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Master Rahl
November 8th, 2001, 03:18 PM
well i started writing a fantasy novel and this is part of the first chapter

The Winds of Change
By Pero Bes
A Winds Of Change Novel

The Prophecy

When the Winds Of Change swoop down. The one blood of the immortalized in time will be the only chance. They will take him to another world. Dead, yet not totally dead he is. For him to return whence he came he must master the Sheer. But first he must put the pieces together or else the one commanding the magic will reign supreme over both worlds. This world will not only be conquered but so will his home, if he does not prevail in this battle of fate. He will have to choose his life or his friend’s life. Fate has set its course with this one. It must be either him or the worlds…

CHAPTER 1 --- Days before the Festivals

IT WAS ANOTHER normal day. Now leaves were beginning to fall to show the coming of autumn. Beautiful brown, red, and yellow colors were being scattered throughout the air and on the ground. The air was strikingly cold and the wind was of no help. The wind made it colder than it already was, numbing his fingers and causing him to place his hands inside his pockets. The sun was already beginning to set behind the mountains, showing there was several more hours before it would fully be down.

His cloak billowed behind him as he tried to keep it shut, so as to keep warm. He had been walking for nearly an hour, simply enjoying the woods near his town. He traveled down the familiar path, the path which he had traveled so many times. The path he had traveled to transport goods to nearby towns.

He had to be home soon to help prepare for the End of Summer Festival and the Beginning of Autumn Festival. In six days The End of Summer Festival would start and a day later, conclude with The Beginning of Autumn Festival. The two-day festival being so massive it took the entire week to set up the Town Square, the inns, and the taverns. He was a volunteer helper to set up and they were to start setting up tonight. He had to be back before night fell.

The sounds of the birds chirping their songs had appealed to him. He always loved to stroll through the forest and listen to the birds sing. Crickets also chirped, it was around 5 hours ‘til night fall and they were beginning to come out. He could hear the sounds of streams and rivers rushing south down the mountainous area. The sound of woodpeckers pecking sent a melody to his ear. He put all the sounds together; they all seemed to be one song in unison, so he started whistling along with the melody.

He had been walking on the trail for hours now, and had thought it best if he went home. He turned, still whistling the melody, and with a slow pace began walking back to town. His town, Windelton, was a small, prosperous town located in the northern most part of Southerland. It was a peaceful town. Not much happened there. All the people knew each other. And Nedd was especially well known. He often offered his services to anyone who needed it. Nedd’s adopted father, Gordd, owned Gordd’s Inn and Tavern, which was the most popular inn and tavern in Southerland. Nedd often manned the front desk here and so he got to know a lot of people. He also, often went out on journeys to deliver goods for the local smithy, and so he knew people from all over Zimmerland. He had befriended numerous people, and they offered him stays at their houses whenever he needed. Who wouldn’t like Nedd, though; he was such a kind-hearted man. He was not afraid to fight though either and carried two daggers with him at all times.

Nedd was heading for home when he heard a rustling in the leaves. It sounded like footsteps. Nedd with incredible speed drew two of his daggers and turned around. There was nothing, nothing but the leaves, trees, and birds. Probably the birds he thought. But he was certain it sounded like foot steps. There came the sound again. He turned once more, nothing. He shrugged off the idea of it being a person and continued on his way.

The road twisted and turned. Then it came to a fork. Nedd didn’t expect it. He had walked this trail numerous times. He did not remember a fork. He must have a taken a wrong turn somewhere. He decided he better walk back up the trail and find out where he made the mistake. He turned and there he saw a man standing. He quickly whipped out his daggers in both hands.

“What do you think you are doing following me?” He asked.

The man was about as tall as Nedd, but less built and older looking. His white hair went down past his ears. He wore a plain blue robe much like a wizard’s. Nedd has never confronted a wizard so he had no way of telling if this man was or not. The man had very skinny arms and had a bald spot on top of his head. The man did not answer Nedd’s plea.
“Answer me, damn it!” Nedd shouted with frustration welling up inside him. Nedd was getting angry. He knew that when a man was following you without talking to you first, that trouble was brewing. Without thinking Nedd began to dash at the man. But Nedd stopped dead in his tracks. He did not know why he had stopped. He tried budging but could not move a muscle. “W…what’s goin’ on?” He asked fearfully.

“Well, hello Nedderick. Is this how you greet all the people you meet, by making a headlong dash at them with two daggers in your hands?” He let out a mocking laugh. “Friend, I mean you no harm. But you must promise me you won’t attack me any more.”

Nedd was bewildered. “H…how did you know my name?” Nedd’s body went back to his control. He rubbed his stiff wrists and stiff neck. He had been frozen in place and it had also managed to stiffen some of his body parts. He bent his knees freeing them from the stiffness also.

“That does not matter right now. But in due time, I will tell you everything you need to know. First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jared. And I was wondering, perhaps you would be kind enough to lead me to Gordd’s Inn and Tavern I am an old acquaintance of Gorddon’s and haven’t spoken to him in quite some time.” His warm smile warmed Nedd’s heart. Jared seemed like a nice guy. But Nedd couldn’t be too friendly; he didn’t even know the man too good.

