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Jesse Nissinen
July 31st, 2016, 08:53 PM
CHAPTER 1

Donly wandered through the castle on a chilly April evening. He climbed up on the castle wall, which was wide enough for five adult men to walk hand in hand through. When he had come up to the wall, he looked back and forth after guards. He saw a guard twenty meters ahead that seemed to have fallen asleep sitting up. It was the only sentry within reach. The boy was crouching past the guard, he stopped for a moment to notice the bow and quiver the guard was wearing then he continued and crept slowly past him.
Donly had arrived at the corner of the wall, he looked around again for guards but saw no one, just the sleeping guard behind him. The boy sat down on the wall's edge and waved his feet outside. He quickly began to feel nauseous because of the height, however the beautiful woodland and mountains stretching in front of him made him feel a bit better. He almost dropped one shoe from his foot when he wobbled with it, he took up his feet and squatted down. It was a chilly wind against him that threw around his short hair, he shut his brown shirt tight.
Donly suddenly looked back as if he had heard something, but it was just a long empty road in front of him. He turned around completely and glanced to the left to see if the sleeping guard was still there, and he was. He went forward over the wall. To his right, he could see the entire village Brii. He felt like a king when he stretched out his arms to catch the whole village. Donlys father, Donleh, was the true king who lived in the little castle, the village was built in front of the castle with thinner walls. But it was only those thick walls that surrounded the castle and had those patrolling guards.
After a quarter of a hiking Donly found another guard, who was sleeping. This time you could hear snoring from the guard. Donly went on toes past the guard without waking him up. He thought the guards were almost identical, the same brown-red outfits with Briis-insignia's on, shaved young faces and the basic bow for a weapon.
Donly had arrived at the top of the castle's main gate, he looked down from the walls of the immense path ahead. The path went right into the village center, the marketplace. The gate was closed shut. He watched two guards in front of the door at the bottom. Both guards looked like two small dark pieces in a chess game. He crouched down immediately to hide himself from plain sight. He looked up to the castle and saw the huge tower that stretched from the ground and up far beyond the walls. On top of the tower lived the king and queen, the light was closed. The tower was a little wider in the middle to have room for a special room for the king's son, Donly. The light inside his room was lit and the window was open too.
Donly looked down from the wall and realized that the ground was about twenty meters away. He climbed down from the wall feet first. He had good grip on the stones of the wall and could easily climb down. When he was down, he brushed the dust off his pants and shirt.
Just as he was marching towards the castle, he got a heavy hand on his right shoulder.
"Where are you going at, fella’?" Said a heavy voice.

---

I'm finally on my vacation from work, 4 whole weeks off. The first chapter I jotted down is actually 6 pages long, but I only show the first page here. Hope you enjoy the story! Also the forum screwed with the text format so that's not an issue with the actual craft I have, it's just the site.

lvcabbie
July 31st, 2016, 08:57 PM
I had to struggle with the first paragraph and stopped there. It didn't SHOW me anything and I found no reason to be interested in it.

Jesse Nissinen
July 31st, 2016, 08:58 PM
Okay, thanks for the feedback.

Zorg
July 31st, 2016, 10:27 PM
Out of seven or so paragraphs - it's hard to tell because there is no indentation or space between them - all but one start with the same word. That gets boring very quickly. Not quite sure where you're going with this. It doesn't move any further other than describing a castle where there's a lot of sleeping going on.

A couple of things: "...the village was built in front of the castle with thinner walls. But it was only those thick walls that surrounded the castle..." Confusing for the reader. Whose walls belong to who?

"After a quarter of a hiking Donly found another guard..." A quarter of what? An hour, a kilometer?

A lot of the descriptive qualities can be condensed or excised; it seems that you describe the castle too frequently.

Good luck!

Bard_Daniel
July 31st, 2016, 11:59 PM
A lot of "He's" and the derivatives going on here. It felt detracting from the piece as a whole. It's also a little long-winded in my opinion.

