Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Beginning 888

The young god rowed across a violent ocean, voyaging to wed a bride he did not want, a cold Titan witch: Circe's daughter. Waves as tall as castles rolled beneath the hull. He plied the oars with rapid strokes, traveling alone in his small boat, cursing the hurricane at the end of the world, moving against the current and wind. A son's duty powered his work at the oars, not passion.

Greater gods than he arranged this marriage, uninvited. He did not wish to be the agent of their diplomacy. His important business was in Thrace and Ireland. He had sweet ladies, mortals, to entertain in Venice and Normandy. This wedding was a detour, a distraction. He journeyed for honor, not love, to fulfill an ill-conceived promise that could not be undone by his own good reasoning or desires.

He never liked passing through the storm between the worlds, but on this day it seemed worse than ever and the farther he went, the more it raged, as if to blow him back to Britain. Why so difficult? He must cross this barricade to reach the world of immortals, then find Circe's island. Perhaps she made the journey especially impossible now, to test him.

Slowly his thoughts turned as cold as the waves that washed over the stern.

Typical, creating a fucking storm when all he was trying to do was the right thing. Bitch. Jesus, all he'd done was knock up her daughter, and now he was going to spend eternity under her thumb. Did he deserve that fate? Did anyone, really?

Too late to back out now. He kept rowing. There was one small kernel of comfort: Odysseus had told him Circe was a real MILF. But still. He wished he'd just joined the Army.


Opening: Susan Brown.....Continuation: Stacy

22 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:


Shaking the water from his eyes, he grimly realized that he should have gone to Jared.

--Khazar-khum


The hell with it. There would be no marriage. He changed course to land in Africa. Surely he could make a decent living as a merc there. With that decision the course of his life changed and he gobbled down the flying fish that landed in his boat as the storm eased.

He couldn't take food with him when he changed worlds. The fish tasted mighty fine. Their wings were crunchy but palatable. The mild flesh tasted succulent on his palate after crunching the wings. Yes, he'd wing his way to Africa. He knew he could make it.

--Wilkins MacQueen


At last, weary and depleted, he struggled through the barrier and landed on the vasty exapanse of marble floor.

Undaunted, courageous, he ventured across the mighty room, drawn by the flashing green sign he did not desire to read, but must.

FLIGHT DELAYED.

--AlaskaRavenclaw


Pain seared the young god's muscles as his boat finally nudged onto the golden sands of Circe's island, the last drops of the storm drying on his skin. And there she stood, a hundred feet tall, her face as fierce as the roil he just passed through.

"Safe passage," she said. "The Gods were with you."

"And now I am here," the youngster responded. Was it over. Was that the final test?

"But before you continue your journal," Circe went on, "answer me this..."

The young god waited under Circe's glare. She narrowed her eyes and said, "Do you think my daughter is prettier than me?"

--Anon.


As he sat there rowing, lamenting his plight, a great leviathan rose out of the sea. As the young god's row boat was swallowed by the fish, he thought "man, I'm never going to laugh at uncle Jonah again."

--Pthalogreen

Evil Editor said...

The idea that the young god doesn't want the marriage but feels obliged to go through with it is expressed numerous times in the first two paragraphs. We get it. Move on.

Dave Fragments said...

I would say pick one of the three paragraphs and discard the rest. Then make it exciting.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

What they said, and also:

This is way overwritten. Too many adjectives, too many descriptions. And they don't achieve the effect you're looking for. If he's rowing through a hurricane, he's not going to be thinking that the waves are as tall as castles. He's going to be thinking "@#$%^&**@!!!!"

batgirl said...

Why is Circe's daughter a Titan? I thought Circe was a human witch, and the Titans were defeated by the gods and imprisoned or destroyed.

Anonymous said...

tYou might read about Circe being a human witch in other novels because that's what the author chose for the character. Also, Hollywood movies etc about Titans are usually big monster movies about macho males and they don't do much with Circe because she doesn't really fit suit the purposes of the macho man vs monsters movie.

In the Greek she was the daughter of Helios, the dude driving the sun in his chariot, definitely not human. As with most of the females, she did not participate in Zeus's war against the Titans and was not killed nor imprisoned. Same with Helios. There were numerous exceptions.

Greeks had more complicated classification system for deities than I think most readers will be familiar with. Technically, only a short list of elder male immortals were Titans, while their female relatives and later generation immortal offspring were something else: Titanes or Titanesses, or Olympian gods, or whatever.

Calling Circe a Titan here I am using the word as modern readers expect a family name to be used, to indicate that in this world she is a goddess whose family includes the elder Titans. Partly because I don't think many people really know / care about all those distinctions between gods of different generation and gender.

