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Author Topic: Jad and the Gods
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Jad dashed out into the storm unafraid of the thunder and lightning. The rain was coming down in sheets, and the clouds were so thick and dark he could hardly see in front of him even though it was only noon. He hurried around the corner of the house to the back, past the vegetable garden his parents kept and further, to the meadow. The rain had only begun a few moments ago, but already the ground was turning to mud. Each of his steps squelched in the muck that tried to grab his bare ankles and hold tight. He kept on. Nothing and nobody got in the way when Jad was going to pray.

There were days when he was almost certain he could see all the way up into Lahema, the home of the god Bacall and his wife Verine.

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I feel like I don't need to be told about every step that Jad takes. I don't need to know that it was only noon, or the back house or the vegetable garden, or that the rain had just begun.

Consider, if you simply put thunder and lightning in the scene and he doesn't react in fear then that pretty much tells us he's not afraid of it. If you describe the darkness of the clouds we will understand how dark it is. Describing his feet sinking into the mud is good but you might be able to smooth it out.

It may come in the next few lines, but no matter how devout someone is I did wonder why he was running to prayer.

You could easily start with your very last sentence and then describe the rain coming down around him and the mud he's slogging through. Basically, I think you've started in the wrong place.

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I like the action and the setting, the character’s bravery and sense of urgency. That said:

He sounded so eager to get out there and do whatever—I assumed it was going to be a rescue, perhaps of a little kid or an animal or a prized possession. It was jarring to find out at the end of the paragraph that his goal is prayer. If you put that up front, I won’t be surprised.

“Jad dashed out into the storm unafraid of the thunder and lightning.” This line is good--it provides action and setting and a hint about the character--but it doesn’t have the depth of a really great opening line.

OSC talks about how the first line is “free” (which I understand to mean you can speak outside of the POV of the character in the first line and then get into his head from then on). I’d suggest putting this line first:

“Nothing and nobody got in the way when Jad was going to pray.” That line tells us something more important about Jad than his bravery in a storm. But “Nothing and nobody” don’t say much—perhaps put the storm there instead. It’s a little cutesy to have way and pray rhyme. (Read it out loud—it sounds like sing-song.)

I like how you told us he is unafraid, but it might have more impact if it is in the context of a close lightning strike. Maybe he dashes out just as a strike hits?

Suggest “came” instead of “was coming”.

“… the clouds were so thick and dark he could hardly see in front of him even though it was only noon.” This could be trimmed. The extreme darkness at this time of day made me think this is no ordinary storm, but perhaps a hurricane. If so I would expect some pretty fierce winds. Storms don’t usually make things that dark, in my experience.

Suggest cutting "to the back" and “his parents kept and further” – however, this is the only reference to the fact that he is a kid, so maybe “past his parents’ garden” ? – I’d prefer mother or father here, for a tad more flavor.

Suggest cutting “Each of his steps squelched in” and “that tried to” (but squelched is a great word!)

“He kept on.” To where? Maybe move the meadow down here (mud fits better with the garden anyway). Why does he have to go to a specific place? I’d rather see that carried forward, not have the action stop with the line about the gods. And why is it so important to go pray right now?

I’d rather be told about Lahema within the present context, after he gets to his alter or whatever.

If you like the idea of starting with the last line, I'd say it has too much info and hesitancy as it stands now. I could see something like: Sometimes Jad could see the home of the gods--a powerful storm guaranteed it.

As always, take what you like and leave the rest. Hope this helps!

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited September 02, 2009).]

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Ben Trovato
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What genevive said.

Other than that, the setting is intriguing. What's got Jad so worried? Why's he running out to pray now? Is the god going to answer? Why is his name Bacall? I'd definitely read on.

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Agree about not mentioning that it just begun to rain, or that it was noon; however, I like the part about the veggy patch. It gives me a peek into his world, how his parents fit into it. I wouldn't remove that part.

Comment on Lightning Elves if ya wish.

This is what helps me flesh-out my stories

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