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Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: saaedwrites on December 04, 2019, 01:26:10 PM

Title: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: saaedwrites on December 04, 2019, 01:26:10 PM

   He knew he shouldn’t have been there, but he needed this. Needed the waves that crashed onto the shore and through him. Needed these moments of fullness just before the tide called its vehicle back through his eyes, washing him clean and leaving behind only the familiar sting of brine on his cheeks. This ocean was the only thing that got it to slow down. The incessant thoughts—the radio. The voice in his head that never seemed to shut up. It told him things he didn’t want to hear, things that he didn’t want to accept. And when it became unbearable, he came here.

   His father would be angry, but he waded in anyway. The events of the day had worn him down, driven his resolve into the ground. His mother’s funeral, his father’s mask. He couldn’t bring himself to be home without her just yet. It still didn’t feel real, but the lack of life, the emptiness in her eyes… Death was distinct, the Reaper’s work always unmistakable. He understood that even magic could not undo this. And it certainly wouldn’t undo the things that had happened between he and his father since. The damage had been done.

   He came to a point where he could no longer feel the bottom of the ocean, but it didn’t worry him. He knew that with a simple snap of his finger, he could be back on shore, dry and safe. Flipping onto his back, he let his eyes drift closed. He felt weightless, no magic necessary. That was what had always drawn him to this place. It was the only thing that felt real to him right now. There was no force driving this, just the ocean doing what it did. No spells. No enchantments. Pure elemental power. No tricks here.

   It wasn’t until he’d opened his eyes several moments later that he noticed the moon. It shone an unusual color in the night sky, casting an eery red glow onto the surface of the water. He had seen a blood moon before, but never alone. Nights like tonight were rumored to be extremely dangerous, but he couldn’t bring himself to be scared. Instead, he felt exhilarated. The moon called to the blood running in his veins, and for one strange moment, he felt like he was teetering on the edge of something terrible, something great. Instinct was telling him it was time to stitch back to shore, but he relished the feeling for one last moment.

   Seconds before he cast his spell, something gripped his calf, shredding his flesh like it was cloth. Terror surged through him like cold poison, and before he could complete the stitch, he was pulled under. He could taste his own blood in the water, could feel its warmth spreading around him. Another claw tore through his back, and the pain broke through his panic. He fought to cast another spell, anything to get him away from his attacker, but now his magic felt heavy, as if there were chains weighing it down. He was being ensorcelled.

   The glowing eyes, the glint of sharp teeth, they confirmed his fate. Hair brushed his cheek. A siren. There was no point in struggling. He knew he was going to die. And with that realization, something incredible happened.

   The radio stopped.


Chapter One

   The smell of testosterone, pivo, and sex assaults my senses the moment I push through the front doors. Rokoko, one of Prague’s most infamous meat markets, is bursting at the seams. Throbbing, bass-heavy Eurohouse pounds through the beautiful, hazy room like the building itself has a pulse. Bodies writhe wildly, prisoners to their trance and to the dance floor before me. It’s so hot, even on the second floor where I stand, that you could fry an egg. Or a brain, I think, if the drugs and alcohol don’t do it first.

   I take a deep breath and descend onto the first floor and into the heart of the beast. I approach the dance floor apprehensively and within seconds, an errant, sweaty forearm swipes my cheek. Its owner doesn’t even realize he’s touched me, and before I can react, he sways back into the very heart of it. For a second, I’m stunned by it. All these people, here to forget, while I would do anything to remember. Anger is bitter in my mouth at this thought, but I swallow it whole.

   Prague is, on the surface, an enchanting preservation of Czech history, culture, and most notably, architecture. Tourists from all over the world flock the city in the summer months to behold its antiquated beauty. Living here, however, you quickly learn that things are different underneath the surface. A bump on the shoulder in the street seems innocent enough. That is, until a few moments later, you realize your wallet is nowhere to be found. Like any other city, Prague is filled with con-artists and thieves. I would know, I am the best of them.

   The City of One hundred Spires is also filled with prostitutes. Rokoko is well-known for them. The women who make work here—the meat—linger on the edges of the crowd, at the bars, and in the VIP sections like beautiful street cats. They are the most like me out of all the people in this city, but despite this mutual respect we share, I avoid them tonight. I’d only received two words of instruction from Tomas—be discreet. For what, I don’t know, but if anyone were to notice my presence here, it would be one of them.

*A/N* My main concern, aside from overall feedback, is the agonizing decision to include the prologue or leave it out. In the prologue, this character's death takes place in the past, and their death sets some very important plot lines into motion. Its meaning wouldn't come into play until the last fourth of the story, giving me plenty of time to incorporate the information into the story itself, but I kind of wanted this to be an easter egg connection that the reader makes (and that the narrator hasn't) that would serve as a cliffhanger for the next book in the series if that makes sense? Anyway, feedback would be awesome and so very much appreciated! Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: PIJ1951 on December 04, 2019, 05:25:03 PM
Here's my own feedback, for what it's worth. It's harsh, but I'm guessing this is what you need.

