Excerpt from Gyllada's Riddle

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sarahdee
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Excerpt from Gyllada's Riddle

Post by sarahdee » April 11th, 2011, 12:21 am

This is my first posting of material from my new WIP and as a new genre for me I am struggling. Originally my story started much later and caught up with Mags after this meeting, when the 'action' starts but I've decided to go back and start earlier. Not sure if it is working...

It is an (adult) paranormal mystery.

***


15 October, 1925
Paris, France

It was the perfect night for a clandestine meeting with a coven of the world’s most powerful witches. The small silver of a moon cast just enough light to mark the dark frame of the big black door. The door was set in a street of town houses, on a side street just a few seconds walk from the west end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a rather upmarket area of Paris. The street was at this time, this time being past evening but on the right side of midnight to be still night and not the early hours, was deserted. The usual human population that inhabited the street had shut up shop and gone home for the night and the few people rich enough to reside in this affluent area, well they wouldn’t be found walking the streets. No, they would be safely tucked in for the night or waiting for a carriage to pick them up and swish them away; their kind could be counted upon for discretion.

It was unusual for witches to live so close to humanity but in fairness, they had been there first: humanity had just moved in around them and over the years their door, this once imposing, stern porte noire, had faded into obscurity, passed daily by hundreds but noticed by none. An ordinary house in an ordinary street. To one side was a rather spooky looking book store, and to the other was a patisserie with a selection of cakes and sweet things displayed in the window. To look at the door between these two, which few did, would give the seer the impression that a tall, thin house of three storeys lay behind it. Three storeys with perhaps two or three rooms to each floor. The house was in reality, far bigger than that. The house was a palace.

Mags, however, did see and she looked up at the door and shivered in the cold air. It always seemed colder around the house. She pulled her cloak around her closely and knocked five times as was customary. A shadow passed at the spy hole, indicating someone on the other side of the door knew she was there. She gave her usual password and the door was opened, as it always was, by a young woman. It was usually a different young woman, depending on how long it had been between her visits, but each was alike in their abrupt manner and formal attitude. The woman, this one, small in stature with hair the colour of corn scraped back in a rather severe style, told Mags to head off down the stairs. The usual place she had said. Mags knew the way; this was not her first visit. The usual place was down several flights of stairs and it felt, as always as though she were descending into the very bowels of the earth. The stair case was badly lit and even Mags, naturally graceful, looked at her feet to ensure she did not fall down the thick concrete steps. At the bottom of the stairs was a set of large doors which, stood, as always, open. They marked the entrance to the palace and needed no guard since the opening was protected by magic: instant death would be given to anyone who tried to pass through uninvited. Although always invited, even Mags felt a small wave of anxiety pass through her body as she walked through the large open doors into the long, dark corridor. The underground palace always had a smell of damp and earth to it. It was not entirely unpleasant, just old and a little odd like the tool shed of her paternal grandfather, a keen gardener. The corridor was lit by large glass lanterns, which gave out an eerie glow casting shadows on the walls; shadows that danced slowly as if they had a life of their own. She walked to the door at the very end of the corridor, which opened, as if by magic, most likely by actual magic, as she approached.

As always the council was in place waiting for her. Did they ever move? Seven aînés, elders, all women, sat in a semi circle on their high backed wooden chairs: one spokesperson from each of the clans that made up their collective. They took up just a fraction of the Council Room, as they called it, and, as she always did when she was summoned here, she wondered if when not sitting around having council meetings they had riotous parties. She looked at the seven sombre faces. Not likely she thought.

sonyablue
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Re: Excerpt from Gyllada's Riddle

Post by sonyablue » April 11th, 2011, 8:51 am

sarahdee wrote:This is my first posting of material from my new WIP and as a new genre for me I am struggling. Originally my story started much later and caught up with Mags after this meeting, when the 'action' starts but I've decided to go back and start earlier. Not sure if it is working...

It is an (adult) paranormal mystery.

