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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First Draft - The Thrill of Power

   
Author Topic: First Draft - The Thrill of Power
Leigh
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This is a fantasy novel I just had to start. I feel that it has the potential to reach 80000 words or more as I have many characters and sub-plots to add to it.

Heres to the first 13:

The crowd that was gathering around the kings’ podium slowly grew nervous with anticipation. Standing nearest to the podium was Hans, he was no older than eighteen winters, as he had prepared himself his entire life to follow in his fathers’ footsteps to become a Dragoon, a ruthless and cunning warrior who wield a mighty lance.
Stepping into view was Ptolomens, King of Enthenia. “You have all come here for the same goal to see if you’re worthy of becoming a Dragoon.” He said, his pride dripping through in his tone of voice. “May the trials end well.”
“I will win the trials.” Hans said, trying to thrive off his own confidence. It wasn’t working.


-------------------

If anybody wants to read everything I have written so far I have only done 1200 words, so it isnt too much.

Please don't hold back on anything, PLEASE!!

[This message has been edited by Leigh (edited December 02, 2005).]


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NMgal
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I think you should start off with Hans listening to the King, rather than the King giving his speech, as it seems like the story is from Hans' POV. Also, I don't feel drawn in by these first lines. Why does Hans want to follow in his father's footsteps? What is so prestigious about this group (are they highly trained, deadly in battle, etc)? I know you can't fit all that into the first few lines, but it's something to keep in mind as you show the readers what makes this group special.
I'm also confused by the line
quote:
"I will do it.” Hans said to himself, trying to thrive off his own confidence. It wasn’t working.


It seems like you want to say he was trying to appear confident, but didn't actually feel confident.

Hope this helped.


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Calligrapher
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Quote:
__________________________________________
"The crowd gathered around the kings’ podium murmured to themselves"
__________________________________________

I stumbled over this sentence and reread it several times. It seems that if either "gathered" or "murmured" (one or the other) were in the gerund form "gathering" or "murmuring", the sentence would flow.

I am not particularly interested in Knights, but someone who is would probably continue reading your story.


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Leigh
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quote:
I stumbled over this sentence and reread it several times. It seems that if either "gathered" or "murmured" (one or the other) were in the gerund form "gathering" or "murmuring", the sentence would flow.


Argh, I missed that one. But it's only a first draft so I can go and fix it.


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deckof50
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quote:

“Many of you have come here to try and become a Dragon Knight, something as rare as this is not an opportunity that should be wasted.”

I think your trying to give a classic "many are called, but the chosen are few" speach here and it's missing. words like "try", "something", and "would" are spoken by subjects, not KINGS :)
and did some of them come there to not be a dragon night? (many?). I know there are crowd memebers there but he isn't addressing them. Throw it down like a king talking about those seeking one of the most hororable positions in his kingdom! :)

[This message has been edited by deckof50 (edited November 30, 2005).]


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lehollis
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Normally, I am a little more critical of stories that open with dialogue. In this case it works for me, but it might work better to have Hans perspective established first. The tone of the dialogue seems to convey something of a scene anyway.

I would also ponder if the title of Dragon Knight might be a little over used or cliche. Certainly, it sounds impressive and strong. I wouldn't be surprised to learn the ride dragons, too. I just can't shake the feeling that it might have been done a few too many times-- though I can't name any specifics right now, so it might just be me.

Other than that, I thought it worked just fine.


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Leigh
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I've edited the first post with the changed one. I hope it works a lot better for people.
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Omakase
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The redraft has some serious grammar problems.

Possessives should be 's not s' and whenever someone speaks the sentence should be "blah blah blah," he said. He said should not be the start of the next sentence.

The second sentence is realy two or three sentences crammed into one. This needs to be split up.

The scene is all right, but the wording is awkward, particularly (aside from grammar) the choice of "pride dripping through his tone of voice" -- dripping usually has a negative connotation in this usage as in dripping with malice or spite, etc.
The same with "trying to thrive off his own confidence" - it doesn't fit right, maybe boistering himself or something. Actually the last two sentences are somewhat contradictory. You imply that he has confidence in the one sentence, then yank the rug out in the next.


