First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

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shadow
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First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by shadow » February 12th, 2010, 8:42 pm

Ok my main concern is if it hooks you at all. If this is not your genre I understand, but my novel isn't high fantasy, and I try to keep everything as realistic as possible :)

Vitiosus gazed at his father’s cold, light grey eyes, and for once realized that he would never be like the blood-thirsty king. “You called on me, father?”
Dorgon sighed and raised his old face, shielding his eyes from the bright sun.
“Yes, I did call on you, Vitiosus. I have something important to speak to you about.” Vitiosus nodded, as his father got up and started slowly walking the dark cobble stone pathways laid out in the palace gardens.
“You are my son.” He sighed. “But you see, life for everyone is made of sacrifices. Sometimes you must sacrifice someone that you love, and sometimes it is just a sacrifice of honor and pride. ”
“You want me to do something?” Vitiosus asked, recognizing the way his father always talked before he assigned him to a victim.
“Yes.” Dorgon breathed in the warm spring air, and looked up at the sky in silence. Vitiosus kicked a loose pebble, and fondled the cool hilt of the sword that hung from his hip. “You are not a real warrior, Vitiosus, until you have killed an adversary of twice your strength.”
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WriterKitty
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by WriterKitty » February 12th, 2010, 8:50 pm

My humble thoughts are that it might start off better when your protagonist is actually going to kill this extra strong person. To me this feels like I walked into a room in the middle of someone's conversation. It takes a minute to catch up. It isn't bad, but if you want to start with a bang...

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shadow
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by shadow » February 12th, 2010, 9:09 pm

Writer Kitty: Thank you for your humble opinion. So you think I should some what rearange my chapter and start with the battle and end with the explanations? That could work as well, for I am open to suggestions. Here is another try, just used the beginning of the battle to start. Tell me guys which one you like better, for some poeple I found couldn't understand who he was when I started with battle.

NEW #2 IS AT THE BOTTOM!!
Here goes # 2: So tell me if you prefer #2 to #1 or vice versa. Oh and before I had a more discriptive beginning but I think it described the scenery too much. Any ways I will stop rampling and paste:

Vitiosus lifted his dark sword into the air; the metal blade coated in venom reflected the rays of sunlight. Vitiosus’ heart was pounding and he tensed all his muscles, waiting for an attack. Levion’s sword pushed against Vitiosus’s, sparks flying as the blades scraped against one another. Vitiosus felt a shock of pain run through his arms at the strength of the blow. He managed to twist Levion’s weapon out of hold and strike, but it was not easy to attack the experienced warrior, who immediately put Vitiosus back in defensive mode, circling around until Vitiosus faced the sunlight. The sun momentarily blinded him and he felt Levion’s blade slicing through his thigh. In agony, he blindly fought off Levion’s sword as he fell back. The scent of fresh blood rose to his nose and a hot flash soared through the wound on his thigh as it pounded in pain. Vitiosus held onto his sword, as Levion charged towards him, his sword soaring in the air ready to pierce him.
Ignoring the pain, Vitiosus took the only opportunity he had, rolling over and quickly getting up, trying to attack Levion with his blade from behind. Levion managed to swiftly turn around and block Vitiosus’ attempt. Vitiosus rammed his sword against Levion’s, pushing as hard as he could, but Levion managed to slip out of the hold. The swords screeched from contact, as Levion pushed his sword against Vitiosus’s. Vitiosus held on to his sword with both hands, trying to withstand Levion’s raw strength. In pain, he could only rely on his will to survive. He felt Levion’s raspy, warm breath against his skin and he panicked when he felt his left wrist give in to Levion’s blade.
“Prepare to die, you bastard. The day that you could beat me will never come,” Levion whispered in anger. Vitiosus felt his sword fall to the ground with a loud thump that seemed to echo through the air.
Last edited by shadow on February 13th, 2010, 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by KappaP » February 12th, 2010, 9:19 pm

I think the second way is far better. The problem with the first, in my view (and obviously everyone is different) isn't that anything is bad but that I have no real reason to care about Vitiosus versus his father or anyone else. During that conversation I don't know who I should care about or why. In the second one, I have a far better feel for Vitiosus and so the MEANING of that conversation with his father would carry far, far more weight into developing him as a character. You can do it either way-- but that conversation has lots of potential to sit with me as a reader and give me a lot of insight and, when it comes after Vitosus has acted or done something, it sits far heavier and more effectively.

