This is the opening for a fantasy short story I've been playing around with for the past couple of days. Just wondered if this opening would make people want to read on.
quote:Snow buffeted about Marin in great curling gusts as he stared down at the grave, his gloved hands clasped before him as though in quiet prayer. Fat flakes scattered to the ankle-deep drifts as he clapped his hands together, more clumps of white clinging to the green wool of his gloves. He nodded to the Sleeper; the stone statue standing on Alissa’s grave wore only a robe against the cold, both hands reaching out, upturned palms holding heaps of snow. The guardian of the dead looked like nothing more than a weighing scale. Thirty years Alissa had been dead. Had Marin known her then, she would have been five years older than him. Now, as he turned and looked at her standing under black-branched trees
[This message has been edited by Wonderbus (edited May 13, 2011).]
quote:Snow buffeted about Marin in great curling gusts as he stared down at the grave, his gloved hands clasped before him as though in quiet prayer.
Let's start with this. First, I would suggest starting with "Martin stared down at the grave, his gloved hands clasped before him as though in quiet prayer". Personally, I don't think you need the initial stuff about snow and gusts. It's a decent image, but you already have plenty of snow imagery going on in just these thirteen lines, so I would save room the other stuff.
quote:Fat flakes scattered to the ankle-deep drifts as he clapped his hands together, more clumps of white clinging to the green wool of his gloves. He nodded to the Sleeper; the stone statue standing on Alissa’s grave wore only a robe against the cold,
I would just reword this part for fluidity's sake. Maybe, "the stone statue standing on Alissa's grave, wearing nothing but a robe to shield against the cold...". Something like that. The way you have it now just reads a little odd.
quote:Thirty years Alissa had been dead. Had Marin known her then, she would have been five years older than him. Now, as he turned and looked at her standing under black-branched trees
This is where the relevent information is, it seems, so I would try to include a little more instead of so much description to the scene. Scenes are important, but this is a short story and you don't want to spend too much time describing the details. We need to see action, motivations, thoughts, things that move the story forward.
Overall, though, I really do like it. You have a nice voice that sets the tone for what could be a very intriguing story. The only problem is that these thirteen lines don't tell us much about what the story is about, but I think you can fix that by simply editing down the details and focusing on the character's thoughts like you do near the end.
Would I continue to read this? Yes, definitely. It's very intriguing. Keep at it! And don't take what I said as the end all truth because, as we know, there are a hundred different ways to write a scene.
I think the first sentence of the second paragraph is a better starting sentence.
quote:Thirty years Alissa had been dead.
I think from there it is time to describe the scene. I like to be grounded into the MC and the story before I get the scene.
I like the description. But the first thing I thought of when you say you first line was Marin the place, not a person. Of course that was clear later on.
My only other crit would be that I am not really sure what this story will be about. There is not much to hook me to read other then environment. So, while I see the scene, I don't know what is really happening. I think this would likely be fixed by saving the scene description later.
Anyway, good writing and good voice. I think the order of presentation is the main issue here.
I agree with EVOC about the starting sentence, too. And there's the hook - if he'd known her then she would have been 5 years older than him, but NOW she's 30 years dead AND standing under the trees - maybe she's 25 years younger than Marin. How, and where are you going with this. Would definitely read on... Posts: 406 | Registered: Mar 2007
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Thanks for the wonderful feedback! Although in the interests of brevity I've had to have the machete out for the past couple of days and that opening scene was one of the first to fall. Does the new first 13 hook?:
quote:Mrs Lykos drained the last of her medicine, her wrinkled face wrinkling even more in distaste. Edwin felt the flush of a man who had done his job well as he watched her rise to her feet, all of her previous discomfort forgotten. “Thank you, doctor." Edwin waved a hand. No matter. “There is one thing I would ask of you before you leave, Mrs Lykos.” Seeing the woman pause half way to the door, her skirts and green blouse creased from where she had been sitting, Edwin hurried on. “You say you have lived here all your life? Perhaps you might remember a girl, a young girl who died here thirty years ago?” Elspeth Lykos puckered her face in thought, the tendons in her neck papery and stark as she tilted her head. “Alissa was her name. Alissa Vonmarin.”