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wbriggs
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I tried rewriting it to see what it was that wasn't working for me. I think it's what someone else said -- I don't know why I should care about Hans following his father's footsteps -- plus that we start with a crowd listening to a speech, which is not particularly interesting to me. There may be a better place to start -- keeping Hans's nervousness, but showing something more gripping.
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Leigh
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So I just made it worse?

I might be better off writing it straight into the actual trials/tests and then bring what I wrote up there as a memory thing. Maybe that would be better...


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rustafarianblackpolarbear
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Yes, I find I'm both better and more interested in critiquing story starts around 1000 words or more. If you can send that to me, please do to cheiros_do_ender@hotmail.com.
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TruHero
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Not that it is a huge problem, but a Dragoon was a soldier in the revolutionary war era. That could be good or bad if this isn't an earth alternate history story. I would try something completely different. If you need something "dragon" related, try Drak, Drake, Wyrm or any of the other dragon decriptors. I don't think you need to tell us that they are ruthless and cunning warriors that carry lances, at least not right now. You could show us later but try not to "tell" us.
Oh, and Ptolomens and Enthenia put me in the mind of a Roman or Greek setting. Were you trying for that?

I don't like the use of "Standing" and "Stepping" in those two sentances. Your sentance begins with "standing" then in mid-sentance you say "as he had prepared" it doesn't put me in Hans' POV and seems to be in the wrong tense. I am not the king of grammar, so you decide. And that second sentance is too long. I would take the first part of the second sentance and merge that with the first. Then start the second with "preparing himself..." your choice, your story.

I would suggest you re-write this and try to get inside Hans' head a bit deeper. I would also suggest that you begin a bit earlier and fill us in on what this gathering is all about. This seems like it should be at least the third or fourth paragraph in your story, not the beginning.

My opinions only, you are the constructor of this story.

[This message has been edited by TruHero (edited December 03, 2005).]


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Leigh
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Here's another two first 13:

#1: Final round. Anticipation building towards the final two entrants as they prepared themselves for the final battle to see who gains the honour of being accepted in the Dragon Knights, an elite band of warriors loyal to Ptolomens, King of Enthenia.
Hans stood at the ready, his body wrecked with pain. He stood there, holding the wooden pole in his hand to imitate a Dragon Knights main weapon of choice, a lance.
Hans’s opponent was large, burly with tiny blue eyes and long, greasy black hair. Standing at the read, these two have met before, each swearing victory when they met.
Hans was far younger than his opponent, but lacked the experience of fighting like his opponent, Lucas.

#2: Their weapons clashing, forcing the other to back away, Hans and Lucas readied themselves for the next opportunity to attack. Hans was far smaller than Lucas, whose thick arms and long greasy black hair intimidated the younger Hans.
Lucas on the other hand, felt no fear, but only respect for the young Hans. He was appreciative of the way he was controlling his weapon, a long wooden pole designed to look like a Dragon Knights weapon of choice, a lance.
Hans was feeling the confidence swell inside of him, knowing he had a chance to win. “Victory, and the ultimate prize are mine.” He said, realising his dreams for the opportunity in front of him.
--------

I'm adament with this story as I just have this feeling that it could be one of the best, if not the best, I have written.

[This message has been edited by Leigh (edited December 04, 2005).]


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Monolith
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I like both of the new entries. With that said, I do have a few nitpicks.

On #1: I don't think you need to use 'Final round'. It would work without it. You also have a typo (read, instead of ready). Anticipation was building towards what? I'd say just use 'a fever pitch'. That would clean that up a bit.


On #2: I like getting into the action. There isn't too much that jumps out at me, but I think 'realising' is misspelled. Realizing, but that might be a difference between American English and British English. (Not too sure).

But I like them both, big improvements.
Keep up the good job.

And of course, it's only my opinion.


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Leigh
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Thanks Monolith

#1: A typo is usally something I still get, I'm not that good of a typer plus my handwriting is really messed up. But thanks for pointing it out

#2: I'm Australian so we use the British English so realising is spelt with a S rather than a Z.

So I did better! Ha! If this was 4 months ago I would most likely given up on writing! Thanks again Monolith!


