Just after some feedback on this 13, its very early but I am wondering if it sits right for an opening. Its pretty rough, I know that. But I just want to know if you'd turn the page to see if Im off on the right foot...
--- The sun was setting on a stunning vista where the sea’s blue caressed the sunburnt lands of the western shores. The setting sun wained as the darkness fought the light for dominion of the skies. Alone on the beach a sole figure continued to work despite the night’s clear advances and agenda.
Caden looked up as the sea lapped at the sandy shores and smirked. The perfect blend of night and day spread effortlessly across the sky. It was irony he thought. That such a perfect visage would stand witness to the tragedy below. Caden turned from the sunset surveying the beach. As far as the sands stretched they were littered with bodies in varying states of life and death. “Back to work.” Caden grumbled and returned to the dead.
I liked it a great deal, but I have to agree that the repetionion muted this otherwise nice prose. I would just like to add that if, in the second paragragh, instead of continuing with the beauty that you contrast it more with the darkness of death. This will also serve to generate more of a 'hook' element. That being addressed, I would turn the page.
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Yes, I 'm afraid this is a classic instance of you-the-writer trying to settle yourself into the milieu before you start the actual story (and is a typical symptom of not actually knowing what story you are about to write; I know, I did this myself for many years before realising what I was doing).
Fine for starting your writing process, but the settling in should be excised from the draft on the first run-through.
Ok, now this is a first 13 from another perspective. It's written in "mega awesome ultra draft form" as a second chapter as to introduce another character from her POV. But, after toying with it, It could be possibly a better opening hook. After reviewing the Caden POV it has gotten quite bloated, and the two chapters or segments that follow his are actually more snappily written and move and feel better. It means Caden goes to the re-write pile, but it's in his best interest. So, here goes:
--- Elise was tired, hungry and lost. Not a bad combination given the that she had been dead less than a day ago. As to how she had ended up on this nameless road wandering aimlessly she was unsure. But it was a small comfort given that she had seen death’s gates and had turned back. Her mind returned to more immediate matters, there would be time to think about it all when she had eaten and slept.
Just yesterday she had been on a beach somewhere in the west where the ocean met the sands. It had been a trap, it always was. As usual she sprung that trap with all the skill and grace that she could muster. What had surprised her was the trap within the trap. They were getting smarter. She was sure they now thought they had dealt with her once and for all. ---
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 21, 2009).]
In the first version, it would have been better to skip the opening paragraph and get right to Caden on the beach. But based on the second version, your POV should be Elise, so the Caden POV is just a warm-up to get to Elise. Just like the sunset paragraph was a warm-up to get to Caden. I hope we're not going to find out that Elise is a warm-up for something else...
The second version definitely hooks, although there is some confusion about whether Elise was dead, or just at death's door. Also, you are going right into a flashback to the beach. What if you started it on the beach, but from Elise's POV? Let us experience her "waking" on the beach, hear or see her attackers observing her dead body (she's hovering out of body?), then bring her back when they're gone.
Thanks for the feedback, there is the inconsistency re death and deaths door, thanks I'll tidy it up in revision. The story revolves around both Elise and Caden and how thier paths cross as the result of a meddling 3rd party... Looking like it might tick in around 10k which fits short story form. The question will then be if it is a story in it's own right or part of a larger novel length arc.
Thanks again for the honesty, but one more thing...
The writing falling roughly into chapters or stanzas, is this ok for a short? It feels right, but opinions?