Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

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ryanznock
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by ryanznock » March 25th, 2010, 10:46 pm

I agree with JTB. The short hook is great. You draw it out a bit too much.
shadow wrote:REVISION AT THE BOTTOM!Guys and girls I have thick skin so be rough! Trust me, I got used to it. So I posted this before but I completely rewrote it and I am sure this is the final version so I would really like to get some constructive critique on it. My main question is does it hook you? Would you read on? Does it stink? Jelly Beans for commenters :D

Vitiosus calmed his breathing as he was escorted out into the centre of the village square by a few guards dressed in midnight black armor. He had to look cool, unemotional. The mail that protected his chest clattered slightly as he walked and he felt his father’s glare burned into his back. He had no choice now. Kill or die.
You open with passive voice ("he was escorted out") and an overused description ("midnight black").
The noise of the Lassertas that crowded around the village square drowned out the yells of a big angry-looking human who was held back by chains and guards. The guards left Vitiosus’ side, his father watching his every move from a throne. The human stopped struggling and stared at him. He was tall, with rippling muscles showing through his torn tunic. Unlike Vitiosus’ black leather clothes, he was wearing a white tunic with elaborate designs on the collar and sleeves, and a leather pleated skirt with gold accents. His dark blonde hair was stained with mud, making it look brown, and lanky, but what Vitiosus noticed most were the warrior’s piercing blue eyes, who locked on Vitiosus in defiance. Vitiosus tried to hide his discomfort at the sight of this great warrior and what he was starting to realize was about to occur.
Your descriptions don't excite me or engage me. "Big angry-looking" is just weak. Imagine you're walking into this scene. The crowd, is it roaring, chanting, or simply simmering with the impatient murmurs of people who want to see a brawl? When you finally spot your foe, are you daunted by how he towers above you, how despite the fact that he's a prisoner, the men holding his chains cower beside him? Simply stating that he 'was tall' is not as good an image as . . . I dunno, saying that he dwarfed the guards holding his chains. Also, "piercing blue eyes" is a combination of words that are way overused.

The scene has potential, and it's an intriguing place to start a story, but you don't push the language enough. Give me something I haven't read before.

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shadow
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by shadow » March 31st, 2010, 7:40 pm

Updated Revision for you guys to rip at!! Thanks for all the critique this far!
Vitiosus was escorted out into the centre of the village square. Quelling his nervousness and apprehension, he strived to appear cool and unemotional. His father’s glare burned into his back. He knew he had no choice: kill or die.

The roaring of the Lassertas who crowded around the village square drowned out the yells of a human who was held back by chains and guards. The guards left Vitiosus’s side. His father, the king, took his seat on his throne to watch his every move. The human stopped struggling and stared at him. He towered above Vitiosus, with tan rippling muscles. Unlike Vitiosus’s black leather clothes, he was wearing a white tunic with elaborate designs on the collar and sleeves, and a leather pleated skirt with gold accents. His dark blonde hair was stained with mud, but what Vitiosus noticed most were the warrior’s icy blue eyes that locked on Vitiosus in defiance. Vitiosus tried to hide his growing discomfort at the sight of this great warrior and the trial he was about to endure.

The king raised his arm and cried, “Release the human!” Two guards stepped forward and removed the shackles from the warrior’s arms and legs. As the warrior rubbed his wrists, piercing Vitiosus with his mocking eyes, the 16-year-old prince suppressed his negative thoughts, focusing on what his master had taught him. If he lived to see tomorrow, he would be a true warrior and rightful heir to the Lassertian throne.

Vitiosus clutched his sword by the handle, tearing the cold steel from its scabbard and raising the blade above his sweat-stained brow. The crowd erupted in cheers, and the warrior again rubbed his reddened skin where the shackles had been. The guards then handed him his sword and pushed the crowd back to make room for the battle. Quiet drumming beats echoed in the background. Everything around Vitiosus blurred as he focused on the warrior in front of him, his racing heartbeats thumping in his head.

