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Magnet
February 9th, 2007, 01:55 AM
Hi there. I really think I'm getting at something here, since I have got the story (mostly) pinned down. This is roughly the beggining of the first chapter. I really like how it's coming along, but let me know what you think. A writer's eye is never as careful as the readers'.

//


Hi there. I really think I'm getting at something here, since I have got the story (mostly) pinned down. This is roughly the beggining of the first chapter. I really like how it's coming along, but let me know what you think. A writer's eye is never as careful as the readers'.

//

The winter rain fell on Jer’s muddled hair. He ruffled it, splattering drops of water around him. His soaked clothes stuck to his bony frame; his sheepskin coat drenched in water. It must have been hours since I’ve been sitting here. It made no difference; he just had to wait. The decaying log he sat on was poking his thighs, but his mind was racing, and he ignored the pain.

He promised. He damned promised. He could not bring himself to leave, no matter how much his body shook, or how his eyes were unable to make anything in the clearing. Right here, I’m sure of that. He tried to look through the foliage of the trees, but the rain covered the slits a dim grey.

Yet he knew this was the right time. They had agreed on it a fortnight before, and neither were to forget. Much less I. All I gave him were three silver coins. Was that really enough?

The wind blew against the flapping leaves, filtering through the branches. They sang a tune most unpleasant to his ears. What he had on him was all he would take with him: his travel-roughened pants, his old leather boots, and his knife. His sword would have raised suspicions, he had thought, and he was forced to leave it behind.

He heard a noise, and drew the knife from his belt. He stumbled forward, and stood his ground to face whatever came, be it a guard, an army, or the damned cripple he had trusted.

But it was a squirrel. It quickly climbed up a tree and huddled in a hole high in its trunk. I wish I could do just the same, he thought as he sat again on the log. The leaves were dripping with rainwater, leaving a musky smell in the dank air. He remembered the night he had talked to the cripple.

A bird had been roasting in the fire, the skin cracking and peeling on its own as Jer approached the lopsided man.

“So, ‘tis you who wants to go with us, eh?” the cripple said with the thick accent of the Mourning Islands.

Jer looked around to see who had heard but it made no matter; he was placing his head in their hands.

“Yes.” He had to be careful to not speak too much. Luckily, he was not the questioning type. Placing his hand in his pocket, he fumbled and handed the cripple three silver coins.

“Tha’ll do.” The cripple nodded in approval, “Meet me within a fortnight,” he grumbled. “We leave at midnight.”

Compared to the rest of the men, Grott, or the Half-Foot as they called him, was taller than most. Jer’s father had told him that he had lost his right foot from an infection, though some whispered it had been during the Ruggs’ Rages, and his father knew less of him than any other gossiping townsfolk did. Either way, the man still proudly wore boots on both of his feet, though his walk was lopsided.

“Now I eat,” said the Half-Foot. A cane was firm in his hand as he strode slowly towards the other Islanders feasting around their hearths. “Don’t you forget.”


You better not forget, cripple. The rain had succumbed, but the tree leaves held enough water to drip for the rest of the night. I cannot go back to the town now. My head would be on a pike faster than I could stutter my last words. It was dark, and he couldn’t see anything. Not that he wanted to, but the warmth of a torch would be welcoming. Except the guards’ torches.

The bitter cold was coursing through his every bone, and he wished that if they caught him, they would have the pity to torch him. But I’m no witch. His lungs were burning, but he cupped his hands around his nose and breathed in deeply.

Outside of the clearing, he could hear movement. He twisted his head, and squinted his eyes, but it was near impossible to see anything. He only heard the cracking of leaves. Damned animals.

“Fancy meeting you here.” A breath rich with mead filled his nostrils. Jer’s breath caught in his throat as he clinched his knife, but a blow to his hand flew it across the clearing.

“Calm there. I’m the Half Foot, not whatever you’re fleeing.”

