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SVenus
March 16th, 2014, 07:03 PM
Well it's me again with this again. I wrote about a 100 pages of the work-in-progress and I decided to scrap it and redo it all and here's the first chapter again, it's mostly similar, I just wanted to see if I got the tone right. So, tell me what you think :)

EDIT: I updated it a bit, in the spoiler section is the previous version



A BREEZE IN SUNLIGHT




In a green valley around a quiet river illuminated by the pale moon a young girl called Clae sat upon her mother's lap. All around them there were empty huts, and through the grass and across the river stood a great domed city called Aelus. Clae liked the loneliness; her mother rarely had time when others were around. She giggled and hugged her smiling mother and for a moment forgot about dawn.

Clae had always wondered why sunlight meant death. To her it seemed so beautiful from her mother's descriptions, but even at her young age she knew that words couldn't substitute the feeling of gentle warmth on skin and azure skies that carried white clouds. Ever since she could grasp and perceive she wanted to know those feelings, not just the words.

Her mother kissed her on the cheek and then put her on the blades of grass that swayed in the gentle wind. The stars above gleamed and Clae wondered about them while her mother did her work.

“Is it as pretty as the stars, mother?”

Senya was busy at her table; a dozen rocks were scattered on the wood. She picked one and held it at eyelevel. After a swallow and a heavy breath she licked it and then grimaced as she spat at the grass. “What did you say, Clae?” Senya asked as she threw the licked stone in a bucket.

“Is it as pretty as the stars?”

“It is, Clae, it is.”

“Tell me about it, please.”

“All right, but just for a little bit, sweetie. Mother has to work.” Senya stood from her table and sat next to Clae. She took her tiny hands in hers and smiled to her like only a mother can.

“It is very pretty, sweetie. It's golden like your hair. Long, yellow, shining strands.”

Clae had heard that one before. She had heard all of her mother's talks about sunlight, but it didn't matter.

“When the moon leaves the sky the sun comes and when it comes it is so very pretty. You can see everything for miles and miles and the sky is so blue and the air so warm.”

Clae tried to imagine it. She could picture the day skies, but to see miles away? It seemed hardly possible.

Senya kissed her child again and then went back to her table, “I won't be long, Clae. I promise.”

The stars still shined and Clae looked at the valley and Aelus in front. She thought about how it might look during day, how far she could see. Her mother said that soon she would be old enough to see sunlight, and perhaps even in a year or two, if they can afford the sunpowder, walk at day together.

A couple of more sunpowder rocks found their way to the bucket and Clae's sight turned from the stars to them. She decided she would be a good girl and wait for her mother to finish her work, then she would hear all about sunlight again. But, as something seemed to happen in Aelus, a small part of her realized that perhaps that would never happen.

Across the river a loud tremor shook the ground and upset the faint cool breeze. Aelus was one of the three domed cities, Clae knew, and the dome covered the whole city from dawn till dusk, as long as sunlight lingered in the air. During nighttime the dome would rest inside the circular city walls, and when the time was right the three triangles of the city's dome would emerge from the walls and creep towards the centered great pillar where they would connect. The same event that she had seen multiple times began, yet something felt different.

The dome was up over Aelus and the loud tremor was gone, the valley of the quiet Riphium was calm again.

“Bedtime is coming, mother.”

“I know,” Senya said. “You can go inside if you want to.”

The dome in the distance began shimmering. “Look. It's like a star!”

Senya placed a single stone in a separate empty bucket and with it followed a sigh of relief, they would have enough money for another month at best. “Now what did you want to–” Senya's eyes went wide and then sank. “Clae, go inside.”

“Bedtime?” Clae asked.

The dome stopped shimmering and both of them stood side by side, hand in hand. A moment of utter silence and then the dome began crumbling. The sides scrapped against each other as they fell and the faint breeze seemed to have turned into a wild gust. Clae screamed and cried, as the people in the city certainly did as well, and yanked her hand out of her mother's to cover her ears. The walls and everything between them became dust that spread across the valley. When the desolation was done the only thing that remained standing, alone in the pile of rubble, was the towering spear-like pillar.

