Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Beginning 5 (fantasy)


It took every ounce of control I had to keep from jumping forward to help the boy as the sword-blow knocked him to the ground. But such an unseemly action from the Favored Son would only have exposed me as the fraud everyone accused me of being. My father, beside me, glanced in my direction, alerted by the tensing of my muscles that I might be about to do something stupid.

Other priests pressed close, leaving no avenue of escape. I couldn’t break free, couldn’t dodge my duty – could only watch the inevitable conclusion of everything I hated about the church I now led.

The end of the fight came fast. The boy faltered: too small, too slow, too low in rank to have a prayer against the older priest. His tail drooped in dejection and pain, wrecking his balance. The flurries of blows against which he’d had no chance of defending had been deflected by his armor plates, but I knew from experience the agony each one had sent resonating through this body.

When it was over I bowed my head and said the prayer of thanksgiving along with the rest of the temple. The priesthood began to disperse, the show over--except for my father, who placed his arm across my shoulders, holding me there to keep me from considering something rash. Although, what, at this point, I couldn't guess.

A breeze pushed the fresh blood scent up my nostrils. My stomach growled then, and my father and I stood in silence as the carcass was gutted and hauled off to the kitchens. "He was a good choice, son," my father said. "He was young, and he'll be tender, a fine main course for the God Feast."


Opening: Barbara.....Continuation: Writtenwyrdd

9 comments:

nitpicker said...

Why does the boy have a tail?

anne said...

Because he is a monkey. An armoured space monkey from hell.

Malia said...

I thought that was quite good. But I was startled by the tail.

word verification: sscmevtn = an armoured space monkey from hell.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of sentences (or openings) that begin with an indeterminate "it." I'd prefer to see the outrageousness of the boy's treatment, then the narrator's reaction to it. Something like "The boy cried out as the priest's sword blow knocked him to the ground. My whole body clenched with the effort of keeping my place." Well, something like that, only better. LOL.

Kanani said...

You really have to watch out for clich├ęs: "it took every ounce of control."

I feel as the the narrator has almost a casual response to the havoc around him. Words like "unseemly" seem very proper, sort of quizzed in a way that evokes curiousity, but not necessarily participation. If you're aiming to show inner conflict amid the chaos, then cut to the action, slice out your words and go for the ones that carry it along. Make the person take posession of his feelings at that moment.

The tail bit is confusing.

Thanks for sharing. Remember, writing is rewriting.
Good luck!

garden minion said...

You've drawn me in with details. I'd keep reading for a while just to figure out what the heck is going on. (I mean that in a very good way.) If the tense situation leads to a good setup for a book, I'm hooked.

Barbara (the author) said...

Thanks all!

They all have tails because they are bipedal lizards, which is a difficult thing to casually work into the first 150 words, especially when the narrator is one and so wouldn't be thinking about it much.

The wordiness is noted. I do want that scene to be tense and tight, so back to the red pen!

Kanani said...

Okay, so if you're talking about lizards, then in the very first paragraph you have to give us an idea that the POV is a lizard as well (am I correct?)

In other words, you have to have him doing what ever two-legged lizards would do or feel. You can even slip in the enviroment that he's in, but you must indicate to the reader that it's a lizard POV.

Think about it. If it were a dog POV, the dog would be loping through the country side, or walking by its' owner, or in a pack of dogs. There'd be description.

Maybe you'll have to do just a paragraph of some background info. Some very simple thing, like having him write in a journal.... oh shit... do lizards write? "They knew who I was by the distinctive markings on my tail, a heridtary fate handed down from my family, the lizard kings..." or WHATEVER.

garden minion said...

I have to respectfully disagree with kanani, in my opinion (for what it's worth) you definitely shouldn't state too explicitly that they're lizard-people. It's pretty much impossible for it not to sound corny, for the exact reason your saying - the viewpoint character isn't thinking about it.

Either have someone present who isn't a lizard (and use comparison) or do exactly what you are doing and throw in details. I think you're doing quite well. I have enough trust after those 150 that I will eventually find out why he has a tail. In fact, that may be what keeps people reading - look at all the interest you got here.

But fantasy and sci-fi readers will not be phased by not knowing this immediately, at least I wouldn't be. Exposition is always tough, though, good luck!