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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » (Untitled novel) There is war.

   
Author Topic: (Untitled novel) There is war.
OlsenOlsen
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Here are the first 13 lines to the novel I do not yet have a name for. It is fiction, an adventure novel. It is pretty rough so feel free to make changes and help me out. Thanks.


It was war, or so many had imagined. The children would run around the village, throwing rocks and clashing sticks as if swords. They could be heard chanting, their feeble war cries resonating in the fine air. These were just games though, causing no harm to anyones well being. Just years before their brethren hath doth the same, for they spawned the interest. Alex and Adrian are their names.
They would clash swords at the break of dawn everyday, swiftly maneuvering around Mr. Dawson’s tree. Many would watch from Dawson’s cottage or further North to the crops. Some wonder why they do so. Dawson himself says it came from their childish ambitions. Ulysses the old would say it was in Alex’s blood to fight. For Adrian had always followed Alex in his

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 17, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by OlsenOlsen (edited September 17, 2008).]


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Kin Castelmare
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I like the immediate attention that the first words get. Even though it turns out to be a pretend war, the children going after each other is charming. Then we find out that their brothers had been to a real war and the sage old man tells us that it's in the one boy's blood to fight. The impression that I got was that another war is on the way, so anticipation starts building from the outset.

I'm not a expert by any stretch, but it might read better in straight-forward present tense without the archaic verbs. Such as: "The children ran around the village, throwing rocks and clashing sticks as if swords. The town heard their chanting and their feeble war cries resonating in the fine air." and "They clashed swords at the break of dawn every morning." And avoid "hath" or "doth."

The main thing: I wanted to keep reading and find out what it was that Alex did that made Adrian want to follow his example. You engaged me.

Hope this is helpful!

[This message has been edited by Kin Castelmare (edited September 17, 2008).]


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Starbrusttiger
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I like the contrast between the war games of the children and the reality of real war and death among their kindred. It provokes a lot of emotion in the reader.

I would avoid the Old English spattering of "hath" and "doth." If you are going to use them, you have to use it throughout the entire novel to maintain consistency. I'm not sure what you think about that, but I would find it hampering to the creativity and flow of prose.

If you wanted to use it in the dialogue, that would be different. Having your characters speak with a certain cadence would be appropriate for a novel set during a certain period.


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OlsenOlsen
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Thanks both of you for the feedback. I have rewritten the first, just with some changes both of you suggested. I think you're right about using Hath and Doth, and so on with other archaic verbs. It would be best to use them in dialogue if i choose to do so.

-------------------------------------------------------------
It was war, or so many had imagined. The children ran around the village, throwing rocks and clashing sticks as if swords. They could be heard chanting, their feeble war cries resonating in the fine air. These were just games though, causing no harm to anyone's well being. Just years before their brethren had done the same, for they spawned the interest. Alex and Adrian are their names.
They clashed swords at the break of dawn everyday, swiftly maneuvering around Mr. Dawson's tree. Many watched from Dawson's cottage or further North to the crops. Some wonder why they do so. Dawson himself says it came from their childish imaginations. Ulysses the Old would say it was in Alex's blood to fight. For Adrian had always followed Alex in his


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marchpane
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I like your style - I would read on. But your verbs confuse me: you move between the present and past tenses - 'many watched', 'some wonder'. I would pick one tense and stick with it...
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OlsenOlsen
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Alright, thanks!

Question, is anyone willing to take a read at my first draft of the 1st chapter. I'm not completely done with it, I'm 1,500 words in. Let me know, thanks.


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SolarStone
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I still see the vestigial pseudo-Old Englishness in the sentence structures. I believe modern readers are annoyed by attempts to do this unless it is a historical piece, and even then it’s unnecessary. Heck, I watched AMADEUS the other day and nobody had a German accent! Heck, there were English, American, and even French accents, but no German…and it won an Academy Award. If it is merely fantasy then it works against you big time. As long as you don’t use modern slang or turns of phrase we will all assume what is being said is in the language/vernacular of the period/era/world/milieu in which it takes place.

Whose POV is this? It is very godlike and cinematic. If that is to be maintained then you’re off to a good start, but if it’s about to shift to a character it will be jarring. I like it so far. I’m expecting the raiders to arrive at any moment to burn the village down…


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OlsenOlsen
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You are right the POV at the beginning is somewhat godlike and cinematic, thats kind of what I'm looking for, and further making the situation more intimate within the first chapter. The POV is not permanent though, I'm going to ease the reader into Alex's POV (3rd person though) in the second chapter.

[This message has been edited by OlsenOlsen (edited September 28, 2008).]


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