YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

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wordranger
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YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by wordranger » April 16th, 2011, 12:27 am

Hey, guys:
I'm looking for some feedback on my first two pages. I'm hoping they are enough to make you want to keep reading...
Suggestions are totally welcome!


Grown-ups fight a lot, Magellan thought, as he looked out over the crowd. He wasn’t really listening to the argument going on between his father and the tall man anymore. It got boring over an hour ago. They just kept saying the same things over and over.

“It’s a totalitarian government!” his father said for the fifth time.

“It is nothing of the sort!” the tall man retorted. “Give me one example of a person on that moon that wants freedom!”

They weren’t the only angry ones in the room. There were a lot of people gathered around his family in the center of the huge chamber, and every on of them seemed mad. They were all dressed weird, in bright colors and fabrics Magellan had never seen. It made his family’s drab, serviceable clothing stand out, and he felt a little embarrassed by what he looked like. His brothers and sisters didn’t seem to notice the crowd. They were all huddled together behind their mother, watching the argument with huge eyes.

Sometimes one of the people in the crowd would call out, agreeing with the tall man, but no one agreed with his father. The only reactions aimed at his family were jeers and rude gestures. Magellan sighed, and brushed back a lock of golden hair than had fallen in his eyes. If someone gets mad at me, I just share a piece of candy with him and we forgive each other. Why do grown-ups think yelling solves things?

“It is against their Castillia-given rights to have to follow the order of another planet. They have different cultures, different needs!” his father said.

“They need sovereignty. They need order!” The tall man raised his fist in the air, and the people around the room cheered for him.

Apparently his father wasn’t doing very well, not that he really cared one way or the other. I have no idea what they are even talking about. Magellan was absent-mindedly rolling a small black rock around in his hands. It was a piece of cadmium ore that he picked up in the mines back home on Talsoon. It had great balance, and he was going to use it to win back the tucker tray that he lost spinning rocks last week, as long as it wasn’t raining on Talsoon, like it was here.

His eyes drifted up to the huge windows to his right, and he stared at the raindrops streaking across the glass. This was the first time Magellan had ever left his home planet of Talsoon. Traveling clear across the galaxy to Castillia was new and exciting, but the rest of his family was terrified. They were murmuring and agitated the entire trip. I guess they knew they were going to get yelled at.

The tall man took two fast steps, and leaned close to his father’s face. “Your proclamations are insane rantings that need to be quieted,” he said, “and the High King agrees with me.”

“Then the High King is an even more ignorant fool than you are!” As soon as the words escaped his father’s mouth, Magellan’s mother gasped, and the room instantly became silent. The drumming of the rain pelting the windows roared like the drills in the mines back home.

Everyone in the room had their heads lowered. Standing right behind Magellan’s father was a tall, broad man with long, gray-blonde hair pulled back in a gold band. He was wearing a dark navy-blue uniform— the same one that the tall man was wearing, except there was a gold stripe running down both arms from his neck to the ends of his sleeves. White cuffs just barely showed from beneath his navy jacket, where small golden bangles made cheerful pinging noises that echoed in the room’s silence as he folded his arms.

Magellan bit his lip. He didn’t know a lot about the galaxy, but he did recognize that uniform. Grace of Castillia, I should have been paying more attention. That’s the High King! Did my father just call the High King a fool? What does ignorant mean? Not that it mattered. His father had just insulted the most powerful man in the galaxy— The King that all other kings bowed to. This was the tyrant his family always spoke of. The man who had enough power coursing through his veins to kill a man by just looking at him. This was not good.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

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Re: YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by J. T. SHEA » April 16th, 2011, 3:24 pm

Good stuff, Wordranger! Your opening pages are both matter-of-fact and portentuous in the best sense of the word. Childhood vs adulthood. Peripheral vs central. Freedom vs authoritarianism. Plenty of dualities established early. You start with a bored kid and end (this section) with the King of the Galaxy!

The tall man seems to be misusing the word 'sovereignty'. Is that deliberate? It implies autonomy and self-governance. I take it the tall man means Talsoon should be under a sovereignty other than its own, under the authority of the central Castillian government, for example. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.

My own YA steampunk trilogy deals with similar conflicts, which are of eternal interest to people in general, and young people in particular. Yes, I would keep reading.

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Re: YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by chvyg80 » April 16th, 2011, 10:57 pm

Nice opening, I would love to continue reading. Within the first two pages you've left me asking questions that I hope I can answer from continuing to read like; does his father get arrested or killed? Do they have to flee the galaxy, and will the crowd figure out Megellan is his fathers child, and if so what happens to him.

I only have one question and that is, who's POV is the story written form. In the opening, I gathered it was written from an Ominous 3rd person, but the last paragraph had me wondering, is it written from Megellan's or both? I'm not sure if it's a big deal or not, but sometimes it can get a little confusing knowing who said what and wonder about what things, if it switches back and forth through the differnt POV's.

All and all great piece and good luck with it.

