Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Beginning 268


Marian stood at the base of the mountain looking to the small village ahead, the moonlight painting each individual building. A chill crept up her spine. Something wasn't right. At that moment, the village plunged into an inky blackness. She looked to where the moon should be and gasped as the silhouette of a huge beast filled her vision. Adrenaline rushed through her and she bolted for the village, desperate to warn people of the oncoming danger. Silence greeted her cries. She fell to her knees, her lungs heaving for air. The beast was above her now, the wind from its wings beating down upon her. She shivered as all the warmth left her body. The air around her chilled as if all the heat was being drained from the world. The next thing she knew, the great beast stood before her, the village in flames around them. A scream tore through her throat as searing heat consumed her.

Marian felt herself being shaken, bringing the realization that she still lived. Her emerald eyes opened to meet the hazel ones of her sister. Knowing she was safe, she stopped screaming.

"You were having a bad dream, Marian. About broke my eardrums with that keening of yours. Interrupted a perfectly good dream about Kerr." Terra paused, but her sister didn't reply. "What, no teasing?"


With a groan, Evil Editor flung the manuscript across the room, straight into the fireplace, where it joined 78 others.

When? When would his minions learn never to open with a dream, unless it involved himself and Claudia Schiffer?


Opening: Mary.....Continuation: McKoala

8 comments:

takoda said...

Ha! I almost thought the continuation was really from EE!

It was patchy in the middle. Author gave good detail and established mood in the first several sentences. Then it felt like the story was on fast forward. Isn't it more terrifying the slower it is rather than faster? I don't know-ain't my genre. But good luck! Sounds intriguing.

Cheers,

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,

I took 4 sentences out of the first paragraph, left the rest alone, and this what I came up with-

"Marian stood at the base of the mountain looking to the small village ahead, the moonlight painting each individual building. A chill crept up her spine. Something wasn't right. At that moment, the village plunged into an inky blackness. She looked to where the moon should be and gasped as the silhouette of a huge beast filled her vision. Adrenaline rushed through her and she bolted for the village, desperate to warn people of the oncoming danger. The beast was above her now, the wind from its wings beating down upon her. The next thing she knew, the great beast stood before her, the village in flames around them. A scream tore through her throat as searing heat consumed her."

I think a little cutting here helps make the scene feel more "immediate." Just an idea.

And I'd change "hazel ones" to "hazel eyes" in the second paragraph.

And Mckoala, great continuation. Apparently EE thought so, too. Who knew he had a thing for Claudia Schiffer? I guess the real question is, what man doesn't, isn't it?

Robin

Bernita said...

Wish I had a penny for every time I read the cliche " a chill crept up her spine."

phoenix said...

The continuation speaks a great truth, Author. Opening with a dream is a huge NO. This is a lesson taught by many an agent and editor. Not that it can't be done. But it has to be done extremely well and for a purpose other than to hook the reader with action when the author doesn't have any other real action to start with.

As for the sequence itself, I know you wanted to move quickly into it being clear this scene is a dream. But by moving through such dire action so fast, it all came across, to me at least, as very dispassionate. I really didn't care about Marian or the village. In fact, Marian might be a thug and murderer, the village a proverbial den of thieves, and the beast an avenging angel of the gods whom I should be rooting for to raze the village.

If this dream sequence is echoed later in the book as her dream becomes reality, then please slow down the action and put us inside of Marian's head to give us a better sense of Marian's dread and the impending doom. But if the dream is a portent of what's to come, then, well, kinda predictable. If it isn't, then, well, why have it in the book? Rock and a hard place, which is why it takes some delicate craftsmanship to balance predictability or non-sequitarism. (I think I made that last word up.)

Dave said...

On April 21st, Miss Snark put out a rant on "10 nit-witicisms" and the list included this:

2. Opening with people sleeping, dreaming, watching tv, reading, blogging or otherwise doing static things is the EZPass lane to the "sorry not right for me" Crosspatch Expressway.

And one more thing. If I ever wake up from a nightmare and get smart-assed, snarky jokes thrown at me, I might just never speak to the person again. And when I read the first page to buy, if I made it to "what, no teasing?" I Would have deropped the book back on the table like it contained plague.

Consider this an unvarnished opinion. A dream forewhadowing death and destruction is not a good opening.

anonyme said...

Well if it were a real scene and not a dream, it would certainly hook me. Does it have to be a dream?

Robin's amendments do tighten things up so you might want to consider them.

Anonymous said...

"Emerald eyes" is such a cliche to me. Seems very My Little Pony or else the sign of an inexperienced writer. In general, I find preoccupation with eye color to be a flowing-poet-shirt-unicorn-and-rainbows juvenile fixation.

McKoala said...

zMore than one of the blogging agents complain about manuscripts starting with a dream.

On the writing front, this read a little rushed to me; you could take more time to develop the events and Marian's feelings. There are quite a few cliches - the chill creeping up the spine, the inky blackness, beating wings.