Clae saw her mother crying as well. Senya formed some words but the grinding was still fresh in Clae's ears. Her mother collapsed to her knees and at the same moment the pillar succumbed and fell. It cracked to pieces as it descended and most of them fell into the river, splashing the water to all sides and almost as close as Clae and her mother.

The buzzing and grinding were gone and Clae knelt down and shook her mother's shoulders. Through tears she said, “Please, get up, please, it's bedtime.”

Senya gave no response but her weeping.

A faint bundle of yellows and reds began peering below the horizon. Clae stood up and grabbed her mother's ankle. “Get up! Get up!” She dragged and dragged but mother was just too heavy. Sunlight slowly crept through the grass, like a snake ready to attack. Clae gave all of her strength but Senya was barely an inch closer to the house.

The yellow and red snake finally reached them and it bit fiercely. Clae felt one last tear roll down her cheek. She looked at her mother's face, at the stars still faintly visible above, at the ruined city and at the calmness of the river valley. Her tears dried instantly and like burning parchment her skin blackened and smoked and fell apart.

The breeze in the sunlight swept the ashes.







In a grass valley around a quiet river illuminated by the pale moon there was a collection of huts on the left bank and a great domed city called Aelus on the right. In one of the huts lived a rock collector with her young daughter Clae.

Clae had always wondered why sunlight meant death. To her it seemed so beautiful from her mother's descriptions, but even at her young age she knew that words couldn't substitute the feeling of gentle warmth on skin and azure skies that carried white clouds. Ever since she could grasp and perceive she wanted to know those feelings, not just the words.

She sat on the grass outside of the hut and her mother sat at a table nearby. The stars above gleamed and Clae wondered about them while her mother did her work.

“Is it as pretty as the stars, mommy?”

Senya was busy at her table; a dozen rocks were scattered on the wood. She picked one and held it at eyelevel. After a swallow and a heavy breath she licked it and then grimaced as she spat at the grass. “What did you say, Clae?” Senya asked as she threw the licked stone in a bucket.

“Is it as pretty as the stars?”

“It is, Clae, it is.”

“Tell me about it, mommy.”

“Clae, I'm working. I'll tell you when you go to bed.”

“All right.”

A couple of more rocks found their way to the bucket and Clae's sight turned from the stars to them. She decided she would be a good girl and wait for her mother to finish her work, then she would hear all about sunlight. But, as something seemed to happen in Aelus, a small part of her realized that perhaps that would never happen.

Across the river a loud tremor shook the ground and upset the faint cool breeze. Aelus was one of the three domed cities, Clae knew, and the dome covered the whole city from dawn till dusk, as long as sunlight lingered in the air. During nighttime the dome would rest inside the circular city walls, and when the time was right the three triangles of the city's dome would emerge from the walls and creep towards the centered great pillar where they would connect. The same event that she had seen multiple times began, yet something felt different.

The dome was up over Aelus and the loud tremor was gone, the green valley of the quiet Riphium was calm again.

“Bedtime is coming, mommy.”

“I know,” Senya said. “You can go inside if you want to.”

The dome in the distance began shimmering. “Look, mommy. It's like a star!”
Senya placed a single stone in a separate empty bucket and with it followed a sigh of relief, they would have enough money for another month at best. “Now what did you want to–” The mother's eyes went wide and then sank. “Clae, go inside.”

“Bedtime?” Clae said.

The dome stopped shimmering and both of them stood side by side, hand in hand. An utter moment of silence and then the dome collapsed. The sides grinded against each other as they fell. Clae screamed and cried, as the people in the city certainly did as well, and yanked her hand out of her mother's to cover her ears. The walls and everything between them crumbled to dust that spread across the valley. When the desolation was done the only thing that remained standing, alone in the pile of rubble, was the towering spear-like pillar.

