Opening of a sci-fi WIP, approximately 30k words. Comments on tone, voice, setting, character (and anything else) all welcome. Also taking volunteers to read the first three chapters (approximately 6k words). Thanks for your feedback.
The sun was an enemy. The boy who was almost a man had known this all his life. He had accepted the truth of it when his father first taught him, as all men living on the fringes of the desert taught their sons. He believed it now, as he marked the menacing glow that marked its coming. The sun hated him, as it hated all men, and the boy knew it would try to kill him before it was forced to make its grudging retreat into the west. By the time it reached its apex, it would heat the shale on which he lay like a loaf of bread on the bed of one of the bakerís ovens in Cair, and leave his roasted corpse as a treat for the jackals.
The boy knew there was nothing he could do about it. Even so, he wanted to live. He rested his cheek on the still-cool rock. He closed his eyes.
[This message has been edited by J (edited August 09, 2010).]
I think this is some very good writing. I like the first line, it immediately introduces tension into the story. I also like "the boy who was almost a man" as a title for your MC. I would read more.
This is also uncannily similar to a short story I am working on. I'm pretty familiar with deserts and your characterization of the sun as an enemy is good. The moon, on the other hand, is an ally
I'd be happy to read the first 3 chapters. I believe in give and take though when it comes to critique, so only send it to me if you are willing to critique something of mine. I only say this because I have burned by people who thought it was the job of others to read their work and never reciprocated. My email addy can be seen on the profile info.
[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited August 09, 2010).]
I like it. I think the last sentence of the first parargraph breaks the pace of the opening and could be shortened, maybe something like: ...like a loaf of bread in a bakerís oven in Cair.
I usually dislike it when the MC's name is withheld for no apparent reason. It draws attention to pronouns which are usually a bit invisible. This time, it didn't bother me as much, but I hope the name is forthcoming soon.
I second Osiris, the depiction of the sun is well done and is the strong point of your opening. I also second axeminister the double "marked" was a stumbling block for me, it seemed an unecesary repetition that particularly stands out since it is right at the begining. One other thing that felt a little of was "treat" this may just me, but treat seems light and jovial and breaks the more somber tone of the opening. It almost felt like some gallows humor from the MC but not quite. The best part of the opeing is that it keeps the reader going wondering "is he traped on this rock? If not why isn't he leaving if he knows he will die? how did he get there?" etc.
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