This is a reimagining of "Little Red Riding Hood," recast (mostly) into my Universe of the Nine Roads. Comments on these lines are good, offers to read it when completed are better.
One of the younger, ill-mannered village boys threw a clod of dirt at Felsia as she walked the path that led out of the village and into the forest. “Red witch!” he yelled. The lump of earth struck her red cloak and fell to the ground, leaving neither stain nor mark on the blood-colored fabric. When her Grandma gave it to her two years ago she said she’d made it red because she knew Felsia had iron in her heart and spirit and she believed there was fire in her as well. Grandma wove the cloak with the strongest magic a village hedge-witch could muster, and told Felsia that one day she would do far greater things than mend pots and broken legs or find lost trinkets, that one day she would walk one of the Nine Roads as a true mage.
The lump of earth struck Felsia’s red cloak and fell to the ground, leaving neither stain nor mark on the blood-colored cloth. She turned slowly and saw a small, grubby boy with dirt on his hands beside the path. “Red witch!” he cried, then turned and ran back into the village. Her Grandma made the cloak for her two years ago. “I made it red,” she had told Felsia, “because you have iron in your heart and your spirit and I believe you have fire in you as well. It’s woven with all the magic a village hedge-witch can muster. I also believe that one day you will do far greater things than mending pots and broken legs or finding lost trinkets. One day, you will walk one of the Nine Roads as a true mage.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited August 08, 2011).]
Hi. I happen to love reimaginings of fairy tale classics. Jane Yolan's BRIAR ROSE, Tanith Lee's TALES FROM THE SISTERS GRIMMER [aka BLOOD RED and WHITE AS SNOW], and other's of editor Terry Windling's Fairy Tale series for Tor books [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Windling ]. Thus, for this alone I'd read on. I am also enthralled by the magic inherent in the words "Universe of the Nine Roads." I've been thrilled with the magic of Roads ever since I read Tolkien, and the poetry of Bilbo Baggins. Anyway, I digress.
My suggestions: The first sentence may be a bit long, and the hook/focus of the introduction is not the ill-mannered boy, but the clod striking the cloak. Perhaps start with: "The clod of dirt struck Felsia as she walked the path out of the village toward the forest."
Is she startled? Or not? [Most people would be. Her emotional reaction, or lack thereof, is needed].
The boy yells "Red Witch" and, as with most cowards who attack from a distance, runs away. This contrasts with what we can expect of Felsia who, we're subsequently told, has an "iron heart".
She considers the red cloak. Your description of the cloak, her grandmother, and what her grandmother prophesied is "telling". A "recollection" may be better. It certainly would give some depth and lend greater poignancy to the prophecy "that one day she would walk one of the Nine Roads as a true mage."
Just some thoughts. I'd love to know more about the Nine Roads.
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
[This message has been edited by History (edited August 07, 2011).]
So, do people not respect hedge-witches? A village hedge-witch sounds like a position of some importance, but then the young rascal doesn't seem to mind mocking the recipient of the hedge-witch's favor. Not knowing your universe, I'm a bit perplexed. If hedge-witches are outcasts of some sort, I would suggest getting rid of the word "village" in the phrase "village hedge-witch." If it is something altogether different, then by all means ignore me.
This sounds interesting. Don't let my confusion cloud that. I was enjoying these lines.
I fixed up a couple errors I realized I'd left in this version.
Dr. Bob: I like some of your suggestions and thoughts. You can find out a bit more about the Nine Roads here: http://justinawilliams.wordpress.com/the-nine-roads/ Do to my life being a bit weird these days its not up to date and some things have evolved a bit but it gives you a good idea.
I had to chuckle when you said "telling." You haven't seen them of course but I've waged some major battles around here about "telling" (essentially I'm not real big on the use of "show don't tell" as a way to express things.) However its even more interesting you say it would be better as a recollective flasbacky type thing...I'd considered doing it that way myself at first, but I figured anything going "backward" in the first 13 would be frowned upon. I'll definitely be giving your ideas some thought, thanks.
babooer: Your confusion is totally understandable. The whole concept of hedge-mages, their place and abilities and all of that is one of the parts of this world I don't always fully understand myself. It's made even more confusing when I do these fairy-tale adaptations because while they are more or less in the main universe their feel and aesthetic is sometimes a little different and this particular story has some unusual circumstances. I think and hope it will all make sense within itself when I'm done...thanks for commenting.
One of the younger, ill-mannered village boys threw a clod of dirt at Felsia as she walked the path that led out of the village and into the forest. “Red witch!” he yelled. 1. I agree the sentence is a bit long. Maybe- “One of the younger village ruffians” and “as she followed the path leading out of the village into the forest.” I agree with what was said by Dr. Bob. Any one tagging you from behind is a coward or with their pack and has number to fall bac on, so maybe- “Red witch!” he yelled and fled
The lump of earth struck her red cloak and fell to the ground, leaving neither stain nor mark on the blood-colored fabric. 1. “lump of earth” feels, to me, heavy like clay (hard). Unlike a dirt clods from my youth that usually flew apart when they struck you, but even a dirt clod stung a little and I guess I’m wanting a little of the MC’s reaction to it (flinch). For me- fabric sounds like something you’d hear on one of these reality fashion shows and not what I’d expect in a fairy tale. Maybe try cloth or weave?
When her Grandma gave it to her two years ago she said she’d made it red because she knew Felsia had iron in her heart and spirit and she believed there was fire in her as well. 2. Wordy. Maybe- Grandma said she’d made it red to match the iron and fire in her heart and spirit”
Grandma wove the cloak with the strongest magic a village hedge-witch could muster, and told Felsia that one day she would do far greater things than mend pots and broken legs or find lost trinkets, that one day she would walk one of the Nine Roads as a true mage. 3. A very long sentence. I’d break it as follows: Grandma wove the cloak with the strongest magic a hedge-witch could muster. She’d told Felsia, one day she’d would do far greater things than mend pots, broken legs or find lost trinkets. One day she’d walk one of the Nine Roads as a true mage. I’m wondering like babooher, why in the first sentence she is being held in disregard if she is the village’s magic tinker?
I agree with Dr. Bob, there is a lot of telling here and for me the sentences are a bit long. I am wondering whether you are trying for a literary feel? I am reminded of Tim Powers book, The Stress of Her Regard. It had to be (maybe) a literary piece because of the characters and subject matter. I swear there are more than few paragraph length sentences and if it was not Tim Powers, I’d of put the book down after the second chapter. For me- I don’t think I would read on because there is little to grab my attention. Or maybe, I’m just not the reimagining type.