“Let the battle begin!” announced the king. Vitiosus eyed his opponent tensely, hiding his fear. The warrior walked forward and lifted his sword into the air. Vitiosus raised his own weapon, trying to control his rapid breathing. His heart pounded, but he held fast and kept his focus on his adversary. The crowd grew silent when the warrior attacked, his face twisted in a grimace. Vitiosus met the striking sword with his own, steel sliding 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 attack and prepared his reply.
Last edited by shadow on April 1st, 2010, 1:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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chomsnumnum
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by chomsnumnum » March 31st, 2010, 10:13 pm

I've read this about 20 times now and tried to figure out how to put this. My issue is this name. I just can't get past it. Every time I read this, I ponder over how this is pronounced, what the etimology is, and I can't procede with the story at all. I know that names are so personal and such a profound part of the writing process that I can't imagine you changing it just because I'm saying this, but I keep coming back to this over and over. I've read it in both your opening and your query and every time I'm like, "what the heck is this name?" Maybe this is a totally common name in your genre, but I just felt like I had to point this out.

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shadow
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by shadow » March 31st, 2010, 10:28 pm

Thanks for pointing it out! I appriciate I mean right now I am pondering and searching a new one because I have had some people say that. I am yet unsure though so I will see but thanks anyways!
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by Emily J » April 1st, 2010, 12:36 pm

Okay I have quite a few suggestions but I must admit I did not read through all the comments so if I repeat, I apoligize.

First of did this catch my attention, yes. But did it maintain that attention? Not so much. Indefinite pronouns and cliches made my mind start to wander away. I lead it back with prodding.

Suggestions:

Paragraph 1:
I would cut out "centre" as village square implies your intended meaning. "midnight black armor" is cliched. The sentence "He had to look cool, unemotional" didn't work for me because I thought of a modern meaning of cool. Maybe a different word here?

Paragraph 2:
"Ferocious-looking" is a telling adjective not a showing one. How is he ferocious? Are his eyes smoldering with hate and violence? Are his fists clenched? "He was tall..." this is an indefinite pronoun and it is unclear who you are referring to. You repeat the words "guard" and "tunic." Repetition is fine if it serves a purpose, but here it just looks like you need a thesaurus. "Blonde" for a man should be spelled without the "e." (Not positive but pretty sure, you may want to check rather than make your ferocious human girly by accident) Piercing blue eyes (cliche!) aren't a person therefore use the word "which" rather than "who." "what he was starting to realize was about to occur" seemed a little bit awkard to me. You have name repetition here with "Vitiosus" time for a definite pronoun.

Paragraph 3:
"He drowned out his negative thoughts" would be more effective if you showed us what his negative thoughts were. He drowned out his fear, his anxiety, ... his whatever it was. The sentence "It is the mind that will outsmart your opponent in battle" needs to be cut or rephrased. Of course you outsmart people with your mind! You don't outsmart people with your hamstring muscle! And "If he lived to see tomorrow..." (cut out the would).

Paragraph 4:
Cut out "was" before the word "blurred" and change "his speeding heartbeat" to "the speeding heartbeat." This is more effective for two reasons: (1) You do not have to repeat the possessive pronoun (2) by having "the" in front of heartbeat it makes the function seem like an outside force, something outside his control, which better sets the scene.

Paragraph 5:
"Let the battle until death, begin!" Just didn't work for me. It sounded hokey, sorry. The reader has already inferred that it is a battle until the death, I think everyone knows this. Give this testing a name, the ritual of blood, the crucible, something and let THAT begin. Or just say "Begin!" since I think even that would be preferable. "gem encrusted, platinum sword" is cliched. "His heart pounded" you already told us! "his face twisted in a grimace" indefinte, whose face! And "he had to be ready for an attack" well of course! It's a fight isn't it?

So sorry that's alot, one of these days I will figure out how to quote text (so far I just mess it up). I think this is a great place to start the story, it is an attention grabber, but you need to learn how to hold that attention by precise writing. And I don't mean to discourage you with all these edits, because honestly they are the little stuff, but there are lots of ways you could make this stronger. I would suggest getting someone to edit your writing. The indefinite pronoun and word repetition problem is especially hard to catch in your own work.

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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by Emily J » April 1st, 2010, 12:41 pm

Ack, sorry I just saw you updated it. I knew not reading every comment was a bad move.