Just my two cents, keep on writin'!

Jesse Nissinen
August 1st, 2016, 03:09 AM
Maybe I forgot to mention that this is my very first draft.
It's simply the very first page from a book I'm writing, and 1 page out of 500 describing the actual village and castle the whole story will take place in isn't really much, at least I don't think so.

I remember reading Eragon just recently and it has something like 30 pages just describing a forest layout. Not to mention how much Fellowship of the Ring described Middle-earth for the reader.

My intention was to know if people like an opening like this for a book, I'm not looking for grammar errors or actual writing help, just want to know if an opening like this catches the readers interest.
Also the original text was in Swedish so this is a hard translate, so sorry if that bothers you.

The guards descriptions are vital points to the plot later on, and the sleeping part too, and the protagonist climbing abilities.
But this won't make much sense until you are 100 pages into the novel.

I don't know really what the core intention of a forum like this is anyways if not get feedback on the few pages you have jotted down, I really don't think anyone can be bothered to read 100 pages I've have written. That one guy up there couldn't even bother reading the second sentence.

But thanks for the feedback. Maybe next month I can show a edited version.

PS: The village in front of the castle are surrounded my thin walls. Only the castle itself has tall big walls with a gate.

LeeC
August 1st, 2016, 04:51 AM
The intention of the creative areas is to post extracts of ones work to see how others react to the writing. Critiques by unsympathetic others are a hundred times more beneficial to a writer serious about improving their writing skills, than are pats on the back. Serious writers learn to separate their personal feelings in improving their writing.

In proffering an extract, presentation can affect other's take, so the better it's presented the faster all get down to discussing writing aspects. Just pasting up the words without editing the extract for readability, to some shows a lack of regard.

I think you were lucky to get three responses, and I saw nuggets in each. For example, the first response would have told me that I'm not catching the reader's attention up front, which is vitally important in getting others to read on.

My own take, having read all of it, is that it doesn't pull the reader in. Moreover the pacing is choppy and the flow meanders. Work the descriptive text in where it's pertinent, and not before if you want to keep the reader interested. If you've done much reading, and thought about why some books seem more interesting that others and flow unobtrusively, regardless of the story imparted, you'll understand what I'm saying.

Any story interesting to a wider and varied audience, came about through the sweat and blood of a writer that worked long and hard at developing their skills. Albeit, there's a quagmire of books that lean hard on base proclivities to succeed in a materialistic vein.

Oh, I can't speak to Eragon, not being inclined to read it, but there's no comparison between the writing you posted and J. R. R. Tolkien's writing.

Get your story down in a rough draft, then concentrate on reworking it to pull the reader into the story. Then post extracts to see how well you seem to be doing.

I wish you every success.



PS: We all start at the same place. I came here nearly three years ago with my masterpiece, and soon learned it wasn't. It took a lot of patience and proding by those willing to help, to get over my worst writing habitats. Some still think my writing is bad, but part of that I attribute to "green" writers not being all that popular ;-)

Jesse Nissinen
August 1st, 2016, 06:31 AM
"Get your story down in a rough draft,"

This is the rough draft.

Donnam
August 1st, 2016, 11:40 AM
Green writers are the new black.

Donnam
August 1st, 2016, 11:56 AM
I needed to read the first paragraph a couple of times to get a visual of what was going on. It didn't flow for me, but I got a bit more excited when I read "however the beautiful woodland and mountains," then my interest wavered again because the story went back to the guards. I'd like to read why the guards are so significant. Is there great consequences to be had for being caught? Have the guards made a crucial mistake allowing him access to the wall and will their 'heads roll' for it? My feeling is you could condense it quite a lot, without the reader losing any of the meaning. I'd be inclined to describe the castle and the wall in the same paragraph and not revisit it. Keep the story surging forward so that readers can't wait to read what is going to happen next. Because its set within castle grounds I'm already expecting some action.
That aside, I like Donly. He's curious about stuff, perhaps a little lonely, timid and is aching for some freedom. There are a lot of guards and there's a lot of sleeping, but I'm sure things about to spring to life and we're just being lulled in for the kill slowly. Good luck with it.

