First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

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AllieS
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First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

Post by AllieS » August 7th, 2012, 12:26 am

Thanks for any comments! I'll be happy to return the favor.

First 400 words:


Three layers of hand-knit sweaters and my gloves protected my skin. I tweaked the silk over my wrists, ensuring that no portion of my flesh was exposed.

“You’re too cautious, honey,” Jolie said. Her soft, clumsy hand came up over my shoulder and pinned my mother’s old jade brooch to my outermost sweater. “Everyone knows what will happen if they touch you.”

“Accidents happen,” I said firmly. Actually, an accident hadn’t happened in years thanks to my layering, but I didn’t dare risk it. It’s not as though I could overheat, anyway.

I saw Jolie’s lips purse in the silver-framed mirror by my bed. Her full face was fatigued from a morning volunteering in the kitchen. One frizzy knot of hair stuck out of her brittle blonde bun. She’d been my caretaker for a decade, yet I didn’t think I’d ever seen her hair out of that bun.

I smiled, contemplating how much trouble I’d get in for snatching the tie away. Since Jolie was the only person who could touch me without any painful consequence, she’d probably chase me down with the broom.

My grin was all it took to wipe the pout from her expression. Simple, hair-brained Jolie. Her Scar never altered her cheerful view on life.

Her fingers prodded against the back of my neck as she adjusted the sweaters. I experienced no heat, no cold. Just the pressure of her touch on my skin.

Neither Jolie nor I had felt temperature for ten years.

“All right, I’m good enough,” I said, wriggling out of her grasp. “We both know Commissioner Fayer isn’t going to like me again because you’ve dressed me up.” She could have dressed me up like a fairy princess and he’d still go ashen when he saw me.

“He’ll like you with this.” She handed me the palm-sized silver mirror Commissioner Fayer bought me for my fifth birthday, before the glacea explosion that killed hundreds and Tainted many others.

Anger flared through me as I recalled that day. Before I could stop myself, my arm reeled back and I hurtled the mirror into the far wall. The cacophony of shattering glass and Jolie’s small gasp were the most pleasant sounds I’d heard in a while. I didn’t even regret the loss of such a lovely item. Commissioner Fayer had given it to someone he loved.

That person was no longer me.

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klbritt
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Re: First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

Post by klbritt » August 7th, 2012, 4:46 pm

First, let me say, I REALLY liked your query, and I enjoyed your excerpt. Your story intrigues me and I want to read more :D

But I have some suggestions to your excerpt, that you can use or not, it's your manuscript, not mine...My suggestions are in blue. Do you have a critiquing partner or anyone that reads what you've written? It may help you develop some of your story more - of course, I've not read the rest of it, so I could just be rambling...okay - on to my suggestions...

Three layers of hand-knit sweaters and my gloves protected my skin. I tweaked the silk over my wrists, ensuring that no portion of my flesh was exposed. TRY:
The third sweater I pulled over my head rumpled the two others below it. I slipped on my silk gloves, delighting in the smooth, soft touch and then I looked myself over ensuring no portion of my skin is left exposed.

“You’re too cautious, honey,” Jolie said. Her soft, clumsy hand came up over my shoulder and pinned my mother’s old jade brooch to my outermost sweater. “Everyone knows what will happen if they touch you.”

“Accidents happen,” I said firmly. Actually, an accident hadn’t happened in years thanks to my layering, but I didn’t dare risk it. It’s not as though I could overheat, anyway. TRY:
“Accidents happen,” I say firmly, knowing full well that an accident hadn’t happened in years. Since I began layering my clothing, I’ve been accident free. But I can’t take the risk, and so I’m always double checking myself. (Can you add an example of an accident? Put in a little backstory here maybe – I know I’d like a little more)

I saw Jolie’s lips purse in the silver-framed mirror by my bed. Her full face was fatigued from a morning volunteering in the kitchen. One frizzy knot of hair stuck out of her brittle blonde bun. She’d been my caretaker for a decade, yet I didn’t think I’d ever seen her hair out of that bun. TRY:
I caught a glimpse of Jolie’s pursed lips in the silver-framed mirror by my bed. Tired lines creased her face, perhaps fatigue from a morning of volunteering in the kitchen, or maybe from her years of caring for me. Her hair is tied back in one, frizzy knot that creates the signature bun I’ve never seen her without. I smiled, contemplating how much trouble I’d get in for snatching the tie away. Since Jolie was the only person who could touch me without any painful consequence, she’d probably chase me down with a broom.

My mischievous grin was all it took to wipe the pout from her expression. Simple, hair-brained Jolie, her scar never altered her cheerful view on life.

Her fingers prodded against the back of my neck as she adjusted the sweaters. I experienced no heat, no cold. Just the pressure of her touch on my skin.

Neither Jolie nor I had felt temperature for ten years.
(I think this could be put in backstory somewhere) TRY:

Jolie’s delicate fingers pull and straighten the layers of sweaters I wear, smoothing them against my body. The gentle pressures of her fingers as they brush my skin sends chills down my spine, but not from the heat her body resonates. I can’t feel that. As many times as she has helped me dress, I’m still unused to it. Touch.

“All right, I’m good enough,” I said, wriggling out of her grasp. “We both know Commissioner Fayer isn’t going to like me again just because you’ve dressed me up.” She could have dressed me up (take out up) like a fairy princess and he’d still go ashen when he saw me.

“He’ll like you with this.” She handed me the palm-sized silver mirror Commissioner Fayer bought me for my fifth birthday, before the glacea explosion that killed hundreds and tainted many others.

Anger flared through me as I recalled that day. Before I could stop myself, my arm reeled back and I hurled the mirror into the far wall. The cacophony of shattering glass and Jolie’s small gasp were the most pleasant sounds I’d heard in a while. I didn’t even regret the loss of such a lovely item. Commissioner Fayer had given it to someone he loved.

