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Author Topic: Fantasy, 13 lines, 'Son of Darkness, Daughter of Light
TEHJOJO
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This is my first post, and my first real story, so, try to kill me here.

Pain, his first memory was pain. Darkness, his second memory was darkness. Then, the final memory was light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned.
The constant thud of wood meeting wood slowly opened Haiz’s eyes. He waited as his eyes fought through the grey fog to focus. The first sight that his bleary eyes focused on was two children whacking each other with wooden training swords. Haiz walked over and grabbed the children by their scruffy collars and lifted them high into the air. Haiz let the most vicious snarl rip through his lips and growled darkly into their young ears,
“What the hell do you think you brats are doing?”

tell me what you think.

[This message has been edited by TEHJOJO (edited February 12, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 13, 2008).]


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wrenbird
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I liked the first three lines. They had a kind of poetic quality that got me interested. Unfortunately, things got a bit rocky after that.
First of all, the whole "MC waking up" opening is a bit cliche. Not to mention the fact that you do not further explain the pain or the searing red light, which left me wondering who and where this person is.

As for the rest:

The constant thud of wood meeting wood slowly opened Haiz’s eyes. He waited as his eyes fought through the grey fog to focus. The first sight that his bleary eyes focused on was two children whacking each other with wooden training swords. Haiz walked over and grabbed the children by their scruffy collars and lifted them high into the air This happens too abruptly. One sentence ago he can barely see, and then he is suddenly on his feet and lifting up these kids in the next sentence.Haiz let the most delete "most" vicious snarl rip through his lips and growled darkly does he snarl and growl? into their young ears,
“What the hell do you think you brats are doing?”
The children began to quiver and shake, then Haiz threw back his head and began to laugh. not sure why he's laughing. We are not is Haiz'z head enough. Is this funny to him? Is he laughing manically? The children nervously joined in after a few moments. Haiz unceramonsly dropped the children to the ground and dusted them off with pats of his hand Again, this seems like kind of a nice thing to do to dust them off, but why does he then throw away their swords?, then took the practice swords from their children and threw them into the waiting bin. Waiting bin?
The children jumped up and down in frustration before

I have no sense of place or time in this scene. The two kids are playing with wooden swords, but then Haiz throws them in a "bin" which, to me implies a metal trashcan.
Are they outside? Inside?
I was confused as to what was going on. Where is Haiz? Who is he? You talk about the light of the damned, is he a demon? Why was he in pain?

Overall, I think you have presented an interesting scene, but there are just a few unanswered questions. Once you make it more clear who Haiz is and what is going on I think this could be a very compelling opening. So, good work.

[This message has been edited by wrenbird (edited February 12, 2008).]


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TEHJOJO
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thanks

I see what you mean by not bieng in his head. I'm trying to get more into his head a little later into the chapter. He can do the things he does because he's a vampire (told later in the same chapter, right when you see into his head really) but i need to add a hint to that in there. When I finish editing tonight, I'll try to post what I have again.The bin I mention, its just a wooden box filled with practice swords for the school the kids go to, I'll try to clear that up


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TEHJOJO
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Heres my edit after following what you said. And I relized i didn't explain the first 3 lines. The point of those lines comes in later. (This is slightly longer than 13 lines, but its up to the same point i left off last time, so nothing just suddenly disappears.

Pain, his first memory was pain. Darkness, his second memory was darkness. Then, the final memory was light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned.

The constant thud of wood meeting wood slowly opened Haiz’s eyes. He waited as his eyes fought through the gray fog. The first sight that his bleary eyes focused on was the sight of two children whacking each other with wooden training swords. Haiz cleared away the jumble of thoughts, feelings and just plain nonsense that littered his mind before walking over and grabbing the children by their scruffy collars and lifting them high into the air. Haiz let a vicious snarl rip through his lips before growling into their young ears,
“What the hell do you think you brats are doing?”

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 13, 2008).]


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arriki
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Nit, nit, nit – my opinions, of course.