Nedd let out his own warm smile. “I would be pleased to, Jared. I am heading there myself, plus Gordd is my adopted father. That is just so long as you don’t freeze me in place again. I got a stiff neck from that.” Nedd had never seen what a wizard looked like, but he didn’t know that wizard’s were among those that wielded magic, and that what Jared had done was magic. There was no doubt. Jared was a wizard. “Follow me,” Nedd said. “I seemed to have taken a wrong turn back there. We must go back a bit then we can go to Windelton.”

They began back up the trail. Nedd didn’t know who this man was. But this man seemed to know Gordd. He must be Gordd’s friend. But, what if he wanted to hurt Gordd?

LeMort
November 9th, 2001, 01:52 AM
Well... It seems to be VERY heavily influenced by Terry Goodkind.

Your writing style is pretty good, but you need to work on the originality a little bit.

matthewajg
November 9th, 2001, 02:35 AM
You're writing is a bit stilted...read it aloud and see if it "flows". Do the sentences/thoughts move logically and smoothly from one to the next. If they don't, be sure it is intentional, because it will slightly jar your reader...and if we are jarred to much we will not read further. I also think you have ALOT of exposition right from the start. Here you have set yourself up for a beautifully descriptive passage about his surroundings, but instead you utilize weak and general verbs, adjectives and adverbs. You describe the autumn leaves as "beautiful brown, red and yellow colors". Think about real autumn leaves, be specific: colors like burgundy, crimson, ochre, rust...the more specific you are, the more evocative the imagery. Also, autumn leaves often transform into brilliant violets and peach...think outside the box. Rather than tell us it's autumn, show us! A basic writing no-no; show, don't tell.

"IT WAS ANOTHER normal day. Now leaves were beginning to fall to show the coming of autumn."

Just give us a vivid description of what he's seeing, and what he's thinking. We'll figure out that it's autumn. Trust your reader.
Choose strong, active verbs when describing actions..."The wind made it colder than it already was, numbing his fingers and causing him to place his hands inside his pockets. The sun was already beginning to set behind the mountains, showing there was several more hours before it would fully be down."
It reads as fairly weak...a suggestion:
'The cold wind ripped at his cloak, sneaking under his clothes and chilling him to the bone. His fingers felt stiff and numb, the wind beating against his exposed skin, forcing him to push his hands deep into the pockets of his jerkin. Squinting against wind and sun, he stared at the distant mountains, dark against the sunset. He had a few hours left before nightfall, then the cold breath of night would set in. Time was running short, and he had much travel left this day.'

Just think about being specific and descriptive.

Also, and perhaps this is a pet peeve, but why does your protagonist assume that the older man in dark robes is a wizard? I hate that convention in fantasy, old+robes=wizard...why? Many people in medieval societies wore some permutation of the T-shaped garment. Worn short, it was a tunic, worn long a robe. In your world, do all wizards wear blue robes? Is this a widely known fact? How many wizards wander your world and how do the general public (like your protagonist) feel about wizards? Are they feared? Respected? Hated? Worshipped? The man obviously holds great power, holding the portagonist helpless with magic, so how do wizards in your world wield such power? Responsably? Selfishly? Cruelly?
I hope some of this helps. I love writing, and I adore fantasy as a genre. But I do fear that it falls into the same patterns time and time again. Look to your story and examine it closely. If it is reminiscent of Goodkind, that doesn't neccessarily mean you shouldn't write it. Good story-telling and good writing wil always be read and appreciated by audiences. I don't particularly like Goodkind, and do not attempt to emulate him in my work...if you do, ask yourself this: Why will anyone want to read my book, or why would any publisher want to buy it, when Goodkind and others like him already sell millions of books each year? Why musy YOUR story be told?



[This message has been edited by matthewajg (edited November 09, 2001).]

Lady_Linda
November 9th, 2001, 05:48 AM
I agree with the comments, I just want to add one question. I think that this part

>>>>>>
Nedd let out his own warm smile. “I would be pleased to, Jared. I am heading there myself, plus Gordd is my adopted father. That is just so long as you don’t freeze me in place again. I got a stiff neck from that.” Nedd had never seen what a wizard looked like, but he didn’t know that wizard’s were among those that wielded magic, and that what Jared had done was magic.
>>>>>>>>>>>

is slightly illogical, if I had met someone out in the woods, who froze me with magic, and I had never met magic before - I think that I would be sligtly more concerned about my own safty.

(Or did the wizard enchant him to not feel that way, or do wizards perhaps have such a good general reputation? If anything like thar, of course the reader wouldn't know it yet, but if it isn't volountary, I think you should think a little baout that part.)

And, to matthewajg, I am impressed - you are A great contstructive critic! I agree with all (almost http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif of your points.

Bardos
November 9th, 2001, 06:09 AM
Althought, I hate critics http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/biggrin.gif, I generaly I agree with matthewajg, too, for I would've said, more or less, the same things.

