Author Topic: First chapter of a book i've started. 2500 words  (Read 251 times)

Offline Jonah

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First chapter of a book i've started. 2500 words
« on: July 01, 2018, 11:37:47 AM »

The morning sun was beginning to peak out from behind the lake on the distant horizon, the heat began to burn off the dewfall from the night before. Creatures of the forest were beginning to stir as the light began to penetrate through the dense foliage. Birds chirped, squirrels began to scurry about the branches of the trees, and a pale, white haired girl sat up to start the day. She got up, brushed herself off, stood up, and began to walk through the woods.
The creatures in the forest did not run from the girl as she passed by. Not because they didn’t see or hear her, but because they knew her well. They had seen her walk these woods many times before and they knew she had no intention of harming the forests inhabitants and they knew how she had always treated the natural world with respect, a trait which was all to uncommon among humans.
She worked her way through the woods, taking care to stay within the dense shade whenever she could. The sun had risen higher now and she began to move faster. The sunlight would burn the girls pale skin far quicker than most people so she would often wear a dark cloak. The cloak wasn’t with her this morning however, and she was worse off for it.
The girl approached her families farm and stopped just as she got to the edge of the field. She took a moment to catch her breath before she would have to run across the field to get indoors and way from the sun. While she stood within the shade at the edge of the forest, she looked out at the farmland, the harvest had been poor this season.
Once she caught her breath, she took off across the field, moving as quickly as possible towards the safety of the house. She was halfway there when the sun began to get to her. The back of her neck and shoulder began to heat up and she knew she wouldn't have long before her skin was burned. By the time she reached the house, she was breathing heavily and rushed inside, still gasping for air.
“What’s going on down there?” A voice called from above and footsteps could now be heard descending the stairs. The girls father, a dark haired, man by the name of Cedric Crewe, reached the bottom of the stairs. Upon seeing his daughter, his voice changed,  now in an almost disinterested tone he said, “Ellyn... What are you doing out this early?”
By now Ellyn had caught her breath, “I went out for a walk in the woods earlier” she lied knowing full well she would be punished if he found out she slept out in the woods again. 
Cedric replied, “I don’t suppose you saw our bountiful harvest when you were out walking?”
Ellyn gave a confused look.
The man continued “Everything is wilting, its either not enough water, or too many weeds in the field... nothing an extra farmhand couldn’t fix, but that’s not something we can afford right now is it?”
“No” she responded, almost in a whisper.
Cedric looked at her for a moment, disappointed by her response, before walking out the door.
Ellyn knew her what he was going on about. She knew what her father thought of her, that she was nothing but a curse on her family. Everyone in the nearby town of sloan knew of Ellyn's condition and most concluded that some dark being had taken hold over her mind and body. They believed her to be the incarnation of something evil, something that would be better suited for the evils found in darkness than in the purity of the daylight. No one would want anything to do with her as such, so she could never find work in the town, nor could she work in the field on her families farm with the sun constantly beating down on her.
Ellyn let out a sigh and walked into the kitchen, prepared her breakfast, and began to eat.
It wasn’t long before Ellyn’s stepmother walked in, a blond haired woman by the name of Amira. Upon seeing her she said “Ellyn, I’ve been looking all morning for you.” She continued walking over to where ellyn sat and placed a dark black cloak on the table next to her. “I got it off the line earlier this morning, didn’t think you would leave home without it.”
Ellyn replied “I always feel trapped when I'm in this house, and besides I was able to stay out of the sun this morning.”
“I can’t blame you for that, but be careful out there, there are more than a few creatures out there that would like nothing more than to have you as a snack”
“It’s not hard to stay out of their way,” Ellyn said. This was true, but not for the reason Amira thought. In reality the predators in the woods knew Ellyn in the same way the smaller creatures did, they saw her as an equal. 
“Try to keep this clean now, I can’t stand seeing you in a filthy cloak any more than you can being out without it”
“I’ll be careful” Ellyn said as she put the cloak on and walked back outside.
As Ellyn walked she thought of her step-mother. Thea was the only one who saw Ellyn as a person, not as some monster of darkness. How strange it was that she accepted and cared for Ellyn more than her own father, or anyone else she had met for that matter. The thought was troubling, but gave her hope that there might be others out there that would give her a chance.
Veering off into the trails into the wilderness, she now began to weave her way through the bushes and roots of the forest as if she were familiar with every branch and bramble.  This was her home, her real home, not that stuffy barn near the lakeshore. Here the forest was peaceful and accepting, it saw ellyn for what she was, a girl rejected by her family and society.
Ellyn eventually reached a rock formation where she spent most of her time. The giant mossy stones stood over ten feet above ground. The tops of the stones were several yards across, relatively flat, and they often held pools of rain water in the dips and imperfections in the rock. Ellyn climbed up to the top of the structure and sat down.
It was here where ellyn spent most of her time, perched on top of the magnificent structures, staring in awe at the surrounding forests. It was here where she now sat thinking if she would ever be accepted by her family or if she was nothing but a curse and was as useless as her father thought she was. The thought scared Ellyn. She may be excluded from society for no good reason, die in obscurity, and be forgotten almost instantly.
