a single character and stick with it, getting creative and subtle in the areas where exposition is more challenging from any given perspective.
> story begins
Spike. He appears, there’s something on his mind, and then he disappears. What’s the relevance/importance? It was obviously thrown in just for mood setting and serves no additional purpose.
> Luna’s moon
> the moonlight had to viciously claw its way through the dense canopy just to attempt to perforate the foliage
PP & R & O
If you wish to use personification, it helps to do so in a way that properly reflects the mood and description of the object in question. Also, the canopy does constitute foliage.
> RE: pale gray, short-haired hazel-eyed (etc) OC foreigner unicorn
Boring. Six purple paragraphs in and there’s no character development (and hardly any world building or exposition) to speak of. If physical characteristics are described in any detail, they must actually serve some purpose in giving away hints at the character’s background and/or personality. From what you’ve told me here, this character is a pimp. I mean, he’s got armor and weapons that would put most pimps’ bejeweled canes to shame, from what I read in the two paragraphs you spent describing them. Granted, it’s appropriate for royalty to have ornate everythings, but I think you went overboard.
> Even his cutie mark was exotic
Barely a fifth of the way through the first half of the prologue and my Stuometer’s reading is already at 0.6 Edwards.
Now, as for his language, it would appear more a show of creativity skill than a ham-handed declaration if you slipped this into some actual dialogue. Speaking of which, will there be any?
> I'm kind of a nerd with history
You’re sending out mixed messages. Here’s the first-person narrative of a character who is the lonesome errant son of a king far from his home, who began by speaking of how he “slew great beasts”, using a 20th-Century American slang term. Pay careful attention to this character’s diction. I mean, he’s Jericho Pendergast, correct? Do something to prove all that stuff you said about his language and vernacular, and do his royal upbringing justice.
Now, as this
pimp wandering heir of a king travels through the Everfree forest, you disrupt the story with exposition in the form of declarative commentary that lacks all manner of sublety. If the backstory of your character were precious to you, would you not take time to think of how it could be artfully revealed? You could use the character’s attitude, behavior and/or flashbacks.
Over-used concept, and I have no idea what relevance it has besides allowing your character to haul around more swag than a Diablo II character with an inventory full of Horadric cubes. I mean, you practically admit through how he smugly describes the spell that you just tossed it in for that very reason.
And then, he has a draught of mana-tablet-infused water and muses on the effects of it.
Tell me, fucking tell me please, did J.R.R. Tolkien spend these many words describing the magical properties of every piece of enchanted equiment and victual? Even if he did, he didn’t do it all in one piece all like this all heavy-handed like (as I recall) but with lembas bread (for example) described the effect it had on the characters when they used it, and when it was important and necessary to use it, i.e. when the weary Hobbits were down to their last few morsels of it and trudging through Mordor.
> Pit Lords
So this is a story, right? A picture is worth a thousand words, or in your case, about 285, plus an actual, additional picture, as if it were relevant to the plot. I mean, come on, right as action begins you turn the protagonist into a lecturer on the subject of these demons as though he were a 14-year-old MMORPG player detailing the bestiary of his favorite game to his cousin.
Finally, some dialogue/action. Compared to everything else so far it’s awesome. Improve on it, do the exposing the character thing through dialogue, demonstrating his language instead of declaring it, etc. etc. etc.
> With that the three pit lords charged with a mighty roar and battle was joined.
> They were agile, swift, and strong. But so was I...
Wait, what? It looks like you forgot that you were already in first-person narrative!
I shall ask at this point: if the story is, as “M.d.É”described, “a compilation of his journals, such that they are, and various other books chronicling his story in the 3rd person”, then why, if the narrative pieces fit together so well, would there be any need to switch back and forth between them? It implies a deficiency or series of holes in either of them that would warrant such back-and-forth. If they were so detailed, why would there be such holes?
Actually, I think that your historical-record gimmick could be entirely done away with.
> “Shit,” spoke I
More mixed messages.
Your whole duel needs more focus. Focus on dialogue. Focus on what is happening. Put yourself behind Jericho’s eyes and try to describe what you see and experience. You have Jericho describing the fight in an aloof manner as though it were a boxing match, in retrospect — wherein he muses on the strengths, weaknesses and techniques of him and his enemy. Your protagonist is really smug.
> He began to wretch out his fluids, expelling near fatal amounts of it. This was getting ridiculous. I should take the poor thing out of his misery. I hoped if things would have gone in his favor that he'd do the same to me.
All in all it was hard to keep a straight face despite listening through my entire Dead Can Dance collection while reading. You need to focus on making it sound more compelling in this regard: improve your style or make it stand out less. I mean, sure it’s a part of your writing like your stomach is a part of your body, but here you have an enormous, hairy beer gut hangin’ out from under the bottom of a too-small T-shirt. Tighten it up with subtlety in exposition, diction that’s more appropriate for your protagonist, and getting rid of gimmicks that aren’t totally necessary for advancement of the plot/characterization. I’ll leave you with the rules of Kurt Vonnegut and of Mark Twain (from his essay on the literary offenses of Feinmore Cooper) which I think you have broken to a significant degree: (Vonnegut) 1, 3 & 5; (Twain) 7, 14