I have another suggestion tho! Wait until all the feedback is in before you revise, then repost the revision rather than put it in the comments section. (For lazy comment skipping people like me...sorry)

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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by shadow » April 1st, 2010, 12:43 pm

Thanks Emily! Not your fault at all! I should have put Revisions at the bottom but I completely forgot cause I was dead tired yeaturday lol. Anyways I will see if I can incorporate any of your comments in the new one. Also I was told not to repost because some people apperantly like to see how it evolves... hmm. lol Thanks!
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Emily J
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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by Emily J » April 1st, 2010, 12:45 pm

Oh I'm commenting again but I just noticed a continuity error!!!

You claim the human's sword is PLATINUM.

But during the fight you say STEEL ON STEEL.

!!!! If only the hilt is platinum I think you need to clarify 'cuz it sounds like a mistake!

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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by Petronella » April 28th, 2010, 3:23 pm

Yes, your opening hooked me and I'd like to read more of the book.

Haven't much more to say than that I agree with most of the things all the others have pointed out.

Jelly beans - do I get the jelly belly kind?

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Re: Does this opening hook you? *Jelly Beans for replies!

Post by Ermo » May 4th, 2010, 11:03 am

shadow wrote:Updated Revision for you guys to rip at!! Thanks for all the critique this far!
Vitiosus was escorted out into the centre of the village square. Quelling his nervousness and apprehension, he strived to appear cool and unemotional. His father’s glare burned into his back. He knew he had no choice: kill or die. I tripped up on the name. Otherwise, I'm intrigued.

The roaring of the Lassertas who crowded around the village square drowned out the yells of a human who was held back by chains and guards. I don't mind that you say "human" but that sets me up to believe that there are things in this world that are not human. Maybe even this Vitiosus guy.
The guards left Vitiosus’s side. His father, the king, took his seat on his throne to watch his every move. The human stopped struggling and stared at him. He towered above Vitiosus, with tan rippling muscles. Unlike Vitiosus’s black leather clothes, he was wearing a white tunic with elaborate designs on the collar and sleeves, and a leather pleated skirt with gold accents. His dark blonde hair was stained with mud, but what Vitiosus noticed most were the warrior’s icy blue eyes that locked on Vitiosus in defiance. Vitiosus tried to hide his growing discomfort at the sight of this great warrior and the trial he was about to endure. How did he try and hide it? Is he trying not to fidget? Maybe he catches himself tapping his foot or some other nervous habit and stops it.


The king raised his arm and cried, “Release the human!” Two guards stepped forward and removed the shackles from the warrior’s arms and legs. As the warrior rubbed his wrists, piercing Vitiosus with his mocking eyes, the 16-year-old prince suppressed his negative thoughts, focusing on what his master had taught him. I feel a little bit like a detached spectator here with all the hiding and suppressing without any attached detail. Maybe some internal dialogue? I want to get to know this guy!
If he lived to see tomorrow, he would be a true warrior and rightful heir to the Lassertian throne.

Vitiosus clutched his sword by the handle, tearing the cold steel from its scabbard and raising the blade above his sweat-stained brow. The crowd erupted in cheers, and the warrior again rubbed his reddened skin where the shackles had been. The guards then handed him his sword and pushed the crowd back to make room for the battle. Quiet drumming beats echoed in the background. Everything around Vitiosus blurred as he focused on the warrior in front of him, his racing heartbeats thumping in his head.

“Let the battle begin!” announced the king. Vitiosus eyed his opponent tensely, hiding his fear. The warrior walked forward and lifted his sword into the air. Vitiosus raised his own weapon, trying to control his rapid breathing. His heart pounded, but he held fast and kept his focus on his adversary. The crowd grew silent when the warrior attacked, his face twisted in a grimace. Vitiosus met the striking sword with his own, steel sliding 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 attack and prepared his reply.
I think this works as a hook. I'd like to keep reading if only to satisfy my curiosity about this opening conflict. I'm 99.9% sure he's going to win this little battle. And because of that, I wonder if you should put something else in this that forshadows the larger conflict of the book. Does he want to be king? I'm guessing something happens that stands in his way of that goal - is there any way to tease that now - even slightly?

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