“Thensmer, Thensmer, Thensmer!” chanted hundreds of voices from the enormous crowd that surrounded the citadels courtyard and the street leading up to it. A single man rode on a noble horse ahead of the rest of the army down that cobblestone path. Thensmer was victorious in battle. Again. Not many dared to challenge the great empire of King Soroton; especially now that he had a fierce, young, and loyal new commanding general. The lands of King Soroton were mostly peaceful, but he sent Thensmer and a small army force to patrol the shared border of the the Red tower often, because of the many reports of people seeing tirns in the area. Some of the closer villages were attacked and burned. Soroton thought that the attacks were just tirn-mischief so he decided not to investigate thoroughly. Who could blame him? There had been no war in Saralar for the last two-hundred years!
I am a huge sucker for heroic stories, so I am attracted by the set up. However, I don't paragraph itself to be particularly strong hook. You spend the first two lines setting up a very powerful image, and then immediately diverge into what feels like an info dump, telling us all the background, etc. I'd rather stay in the moment with Thensmer. He's got my attention, and I want to know more about him. The details about the conflict can come later (particularly the bits about Soroton thinking the attacks were just tirn mischief). My point is, the opening two lines make me think the story is about Thensmer. The rest of the opening makes me think that it's more about Soroton.
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So........ Here we go. I really like the epic scene and the energy that it inspires. A bit hackneyed, perhaps? I would try to maintain it. The trouble for me is the lack of voice, character. We get a smudge of him at the end of this intro, but I know nothing about the MC other than he is an observer of the return of a conquering hero.
So this seems to be my advice lately, but I am also applying it to my own writing. I really feel you should either tighten up the POV or give us more of the character, or both.
If I see this scene through his eyes, feel what he feels about it ( Bitterness, "Hail the conquering hero...murderous villain!) or whatever, and then I as a reader can start to form an opinion on the character.
Character drives short stories. You will be very hard-pressed to sell a story that is milieu based. Not to say that your Millieu does not have to be sharp, but your character has to be well developed , compelling if nothing else. As a new writer, we have to incorporate this as early as possible to rise above the slush pile.
If you use this nice energetic scene and tell it through the eyes of an engaging charter, you will really have a nice intro here.
Annepin, Thank you, I agree with you and I was a little unsure about including that weird little part in there, I'll take it out and try to make it flow a little better. Bent Tree, thanks for commenting, as everything progresses the characters are built up much more, I'm going to change up the first paragraph for a better hook thanks again!
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