I think the one words – pain, and darkness are should be set off in their own sentences for effect.

Pain. His first memory was pain. Then darkness. That was his second memory.

Of course, I think it wasn’t “memory” but rather his first “impression” was pain, then darkness. That and…I know you like the poetic-ness of the repetitions but they don’t work for me. “Pain” is too generic. What pain? A toothache? A burning sensation in his groin from being castrated? Fiery, aching muscles spasaming from being stretched and torn on a rack? Whole body screaming in agony as if he’d been stepped on by a giant? Those bring me closer to your pov than merely stating he felt/remembered pain. But then…it’s your story. You could do more with the darkness, too.

I guess my big problem is with the segue from these three elements to his waking. If he remembers this pain, darkness, and nasty light, why is he waking so calmly? Why doesn’t he scream or groan loudly or something that scares the kids?

He wakes up and orients himself too easily to my mind. His first memory was pain – then how did he orient himself to this mundane moment? He “cleared away the jumble of thoughts (impressions?) and suddenly he’s in the here and now story realtime? Sorry, doesn’t work for me. Hmmm????It’s as if the pain/darkness/searing light didn’t affect him, not really, so why mention them?

As I said, this is just my opinion on the matter.


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TEHJOJO
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I see what you mean, I have to clearify that. Its not really part of the chapter as much as a small prologe. I've fixed the first quote to show what you mean.

Pain, his first memory was the pain of his blood boiling, his soul burning. Darkness, his second memory was of darkness of his life and the darkness of his future. Then, the final memory was light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned.

thank you again


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annepin
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Hm... what turns me off here is that Haiz seems like an unsavory character. If he's play-acting with the kids, maybe you can make that clearer. If he's just an abusive kind of fellow, well, I probably wouldn't read on.

I'm not sure the prologue works for me. If it's on the same page I'm going to assume it's his experience, or at least his thoughts, right before waking. Maybe if it's marked off in italics or something. Even then, though, I'm going to wonder why he's not reacting to it. It's unclear how it related in time to what's going on now. Is this a memory from some past life? Is this a dream memory? Is this a memory from earlier in his life? When/ how/ why is he having this memory?


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TEHJOJO
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Its a memory from his past, his burth, which becomes clear later. Italics is a good idea though. ill make it a bit clarer when i get home to edit.
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annepin
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My point in asking those questions wasn't to elicit an answer from you, rather to show you how confusing and distracting the first para was for me.
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Darth Petra
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The first few lines are very intersting. But then...it kind of get confusing. Why is this dude yelling at the kids? It makes him sound evil and grumpy, ya know?
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TEHJOJO
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I'm working on a rewrite tat makes it slightly less confusing. He doesn't wake up, a reason for yelling more reasonable.
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TEHJOJO
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This is the revamped beginning. Fixed some things. (read lots)

Pain, his first memory was the pain of his blood boiling, his soul burning. Darkness, his second memory was of darkness of his life and the darkness of his future. Then, the final memory was light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned.

*

Haiz surveyed the young children he had been set to watch, making sure they didn’t go crazy with their wooden blades. The grunts of exertion that sometimes escaped their lips showed that they were deep in concentration. The rhythm was suddenly shattered when, from behind him, came the sound of wooden sword meeting flesh.
Haiz whirled around to see the group of students under the

what you think?

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 28, 2008).]


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kings_falcon
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Welcome.


First and foremost for me at least is: Is the story finished? Then: How long is it? What genre?

Generally, the writing is pretty clear. The quote isn't working for me because it's too disconnected without any real clue as to why. Ender's Game worked for me because the dialog blubs at the start of the chapters between two adults were so obviously separate from the rest which dealt with a child's POV. Because of that and the strong writing, I was willing to wait and trust OSC to link the two unrelated events up. Here, the two seem to be related because there isn't any transition or at least the paragraph break isn't enough of a transition for me . I think, there needs to be a stronger break between the two sections.

