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Author Topic: The Son
tngcas
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Waiting in the lobby of the ancient house Vilara came to a decision. She was afraid. They were all so terrified of him. They cringed at the sight of him and they never spoke of him, not even in whispers. That was, she decided, what terrified her the most. They all talked of other men and some of the things those men did were terrible. What was this man that cowed the women so they would not even speak his name?
Vilara had kept her distance from the others, confident in the knowledge that she had power. For the first time in her young life that power failed her, the animals and even the talkative spiders would tell her nothing. Her queries were met with a black wall of indiference. He had sent for her and one did not refuse the summons of The Lord Altier's son.

[This message has been edited by tngcas (edited November 30, 2008).]


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Bent Tree
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quote:
Waiting the lobby of the ancient house((comma)) Vilara came to a decision. She was afraid. They were all so terrified of him. They cringed at the sight of him and they never spoke of him, not even in whispers. That was, she decided, what terrified her the most. They all talked of other men and some of the things those men did were terrible. What was this man that cowed the women so they would not even speak his name?
Vilara had kept her distance from the others, confident in the knowledge that she had power. For the first time in her young life that power failed her, ((thes two ideas seem conflicting. Perhaps they should be joined with a"although" perhaps?))the animals and even the talkative spiders would tell her nothing. Her queries were met with a black wall of indiference (indifference). He had sent for her and one did not refuse the summons of The Lord Altier's son.((did not refuse summons from the son of Lord Altier(Perhaps just a Personal preference)

This seemed pretty well written. I was not particularly lured in, but I feel this could be just a matter of my preference of genre styling. All the components of a succesful first thirteen seemed to be in place.

[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited November 30, 2008).]


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CosmicSea
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Hey
This is an intriguing read. Is it a short or a novel?
I don't have a problem with the sentences about her power remaining as two sentences.
My question about Lord Atlier's son is: does the son engender fear only because he is the son of Lord Atlier? If so, then you should say, 'son of Lord Atlier' but if you want to put the emphasis on the son as a person you should say 'Lord Atlier's son. It might just be me though.
I also found it a bit distracting having Vilara referring to the son as 'him' so much at the beginning of your lead-in. Maybe you could introduce him more directly at the beginning. A glimpse of his approach or something.

Overall, it is a strong and interesting 13 lines. If it is a short-story feel free to e-mail me the rest. If it's a novel send me the first chapter.


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tngcas
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Thank you for your comments I really appreciate them. I will work on revising the use of him so much in the beggining. I am not sure how to do it because she doesn't know his name, I will see if I can work in an appearance, that seems like a good option.

The summons thing is really not about him being Lord Altier's son so much as the idea that he is a male member of the ruling class and in that society cannot be ignored. I will work on it a bit to see if I can get that across better.

Thanks!

Cosmic Sea-I am not finished with the story yet but I will send it to you when I get done with it if you're still interested.

[This message has been edited by tngcas (edited December 01, 2008).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Hi.

Here's My take:

quote:

Waiting in the lobby of the ancient house[,] Vilara came to a decision. She was afraid.[Was this her decision? Did she choose to be afraid?] They [They who?] were all so terrified of him [Him who?]. They cringed at the sight of him and they never spoke of him, not even in whispers.[This is all confusing? Where is Vilara? What does this have to do with her? And where is this happening?] That was, she decided, what terrified her the most. [What was?] They [I'm still wondering who, only now I'm wondering why I haven't been told?] all talked of other men[,] and some of the things those men did were terrible. What[Who?] was this man that cowed the women[What women?] so they would not even speak his name?
Vilara had kept her distance from the others[Which others? Other what?], confident in the knowledge that she had power[Huh? What power? Why didn't I know this? Whose PoV?]. For the first time in her young life that power failed her[How? I saw no use--or attempted use--of power.], the animals and even the talkative spiders[Huh? What talkative spiders?] would tell her nothing. Her queries[What queries? To whom? About what?] were met with a [black wall of indiference<--I can't picture this.]. He[He who?] had sent for her[,] and one did not refuse the summons of The Lord Altier's son.

