Prologue of romance novel

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garnell wallace
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Prologue of romance novel

Post by garnell wallace » August 11th, 2012, 12:05 am

Hello All,
Would love any feedback on my query.

Thanks in advance.

Anastasia Bach felt the long, cold skeletal hands of death reach for her, but she managed to evade its deadly grasp. The dark angel would have to catch her, and she had no intention of letting that happen until she’d made a plea for vengeance against the vampires who’d inherited nothing from the mother they’d shared. Under their protective cloak of darkness, her brothers and their army had descended on her coven from the mountains like an avalanche during the harshest of winters destroying everyone in their path.

Anastasia still couldn’t fathom how she’d allowed herself to be fooled by vampires who by nature could not grasp the concepts of love and family loyalty.

As she raced through the forest, Anastasia recalled learning how to hunt by her vampire siblings. She’d found it fun then, but now she was the one being hunted. Unlike her human siblings Daira and Morena, she’d never fully trusted her vampire brothers and sister, and neither had Lilith, and as the mother of all witches, she had bound them all by blood. If one spilled the other’s blood, they would all die.

That connection had led her sisters to trust them, to form a treaty of peace between their covens, but Anastasia had known the vampires would’ve found a way to break it. Though they’d led the raid, her brothers hadn’t touched her; they had many loyal vampires willing to do their dirty work. She had barely managed to escape.

Even the moon had shuddered away in horror as the women of her coven; her sisters all of them, were slaughtered and now lay like cattle about the ground. The pristine snow, stained with their blood, had become their burial shrouds. Anastasia didn’t know what had become of her sisters and prayed that they had somehow managed to escape.
Last edited by garnell wallace on August 19th, 2012, 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Prologue of romance novel

Post by LurkingVirologist » August 11th, 2012, 10:08 pm

Since it's a fairly long excerpt, I'm just going to give general advice instead of critiquing line-by-line. It sounds like you've got an interesting set-up here, and I like the imagery you've chosen with the tree and the ground shattering and whatnot, as well as the witches souls being drawn into it and burning down to a lake bed. There are two main issues I see coming up consistently. One is that you have a bit of an info-dump going, along the lines of "X who is related to Y and did Z." I know the back story is important, but I don't know if it needs to all be there right now. In fact, sometimes giving less context and more action can help with an early 'bait' chapter or prologue (though it can be a delicate balance). The second issue is that you are, at least to my taste, over-writing things a fair bit. It's not that your individual descriptors or images are bad, in fact some of them are quite nice, but all together they feel rather saturating. I think this is where the "murder your darlings" advice really comes in handy. I'm guessing you could shorten this by at least 25% and it would end up feeling more tense and more engaging. I'm going to reiterate: your individual phrasings are fine, the problem is only in aggregate.

Two additional minor points. One is that some of your dialogue feels a bit formal given the extremity of the situation at hand (i.e. "She tried to protect you and that is why she and my father were killed by vampire hunters. He was just a gentle carpenter who accepted another man’s monsters because he loved her. All you know how to do is bring pain to anyone who is foolish enough to love you"). I don't think people half-blind with rage and pain are this clear or speak at this length. It feels like the character is talking to the audience, not to another character. If two characters are familiar with each other, they wouldn't bother explaining shared history. Also, if you'll forgive the pedantry, I don't think it's possible to run after being gut-stabbed. It's not just an issue of pain and willpower, you use your abdominal/core muscles too much, so even standing and staggering would be both excruciating and mechanically challenging (though possible). This is something that movies get wrong all the time (along with 'harmless' shoulder wounds and such).
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Re: Prologue of romance novel

Post by Shipple » October 3rd, 2012, 7:02 pm

It does sound like you have some really interesting and compelling stories in here, but I do think you have so much in here that the reader ends up suffering from information overload. It might be better to focus on Anastasia running away and what she's running from, and fill in a little more of the backstory later.

The very first sentence is maybe a little misleading too. Either that or I just get the wrong association from it. When you talk about "the long, skeletal hands of death" I imagine someone bleeding to death or something of that nature, not someone running through the forest. I understand that you're trying to set the scene, which is grim, but I was surprised to hear she was running through a forest after that intro.

Just because there is SO much information in here, I end up getting a little confused. The first statement that left me a little confused was "who’d inherited nothing from the mother they’d shared" just because I had to step back and work out what you meant (and even then, because obviously you can't just give a straight up summary, I was still a little confused even after I understood she was talking about her siblings).

Anyway, it might just be me, but that was what I thought. I also think you have some very compelling storylines here. It sounds like you've thought out all these interconnections, and that always makes the story much more interesting. It's just hard to swallow so much all at once.
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