Fantasy novel 1st page

Post excerpts from your works in progress and give feedback to your fellow writers.
Post Reply
sgf
Posts: 39
Joined: September 13th, 2010, 10:15 pm
Contact:

Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by sgf » September 20th, 2010, 8:14 pm

Hello!

I got such great feedback on my query attempt I decided to submit my 1st page as well. Clunky or unclear prose? Telling vs. showing? Boring or cliche? Would you turn the page? Any comments, suggestions, etc. welcome. Thanks for taking a look, and I'll be happy to return the review!

***

Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her. Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against her black robes, grasping like fingers. Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. She didn’t slow. Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air. If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg.

“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall. Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds?

Then came the dull twang of crossbows.

Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away. Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—

Something jolted her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes. Shivers coursed her spine as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head.

Emily J
Posts: 250
Joined: March 31st, 2010, 2:20 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by Emily J » September 21st, 2010, 7:13 pm

sgf wrote:Hello!

I got such great feedback on my query attempt I decided to submit my 1st page as well. Clunky or unclear prose? Telling vs. showing? Boring or cliche? Would you turn the page? Any comments, suggestions, etc. welcome. Thanks for taking a look, and I'll be happy to return the review!

***

Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her.` this opening line definitely worked for me, grabbed my interest immediately! Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against suggest dropping "against" her black robes, grasping like fingers. Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. hmm, maybe connect this sentence to the preceding ones? --> She didn’t slow. Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds <-- drake-steeds had me thinking they are riding ducks, which made me giggle, what are drake-steeds? not giant male ducks i'm assuming echoed in the air. If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg. <-- this last sentence doesn't feel like the logical conclusion of this paragraph, or indeed, related to the rest of the paragraph

“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall. <-- hmm, a hall has alleys? is it literally a hall or a city? just wondering Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds?

Then came the dull twang of crossbows.

Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. this sentence feels odd, to start with action then take a sort of step back into this pastoral description, lessens the immediacy of the paragraph --> Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. the description is good tho! just maybe work it in before the crossbow bolts? The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its could simplify and cut out "across the field" edge not more than fifty paces away. Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs careful here, it might be fine but this borders on a dangling participle, are her legs tired? or is Ravenel tired? threatened to collapse under her. She grit gritted? past tense right? and "grit her teeth" is overused her teeth and quickened her pacing, pace? not pacing i think? determined to reach the darkness, this seems repetitive --> to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—

Something jolted is jolted a strong enough word? her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes. not sure I follow the imagery, shouldn't it still be stuck in her shoulder? the head of the arrow is razor tipped right? not the shaft itself? and if it hits the back of her shoulder, could she even see it? again, not sure if this particular image works for me Shivers coursed her spine <-- hmm borders on cliche as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head.
I liked this a lot! I made some suggestions, and I do think you could improve the paragraph structure, but it starts with the action, draws the reader in immediately, and very vividly sets the scene. Good job!

User avatar
wordranger
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by wordranger » September 21st, 2010, 10:12 pm

I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts as a fellow writer, and a reader of this genre...

Also, excuse the ALL CAPS. I cannot figure out how to make my words a different color... when I press the font color, I get HTML on the page, so you're stuck with ALL CAPS. Sorry!


Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her. Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against her black robes, grasping like fingers. LIKE THE FIRST TWO LINES... BOUGHT ME IN RIGHT OFF THE TOP, MAKING ME WANT TO KEEP READING.

Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. She didn’t slow. THIS SOUNDS A LITTLE WEIRD AND MADE ME SLOW DOWN. MAYBE COMBINE IT INTO ONE SENTANCE TO KEEP THE PACE MOVING AS FAST AS SHE IS? MAYBE "THORNS NEEDLED INTO THE FLESH OF HER BARE FEET, BUT SHE COULDN'T SLOW DOWN."

Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air. SHRILL BLARE OF THE DRAKE STEEDS? I READ THIS THREE TIMES. I THINK I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO, BUT I THINK IT IS GETTING A LITTLE MUTTLED. MAYBE THE SENTANCE IS JUST TOO LONG. TRY SAYING IT OUT LOUD TO YOURSELF. DOES IT SOUND WEIRD TO YOU?

If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. I LIKE THIS. I LIKE THE CHOPPY BREAKS IN THE SENTANCE. IT WORKS HERE, BECAUSE IT SHOWS HER DESPARATION.

Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg. THIS DOES NOT SOUND GOOD. IS IT EVEN NECESSARY? IF IT IS, MAYBE SOMETHING MORE SIMPLE, LIKE "HER POUCH HAD GROWN HEAVY AND WET (WHY IS IT WET ANYWAY?) AND IT SWISHED AGAINST HER LEG." IS SWISH REALLY THE WORD YOU ARE LOOKING FOR? AGAIN, IF THE POUCH IS NOT INTEGRAL TO THE STORY, YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMOVE THIS.

“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall. Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds? MAYBE "WHY DID SHE THINK SHE COULD SAFELY FLEE THROUGH THIS FIELD OF WEEDS?" I JUST LIKE THIS TENSE BETTER, NOT SURE WHY.

Then came the dull twang of crossbows. CLEAR, TO THE POINT, I LIKE IT

Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. I HAVE COME BACK TO THIS A FEW TIMES, BECAUSE I AM NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY. I THINK MAYBE THE SECOND SENTANCE BEING REVERSED IS THROWING ME OFF. ALSO, THE CRADLED SUN, THE LOOMING WOODS, AND BURNISHED SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE TRYING TOO HARD. I'D MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE SIMPLE TO HELP THE MOOD OF DESPARATION... AGAIN, THAT'S JUST ME, THOUGH. I WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT REVERSED SENTANCE ABOUT THE CRADLED SUN AT A BEAR MINIMUM. I DON'T THINK THAT WORKS.

The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away. AGAIN, A LITTLE WEIRD. ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY "THE TREELINE WAS NOT MORE THAN FIFTY PACES AWAY, AND CAST A SERRATED LINE OF SHADOWS ACROSS THE FIELD"

Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—
GRITTED HER TEETH? QUICKENED HER PACE? JUST SUGGESTIONS

Something jolted her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. I MIGHT DESCRIBE THE PAIN A LITTLE. I'M SURE IT HURT A LITTLE MORE THAN JUST A FLARE OF PAIN, BUT I TEND TO LEAN TO THE DRAMATIC... THAT'S UP TO YOU.

She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes. Shivers coursed her spine as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head. I'M NOT CRAZY ABOUT "POKED FROM HER ROBES" IT MIGHT SOUND BETTER IF IT WAS FOLLOWED BY HER FEELINGS ABOUT THIS, WHICH WOULD BE MORE DRAMATIC THEN, WHEN SHE THINKS ABOUT THE NEXT ONE GOING THROUGH HER HEAD.

This sounds like a really good story. If I was in a bookstore, and I opened up the book and read this first page, I would be intrigued enough to read a little more. Please take my suggestions as just that... suggestions. Everyone has their own style. I tend to be a little critical, because that is what I want people to do for me. I love it when people tell me how great something is, but what I really want is for people to tell me how I might ba able to make it better.

Good luck, and I hope this helps!
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/

sgf
Posts: 39
Joined: September 13th, 2010, 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by sgf » September 22nd, 2010, 1:07 am

Emily J and Wordranger,

Thanks to you both for reading and offering your thoughts about my first page... just the sort of thing I was looking for. I really appreciate the input!

Wordranger, the writing sounding like it was "trying too hard" is one of the things I'm trying to minimize (along with unnecessary adjectives) so thanks or pointing it out! Oh, regarding making words a different a different color, just use the font color button on top of the reply screen. It will add the HTML tags in your reply screen, but once it's posted it will apply whatever HTML tags you used (you can click the preview button to make sure it works).

