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Author Topic: A People of Power
ArachneWeave
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Now this is what I've almost written in totality of the other versions, but I hope it works, for once:

Vithae waited on the returning warriors, eager to give responsibility back to his uncle Thaehan who led them. From his place on the threshold in to the stone-walled village, he listened to their slowly approaching chant, which paced the long climb up the steps onto the mountain, as it wound closer. Vithae saw Thaehan first, at the head, and began to grin at him. Before their eyes met, though, he noticed the stranger with them. A woman, whose look was sharper than any he had joined before. Though Thaehan's rust-bright hair was wild with the wind, but her braid was a matted rope, as if the yellow yarn binding it had been tied there years ago.
The color (also in threads that hung through her earlobes) hinted why she came along from a raid on their enemies. Vithae

The first 13 of an epic for which I'm on the fourth volume (of 5).
I understand this is a little less than a great opening. How?
Discuss...


(6_6)
For my sake, that is, please tell me what could work better for opening yet another epic (closed series) sword and sorcery. Thanks!
[This vol., a self-contained story, is done, so I have no scruples asking revision help. If you think that's stupid, you may comment on that also, but I wanted to be sure you understood.]

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited July 26, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited July 28, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited July 28, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited July 28, 2007).]


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Grijalva
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There never really is a perfect opening, or proper way to do it, only the best way you feel it's possible to get your story across.

This opening has a lot of syntax problems, that if fixed, would clear a lot of things up.

For instance: "Vithae was waiting for the returning band," should be, "Vithae waited for the band to return."

Your mixing up your sentences, and using to many words, also you have a couple fragments in there. It's always best to try to keep your syntax simple and concise, that way the reader knows exactly whats going on.


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Snorri Sturluson
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Vithae's name stopped me dead (for 30 to 40 seconds, which isn't good). Is it supposed to be pronounced "vit-hae," "vith-ae," or "vi-thae"? Assuming that the "th" is a single sound, is that a voiced or unvoiced "th" (thorn or eth)? Is the "ae" a stressed "a" or a dipthong (ash)? It looks just odd enough that I am not sure what rules apply to it. Thaehan's name, on the other hand, was quite clear to me. However, I am reminded of OSC's advice to never have two characters with names that start with the same letter or sound.

You did, however, create a nice image of what was going on. If I hadn't stumbled on Vithae's name, there would be about a 60% chance of me turning the page.


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ArachneWeave
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Snorri S., I guess this story is for those who enjoy made-up names, for people, places, and objects.

I don't think it's that scarce among sword-and-sorcery fans.
Any disagreement I'll listen to, but as far as I can tell the names are part of the fabric of the story; and if they bother someone likely they won't love the book itself, either.
It's all about playing with anthropology.
...I kid.

Grijalva: I did a little work on the sentence structure here; I found starting this story particularly hard, and trying to find a tone for it carried over into obscure grammar. I do want to fix that, though. (And have been trying to fix it!) I've found the tone, and broken is not it. ^_^

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited July 25, 2007).]


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darklight
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There's been some comments on the name Vithae which I don't have a problem with. I pronounce it a certain way and stick with it (a way that I'm happy with. I'm going for Vi-tay and that's ok for me).

Why isn't this a perfect opening? That's not a question that can be answered easily I don't think without knowing the whole story and how it fits in with in. It's an opening and the question should be does it draw you in and make you turn the page?

Truth is, right now I'm a little confused. That may be because I'm feeling a little tired this morning and find it hard to get my head around thing. I'm going to have a second read...


quote:
Vithae was waiting for the returning band, listening to their climbing chant from the threshold from the steps.

I don't like the use of 'from the' twice in this sentance.

By the name, I assumed Vithae was a she, but that's probably because I have a character called Vinae who is a she so was assuming. Hence I was surpirsed.

I'm assuming Thaehan is the uncle?

Through her ears make me thing that it goes in one ear and out the other - silly I know but thats the image I get. Maybe: through her earlobes...

The only reason I would say it isn't an effective opening is because I had to read it two of three times before I understood what was happening and who was who and what they were doing. My suggestion would be to simplifying it a bit.


