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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Tribal Wars - chapter 1

   
Author Topic: Tribal Wars - chapter 1
MartinV
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I'm posting the first 13 lines of my newest story (or however close I can get without breaking words in half). If you're interested, the rest of the chapter can be read here. I accept any comments.


Isurion wiped the sweat from his brow and crouched, his focus on the ground. The wind grew strong on top of the ridgeline; he gathered disobedient strands of hair and tugged them behind the ear while he studied the trail.
"Too many for a hunting party," he murmured. "And they were too much in a hurry. Agreed?" he said, turning. Niomir was silent but nodded in ascent while keeping his attention to the distance; Isurion noticed his bow was drawn and ready.
As far as the eye could reach, forest and meadow and swamp passed seamlessly one into another, forming an endless carpet of green. Pine and spruce dominated but ash and oak had their place as well. Hills rose one over another, ridges snaked their way across the landscape. A river glittered in the distance as it wove its way

[ December 11, 2013, 10:30 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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I read the full chapter sample. The chapter's ending context and texture are inspired and engaging. Before that, I wasn't engaged. The writing feels static to me. Lots of physical action and conversation and sensation description with little meaningful import for me.

If during the setup to the chapter's ending, a few clues implying the meaning of all that running around and talk were prepositioned, I think the chapter would be more engaging. As it is, I feel the plot and story begin at the end of the chapter.

The above opening lines also feel static to me, more than slow, still. Trespassers create a degree of complication, but the trespassers' meaning Isurion suspects, believes, or knows is withheld I feel too long for meaningfulness in the moment. Isurion need not even suspect the meaning of the trespassers, but ought I believe have an understanding of the ominous menace the trespassers pose.

The chapter ending suggests a course for developing that menace up front. Might Isurion and his companions notice more than the trespassers passing through their territory? What ominous clues might Isurion focus on that develop and preposition the action to come for empathy and suspense's sakes? Mere fresh tracks on the ground signal little overt menace. Might the trespassers scavenge for subsistence supplies along the way, leaving behind gut sacks, fouled water sources, smoldering campfires and lodges, and irrepairable tools and weapons? Mabe dead persons? Might such clues provide Isurion with inteligence about the trespassers' agenda? He need not even be correct, he only need suspect, if paranoid and off the mark, more than trespassing is going on.

The inspired chapter ending poses a phenomenal if highly controversial solution from the global role warfare plays in overpopulation pressures. That's an exquisite inspiration worthy of a novel.

[ December 09, 2013, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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It's not bad writing. Clear, concise. But nothing of interest happens in these lines which compels me to read on.

The characters are searching for something, obviously, and I think the hook is supposed to be what. But Isurion and Niomir are faceless, with nothing to set them apart from each other, and nothing to set them apart from a similar ranging scene in fantasy fiction. I feel like the third paragraph, the descriptive one, can be read in any number of novels. Forest, pines, oaks, and an eagle soaring. All quite generic.

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legolasgalactica
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I read the whole chapter as well. Not that the other comments don't have some validity, but I rather liked both the the 13 and the chapter. There were a few spelling and grammar things that need fixing, but otherwise good, clear writing. I didn't mind that I didn't understand everything that was happening or its significance and enjoyed trying to put all the pieces together. I would have liked some more description of the characters and people. Also some of the conversation with father needs work and clarification. Also why doesn't Niomir talk? I can go into more detail about issues I saw if you'd like, Id just need my computer and not this useless phone.
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MartinV
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I'll admit the beginning is a bit slow but I think for a large story this is normal. I can't have world-altering carnage on page one. The slow start was used so that I didn't have to use a documentary approach; you get all the important information from the characer interaction and also have to guess a bit; at least that was the idea. I never said I was perfect. [Big Grin]
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wetwilly
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Only read the first 13. I like it. The strangers they are watching are enough of a complication to create a spark of interest for me, and I trust you to fan the spark into a flame. My one problem is when you introduce Niomir, I don't know anything about him, so I can't imagine him. I don't need a long, drawn-out description (certainly not!) but maybe one or two choice details I can hang a picture on in my mind.
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MartinV
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I've rewritten the first chapter. I felt the start was too slow so I removed the first scene and put that information in as exposition (is it called exposition?). Just click the old link to find the new version.
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extrinsic
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"Exposition" is a tricky term, everchanging meaning at a glacial pace. Contemporary shorthand for extended summary and explanation, exposition is invariably narrator voice telling details necessary to understand the dramatic action. Another definition says exposition is backstory expression. That one is what I feel you mean, MartinV. A third and faded one though enduring, exposition is a label for an opening act's introductions thus a label for an opening act: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement acts for a five-act structure, each's functions related to a dramatic complication. These three exposition defintions comprise a generalization about what exposition means for creative writing. Taken together, they define what an exposition should include and do all in all, when all is said and done.
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