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by Quill » September 22nd, 2010, 2:44 am

sgf wrote:Hello!

Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her. Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against her black robes, grasping like fingers.
Agree with the others that this is a compelling start. And with Emily that "against" should be removed, since technically "snag" means "to catch" and thus "to catch against" makes no sense, or is redundant at least.

I would consider omitting "hidden" as vines do not usually hide, or remain concealed, especially down low, they tend to climb. And their hiddeness adds nothing. She must run through them hidden or not.
Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. She didn’t slow. Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air.
I kind of like the "drake-steeds". They let me know right away I'm in a fantasy. I take them to be made-up beasts, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about them. Not sure I like "shrill blare" (these steeds sound like brass musical instruments) or the fact that the blare echoes (why would there be an echo in a field with woods at the edge). How about "pierced the air"?

If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg.
I'm assuming the pouch contains a heart, probably a human heart, maybe the heart of the knight? If so, I doubt it would swish. I think it would clunk against her leg, or at the very least it would slap.
“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes.
In this desperate situation, I could see her thinking "fool, fool, fool". I cannot imagine her telling herself this. She's mumbling this as she runs?? Also, I doubt if she would expend any energy or momentum to wipe tears. Gotta be another way to get "tears" across. How about "and let her tears fall." Or, "felt her eyes burning with tears" or some such?
She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall.
Agree that it's a bit confusing to imagine alleys within a Hall (hall is usually a manor or house of some sort, isn't it?).
Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds?
Awkward.

1. "flee safely" is an odd phrase. Almost sounds like "run safely, without tripping on anything". It does not equate to "escape successfully" which is what I imagine you are going for.

2. "through this field of weeds" does not carry enough weight, with its emphasis on "weeds". It is not the weeds that are the issue, it is the field.

How about "why had she thought she could successfully escape through open fields" or some such.
Then came the dull twang of crossbows.
I'd omit "dull" as slowing a moment you want twangy and fast.
Steel bolts whistled by her,
I would say "past her" as "by" is a weaker choice.
towards the looming woods.
I'm not opposed to this image. I wonder if it could be strengthened further with something like "and flew at the looming woods"
Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light.
Not sure this is the place to put contemplative poetry. Not that I don't like it.

How about "Hanging over the treeline the blood-red sun bathed her with its light." Though here we are still stopping the action to basically comment upon the scenery. Better would be "The sinking sun straight ahead blinded her with its red light but she zig zagged forward into its blinding light" or some such.
The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away.
Again, better to work scenery into the action. How about:

"The serrated line of the tree shadows met her as she plunged on toward the pines just fifty paces ahead" or some such?
Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her.
Odd to personify Ravenel's legs here! Her legs are exhausted and threaten her that they''ll collapse? And where else would they collapse but "under her" (I'd try to find a way to eliminate this obvious info).
She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing,
One quickens one's pace, not one's pacing.

And, it sounded like she was going flat out before. It's a desperate situation. How can she run any faster than with drake steeds, dogs, and arrows behind her? Why was she holding back at all before?
determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—
I'd rewrite this. No need to report on her determination. That's obvious. No need to escape the sun's light. The real need is to put solid material between her and the arrows (i.e. trees) (she needs trees immediately. The sun isn't going to happen fast enough) (shadows might help, but not the shadows of the treeline you've mentioned. Not out-in-the-open shadows, right? So maybe don't mention the shadows). Talk about making the woods.(Even that's an iffy haven, since you said there were hounds) (so not sure you should build up the hope of making the treeline; it's a slim hope, yes, but not a given for safety).
Something jolted her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes.
This is good.

Disagree with Emily that the head would be razor-tipped, not the shaft (it's the tip of the shaft, not the shaft itself) or that it's hard to picture an arrow sticking through her shoulder to the front.
Shivers coursed her spine as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head.
I kind of like this idea, but not sure it's accurate or flows smooth enough:

1. Shivers would course through her spine, not course her spine.

2. "Quarrel" may be a name for an arrow, but since it is unfamiliar, it causes thinking, when you want flow-through reading.

