The Binding loped through the trees with alarming speed. Its thoughts were twisted, and curled darkly around a desperate hunger. It sensed easy prey amongst the trees: life... deer, birds. It could take them – the beasts were close. Yes, it could have them, so easy… no, no, it must go on. The Hunted awaited. So close now. To taste it. Consume it. The Binding halted abruptly, its bloodied jaw hanging low, and snapped its gaze to the left. A scent on the wind had caught its attention, and it inhaled deeply. It lives! Eyes burning silently in the gloom, the creature growled with menace. With strong, ragged movements, it bent low, and dragged itself
I rewrote this thing eleven times when I was working on it (five years ago ish; it was one of my first writing attempts), but I could never get it to work. I decided to resurrect it the other day, and gave it some fresh tweaks. I still don't think it works, and I'm still at a loss, so I'm throwing it to the mercy of Hatrack! I've come at this from all sorts of different angles - different perspectives, characters, moments in story time, and nothing seems to help. I'd like to think it isn't a 'dead end' story, but I am open to the possibility .
Any and all comments welcome. Thanks for reading. Daniel.
Well it seems interesting enough. The line about the bloodied jaw hanging low even gave me a mental picture that wasn't really explicit (I imagined a giant black eel slipping through the trees).
I wouldn't let the first thirteen lines determine the viability of a story. I know thirteen lines are important and but its not the lynchpin.
Might clean up some of those -ly adverbs though.
Posts: 336 | Registered: Jan 2011
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I'm not surprised that you've come back to this a few times, it's a good start to a story. The problem I believe is you are pulling the reader around a bit in terms of viewpoint. The first line states that the Binding was moving at alarming speed. In whose opinion was the speed alarming? An observer obviously since the Binding would not be alarmed at it's own capabilities, so it must be the reader (or a character whom we don't yet realize is watching). OK, I (the reader)I'm surprised at the speed of this creature, got it. In the next sentence I know the thoughts of the creature? As the reader I am now confused about the viewpoint. So now we move to being in the binding's mind, we know its thoughts and feelings. That's fine but a second ago we were a third person observer. If that's what we're doing than you need to use "he" where you have "it" in the fourth and fifth sentences and you can't use "alarming" in the first sentence since the Binding wouldn't be "alarmed at its own speed. Ok, on to the "The Binding halted abruptly, its bloodied jaw hanging low.." wait we're back to observing again.
You get it.
If you struggle with this often I recommend OSC's Character and Viewpoint where he teaches how to think about your selected viewpoint in a way that will make your writing consistent. If you fix the viewpoint problem, which is quite easy in this case, you have a strong little opening. Good job, I think you have talent.
Two comments. First, the name/title "The Binding" bugs me. I think I'm distracted by the word "binding" and the implications, which don't seem to fit it. That may be just a matter of taste and therefore irrelevant, so take it for what it's worth. Second, "the creature growled with menace" is a bit too ordinary, too obvious a description, maybe. This is intriguing, though. As has already been said, that you've come back to this is not surprising. It has an urgency to it that could really pull a reader into the story. This is my first time critiquing anyone, so I hope that helps.
Posts: 11 | Registered: Feb 2012
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Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback. You know, I hadn't even noticed the POV violations, and normally I'm quite good at sticking to a viewpoint; I think I've looked at this too many times!
As for what the Binding is, it's a demon created from the spirit of a dying person. As a spirit departs, it is caught by a warlock, then infused with hate, power, and a purpose of the warlock's choosing. When unleashed, they are strong and stupid. This one has been sent to kill a rival sorceress, who is evading it in the forest.
I'll tighten up the POV and try to reveal a little more info about the Binding, then post a revision shortly .
Posts: 33 | Registered: Jan 2012
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What I meant was, the Binding isn't really smelling the target, is it?
Granted, if it has been dead for a while the smell changes. But unless the prey is right on top of the Binding then it isn't smelling it directly. What it is smelling is fresh traces of its former presence.
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