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Narnia
March 4th, 2013, 06:31 AM
"Snap!" A twig gave way under her boot. She pushed herself against the tree line. The forest had its ways of carrying sounds one didn’t want to be heard. The hood of her cloak concealed her in its depths as she let her eyes wander over the woodland, searching for a movement. Not a branch so much as stirred, but she knew her pursers were there.
Pushing forward, she darted for the open space of the meadow. Tall waving grasses gave her some form of shelter, but it was less than she would have liked. The heels of her boots left small imprints in the grasses behind. Only the keen eye would have been able to pick out her trail.

The ground beneath began to rumble. Casting a look over her shoulder she spotted the band of riders. The overcast sky would save her tonight; she would not be taken if they couldn’t see her.

Flowing around her the dark emerald of her cloak blended in with the grasses as she crouched down low. A horse neighed loudly. The riders were just yards away now.

“Where is she?”

The grasses parted giving her a better view. Golden bridles glistened in the night giving the riders away as the king’s guard as they searched the meadow. She was one of the only people who could save The Kingdom of Darian but that mattered little to these men.

“I swear I heard something in the forest. She couldn’t have gotten far.”

They urged their mounts forward. She kept low until they disappeared from view. Under any other circumstances, she would never have been headed into the den of her enemy. But tonight was different; tonight she had a greater foe to fear. There was a different war coming for her and the people she held dear. It was a war that would be won by fear, and fear alone.

Just days before, she had watched as women and children screamed, their lives had been snatched from the darkness that entrapped their inner beings. The kingdom of Brennan had been taken out without a single soldier raising a sword in defense. Screams of agony had prevented the men from drawing their weapons as their souls had been stripped from their bodies. A similar fate had taken Fairmont just weeks before, and Jasper before it. It was only a matter of time before they moved on Darian, time the kingdom didn’t have.

Tall peeks rose high on the hill overlooking the ill-lit rubble of the city. It had been years since Darian had prospered. Families lived in hovels, or on the streets. What little wealth they acquired was put back into the king’s coffers to maintain the wealth of the nobility. No, if she didn’t have to she wouldn’t be on this road tonight. She had fought long and hard against Darian’s nobles. The thought of working with them made the hair on her neck stand up.

A shaky bridge was now within her sight. Its path led straight into the outer edge of the city. The ground began to shake again. It was a faster pace this time. Holding her hood tightly she ran. Another patrol of horses was gaining. In minutes, she would be visible. The protection of the meadow had been trampled here by many travelers. Positioning the heel of her right boot into the earth, she pushed, throwing herself down the sharp slope. Forcing her lungs to inhale, she ignored the pounding of her heart in her ears as the riders passed overhead. Gold horseshoes sparkled through the wooden planks as they crossed. Catching her breath she let a sigh escape.

“Not tonight.”

The corners of her mouth tugged upward. It was just a little further. Pulling on the joist, she planted her boots firmly on the wooden planks. It would be easy now; the city would hide her just like it always did. Her people would protect her; there was no doubt about that.

Circadian
March 4th, 2013, 07:26 PM
Interesting. This needs some work, but once that's done, I think this could make a decent opening. I noticed a few typos and some run-on sentences, which are easy to fix.


A sharper outline of the bridge began form ahead of each foot step (http://www.writingforums.com/#) as the thunder of the mounts gained steam behind her.

This sentence especially gave me some trouble and I had to read it several times. The wording makes it hard to understand. I think I would get rid of this sentence entirely as you already mentioned that "A shaky bridge was now within her sight."


Slivers of light penetrated from behind the clouds

I also have issues with this sentence and the way it doesn't lead too well into the next. I would either delete it or let it lead into a brief description of the setting.



Snap! A twig gave way under her boot. She pushed herself against the tree line. The forest had its ways of carrying sounds one didn’t want to be heard. The hood of her cloak concealed her in its depths as she let her eyes wander over the woodland, searching for a movement. Not a branch so much as stirred, but she knew they were there (the branches? Who are they?). Pushing forward, she darted for the open space of the meadow. Tall, waving grasses gave her some form of shelter, but it was far less than she would have liked. The heels of her boots left small imprints in the grasses behind. Only the keen eye would have been able to pick out her trail.

The ground beneath began to rumble. Casting a look over her shoulder, she spotted the band of riders. The overcast sky would save her tonight; she would not be taken if they couldn’t see her.

Flowing around her, the dark emerald of her cloak blended in with the grasses as she crouched down low. A horse neighed loudly. The riders were just yards away now.