That's my vote!
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by Calliopenjo » February 12th, 2010, 9:21 pm

Vitiosus lifted his dark sword into the air; the metal blade coated in venom reflected the rays of sunlight. Vitiosus’ heart was pounding and he tensed all his muscles, waiting for an attack. Levion’s sword pushed against Vitiosus’s, sparks flying as the blades scraped against one another.(Be careful of flowery phrases) Vitiosus felt a shock of pain run through his arms at the strength of the blow. He managed to twist Levion’s weapon out of hold and strike, but it was not easy to attack the experienced warrior, who immediately put Vitiosus back in defensive mode, circling around until Vitiosus faced the sunlight.(This feels like you are trying too hard to describe a fight scene. More power less flower.) The sun momentarily blinded him and he felt Levion’s blade slicing through his thigh. In agony, he blindly fought off Levion’s sword as he fell back. The scent of fresh blood rose to his nose and a hot flash soared through the wound on his thigh as it pounded in pain. Vitiosus held onto his sword, as Levion charged towards him, his sword soaring in the air ready to pierce him.
Ignoring the pain, Vitiosus took the only opportunity he had, rolling over and quickly getting up, trying to attack Levion with his blade from behind. Levion managed to swiftly turn around and block Vitiosus’ attempt. Vitiosus rammed his sword against Levion’s, pushing as hard as he could, but Levion managed to slip out of the hold. The swords screeched from contact, as Levion pushed his sword against Vitiosus’s. Vitiosus held on to his sword with both hands, trying to withstand Levion’s raw strength. In pain, he could only rely on his will to survive. He felt Levion’s raspy, warm breath against his skin and he panicked when he felt his left wrist give in to Levion’s blade.
“Prepare to die, you bastard. The day that you could beat me will never come,” Levion whispered in anger. Vitiosus felt his sword fall to the ground with a loud thump that seemed to echo through the air.

It looks like you are trying too hard to describe a fight scene. What might help, is watching the sports channel, or go to YouTube, and listen to the commentators talk about the fight. As it is, right now, it's too long to get to the end.

WriterKitty
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by WriterKitty » February 12th, 2010, 11:41 pm

Yes! Your second version drew me in way more. I'd definitely read on if I picked the #2 book up.

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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by Lunetta22 » February 13th, 2010, 1:40 am

I definitely liked the second version better. Admittedly it's a bit wordy, and I skimmed a bit. I really liked Calliopenjo's revision suggestions. You write well, and I would read on. But I do trip a bit on the name: Vitiosus. How is it pronounced?

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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by shadow » February 13th, 2010, 11:33 am

Calliopenjo thanks for your suggestions! Here guys is the new #2 tell me if it's any better! Maybe I will post some more of the chapter later too!