As the hours passed, Ellyn sat silent and motionless on the rocks looking off into the distant forests. The afternoon sun dipped back below the horizon and the sky turned dark, the night stars could now be seen peaking out from the gaps in the canopy of trees above. The day had come and gone like so many others had, starting with a long walk home for food, being berated by her father, and running back off into the woods to get as far away as possible. Now the day had come to an end and Ellyn laid down on a bed of moss at the top of the massive stones and sleep the night away.
...
All around, fires raged, consuming and destroying everything in its path. The cracking and popping of the burning forest echoed from the from the already burning forest to the branches that had recently been set ablaze. Ellyn began to run, she had to get out, to escape the fires, the destruction, and the chaos. Ellyn came to a figure cloaked in darkness on the forests edge. The humanoid form stood tall, easily reaching ten feet of height, and watched the forest as it was consumed.
Ellyn awoke with a start. The images of the burning forest were still fresh in her mind, vivid and horrifying. Before she knew what she was doing, Ellyn had got up, climbed down, and started running back towards the farm in the morning twilight. There had to be some way to put out the fire, to stop it from spreading and destroying everything in its path.
As Ellyn neared the farm the smell of smoke could be detected on the breeze, large  plumes of smoke dimmed the sunlight, and a faint orange glow was visible off in the distance. The flames danced cruelly on the wind and stung Ellyns eyes with its thick grey smoke. There could be no stopping the fire, it had grown too large. All there she could do was watch as it burned its course.
As she got close enough to see the spectacle fully she wondered what had caused the fire. The weather hadn’t been very dry during the past few weeks so it wasn’t likely any natural cause or even a campfire that outgrew its masters.
As she worked her way around the perimeter of the fire, Ellyn reached the field by her families home. That was when she saw him, a lone figure standing at the edge of the burning woods, her father.
Ellyn walked up beside Cedric and asked pointedly, “what’s going on?”
Without turning Cedric replied, “This last harvest was the worst one yet, if we want to survive, then we need some better soil for planting on.”
“You’ve got some way to stop the fire... right?”
“That’s not your concern.” Cedric said as he turned to walk towards the house.
Ellyn stood silent, shocked by what he had done for a moment before turning to follow him. “You lit a fire that could burn for days just so you could get some better farmland?”
“Stay out of this Ellyn”
“How could you?” Ellyn yelled “How could you be so selfish?”
Cedric began to yell back, “You’re calling me selfish? All you do is is stay in our house, eating out food. You can’t work in the field and you’ll probably never be to move out because no one wants you. You’ve got no right to tell me how to manage my farm when you’ve never put in any work yourself.”
“I-” Cedric cut her off. “Maybe we could have grown enough with the old field, but you would’ve had to help, and we both know that wasn’t going to happen.”
Shocked, Ellyn responded, “Your blaming me for this?”
“Yeah, I’ve been working this land as hard as I can alone to provide for three people, but there is only so much I can do. We would be better off without you.”
“Maybe I’ll just leave then” Ellyn said before turning to walk away.
Cedric called after her “You don’t see me trying to stop you”
Ellyn walked past the fire to the trail leading away from the farm and began to travel down it as she had done many times before, only now there would be no return journey. As Ellyn put distance between herself and the fire, the her eyes began to sting less from the smoke, but her fathers words still hung in her mind.
After walking a little farther, Ellyn sat down by the edge of the trail. She began to think about all that had happened. It would have been impossible to live on her families farm forever, perhaps it was better to leave sooner rather than later. Still, Ellyn wondered if there were any way back, any possibility that her father would forgive her and let her come back home. The world seemed like such a harsh place according to her father. Outside the farm and the nearby forests were completely unknown and frightening.
Ellyns thoughts went on like this for some time, until the footsteps of Amira roused her from the trance like state. Getting back on her feet, Ellyn began to speak, “Hey... what are you doing out here?”
“I was looking for you,” Amira paused, “I heard about what happened between you and your father, and I wanted to see you again before you left.”
“I don’t suppose you’ve going to tell me it was all a misunderstanding and I’m allowed to come back home?” Ellyn said glumly.
“Your father hasn’t said anything like that. I’m sorry Ellyn, but I’ve tried convincing him to let you come back, but he won’t listen”
“So you’ve just come to say goodbye.”
“Ellyn, if it were up to me I would let you stay at the farm for as long as you like.”
“But it’s not up to you, is it?”
Amira looked into Ellyns eyes and said, “Even if you could stay after today, would you really want to? You and I both know this couldn’t have lasted forever, your father could hardly stand to look at you, let alone share the house with you. It pains me to say it, but there just isn’t a home for you here anymore.”
Ellyn stared at her feet.
Amira continued, “I’ve packed you a bag for the road. I... I hope it helps.”
Ellyn looked up despondently and said, “Where should I go? Where can I go? Everyone in Sloan is convinced I’m cursed and the only other nearby town is on the other side of the lake.”
“I would follow the river upstream until you get to another town, you may find work there and even a place to stay. I wish i could be of more help, but I’ve never been far from Sloan, or the farm.” Amira then held out the satchel to Ellyn.
Ellyn took the bag, “I guess this is it then”
“Good luck out there”
“Thank you... for everything” Ellyn said before turning and walking away.
As Ellyn walked, she eventually came to the lakeshore. She had been here before, it was as close as she dared go to the town of sloan, where she was certain if anyone saw her there she would be locked away. Everyone knew the story of Ellyns family and how Ellyn had nearly destroyed it simply by being born. There was no refuge to be found there, so Ellyn turned north, and began to travel along the lakeshore to find another town, one that may accept her for what she was.

