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Author Topic: Lumeton - First 13 Chapter 1
Member # 7890

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Being nothing but curious, Sungraine repeatedly asked her mother and father who the Bandits of Lumeton were. But time after time, no one dared to tell Sungraine about these strangely exotic men who would ride into the night with golden vests and garnished silver silk hidden underneath their black cloaks which disguised the men from neck down. From her parents to her teachers, from town officials to the gangs on the streets, they all shivered at the phrase “The Bandits of Lumeton.” Even her father –a person of working within the Government, refused to answer Sungraine’s question. But as a government official, her father had to have some idea who these men were. But rather than giving her an answer – her father would often give a distasteful response.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited March 30, 2010).]

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Member # 8988

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Hello, I'll take a crack at critiquing. Please remember it is only my opinion and take it for what it is worth.

1. I felt like you took a very long time to get to the action. Perhaps you need some of the information about Sungraine's questioning of her parents, but I would save it for later. Get to the action fast before I get bored.

I would start here:
"As the bandits dressed in silver silk and dark cloaks chased Sungraine across the eastern fields, she could not help but regret her father's neglect. Why didn't he tell his own daughter about these violent men? These bandits, after all, were part of her world." (Re-write is only a suggestion to help you get thinking.)

2. There is a lot of repetition of information. If you have to say it, say it once, but try to show it if you can. Most of this information can be filled in later or even left out. Ask yourself, what does the reader REALLY need to know? This is the hardest part of writing. I have files of "history" and "backstory" because it is important to me, but I'm learning most of it is not needed for the story I'm telling. The reader doesn't care what happened when the MC was 6 if it doesn't have anything to do with the current conflict. Which brings me to...

3. I have no idea how old Sungraine is. Her father calls her a child, but that doesn't pin it down for me. She could be 7 and in danger of being sold as a slave, or 17 and in danger of losing her virtue. Different story lines and it is best to set the scene right away.

Mmm, that's it mostly. Smile, I think there is potential here, it just needs tightening. Start with the action, make us feel concerned for Sungraine by showing us the danger she is in. Then we will keep reading.

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Member # 8735

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Are you using limited third person or omniscient third person POV. Limited third is certainly more popular but if you are going for limited then there is a serious emotional disconnect between Sungraine and the events that are happening. I would suggest that if you are writing in limited third person the entire thirteen lines don’t work because we are so far away from the MC. On the other hand. the distance from the MC is less of a problem if you are writing in third person omniscience although keep in mind american fiction is currently dominated by limited third person and that is what most readers have come to expect.

strangely exotic is redundant. Exotic is just fine all by itself.

garnished silver silk is an odd phrase and is disruptive. You have already said that you can’t see what they are wearing which makes me wonder how one knows what is under their cloaks unless you are omniscient. You have also said they wear golden vests which seems like it would be the dominant aspect of their clothing. So the silver silk is what? Pants seem unlikely that leave a shirt which would be mostly covered by their vests leaving only sleeves exposed. If they are wearing silver silk shirts why not just say that. What do you mean the silk is garnished, does it have a fur collar or is it covered in rhinestones?

I have no idea how old Sungraine is suppose to be at this point. She is described by her father as a child, which she takes offense to, but as far as I know she could be anywhere from four to sixteen. That is a huge range, if you could narrow it down it would be helpful.

Apparently these well dressed violent savages have been chasing Sungraine for an hour. An hour is a very long time. Is she running or riding. It seems unlikely that a young girl would be able to outrun a hoard of bandits for an hour and even less likely that they would chase her for that long if they could not catch her within the first few minutes.

You have the bandits waving their swords and pointing their staffs. First stave is the plural of staff. The whole image struck me as funny a hoard of bandits running behind a little girl waving their weapons at her menacingly for an hour.

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Member # 7760

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I gotta say I love the voice on this one. I don't mind that you took time to establish the feel before getting to the action. It's only a few sentences. I think it works. I would definitely read on.

Underneath black cloaks, as opposed to underneath their black cloaks. Just flows better.

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited March 30, 2010).]

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Member # 7890

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There are alot being commented on at the moment, and I don't have time to talk about every single one, but there is one point that I find troublesome is the age. I was deliberately trying to make the age ambigious, but this is just getting confusing for everyone, so let me answer this mystery and then let you have a stab at it.

Sungraine's REAL age is somewhere in 15-16. HOWEVER, because of the way the character is set up, her maturity level is very low, still 10ish-9ish, as Both of her parents have abandoned her.
Furthermore, what is unknown (and is quickly revealed in the next paragrah) is that she wasn't being chased alone for a long period of time, and had only lost her fellow companions a short time ago, which is when she realizes this is not a time to be immature, thus for the first time, she is supposed to wonder more about the world (thus is wondering why the bandits are chasing her).
I am working very hard on trying to make her both adultish and childish, because um... *something* will happen to make her lose her childishness during the course of the novel, which is the whole plot.... Charity gets close to what I imagined by saying "17 and in danger of losing her virtue" the fact you are a little confused about the age at first is good for the opening, I think, it depends really

Thanks for the feedback everyone :P

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