Vitiosus lifted his dark sword into the air; the metal blade coated in venom reflected the rays of sunlight. His heart was pounding and he tensed his muscles, waiting for an attack. Levion’s blade pushed against Vitiosus’s, the blades scraping violently against one another. Vitiosus felt a shock of pain run through his arms at the strength of the blow. He managed to twist Levion’s weapon out of hold and strike, Levion swerved around until Vitiosus faced the sunlight. The sun blinded him and he felt Levion’s blade slicing through his thigh. In agony, he fought off Levion’s sword as he fell back. The scent of fresh blood rose to his nose and a hot flash soared through the wound on his thigh as it pounded in pain. Vitiosus held onto his sword, as Levion charged towards him, his sword soaring in the air ready to pierce him.
Ignoring the pain, Vitiosus took the opportunity, rolling over and getting up, trying to attack Levion with his blade from behind. Levion managed to turn around and block Vitiosus’ attempt. Vitiosus rammed his sword against Levion’s, pushing as hard as he could, but Levion managed to slip out of the hold. The swords screeched from contact, as Levion pushed his sword against Vitiosus’s. Vitiosus held on to his sword with both hands, trying to withstand Levion’s raw strength. In pain, he relied only on his will to survive. He felt Levion’s raspy, warm breath against his skin and he panicked when he felt his left wrist give in to Levion’s blade.
“Prepare to die, you bastard. The day that you could beat me will never come,” Levion whispered in anger. Vitiosus felt his sword fall to the ground with a loud thump that seemed to echo through the air.
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by christi » February 13th, 2010, 12:03 pm

I was so confused. I was like 'huh? where's Lucinda?' until my tired brain went 'oh, ANOTHER story.'
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by Serzen » February 13th, 2010, 1:11 pm

Shadow,

In all honesty I normally prefer a simpler setup. I liked the first opening you presented. Starting in the midst of a duel doesn't really do a lot for me. Sure, it's conflict, it's all actiony, but I feel there should be a reason.

Second, and more importantly to me, is the description of combat...I'm sorry, I'm a Classically trained fencer, and I began studying swordsmanship just about 12 years ago (it will be 12 in May, actually). I'm not only trained in the foil, epée and sabre, but also rapier, smallsword, single sword and two-hand sword. It's really, really hard for me to read "cinematic" descriptions of combat because, well, they're wrong. I don't do disconnect very well there, I apologize. Instead, allow me to offer a different take on the scene.
====
Vitiosus raised the point of his weapon; the blade, coated with venom, reflected the rays of the sun. His heart was pounding but he kept the tension in his muscles in check; he must be ready for an attack. Sure enough, Levion's blade cut in. Vitiosus met it with his own, steel sliding angrily against steel. The force of the blow sent a shock of pain through Vitiosus's hands and he barely managed to maintain his grip as he redirected the cut and prepared his reply.

Levion pivoted around, forcing Vitiosus to stare into the sun in order to keep an eye on his adversary. Blinded, he never saw strike that laid open his thigh. In agony he tried to beat away the offending blade as he retreated, trying to find a better vantage. The stink of fresh blood filled his nose and searing pain pounded through the cut. Vitiosus maintained his grip and tried to settle back into guard as Levion lunged in with a thrust.

Willing the pain to subside for a moment, Vitiosus seized an opportunity and stepped off the line, setting the thrust aside and making a cut to Levion's unprotected flank. Levion recovered quickly, though, and got his parry up in time. Steel chimed. Vitiosus pressed his advantage, trying to bind Levion's balde, but his opponent slipped out of the bind and brought his sword around in a quick descending cut. Pain slowed Vitiosus's reactions, he tried to draw on his will to keep him alive; he could feel Levion's warm, rasping breath on his skin.

Panic flashed through his mind as the world returned to normal speed and Vitiosus once again felt the clean, cold burn of an edge kiss his skin. Agony blossomed in his wrist. Levion leaned in close and whispered, "Prepare to die, bastard. The day you can beat me will never arrive." Vitiosus felt his fingers lose their grip; his sword fell to the ground with a muted thump that echoed through the air.
====
Now it reads more like a real sword fight. Real swordsmen will never "push" their swords against each other. Advantage is gained by leverage, not by strength. But, hey, it's all good; besides, there's not enough time or space to do a full combat speech here right now. (But it would be a good idea for a future post.) I just wanted to help bring that together a little better.

Good luck, have fun.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by JustineDell » February 13th, 2010, 2:24 pm

I like this one better. But you could make this stronger by removing certain wording. I don't know what's it called, other than 'stronger'.

