After receiving excellent and helpful feedback from you lovely people (and a read of Les Edgerton's invaluable "Hooked" which I highly recommend), I rewrote the first chapter of my YA fantasy.
Quick summary of whole ms: Miles, an apprentice gardener at the royal palace in Thorn, is hopelessly in love with Princess Rosamelia. When Rosamelia's younger sister is kidnapped by a mad king bent on raising an ancient evil, Miles is the only one who can set things right.
First 13 lines:
quote:It was, Miles concluded, an awkward position. He was trapped with his back against the north gate, every avenue of escape blocked by the advancing princess. She grinned, winked, and shook a coy finger at him.
“Not thinking of running again, are you?” Princess Brianette asked.
“Actually, I am,” he replied, juggling several possibilities in his thoughts. Go left and trample the rare mourning lily his master so prized. Go right and have to fight his way through thorn-riddled shrubs. Going forward would require shoving the princess out of the way, which he did not dare do. Looks like it’ll have to be right…
“You odd little flower boy.” Little? She did realize, didn’t
[This message has been edited by J. N. Khoury (edited January 14, 2011).]
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 14, 2011).]
WAAAAY better ... this is quick-moving and immediately involving. (In fact it so thoroughly shoved the old version out of my head that I had to go look it up... nope, they're not related. )
One nit, I don't think you need he replied, juggling several possibilities in his thoughts. since it's fairly obvious from his thoughts. No need to tell us what he's about to think, then show us his thoughts too!
I like "mourning lily" -- definitely something different from a mere "morning lily", and sets it off as too rare to trample without having to say much about it.
Guys, thanks so much for the feedback! It was really hard to scratch my old beginning; you know how it is, you get attached to stuff you write. So I thought I was taking a desperate gamble. But your kind response has shown me that this is the better track, and I'll continue on it!