Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tenderiser, Apr 20, 2016.
Oh, I like this!
I like the use of the phrase "me and mine" though. Feels slightly older, fitting what appears to be a more antiquated setting. And it has very " family unit" and "hearth and home" tones that I like.
The following are the opening three sentences of a prologue for a book I'll likely never write.
Banners and standards fell like leaves from the castle's ramparts. The courtyard, strewn with dead and dying soldiers, would soon be littered with burnt orange and white flags. Ecab dragged his gaze away from the heavens and blinked clear the flash of the afternoon sun, the sights and sounds of the siege lashed into his mind as he did so.
Second Edit: major change to third sentence. I should have known better than to post something I wrote last night. I definitely should have sat on this longer.
Maggie told fortunes for ten pounds a go. She'd lived on the same estate for over thirty years, and the local kids all knew her as 'the witch'. Sometimes they deliberately kicked their footballs into her front garden just to get her to swear at them from out of the window, then they'd run away yelling and laughing like a pack of puppies.
According to mer lore, many generations ago, Queen Pandora used a crystal to control the seven seas and the Mer People had to followed her bidding as she created storms to drown them for her pleasure or that they were forced to lure sailors to there doom by the mermaid’s sweet singing. It wasn't until young King Neptune stole the queen’s crystal and hide it in a undisclosed location. Since the evil queen didn’t have the crystal to replenish her powers she was expelled from the kingdom and was forgotten. As for the crystal it waited for his next owner.
This is quite good, sit on it any longer and it may become a throne.
Just putting in some sample cuts and a reorder. Cool images btw:
I put the third sentence first to ground the images in the POV of the character. The way they were, felt more like a camera rather than close POV because he's looking at the heavens, not the courtyard. Now his eyes fall across the ramparts to the courtyard and watches the banners fall.
I like your voice and what you seem to be setting up; your third sentence is especially charming imo. I'd read on.
Your second sentence is a little disconnected for me. The comma there breaks up two distinct ideas, and I think I'd prefer to divorce them. I'd also make a minor adjustment to your third sentence.
Yours: Sometimes they deliberately kicked their footballs into her front garden just to get her to swear at them from out of the window, . . .
Mine: Sometimes they deliberately kicked their footballs into her garden just to get her to swear at them through her front window, . . .
The minor Angel David stood and began pacing the waiting room. His gaze vacant, he sighed as he paced, oblivious to the rising irritation of the others sat in the waiting area.
David paid the emotions of others as much attention as he did the bland posters surrounding the walls.
This is all "telling", which isn't a terrible thing, but may not be the way you want to start your story. Telling is usually a great way to get information across, but not a great way to intrigue readers and make them really sink into your story.
OTher than that - I'd decide whether to capitalize Mer or not, and be consistent.
I'm not sure what the "that" is doing in "or that they were forced"... It may be helpful for you to temporarily ignore the first thing the Mers were forced to do, grammatically, to see the sentence as "People had to follow her bidding as she...that they were forced to lure sailors", which obviously doesn't make grammatical sense. Probably it would be clearer with "People had to follow her bidding as she...forced them to lure sailors..."
Then I'm not clear what happened once Neptune stole the queen's crystal... "It wasn't until..." usually ends with a "that"... like, "It wasn't until Neptune stole the queen's crystal...that there was peace under the sea." Or you could put that part before "There was no peace under the sea until Neptune...".
I like it, but I'm not sure about the "pack of puppies" combined with yelling and laughing. Figurative language, obviously, but for some reason my brain's being caught on it. Maybe "yipping and cavorting" like puppies, or something? I'm not sure.
The current opening three from my dystopian cyberpunk novel:
"New mission directives for you, US-86: Locate and neutralize any potential terrorist threats to the confidential G8 meeting in Chicago. An agency jet will fly you there and you can get your equipment in local headquarters. Because of the recent leaks that got US-36 killed, I'm sending you alone on this one to minimize any risks of contact with the mole, so expect no backup or support on the mission, dismissed."
I feel like it might be a bit too much narration disguised as dialogue? I mean, it sets things up nicely--I definitely get a lot of information. But there's kinda too much information (and not enough jargon) to feel realistic?
I could see the original instructions as something like (in part) "Due to the recent situation with US-36,,," and then the next paragraph being the protagonist thinking "the situation with US-36. Yeah, getting hit with seventeen bullets after being ratted out by a colleague--that's a situation all right," or whatever.
Just my reaction!
Why do some people have a harder time quitting a habit than others? Is it because they are more physically addicted? Or is it really that some people have been better taught to deny themselves, no matter how difficult or painful it may be physically or mentally.
today i do not see sun
There's only so much I cam cram into the first three. The little details are given to the protagonist by the Headquarters supervisor once he gets there. All in all, you think it's good enough?
You don't have to cram everything in the first three sentences. The first three is just to hook the reader...to want them to read more. You have the rest of the novel to give them the details.
Depends on the genre. If it’s some kinda litRPG for a community used to a certain genre, I think it’s fine. It sounds like something written for people interested in plot, with a bland audience insert protagonist so they can go for a ride with him.
If someone sits down to read because they want to go on an adventure, starting with their briefing would be fun. If you are drawing on some kind of Bond Metal Gear Solid tropes the readers would know, even better
On the other hand, if you’re writing for a general audience, starting with dialog is suspect. A lot of people will skim until they are grounded in character and location, so the opening quote isn’t as effective.
The third sentence also needs a question mark. For me, this is a bit too navel-gazing for an opening; it feels like the type of book that is going to try to make me think a certain way, and I don't like didactic books. I'd rather just be introduced to the addict and told why she or he is struggling.
Smattered with residual glitter from the happy-bombs Montfort slumped between mottled casks below the the main shop-floor awaiting the departure of his employees. Dust pumped from the cracks above his head as the last few beats of the nights final celebratory song pounded out. It had all come down to this sorry situation; cowering with his redundant empty barrels whilst the new age ushered in and his employees atrophied his last speck of dignity with farcical celebrations tolling in his businesses demise.
It's good but it feels a little prose heavy. Not sure you need the second sentence. And not sure atrophied is the best verb choice. He's pissed because the employees are celebrating the new year even though his business is collapsing but what's the angle … do they know the business is going under? Is he alone in this? Is he pushing the blame on them - projecting.
Your third sentence merely retells us what your second sentence already communicated: that David is oblivious to other folks in the waiting room.
Also, I'd drop "minor" from your first sentence—you can make that distinction later. And I'd switch "began pacing" to "paced."
The grammar issues actually got in the way of my understanding with this--I had to re-read to be sure what you were trying to say.
I'd add commas after "happy-bombs" and "shop-floor" and "redundant". I'd add an apostrophe before the "s" of "night's" and change "businesses" to "business's". And I'd change the semi-colon in the last sentence to a colon.
I'm also not sure about your use of "ushered in" - I feel like a new age needs to be ushered in by someone else, it can't usher in on its own; "atrophied" seems similarly misplaced; and I'm not sure about "tolling in", either.
There are some nice details and descriptive writing, but I think you need to tidy up for maximum clarity.
If this is an opening I wouldn't read the rest of the book. I grew physically tired reading it. Can't believe it's only 3 sentences. Could just be me, but I like "tight" writing.
Damn, interesting style. Do you write like anyone traditionally published?
Separate names with a comma.