More specifically, my take:

quote:

Pain, his first memory was the pain of his blood boiling, his soul burning. Darkness, his second memory was of darkness of his life and the darkness of his future. Then, the final memory was light. He only has three memories? This is a bit too generic and repetative for me to be hooked. What pain? Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned. the last line was hooky for me. You might start there. Something like "A searing red light, not the calm white that greets new eyes but the light of the truely damned, lanced his vision." But then you have to follow up on it

*

Haiz surveyed the young children who? He knows who the kids are so just tell me - Prince John's three boys or whatever. And "Young Children" is repetative he had been set to watch, making sure they didn’t go crazy with their wooden blades this could be trimmed a bit . The grunts of exertion that sometimes escaped their lips showed that they were deep in concentration. whose thought is this? Not Haiz's probably The rhythm what rhythm? The only sound you've given us is thier children's gunts was suddenly <-- kill this word shattered when, from behind him, came the sound of wooden sword meeting flesh. show me the sound, or more importantly, the wail of pain that follows

Haiz whirled around he turned to see the group of students wait, there are more people out here? Where is here? under the


Try to streamline your sentances. The first one "Haiz surveyed the young children he had been set to watch, making sure they didn’t go crazy with their wooden blades" is 21 words long. You can say the same in 11 words:

"Haiz watched Prince John's sons as they sparred with practice swords."

Because the kids are referred to as someone's sons, I know they are young. I also know he's either the teacher or a guard.

You almost never need to say "suddenly." First, it's truely telling. Second, it's redundant. You have the reader's attention fixed on the kids sparing. When Haiz's and the reader's attention is directed to something behind him, it is "sudddenly."

Just because I find it a bit funny - the sound of wooden sword meeting flesh is "THWACK! MOM, MIKEY HIT ME!!"

All that being said, this version is definately cleaner and an easier read than the other one. Keep working on it.


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TEHJOJO
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Thanks for the hints, and I've fixed the quote, its the prologue and it would go hte page before Ch. 1 actaully started. as for genre and such: Fantasy, and almost done with Ch. 1, I'm trying to get lots of feedback to my writing style to help me before I get really started. Heres the cutrrent version

Prologue

Pain, his first memory was the pain of his blood boiling, his skin melting, his soul burning. Darkness, his second memory was of darkness of his life and the darkness of his future. Then, the final memory was light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light. The light of those who are truly damned.

Ch. 1

Haiz surveyed the local children as they sparred with wooden blades. The sounds of wood beating and scraping upon itself slowly drifted into an order of noise. The rhythm was shattered when, from behind him, came the thunk of wood meeting flesh, and a yelp of surprise.


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TheOnceandFutureMe
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I read as far as the second sentence. One repetition can be poetic, two made me twitch (literally). Repetition is a device, and I despise devices in fiction.
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Oblomova
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This is only my second post, so please forgive me if I'm making a mess of it.

I like the most recent edit, and I usually enjoy repetition, but I think that the "his first memory was of" structure sounds too passive and needs to change. How about "He remembered" or "First, he remembered" instead? That might also make the repetition seem more natural. Does anyone else agree?


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Tiergan
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Hi, sorry to come on to the thread so late in the action, but I am new here as of a day ago. With that said, I really felt drawn to the first paragraph of your first draft, which is what I will address here. Not only did I feel it was poetic, but a grabbing hook as well. I do agree that it was a bit repetitive. But with some small changes, I feel you can keep the same feeling, but might heighten the effect. Below I offer my take on it.

quote:
Pain, his first memory was of pain, the second, darkness. And the third, the final, was of light. Not a calming white light that greets new eyes, but a searing red light—the light of those whom are truly damned.

I feel that you don’t need to describe the pain, or the darkness in the first paragraph. In fact not knowing the specifics would be the reason I would read on.

And last, as far as your style, I wouldn’t worry so much about it just yet. The more you write, the stronger and more defined it will become.

I hope this helps.


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