Is this use of Titan really seeming wrong to everyone???

Whirlochre said...

You're laying on the Herculean arduousness a little heavily. Methinks even a butterfly repeatedly tattooed about the wings with images of Mike Tyson, Godzilla and EE couldn't have endured as much as your protag — whose name is what, btw?

Ditch the quasi-Iliadoidiness and get to grips with the impossibility of rowing in a violent ocean and maybe you'll be away.

150 said...

This opening is a pretty good case studying of how telling instead of showing can distance the reader. I'm watching a static picture of a guy rowing from a long way away while someone stands there describing it. Can you rewrite this to put me in the boat while it happens?

Faceless Minion said...

>Is this use of Titan really seeming wrong to everyone???

Seems wrong to me. I was thinking that it meant the girl's father was a Titan and her mother was Circe (not completely sure it would qualify the girl but the possiblity would get me past it). Also, if your target audience is fantasy fans, they'll probably know the mythology well enough to either do a double-take or make the same assumption I did.

The style of many of the sentences in the text itself seemed a bit repetitive along the lines of:

Statement (comma) added detail (comma) added detail (comma) more added detail/alternate description.

Examples
P1: MC rowed(comma) voyaging(comma) added detail
MC plied oars(comma) traveling(comma) cursing(comma) moving
MC duty(comma) detail

For the most part it would probably be better to pick one detail and move on with the action.


Hope this helps

arhooley said...

Well, I liked the writing. The only thing Grammar Nanny would correct is "especially impossible." Make that "especially hard" or "especially difficult." Impossible is like pregnant, or perfect. There are no degrees; either you are or you aren't.

iago said...

Is this use of Titan really seeming wrong to everyone???

I'd say it's not your biggest problem...

But telling the reader in the fitst sentence that the unnamed young god is to marry Circe's daughter (like we ought to know who Circe or Circe's daughter is), and then telling us you don't expect the reader to understand or know about who's who anyway, feels somewhat contradictory.

Anyway, it feels like you're trying to cram a whole backstory into the first two or three paragraphs, forgetting all about the characters and the real story. Result is, there's nothing here I really feel I care about.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the first page always seems impossible.

Rowing from the mortal world [where he usually lives in a castle] to the immortal one is hard work but not a life threatening experience. The dude is immortal, he's not Odysseus. His mind is occupied with his main concerns: the obligation to obey senior gods whether he likes their orders or not, the dangers posed by Titan witches, and the things he'd rather be doing. Which, yes, sort of = his head crammed with a combination of backstory, dread, and what he cleverly plans to do about all this. Until the 2nd character is introduced on the next page and he discovers he was wrong about everything.

iago said...

If the second page is where it actually gets interesting, I suggest you delete the first page.

Or better still, let us inside the character's head, where all that emotion is, so we can connect.

BuffySquirrel said...

EE said what I was going to say. I employ him just for that purpose.

It's hard to imagine an immortal in peril from a mere hurricane. What happens on page 2?

Anonymous said...

He takes on a charming passenger, not realizing she is the very witch he planned to abandon on their wedding night. They both lie about their identity. Trouble ensues.

Anonymous said...

Wha--? It's Chick Lit?

150 said...

Skip to picking up the passenger! We're not idiots, we'll figure out the backstory contextually. At least then stuff will be happening.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Anonymous, if the first page seems impossible, leave the @#$&er off.

Sheesh, it ain't rocket science.

The UK is deprived in that it only receives hurricanes the Americas are already finished with. C'mon over here if ya wanna see the gods tremble.

Although come to think of it, I guess the hurricane in this opening actually is over there. So yeah, good point.

Laurel said...

Rowing from the mortal world [where he usually lives in a castle] to the immortal one is hard work but not a life threatening experience. The dude is immortal, he's not Odysseus. His mind is occupied with his main concerns: the obligation to obey senior gods whether he likes their orders or not, the dangers posed by Titan witches, and the things he'd rather be doing. Which, yes, sort of = his head crammed with a combination of backstory, dread, and what he cleverly plans to do about all this. Until the 2nd character is introduced on the next page and he discovers he was wrong about everything.


The above told me more than your original post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments.

BuffySquirrel said...

So being a god means you're immortal but not particularly perceptive. Eh.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Yeah. Terry Pratchett's Small Gods makes much of that observation. Basically your gods are some dumb bunnies. A lot of myths make that pretty clear.

Mix that with a little omnipotence and you get a fine mess.

Sort of like the Bush administration.