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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Blade of Chelokh

Author Topic: The Blade of Chelokh
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In the southeastern reaches of the Iron Sands, a wasteland of greyish brown reaches beyond the ability of any mortal to see. Vast, mountainous dunes of greyish sand roil and shift with the unbroken wind here in the interior desert where only the hardiest of mortals dare tread, such as the daring band of adventurers that happens to be escorting a three wagon caravan on its way to a village further north nestled between the Hollow Wind Hills and the northeastern reaches of the Skyforge Mountains.
The guide of the caravan happened to also be the most important item of the inventory, a sorcerer priestess on her way to visit one of the tribes on the the outskirts of the Hollow Wind Hills. She is a raven haired beauty, except for a few

(I hope this is correct for the openner, I think I've set my page up correctly for the 13 line rule. I can't help but notice my intro seems longer than other people's though!)

[ October 19, 2012, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Perhaps I just need to get used to the post format, looking at it here it doesn't seem so bad...
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Member # 9148

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Whew--talk about long compound sentences. I say that because I just mentioned that in the last critique I just posted and I wouldn't be surprised if I'm known for complaining about long sentences.

Some writers do good with them but most openings have shorter sentences. They get to the point quicker and I have been told that loong ones can bore readers. The same is true in action scenes. Short sentences confer the danger and suddenness better.

But your descriptions were great, Niiice setting. Even though maybe more of a hint of the problem that is to come.

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R. W. Spangler
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Your intro concentrates on the setting and perhaps could be shortened. However, I do like the visual feel of the sandy description... roiling sand... color.. and so on.

One possibility may be to shorten the "visual" aspect and add the taste of grit from blowing sand? or the feel of the sandpaper like wind? That would pull the reader to the main character quicker and not place so much focus on the environment. You could also add more environmental stuff from her POV.

To me, a raven haired beauty is far more interesting than sand. I would also gain insight and caring for her if the sand chaffed her features or caused her discomfort.... [Wink]

Sand reaches everywhere... carried by the wind, it intrudes, finding any exposed skin... fine granules collect and chaff mercilessly.... grit builds on the teeth, making that crunching sound... etc. I would want to protect her but at the same time I get a "feel" for the environment.

So here's my newbie two cents... hope it helps!

Best wishes... [Smile]


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T. Westfield
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Okay, I'm a fresh fish here in the River, so take this for whatever you think it's worth...

I have a personal dislike for repeating words in close proximity, so the duplicate use of "greyish" instantly stood out. Time to crack the Thesaurus for one of those two.

"Happens/happened" hit me even harder, because not only is that a close-by repetition, but I think those sentences would be more effective without that word entirely.

You've also repeated the name of a place, the Hollow Wind Hills. For one, I think I'd change that name to "the Hills of the Hollow Wind". I like that rhythm better, but mostly your format puts me in mind of the novel "The Hollow Hills" by Mary Stewart and brings forth the mental image (for me) of Arthurian England. In any case the second appearance of that name you can most likely shorten to just "the Hills" as most readers will immediately make the association with the nearby, complete name.

Just my 2¢.


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Grumpy old guy
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I agree with T. Westfield's comments. Also the band of adventurers just 'happens' to be escorting a caravan. Why? To my way of thinking, they would either be 'simple fellow travellers', or 'paid' guards or escorts.

the daring band of adventurers that happens to be escorting a three wagon...
This implies they are simple travellers and not escorts.

Just a nit-pick.


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I disagree with Spangler. To me, the description of the setting is the strongest part of this intro. Cutting it down would be a mistake, IMHO. Some stories just don't cut straight to the action, and that's OK.
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