That person was no longer me.

=========

I am no expert, but upon completion of my WIP, I plan on looking at each paragraph to see if I can write it any better than I had originally written it. Meaning, if I wrote:

The fat cat stood at the door and meowed to get inside.

Maybe when I rewrote the sentence, it could be more like:

A strange, howl-like call came from outside my house. I pulled back the thin curtain on the narrow window next to the door and saw a grotesquely overweight orange furball of a cat scratching and meowing to come inside.

Okay, so maybe that's a bad example, but what I'm trying to say, is that I do like your story, but in an effort to draw the reader in (me), I felt as though there were some pieces missing (some backstory) and that the imagery wasn't quite there...yet. I think you have it in you to create it though! Keep working on it and you'll get there.

~Kristie
~Kristie

-: Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read - Groucho Marx :-

http://www.BKRivers.blogspot.com

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

Post by LurkingVirologist » August 11th, 2012, 9:00 pm

Red means I'd consider cutting, while blue is linked to [a comment]

"Three layers of hand-knit sweaters and my gloves protected my skin. I tweaked the silk over my wrists, ensuring that no portion of my flesh was exposed. [tense/cadence feels odd. Since you are talking about clothing, focus on touch as your sense reference.]

“You’re too cautious, honey,” Jolie said. Her soft, clumsy hand came up over my shoulder and pinned my mother’s old jade brooch to my outermost sweater. “Everyone knows what will happen if they touch you.”

“Accidents happen,” I said firmly. Actually, an accident hadn’t happened in years thanks to my layering, but I didn’t dare risk it. It’s not as though I could overheat, anyway.

I saw Jolie’s lips purse in the silver-framed mirror by my bed. Her full face was fatigued from a morning volunteering in the kitchen. One frizzy knot of hair stuck out of her brittle blonde bun. She’d been my caretaker for a decade, yet I didn’t think I’d ever seen her hair out of that bun. [this is a bit ambiguous - are you referring to her hair never being out of place, or never being down completely? I know it's an oddly specific question, but actually changes the meaning for me quite a bit]

I smiled, contemplating how much trouble I’d get in for snatching the tie away. Since Jolie was the only person who could touch me without any painful consequence, she’d probably chase me down with the broom.

My grin was all it took to wipe the pout from her expression [pout and expression are redundant, I'd suggest trimming 'expression']. Simple, hair-brained Jolie. Her Scar never altered her cheerful view on life.

Her fingers prodded against the back of my neck as she adjusted the sweaters. I experienced no heat, no cold. Just the pressure of her touch on my skin.

Neither Jolie nor I had felt temperature for ten years.

“All right, I’m good enough,” I said, wriggling out of her grasp. “We both know Commissioner Fayer isn’t going to like me again because you’ve dressed me up.” She could have dressed me up like a fairy princess and he’d still go ashen when he saw me [at the sight of me].

“He’ll like you with this.” She handed me the palm-sized silver mirror Commissioner Fayer bought me for my fifth birthday, before the glacea explosion that killed hundreds and Tainted many others.

Anger flared through me as I recalled that day. [redundant - her actions clearly demonstrate how angry she is] Before I could stop myself, my arm reeled back and [I'd cut this only because it makes her sound wishy-washy or petulant, unless that is what you are going for, but the following sentences make her anger sound very deep and very justified] I hurtled the mirror into the far wall. The cacophony of shattering glass and Jolie’s small gasp were the most pleasant sounds I’d heard in a while. I didn’t even regret the loss of such a lovely item. Commissioner Fayer had given it to someone he loved.

That person was no longer me."

I like this a lot. There's some polishing to be done here and there, but from what I've seen you've got a clear voice and a good sense of your character's emotions. The last bit was especially effective, and does a nice job of both conveying your protag's anger while allowing the reader to empathize with her.

One thing that I can't tell from just the 400 words is how rich of a descriptive voice you are going for. Vivid, sparse, or somewhere in between? I might be able to offer slightly more constructive advice if I had a better sense of where the rest of your WiP falls on that spectrum. My guess would be more toward the sparse end, but if that's not the case, there are a few places where you have a good opportunity to fill out some sense descriptions.
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

LaurenNTaylor
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Re: First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

Post by LaurenNTaylor » August 28th, 2012, 6:30 pm

This excerpt does grab your attention from the start. The only thing I wanted to know more about was the scar, just a little sentence telling me where it came from or what it looked like.

I like the use of the word tweaked, but I like using weird words to describe things, it sets it apart from other writing.

I saw Jolie’s lips purse in the (reflection of the) silver-framed mirror by my bed.

My grin was all it took to wipe the pout from her (lips?) expression.

(I agree take out the anger flared bit) I hurtled the mirror into the far wall. The cacophony of shattering glass and Jolie’s small gasp were the most pleasant sounds I’d heard in a while. (Why does she enjoy Jolie's gasp? I got the impression she had affection for her caretaker) I didn’t even regret the loss of such a lovely item. Commissioner Fayer had given it to someone he loved.

That person was no longer me."

I'm very new at this so feel free to ignore me :)

ZoeOlivia
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Re: First 400 Words of OF ICE AND ASHES, YA Light Fantasy

Post by ZoeOlivia » September 25th, 2013, 5:25 pm

I like this intro because I think it gives a glimpse into an interesting story, but I would recommend you have more action from the get go. I would ease back on the introversion and have her speak more (for example when she says "accidents happen" and then thinks about how they haven't happened, she could say something to Jolie about how she hasn't had any accidents because she's been careful or something. Unless you are trying to show something about the characters introversion, I think you can show this thought of hers through speech. It's more active and engaging to the reader.

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