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Author Topic: OTP openings
Member # 7299

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This thread is for the On The Premises critique group, for contest # 15 Myths and Legends. Details on the group can be found here. Here are the rules for participating in this group.

1) An invitation to post your opening.

This thread is for posting your 13 line opening for the contest. Please comment for any opening in this thread in the link above. We would like to keep this thread neat, but we do invite any and all comments for openings.
Posting your opening you are acknowledging...

a) That your entry is reading for critique. Offers to critique a work please request here. .

b) That you are ready to critique others works. We are a critique site. If you want others to read and comment we are expected to recipocate in return.

Other rules for this group...

2) You are agreeing to critique up to 4 other stories.
We invite you to do more but I acknowledge that may be difficult for some of you. At a 5000 word upper limit, 4 should be doable for everyone. More would be great considering we have 8 people who have committed to the group so far.

3) You can use me to forward requests and critiques on your behalf if you like.
If you feel it would more comforatable to be anonymous, I will send and request stories on your behalf. I will keep your name private if that is your preference. I will do the same if you would like your opening and story to be anonymous as well. All I ask is to let us know if you win the contest.

Standard critiquing etiquette is what we all expect (which usually means all comments are welcome as long as the comments are intended tp help the writer improve his/her submission for an eventual sale). OTP does have a list for hints on winning. I encourage all to consider them in their critiques. They are...

Your story should be CREATIVE. That doesn’t mean it has to be speculative! Genre is not the issue. The issue is, how many times have we read (or seen) stories similar to yours, in any genre?

Your story should be COMPELLING. Make us care about your story and the characters in it. Grab our attention at the beginning and make us want to keep reading.

Your story should be WELL-CRAFTED. More than anything else, that means every word is chosen with great care. It also means there isn’t one unnecessary word or idea in your story. The parts of your story form a perfect whole.

Your story should CLEARLY use the contest premise. If our premise is that a story has to be about a dog, make the dog a major character. Don’t have a dog appear in the first paragraph, then never be seen again. And don’t make the story about a secret organization whose initials are D.O.G. The more obvious your use of our premise is, the better.

Any questions? Please ask them here.

One other matter. OTP offers their own critique, for $10. If my entry fails (you will have to beat 150 to 200 entries to make the top 9) I will purchase the critique and share it to all who participate in this contest. The information you may find useful in the future.

So let's go to it. I will do my best to critique all who join this group. Now let's sweep this contest. Who's with me?

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited August 09, 2011).]

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Member # 7299

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A Burden of Purity

The Gift of Purity is the grandest of all. Once of age, the magic in a virgin’s soul flowers. The longer you remain one, the more splendid it will bloom. A single maiden is worth a wagon of gold with it, while a dozen wenches but a copper without it.
Before I came of age, I was a child of starving peasants. Retaining my gift has allowed me to live like a queen. I have been charmed by princes and coddled by kings. I have ridden on the backs of unicorns and broken a centuries old curse. I have experienced more adventure in two years than the bravest explorer will see in a lifetime. My virginity granted my adolescent wish to escape a harsh and mundane life.
Heed my words, my sisters of innocence. Get rid of it before it is too late.

From the diary of the Maiden Franne; patron saint of abducted virgins.

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Member # 9196

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I like the voice snapper and it sounds like it will lead to an interesting story. I do think there are some places where the prose could be tightened:

A single maiden is worth a wagon of gold with it, while a dozen wenches but a copper without it.

I felt this would carry more impact if you removed the 'with it' and 'without it'. The contrast of maiden vs wench already implies you are comparing virgin and non-virgin in the context of the opening.

The only thing that niggled me a little is that I don't know if the story is about Maiden Franne, or about someone receiving her advice. I imagine we find out soon after this, so I'd be okay with that.

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Member # 9196

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Aset’s gaze followed the east bank of the Nile, passed languid palm trees to linger at a stand of papyrus reeds. It was one of many, and she did not relish the idea of searching through each of them for her quarry. Arching prismatic wings over her head, she formed a feathered canopy to shelter her eyes from the sun god’s harsh glare. She searched the eastern bank to the horizon, and still Sutek was nowhere to be seen.
A muffled thud behind her drew Aset’s attention away from the river. Nebet had fallen to her knees and the braids of her weave dangled in the desert sand. Behind her, their cart had tilted forward, the sarcophagus lid had shifted, and several canopic jars had fallen to the ground “Sister!” Aset rushed to Nebet’s side.
Panting, Nebet looked up to the sun. “Ra have mercy.”

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited August 09, 2011).]

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Drink Me

Dostrey found himself at the bottom of the well looking up at the circle of sky far, far above. The sky was blue and the sun painted an oval of bright light on the bricks that rimmed the edge. A rock dug into his back as he struggled to sit up and then stand. Whoever pushed him didn’t stay long enough to poke their head over the rim. No broken bones, but Dostrey felt a strain in his legs and back. His shoulder would soon bloom a purple flower of bruising, of that there could be no doubt.

Where did the water go? That’s why he leaned over so far. His lantern lay crumpled on the rocky floor. He stooped to pick it up and found a hole at the bottom where the water must have drained. By the hole he found a little bottle with a label that read “Drink me” written in ancient calligraphy.

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The Tortoise and the Toad.

Once upon a time, in a land where animals, for no explained reason, could speak, and this, for no explained reason, didn’t freak anyone out, there lived a tortoise named Hector who liked to smoke pot.
It was a lovely smoke pot. Red stone, warm. Being a tortoise within a shell within a pot, well, it just felt right.
But then, later, when the human pulled Hector from the pot, with smoke billowing around him, something very unsightly happened. The human, a grown man in long purple robe, would lick the tortoise’s shell.
This made Hector feel very uncomfortable. Some might say violated.
It was always the coming off the pot that Hector didn’t like.

Yes, I do like comma's, thanks for asking.

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Some of you may have seen these 13 lines before.

When I spotted the fairy on the back of a snail I thought it might be an unusual day. Another fairy on a ladybug confirmed it. I blinked hard but I still could see them when my eyes reopened. With good reason I live alone, therefore I couldnÕt ask anyone if they also saw them. I didnÕt want to see them; insanity wouldnÕt be fun even if IÕm too prickly to go crazy. The fairies rode through my backyard, they must have started from the small bushes along the back fence. I smelled flowers and my sweat. The wind blew across my bare arms as I stared. The one on the ladybug held reins, the one on the snail sat sidesaddle. Amazed I tasted sweat, as it dripped down my face. Both mounts appeared huge; the fairies looked six inches tall, and wore what might be loose dresses made from white-gray spider webs.

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The Castle


Sergeant Tom Young trudged up the crooked path his scuffed boots crunching the gravel under foot. Pine twigs sprouted from his helmet cover breaking up its silhouette; two blue eyes peered from underneath warily scanning the pine forest that closed around the small path like a dark fist. Up ahead the castle scowled down at him, emerging from the mist like a ghost from earlier times. The path was like a tongue leading right into the castle’s mouth. His calloused hands gripped the well oiled carbine a little tighter.
Behind his men followed in combat formation. He knew they were watching the forest like he was, but Tom could sense they knew the real danger lay ahead of them. The squad was searching Denmark for remnants of a defeated but still dangerous enemy.

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