You're a capable enough writer. But in my opinion, your prologue doesn't achieve anything positive. That goes for most prologues, by the way. But this one certainly wouldn't make me want to continue reading, mainly because it's rather vague. The hero is wading into the ocean and is attacked. But the narrative style is rambling and repetitive. All I see here is a writer trying to appear literate - maybe enigmatic even. But the first page of any novel is not the place to indulge an author's artistic impulses. The first page has to grab the reader's attention, make them ready to engage with the main character and desperate to learn what's going to happen next.

Chapter 1 starts off on a much better note. I'm intrigued. I immediately trust the author because their writing displays confidence and a talent for working with words. I'm excited to continue the experience and discover where the story is heading next. There are better ways to incorporate the elements you are trying to dump on the opening page. I'm sure you will realise you don't need the prologue once you near the completion of your project.

Good luck and thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: saaedwrites on December 04, 2019, 06:50:21 PM
Hey, thanks for taking the time to check it out!

I agree with you on the prologue. Something didn't seem right about it and I'm glad I sought other opinions. I'll have to find some way to incorporate the information elsewhere and in a different way.

As for the bit about the beginning of the first chapter, thank you! I felt really good about it and hopefully can carry that forward into the rest of the story. I really appreciate the feedback and well wishes!
Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: Bajan_Maxrevus on December 05, 2019, 06:40:58 PM
I'll give the feedback you wanted first: I'd leave out the prologue. Though the information might be's a really cold way to start the story especially since the only person we have an interaction with dies ( or is assumed to be dead.)

The beginning of chapter one is promising. I'd like to read a full excerpt from there.
Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: Kit on December 08, 2019, 10:50:43 AM
Hi saaedwrites,

The prologue adds something that your first chapter does not (yet) - it informs the reader right away that this is a story about magic.

Happy writing.


Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: dnbrookswrites on December 13, 2019, 06:07:23 PM
Hey saaedwrites,

First off: thank for sharing!

In terms of your questions about the prologue, my thought it always to leave it out. It's been rare that I've read a prologue which I thought was necessary. I think there's ways to incorporate what happened to this mystery characters in the ways that his death affects the characters in the present (if this makes sense). Also, people talk about death, especially those close to the deceased. That could be an easy way of incorporating this backstory without interrupting the narrative.

For the first chapter, I do agree that this one holds more promise, but I think, as Kit mentions, the element of magic is missing. I know it's only a short excerpt (so maybe it comes in later), but I think your very first sentence of chapter one should be like a kick in the face. Maybe mentioning something about your magic system might help (if that makes sense).

Hope this was helpful. Good luck!

Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: jadynm1234567 on January 02, 2020, 12:55:33 PM
I don't think anything is bad with the prologue. I've read several books that start out with a completely different character in a different setting, and there's nothing wrong with it. I agree that you could possibly incorporate into the story, but it depends on a lot of factors; how far in the past is this character? Are they related to the main character? How is it connected to the main character? If it is far in the past, a relative, or directly connected to what the main character will face (like sirens are the main conflict, for example) then I would keep it. Whenever I read a prologue, I mentally file it away, viewing it as important. I also agree that the magical element in the prologue is important. If you cut the prologue, I strongly recommend weaving subtle bits of magic into the first chapter. As for engaging with the character in the prologue, you play on emotion, not action. This is not a bad thing. I connected almost instantly with the main character, feeling their pain and their (possible, I'm assuming it's at least close to a) mental illness. And starting with a death is pretty unsettling; not a bad way to hook an audience. You have great sentence structure and amazing imagery; it's so nice to read some good imagery. So that's the prologue; the first chapter. You contrasted the tone and mood well, and provide background info without being intrusive. The character is well developed, and your line "Prague is filled with con-artists and thieves. I would know, I am the best of them," actually made me laugh out loud. I would say that I do like the feel of the chapter 1 more, but I think I'm supposed to. Overall, I really enjoyed it, I think the prologue can be kept (if you want to keep it, of course) and that you are a talented writer. Keep it up!
Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: 10xrower on January 04, 2020, 01:49:02 PM
I enjoyed reading your chapter.  You did a great job of setting the scene for a struggling father trying to provide for his family.
As with any passage, I have a few suggestions for you.  I hope you don't mind a few words from a new member!

First of all, while the setup for the main character is good, the part about the mechanic detracts from the focus on the family.  If you were to use that later in the passage, it may flow better.  It also seems like there is too much description of the other family members all at once.  I'm not even sure what the main character looks like, but I have a detail by detail picture of what Caitlyn and JJ look like.

Next, the information about the home improvements that need to be made could be condensed into a couple of sentences.  I don't think it's essential to know that the insurance company is crooked at this point in the story.

Lastly, the way the people are described is great.  Again, if we know the daughter is twelve, we don't need the extra information about how she's a handful, we can infer that.  Great descriptions are needed strategically, not all at once.

Hope this helps out!

Title: Re: YA Fantasy Concept: prologue and intro to first chapter. TW: adult themes
Post by: 10xrower on January 04, 2020, 01:52:47 PM
I apologize.  My previous post was to a different writer and I clicked on the post button prematurely.  Sorry again!