Okay, this was confusing and antithetical to building any suspense or curiosity.

1) Vilara knows she is summoned by Lord Atier's Son (what's his name?), so, why don't we? This would be a beginning point for us to experience her fear through her.

2) Why does she suspect the women all fear and cower to him?

3) We should see her using her powers, on who/what and feel her shock at failing.

In your thirteen lines, you do not make a discernable promise (good promise anyway). What you do accomplish is to make the reader--at least this reader--believe that you will avoid getting to the point as much as you can. In a short story, I should know:

  • Where we are. (Milieu) This isn't just some ancient house, it's someone in particular's abode. Telling me will allow me to start formulating the picture of the time/era. Are we in a keep? On an alien planet, where the creatures have evolved differently?
  • When we are. (Milieu) What is the time or era? Modern? Futuristic? Ancient Past? Alternate version of either? A bit of setting (candles, gas or electric lights? Carpet, hardwood or skin covered floors?) goes a long way toward immersion.
  • Who we are following. (Character) I should know if she's a sorceress's apprentice or milkmaid, whether "powers" are common or no and what she has to loose (or fears to), which would establish some conflict. And help to answer the:
  • Why should I read this story? Is it a tale of courage? Overcoming fears? Revenge? Lovers meeting, or unrequited love? Recalcitrance and rebellion?

    I hope this helps.


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  • tngcas
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    Okay here is a completely different take on the same beginning, does it make more sense?

    Vilara was irritated, she was busy and this man had summoned her only to make her wait. The other women in the household would not talk about him but she saw how they cringed at the sight of Lord Altier's Son. How they never ever talked about him, not even to say his name. Well, she wouldn't fear this man, she knew how to tiptoe the dance, give obesence without bowing. She was confident in her knowledge of how the world was and how it would be. She could hear the living things that existed around her and they made it clear that nothing would change in her lifetime. So what if the world was completely silent when it came to this one man, she wasn't afraid of him.

    Footsteps jolted her out of her thoughts, straightening her spine she turned towards the door.


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    InarticulateBabbler
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    quote:

    Vilara was irritated, she was busy and [this man<--Name? "This Man" doesn't seem important enough.] had summoned her only to make her wait. The other women in the household would not talk about him[,] but she saw how they cringed at the sight of Lord Altier's Son[, h]ow they never [ever<--[Cut.] talked about him, [not even to say his<--[IMHO - replace this with: said his] name. Well, she wouldn't fear this man, she knew [how to tiptoe<--[IMHO - cut this, it's less confuing.] the dance, give obei]sence without bowing. [She was confident in her knowledge of how the world was and how it would be.<--This doesn't really say anything. And it's be nice to replace a "she", as in-->She with: Vilara] could hear [the<--Maybe: all] living things [that existed<--and cut this.] around her[,] and they made it clear that nothing would change in her lifetime. [Wow. thos "things" are clairvoyant, too?] So what if the world was completely silent when it came to [this one man<--Name?, she wasn't afraid of him.

    Footsteps jolted her [out of her thoughts<--alert might feel less redundant with the "her"s.], straightening her spine she turned towards the door.


    One thing I very much like better is I can relate to Vilara now--and I like her attitude.

    It is clearer what's going on, but could use some more distilling. I suggest you finish the story and then worry about the beginning. If you spend too much time trying to please people, you'll lose sight of the story. Take your time getting back to this.


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    Yufae
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    I like the mention of "talkative spiders" in the first one. You should definitely include it, whichever beginning you choose. It doesn't bother me that you use "him" a few times before you get to his name.

    Maybe instead of "Footsteps jolted her out of her thoughts, straightening her spine she turned towards the door," you could have her continue in that same annoyed attitude. The footsteps are yet another interruption to whatever is keeping her so busy.


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    MrsBrown
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    Much improved. IB said it best.

    My take: I find it unlikely that she wouldn't know his name, so yeah, use it. If all she knows him by is a title, use it like a name. Also, how would she see the other women cringe at the sight of him if he hasn't arrived yet?

    [This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited December 03, 2008).]


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