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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » THE SHAMAN'S CURSE, Chapter 2

Author Topic: THE SHAMAN'S CURSE, Chapter 2
Member # 8368

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Okay, this one's a little different. And yes, Kitti, from either opening of this chapter, it's clear that something very bad did happen at the end of chaper one (a flash flood).

Here's the existing opening. I've always been half inclined to consider this just a bit melodramatic.

Vatar should never have sent Fenar for help. Fenar would bring them back here and it was Torkaz, not himself, that most needed aid. He’d been hurt before; he’d be alright. Vatar needed to be sure that all resources were used to rescue his friend.

Vatar pushed himself up on his good arm, his chest on fire from the effort. One armed, he could not manage to get to his feet. He dragged himself over to the nearest tree and pulled himself up, gasping at the pain. He shook his head, trying to clear it. He shouldn’t feel this lightheaded. He staggered drunkenly towards the remaining horses, moving from tree to tree to support himself. Why did he feel so weak? The dizziness only increased the harder he tried to overcome it.

However, if I cut that scene, the chapter starts with Vatar waking up. Oops.


Vatar groaned and opened his eyes. He stared up at the hide roof of a Dardani hut. He could smell the sod of the walls and the faint, clean scent of the grass mats on the floor beneath him. For a moment, he was disoriented. It all seemed so normal. How had he gotten here? He started to sit up, but he found that his right arm was splinted. It wasn’t a dream then.

“Stay still, Vatar. You’re back home. Your arm and three of your ribs are broken.”

Vatar turned his head toward the voice. “Mother?”

She was sitting close, watching over him. It wasn’t like his mother to hover, even when he was injured. He put his left arm down to sit up.

And no, I'm not planning on doing this for every chapter. This opening is just one I've gone back and forth on almost from the beginning.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited January 27, 2010).]

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Member # 5493

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I'd like to know about how he got back home, not just be told he did and skip the action, so I vote for opening one, rather than two. It shows his character. Although if a person gets knocked out in one chapter, I think it's perfectly respectable to show the person coming out of it in another. I always think of the waking up thing as more pertaining to the cheap hook of having someone awake in an improbable situation to jump start the action.
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Member # 8368

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Okay, now you're making me think. (Which is a good thing.) As it stands right now, you don't see Vatar get back home at all. I cut that ages ago because it didn't advance the story in any way.

At the end of chapter 1, Vatar sent his brother for help. Fenar's not injured and can ride fast, so that makes sense to me.

If I keep the first scene, Vatar decides to try to follow Fenar on his own. They've been separated from Torkaz, who was swept downriver. He doesn't want the search for Torkaz held up by Fenar bringing help back to him, first. But he ends up passing out from the pain and . . .

The second scene is Vatar waking up back home. The first thing he does is ask about Torkaz. He then frets that Torkaz hasn't been found yet and wants to join the search until his mother gives him something to make him sleep.

The "action" at this point is all internal--Vatar worrying about Torkaz. The whole buisiness of uncle Bion making a travois to bring him back home didn't really add anything in my opinion. And Vatar still passed out. It was really boring.

After your comment, I started trying to think how I could bring him home. I could have Fenar refuse to leave him and Vatar try to ride back with him. But I really don't think he can ride in his condition. He can barely walk, because he's so dizzy. He's a good horseman, but not Superman. And if he falls off, with those three broken ribs, there's going to be internal bleeding and quite probably a punctured lung. I can't kill off the main character in chapter two. And, while his mother is a very good Healer, she's only an ordinary Healer, not a magical one. I mean, I need to keep this believable.

Would Vatar passing out and waking up back home really bother you? And do I need to keep the scene where he does pass out in order for it to work?

Maybe I can have him vaguely remember rousing a bit when they put him in the travois or pass through a rocky area (that makes the travois bounce) on the way back when he first wakes up.

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Bent Tree
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I think this suffers from he-it-isms. I associate this alot with rough drafts, but I try to eliminate as many; he,she,it,the's as possible. It often entails reorganizing alot of sentences, but the result is usually well worth the effort.
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Member # 8809

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I like the fire part better than the waking up part.

You could write a new scene and breifly start it with how he got where he is and hint out how much time has passed, or just say how much time has passed. There is no reason to have him pass out and wake up somewhere else. You don't even have to have him wake up somewhere else. Just cut to the next "cool" scene and brielfly explain where he is, how he got there, and about how much time had passed, if important.

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