***


15 October, 1925
Paris, France

It was the perfect night for a clandestine meeting with a coven of the world’s most powerful witches. The small silver sliver? of a moon cast just enough light to mark the dark frame of the big black door. The door was set in a street of town houses, on a side street just a few seconds walk from the west end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a rather upmarket area of Paris. The street was at this time, this time being past evening but on the right side of midnight to be still night and not the early hours, was deserted. The usual human population that inhabited the street had shut up shop and gone home for the night and the few people rich enough to reside in this affluent area, well they wouldn’t be found walking the streets. No, they would be safely tucked in for the night or waiting for a carriage to pick them up and swish them away; their kind could be counted upon for discretion. I like how descriptive you are as you set the scene, but I wonder if this isn't *too* much description. It's bordering on losing me because I'm thinking, ok but what *happens*?

It was unusual for witches to live so close to humanity but in fairness, they had been there first: humanity had just moved in around them and over the years their door, this once imposing, stern porte noire, had faded into obscurity, passed daily by hundreds but noticed by none. An ordinary house in an ordinary street. To one side was a rather spooky looking book store, and to the other was a patisserie with a selection of cakes and sweet things displayed in the window. To look at the door between these two, which few did, would give the seer the impression that a tall, thin house of three storeys lay behind it. Three storeys with perhaps two or three rooms to each floor. The house was in reality, far bigger than that. The house was a palace.

Mags, however, did see and she looked up at the door and shivered in the cold air. It always seemed colder around the house. She pulled her cloak around her closely and knocked five times as was customary. A shadow passed at the spy hole, indicating someone on the other side of the door knew she was there. She gave her usual password and the door was opened, as it always was, by a young woman. It was usually a different young woman, depending on how long it had been between her visits, but each was alike in their abrupt manner and formal attitude. The woman, this one, small in stature with hair the colour of corn scraped back in a rather severe style, told Mags to head off down the stairs. The usual place she had said. Mags knew the way; this was not her first visit. The usual place was down several flights of stairs and it felt, as always as though she were descending into the very bowels of the earth. The stair case was badly lit and even Mags, naturally graceful, looked at her feet to ensure she did not fall down the thick concrete steps. At the bottom of the stairs was a set of large doors which, stood, as always, open. They marked the entrance to the palace and needed no guard since the opening was protected by magic: instant death would be given to anyone who tried to pass through uninvited. Although always invited, even Mags felt a small wave of anxiety pass through her body as she walked through the large open doors into the long, dark corridor. The underground palace always had a smell of damp and earth to it. It was not entirely unpleasant, just old and a little odd like the tool shed of her paternal grandfather, a keen gardener. The corridor was lit by large glass lanterns, which gave out an eerie glow casting shadows on the walls; shadows that danced slowly as if they had a life of their own. She walked to the door at the very end of the corridor, which opened, as if by magic, most likely by actual magic, as she approached. You use "usual" or "as always" six times in this paragraph. i think that's too much - we get that she's been here before, we get that this is typical, I don't think you need to keep saying that

As always the council was in place waiting for her. Did they ever move? Seven aînés, elders, all women, sat in a semi circle on their high backed wooden chairs: one spokesperson from each of the clans that made up their collective. They took up just a fraction of the Council Room, as they called it, and, as she always did when she was summoned here, she wondered if when not sitting around having council meetings they had riotous parties. She looked at the seven sombre faces. Not likely she thought.
Again, "as always" etc etc.
Overall, I like it. It's not really my preferred genre, but it does intrigue me. I think you do a great job of setting the scene, but I feel that it might be a little too much, getting in the way of the action and momentum.

(eta: I'm pretty new to these forums so sorry about the formatting!)

vasilisa
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Re: Excerpt from Gyllada's Riddle

Post by vasilisa » April 11th, 2011, 5:47 pm

I enjoyed it, but it was a bit too slow for me. Less description, more action. I'd like to see more from Mags' POV than a giant info dump. Otherwise, thumbs up, once Mags enters I start to enjoy the story.

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