Clae saw her mother crying as well. Senya formed some words but the grinding was still fresh in Clae's ears. Her mother collapsed to her knees and at the same moment the pillar succumbed and fell. It cracked to pieces as it descended and most of them fell into the river, splashing the water to all sides and almost as close as Clae and her mommy.

The buzzing and grinding were gone and Clae knelt down and shook her mommy's shoulders. Through tears she said, “Mommy, mommy, get up, it's bedtime.”

Senya gave no response but her weeping.

A faint bundle of yellows and reds began peering below the horizon. Clae stood up and grabbed her mother's ankle. “Get up! Get up!” She dragged and dragged but mommy was just too heavy. Sunlight slowly creeped through the grass, like a snake ready to attack. Clae gave all of her strength but Senya was barely an inch closer to the house.

The yellow and red snake finally reached them and it bit fiercely. Clae felt one last tear roll down her cheek. She looked at her mother's face, at the stars still faintly visible above, at the ruined city and at the calmness of the river valley. Her tears dried instantly and like burning parchment her skin blackened and smoked and fell apart.

The breeze in the sunlight swept the ashes.

Apple Ice
March 16th, 2014, 08:28 PM
Hello SVenus. First the not so good, then the good.

I would strongly advise changing the opening. I highly doubt I would have read on if the piece wasn't so short. Starting with a description of a setting just doesn't do it for me, it's dull. I think you should draw them in with excitement before, so they have a staked interest in whats happening. That's not to say it has to be action, maybe even dialogue would do.

The narration gets a bit lazy with regards to names. You frequently switch between Senya/(the) (her) Mother/ Mommy. In dialogue it would be okay but not in the actual prose as it seems muddled. Stick to one.

Another thing you may want to think about is the word "mommy". As an English reader I am very aware it's an American who's written it, that's noo a bad thing in itself but, it keeps reminding me of it and considering we're in a fantasy world it makes emergence in to the story difficult for me. I would say perhaps just use Mother as it's neutral. Although, I do recognise you are going for a touching moment and so Mommy works better as it's more personalized and childlike. However, I think Mother could be just as effective.

ON TO THE GOOD: You do provoke intrigue to read on after this chapter and the last scene is touching. I want to know what this snake sunlight is. I got the impression of a pyroclasitc flow-like death from a volcano which can leave people with similar deaths as your snake, it was a cool image. I also loved your last line. The "Dust in the Wind" song was playing in my head when I read it, ha.

Good stuff, will read more if you post.

A_Jones
March 16th, 2014, 08:41 PM
OUCH! Sadness! devastation! You're evil. haha I have to keep from reading this kind of stuff. Makes my heart ache. Anyway intriguing of course, but that first sentence almost made me leave the page. Here is some sound advice: if you cant read it without running out of breath, the sentence is too long. Keep going with your work. Its good, just too sad for me.

stormageddon
March 16th, 2014, 11:14 PM
I like what you are aiming for with the first sentence, with a bit of rephrasing it would be very much my cup of tea, but you need to be a little more generous with your punctuation. That was was the main negative I noticed throughout this. As far as I can tell you have a good understanding of punctuation- nothing was misused, but you tend to be quite stingy with your commas, in particular.

"An utter moment of silence" should be "a moment of utter silence"
"The sides grinded" unless grinded is US English which I'm fairly sure it isn't, this should be "The sides ground"
This paragraph needs a rewrite, I feel. It should be the most dramatic one of all, or nearly so, and yet it reads more as a plan of what you were going to write than as part of a novel. In fact, I'd like to see nearly everything you've written in this entire extract expanded on. The ideas are brilliant, and I can see what you're aiming for in tone, setting etc, but more because I want to than because you've got it all down here. The narrative simply states what happened, without the melodrama I do so enjoy in stories like this, but if you let yourself get carried away in your next draft I'm sure it will come very naturally.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this. I think I am in the minority on this site, but I love lengthy setting description. I'd rather read a first chapter that did nothing but describe than a first chapter that was pure action - action tends to bore me if it goes on for too long, but description rarely does. So I am torn. The general consensus would be, I imagine, that you should use minimal description in an opening chapter, but in pandering to the masses you would lose me as a reader. If it weren't for what you've done with the sun - that's right up my street. Sorry, I'm rambling.