But, that:

"Just think about being specific and descriptive."

Hmmmmm... This needs thought, methinks. Yes, specific you must be always, but descriptive?... Depends! Maybe or maybe not. For, sometimes, by being too descriptive, you're less specific; or, by being too descriptive, you bore the reader (example to avoid: Jordan). Both "specific" and "descriptive" must be used wisely, and according to the story you want to tell, I think. (examples to follow: Martin, Erikson)

Also, I would suggest that you do not write having in mind a certain author. Try to do something yourself, absolutely yours. Before I write, I always ask my self this: Has it been done before? And, if the answer is yes, then I write about something else!

Do that. It not only advances fantasy, as a genre, but makes you think more ground-breaking, original stories, with YOUR mark on them, not Tolkien's, Goodkind's, Jordan's, or someone elses'.

http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Bardos (edited November 09, 2001).]

wastra
November 9th, 2001, 07:52 AM
First and foremost-

go back and grammar check the piece for sentence fragments...

The very first sentence is a fragment: "When the Winds of Change swoop down" is not a complete thought.

Another example: "The path he had traveled to transport goods to nearby towns." is another example.

It's hard to get a good sense of the story when you have to stop and try to figure out what each fragment is intended to say.

matthewajg
November 9th, 2001, 08:07 AM
I don't consider myself a critic, just an educated reader who can respond (hopefully in helpful ways) to the work of others.

Yes, Bardos, being "specific and descriptive", as in all things, should be done with judicious consideration of the story-telling. You can be "too" specific and descriptive. If it was easy to find the right balance, or just the right wording to draw your readers in to a story, then everyone would be a great writer! But life is in the details, and writing which remains "general" reads as shallow and boring.

As for originality in writing, this is tricky as much of fantasy (regardless of author) draws on human myhtology, history and folklore...the result: alot of fantasy novels have very similar plot elements, creatures, etc. This is not neccessarily a bad thing! Fantasy, in many ways, communicates to a modern reader because the legends fantasy borrows from have a primal connection to human nature. So, we don't have to reinvent the wheel every time a new fantasy novel is written. But we do need to make it our own wheel...tell the story well and through our perspective. I don't propose plagarism...we don't need to read another WHEEL OF TIME with re-named characters...but the images, legends and history Jordan draws on are basic to fantastic literature. we don't need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

KATS
November 9th, 2001, 08:26 AM
First off, I agree with general comments above.

The story reads as what I would consider a first draft. It gives the information, but much of the writer’s personality is missing. As Matt so aptly showed, well placed unusual and/or detailed description can add volumes to a story.

Also, there are some plot holes as previously mentioned. The protagonist just doesn’t act real. This sentence for instance . . . ”He was not afraid to fight though either and carried two daggers with him at all times.” This was sort of thrown at the reader at the end of the paragraph. It also raises several questions. Why does he carry two daggers? And how does he know how to use them? If he grew up in a small town, it doesn’t seem likely that knife fights are a common threat. He just seemed to be too good, too perfect. Also his reaction to the wizard is unrealistic. He pulls the daggers immediately? Then attacks the guy without any real provocation? Why? Strangers do visit small towns, so why does he think this stranger a threat? Then he just as quickly accepts the guy? It just doesn’t make sense.

It is a decent start, much better than some I’ve read.

Erebus
November 9th, 2001, 11:53 AM
Master Rahl,

I guess what you have posted here is just a rough draft, and as a draft, it reads quite well!

However, I couldn't help but notice that the chapter (or part thereof) you have treated us to lacks a little originality and a fair amount of direction. The reader needs to feel that they have moved from one part of a story to another after reading a few pages of narrative, but I felt that this wasn't quite achieved in what we have seen thus far. (The Prophecy passage left me a little flat in particular.) But, it certainly shows a lot of promise.

Other things that I would check for are repetition of names and descriptions, for example:


He had to be home soon to help prepare for the End of Summer Festival and the Beginning of Autumn Festival. In six days The End of Summer Festival would start and a day later, conclude with The Beginning of Autumn Festival.

This paragraph just seemed a little clumsy to me and certainly didn't help with the flow of the tale.

You seem to have some good ideas and a reasonable premise developing, though perhaps, as others have already pointed out, not overly original! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif I would re-read and re-read many times - out loud if it helps - and I'm sure you'll pick up on a few things that will make your chapter read even better.

Keep at it, and as a final word of advice, try to write in your own style first and foremost rather than emulating another's. You may find that this will come easier to you, and believe me, once those words start to flow, the possibilities are endless! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by erebus (edited November 09, 2001).]

Master Rahl
November 9th, 2001, 11:59 AM
Hey thanx for all your comments guys...especially you matt. I will take all your suggestions in mind when I revise this 1st draft i just wanted to see what you guys would think. Oh ya and Lemort my story actually has nothing to do with Goodkind's stories. I didn't get any ideas from him. My story will be as opposite as possible from goodkind's. And when i make the revision and add on to this first chapter i will repost it guys. Thanx again for all your help.