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Magnet
January 23rd, 2007, 07:48 PM
Please critique.

The noise was penetrating. It rumbled in the ears of the young boy. He was gathering water at the town's well, and didn't think much of it. Perhaps the blacksmith was slamming a weapon into shape.

The earth trembled. The boy looked around, but no one was aware. He only saw people going about their business. The bakers were rolling their dough on the stone oven out in the open air, and the traders sold within their noisy posts. A young woman sat on a wooden bench nursing her child, and the guards patrolled the center.

It was a strange sound, he thought, barely perceivable that busy afternoon. The posts of the traders thrived with people, as they did every Sunday. They screamed and shuffled to get the merchant's attention.

The lad looked down at his bucket. The clear water quivered in his hands, his
reflection agee. He resolved to find the source of the sound. It seems as if it came from the north, he pondered. He looked towards the dry clearing in the north, where nothing but olive trees grew. Far beyond was The Woods, where the four-legged predators where. He could not make anything out, so he headed back home.

His mother was waiting for him outside, disquietude distorting her wrinkled face.

"Thom, where have you been?"

The boy shuffled his feet, and gazed down.

"Go inside, now," she said, as she motioned towards the door.

The house was a humble one; its floor was made of soil and its walls were caked mud. On the middle of the house was a hearth with two straw beds around it. A deerskin lied on the ground and Thom picked it up, covering his tiny frame with it. He could still hear the buzzing sound. His mother came budging in.

"Now you tell me why you took so long."

Thom tucked his head out of the deerskin. "Mother, that sound. Can't you hear it?"

He pointed towards the window looking to the woods. "It's coming from there."

"All I hear is the damned trading posts."

Thom neared the window, the skin scraping against the floor.

He could not believe what he saw. Minute human frames were bulging out of the forest and into the clearing. They were slowly marching towards the town.

"Mother, look!" The boy's eyes were wide with awe.

His mother stalked towards the window. Her old eyes could not make out the shapes.

"Mother, it's an army."

--

Honestly tell me what you think.

koolpeep
January 24th, 2007, 02:31 AM
its ok. but im unclear on certain things. like wha time period is it in, and where the hell is it. giving the title is "invasion" perhaps the book is about a army invading this village(?). to me that doesnt sound interesting-but thas just my personal. also i couldnt tell what type of genre it was. but of course it was only a little clip, not really alot to judge. but good writing.

Jacquin
January 24th, 2007, 03:39 AM
Please critique.

Ok :)


The noise was penetrating. It rumbled in the ears of the young boy. He was gathering water at the town's well, and didn't think much of it. Perhaps the blacksmith was slamming a weapon into shape.

As an opening I am not keen on this. I like the idea of using a short sentence that piques our curiosity but this doesn't guite work for me. Perhaps is is the adjective you have picked. How can a noise that is "penetrating" be so easily ignored by the young boy? Also on a personal note as a Bladesmith we don't "slam" weapons into shape. We work them quickly and skillfully, the noise it makes is a rythmic ringing, it certainly isn't uncontrolled (at least to my ears).



The earth trembled. The boy looked around, but no one was aware.
I know it is trite but show don't tell. Have us feel the ground lurch sideways, don't just tell us. Also the people not being aware, how does the boy know? No one seeming aware is fairer but you need to show us this not tell us.


He only saw people going about their business. The bakers were rolling their dough on the stone oven out in the open air, and the traders sold within their noisy posts. A young woman sat on a wooden bench nursing her child, and the guards patrolled the center.

This is much better, you are leting us see what is going on and draw our own conclusions from it. Incidentally I assume you are going for some kind of medieval fantasy setting, take the time to look at a few bread ovens if you can. They tend not to be stone and they are almost without exception hemispherical so you certainly wouldn't be rolling out dough on them.


It was a strange sound, he thought, barely perceivable that busy afternoon. The posts of the traders thrived with people, as they did every Sunday. They screamed and shuffled to get the merchant's attention.

The sound used to be penetrating now it is barely perceivable? I like the marketplace setting you are describing, maybe you could spend a bit more time showing us more what is going on rather than simply telling us. Also shouldn't it be the merchants who are trying to get the attention of the shoppers?