Chavone
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"The pains and struggles of my past are what has made me the beautiful person I am today"

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Re: YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by wordranger » April 17th, 2011, 11:36 am

Thanks for the kind words, Chavone. On your question...

chvyg80 wrote:I only have one question and that is, who's POV is the story written form. In the opening, I gathered it was written from an Ominous 3rd person, but the last paragraph had me wondering, is it written from Megellan's or both? I'm not sure if it's a big deal or not, but sometimes it can get a little confusing knowing who said what and wonder about what things, if it switches back and forth through the differnt POV's.
It actually starts in Magellan's POV, and then we have a switch to the High King in the middle of the chapter (not in the first two pages), and then we scoot back to Magellan to finish the chapter out. The reason I switch to the King, is that he is (obviously) older, and can let the reader in on what is going on in the galaxy as far as setting goes, where Magellan, being a kid, is basically clueless.) We then pop back into Magellan because the King is not with them when they... well... run for it.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

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Re: YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by wordranger » April 17th, 2011, 2:30 pm

Thanks, J.T. Yes, actually I was trying to jam a lot in there, and I was hoping that it was working, and it was still interesting, exciting, and not too weighted down with all the "politics". The politics are importnat, because they are why Magellan's father is not very polular, but beyond that, they aren't all that important to the story... and I don't want them to be a turn-off for the younger readers.
J. T. SHEA wrote:The tall man seems to be misusing the word 'sovereignty'. Is that deliberate? It implies autonomy and self-governance. I take it the tall man means Talsoon should be under a sovereignty other than its own, under the authority of the central Castillian government, for example. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.
Am I misusing sovereignty? I don't think so. Stephen (the tall man) is saying that the planet needs to be under the rule of the king, and it should not be free.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

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Re: YA Fantasy "Hidden in Plain Sight" First Two Pages

Post by AllieS » April 17th, 2011, 11:02 pm

Grown-ups fight a lot, Magellan thought, as he looked out over the crowd. He wasn’t really listening to the argument going on between his father and the tall man anymore. It got boring over an hour ago. They just kept saying the same things over and over.

“It’s a totalitarian government!” his father said for the fifth time.

“It is nothing of the sort!” the tall man retorted. “Give me one example of a person on that moon that wants freedom!”

Ooh, lots of good questions pop up from this first bit. Who's the tall man? Why are they arguing? And people on the moon want freedom? There are people on the moon? I'm intrigued.

They weren’t the only angry ones in the room. There were a lot of people gathered around his Magellan? You could repeat his name here to make it clearer. family in the center of the huge chamber, and every on one, I assume of them seemed mad. They were all dressed weird, in bright colors and fabrics Magellan had never seen. It made his family’s drab, serviceable clothing stand out, and he felt a little embarrassed by what he looked like. His brothers and sisters didn’t seem to notice the crowd. They were all huddled together behind their mother, watching the argument with huge eyes. Great image here.

Sometimes one of the people in the crowd would call out, agreeing with the tall man, but no one agreed with his Again the issue of if you're talking about Magellan or the tall man father. The only reactions aimed at his family were jeers and rude gestures. Magellan sighed, and brushed back a lock of golden hair than had fallen in In or over? In would be a bit painful his eyes. If someone gets mad at me, I just share a piece of candy with him and we forgive each other. Why do grown-ups think yelling solves things? Are these Magellan's thoughts? If so, have you set them apart in the actual text with italics and/or underlining for the manuscript?

“It is against their Castillia-given rights to have to follow the order of another planet. They have different cultures, different needs!” his father said.

“They need sovereignty. They need order!” The tall man raised his fist in the air, and the people around the room cheered for him.

Apparently his father wasn’t doing very well, not that he really cared one way or the other. I have no idea what they are even talking about. Magellan was absent-mindedly rolling a small black rock around in his hands. It was a piece of cadmium ore that he picked up in the mines back home on Talsoon. It had great balance, and he was going to use it to win back the tucker tray that he lost spinning rocks last week, as long as it wasn’t raining on Talsoon, like it was here.

His eyes drifted up to the huge windows to his right, and he stared at the raindrops streaking across the glass. This was the first time Magellan had ever left his home planet of Talsoon. Traveling clear across the galaxy to Castillia was new and exciting, but the rest of his family was terrified. They were murmuring and agitated the entire trip. The use of murmuring and agitated combined like this doesn't really work for me. Were the murmuring agitatedly? Murmuring stated the way you have it doesn't really tell me anything. I guess they knew they were going to get yelled at.

The tall man took two fast steps, and leaned close to his father’s face. “Your proclamations are insane rantings that need to be quieted,” he said, “and the High King agrees with me.”

“Then the High King is an even more ignorant fool than you are!” As soon as the words escaped his father’s mouth, Magellan’s mother gasped, and the room instantly became silent. The drumming of the rain pelting the windows roared like the drills in the mines back home.

Everyone in the room had their heads lowered. Standing right behind Magellan’s father was a tall, broad man with long, gray-blonde hair pulled back in a gold band. He was wearing a dark navy-blue uniform— the same one that the tall man was wearing, except there was a gold stripe running down both arms from his neck to the ends of his sleeves. White cuffs just barely showed from beneath his navy jacket, where small golden bangles made cheerful pinging noises that echoed in the room’s silence as he folded his arms.

Magellan bit his lip. He didn’t know a lot about the galaxy, but he did recognize that uniform. Grace of Castillia, I should have been paying more attention. That’s the High King! Did my father just call the High King a fool? What does ignorant mean? Not that it mattered. His father had just insulted the most powerful man in the galaxy— The King that all other kings bowed to. This was the tyrant his family always spoke of. The man who had enough power coursing through his veins to kill a man by just looking at him. This was not good.

I think Magellan's voice is great. My only critiques are about making it clear when Magellan's thoughts are occurring, and distinguishing between who is "he" more often. Otherwise, I would keep reading!

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