“Where is she?”

The grasses parted, giving her a better view. Golden bridles glistened in the night. The riders were the king’s guard. She was one of the only people who could save The Kingdom but that mattered little to these men.

“I swear I heard something in the forest. She couldn’t have gotten far.”

They urged their mounts forward. She kept low until they disappeared from view. Under any other circumstances, she would never have been headed into the den of her enemy. But tonight was different; tonight she had a greater foe to fear. There was a different war coming for her and the people she held dear. It was a war that it would be won by fear, and fear alone.

Just days before, she had watched as women and children screamed. Their lives had been snatched from them into the darkness that entrapped their inner beings (this sentence could be made clearer). The kingdom of Brennan had been taken out without a single soldier raising a sword in defense. Screams of agony had prevented the men from drawing their weapons as their souls had been stripped from their bodies. A similar fate had taken Fairmont just weeks before, and Jasper before it. It was only a matter of time before they moved on Darian, time the kingdom didn’t have.

Tall peeks rose high on the hill overlooking the ill-lit rubble of the city. It had been years since Darian had prospered. Families lived in hovels, or on the streets. What little wealth they acquired was put back into the king’s coffers to maintain the wealth of the nobility. No, if she didn’t have to, she wouldn’t be on this road tonight. She had fought long and hard against Darian’s nobles. The thought of working with them made the hair on her neck stand up.

A shaky bridge was now within her sight. Its path led straight into the outer edge of the city. The ground began to shake again. It was a faster pace this time. Holding her hood tightly, she ran. Another patrol of horses was gaining. In minutes, she would be visible. The protection of the meadow had been trampled here by many travelers. (A sharper outline of the bridge began form ahead of each foot step (http://www.writingforums.com/#) as the thunder of the mounts gained steam behind her.) -- confusing sentence. Positioning the heel of her right boot into the earth, she pushed, throwing herself down the sharp slope. Forcing her lungs to inhale, she ignored the pounding of her heart in her ears as the riders passed overhead. Gold horseshoes sparkled through the wooden planks as they crossed.

Catching her breath she let a sigh escape. “Not tonight.”

The corners of her mouth tugged upward. It was just a little further. Pulling on the joist, she pulled herself up to plant her boots firmly on the wooden planks. It would be easy now; the city would hide her just like it always did. Her people would protect her; there was never a doubt about that.


This opening certainly presents some questions which will get readers interested. So just keep writing and good luck with it all.

~Circe

Narnia
March 5th, 2013, 01:47 AM
Thanks so much for your input! I was worried no one would want to read what I've been slaving over. I will definitely make those changes.

WriterJohnB
March 6th, 2013, 05:32 PM
Why do you not name your MC and why no description? I, as a reader, like to identify with the character. But you open with an action scene which is good and your writing is good, also. Just a note, peeks should be peaks.

Narnia
March 6th, 2013, 08:09 PM
@WriterJohnB I was fighting with wether or not to name her in the opening and give a description. In previous versions I had but have since moved it deeper into the book. I thought it took away from mystery of who she is that I was trying to create. I may have over thought that. I will try to work it back in. Thanks for reading! This is the first series I have finished a rough draft on and am in the process of the second revision so I can use all the help I can get.

wehttam
March 7th, 2013, 05:31 AM
@WriterJohnB I was fighting with wether or not to name her in the opening and give a description. In previous versions I had but have since moved it deeper into the book. I thought it took away from mystery of who she is that I was trying to create. I may have over thought that. I will try to work it back in. Thanks for reading! This is the first series I have finished a rough draft on and am in the process of the second revision so I can use all the help I can get.
Personally, I always give it some time before I name my main character, and when I do, it's always through dialogue. It's really just a stylistic choice.

The one thing that ate at me just because I'm nit-picky- I don't think gold has ever been used for horseshoes. It's too malleable. Plus, if the shoes are working as intended, they're going to get mucked up. So why use gold? Not a big deal in the long run, but it distracts people like me from the rest of the story, which is pretty good so far.

The Jaded
March 7th, 2013, 06:29 AM
This is good, in general. If I got this far into a book, I'd read on, and I do occasionally read high fantasy. A few things here that I would suggest, and I'll caution that I have not read the responding posts because I didn't want to influence my response with those of others.

Most of my suggestions are minor, all in all this is good, I have no problems with its overall construction or its flow.


She pushed herself against the tree line.

