This is topic First 13, working title "Sworn" in forum Fragments and Feedback for Books at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by mythique890 (Member # 8586) on :
Hi! I've posted here before but it's been a very long time. Here are the first 13 lines of my story. The working title is "Sworn," but I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with that. I'm finding it hard to classify. It's a fanstasy, I know that (dragons, yay!) but it's not epic fantasy. The main characters are in their early-mid 20's, so I feel like it's a little older than YA, but not all the way adult. Also, it takes place in modern times, but not in a city. Is that still urban?

Kai leaned over the edge of the precipice, the toes of her cross-trainers hanging above empty space. A wrong move would plunge her over the edge, down the sheer cliff face to the rock-strewn valley floor five hundred feet below.
A delicious shiver of adrenaline thrilled from her toes to the top of her skull. She threw her arms out, breathed the pine-spiked autumn air, and stepped back. Juli would kill her if she saw this again.
She pulled the stopper on her water bottle and chugged. She loved hiking, getting lost in the beauty of a place, all thought suspended as she placed foot over foot until she could almost brush the sky.
Just for the thrill, she stepped to the brink and looked down

The story goes on to include a mysterious unconscious girl at the bottom of a cliff (who is very cranky at being rescued), dragons, magic, peril, love, tie-ins from real mythology, etc.

The manuscript is complete but not finished, if that makes sense, and is 94,000 words. I'm hoping to have the final draft ready and begin the submission process in early September. The plan is that this is the first book in a trilogy or tetralogy.

I look forward to your thoughts!

Posted by SBPelo2011 (Member # 9608) on :
It sounds like a young adult novel as the characters are still in that range - even if they are on the edge of it. I was told once that most children/young adults like reading about characters just a bit older than they are. I could be wrong.

Definitely like your descriptive words. I can see the scene in my mind very clearly, though Kai is still physically blurred for me. As for her personality, you do a good job of showing her daredevil/adventurer's spirit.

Two things I noted: I noticed there is a focus on feet/toes. Not sure if that is intentional, but it drew my attention anyway. The other thing is that the last sentence might flow more with the beginning if you add "again" to the end of it. Unless I read it incorrectly, she was at the brink once before?

I would definitely pick this book up and read more! Mythology, dragons - definitely a favorite of mine!


Posted by mythique890 (Member # 8586) on :
Thanks for the response! You're right, this probably will be classified as YA, just on the older end of the spectrum. Which is great, because that's what I was going for.

I guess the focus is on her feet/toes because that's what she is actually looking at; though I never thought about it, so it's something to consider.

Ha ha, there actually is an "again" at the end of that sentence, it just got cut off by the space restriction.

Yeah, I wanted to focus on that feeling of being up high, and the idea of her being a little reckless and a thrill junkie rather than description right at first, but there are a few things spattered throughout the next few paragraphs, so hopefully it's not fuzzy for too long.

Once again, thanks for the feedback!

Edited for typos.

[This message has been edited by mythique890 (edited August 17, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by mythique890 (edited August 17, 2011).]

Posted by Crane (Member # 9586) on :
Pulls me right in. I like the sense of flying that you give this. Kai is 'suspended,' and 'hanging.' The place that you've chosen to open the story is really perfect. We get the feeling that we are all about to fall. That the story is just about to take us into something very fast paced and thrilling. We're about to fall into this plot. In just 13 lines you've managed to key us up. Definitely want to read more.
Posted by mythique890 (Member # 8586) on :
Thank you, Crane! I'm really glad you like it!
Posted by MarinaLee (Member # 9623) on :
Love it! When you say she leaned over the cliff, do you mean she crouched? When someone says "leaning" I tend to think of a straight body leaning, which would be impossible in this situation, which made me think she could fly, but maybe that's just me. And that part about Julia being angry reads slightly oddly. Also, is Julia her mother, her neurotic friend? Finally, does she know that she lives in a land of magic? I can't wait to read the book!


Posted by mythique890 (Member # 8586) on :
The way I picture it, she's standing, slightly bent over, her toes literally hanging over the edge. It's a very stupid, dangerous thing to do, but she does it because it gives her a thrill. Being able to fly would be beyond her wildest, most incredible dreams, but no, she can't fly, she's just an adrenaline junkie with an 'it can't happen to me' attitude.

Yes, Juli is her neurotic and bossy best friend/roommate. She and their third roommate, Melanie (not really important to the story), enter the scene about a paragraph later.

At this point, Kai (pronounced Kye, not Kay, I've had some questions about that) does not know that she lives in a magical world. The story is set in modern times, in "this" world, and Kai is just a college student on a hike with her roommates.

For a few pages, at least. *evil laugh*

Thanks for the response! I appreciate the time and the feedback!

Edited to add: if anyone is interested in a physical description of Kai, she's 5'2 and slight with pale skin, a few freckles, and thick, wavy black hair about to her shoulder blades (when it's down, which it never is, because she doesn't want to mess with it). Her eyes are a weird ethereal sea-green color I stole from my real-life best friend, who has awesome eyes.

[This message has been edited by mythique890 (edited August 21, 2011).]

Posted by Twiggy (Member # 9209) on :
There's some good imagery in this. A could of times in the first few lines you tell us about things that 'would' happen. If you try to show us what would happen, like you do toward the end, I think the piece will come even more alive.

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