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Matt
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Having read all the first 13's I have to say #2 on your last attempt was by far the best. The flow much better than the others and I really was drawn in by it. I also felt that I had a better sense of what was going on. The early attempts with the first 13 seemed like I was just having a bunch of information crammed down my throat without the chance to process it and really explore every detail.

But this is not the case in the #2. I was really hooked by the action and thought the imagery was good. My only complaint (and this is may be explained later in the story) with this first 13 was the part that said Hans was intimidated by the long greasy hair. I can understand that your trying to squeeze in some descriptive information, but why would someone be intimidated by hair? I find this to be especially odd because before that you also tell the reader that the arms on this man are intimidating, something which genuinely would be. I guess that part just bothered me a little. But really I liked this first 13.

Could you e-mail the rest of what you have so far? I'd like to read it and see how things are going so far. My address is metal_matt30@hotmail.com

Cheers

-Matt


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yanos
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This is much improves. Just a couple of words of caution. Avoid stereotypes, i.e. greasy hair = evil. And try to establish a solid point of view. On both efforts you seem to waiver between omniscient and limited. Who is your main character? Get solidly in their head and describe things they would see and feel instead of oscillating between the two characters. And remember all these things can be corrected once the story is written. Write first and edit later


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Leigh
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Yeah, I can understand the POV thing now. I honestly thought that by giving Hans the first piece of dialogue people would think he was the MC.

The stereostypes with the greasy hair isn't a stereotype at all. Lucas isn't going to be evil, that's not the plan anyway. Besides I don't know that people with greasy hair usually turned out to be evil, I thought it was the crazy hair, the red eyes and evil laugh


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sry
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Leigh, don't know if you're still looking for inputs - I see 3 versions of the first 13. The original (or edited original) I don't like at all and since you appear to have abandoned it, I'll just GOOD. Thanks :)

#1 of your second batch has the same run-on sentence problem your original had. I just can't engage when I have to hold that much in my head before a period. You may proceed to throw stones at my glass house anytime you like, btw. I fall prey to runons all the time. It's hard. Kill the "Final round." definitely and then break the next sentence down a bit. For instance:

quote:

Anticipation mounted as the final two entrants prepared themselves. The final battle would determine which would gain the honour of being accepted in the Dragon Knights, an elite band of warriors loyal to Ptolomens, King of Enthenia.

Then the next sentence has a typo - Hans' body is not "wrecked" with pain, but "wracked" with pain, right? Give him some courage by having him stand there DESPITE his body being wracked with pain and I'll care more that he has pain at all.

I don't mind the greasy black hair bit in ver #1 though I see the point others have made and saw your note, not "getting" it. The rationale is this: greasy = dirty or unclean and heroes are "clean" whereas villians or not so perfect heroes may allow themselves to become dirty or unclean enough that their hair is greasy. It's a visual cue for a totally irrational opinion. But you are writing to humans in the real world where we see hair that has an "unnaturally" or "unclean" texture as being dirty and therefore "bad."

Hans is "standing at the ready" not "at the read" (someone else caught that one, I think) In contrast to everyone else, I like ver #1 better BUT I am unclear if I am supposed to think Hans is the MC or not. He appears to be but I do get the sense I'm not sure he should.

In ver #2 the action is good but I have a severe disorientation b/c I feel as though you are jumping back and forth on the POV char. Is it just me? Doesn't anyone else see it? Kind of like tossing the pole from hand to hand, Hans and Lucas take turns preparing to strike. Definitely left me "unattached" to either one of them.

Would I read on? Maybe. I don't like fantasy, generally, because it's usually too heavy-handed or cutsie or just trying too hard. Yours clearly is medieval-ish but unless you tell me otherwise, the SF writer/reader in me is waiting for there to be a twist and for this NOT to be medieval Earth - could it be somewhere else? :-) Please? THEN I'd read on, definitely!

*chuckle*

No, only kidding. I might read on, since this is a novel, and give you more of a chance to hook me more firmly. I'm vaguely interested at this point, more from #1 than #2.

-sry


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Leigh
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I check this thread because of boredom and I find another critiquer, lol. Thanks for your input sry. I haven't done a thing with this story since I posted the other 13's. I just lost time with it.
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