I agree with apple ice's second and third paragraphs, "mommy" is very jarring to us Brits, and is particularly so in fantasy/sci fi, not just for the spelling - the word itself feels out of place (as would mummy), though it's a bit snobbish for us to plead that you change it :p If you don't want to use "mother" and want something more childlike, I'm sure you could find a suitable variant, or make one up, but if you want to keep it, it really is only a minor detail. Just keep it in the dialogue and not the narrative, unless you want a childlike narrative, but that would be very limiting.

I disagree with apple ice saying that the opening is dull enough to stop a person reading on. If you're in a book shop, reading a book that you know is at least decent on the premise that it's been published in the first place, you would read at least the first couple of pages before deciding it wasn't worth your time, so long as the subject matter interested you. While this sort of opening may bore some readers, it isn't the kind of opening to get in the way of publishing, going by what I've learnt from browsing books, though many readers appear to find it off putting. The fragment you've posted would probably take up three or four pages, so I imagine even those who didn't like it would read on far enough to find something of interest. My point is, with some improvement, if I read this in a shop you'd have me buying the book by the third paragraph, and everyone else by the third or fourth page.

I fear I'm being very convoluted. To summarize, I like this a lot, and with some work, I would love it.

SVenus
March 16th, 2014, 11:20 PM
Hello SVenus. First the not so good, then the good.

I would strongly advise changing the opening. I highly doubt I would have read on if the piece wasn't so short. Starting with a description of a setting just doesn't do it for me, it's dull. I think you should draw them in with excitement before, so they have a staked interest in whats happening. That's not to say it has to be action, maybe even dialogue would do.

The narration gets a bit lazy in regards to names. You frequently switch between Senya/(the) (her) Mother/ Mommy. In dialogue it would be okay but not in the actual prose as it seems muddled. Stick to one.

Another thing you may want to think about is using "mommy". As an English reader I am very aware it's an American who's written it, that's nto a bad thing in itself but, it keeps reminding me of it and considering we're in a fantasy world it makes emergence in to the story difficult for me. I would say perhaps just use Mother as it's neutral. Although I do recognise you are going for a touching moment and so Mommy works better as it's more personalized and childlike. However, I think Mother could be just as effective.

ON TO THE GOOD: You do provoke intrigue to read on after this chapter and the last scene is touching. I want to know what this snake sunlight is. I got the impression of a pyroclasitc flow-like death from a volcano which can leave people with similar deaths to your snake, it was a cool image. I also loved your last line. The "Dust in the Wind" song was playing in my head when I read it, ha.

Good stuff, will read more if you post.

Hi, thanks for reading :)

I think I'll keep the opening line for now, I honestly can't think of something that would fit better, though knowing me I'll probably change my mind in a week :P
I thought about using "mother" but it just seemed a bit too impersonal. It's an issue for me in the later chapters as well. Hearing "father" from a five year old just seems odd.



OUCH! Sadness! devastation! You're evil. haha I have to keep from reading this kind of stuff. Makes my heart ache. Anyway intriguing of course, but that first sentence almost made me leave the page. Here is some sound advice: if you cant read it without running out of breath, the sentence is too long. Keep going with your work. Its good, just too sad for me.

Some things just have to be sad :P

SVenus
March 16th, 2014, 11:30 PM
Yeah, commas and I have a tough relationship.