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Snorri Sturluson
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I am terribly sorry, ArachneWeave, I wasn't clear. It isn't that I have a problem with the name, it is that it seemed like you were sending the reader to the glossary with the very first word. I was trying to point out a possible problem in where you placed the name, not the name itself.

If I might be overly melodramatic for a moment; the first word of your story should be a hook to get the reader to look at the second word, the first sentence a hook for the second, and so on.

[This message has been edited by Snorri Sturluson (edited July 26, 2007).]


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ArachneWeave
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Hey Darklight, thanks for stopping in.

The from-the rep is a goof from a quick fix, thanks for pointing it out.


To everyone: by perfect, I didn't mean I can make it perfect, only that I'm looking for critique on all levels here. ^_^ Thanks, those of you who have helped so far.

As for opening with "Vithae", there is the opposite problem of not establishing the point of view, and because this is very close third, I don't feel right saying "The apprentice priest was...". I did originally open with "He" but decided that wasn't as good as having his name first.


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kings_falcon
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It's not so much naming him that' the problem as it was that I wondered how the heck to pronounce the name. But, given the type of world it's likely to be in, it wouldn't stop me from reading unless there were too many difficult names.

I think the reason the opening doesn't draw me in is that it's distant and a bit jumbled to me. You are trying for very close third but I have no sense of what Vithae ("Vi-th-ay" is what I came up with) is thinking. He sees a stranger with his uncle but registers no reaction to it. You jump from the mention of a stranger to a description of Thaethan ("Thay - than"), who I have to presume isn't the stranger. Who Thaethan is isn't fully clear. It COULD be the uncle or someone else. What Theathan is is also a bit of a mystery. Maybe he's a priest, maybe not.
The last line is about the "unyeilding eyes of the stranger on him" but I never had a sense Vithae was being stared/glared at before that line.

I'm lost and a bit exhausted (not in agood way) by the end of the first 13.

My thoughts as I was reading:


quote:

Vithae How do I say this? was waiting for the returning band like marching band? - when and where are we? , listening to their climbing chant hu? Are they singing a song about climbing from the threshold on the mountain are they singing on the threshhold of the mountain or is this where Vithae is? What's the threshhold? I would have thought the "feet" are but he seems to be higher than the singers . The song wound up as slowly as their feet on the steep stairs Hu? . Vithae saw his uncle name? first, and met his eye with a grinóbut he was followed by a stranger. A woman. Thaehan's who is this? blood-bright hu? do you mean "red" or is there blood actually in Thaehan's hair hair was wild with the wind, but the black of the head behind was wilder Hu? for everything after the but. If the stranger has black hair just tell me about it . The matted rope of it, once a braid, was bound at the end, but almost to no purpose. Hu? The yellow of the thread What thread? was a signal What signal? , though. Through her earlobes were the < -- delete hung more of the same hu? The same what? Thread? or matted black hair or what? , affirmed Hu? by a wrist-band with both gold and black What? : qiffa Hu? What is this , as he and his uncle were what does this mean? . She was ?? The daughter of a priest, maybe, bearing the sacred colors under him what sacred colors and how are they born. "Under him?" - please don't get me started on that


Then Thaehan had topped the last step, and reached for Vithae's head in greeting, cutting the unyielding eyes of the stranger, on him, from sight way too many commas. I am a bit lost. How are the "unyielding eyes of the stranger on Vithae? How does he know this since he's only noted her hair, earrings, clothes and wrist band?


Slow down. There is too much going on for me to take in and the hook of who the woman might be is getting lost in what to me are unimportant details about how people look.


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ArachneWeave
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Thanks, Falcon.

I'm definitely at the point where everything I try to fix causes more problems--quite a few of the things you noticed. I think I'm going to go do a rehaul (on the major side of the scale) and then come back. Your points will be very helpful...

ETA: There, I've done it. And it goes on to the same line about Thaehan cutting off the gaze, only grammatically improved.

I was thinking of posting here an intro that has the information someone will have read on the back of a book, but I don't know if that's okay.

I am guessing it's okay to say the pronunciation key (which I guess might be included, if this gets that close to publication) is that the vowels are all open, and remain ah, ee, oo, eh, oh (a,i,u,e,o).

[This message has been edited by ArachneWeave (edited July 28, 2007).]


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