I had put the first 13 on the back burner as I took what I had learned here at hatrack and edited the novel, completed at 100,000 words. As I approach query hell, I thought now was a good time to polish the first 13, and settle on it once and for all. So here goes again.
Below are 2 versions, the first version is an updated version from my original, months ago. The second version came to me last night. They involve the same scene, just different ways of approaching it.
Anything and everything you can give me would be a great help. Which do you prefer? Pros, and cons on both?
Roselyn staggered. The Five! Her father’s pleas were near incoherent, but she had heard enough. Trevain was summoning The Five. Gods no! She slid to a stop in the dusty street. Her father lay, sprawled at the foot of the giant Trevain. Even then, she wanted to run to him and let him chase the demons of the night away. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t. She alone would stand against Trevain. She alone-
“Ten,” Trevain’s voice sounded.
Ten. That’s how old she was—only ten. And she hoped to stand against Trevain, how? A wave of fear spread over her and tears gathered. She shook her head. I can’t stop, father. They’ll kill me; rip me to pieces as you watch. She ran on. I’m already dead!
Roselyn staggered. Trevain was summoning The Five. Gods no! She slid to a stop in the dusty street and looked back to her father. He was down, sprawled at the foot of the half-giant Trevain. The body of her mother lay beside him. They would all pay for her father’s attempt to unite the town against Trevain--she most of all. She could see it in the giant’s eyes. She would be the final lesson, the one the town would never forget.
Trevain drew his shield from behind his back and slammed the pointed base in the ground beside her father’s head. He ran his hand over the raised coat of arms, caressing the cross, and the five demons that clung to the symbol of faith. “You better run, child. In ten, they come.”
Thanks in advance.
[This message has been edited by Tiergan (edited July 24, 2008).]
I like the first version better. It's clearer in that version that summoning the five is a bad thing whereas in the second version it's stated without emotion. Also, the use of "ten" was better in the first. In the second version I was just left confused, but I like how you used 'ten' in the first by weaving it into background information which will be important for the reader to know, the sooner the better.
Posts: 72 | Registered: Aug 2007
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I prefer version 2, because you're letting the reader see what Roselyn has at stake. You're letting reader determine what Roselyn's emotional state is without using over the top prose or blatantly throwing emotion in the reader's face, such as the 'she couldn't, she wouldn't' phrase in version 1. I think the situation speaks for itself and you respect your reader by not spoon feeding them Roselyn's emotions.
There are still some things I don't understand in version 2. Such as; Was she physically staggered or emotionally staggered? Why did she have to look back at her father? Was she running away? Did she have her back turn?
These are minor things which can easily be corrected with a little editing.
I liked version 2 better. I gave me a clearer picture of what was going on. In the first version I didn't understand what was happening except that someone was summoning demons and her father was in trouble. I had to keep rereading the first to understand it better.
The second flowed so nicely. I found myself drawn into the scene and I sympathized more with the girl since I better understood her plight. I liked knowing her father had stood up to Trevain and that now her family was paying for that. The fact that summoning demons is bad, doesn't have to be as played up. I think that is a natural assumption.
2 for 2. No clear cut favorite as of yet. Thank you for your votes and thoughts.
Just to throw a wrinkle in, I will tell my opinion. I love the franticness of version 1, and love the instant understanding of version 2. At least that's the way I see it.
If I started with version 1, I go right into the countdown.
If I start with version 2 as is, it explains a little more, then I would pick up a slightly changed version 1 in the next paragraph, hence getting the understandability with the franticness, it just wouldn't all be in the first 13. Does that make sense? <bangs head into wall>
[This message has been edited by Tiergan (edited July 25, 2008).]
I like the second version. It gave me more reasons to care about Roselyn other than Demons being summoned and her being a child. It gives not only that she is being chased, but why she is being chased and that she doesn't deserve it.
The second version would keep me reading.
[This message has been edited by Coyotespirit (edited July 28, 2008).]
I prefer the first version because it feels more dramatic than the second. for a novel i dont mind not knowing the particulars of why this giant is attackiing in the first thirteen lines, for a short story i like the second. Considering opening scenes, this little girl's dad may be dead, and she naturally has a kid-like moment about thinking she can take on this giant before realizing she cant, and is about to be on the run with demons chasing her- thats exciting for me.
Posts: 7 | Registered: May 2008
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Although I critisize it, I prefer the original version you sent me way back when. These two looks like the first page got ripped out of the book and this is page three. A sharp hook does no good if the reader has no idea what is going on. The next thirteen better fill in the reader without boring them. An impossible task based on what I know. I understand why you are tempted to start the story here. That section is the electrifying start but I suggest you provide a little backstory before that point. It is too difficult to start with a climax and it doesn't help if it's all down hill the rest of the way. You have two great villians in your story, Trevain and the Five. You chose the Five, I think you should showcase Trevain then present your five. Part of what your story is about is what happens when good people do nothing. Start with that premise and have Trevain march into town to confront one of his lone rivials, Roselyn's parents. A start where Roselyn's father trying to rally the town and the residents disappearing behind their doors when the bully shows up is where you should start.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited July 31, 2008).]
The first version reads better, on account of how it sounds more like it's coming from a 10 year old girl.
The second version... feels flat to me. Unreal even. There is less emotion there, and considering the circumstances it describes, it just doesn't work for me. The first is a better and more catching start, and it's quite possible to add in the extra detail of the second version after the first.
I vote for the second version. The first seemed somewhat mundane to me, while the second was more imaginative. I love the coat of arms with the five demons. I would lose the "Gods no" part. It came off as overdramatic to me, but that's just my opinion. I would definitely read on based on the second. Best regards,