Backlist Burndown: During the Dance by Mark Lawrence

Backlist Burndown is a monthly meme hosted by Lisa from Tenacious Reader where you put aside at least one book from your blacklist every month to read, and then post a review of it on the last Friday of that month.

I could not have picked a better time to read this story. After just reading another short story, where I felt there was unnecessary amount of world-building to help develop a character, this is a PERFECT example of how you don’t need pages and pages to create a world and sympathetic character.

During the Dance by Mark Lawrence


Publication Date: June 29, 2014

Edition: ebook, 9 pages

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

The ending game me goose bumps


A short story about a child with a gift for seeing past the world.

A story of love, loss, and the dance in between. Absolutely not a romance.

This may be the greatest example ever of how to write an effective short story. How to build a world without droning on and on for pages; how to develop characters and foster their relationships with the readers, without having to delve into events of a characters past or having to create numerous conversations with other characters; how to create a compelling plot with mystery and intrigue, that is not faced-paced, because the story is deeply emotional – created by everything I have listed thus far – it feels so.

There is no need for me to provide a synopsis. During the Dance is only 9 pages long and under 2000 words long. (And it’s FREE ON AMAZON). By the time you finish reading this review you could probably read half of the story itself. But I will say: this is not a romance story, but a story of love. Not of man and women (or man and man), but a love of family and of those whose matter in your life.

This is why Mark Lawrence is such an amazing writer. If he able to write a story that can create these emotions in readers, and a sympathetic and surprisingly complex character, all from a story that isn’t 2,000 pages long… imagine what he can do with 200,000 words? It’s no wonder why Jorg is one of the greatest fantasy characters of all-time, and The Broken Empire trilogy is one of the greatest fantasy series of all-time.

In my non-professional, but total reading-enthusiast, opinion, every aspiring writing should read this story. If you can learn to write a story this, in this short of words…This is an excellent example of how to write an effective short story.

4.5/5 Rating


Date Read: 09/24/15
Review Written: 09/24/15
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4 thoughts on “Backlist Burndown: During the Dance by Mark Lawrence

  1. I have heard so many great things about this, I really should give a read. Especially since it’s so short, should be easy to find the time.


  2. One reason I’m usually not too big on shorts or anthologies is that I find the short fiction format to be woefully inadequate when it comes to giving me enough character and story. EMOTION. But it sounds like from your review that this is the opposite of everything I fear. Hmm, huge fan of Lawrence, so I may have to check this one out after all.


    • Character development can be a big issue with short fiction.

      I’d heard great things about this, but the reason I took me so long to finally read, was because of how short it is. I was skeptical of how much you get into such a small number of words. It turn out, you can pack a lot in there if you know what you’re doing.


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