3. I wonder if a desperate and now wounded person would have time or energy to "imagine" further injuries. Might work if you substitute "fear" for "imagine". Try it. Something to accentuate her feeling of vulnerability. Could work with the right tweaking.

Overall, I like the opening scenario and the flow of the action.

sgf
Posts: 39
Joined: September 13th, 2010, 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by sgf » September 22nd, 2010, 7:14 pm

Thanks, Quill, for the excellent line-by-line critique and suggestions!

Cabby
Posts: 4
Joined: May 5th, 2010, 6:37 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by Cabby » September 22nd, 2010, 8:29 pm

I'm not going to take the time to do a line by line right now.

This is a good, interesting opening. I definitely like the idea behind it. And I really like this line:

In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—

although I think you should probably remove the comma. But commas are not my forte, so I could be wrong. (But don't tell my husband.)

The other suggestion I have is that, to me, this page seems to get bogged down in too much description. It makes it slower to read. Some of the description is good, but I think it might feel faster, more desperate if you cut down on all but the necessary description. This girl is running for her life--she's not going to notice the shape of the trees shadows, that type of thing.

But this is well done, especially cleaned up, I'd read on.

User avatar
khanes
Posts: 44
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 6:27 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by khanes » September 23rd, 2010, 3:51 pm

I noticed that some other posters commented on your descriptions, but I really liked them! I love reading books that describe things in a way I wouldn't normally think of. I thought that gave your writing strength and originality. I'll go through and give you my comments within your first page.

Overall, I would definitely read further. You give us an action-packed start with an excellent view of the scene, plus the character's thoughts. good job!

---------------------------------------------

Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her. Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against her black robes, grasping like fingers.Love this description! Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. She didn’t slow. Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air. If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg.At this point, I'm wondering why she is carrying a heavy pouch if she's running for her life. Maybe you could give us a little insight into why its important

“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall. Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds? (awkward)

Then came the dull twang of crossbows.

Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away. Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—

Something jolted her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes.(Like other reviewers, I found this odd. How would she see the arrow?) Shivers coursed her spine as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head. The word "quarrel" made me confused.

User avatar
wordranger
Posts: 115
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by wordranger » September 23rd, 2010, 10:48 pm

sgf wrote:Emily J and Wordranger,

Thanks to you both for reading and offering your thoughts about my first page... just the sort of thing I was looking for. I really appreciate the input!

Wordranger, the writing sounding like it was "trying too hard" is one of the things I'm trying to minimize (along with unnecessary adjectives) so thanks or pointing it out! Oh, regarding making words a different a different color, just use the font color button on top of the reply screen. It will add the HTML tags in your reply screen, but once it's posted it will apply whatever HTML tags you used (you can click the preview button to make sure it works).
Glad I could help. I'd love to take another peek when you've revamped. Actually, looking over yours helped me to notice a few things in my own writing as I mulled through edit #20 or so on my current work. Thanks!, and Hey, Look color!
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/

priya g.
Posts: 109
Joined: September 26th, 2010, 2:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by priya g. » September 26th, 2010, 7:00 pm

If i picked this book, trust me, i would buy it and finish it on the way home. Just a few pointers though:
1. The intensity of the situation is coming out bright and clear, though i must admit i skipped a few lines because i just wanted to know why she is running. i dont know if that's a good sign or not. reconsider keeping the sentences : Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light.
2. Another sentence: A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes. Since she was being chased, this implies the shaft pierced her from behind, went right through her body, poked out of it AND her robe. Where did this shaft pierce her? how painful was it? did she realize it that instance or she went numb? does she realize the implications- how it can render her helpless? answering those questions, preferably in short 3-word sentences will increase the suspense.
2. What is a quarrel?
hope this helps!

