This is the beginning of a little something that I have been working on for quite some time. The character is dreaming of his first meeting with the Keeper. Just imagine when he finally gets to meet her and recognizes her as the woman in his dreams!
My style tends to lean toward romanticism, and my passion is the area of fantasy/paranormal, basically scenarios in which I am able to simply..allow creativity to flow. Please let me know what you think. Any and all input is highly anticipated and welcome!
Being new, I'm hoping this is the required thirteen lines, I did count them in WP and it was thirteen but now it does not seem that way in this message box.
She walked in beauty, as it seemed so much a part of her. Surreal, graceful in her approach, every movement enhanced by the gentle sway of her hips and the refined bearing of her very nature. He could almost feel the silken texture of her skin beneath his burning touch, and hear her soft moans of surrender as he commanded her innocence to give way to something..far more enticing. As he reached for her, the silken slip of her pale hair through his fingers promised much in the way of indulgence, as did the intriguing shade of her unusual eyes. He could lose himself within her eyes...that mystical pale green gaze, akin to the smooth, crystalline waters of the Majai Niral. The color of her eyes, it was her legacy, that of a Keeper. A deeper look would reveal the...
[This message has been edited by DevonsLament (edited November 20, 2005).]
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 21, 2005).]
13 lines in 12-point font, w 1 inch margins.
Lovely style, and I hope you don't lose it, but that you do tone it down a bit, because it's tough to read. What I mean is that the phrasing is odd and therefore takes a little more work to read. "She walked in beauty": I have to deduce that this means she was beautiful when she walks; it might have meant that she's surrounded by beauty. "...as it seemed so much a part of her." What's "it"? Beauty? Then I have to imagine what it means for it to be a part of her ... oh, ok, he's saying she's beautiful.
Another problem is that despite this rich description, I don't know what's happening. I thought he was watching her approach, but then they seem to be Doing It. Where are they? If they're Doing It, are they married; sneaking an encounter; doing the temple prostitute thing...I just can't tell.
I also suggest you name your characters immediately (if MC knows their names). Why not?
Measured with 1" margins, 12 point Courier, your thirteenth line is this: difference alone, the Gods had deemed her his. Reaching with her...
Go ahead and edit your text to remove the next couple of lines and you'll be within the guidelines.
Lyrical prose is difficult to do, because to grab the reader and pull them into the story, the style needs to remain unnoticed, for the most part. Too many adverbs & adjectives tend to clutter, rather than clarify, prose.
I agree with Will; give the Main Character a name. You need to start building rapport with your reader right out of the gates, and the quicker we can identify with him, the faster you'll build that rapport. Giving him a name helps.
I don't know where you are going with this, and fantasy isn't really my thing, but here's my take on this. You are starting this story at the wrong place. Instead of doing this in a dream, I would move it to a daydream so I could get very deep intot he character's head. A psychological hook is a difficult challenge, but your writing is colorful and reads well, so if anyone around here can pull it off, you probably can.
By starting with a dream, I can see the girl clearly, but my reader's eye says, "so what?" You have to give me something to grab so you can pull me along, not sit me in front of some pretty pictures. I might enjoy the descriptions, but I'll get bored quickly. Give me a reason to care.
Wonderful! You have all given me some very sound advice and I thank you all. I'm going to work on this, and then submit the revised text here. Truthfully, I had looked at what I had written and wondered some of the same things, but I also have a tendency to overdo my self-criticism which always leads me to constant changes before I even complete a single chapter, in the end hindering my progress as a writer.
As I am off to bed, everyone have a wonderful night and dream sweetly.
A very pretty paragraph. However, I have to point out a huge mistake you've made:
Starting in a dream without telling the reader they're reading a dream is a BIG no-no, because a paragraph or two later you're going to have to say, "He woke up - it was all a dream," and the readers feel mega duped.
You cheated. You told us beforehand. Someone picking up your book in a store won't have that. Cheater!
Just kidding. Let me balance my critique by saying that I find your concept very interesting. After you've made revisions, if you want a reader, let me know.
Forgive me for not replying in a timely manner, I've been a bit busy preparing for a psych exam and a couple end of the semester papers. I intend to rework the beginning bearing in mind the advice that I've received.
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
He is referring to a woman he first met wearing a black dress (in mourning for her husband) with 'spangles' on it.
It also refers to her hair and face. Was it your springboard for this piece?
I liked the portion about her eyes being a legacy of her lineage.
[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited November 27, 2005).]
Hoptoad, thank you for your compliment about my piece. Yes I am aware of that poem but the funny thing was when I wrote that portion myself, Byron never once came to mind. It was just one of those things and only after I read it a time or two did I realize it.
Thank you as well, Monolith for your critique. You are right, I do tend to lean toward more wordy phrases and I will try my best to tone it down to make the reading easier. Perhaps I should try my hand at poetry?
Anyhoo...forgive me for the lengthy wait in responding, it's the end of the semester and with only two weeks left I'm horrendously busy cramming for finals and preparing final papers and projects.
Ummm, how to say this? It's a little thick on the melodrama (but the half-quote lifted off Lord Byron for the opener is nice - one of the other folks *wanted* a story that opened with poetry ;-))
I happen to also lean towards the romantic and paranormal and even have dipped into melodrama--but this is too much. At least for the first 13 lines.
For good romance to be steamy without actual sex (or worse, *with* it), you have to buy me into the players first. Especially if you aren't going to come right out and say it's a romance (if that's just a subtext, another "aspect" of the characters' interactions, "used" to let them get inside each other's heads, as it were).
What you do that makes me say it's over the top is use too many cliches--or at least, cliche adjectives: silken texture of her skin, his burning touch (and he hasn't actually touched her (yet), I'd point out so how exactly did that work? ;-)), silken slip of her pale hair through his fingers...hmmm, that's a repeat of the silken-ness and again, he hasn't touched her so it can LOOK like silky hair but...
Generally, I think your mistake was in trying to impose your ideas of THEIR lust on them. Let your characters have their own reactions to what may or may not be a physical attraction.
If we're to be inside his head in the opening, then he should be observing himself observing her for the greatest impact--maybe even passing judgment (good or bad) on himself for his reaction to observing her approach.
Think about the first time you came within arm's reach of--well I won't say your first crush--that could have been yesterday or 20 years ago and might be crystal clear or a lost memory--the last person you found yourself physically attracted to. Even better would be to think of your response to the last person you lusted after but KNEW you could NOT have. One does not always have to act on every single feeling one has and the process (usually in one or two milliseconds) the people go through to repress thoughts or discard them as unactionable is what you ought to be using as source material here. At least for building the POV character if your goal is to have his #1 priority in life be "her."
Definitely keep the Byron paraphrase, though, it's a real tone-setter.