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Magnet
February 10th, 2007, 07:59 PM
This is the next part of my chapter. You could just read this by itself, but you'd understand more if you read the first part:

http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15970

***

***

Jer was almost asleep in the ship’s hold when a flicker of light woke him wide-awake. He focused his eyes, and noticed a man in loose purple robes approaching him. The man had a nose shaped like a beak and thin pale lips, a shabby beard growing below them. A leather pouch was strapped around his shoulder. He paced towards Jer and crouched close to him.

“Yer like to catch something if you don’t change,” the man said, setting his candle on the floor, next to where Jer was laying. He sat, heavy with sleep, and looked quizzically at the man.

“What is it that you want,” he said, his voice raspy. The man began to search through his pouch.

“Oh, you offend me. My name is Lussell, but that’s not something you’re like to care at this time,” he said, his left hand still moving restlessly in his pouch. He has the right of that, Jer thought. “I am a priest,” he continued, “and the gods would not have pity on me if I left you to sleep like this.” He took his hand out of his pouch and handed him a tattered linen shirt. Jer could see blood patches on the shirt, but it was dry, like as not.

“What gods do you serve?” Jer said, moving the candle towards the linen shirt. A bloodstained one, probably. He took his sheepskin coat off, along with his shirt, and left it close to his boots.

“The Limbless Gods,” he said, and smiled, “the only true ones.” Lussell continued to search through his pouch and took out a brown trouser. “This will serve you, I hope.”

The air smelled of rotting fish and salt. In the dim light of the candle, he could see the fish heads and other remains that would be used for bait. Jer began to take out his drenched pants and started to put on the priest’s clothes. It was a relief to be dry again, he thought, but it was too bitterly cold.

“Thank you,” Jer said. “If there’s anything—”

“Of course there is. Why, you don’t think I sh*t clothes do you?” The priest began to laugh. He took his wineskin from a pocket in his robe, and took a gulp. “For now your name will do. But we’ll talk later when you’re awake.”

Jer had never thought someone would ask him his name, yet…“Flea, they call me.” He didn’t know if it he'd sounded convincing, but if he hadn't, he couldn't read it in the priest's face.

“Just don’t get any on the clothes I gave you,” Lussell said.

The priest strode towards the stairs on the end of the hold, climbed them and tapped the wooden hatch. It opened a few seconds later, and Jer looked towards the candle he had left beside him. He placed his hands around the flame, but it did not make him any warmer. His head was aching and he moved around until he found a drier spot to lie. The wooden floor was no more comforting there, but at least he would not freeze to death. A weird priest, that one. With that thought, he drifted to sleep.

jallenw
February 17th, 2007, 01:20 PM
woke him wide-awake
Could be reworded. It seems redundant.


flicker of light
I'm not sure what the flicker of light is from. Is it from the door to the hold opening or the candle? You might want to make that more clear. Unless it's intentional. I can see the scene being a little vague if the main character is groggy with sleep, so maybe you want it to be a bit vague there.


paced towards
Pacing makes me think of back and forth walking. Perhaps there is a better word you might want to use.


but that’s not something you’re like to care at this time
Is this just the man's odd dialect or should it be "but that’s not something you’re likely to care about at this time"


He has the right of that, Jer thought.
Again, maybe this is correct, if you intend to have this odd style dialect in speech and thought. I know what the sentence means, but the wording is odd. I like it, but it will only work well if you keep this style throughout.


He took his hand out of his pouch and handed him
the last him there doesn't refer back to Jer very well. I get the meaning by context, but it doesn't read smoothly. you have He, his, and his all refering to the priest, then all of a sudden a him comes out of the blue to refer to Jer. You might want to change it to "He took his hand out of his pouch and handed Jer a tattered linen shirt." You might then decide to change the next Jer into a He or leave it. Readers won't notice if you repeat Jer's name that closely, because his name is so short.


“What gods do you serve?” Jer said
Jer asked (I've always thought that asked reads better after a ?)


and left it close to his boots
What is 'it'? The coat or the shirt or both? If 'it' is both, then 'them' might be better.


he said, and smiled
I don't think you need that comma.


is robe, and took a gulp
I don't think you need this comma either.


His head was aching and he moved
I think it should be "His head was aching, and he moved" I think the rule for compounding 2 sentences with [, and] and [, but] is that you use the , whenever the subject of the sentence has changed. Your subject is 'head' and then changes to 'he.' If the subject doesn't change then you can just use a simple [and] or [but]. He ran and jumped. He ran, and she jumped.
I keep a highschool grammar textbook on my bookshelf just in case. I'm terrible with commas.


found a drier spot to lie
Lie or Lay? I honestly don't know which is right. I always get them confused.

So far I like the story. I'm not sure that it grabs me. I'd like to see something really interesting and scary/amazing happen soon. Fantasy usually starts off slow, but you need to hook your reader early in the novel. Think about these general rules for other genres.

Westerns: Shoot the sheriff on the first page.
Romance: Someone has to have sex, implied or otherwise, on the first page.
Horror: Someone dies or is gravely injured or driven insane on the first page.

There isn't really a good guideline for what to put in the beginning of a fantasy novel, because most fantasy takes another genre and adds magic to the mix. Think about this, if you took out all the fantasy elements of your novel, what genre would the story be? That might give you a good idea of what type of action is best suited to grab your reader's attention. Of course, my strategy is often to just combine all three of the aforementioned. I often have my sheriff being eaten by a terrible creature mid coitus. If that doesn't hook the reader, nothing will.

I look forward to reading more of your story.

Global Thermo Nuclear Peace,
J. Allen Wentworth