I might scrap an entire section of my novel and work this one into it, but for now I'm treating it as a short story. I'd like to know if anyone would read on. Thanks!
The boy scuttled across the rooftops, leaping over nearly-invisible chasms that meant death if he misjudged the distance. He moved with the grace and fluidity of a seasoned scuttler, even though he was all of thirteen years old and had only been doing this sort of thing for a few months. He reached a black patch where the roof tiles no longer gleamed, didn't hesitate as he pushed off with his feet and vaulted into empty space. The oil-skin bag strapped to his back shifted, its peculiar cargo squirming as if it, too, sensed the danger. The boy had miscalculated. He slammed into the roof opposite, his feet dangling precariously. He grunted with pain as the wind was knocked from him, his hands scrabbling for purchase on the slick slate tiles. The pack on his back emitted a muffled wail,
Posts: 426 | Registered: May 2009
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Hook in place, and I am not entirely certain I agree upon replacing "the boy" with a name. It is distancing in an opening, but a "stringer" it seems to work out here, as in you kind of want to know who he is and what in the heck is going on here. (Which will likely keep a reader reading.) The "muffled wail" from his bag of tricks is also a curious note.
I would read on. You've got a couple good hooks here what with the boy escaping and the mysterious package on his back. You write with authority that makes me feel confident.
However, I do think that you could remove many of the words on the opening line to make it run smoother and more briskly. You've got a lot of words doing essentially the same thing or setting up for the same thing. Also, the phrase "nearly invisible chasms" threw me. Is it a reference to a speculative element? Are they magical so you can't see them? Or are they simply just narrow gaps in the roof tops? See, already I've had to think too much.
Posts: 2185 | Registered: Aug 2007
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I agree that it's quite interesting and the flow is excellent. I also have no problem with "the boy." I realize some find it "distancing" but all of that distance stuff is often largely irrelevant to me. What's happening is what is important here, along with that desire to know who the kid is and what's on his back.