Offline Mrs N

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Re: First chapter of a book i've started. 2500 words
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 09:54:23 AM »

Hey, there is nothing more off putting than a dense wall of text. I would suggest you put in some spaces. ;)

The morning sun peeked was beginning to peak << wrong spelling out from behind the lake on the distant horizon, the heat began to burning off the dewfall. from the night before.


Creatures of the forest were beginning to stirred as the light began to penetrated through the dense foliage.

Birds chirped, squirrels began to scurry about the branches of the trees, <<< and just why is this interesting? and a pale, white haired girl sat up to start the day. She got up, brushed herself off, stood up, and began to walk through the woods. Three 'up's in the same sentence


Okay. I think a use of better verbs would help. Too many 'was' 'were' began' for me. If this girl is the main character where is she? She just sat up in the middle of nowhere. And started her day implies she lives in this forest.

Sorry but I haven't time to read further./b] When the text is more accessible I might come back for another look. ;)


Offline geethr75

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Re: First chapter of a book i've started. 2500 words
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2018, 07:10:48 AM »
The premise is interesting, but you need to make everything flow together better, and a round of editing wouldn't come amiss either. But a good effort and I would certainly like to see more. All the best

Offline Mascutt

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Re: First chapter of a book i've started. 2500 words
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2018, 02:23:09 PM »
It feels like you want to make every detail about your character known at once.  But telling your audience she is different, her father doesn’t like her, the town thinks she’s cursed, her step mother likes her, but not enough to fight for her, and the animals in the woods are not threatened by her, isn’t going to make your audience lover her - or know her, as you know her.

It seems to me this story really starts at the end.  She’s on her own.  Traveling to the next town.  Everything else that happened in the chapter can be done in bit flashbacks as her current story progresses.  This allows your reader to “get to know” her in a slower, more natural way, by “discovering” the little secrets of her past she carries with her.  You have to always remember, you know your characters inside and out.  We don’t.  You have to make us want to draw out those details.  But if you just hand us a bio at the beginning of the book, there’s no emotional investment for the reader.

Good luck!