The lad looked down at his bucket. The clear water quivered in his hands, his reflection agee.
Is this a typo? What is agee?


He resolved to find the source of the sound. It seems as if it came from the north, he pondered. He looked towards the dry clearing in the north, where nothing but olive trees grew. Far beyond was The Woods, where the four-legged predators where. He could not make anything out, so he headed back home.

That doesn't sound like he was very resolved, a quick glance and then moving on? Again I know I am being picky but surely a clearing where trees grow isn't a clearing at all. I want more information here. I want to know about these woods, I want to know about these predators. The more you tease me and don't give me any detail the more likely I am to put down the book.


His mother was waiting for him outside, disquietude distorting her wrinkled face.

"Thom, where have you been?"

The boy shuffled his feet, and gazed down.

"Go inside, now," she said, as she motioned towards the door.

I like the dialogue. Simple and yet it effectively shows us that she is annoyed with him. I'd suggest dropping the line "disquietude distorting her wrinkled face." Firstly we get that she is annoyed form the way she speaks and telling me she has a wrinkled face just seems odd. He's a young boy and she is his mum. SUrely she's not old enough to have a noticably wrinkled face yet?


The house was a humble one; its floor was made of soil and its walls were caked mud. On the middle of the house was a hearth with two straw beds around it. A deerskin lied on the ground and Thom picked it up, covering his tiny frame with it. He could still hear the buzzing sound. His mother came budging in.

A nice picture, perhaps "in the middle" would work better than "on the middle", a deerskin "lay" not "lied". How does one budge in?


"Now you tell me why you took so long."

Thom tucked his head out of the deerskin. "Mother, that sound. Can't you hear it?"

He pointed towards the window looking to the woods. "It's coming from there."

"All I hear is the damned trading posts."

He sounds very well spoken, calling her Mother, that jars with the fact that she then uses a profanity.


Thom neared the window, the skin scraping against the floor.

How is his skin scraping the floor? Is he crawling?


He could not believe what he saw. Minute human frames were bulging out of the forest and into the clearing. They were slowly marching towards the town.

I assume this is the source of the buzzing noise. It is an anticlimax. Don't tell us he can't believe it, show us!


"Mother, look!" The boy's eyes were wide with awe.

That's better, now drop the "with awe" and it'll be even better still.


His mother stalked towards the window. Her old eyes could not make out the shapes.

"Mother, it's an army."

How old is she? If she is indeed old enough to be wrinkled and half blind with age then how did she manage to have a young child? Again you resort to the easy option of simply telling us what is happening. Have us learn she can't see anything by cuffing him around the ear for changing the subject when she is talking to him or something similar. That way we not only see how she feels, but learn about her as a person too.



Honestly tell me what you think.

There is a lot of potential here. You have a nice ability to create a detailed mental picture and even though you often inform us what is going on instead of showing us, you still manage to get that picture across.

I would suggest you make this section at least twice the length it is now, we want to know more about the boy. If we don't alreday know and like him when the bad thing happens why should we care what happens to him? Use his journey to fetch water as a way of showing us the world he is in. Show it to us through the eyes of a child, fill it with wonder. Have him darting through the market, stopping to watch the heavy armed smith working the glowing metal amidst a shower of sparks. Have drunken soldiers louging around the square playing dice for small piles of silver coins. Have him darting out from under the wheels of a cart followed by a string of curses from the teamster. But more than that tell us about the woods. Make them sinister, dark and forboding. Perhaps the noise is faint when he is sent out and grows more insistent as he nears them.

I'd guess you have less than 500 words there, if you can make it 2000 then it'll do as a prologue. It'll be better for it I promise.

Hope this helps

J

Magnet
January 24th, 2007, 12:58 PM
Thank you both. I will be sure to take those points into consideration. Right now I only have time to reply, but I will edit later, and add to it the rest of the chapter (which is from another POV).

Oh, and invasion is actually the title of the chapter, not the piece.

grechzoo
January 24th, 2007, 01:48 PM
i thought it was good,

just not sure what happening really,

agree with jacquin on a lot of his points too.