here are the first thirteen. I started the story from a different place then the last time cause the first opening was a little cliched. Please let me know what you think, give me both barrels.
Shen Pa lay naked in the center of a fiery circle with priests gathered around it chanting incantations. The high priest bowed to the alter murmuring spells in a foreign tongue while drums echoed off the walls. A black mist began to appear over her in the form of a two-headed demon dragon, thrashing violently against massive glowing red chains. “I will have my revenge!” one head growled. The priest turned with an ominous glow in his eyes. “You will be a weapon for the favored ones,” he said. The mist began to split and flowed into each side of Shen Pa’s pregnant belly. She fell to the ground screaming as her twin babies began to tear their way out of her.
You can make this right, but at the present it reads a mite rough.
Shen Pa lay naked in the center of a fiery circle with priests gathered around it chanting incantations.The sentence needs more florid verbs. i.e. gathered--surrounded Is Shen Pa bound? Is she conscious? alter You've got to get the spelling right or you'll pull readers right out (altar) while drums echoed off the walls. I've never seen a drum echo off the walls, only their sounds. The priest turned with an ominous glow in his eyes. Turned to whom? “You will be a weapon for the favored ones,” he said. Who will be the weapon? the dragon? Shen Pa? the babies? She fell to the ground screaming. She was already lying down, how could she fall?
This is can be a good hook, but it just needs a bit of a washing-up. As it is the reader could be confused and might read on only to figure out if they've guessed things right rather than be in the story like you intend them to be.
[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited December 08, 2009).]
I agree with Oswam. You've got interesting things happening, but I wasn't pulled in. Maybe spend a bit more time descrbing the scene and how the characters feel about it?
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I too wonder how Shen Pa feels about this situation. Is it a great honor? Or is she being forced into this demonic ritual? A combination of both? Something else?
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I kinda thought this "Shen Pa lay naked in the center of a fiery circle with priests gathered around it chanting incantations,"
could be rewritten tighter. Since Shen Pa is doing so little in the sentence, the active participants could come first.
"Chanting priests gathered around the fiery circle where Shen Pa lay naked," or something like that.
I'm not sure about Owasm's echo bit. Merriam-Webster gives one definition of echo to mean "to produce an echo." I get what OSasm's saying, but I'm not exactly sure I support it. Of course, you could err on the side of caution and change it.
I do agree with pretty much everything else Osasm wrote.
Drumbeats would echo, but not the drums. However, the next question is, how did they beat? Were they monotone, rapid, etc...
Initially, I do not read Shen Pa as female (the characters sex is not immediately determined), you mention a mist appears over "her", but since this followed immediately after the introduction of the High Priest I made the assumption that the priest was female. Only after this did you clarify who is what. If the sexes of the characters introduced here are significant, then perhaps you should clarify that earlier.
The last sentence might read better if we know Shen Pa's condition. Is she bound, as was mentioned by others earlier? If so, it might read "Bound by chains herself Shen Pa could only struggle and scream as her twins (don't think babies is needed, it is already understood she's pregnant) began to tear..."
You have the makings of a great setting here, I just want more clarification as the reader.