Jesse Nissinen
August 3rd, 2016, 12:15 AM
I needed to read the first paragraph a couple of times to get a visual of what was going on. It didn't flow for me, but I got a bit more excited when I read "however the beautiful woodland and mountains," then my interest wavered again because the story went back to the guards. I'd like to read why the guards are so significant. Is there great consequences to be had for being caught? Have the guards made a crucial mistake allowing him access to the wall and will their 'heads roll' for it? My feeling is you could condense it quite a lot, without the reader losing any of the meaning. I'd be inclined to describe the castle and the wall in the same paragraph and not revisit it. Keep the story surging forward so that readers can't wait to read what is going to happen next. Because its set within castle grounds I'm already expecting some action.
That aside, I like Donly. He's curious about stuff, perhaps a little lonely, timid and is aching for some freedom. There are a lot of guards and there's a lot of sleeping, but I'm sure things about to spring to life and we're just being lulled in for the kill slowly. Good luck with it.

Oh, wow... now that was some genuine really good feedback. Thanks a lot!

However, this thread itself can be closed now I guess, as I see drafts isn't what was meant to be posted here. I'll come back with a new text piece (hopefully in a week or so) when it's edited and ready for print.

Jay Greenstein
August 3rd, 2016, 02:02 AM
Maybe I forgot to mention that this is my very first draft.It matters not at all if it's the first or tenth draft. If there's a problem that comes because you're missing critical information on what our medium demands of us, no matter how many times you edit you won't see a problem.

It's not a matter of good or bad writing, or your talent and potential as a writer. It's that like pretty much all new writers you believe you learned to write in school. But while you learned a general skill set that employers find useful, you were given none of the skills of a fiction writer. Our goal is to entertain our reader, but the skills we're given in school are designed to inform. So you, like so many others, are thinking in terms of telling the story, in the manner of a historian.

Think of how many history books you've bought over your lifetime—how many your friends have. History is informative, but boring, because there's no uncertainty, just fact after fact.

In this, you open with an overview: "Donly wandered through the castle on a chilly April evening." But look at it from a reader's viewpoint. As they read this:

• Donly could be male or female, a toddler, someone at end of life, or anywhere in between. S/he could be a servant, royalty, servant or thief.
• "The castle" could be in ancient Persia, far in the future, or a fantasy realm.
• Without knowing what motivated him/her to roam, there's no mood to the line, just a factoid.

So the first line is a declarative statement that tells the reader nothing, because they, unlike you, have no context for the statement.
He climbed up on the castle wall, which was wide enough for five adult men to walk hand in hand through. Forgetting that one can't walk "through" a wall, that you describe is called a wall walk. And given that the purpose is to provide a place to stand when defending the castle, there would be a battlement, so he would sit on that, not the edge of the wall. And of course guards who sleep on the job will be disciplined and taken off the job, so this can't work. You can't make up the setting and the behavious. If you're going to write about a castle you need to know what a castle, and the people who live in one, are like. As as an observation, a climbable wall is of no use to a castle you hope to defend, so I can't see this happening.

My point? Were you to want to build a house you wouldn't start the job and expect a sound house unless you knew the necessary construction skills before you began. And that applies to every profession, even fiction for the printed word.

So keep writing, of course. But setting some time aside to acquire the skills of the pro is necessary if you hope to write like one. Can we really see ourselves as serious about our writing if we devote no time or money to becoming one?

Just write, and get the story down, is good advice. But it presupposes you already have the necessary skills. And to quote the great Hemingway, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

Eric Romano
August 3rd, 2016, 10:52 AM
I guess it'll be helpful to connect to the paragraph if we get some early insights on who is Donly.