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Alex123
April 28th, 2006, 06:03 PM
This is the first page or so of a fantasy novel I'm having a go at.

Never done this kind of thing before but I just love to write stuff and thought this maybe a good project.

Basically, I just wanted to post what will become either the beginning of my First Chapter or maybe the prologue and see what you guys make of it...

Any constructive critisisms and advice is very welcome. Pointers and tips are great because this is my first attempt. Hopefully you have a few encouraging thoughts too :p

Here goes...




Chapter 1


A heavy mist was descending upon the dark, distant mountains of XXXXX. The air was still and the silence only broken by the low humming of lurking night time creatures and insects, crawling hurriedly across the wasteland. A mass of shadow engulfed the land, leaving only a solitary patch of oddly glimmering light illuminating two robed figures.



The shorter of the two, standing on the left, had a high jaw line and very pronounced cheek bones which created an eerie contrast to his eyes, which were sunk back deeply inside his head. His face showed every sign of a man worn down by stress and anxiety. From the fearful looks he was casting at the second figure, to his hunched over stance and crooked physique; fatigue, exhaustion and terror were etched in to his very being, pouring from within him so that he almost had the illusion of emitting a dark glow everywhere around his outline.



The second person's face was nearly completely covered by a slender black hood, except the very tip of a rather long, sharp nose. The remaining visible parts of his body were in a similar mould. Thin stretching legs supported a rather frail looking body. It may just have been his loosely fitted cloak that gave this impression but the mans dropping, bony arms only served to enforce it. The second figure was bent low over his companion, muttering quietly in a fast animated voice, casting nervous glances over his shoulders every now and then. It was clear that he did not believe the two of them to have much time available, or a high level of security either.



The almost soundless exchange continued for several minutes before it suddenly died down. The abrupt end to the conversation was punctuated by two faces set with a conclusive look. Whatever was the focus of discussion that night, had been settled and agreed upon. A solemn handshake ensued before the smaller man took an apprehensive step backwards. Several more twitchy glances followed until he seemed satisfied they were not being watched. Then something very strange happened. A slow pattering sound started to fill the cold night. To begin with, it sounded like light rain fall, but soon built up to a steady hammering like a hundred galloping horses. The inexplicable noise drew attention away from a different, equally odd occurrence. The shimmering light they had both been stood in, had subtly ebbed its way towards the first man and begun to dim very quickly. Rapid flickering of lights, intermingled with the loud thumping noise would have been enough to render anyone watching the proceedings, severely disorientated.



Nothing however, could prepare an onlooker for the view they were submitted to next. The figure basked in the ever decreasing shine, began to fade from sight. Bits of limbs were disappearing, chunks of arms and legs were gone, hair was missing and soon only the torso remained behind. With a rattling explosion the man evaporated into thin air and the surroundings fell back into their peaceful existence as if nothing had disturbed the chilling calm. Maybe the strangest thing after disappearing men, that night, was the lack of reaction or recognition from the lone figure left standing, sullen faced, on the outskirts of a vast and desolate desert. With an understanding sigh and a puff of the cheeks, the robed silhouette of XXXXX turned and walked meaningfully into the distance.


Thanks in advance for any responses. :)

JWREmmett
April 28th, 2006, 11:29 PM
XXXXX turned and walked meaningfully into the distance.

It has meaning or not.

Often a writer opens a story not joyfully, but darkly. Better writing lightens up (in my opinion.)

Dazzlinkat
April 29th, 2006, 05:59 PM
I agree with JWREmmett. You need to show from the perspective of whoever is watching.


His face showed every sign of a man worn down by stress and anxiety.

EX: Deep lines etched his face, unusual for a man his age, and his sunken eyes darted all around.


From the fearful looks he was casting at the second figure, to his hunched over stance and crooked physique; fatigue, exhaustion and terror were etched in to his very being, pouring from within him so that he almost had the illusion of emitting a dark glow everywhere around his outline.


EX: He stood hunched and cowering before the figure, his thin, frail frame trembling and hunching even lower everytime the figure leaned closer or spoke too loudly.

These are just examples. I hope this helps.

Expendable
May 2nd, 2006, 02:33 AM
Your story has some potential, but the delivery needs work.

First of all - 'nighttime' not 'night time'; 'cheekbones' not 'cheek bones'; 'rainfall' not 'rain fall'.

Mountains and people should have names, not XXXXX.


The second figure was bent low over his companion, muttering quietly in a fast animated voice, casting nervous glances over his shoulders every now and then. It was clear that he did not believe the two of them to have much time available, or a high level of security either.
There should be a comma between 'fast' and 'animated'. You might want to cut the first sentence into two or use a semi-colon after voice. Drop the comma after 'available' and I'd suggest cutting 'either' as well.


