I mainly want to know if you would want to keep reading it, or if you need to read more of it in order to determine that (this isn't the 1st 13 lines yet and I don't have a title, either).
Before I had fully gained my feet, I saw him in front of me as a blurred outline. “Now!” he shouted in my head and he rushed me. He slammed into me and knocked me off my feet again. I groped frantically in my mind for some reason for these events. As I scrambled away from him on hands and knees, he spoke again, “you must win or die.” He reached out with one hand…paw?....and I felt a sharp pain as his claws laid my shoulder bare. “Fight back! You must win!” echoed in my head again. I had never heard of anyone in my village or tribe ever having to fight their Spirit Guide before. I clamped down on my lip as I felt the hot trickle of blood where he had punctured skin. I pulled myself to my feet with one hand against the earthen wall and shook my head.
I'm not really pulled in by this. The fact that he's fighting his spirit guide isn't quite enough to make me want to read on. I also think you could bring that information up earlier, when you say "I groped frantically in my mind for some reason for these events..." By making this line more specific, you have the option of giving the reader more information and moving the story forward just a little bit more which, in my opinion, might provide what I need to read on. I think I need just a little more context. This spirit guide is acting wacky--surely the MC has _some_ theory? Some sense of something he did wrong or something amiss in the universe? Posts: 2185 | Registered: Aug 2007
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quote:I had never heard of anyone in my village or tribe ever having to fight their Spirit Guide before.
For me this was the hook, if a bit wordy (maybe delete "in my village or tribe"), but not strong enough to make me read on because parts of the writing slow down the action.
I think that one can have long thoughtful sentences in descriptive segments, but when it's action, the sentences have to be short and to the point to maintain momentum.
So, "I groped frantically in my mind for some reason for these events." stops the action while he gropes in his mind (where else?). I'd suggest deleting this sentence, and perhaps substituting something like, "Why's he fighting me?"
Since the MC knows that the "he" he's fighting is his spirit guide, who presumably has a name, I'd suggest using the name instead of "he" from the start, and finding a way of telling us very early that he's MC's spirit guide--because until we know that, it's just another fight.
Hope this helps, Pat
[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited April 11, 2008).]
Thanks to all of you for your responses. I am finding this very educational and of benefit to my story.
I'd like to say, Sara, that it was really cool that you "got it"...that I was trying to begin my story in the middle. The lines above are NOT the actual first lines of the scene, but that scene is, I think, the way in which I choose to start the story.
You've all given me some good ideas, so far. Thanks!
quote:Before I had fully gained my feet, I saw him in front of me as a blurred outline.
The phrase "gained my feet," along with the "paw" later one give me the impression that the main character is not full human either, but nothing else points to that. Perhaps I'm wrong. As well, fix the voice--it could be far more active.
quote:I groped frantically in my mind for some reason for these events.
This is slightly distant. I feel like it's the equivalent of, in third person limited, saying "she thought about what could have happened." We can get closer to the character with a "What had happened to cause such an event?" or something hopefully more well-worded.
quote:As I scrambled away from him on hands and knees, he spoke again, “you must win or die.”
Again, voice and phrasing are issues.
Possibly along the lines of:
quote: I scrambled away from him on hands and knees. "You must win or die," he said.
quote: He reached out with one hand . . . paw?
This hooks me. One issue, though, is--shouldn't he already know what his Spirit Guide looks like? Why does he expect a hand rather than a paw. Unless you address this soon, it's a perspective problem that would irk me indefinitely.
quote: I had never heard of anyone in my village or tribe ever having to fight their Spirit Guide before.
This hooks me, too. Voice, though, and phrasing. Consider it.
I wouldn't read on at this point. Check your phrasing--make it flow naturally or we get stuck every few words.
Edit: I do agree, though, that beginning in media res was a perfect choice.
[This message has been edited by StephenMC (edited April 12, 2008).]
I wouldn't read on from this--I need more of a sense of character and either humor or outstanding concept. This isn't a good portion to judge from though. And I'm not one to read a book for it's fight scenes, either--you can keep that in mind.
Posts: 218 | Registered: Apr 2007
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