Lili perched on her favorite tree limb with her back to the trunk and one leg hanging down. She loved to sit here and watch the traffic entering Howardston. Years ago, many more than her eighteen, her tree would never have been allowed to grow so close to the wall, but prolonged peace had allowed them to grow lax. She stared out, over the wall, and her eyes traveled the road approaching the eastern gate. In her daydream the steady stream of merchants and farmers were barbarian hordes charging out of the forest, and across the open ground towards her frightened town. It had happened, nearly a hundred years ago; the Lord Howard’s ancestors had fought them off. The thought of Lord Percival Constance Howard trying to fight anyone made Lili laugh so hard she nearly fell.
[This message has been edited by Josephine Kait (edited September 10, 2008).]
I would prefer to use the "had made them lax" instead of "allowed them to grow lax". Made/became/grown lax suggests they are consciously unaware of the chink in their armor. Allowed suggests they have always been willing to be lax and have taken the opportunity to do so. It really depends on how the rest of your story is laid out and if the city is indeed attacked at some point and if the barbarian hordes are successful due to a failure of the Lord.
I think you’re right, I can lose “their own” in favor of just “the”.
I originally had “had made them lax” and changed it in favor of “allowed them to grow lax.” I don’t think that most people are terribly vigilant without good cause. Most people will gravitate towards comfort and ease wherever possible. And once the cause for vigilance is forgotten it seems like mere paranoia.
The “barbarians” that they had fought are now their allies and past aggressions are well submerged in mutually profitable trade. Conflicts are now on other fronts, and none of those are open wars. Her town never gets attacked, but she does go off to serve in the military. I wasn’t actually trying to foreshadow a conflict in this place, just Lili’s affinity for her people’s martial history, and maybe a little tidbit about how tough she’s going to find her training, because she is much softer than she thinks herself to be. I was using the “Lord” to try to begin establishing that this isn’t in our world, without info dumping.
I’m really glad that you like this so far, any takers on chapters as I get them done?
I had volunteered before to read for you. I know it is easier to write when someone is waiting to see what happens next I have my 16 yr old daughter demanding more from me than I would probably do on my own.
You'll just have to let me know what you'd like me to critique. I am new at this and I'd like to actually help.
I'd be interested in reading your final novel, but I can't help you with "chapters as you finish them." First, I'm extremely busy trying to finish my own novel right now. Second, I know my chapters change so much between first draft and second draft, I wouldn't know what to say that would be helpful to someone else during a first-draft reading.
However, when you finish the novel and have it as polished as you can do it without critiquers, feel free to contact me for a critique. Good luck.
I thought this start to be much stronger than the first one. I'm immediately pulled in by the character. She's got dimensions, not just a complaining voice.
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