"A moment of utter silence" - If I weren't wearing my glasses I would have facepalmed so hard. I really feel dumb when I miss something like that. I googled grinded and I just couldn't find if it was used in the correct way, I thought about using scrapped or something like that but I like the sound of ground. I agree, looking back that part does kind of feel a bit too quick.

Apple Ice
March 16th, 2014, 11:32 PM
I didn't say it was dull enough for others to read on, I said it was potentially dull enough for myself. It's a fair point you make though, the beginning is just my preference, although I think it is a fairly large consensual preference. I wouldn't, as stormagedon said, give it a few more pages if I didn't like the first paragraph. There's countless books to choose from and if you don't pull me in straight away I may as well move on to one which will.

I think a compromise would be beneficial here. Start with something other than a description, that way you have readers like myself, then when you have us hooked throw in a description to set the scene. Readers like storm won't stop reading because there's not an instant sunset. That way you have your chance to keep both sets. I just think it's not worth the risk starting how you have. As storm said, he is in the minority. Again, I liked the piece and will read more if you post.

stormageddon
March 17th, 2014, 12:17 AM
I didn't say it was dull enough for others to read on, I said it was potentially dull enough for myself. It's a fair point you make though, the beginning is just my preference, although I think it is a fairly large consensual preference. I wouldn't, as stormagedon said, give it a few more pages if I didn't like the first paragraph. There's countless books to choose from and if you don't pull me in straight away I may as well move on to one which will.

I think a compromise would be beneficial here. Start with something other than a description, that way you have readers like myself, then when you have us hooked throw in a description to set the scene. Readers like storm won't stop reading because there's not an instant sunset. That way you have your chance to keep both sets. I just think it's not worth the risk starting how you have. As storm said, he is in the minority. Again, I liked the piece and will read more if you post.

Sorry if I badly paraphrased you, and inadvertently insulted you; I still haven't mastered the art of online communication and seem to be doing that quite a lot by forgetting people can't hear my tone of voice :p my intent is never to insult, at worst to alleviate boredom or loneliness.

Well, I have very specific tastes. I can spend three hours in a book shop and leave empty handed. On the rare occasions I do leave with a book, I am usually disappointed by it (in fact the only books I read and genuinely enjoyed last year were the song of ice and fire series), so I am willing to read up to the first three chapters of a decent sounding book before I completely give up on it. And yes - I am very much in the minority, but if I see writing I like, I hate to advise its creator to change it to something that I don't like, even if it will make them more popular. Popular writing is not necessarily good writing (twilight), and Tolkien started everything he wrote with something that would bore many readers to tears, but he is undeniably magnificent. "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit..." The opening sentence here has a similar feel, though needs some work.

A compromise would be acceptable, so long as it's not a complete alteration in style. I wouldn't stop reading, no. So SVenus, on balance I think you should ignore me v.v

And for shame! I'm a she, not a he!

SVenus- sorry to argue over your work, I accept I am not being particularly helpful here :p trying not to get too emotionally invested since it's still in the draft stages, but I love your ideas too much.

Apple Ice
March 17th, 2014, 01:09 AM
You didn't offend me Storm, sorry if I came across that way. It's strange, I'm really informal and jovial on other sites but on this I always seem to come across as if I have a broom handle up my backside without meaning to. Apologies, I will relax in future.

Again, I see where you're coming from. SVenus has made their mind up about it anyway it seems. Just suggestions to perhaps take on board.

Sorry for assuming Storm, your name made me think of Storm Troopers and thought you were on sat behind a computer. For shame indeed.

stormageddon
March 17th, 2014, 01:15 AM
You didn't offend me Storm, sorry if I came across that way. It's strange, I'm really informal and jovial on other sites but on this I always seem to come across as if I have a broom handle up my backside without meaning to. Apologies, I will relax in future.

Again, I see where you're coming from. SVenus has made their mind up about it anyway it seems. Just suggestions to perhaps take on board.

Sorry for assuming Storm, your name made me think of Storm Troopers and thought you were on sat behind a computer. For shame indeed.

