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Darth Petra
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It was a dark morning. The sun had not risen yet, and it was bitterly cold. Pemik shivered. He was wearing nothing except tattered pants that barely went below his knees. The icy altar stone chilled him more than the weather did. Small flakes fell on his bare chest, which was heaving with emotion.
“Be brave,” he whispered the words in a tear-choked voice, “Stay strong. Don’t show him you’re afraid,” He was shivering so badly, from chill and from fear, he could barely get the words out. He heard the sound of heavy footsteps approaching the table. Lord Syphax was coming for him. The footsteps came closer. And closer. Pemik’s breath came in gasps now. Be strong. Stay strong. He closed his eyes tightly, so he couldn’t see the elf lord approaching.

Yes! I squashed it into 13 lines. Yay me!


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Bent Tree
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Interesting hook. I would turn the page.
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nitewriter
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"It was a dark morning." The first thing I though of when I read this was "It was a dark and stormy night." It seems like a cliche, even if it isn't.

Get us in closer to the character, don't tell us what is happening to to him and how he feels - let us experience it through his reactions to his situation.

"Small flakes fell on his bare chest, which was heaving with emotion." What kind of emotion? I know it is fear, but just telling us it is emotion does not have much impact. Maybe panic or dread, something like that.

"He closes his eyes tightly so he couldn't see the elf lord approaching." No need to explain why he closed his eyes, we can guess this.

"The footsteps came closer. And closer." Get us in closer. Rather than explaining the footsteps came closer and closer, why not let him hear footsteps getting louder and louder? Involve the senses.


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jcc2k4
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There is definitely a hook here. I'm a poor editor, but I'll try and help.

It was a dark morning. The sun had not risen yet, and it was bitterly cold. Pemik shivered. He was wearing nothing except tattered pants that barely went below his knees "went below his knees" doesn't sound right, and they sound more like shorts. The icy altar stone chilled him more than the weather did. Small flakes fell on his bare chest, which was heaving with emotion. I feel the same way nitewriter does about this point
“Be brave,” he whispered the words in a tear-choked voice, “Stay strong. Don’t show him you’re afraid,” He was shivering so badly, from chill I'm not sure if i like the word "chill" you could be more descriptive for example: the bitter, bone penetrating cold and from fear, he could barely get the words out. is there a reason he's actually speaking aloud? He heard the sound of heavy footsteps approaching the table replace table with alter to keep consistancy . Lord Syphax was coming for him. The footsteps came closer. And closer. like nitewriter said, try to involve the character's POV more Pemik’s breath came in gasps now. Be strong. Stay strong. He closed his eyes tightly, so he couldn’t see the elf lord approaching.


But like I said, I'm not an editor, which is why I'm here. Those edits are just my opinion, take them or leave them. All in all, a good first 13, could be polished nicely, I would read on.

Edit: Fixed comments

[This message has been edited by jcc2k4 (edited March 26, 2008).]


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chimpwithpencil
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Hello Darth Petra,

This 13 gave me a chill on the back of my neck. Brrrr. Good spooky atmosphere. I imagined something like Stone Henge and the wind whipping across the plains.

If I might suggest a few changes, they concern information and word choice. For instance, if it's dark then the sun hasn't come up yet. Maybe tell the reader that dawn is near but that it's still dark, because all mornings are dark until the sun comes up.

Word choice wise I think it could be pared down. Instead of "He was wearing nothing except tattered pants...", you might consider "He wore tattered pants." Instead of "He was shivering so badly...", consider "He shivered so badly..." And later, maybe "He squeezed his eyes shut" instead of "He closed his eyes tightly."

It may help to look for anything that has a "was" or an "---ly" involved and refine it.

I hope this encourages because you have a neat beginning and I think it works well to hook the reader.


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Tiergan
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I liked it. It definitely has a hook. It seemed at first to be a bit disjointed though. Weather, Pemik, Weather, Pemik.

I would be tempted to lose the first line altogether and then start with the third.

Something like this maybe?

quote:
Pemik shivered. He was wearing nothing save tattered pants that barely went below his knees. The sun had not risen yet, and it was bitterly cold. Though the icy altar stone chilled him far more than the weather did.

Also I might combine two sentences:

quote:
“Be brave,” he whispered the words in a tear-choked voice, barely managing to get the words out. “Stay strong. Don’t show him you’re afraid.”

Other than that: emotion? Footsteps? Show versus tell it. I know its hard to do it all in 13 lines though.

You have a real good start, and I was hooked.


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alliedfive
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My first thought when I read the first paragraph was that the descriptions sounded like a list, maybe its because your sentences are structured so similarly:

Try something like this to break up the sentence flow:

The sun had not yet risen to pierce the black sky and warm the air. Pemik shivered. He wore nothing except tattered knee-length pants, leaving his skin exposed to the icy altar stone... etc.

Just simply mixing long sentences with short, structure variation, etc. It might help to read it aloud to yourself. My two cents.


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