“How charming.” Jer tried to sound as calm, but his voice betrayed him. He could feel his throat untangling. His hand was throbbing, but he was glad for it all the same. He got on his knees and started to palm the ground, feeling for his knife.

“No, no. No weapons on the boat,” the Half-Foot said.

With that, the Half-Foot took him by his shoulder with his strong hand and pushed him up. He felt Jer's back for a sword or a shield, but he had none. He continued, passing his rough hand on the sides of his legs and hips.

“I'll inspect you later under torch light,” he said, invisible in the murky clearing, “but for now, you’ll follow me.”

Jacquin
February 9th, 2007, 11:01 AM
Hi Magnet, you might be better submitting your work to the community section of the site rather than simply posting it directly on the forums. Not only do you have no upper word limit that way, but people seem to get more responses.

That being said I'm willing to give my opinion for what it's worth.

I'm going to assume that this is the next section of the story you posted the prologue on earlier, correct me if I'm wrong...

Overall I am intrigued. Like I said before you have a gift of posing questions within your work that keep people reading. You obviously have a strong vision of the world you are creating and this comes across. It does however need some work tidying and streamlining.


The winter rain fell on Jerís muddled hair.

It's never a good move to start with a passive sentence, it sets the tone of the scene well, but you shouldn't settle for doing something well when you could do it brilliantly. Tell us about Jer and what he is doing, not what the rain is doing.


He ruffled it, splattering drops of water around him.

Ruffled what? I assume you mean his hair, but as the last sentence was describing the rain it seems to imply that he Jer ruffled the rain???


His soaked clothes stuck to his bony frame; his sheepskin coat drenched in water.

Again this is passive. That is fine for passing on facts but we don't want facts, we want emotion, we want feeling, we want empathy.


It must have been hours since Iíve been sitting here. It made no difference; he just had to wait. The decaying log he sat on was poking his thighs, but his mind was racing, and he ignored the pain.

This is odd, I'm not convinced your grammar is correct, but as we are hearing his thoughts that can be acceptable, not everyone uses correct grammar in the privacy of their own minds. What I do have trouble with is the fact that you jump from telling us his thoughts word for word, to then describing them. If the pain is relevant then show us it, don't just tell us.


He promised. He damned promised. He could not bring himself to leave, no matter how much his body shook, or how his eyes were unable to make anything in the clearing.

You switch meaning on "he" without warning. It makes for jumpy reading.


Right here, Iím sure of that. He tried to look through the foliage of the trees, but the rain covered the slits a dim grey.

This doesn't make any sense to me, what slits? Do you mean his eyes?


Yet he knew this was the right time. They had agreed on it a fortnight before, and neither were to forget.

Neither were to forget? Do people usually agree to forget?


Much less I. All I gave him were three silver coins. Was that really enough?

Ok now we are getting somewhere. He paid someone to meet him. Now I'm really intrigued, who? why?

I don't have time to do any more right now, but if you want me to I am happy to oblige over the next day or so. I know it sounds quite harsh, but please don't take it to mean I didn't like it.

J

Magnet
February 9th, 2007, 12:20 PM
Oh, so that's why I never get many replies around here :P

I seriously love feedback. If I didn't, I certainly wouldn't post my work. I know it needs work, I just sometimes can't tell where, so I have to come to other people to show me.

It would be great if you could keep correcting what you see wrong, I would appreciate it. Thank you!

Jacquin
February 9th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Cool, I'll have a go at the next bit some time soon. The other thing to bear in mind is that critiquing is quite a time consuming and tricky thing to do. Most members are happy to do this for other writers but if you offer crits you are more likely to have them done for you!

Take Care

J

Magnet
February 9th, 2007, 05:57 PM
I know...I'm one of the most active critiquers in one of the forums I frequent. It takes me half an hour to critique a whole chapter =/. I'll try to get some here, but I have so much at the other forum that it's almost like homework now :o