It wasn't you, just the ambiguity of speech without tone :p don't worry at all.

Haha, I can see that~ it's actually the name of a baby in Doctor Who, Stormageddon Dark Lord of All. I thought I should reflect my impressive level of maturity in my title.

Apple Ice
March 17th, 2014, 01:24 AM
Yeah I often come across as a twit (insert more appropriate vowel) because people don't know if I'm being sarcastic or not online.

Haha, ah right, well it certainly does that. I wanted to get across my love for fruit and frozen water.

Sorry for hijacking your thread with name talk SVenus.

thepancreas11
March 18th, 2014, 03:04 PM
I'm not sure where, when, or what these people are that they're turning to ash in the rays of the sun, but I love your ambition. In a short 800 words, Clae's world has literally come crashing down around her in a heap of ashes. If that doesn't evoke an emotional response, then you've got some heartless readers. An entire civilization has just basically been crushed by the very walls that protect them. This thing that is supposed to give life, supposed to nurture our nature, has turned against them, a monster to be feared. What a world you're making, SVenus. What an insane concept. I love it.

Perhaps, though, you've become a little too ambitious. Perhaps you have done it all a little too quickly. Really the only connection that we have between Clae and Senya, the only thing we have to be sad about is the account of the how the sun felt and looked. Sure, she's lost her mother, but that's not so much of a connection as an obligation. Let me try to demonstrate:

Ariel, the little mermaid, has no mother. Snow White has no father. Cinderella's parents actually die at the beginning of the movie. Yet, we do not mourn them. We don't really feel anything for them. They just kind of...pass, and we're left thinking, huh, well okay then.

Bambi's mother gets shot. Mufasa gets trampled by wildebeests. Dumbo's mother gets taken away. All these scenes make us cry. They make us struggle to maintain our manliness (at least in my case). They tug on our heart strings. We're devastated.

Why is that? Why do we care about some parental connections and not others?

The answer is quite simple: connection. We connect with either the main character at the time of death, or we connect with the parent at the time of death, or better yet, we connect with both. There is a layering effect taking place in all the emotional deaths. For Bambi, not only is it his mother, but he's lost and terrified in the woods, he's never really seen his father, it's bleak and bleary and wintery, and we hate MEN! WE HATE THEM! For Dumbo not only do they take him from his mother, but they persecute him without her because she protected him, she sang that song to him "Baby Mine", she cradled him in her arms and kept him safe. For Simba, not only did he lose his father, but he feels responsible for this noble, brave, idyllic, and sensitive king, and it leads to a life of exile. See how there's such a bond between the parent and the child, how there is this incredible connection between them? See how it devastates the character and in turn devastates us to see it pass away? Right now, the only thing stringing together mother and daughter other than biology is the sun. You need more than that. Have Clae jump up on her lap or something, have them being playful, have Senya being nurturing.

Other than that, I would say you need a better hook. You kind of fade in so that by the fifth or six paragraph, we're getting to the interesting parts. I mean, you live in a world wear sunlight means death, and you lead with some huts? You've got everything you need to make me want to think twice about all this sun-day fun-day nonsense. Have her look down at a scar and think, hmm remember when I burned the crap out of myself trying to feel the day's gentle warmth?

Good, SVenus, but not great yet. There's a lot of potential here that you need to explore, and the good news is, you've got a lot of room to do it. 800 words from my experience is a fairly short chapter.

SVenus
March 18th, 2014, 04:32 PM
I'm not sure where, when, or what these people are that they're turning to ash in the rays of the sun, but I love your ambition. In a short 800 words, Clae's world has literally come crashing down around her in a heap of ashes. If that doesn't evoke an emotional response, then you've got some heartless readers. An entire civilization has just basically been crushed by the very walls that protect them. This thing that is supposed to give life, supposed to nurture our nature, has turned against them, a monster to be feared. What a world you're making, SVenus. What an insane concept. I love it.