A tree line is not a hard barrier to push against, but simply the edge of a stand of trees. It's also not immediately clear which side of the line she starts on... but that's a minor point. Later, I understood that she left the tree line in the open grassland direction, which cleared that up. She must have been just inside the woods previously. My suggestion here would be to say that she "stuck close to the treeline" or something similar.


Flowing around her the dark emerald of her cloak blended in with the grasses as she crouched down low.

Forgive my nit-picking, but tall grass is usually a light color, yellow or light green. A dark-colored cloak would not blend in well, I would think. According to my research (also known as a Google image search for "Grassland camo", the best colors to hide in tall grass are light greens, tans, browns, and yellows. A solidly dark green object would stand out. Less so at night, but still probably enough to be bad.


The Kingdom of Darian

Usually the way this is written where I've seen this construction is "the Darian kingdom". I'm reasonably certain "kingdom" doesn't need to be capitalized in any case.


Under any other circumstances, she would never have been headed into the den of her enemy. But tonight was different; tonight she had a greater foe to fear. There was a different war coming for her and the people she held dear. It was a war that would be won by fear, and fear alone.

I suggest "her enemy's stronghold" here, it probably flows better. You might also consider moving where the first sentences are delimited: "...into the den of her enemy, but tonight was different. Tonight she had..."

I also am not really a fan of "There was a different war coming for her and the people she held dear". It seems a bit awkward. Here's my stab at revising it: "A different war was coming that made her quarrels with this kingdom seem insignificant, a war that put her and everything she held dear at risk." (It's more common to use the word "everything" instead of "everyone" around a "held dear"... I don't know why. But it reads a little funny to me as "everyone")


Tall peeks rose high on the hill overlooking the ill-lit rubble of the city. It had been years since Darian had prospered. Families lived in hovels, or on the streets. What little wealth they acquired was put back into the king’s coffers to maintain the wealth of the nobility. No, if she didn’t have to she wouldn’t be on this road tonight. She had fought long and hard against Darian’s nobles. The thought of working with them made the hair on her neck stand up.

Peaks. Also, hills don't usually have peaks, only crowns, unless you're referring to the peaked turrets of a fortress or castle, in which case you should specify that. Otherwise, the scene here is set very well. Poverty sitting next to wealth - the way of a feudal world.


Holding her hood tightly she ran.

Comma after "tightly."


In minutes, she would be visible.

Minutes is lots of time. If horses are minutes away at full gallop she wouldn't be able to hear them. "Moments" is probably a better fit.


Her people would protect her; there was no doubt about that.

This statement intrigued me, if only because it is ambiguous. I took it as possibly meaning our nameless agent grew up in this rundown city, and that these are literally her people, or that she is a member of an organization such as a thieves' guild that will shelter her. It's not bad that it's not specified, quite the contrary - it could spur readers on to the next chapter.

Narnia
March 7th, 2013, 09:09 PM
@Jaded this is exactly the kind of review I was looking for. You've pointed out many of the weaknesses I was trying to get a grasp on. I am especially glad that you were able to pick out many of the hints I had tried to slip in about what's ahead. I caught the peaks issue and have been working to revise it. I am referring to the peaks of the castle. Also, I'm glad you approve of the last sentence. That was exactly the thought I had hoped readers would glean from its structure. Is it normal to be stuck on the first 15 pages of your book for weeks revising? Because every night I sit down to look over it again I find something else that isn't quite right. I end up working into the early morning hours rewriting the same parts over and over again. I feel like I'm getting no where quickly.

The Jaded
March 8th, 2013, 02:53 AM
@Jaded this is exactly the kind of review I was looking for. You've pointed out many of the weaknesses I was trying to get a grasp on. I am especially glad that you were able to pick out many of the hints I had tried to slip in about what's ahead. I caught the peaks issue and have been working to revise it. I am referring to the peaks of the castle. Also, I'm glad you approve of the last sentence. That was exactly the thought I had hoped readers would glean from its structure.

No problem. I don't get to do as many of these reviews as I used to but I enjoy helping nitpick edit promising pieces.


Is it normal to be stuck on the first 15 pages of your book for weeks revising? Because every night I sit down to look over it again I find something else that isn't quite right. I end up working into the early morning hours rewriting the same parts over and over again. I feel like I'm getting no where quickly.

I don't know. I've never finished a novel-scale project, though some of my existing work is longer than 15 pages in MS Word. I would suggest moving on and trying to get a lot more content done before you do serious editing, or setting aside separate time blocks for editing and new writing. I know someone for whom that latter method worked rather well, but I have yet to try it myself.