A lot of your story read likes this:

Joan was sitting on the threshold of her house, just waiting for the mailman to deliver the package she ordered five days before.

When it could read like this:

Joan sat on the threshold of her house and waited for the mailman to deliver the package she ordered five days before.

Notice it's shorter? Tighter?

I've highlighted all the places in your excerpt where you could make it stronger.
shadow wrote:Calliopenjo thanks for your suggestions! Here guys is the new #2 tell me if it's any better! Maybe I will post some more of the chapter later too!

Vitiosus lifted his dark sword into the air; the metal blade coated in venom reflected the rays of sunlight. His heart was pounding and he tensed his muscles, waiting for an attack. His heart pounded and his muscles tensed just waiting for the attack. Levion’s blade pushed against Vitiosus’s, the blades scraping violently against one another. Vitiosus felt a shock of pain run through his arms at the strength of the blow. He managed to twist Levion’s weapon out of hold and strike, Levion swerved around until Vitiosus faced the sunlight. The sun blinded him and he felt Levion’s blade slicing (This is showing, not telling. Say: Levion's blade slided through is thigh) through his thigh. In agony, he fought off Levion’s sword as he fell back. The scent of fresh blood rose to his nose and a hot flash soared through the wound on his thigh as it pounded in pain. Vitiosus held onto his sword, as Levion charged towards him, his sword soaring in the air ready to pierce him.
Ignoring the pain, Vitiosus took the opportunity, rolling over and getting up, trying to attack Levion with his blade from behind. Levion managed to turn around and block Vitiosus’ attempt. Vitiosus rammed his sword against Levion’s, pushing as hard as he could, but Levion managed to slip out of the hold. The swords screeched from contact, as Levion pushed his sword against Vitiosus’s. Vitiosus held on to his sword with both hands, trying to withstand Levion’s raw strength. In pain, he relied only on his will to survive. He felt Levion’s raspy, warm breath against his skin and he panicked when he felt his left wrist give in to Levion’s blade.
“Prepare to die, you bastard. The day that you could beat me will never come,” Levion whispered in anger. Vitiosus felt his sword fall (Again, showing. Try to leave out "he felt". Say: Vitiosus's sword fell to the ground.) to the ground with a loud thump that seemed to echo through the air. (a loud thump that echoed through the air.)
Here's a sentence I rearranged:

Vitiosus saw an opportunity. He ignored the pain, rolled over and jumped up in time to attack Levion with his blade from behind.

Or:

Vitiosus ignored the pain, rolled over and jumped up in time to attack Levion with his blade from behind.

Or something like that. Point being: make it stronger when you can.

Hope that helps!

~JD

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shadow
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by shadow » February 13th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Serzen: Thanks so much for your through critique and opinion on swordsmanship! lol, I never held a sword in my life, other than pretending to with sticks as a child so I expected it to be somewhat off, though I did try to research. Sword fighting had always come to me as exciting and thrilling though, so I just try to use imagination. I really appreciate that you took your time to help me out with that aspect! Regarding starting off with description, I am thinking that I will weave in the reasoning throughout the fight and have Vitiosus' father come forward to him after the battle.

Juistine: Thanks so much for your help as well! I am going to try to remove the ing to the ed! Jeeze, it's the tenses lol.
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Re: First few paragraphs of my YA Fantasy...

Post by Serzen » February 13th, 2010, 11:47 pm

JD- The term you're looking for is Passive Voice. ;) Also, the case at the end of "seemed to echo" is incorrect in this instance because either it DID echo or it did NOT echo. I should never have maybe echoed.

Shadow- I'm glad to help. I really think I should take some time, if I find any, to do up a post about how combat actually works. I realize a lot of people are interested in fantasy literature, but not everyone has the time or opportunity to study everything that goes along with it. If it makes the next generation of fantasy novels read like they have real fighting in and not just sweaty grunts and groans, whatever time it takes me to write up the guide will be well worth it.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

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