Perhaps, though, you've become a little too ambitious. Perhaps you have done it all a little too quickly. Really the only connection that we have between Clae and Senya, the only thing we have to be sad about is the account of the how the sun felt and looked. Sure, she's lost her mother, but that's not so much of a connection as an obligation. Let me try to demonstrate:

Ariel, the little mermaid, has no mother. Snow White has no father. Cinderella's parents actually die at the beginning of the movie. Yet, we do not mourn them. We don't really feel anything for them. They just kind of...pass, and we're left thinking, huh, well okay then.

Bambi's mother gets shot. Mufasa gets trampled by wildebeests. Dumbo's mother gets taken away. All these scenes make us cry. They make us struggle to maintain our manliness (at least in my case). They tug on our heart strings. We're devastated.

Why is that? Why do we care about some parental connections and not others?

The answer is quite simple: connection. We connect with either the main character at the time of death, or we connect with the parent at the time of death, or better yet, we connect with both. There is a layering effect taking place in all the emotional deaths. For Bambi, not only is it his mother, but he's lost and terrified in the woods, he's never really seen his father, it's bleak and bleary and wintery, and we hate MEN! WE HATE THEM! For Dumbo not only do they take him from his mother, but they persecute him without her because she protected him, she sang that song to him "Baby Mine", she cradled him in her arms and kept him safe. For Simba, not only did he lose his father, but he feels responsible for this noble, brave, idyllic, and sensitive king, and it leads to a life of exile. See how there's such a bond between the parent and the child, how there is this incredible connection between them? See how it devastates the character and in turn devastates us to see it pass away? Right now, the only thing stringing together mother and daughter other than biology is the sun. You need more than that. Have Clae jump up on her lap or something, have them being playful, have Senya being nurturing.

Other than that, I would say you need a better hook. You kind of fade in so that by the fifth or six paragraph, we're getting to the interesting parts. I mean, you live in a world wear sunlight means death, and you lead with some huts? You've got everything you need to make me want to think twice about all this sun-day fun-day nonsense. Have her look down at a scar and think, hmm remember when I burned the crap out of myself trying to feel the day's gentle warmth?

Good, SVenus, but not great yet. There's a lot of potential here that you need to explore, and the good news is, you've got a lot of room to do it. 800 words from my experience is a fairly short chapter.

Hello :) Thanks for reading.

You're definitely right about the connection thing. I guess I'm just not quite sure what I wish to accomplish with this chapter. I want it to be short because I don't like long prologues and I don't really want to dwell to much on a forgone conclusion, i.e. Clae and Senya, but I also want the reader to feel sad for them and realize that this isn't gonna be a happy novel.

As for the opening, stormaggedon and I seem to be in the minority :P I kind of see it like a film, where there are a few establishing shots before the interesting part commences. I do now have an idea of having it start with Clae in Senya's lap (do you mind if I use that :P?). And I might as well ask it here, what do you guys think about openings where the very first word is a character's name, like, "Will ran down the stairs.” I personally find it kind of jarring for some reason but it seems to be rather popular.

Kepharel
March 18th, 2014, 05:04 PM
I think the comments about maybe reworking the opening of your story have some merit


"In a grass valley around a quiet river illuminated by the pale moon there was a collection of huts on the left bank and a great domed city called Aelus on the right. In one of the huts lived a rock collector with her young daughter Clae.

Clae had always wondered why sunlight meant death. To her it seemed so beautiful from her mother's descriptions, but even at her young age she knew that words couldn't substitute the feeling of gentle warmth on skin and azure skies that carried white clouds. Ever since she could grasp and perceive she wanted to know those feelings, not just the words.

She sat on the grass outside of the hut and her mother sat at a table nearby. The stars above gleamed and Clae wondered about them while her mother did her work."

My take on the opening is about half the words but says everything that needs to be said....

