Author Topic: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words  (Read 5591 times)

Offline Andrewf

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story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« on: March 17, 2008, 04:19:54 PM »
I've managed to find a fantasy story I started to write last year...

I've run through it to clean it up... Please let me know what you think to the first thousand words...

And a title would be good too   ;D



The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to rapidly snap them shut again as the bright seeming light lanced into them like needles, causing me to hiss sharply.

“Easy now,” a low voice purred suggestively from nearby as I felt the edge of the bed I was laying on sink on that side.
I carefully opened my eyes again and turned to the speaker slowly, so as to keep my brains inside my head, and smiled. I smiled much wider as I saw the face of an angel smiling back down at me. She had a halo of light surrounding her golden curls that left her beautiful smiling face in partial shadow. I sat up to embrace her but immediately regretted it as an explosion of pain blew through my head, shattering my consciousness. Mercifully, I blacked out quickly, with only the memory of my angel’s face remaining.

When I next awoke, the headache had lessened, although not vanished completely, so I held still, not willing to repeat my previous mistake. As I looked at my surroundings through slitted eyes, allowing them to become adjusted to the lamplight, I saw my angel stood with her back to me beside a table. She looked slender, almost thin, in the dun coloured dress that she wore and when she eventually turned to me I saw that she was younger than I’d first thought... and less angelic too, she had the rough look of a street urchin. Not that she was not pretty... far from it.

She looked to be about twelve years old and the tight bodice and waist of her dress boldly advertised just how flat her chest and how narrow her hips were. What had looked like golden curls, were in fact unwashed blonde, and the dun dress looked like it had been many days since it had even glimpsed soap and water.

As more of my faculties returned to me I was able to make out more of my surroundings. I was lying on a crude camp bed type cot in a windowless storeroom of sorts; I could clearly see wooden boxes and crates stacked against one wall and a door in the far corner.
“Back with us again?” the sultry voice of the girl interrupted my inspection of my surroundings as she sauntered over and sat on the edge of my bed with a cup in hand.
“Who... who are you?” I asked croakily, my throat feeling rough and dry.
“You can call me Kitten,” she replied with a saucy smile as she gently lifted my head and brought the cup to my lips, letting me slowly sip the chicken broth it contained. “The real question is,” she asked once I’d finished the cup, “who are you?”

I opened my mouth to reply, but could think of nothing to say. “I don’t know!” I yelped, and felt rising panic clench my throat in its tight grip as I desperately tried to remember who I was.
“Easy... Easy!” Kitten tried to calm me while holding me down on the bed. “It’s probably just temporary, from whatever happened to you...  What’s the first thing you remember?”
I stopped straining to sit up against Kitten’s restraint and relaxed back in the bed again. “The first thing I remember...” I replied softly, “is seeing your face... there’s nothing before that.”

“Well that’s something,” she smiled again. “I’ve heard tell of people losing their memory when they got a knock on the head, maybe something similar happened to you.”
“I guess it’s possible,” I considered, feeling much calmer than before, “my head definitely felt like it had been cracked open.”
“And you remember how to speak,” Kitten added with a grin, “so it’s not all gone.”
I relaxed further and smiled as Kitten took the cup back to the table. She was right, I had heard of cases where people with head injuries had lost some memory but had recovered them with time. I then realised that I could remember that, but nothing about where I had heard it or from whom. The strain of my previous panic quickly began to make itself felt, leaving my body feeling leaden and lethargic. As I wondered what else I might remember and what else I might know, I slowly drifted off to sleep.

When I next woke, it was to the blessed absence of pain. I lay still, luxuriating in the peace when I heard the sound of hushed whispers. I remained quiet while I listened to the susurrus of their voices but opened my eyes when I head footsteps approach the bed.
“How are you feeling today?” Kitten asked as she stood near my bed. “Remember anything new?”
“I’m feeling much better,” I replied with a smile, and surprisingly I did feel more refreshed and full of energy than I had before, “but I can’t remember anything more.”
“Right,” she smiled and prodded me unceremoniously, “So you can get up out of your pit and get on with your life.”
“My life?” I asked incredulously as I gingerly climbed from the bed to stand before her. “What life, I have no memory of who or what I am.”
“Put these on,” Kitten commanded as she thrust a bundle of clothes into my arms, obviously done mollycoddling me. I pulled on the rough cotton shirt and trousers as Kitten continued, “You need to move on with your life... such as it is.... face the world as you are and if, or when, your memory returns you can deal with it then.”
“But what can I do?” I asked, unsure of myself. “What possible job can I do when I don’t even know what I’m good at?”

“You may be good at a lot of things,” Kitten said as she started toward the door. “Just leave it up to Aran.”
“Aran?” I asked as I chased after her. “Who’s Aran?”
“Let’s just say...” she replied looking back at me with a sly grin, “that he’s a broker of talents.” She then sped up and added as she opened the door, “Hurry! He doesn’t like to be kept waiting."




Thanks for reading

Andrew

Offline Maxine

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 02:31:28 PM »
Hi Andrew, an interesting start, with good strong characters.  It kept my interest, and I now want to know who he is, what happened to him and who Kitten is. 
A few parts don't flow for example, I opened my eyes to look around, only to rapidly snap them shut again as the bright seeming light lanced into them like needles, causing me to hiss sharply.
 the use of seeming is not necessary.
I carefully opened my eyes again and turned to the speaker slowly, so as to keep my brains inside my head, and smiled. I smiled much wider as I saw the face of an angel smiling back down at me.In these two sentences you use the word smile three times, try to avoid repetitions like this.  Also it makes your hero sound as though he is headed for the funny farm.
They are very minor points and my opinion only, so please feel free to ignore them. :) :)
 

Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 04:19:54 PM »
Thanks Maxine. You make some good points, and I do my best to never ignore good points like yours.   ;D


I'm still no closer to a title for it...   ???  i guess i will have to see what happens once it's finished.



Andrew

Offline Symphony

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 03:38:38 AM »
Hello there,

Good start. No problem there. A bit of tightening and tweaking and sounds like you have the beginnings of a good story. Ready for it? I hope you have fun, find those characters, live them and enjoy writing their stories. The only thing that constantly leapt out at me in this piece is your insistence on qualifying every single dialogue tag. Take them all out and see what happens. Delete every sentence that contains the word 'as' and everything that goes behind a dialogue tag. I'd also suggest changing every dialogue tag (initially) to 'said'. If the 'tone' of what your characters are saying isn't obvious from the words themselves then the dialogue isn't strong enough. As a reader, for example, I should be able to sense from the dialogue that a question is suggestive, or spoken quietly.

And I do have to admit being irritated by the incessant smiling LOL  Made me laugh in the end but I don't think that was the object  ;D

Anyway - just a few suggestions - and a useful way of tightening up dialogue. The story itself was great and I enjoyed reading it. Well done - on to the next bit???

Here are some examples I picked out for you ...

Quote
purred suggestively
I asked croakily
replies with a saucy smile
replied softly
replied with a smile (at least twice!)
I asked incredulously
I asked, unsure of myself
Kitten said as she started toward the door.
I asked as I chased after her
she replied looking back at me with a sly grin


Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 01:20:12 PM »
Thanks for the comments Symphony.

The main reason I use so many dialogue tags is to make sure that I dont lose who says what.

Will have to see what happens when I remove them ??? :)


Andrew

Offline Symphony

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 03:13:12 AM »
Thanks for the comments Symphony.

The main reason I use so many dialogue tags is to make sure that I dont lose who says what.

Will have to see what happens when I remove them ??? :)


Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Yes, I see what you're saying. We do of course need to know who's speaking - but not HOW they're saying it, if you know what I mean, so ...

Kitten replied = GOOD
but
Kitten replied gently = unnecessary qualifier. The actual words she uses in her dialogue should make it obvious that she's speaking gently, e.g.

"GET OUT OF MY DAMN KITCHEN", she pleaded (lol) - doesn't really work, does it?

In short - unless the tone of voice is really unexpected then you shouldn't need to clarify the manner/volume/emotion behind it.

I hope that explains it a little better?  I only spotted it because I'm guilty of doing this all the time and have to keep editing my dialogue for qualifiers that shouldn't be there (and amending my characters' voices to make sure it's obvious to the reader)

Symphony

Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 06:08:57 AM »
Symphony,
 Thanks for your patience  ;)

I think i've done what you suggested, could you run your eye over the amended piece below and let me know what you think...



The throbbing pulse of a pounding headache roused me from my sleep with its insistent, dull jabs, as if my brain was trying to escape my skull. I opened my eyes to look around, only to rapidly snap them shut again as the bright light lanced into them like needles, causing me to hiss sharply.

“Easy now,” a low voice purred from nearby as I felt the edge of the bed I was laying on sink on that side.
I carefully opened my eyes again and turned to the speaker slowly, so as to keep my brains inside my head. I grinned wide as I saw the face of an angel smiling back down at me. She had a halo of light surrounding her golden curls that left her beautiful face in partial shadow. I sat up to embrace her but immediately regretted it as an explosion of pain blew through my head, shattering my consciousness. Mercifully, I blacked out quickly, with only the memory of my angel’s face remaining.

When I next awoke, the headache had lessened, although not vanished completely, so I held still, not willing to repeat my previous mistake. As I looked at my surroundings through slitted eyes, allowing them to become adjusted to the lamplight, I saw my angel stood with her back to me beside a table. She looked slender, almost thin, in the dun coloured dress that she wore and when she eventually turned to me I saw that she was younger than I’d first thought... and less angelic too, she had the rough look of a street urchin. Not that she was not pretty... far from it.

She looked to be about twelve years old and the tight bodice and waist of her dress boldly advertised just how flat her chest and how narrow her hips were. What had looked like golden curls, were in fact unwashed blonde, and the dun dress looked like it had been many days since it had even glimpsed soap and water.

As more of my faculties returned to me I was able to make out more of my surroundings. I was lying on a crude camp bed type cot in a windowless storeroom of sorts; I could clearly see wooden boxes and crates stacked against one wall and a door in the far corner.
“Back with us again?” The girl interrupted my inspection of my surroundings as she sauntered over and sat on the edge of my bed with a cup in hand.
“Who... who are you?” I croaked, my throat feeling rough and dry.
“You can call me Kitten,” she smiled as she gently lifted my head and brought the cup to my lips, letting me slowly sip the chicken broth it contained. Once I’d finished the cup she asked, “The real question is... who are you?”

I opened my mouth to reply, but could think of nothing to say. “I don’t know!” I felt rising panic clench my throat in its tight grip as I desperately tried to remember who I was.
“Easy... Easy!” Kitten tried to calm me while holding me down on the bed. “It’s probably just temporary, from whatever happened to you...  What’s the first thing you remember?”
I stopped straining to sit up against Kitten’s restraint and relaxed back on the bed again. “The first thing I remember... is seeing your face... there’s nothing before that.”

“Well that’s something,” she smiled again. “I’ve heard tell of people losing their memory when they got a knock on the head, maybe something similar happened to you.”
“I guess it’s possible.” What she said made sense and I felt much calmer than before. “My head definitely felt like it had been cracked open.”
“And you remember how to speak, so it’s not all gone.”

I relaxed further and smiled as Kitten took the cup back to the table. She was right, I had heard of cases where people with head injuries had lost some memory but had recovered them with time. I then realised that I could remember that information, but nothing about where I had heard it or from whom. The strain of my previous panic quickly began to make itself felt, leaving my body feeling leaden and lethargic. As I wondered what else I might remember and what else I might know, I slowly drifted off to sleep.

When I next woke, it was to the blessed absence of pain. I lay still, luxuriating in the peace when I heard the sound of hushed whispers. I remained quiet while I listened to the susurrus of their voices but opened my eyes when I head footsteps approach the bed.
“How are you feeling today?” Kitten asked as she stood near my bed. “Remember anything new?”
“I’m feeling much better.” Surprisingly, I did feel more refreshed and full of energy than I had before. “But I can’t remember anything more.”
“Right!” She prodded me unceremoniously. “So you can get up out of your pit and get on with your life.”
“My life? What life, I have no memory of who or what I am!” At her insistence, I gingerly climbed from the bed to stand before her.

“Put these on.” Kitten thrust a bundle of clothes into my arms, obviously done mollycoddling me. I pulled on the rough cotton shirt and trousers as Kitten continued, “You need to move on with your life... such as it is.... face the world as you are and if, or when, your memory returns you can deal with it then.”
“But what can I do?” I asked, unsure of myself. “What possible job can I do when I don’t even know what I’m good at?”

“You may be good at a lot of things.” Kitten started toward the door. “Just leave it up to Aran.”
“Aran?” I chased after her. “Who’s Aran?”
“Let’s just say...” she looked back at me with a sly grin, “that he’s a broker of talents.” She then sped up and added as she opened the door, “Hurry! He doesn’t like to be kept waiting.




Thanks for reading,
Andrew

Offline Symphony

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 04:05:58 AM »
Already a great improvement. Reads so much better.

Next task (don't get stuck on this extract - keep writing!) will be to try and avoid the word 'as'.  It's a nightmare to begin with but you'll soon see how it forces you to tighten up those particular sentences.

Well done. Keep writing ...

Symphony

Offline Age

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2008, 12:15:54 AM »
Hey andrew, I only read that revised copy after I scanned the page...pretty good, the introduction didn't feel overdone and it really drives the story.  On to part 2..

Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2008, 10:29:46 AM »
Thanks Age, glad you like it so far...


Andrew

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2008, 01:35:18 PM »
Andrew,
I only have time to read the first part, but good start my friend. You have a very nice descriptive writing style and I find I enjoy your stories very much because of it. I will read more when I do not have to rush off to work!

Lee

Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2008, 04:30:12 PM »
No rush Lee, It's going to take me a while to do anything more than simply finish this first chapter.

Glad you like it though   ;D


Andrew

Offline Laure

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2008, 05:02:42 PM »
I enjoy fantasy books and really liked the end of your piece. It does make you want to find out who's Aran, what they're going to do whith the main character etc .. and all the advice above is spot on.

Just a suggestion: I would have maybe given more 'indirect' clues in the opening paragraphs about the whereabouts of the main character, letting the reader guess that he might have jumped back a few centuries in time, skipped to some new parallel world etc ... His surroundings are (and maybe rightly so?) very mundane. The girls' dress might hint at a different culture but it would be nice to pick the readers' interest with maybe a few more 'fantastic' details! :P - She could even use a different way of expressing herself - use one or two unrecognizable words to the main character. *I suppose 'broker of talents' does just that! I love that phrase. Could it become a Title for you book?*
On the other hand, you might keep all of it secret until your character steps outside the storeroom ...

As you can see I can't wait to read the rest! ;)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2008, 05:04:17 PM by Laure »

Offline Andrewf

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2008, 05:10:56 PM »
Thanks Laure, glad you liked this start...  There are two other parts of this first chapter for you to peruse if you want...

Part 2...  http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=13361.0

Part 3...  http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=13396.0


Andrew

Offline Laure

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Re: story beginning - Fantasy - 1050 words
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2008, 05:13:11 PM »
Thanks, I'll have a look then.  ;D