Based on the comment on my partial yesterday and some of the wonderful feedback I've already recieved, I'm looking at trying to make the beginning read faster and get more involvement in the character right at the start. I'll undoubtedly be cutting some scenes out of the first three chapters, maybe even reduce them to two chapters. I may still move the opening until later. But there are some things established here I want for later if I can save this opening. This isn't all I need to do, but it's something I can start with.
This change is minor, but hopefully puts more urgency up front.
Even Newer Revised Opening:
quote:Valeriah launched herself over the locked gate and raced on down the dirt path. The cliff-top trail was closed at night for good reason; one misstep could end in a fatal fall to the jagged rocks and crashing waves below. Even on a moonless night, Valeriah could see in the dark; her werewolf blood was good for that much.
The words of the note that had reached her less than an hour ago repeated through her mind with each step. Just two sentences in her grandfather’s handwriting, “Come home as soon as you can. I’m dying.” How long had that message taken to reach her? How much or how little time did she have?
Her memories of the old man replayed in her head even as she ran, starting with the day he’d found her, buried under her
Newly Revised Opening:
quote:Valeriah hurdled the locked gate and pelted down the path on the other side. The cliff-top trail was closed at night for good reason; one misstep could end in a fatal fall to the jagged brown rocks and crashing waves below. Valeriah’s werewolf blood made it possible to see in the dark and she trusted her natural agility to take care of the rest.
The words of the note that had reached her less than an hour ago ran through her mind. Just two sentences in her grandfather’s handwriting, “Come home as soon as you can. I’m dying.” How long had that message taken to reach her? How much or how little time did she have?
Her memories of the old man kept replaying in her head, starting with the day he’d found her, buried under her own father’s body.
quote:Valeriah left the trail and pushed through the thick brush in the back corner of the suburban nature preserve, ignoring the signs asking her to please stay on the marked trail and warning about rattlesnakes. Those signs were mainly there to keep fools away from the portal, anyway. Even if they weren’t, she’d risk her reflexes against a snake’s rather than be too late.
Valeriah walked around the two ancient oak trees until she could see the slight shimmer between the trees and then stepped into that shimmer and through the portal, barely registering the tingling sensation on her skin as she passed through the barrier between the worlds. One more step carried her into Chimeria, in a forest clearing just a hard day’s ride from her grandfather’s tower.
quote:Valeriah left the trail and pushed through the thick brush in the back corner of the suburban nature preserve, ignoring the signs warning about rattlesnakes. Her eyes were fixed on two ancient oak trees. She walked around them until she could see the slight shimmer between the trees and then stepped into that shimmer and through the portal, barely registering the tingling sensation on her skin as she passed through the barrier between the worlds. One more step carried her into Chimeria, in a forest clearing just a hard day’s ride from her grandfather’s tower.
Two members of the Watch stepped forward out of the trees to stop her. Her jeans and T-shirt told them nothing about whether she belonged here or not and their job was to keep
[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited July 24, 2010).]
I have to agree that number two is definitely better than number one. The flow is much improved. Only a couple things jarred to me; the use of the name "Valeriah" at the beginning of both paragraphs (maybe try "she" on the second one) and the line "One more step carried her into Chimeria, in a forest clearing just a hard day’s ride from her grandfather’s tower." It doesn't quite jive in that format, although it might be fixed by changing the comma with a semi-colon.
The piece did catch my interest, however. Keep it up!
Yeah, I prefer the revised opening. I’m hooked. Cool!
Nits: Lots of long sentences. I get the feel you are linking sentences together to avoid too many “She verb…” sentences. Tough, I know
“Even if they weren’t” – I had to stop briefly to be clear about what They referred to. Could replace with “Besides,”
Suggest dropping the trail and the signs “asking her to please stay on the marked trail”. Signs usually instruct, not ask nicely. And you wouldn’t want a marked trail taking folks that close to the portal. Or maybe it could seem like a longer distance away that she goes, to the trees. Not a big deal.
“them” instead of “the trees” – also don’t think you need the second shimmer, it would be enough to see the shimmer and then step into the portal.
The opening thirteen lines were my least favorite part of Blood's partial, and your revised opening retained the parts that bothered me. (You'll have my emailed feedback by the end of the night.) On the other hand, the revision shows more of Valeriah's perspective, which is good. We're shown too few of her thoughts in the partial.
By the way, I liked all the scenes. I think minor edits rather than major cuts are needed to improve the story's pace.
*Edited to correct the UBB coding.
[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited July 01, 2010).]