User avatar
writeonsistah
Posts: 8
Joined: September 27th, 2010, 3:46 pm
Location: Miami, FL
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by writeonsistah » September 27th, 2010, 4:33 pm

Hi! I'll add a few of my thoughts. I think you've got a really compelling opening scene and I love your first sentence. That drew me in right away. But it was a little description-heavy for me. Maybe that's just a personal thing because I tend to favor action over lyrical descriptions.
sgf wrote:Hello!

Ravenel ran, and it seemed as if the land itself was trying to stop her. Vines hidden in the ankle-length grass snagged against her black robes, grasping like fingers. Thorns needled into the flesh of her bare feet. She didn’t slow. Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air. If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart. As she ran, the heavy pouch around her waist tangled between her legs and she stumbled. Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg. (<-- That sentence didn't feel like it quite fit with the rest of the paragraph. Needs something to tie it in.

“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. She would have been safer hiding in the dark alleys of Harkelo Hall. Why had she thought she could safely flee through this field of weeds?

Then came the dull twang of crossbows.

Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away. Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—

I think it'd be effective to have her actually cry out loud here and then explain it, i.e. 'augh! Ravenal cried out at a flare of pain as something jolted her shoulder. That's rough, but hopefully you get the idea.
Something jolted her shoulder. Ravenel cried out at the flare of pain. She stumbled but quickly recovered her footing. A razor-tipped shaft, glistening with blood, poked from her robes. Shivers coursed her spine as she imagined the next quarrel punching through the back of her head.
Nice work. Your first page definitely draws me in and makes me want to know what happens next.
Check out the first two chapters of my debut novel, Jasmine Powers, Super Geek.
http://www.jasminepowers.blogspot.com

sgf
Posts: 39
Joined: September 13th, 2010, 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by sgf » September 27th, 2010, 4:49 pm

Thanks Priya, khanes, and writeonsistah for your comments!

User avatar
erin_bowman
Posts: 12
Joined: October 13th, 2010, 10:04 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: Fantasy novel 1st page

Post by erin_bowman » October 19th, 2010, 11:55 pm

Overall, I think this is a strong beginning. Action, conflict. You get pulled in quickly.

A few thoughts, most of which others have already brought up.
Behind her, hounds barked and soldiers shouted and the shrill blare of their drake-steeds echoed in the air. If they caught her, they would kill her, and they would take her heart.
Love the list of 3 in the first setence, but then having another list of 3 right after seems overkill. What if that second sentence goes to: If they caught her, they would kill her. They would take her heart.
Tied to her waist, a pouch, heavy and wet, swished against her leg.

Totally agree with the comment about why she needs this if it's so heavy. You don't have to even tell us what's in it just yet, just that it is crucial/important/priceless/etc so that we understand why she's lugging it along.
“Fool, fool, fool!” she told herself,

She could think this, maybe, as mentioned, or maybe curse it aloud, but given her predicament, it's probably not going to be out loud "telling"
Steel bolts whistled by her, towards the looming woods. Cradled over the jagged line of elder pines, the blood-red sun burnished her with its light. The trees cast a serrated line of shadows across the field, its edge not more than fifty paces away. Exhausted, Ravenel’s legs threatened to collapse under her. She grit her teeth and quickened her pacing, determined to reach the darkness, to escape the sun’s waning light. In the light, she was vulnerable—if only she could reach the shadows—
This is the only paragraph that seems overdone to me. It's a little lengthy, and I feel like you say the same thing twice. I would simplify the "blood-red sun burnished her" copy and then maybe remove the "exhuasted, ravenel's legs..." sentence. We already know shes tired and exhausted. The following sentence tells us this too (bc of her gritting). I think the importance of this paragraph is illustrating she is in light and needs to make it to the shadows. I'd pare out the stuff that doesn't help tell that story.

That's all I've got. Great start.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests