Author Topic: Abellio's Heart revised x5, Does it read better? Is a hook there?  (Read 6234 times)

Offline T.M. Penrose

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                                 Abellio’s Heart
                                   Chapter 1
   
 
 The brilliant blue sky that embraced everything within it’s vast reach, appeared to bow down in the presence of the magnificent giant oak that towered below. Primroses in the most alluring of pinks, purples and dark-reds circled the base, as if they proudly stood guard. Days when the wind blew, and the branches swayed, a sweet harmony unlike any other sound imaginable permeated the air, as if a lullaby to soothe away the woes of the worried played.
   
Soavi adored this tree, she thought it was the biggest and oldest thing ever, and that nothing in this entire world could even come close. It was… her solitude, as well as her best friend. She laid upon her back atop one of the massive branches and soaked up the warmth as the dazzling beams of sun caressed her face. 
   
A breeze began to stir and with it, the lingering song she knew only to well. “Are your words meant for me?” she desperately asked, and with baited breath awaited an answer, just like thousands of times before. Even after all these years she never gave up hope that one day he would. “I know they have to be. Every time I hear them it’s like your trying to tell me something…” she sighed. “Maybe I’m crazy and it’s only wishful thinking, but from the first day I sat here I thought you could…, okay I need to stop this now, I’m fifteen, no longer a child, and you’re a tree.” She tussled with her hair, shook her head, and as her shoulders vigorously followed she quickly sat up. Her hands now covered her ears as she began to rock back and forth.


“Not again….” Soavi growled when she saw her. No sooner had her breath wisped through her pouting lips that her dark-brown eyes rolled and she rambled, “Why does she do this? Who am I kidding? Even if I knew why, I doubt I'd be able to make her stop. Maybe if I yank that brown curly hair of hers from her scalp.” a grin cracks the corner of her mouth, “Hmm, I wonder? Nah, she'd look like a baby rat then I'd have to see that coming towards me, argg, it wouldn't work.” she stood up, her legs already numb from sitting Indian style, stretching she shrieks, “I told you to quit doing this to me!!!”
   
 Sozie smirked arching her brow and continued to skip along the path.
   
“Can’t you hear me? Do my words mean anything? Or am I to be tortured forever?” asked Soavi as she raised her arms in the air, almost theatrically.
   
 Sozie definitely heard her pleading questions, but not a word did she say as her skip became a long stride. The only answer Soavi heard was her own voice as it echoed in the wind.
   
“Why don't you ever let me play with you?” asked Sozie when she reached the tree.   
   
“Because you're too small squirt, and you know it. Now, why don't you turn your little ten year old wanna be grown up butt back around in the same direction you came, and leave! And maybe someday, if you're lucky and actually grow a bit bigger, I might let you. Haven't I told you that enough times already?” sighed a frustrated Soavi.
  
 “But-
   
 “And don't give me those big sad puppy-dog eyes either, you know that doesn't work. All it does is make your hazel eyes look like a couple of old pieces of coal that have been left outside to long. Dad wouldn't even use them for the hearth, he'd step on them, and shovel em away,  so stop!”
     
Sozie welled up, “You’re mean.” a tear dared to fall, which she displaced with a brusque rub with the back of her hand.               
   
“No I'm not, but you're a pest!”
   
“But Soavi….” she whines, “I don't mean to be, I just wanna play with you. Why do I have to wait until I'm big enough? When will I be big enough, and when is someday anyway? When-when-” she stomped her foot on the ground.
   
“Stop asking a hundred questions, you're just like my alarm clock. I know the buzzer is going to go off and ring in my ears, then I'm going to jerk, fall off my bed onto the floor with a bang that hurts my head.” she said as she began to climb down the tree.
      
Sozie stood there and bit down on her lip as she tried not to ask another question, her head looked as if it was about to snap and fall straight back, and as long as she had it tilted up, more than a shock it held. She watched her big sister effortlessly climb down, and as one tear dared to fall before, now they poured freely down her cheeks. For all she truly wished was too be big enough to climb the tree and play with her sister.
   
Soavi reached the ground and when she turned to face Sozie she heard Sammy call her name. “Already.” she mumbled under her breath for she knew that he was on his way to the oak tree and that it was time to go home.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 03:38:55 PM by T.M. Penrose »

Offline Butterfly21

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Well, I noticed your tenses slip a bit.
You say she rambled, then she draws in a deep breath. It should be drew in.  
Some of your speech tags and actions are really long. Like you say, her eyes rolled almost in a complete circle. You could just say, she rambled, rolling her eyes. You get the same effect.

Also here, the action explanation is a bit long.
Sozie, just smiled, more than innocently, as she arched her eye brows and continued to skip along the path.
When you could easily say, Sozie smirked, arching her brow and skipped along the path.
Smirk implies deviousness, then she arches her brow and skips along.  :D

That's just what I noticed. As for the hook, I'm not intrigued. I don't really spot a hook.
Like I'll give you an example of a hook. It's the opening line of a short story I'm writing.
"Bullets. That's how I'm going to die."
Already, before you get into the story it's like, ooh, bullet's, someone's going to die? How and when?
You need that sort of thing, like what's going on? or this is so interesting I gotta keep reading to find out more.

I did like this line,
asked Soavi as she raised her arms in the air, almost theatrically.
Made me smile.  :) I could picture Soavi raising her arms dramatically, asking am I?

Anyway, that's just my opinion. I like it so far, but you were asking about the hook, and I didn't spot one. I used to have the same issue. I didn't have a hook just slowly went into the story, and when I realised what a hook was I like made it too complicated and confusing.  :D I think I'm on the right track for my opening hook now. Might still need work though. Hope I've helped anyway, T.M.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 06:26:40 AM by Butterfly-17 »

Silt

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Hello...I just woke up after an amazing 2 hours of night sleep....therefore my mind is not quite working so I'll be brief.

In your opening is stronger, almost there, but you dwell too much into that dialogue, which though useful in some cases, must still be balanced with what is happening in the story. Think about what you have, show the two combatants(siblings) right away, so the readers knows both, because one is directly effecting the other's actions.

Quote
“Not again….” sighed Soavi when she saw her. And no sooner had her breath wisped through her pouting lips that her dark-brown eyes rolled, almost in a complete circle as she rambled, “Why does she have to do this? Who am I kidding? Even if I knew why, I doubt I'd be able to make her stop. I can always yank that brown curly hair of hers right from her scalp.” a grin cracks the corner of her mouth, “H'mm, I wonder, nah, she'd just look like a baby rat then I'd have to see that coming towards me, argg, it wouldn't work.” She then draws in a deep breath and shrieks, “I told you quit doing this to me!!!”
   
Sozie, just smiled, more than innocently, as she arched her eye brows and continued to skip along the path

Start with the conflict...

For example:

"I told you to quit following me!"

Sozie just smiled and continued to skip innocently along the path. Sovai considered threatening her but knew that would only make things worse.
   
“Why don't you ever let me play with you?” asked Sozie.

**

You have to remember your audience, but also the reason for this opening. You want to get right to the bone of their relationship. The colour of their hair, its texture, the shade of their eyes, is all unimportant as of yet. Only their mind-set is needed to stand out strong.

As to your question...you are on the right track. Don't expect your writing to change quickly, it has taken years to hone your style and even slight changes have to have time to ripple through your writing throughout your story.

Keep at it, practice what you have learnt, and then apply it too your writing.

Silt

Offline morganlyfe

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I agree it's missing a hook. Starting with the conflict is good, and even better if you can have a short witty line (maybe something about the little sister being like an alarm clock? That was a great idea, it would need to be a little more precise to be a hook, but it's out of the ordinary so it's automatically more interesting than "Not again.") Or, you could start with narration. Try to come up with a strong image or emotion. Books rarely ever start with dialogue. If you're having trouble coming up with a hook, take out some of your favorite books and only read the first sentence. That should give you an idea of what you need.


On a minor note, a few things to fix are:

"I told you to quit doing this to me!!!”

"...with a bang that hurts my head,” she said as she began to climb down the tree.

The only answer Soavi heard, was her own voice as it echoed in the wind.

You might want to think about changing the names as well. So far, you only have three characters and their names all begin with "S" it's a little confusing.

Great start though. You really captured their emotions well, and most of the dialogue felt natural and realistic. It certainly has the potential to be a start of a great story. Keep working on it!

Offline T.M. Penrose

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Hey Butterfly 17, thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it. You're right the actions could be shortened I'll fix that, I tend to use more words than I need. I've revised the beginning umpteen times looking for that damm hook. I started it that way, with Silt's suggestion, thanks so much Silt, you've put me in the right direction, sorry for your lack of sleep. :( :( Morganlyfe, thank you, all of you guys are helping me so much, and I need it, that's for sure. My problem with this book and incorporating everyones suggestions, is that it's a very long story that begins with the children, their home life, how they interact with each other. Then it goes on to Sammy's solution to fix their problem, which is the tree house, but that opened up a whole different level of problems for them, because they hurt the tree. Now they find themselves facing the druid who protects the tree. This book is one of three that I'm working on. So now with more info on my lack of finding my hook, please give me more suggestions! Thank you. ;D ;D ;D

Offline Butterfly21

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Ooh a druid. Sweet. I have druids in my fantasy novel.  :D It's like a 5 book series. It's such a long story.
Too big and awesome for me to tackle as such a novice writer.
But that sounds so cool. So who's your target audience?

Offline T.M. Penrose

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Hey Butterfly, I was targeting fantasy/adventure. And the book doesn't get to the real action until chapter three when I intro the otherworld, the druids, and of course the evil that wants to destroy everything. ;) ;) So any suggestions you have I would really appreciate. Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 01:58:57 PM by T.M. Penrose »

Offline morganlyfe

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Hey Butterfly, I was targeting fantasy/adventure. And the book doesn't get to the real action until chapter three when I intro the otherworld, the druids, and of course the evil that wants to destroy everything. ;) ;) So any suggestions you have I would really appreciate. Thanks.

I actually had the same problem with a project I put aside for a while (one that started in reality and moved into a fantastical world). I think I wrote the first chapter at least three different ways and I was never happy with it. Maybe the trick is to really set the tone and jump into the characters. You could try setting up a foil to the fantastical world, or bring to light a disadvantage that your characters will eventually have to overcome. Since you can't establish the main story line, use the chance to establish everything else as best as possible. I'll keep an eye out for any information on the subject, and if I find anything, I'll let you know.

Offline Butterfly21

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That's how my story was, the one I wrote when I was 14.
I actually had some evil demon, in the form of a girl following my main character around and when it like changed into its demon form to kill her she fled with her aunty to some magical otherworld that they got to by opening a portal with some medallion thing and chanting.  :D What can I say, I was a child. But I started that with a prologue set in the otherworld, then chapter one started in reality. I think chapter 7 was when they went to the other world.

Not that my story was any good, complete crap. But maybe, you could create a little prologue, a few paragraphs even, set in this other magical world, and have the druids and magical creatures talking about the antagonist and hinting that trouble is ahead. Then start chapter one with your Main characters. That'd create intrigue to start and then you can introduce the characters and us (the readers) will be hanging in for when they come across the druid and go to this magical world.  :D

Just an idea. Hope it's a helpful one. Story sounds so cool though, waiting for more to be posted.  ;D

Offline T.M. Penrose

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Hey, Morganlyfe and Butterfly.

Thanks for your help I really appreciate it. Seems the more suggestions I get from you guys, the more I revise. OK don't mean to be a poet, everything just happened to rhyme. Butterfly you should work on that book you started, when you were a child?  :D You look very young. It really sounds good. I just posted yet another change for the beginning, I hinted towards the tree, does that work? Thanks for reading. :) :) :)

Offline junel

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Hello Abellio,

A magnificent giant oak towered high above everything in sight and appeared to reach up to touch the brilliant blue sky. Primroses in the most alluring of pinks, purples and dark-reds circled the base, as if they proudly stood guard. Days when the wind blew, and the branches swayed, a sweet harmony unlike any other sound imaginable permeated the air, as if a lullaby to soothe away the woes of the worried played. Soavi laid upon her back and soaked up the warmth as the dazzling beams of sun caressed her face.

You need to watch your 'passive' voice. Try to stay in the 'active' voice as much as possible.

The bits in red above are 'passive'.

You'll recognise the passive voice when it reads like you're unsure of yourself.

Fixing it is easy.

Take this line:

A magnificent giant oak towered high above everything in sight and appeared to reach up to touch the brilliant blue sky

You can get rid of the passive voice as so:

A magnificent giant oak towered high above everything in sight and reached up to touch the brilliant blue sky

Don't worry, your reader will know you don't mean it literally.

Other than that, I agree with the others, you need a hook!

Junel.