I thought the basic scene with the packing was fine, it could use a bit of revision though. Also, if Valeriah borrows a cloak it would be a good idea to mention it then, and why she needs to borrow one in the first place.
Back to the 13, I think you should start one or two parragraphs earlier for your opening. Maybe you could describe the emotions running through Valeriah's mind as she is returning, for the first time in 8 years, to see her dying grandfather. Regret, remorse, etc..
I preferred newly revised opening. Some of it has too many adjectives though. Suggested rewording of beginning of the werewolf sentence: "thanks to her werewolf blood." The sentence beginning "the words" seems awkward. Could be more graceful and dramatic. Also I wouldn't repeat the word reach
Posts: 8 | Registered: Jul 2010
| IP: Logged |
Meredith, I like the opening. It has setting, time, and a character with a problem.
"Valeriah hurdled the locked gate and pelted down the path on the other side." Pelted is an awkward word. I couldn't find any synonym for this word that meant run. "On the other side" doesn't mean anything yet. The next sentence tells me where she's running. Can you combine them? "Ran along the cliff-top trail." This will save you lots of words.
The second sentence is good info, but can you make it pertain to her or from her perspective? What I mean is, you say a misstep could end in a fatal fall, but reword it so that HER misstep could end in HER death.
If you take the above advice, mention her werewolf blood and her agility, but keep the danger up. You've stated there's a fatal fall nearby, but then told us she's not going to fall. Keep her barreling through the woods, or along the cliff-top, but have her HOPE her natural agility keeps her feet on the ground.
The rest is good stuff.
Maybe I went overboard and the trip toward her grandfather isn't so important or dangerous and it's just a means to an end, but if that's the case, then theoretically the story could just start at his front door.
I do wonder if there's going to be any other obstacles in her way or if she'll make it to him soon, so as far as a hook is concerned, I'm sold.
Oh no! I didn't know she's a werewolf. Now I'm disappointed. My reaction changes from "what's a nice girl like that doing in a restricted area?" to "I suspect she's not a nice girl, and I'm not sure if I will like her."
Personal preference, I think I'd rather meet her in our world and get to like her before finding out she's got this other part to her; I just naturally think of werewolves as the bad guys. But then I haven't been reading much vamp/werewolf stuff lately.
The part about her grandfather helps considerably.
Can't please everyone
Edited to say: I thought "pelted" was perfect for a werewolf. Don't need "or how little".
[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited July 08, 2010).]
quote:Oh no! I didn't know she's a werewolf. Now I'm disappointed. My reaction changes from "what's a nice girl like that doing in a restricted area?" to "I suspect she's not a nice girl, and I'm not sure if I will like her."
That's part of the problem I've been having over this whole thing. She is half werewolf. (Mom was a werewolf, Dad was . . . complicated. ) She pretty much has all the sharpened senses, strength, speed, agility of a werewolf. The only thing she can't do is change into a wolf. And the full moon, aside from making her crave rare meat, makes her sort of manic, which she controls by running herself to exhaustion. At the full moon, especially, she can certainly be a little, well, bitchy. But she is basically a nice person.
I've intentionally made all of the magical creatures in this just a little different than expected and working that in is apparently harder than I thought.
The fact that she's half-werewolf comes up again in another page or two. Should I just cut it here and not explain why she sees so well at night?
Respectfully suggest "Valeriah’s werewolf heritage" instead of "blood" -- it sounds, well, nicer; and hints at a partial bloodline beyond her control. Otherwise I do like this opening.
Just to mess with you: I'm imagining her sitting in a cafe with friends who have no idea who she really is, pretending to be regular but experiencing the world through her special abilities (sense of smell, hearing). And she's nice, I like her. Then someone hands her the note and she reads it, leaps up--to he** with pretending, she's off on the run to see grandpa. But that strikes me as a YA opening. Don't listen to me
[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited July 08, 2010).]
Readers of the novel sample or complete published novel will know Valeriah is a werewolf; that would have to be in the novel's descriptions. It's fair to assume the readers like modern werewolves or are at least curious about them.
Posts: 1139 | Registered: May 2008
| IP: Logged |
quote:Tangent: if a werewolf is bitten by a vampire (or vice-versa) do they have characteristics of both?
I don't know. Although vampires exist in the world of this novel, they haven't entered into the story. (Yet, anyway. There could be sequels.)
Valeriah is half-werewolf because her mother was a werewolf. She has some of the characteristics, but cannot take wolf form. In fact, due to her heritage on her father's side, she's vegetarian at the new moon.