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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Seventh Crystal Coin pitch and opening...

   
Author Topic: Seventh Crystal Coin pitch and opening...
Alley Al
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would like to hear thoughts on how to improve.

PITCH...

In the drought-ridden famine of ancient Egypt, 13-year-old Nandi, dirt-poor, orphaned, and alone, must rely on her wits and cunning in the daily struggle to survive. Stealing food without being caught is her only choice. To fail is to die either of starvation or at the hands of royal executioners for being a thief.
Around her neck she wears a scruffy wooden coin on a tattered leather string, her mother’s necklace and her only possession save the clothes on her back. Worthless by any other standard, to Nandi it is more precious than gold. Years ago she named the necklace Mother’s Love and believes it bestows upon her protection from the horrors of the world.
The royal palace, a favorite target of her foraging, turns near-deadly when she’s discovered in the act. She flees for her life and stumbles into the vortex of a hideous troll, who guides her to the legendary mythical land of Mer Wer. There she meets a Celestial Sorceress with a tale to tell, that Nandi is one of the ET prodigies and a lost Queen. Her legacy as the firstborn of the Pharaoh, the oath of Serenity, a gift of peace and goodwill given to earth to build civilization, was stolen and granted to her half-brother, the tyrant Prince Mali. Left in his hands, the world is doomed.
Nandi vows to reclaim her birthright and soon discovers that even success is fraught with danger. She must face a diabolical extraterrestrial who not only wants to rid the world of Serenity, but needs Nandi’s flesh to do it.
Only then does she realize the true power of Mother’s Love.
NANDI AND THE SEVENTH CRYSTAL COIN is a 138,000 word epic 'sword and sorcery' quest that follows the adventure of an unlikely group of friends: a peasant Queen, her two valiant cohorts and three apprentices.


OPENING...

A VOW― some toil to keep… while others scheme to obliterate. The difference... the deliverer.

On ancient leather sandals the Twa had walked for a hundred miles, the delivery was small yet long overdue all because of an unturned key in a casket. The journey had taken him over the barren, highest dunes of the Sahara Desert, through days hot enough to fry sand vipers and nights so cold he hardly dared to breathe. He was the size of a small dwarf, and his steps were bird-like, which made his journey doubly long—he moved from side to side as much as forward, forever threatening to tangle himself in his ankle-length robe. He would no more have thought of removing it, though, than his sandals or mashada, the headdress he wore to keep the sand from his cat-like ears, his bulging eyes, his quivering nostrils. The robe was his badge of honor as an apprentice of a Grand Lector-Tier, was cut from purple linen, and tied with a Celtic knot in a golden sash.

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JSchuler
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There's a lot of information here, and it seems to be gumming up the works for me.
quote:
On ancient leather sandals the Twa had walked for a hundred miles,
This sentence is awkward for me. I'm expecting that the introduction will be about the sandals; about the generations of Twa that walked this very same path in these very same sandals over the centuries, about how well they're holding up for being ancient (man fears time but time fears my footwear).
quote:
the delivery was small yet long overdue all because of an unturned key in a casket.
Is he/it delivering the sandals? Unturned key in a casket? That's a good hook. Tell me more about that.
quote:
The journey had taken him over the barren, highest dunes of the Sahara Desert, through days hot enough to fry sand vipers and nights so cold he hardly dared to breathe.
What happened to the casket? I feel like you're being coy with me. Why should I care about this journey?
quote:
He was the size of a small dwarf, and his steps were bird-like, which made his journey doubly long—he moved from side to side as much as forward, forever threatening to tangle himself in his ankle-length robe.
That is not what I think of when I read "bird-like." I see more of a crane or, more appropriately for the region described in your pitch, an ibis, while this harkens to a duck or penguin. I'd prefer "waddles" if that's what the Twa is doing.

Now the deal with the robes is the best part of this opening, as it tells me something about this creature's personality. It has pride invested in whatever that robe signifies. Unfortunately, that's not telling me a whole lot. I don't know why being an apprentice to a Grand Lector-Tier is important, for example. I don't know how he views his task, or what his task really is aside from a vague delivery, or even his name. By the end of the 13, I've no reason to turn the page.

Sure, I want to know about that unturned key in a casket. That's interesting. But as I said above, you're being coy with me here. Because of that, I have no faith that I'll get an explanation any time soon.

I think you need some device to focus your writing here. Think of a hardship that the Twa is facing right this very instant and see if you can use that to clarify what's important. Is there any inner conflict going on due to the lateness of this delivery? Why was he chosen for this? This opening feels like you're drifting around looking for something to latch on to. Figure out what that is, stick to it, and then write.

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