The shimmering light they had both been stood in, had subtly ebbed its way towards the first man and begun to dim very quickly. Rapid flickering of lights, intermingled with the loud thumping noise would have been enough to render anyone watching the proceedings, severely disorientated.
Remove the commas after the words in blue to aid the flow of your sentence, they're all unnecessary pauses.


The figure basked in the ever-decreasing shine, began to fade from sight.
Once again, remove the comma after shine to improve the flow of the sentence, it's an unnecessary pause.

Keep in mind what the others said above. This'll be interesting to see where you're going with this.

As always, you are free to accept or reject anything I've said here.
-Ex.

Alex123
May 2nd, 2006, 02:59 PM
Your story has some potential, but the delivery needs work.

First of all - 'nighttime' not 'night time'; 'cheekbones' not 'cheek bones'; 'rainfall' not 'rain fall'.

Mountains and people should have names, not XXXXX.


There should be a comma between 'fast' and 'animated'. You might want to cut the first sentence into two or use a semi-colon after voice. Drop the comma after 'available' and I'd suggest cutting 'either' as well.


Remove the commas after the words in blue to aid the flow of your sentence, they're all unnecessary pauses.


Once again, remove the comma after shine to improve the flow of the sentence, it's an unnecessary pause.

Keep in mind what the others said above. This'll be interesting to see where you're going with this.

As always, you are free to accept or reject anything I've said here.
-Ex.


Thanks a lot for the help. The first part has been almost completely re-vamped now. Added in a different reason for the meeting and put it in the perspective of someone listening in from their hiding place. Taken your grammar advice too.

XXXXX is because I'm not 100% sure on the names yet lol.

Expendable
May 6th, 2006, 01:46 AM
....XXXXX is because I'm not 100% sure on the names yet lol.
Names can be hard but they're very powerful. And with many programs, so easy to change.

Sit down and give your dark wizard a name. Give him two or three. The name he was born with, the name he calls himself now - and the name others use.

Final07
May 6th, 2006, 07:20 PM
Chapter 1

A heavy mist was descending upon the dark, distant mountains of XXXXX. The air was still and the silence only broken by the low humming of lurking night time creatures and insects, crawling hurriedly across the wasteland. A mass of shadow engulfed the land, leaving only a solitary patch of oddly glimmering light illuminating two robed figures. (One thing I've already noticed is that it has too many "wases". Okay, another thing I've noticed right off was that you said "a mass of shadow engulfed the land". That's confusing, I can't picture that. Do you mean that a storm cloud has come over the land or what?)

The shorter of the two, standing on the left, had a high jaw line and very pronounced cheek bones which created an eerie contrast to his eyes, which were sunk back deeply inside his head. His face showed every sign of a man worn down by stress and anxiety. From the fearful looks he was casting at the second figure, to his hunched over stance and crooked physique; fatigue, exhaustion and terror were etched in to his very being, pouring from within him so that he almost had the illusion of emitting a dark glow everywhere around his outline. (Whew, this last sentence is a grammatical mess. "From the fearful looks he was casting at the second figure" should be "He was casting fearful looks at the second figure, his hunched stance and crooked physique..........." Wow, I had to stop, I don't have any idea how to fix this last sentence. I can only comment that that one sentence has far too many descriptions in it. I advise you to split some of those descriptions into seperate sentences. Also, the semi-colon use seems a little out of place. You used it right, well sort of, but it doesn't read right.)

The second person's face was nearly completely covered by a slender black hood, except the very tip of a rather long, sharp nose. The remaining visible parts of his body were in a similar mould (what's this word mean?). Thin stretching legs supported a rather frail looking body. (You're repeating yourself saying that thin legs supported a frail body, just say that the man had a frail body) It may just have been his loosely fitted cloak that gave this impression but the mans (man's) dropping, bony arms only served to enforce it. (This man being skinny better be important because you keep going on about it) The second figure was bent low over his companion, muttering quietly in a fast animated voice, casting nervous glances over his shoulders every now and then. It was clear that he did not believe the two of them to have much time available, or a high level of security either. (This sentence is also a mess. I advise this, "The second figure bent low over his companion, muttering in a fast, animated voice while casting nervous glances over his shoulder, making it clear that he didn't believe that they had much time available." I cut the high security part because I've no idea what you're talking about.)



The only I see that you need to work on is your handling of exposition, description, and your sentence structure.

Alex123
May 7th, 2006, 07:46 AM
The only I see that you need to work on is your handling of exposition, description, and your sentence structure.

Sorry but don't slate my sentences and then post that...

What do you mean?

Thanks for the bits where you did offer advice though :D