*Edit* Well, I've had a shot at re-writing the entire thing to make it live up to the 1st 13.
If anyone new wanted to read it as well as existing readers, I'd really appreciate it.
quote:Every morning before dawn, when all is dark as the bottom of the sea, I turn my head from my sister and pretend we are not conjoined. I dream we are not welded together from breast to stomach. I dream I am not destined to cast spells until my sister dies and then I die after. In these dreams, I walk straight. I do not crab-scuttle with her. I walk alone and proud and men look at me because I am pretty. And I would be pretty if we were not joined. Men would want to warm my bed, but my bed is always filled by my sister. "Are they here yet Mary?" my sister said, half-asleep. She is the weaker twin and the battery of my power.
quote:Every morning before dawn, when all was as dark as the bottom of the sea, I used to turn my head from my sister and pretend we were not conjoined. I dreamed we were not fused from breast to stomach. I dreamed I was not destined to cast spells until Isabella died. In my dreams, I walked straight. I did not crab-scuttle with her. Alone and proud, men stared at me. They wanted to warm my bed, but when I woke, she was always there. "When do we fight this wizard?" Isabella said. She was the fuel of my magic. If she died from my spells, I could shed her remains like a snake sloughing off its skin. To be alone and ordinary, all I had to do was cast enough spells to murder her. But if I cast no spells, she drained my life.
[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited May 17, 2010).]
Takes the "I'm in bed in the morning and I'm drifing off into a dream" cliche and makes something good, and enticing about the character, out of it.
Posts: 64 | Registered: Feb 2010
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Nice, but the word battery seems out of place for me perhaps it isn't and will seem appropriate once we have more of the setting. It wouldn't keep me from reading on.
Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004
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A comma is appropriate before the character's name. Though, the comma's absence doesn't detract from the opening's appeal. This looks like a good start.
Posts: 1139 | Registered: May 2008
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Thanks for the crits. I've removed the use of the "battery"; though my original plot had it technologically appropriate, I ended up changing the time period.
Anyway, this one is finished at around 4,200 words. Not as good as I had hoped. If anyone wanted to critique over the next few weeks (aiming for an anthology with a 31st March deadline), it would be greatly appreciated. I am overseas with limited internet access, so I mightn't reply to email straight away.
"The way of the wizard" anthology, edited by J.J Adams. Is that the one you're aiming for with your wizard story? Bloody impossible to get into, but I figured I may as well aim high. Send me an email if you want to, but there's no obligation or pressure.
quote:"The way of the wizard" anthology, edited by J.J Adams. Is that the one you're aiming for with your wizard story?
You mean "The Open Hand?" No. I write stories about wizards on a very regular basis...almost any time I write "high" fantasy my protaganist is a mage. Not always but usually.
I have submitted to The Way of the Wizard, but I refuse to have anything further to do with it directly because...
quote:Bloody impossible to get into, but I figured I may as well aim high
Not only do his anthologies generally contain only stories from well established authors...its not even that thats just all he accepts or that he solicits them from what I understand he looks for reprints from established, famous writers to fill them. I personally believe that putting it on Duotrope and doing an "open" call for submissions is little more than a marketing ploy. I know a couple of people that bought or considered buying previous anthologies of his in order to get a better idea what he's after...and I think thats the only reason for the "open" call. We'll see when it comes out, but I very seriously doubt there will be a single story in there from a non-established author. I consider the whole thing a bit shady.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited February 21, 2010).]
I'd make that assumption with any pro-market anthology...if they're going to make money, they're probably not going to have many (if any) unknown names. The upside is that he's usually very quick with rejections; he's not going to sit on it forever.
quote:I'd make that assumption with any pro-market anthology...if they're going to make money, they're probably not going to have many (if any) unknown names
There are pro-paying anthologies that include plenty of non big-name authors. The Dark Faith anthology that I was almost published in paid pro rates and includes primarily people I've never heard of, including two first-time authors.
So, again...it sounds to me like that particular editor (for Way of the Wizard) is using the open submission call as a marketing ploy, and one I consider underhanded. I do not think any non-famous author has essentially any chance whatsoever of acceptance. Maybe I'm totally wrong but it just feels very fishy to me as far as that goes.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited February 22, 2010).]
Argghhh! I was thinking of replying to Merlion's disparaging of the WOTF competition in the general discussion thread and then I changed my mind...but I was obviously still thinking of WOTF. A thousand apologies Ms. Woodbury.
Posts: 712 | Registered: Jun 2008
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welded seems a bit "modern" too. Not sure what the timeline is but if you are nixing battery anyway perhaps "fused" would be a more fitting word... just my 2cp
Posts: 1 | Registered: Apr 2010
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Sorry, I didn't realise there were further messages and neglected to give thanks for the critiques.
As an aside, I looked up both "fused" and "welded" online. Welded is actually older than fused, which surprised me (early 1600s versus mid-1600s). Either way, they expose a gap between author voice and character voice, so I'll have to do something about the word (battery was eliminated).
Not really sure why I wandered in here, but I think your first 13 are (is?) great, Nick T.
I'm obviously way late to be of any help re: the anthology, but "battery" and "welded" work for me. And if you don't think the story is up to the opening, well...fix it. Also, as long as I'm giving advice and telling people what to do, don't take Betsy's comments too much to heart. She gets chills reading Green Eggs and Ham.
Innocent protagonist gets stalked by insistent crazy creature who harangues and badgers him to eat "green eggs and ham" despite all his protests. Eventually he gives in (probably inspired by a strange variant of Stockhausen syndrome). What's not chilling about that?
And I wish I knew how to make it a better story, I really do. Enough people gave enough critiques on this to make it a good story if I had any damn talent. Instead, it's well on its way to being buried in a drawer after receiving too many rejections.
[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited May 01, 2010).]
You've got my attention. I'm a little disappointed in the second paragraph, which seems to be background for my benefit, but it's done unobtrusively enough, and the snake skin thing rocks, so I'm still with you. The final line, though, that's a downer for me. It feels completely explanatory - here's the rules. I'd rather discover that particular facet as the plot escalates. It's a great complication, so why not use it as a complication to escalate tension as we progress into the story middle?