Hatrack River
Home † | † About Orson Scott Card † | † News & Reviews † | † OSC Library † | † Forums † | † Contact † | † Links
Research Area † | † Writing Lessons † | † Writers Workshops † | † OSC at SVU † | † Calendar † | † Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Fantasy - Untitled

   
Author Topic: Fantasy - Untitled
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Man, have I been struggling with this one.

This one has a draft (finally) at 5,000 words. I am looking for readers of the whole thing if anyone is interested.


Original version
In the final moment before they die, some men confess. As if they can throw off the fetters of their sin at the last moment and rise to paradise. For that reason, Brem had been trained to look his victims in the eye and listen as their life fled. Sometimes their last words were worth more than the killing fee. Unfortunately, most men just lost their bowels and screamed useless gibberish, or said nothing at all.
Brem had taken to wagering with himself about what category his victims would fall into, and he had this sweaty mound of a merchant prince pegged as a screamer.
The manís name was Cantio Moralan, and Brem had been watching him for six days. It was always six days, and on the seventh a man died. In that short time it had become clear that

See revised version below

[This message has been edited by alliedfive (edited November 26, 2008).]


Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
monstewer
Member
Member # 5883

 - posted      Profile for monstewer   Email monstewer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For me, the hook here is a man hunting a merchant prince and planning on killing him. All the stuff about confessing their sins could wait until later in the story, I don't think it's strong enough or new enough to justify devoting the first couple of paragraphs to it.

In the final moment before they die, some men confess. As if they can throw off the fetters of their sin at the last moment and rise to paradise. That period after "confess" is odd, I think you need to take it out and just have this as one sentence.

Sometimes their last words were worth more than the killing fee. How? This made me pause to wonder how a man's dying words can be worth more than a paypacket. I'd either elaborate a little more or just remove the sentence altogether.

Unfortunately, most men just lost their bowels and screamed useless gibberish, I think anybody who has just been disembowelled isn't going to be talking a lot of sense. If the MC is interested in the last words I think he wouldn't be going around disembowelling them.

I would probably give it a couple more paragraphs to see where this one was headed. I do think rather than musing on the confessions of these dying men you could be working in a bigger hook such as why is this man hunting the prince? Who is paying him for these hits? etc

Good luck with it.


Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think I could add a couple words to clarify the hook. The merchant prince is dying when this story begins. Its what happens after that is the conflict. So I think my hook in this 1st 13 is possibly misleading. Hmm...
Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personal Preference: I do not like this character and would hope he is the antagonist or a bit part, not the MC (good characterization if that's what you meant ).

This 13 lines could work for me as a short prologue, if you want to provide the setup and then shift to a sympathetic MC in Chapter 1. At this point I'm anticipating that the prince will spill something juicy, and I want to know what it is. EDITED: Short story not Novel; sorry, I am not able to help with shorts.

Side note: It was clear to me that a dying man might loosen his bowels in the stress of being killed. It does not necessarily mean disembowelment.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited November 13, 2008).]


Posts: 780 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluephoenix
Member
Member # 7397

 - posted      Profile for bluephoenix   Email bluephoenix         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey alliedfive.

I quite liked it, actually (and ditto MrsBrown about 'lost their bowels' - I too assumed it meant that they voided them, not that they were thusly disencumbered by our good man Mr. Protagonist ).

I don't mind assasin or 'evil' main characters, so no problems for me there - I found your MC quite interesting.

I don't actually have any prose gripes, so no probs there. The only thing I'll say is that 'merchant prince' is a little bit predictable. 'Merchant' is bad enough (those poor guys are always either corrupt or victims, and even the corrupt ones always end up dead), but prince put the icing on the clichť cake for me.

Anyway, minor problems; I was interested all through and would certainly read on .

Daniel.


Posts: 153 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Broda
Member
Member # 8280

 - posted      Profile for Broda           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I liked it. At first I thought Brem was just a headsman until I read the crits above and reread.
Posts: 37 | Registered: Oct 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick T
Member
Member # 8052

 - posted      Profile for Nick T   Email Nick T         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi AlliedFive,

I'll agree that plunging straight into the protag's POV with his (presumed) background is a little bit problematic as an opener. Are you having difficulty slogging through it because you don't really like the character?

Anyway, I thought the starting point for this story might actually be...

quote:
The manís name was Cantio Moralan, and Brem had been watching him for six days. It was always six days, and on the seventh a man (perhaps change it to he would die?) died.

It introduces us to Brem and it sets up questions (Why is he watching him. Why will he die on the seventh day?). That, for me, is where the story started. The other lines were simply not that interesting because I've seen that kind of opening before.

I can look at stuff for a day or two next week before I'm out of action for the year.

Regards,

Nick

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited November 13, 2008).]


Posts: 706 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm, I think my philosophical 1st thirteen are a little misleading. I think I will take Nick T's sage advice and start the story a bit later, and maybe work in the original 1st thirteen later. Here is the new one. What does everyone think?

Version 2

The manís name was Cantio Moralan, and Brem had been watching him for six days. It was always six days, and on the seventh, a man died.
In that short time it had become clear that the man was involved in all manner of illegal, reprehensible, and lucrative business ventures flung far across the dozen or so city-states that were the shards of the Old Empire. He was also, if washing women and servants could be believed, a sorcerer who dabbled in the most despicable and deplorable arts their imaginations could conjur. Moralan was also a man of habit, which had made Bremís job easy. If he was indeed a sorcerer, his arts had not aided him in the final moments of his life.
So it was surprising to Brem that, as the life drained from

[This message has been edited by alliedfive (edited November 13, 2008).]


Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The start is a bit removed for my taste. Personally I would think about starting with what is actually happening.

Your MC has stabbed this guy and he is bleeding to death, but something happens while this is happening--I presume he says something.

Why not start with the actual killing--the moment the knife slides in? All the stuff about six days, etc. can be worked in as he watches the man die.


Posts: 2987 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick T
Member
Member # 8052

 - posted      Profile for Nick T   Email Nick T         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi,

The reason I picked the seven days line is that it suggests (for me) ritualism of some kind. Why six days, not five? If it's a question of innocence/guilt, why can't it be longer until he's certain? That's what piqued my interest, but I'm odd like that and other people probably don't care at all.

As Skadder has noted, the new start is a little bit sterile...it doens't really have much of Brem in it, rather it's slightly distant telling. Skadder's suggestion might be better if the six days isn't important as this gets the story closer to the inciting incident.

Nick


Posts: 706 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I second skadder and Nick T. However, I like Brem much better now that he is fighting evil rather than being the greater evil

Take these thoughts with a grain of salt, I'm musing:

It is not immediately obvious what Brem's job is, from the second version. Perhaps change "a man died" to "his target died"? Why is it always this number of days? (I can wait if that will be revealed in the next line or so.)

I'd suggest "became" instead of "had become" throughout, and show the death and instead of talking about it after the fact. You can pare down the description of the bad guy quite a bit; it seems wordy. Could there be some tension as Brem waits to see if the death is successful, given the guy's sorcery?

I have an impression that the manner of death is poison or some other detached method; it feels a bit like withholding to not know, unless it will be revealed soon.

Another approach would be to show Brem watching the guy, learning about him (instead of a summary). The death does not need to be up front so long as we know that is the intention. Scratch that: I'm thinking Novels again!!!

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited November 14, 2008).]


Posts: 780 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This one has a draft (finally) at 5,000 words. I am looking for readers of the whole thing if anyone is interested.
Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
monstewer
Member
Member # 5883

 - posted      Profile for monstewer   Email monstewer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll take a look
Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll take a look.
Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Codeô is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2