Clae sat with her mother outside their hut under a pale moon, her head filled with all those stories told her, about a blue sky and the warmth and sunlight of a daytime; things she would never see or feel. The grass was cool beneath her as she looked across the still river at the great domed city called Aelus, then back to her mother, the Rock Collector, busy working at the table nearby.

thepancreas11
March 18th, 2014, 05:13 PM
Kepharel hit the nail right on the head with that one SVenus. Your story doesn't seem like the type to start off with some kind of jarring scene, more an artistic scene, but when being artistic, you have to have focus, otherwise you end up with a cloudy premise. I was thinking if you could say something about a burn she'd received from sticking her hand out in the sun, you wouldn't have to explain it, but Kepharel has done a much better job of taking your opening statement and making something of it.

Good luck!

-AT
March 18th, 2014, 05:40 PM
I have a technical question about the setting:

Are the huts on the left of the river part of the city? The way you describe it "there was a collection of huts on the left bank and a great domed city called Aelus on the right" gives me the impression that the dome protecting everyone is over the city and that these huts are a separated from this by the river.

I also agree with Kepharel. Your first two sentences describe the setting, then you just randomly start talking about the sun meaning death. Kepharel's intro meshes these separate things into one flowing idea.


While this is quite clearly suppose to be a sci-fi/fantasy like story, the fact that the mother just sits there while the sun comes up and kills her isn't really very believable. What about her daughter? Does she not care that Clae's in danger as well? Before the dome falls, she says "Clae, get inside.", but after the fact, it's like a totally different person with a different reaction.

That stuff aside, this is really quite the powerful introduction. I don't necessarily agree with the others that you need a connection with the mother here. In my mind, this was basically setting up Clae's world, where she's lost everything and everyone. It gives potential motivation for the future. We don't necessarily need to feel sad that the mother is dead, but we need to acknowledge it to help understand how Clae might feel as the story goes on.

SVenus
March 18th, 2014, 06:36 PM
I have a technical question about the setting:

Are the huts on the left of the river part of the city? The way you describe it "there was a collection of huts on the left bank and a great domed city called Aelus on the right" gives me the impression that the dome protecting everyone is over the city and that these huts are a separated from this by the river.

I also agree with Kepharel. Your first two sentences describe the setting, then you just randomly start talking about the sun meaning death. Kepharel's intro meshes these separate things into one flowing idea.


While this is quite clearly suppose to be a sci-fi/fantasy like story, the fact that the mother just sits there while the sun comes up and kills her isn't really very believable. What about her daughter? Does she not care that Clae's in danger as well? Before the dome falls, she says "Clae, get inside.", but after the fact, it's like a totally different person with a different reaction.

That stuff aside, this is really quite the powerful introduction. I don't necessarily agree with the others that you need a connection with the mother here. In my mind, this was basically setting up Clae's world, where she's lost everything and everyone. It gives potential motivation for the future. We don't necessarily need to feel sad that the mother is dead, but we need to acknowledge it to help understand how Clae might feel as the story goes on.

You're right about the positioning.

As for Senya's passivity there is a reason for that, a kind of a twist later in the story.

Well, Clae dies too :P

Zeynith
April 13th, 2014, 09:19 AM
Hey SVenus,

Really interesting world you created. I'm a bit of a fan of dark fantasy stories so it appeals to me. Just a suggestion if you are still looking for a word to use other than mother, perhaps Mama? I am American so not sure if that would be a problem for British readers but there it is. I had a bit of issues with Clae's character mostly because her character just seems to be I love my mom and I think about the sun. Maybe it is just me but I don't like it when a character is obsessed with only 1 thing and for Clae that is the sun. She has lived in this world all her life, I feel like she would be used to it and more fear the sun then always want to feel it on her skin. Just my opinion. Looking forward to seeing more of the world.

Zeynith

mohawksavage
April 21st, 2014, 09:19 PM
It's a nice beginning to a story. I want to know more about the sunpowder and how these people live. I look forward to reading more of this story.