Offline John Yamrus

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i couldn't get past the fact that this is way over-written.  that's a fairly common mistake for aspiring writers who are often overly anxious to show how descriptive they can be.  for instance, your line:

No sooner had her breath wisped through her pouting lips that her dark-brown eyes rolled and she rambled,

is totally distracting.  the entire tale is like this.  scale it back.  don't try so hard to be a "writer".  be a storyteller first and the writing will take care of itself.
john yamrus
Since 1970 John's published 2 novels, 18 books of poetry, and had more than 1,300 poems published in mags around the world.   His new book, (his 20TH) called CAN'T STOP NOW! is available here:

http://www.epicrites.org/

Offline Butterfly21

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I'm 17, will be 18 in a few months. I wrote that story when I was 13/14, took me two years to brainstorm and write. I don't think I should work on it, it was my first ever novel and though it holds special meaning to me, I think it needs to stay exactly as it is. It's not meant to be published, just one of the stories on my journey to getting published.  :D

I tend to agree with John, you describe a lot.
Yet I think I don't describe enough. Just finished a reading a book, and I noticed so many things about how it was written. The author uses a lot of gerunds too, which I kept finding confusing since I get told by everyone to keep it past tense by using 'ed' instead of 'ing' words. Maybe its his personal style, the gerund thing.
But anyway, you describe heaps like I used to, in that story I wrote when I was 14 I always tried to be so descriptive and use smart words.  :D

But now I just write the action and dialogue and a bit of description in between. Still, I feel there's something missing between all that, it feels kind of hollow. I don't know exactly where to add narration yet, because I always add it in the wrong place and then the pace slows down when it shouldn't.
It takes a lot time to understand how it all works, and then find your own style of making work.
Just keep going, revise in your head for a while before you make actual changes.

Even with the hinting to the tree, it doesn't seem like the tree is special, maybe because it just seems like a part of the setting that your just describing. Maybe have it start with like,
An ancient oak tree, twisted branches coiling upward to reach the sky like arms, leaves swayed and danced in the autumn breeze. Soavi planted a ladder among the primroses between the tree's strong roots and climbed up. (Then maybe have them beginning to build the tree house you mentioned before).

If you personify the tree by saying its branched are like arms, instead of just describing it as a plain tree, then it makes it special. Then when Soavi is in the tree you can say something like, a gentle breeze whistled through the leaves and the tree sang a tune. Saying the tree sings, is also personifying it.
Just my opinion though, T.M. Hope it helps.  :)

Offline junel

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Hello Butterfly,

forgive me T.M. for responding to Butterfly directly in your thread. But this will be useful to you as well. Useful to anyone in fact.

Yes, Butterfly, if you read most novels, you will find the writing flies in the face of the majority of the advice given on this board.

But writing is pretty flexible, all you need to know is if it works, then it doesn't matter how many rules you break.

The advice is mostly intended for beginner writers and forms a guideline, but isn't concrete. When you first start out writing, it's easier to have these rules, than not to have them.

You will find good writers break the rules, but, and it's a very important but, you must know the rules first before you can break them... hope that makes sense.

I used to spend my time on a writer's board where they banged on about the rules like a creed, they even had a manual they followed. If I remember correctly, it was called The Chicago Manual of Style. I never bought into it, I couldn't get my head round using a manuel for writing. After all, writing is about creativity, and too many rules would stifle creativity.

So I'd encourage rule breaking... but it takes time to get there. Some get there sooner than others. But of course, if you don't try it, you'll never get there.

Sometimes, you may see myself giving one bit of advice in one critique, but not applying the same advice in another critique when the exact same rule was broken. That's because in the latter piece the writer managed to keep the story flowing while holding the reader's the interest, so whatever rule they broke, it clearly didn't hinder the piece.

Also remember, that trends in writing and publishing are always changing. 'Showing' is big now, more across the pond than in Europe, so you'll get that advice a lot. Where as before, possibly in some of the novels you read or have read, 'telling' was quite okay.

I hope this clears up some of your confusion.

Junel.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 12:09:51 AM by junel »

Offline Butterfly21

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Yeah, it does. Thanks Junel.  :)
I wrote a short story and I used so many gerunds so I went back and changed them to 'ed'. Then once I read over it again with practically all the gerunds gone, didn't flow that well. So then, I went over it again and changed a few 'ed' words to gerunds and it helped it flow a little better. I had like tonnes of gerunds, got rid of maybe 90%. then i went back and added some, and ended up with maybe an extra ten percent. But, using them lessened the word count and helped certain sentences flow better.

Still, I doubt I've used them in the right places.  :D