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March 22nd, 2007, 08:56 PM
Here's the beginning of my work in progress. Need to tighten up the language but, would you keep reading?

Patyr realized there could be no more hesitation, no more excuses—too little time remained. The yawning darkness of the obelisk beckoned him; urged him to embrace it and leave his life behind. Sweat dripped from his grime-covered brow, tracing small rivers down his cheeks before leaping from his chin. His mind understood what his heart did not: there was no alternative.
Patyr wished his brother were beside him. Cale would know what to do. Instead, Patyr was alone. He hated being alone.

Gusts of wind lashed through the clearing as Patyr slowly raised trembling hands. Emotion rioted within him, a frenzy of fear, sadness, and despair. But above all there was anger, a molten rage at the world that conspired against him. A world that took without giving. A world that never sought to understand, only demand. There could be no salvation here, in this patch of life in the middle of a long dead land. He faced the end.

Patyr forsook hope, and prepared for Danica’s Gift. His soft brown eyes peered into the glassy monument as he gathered his courage. Breaths came in ragged heaves, choked by exhaustion and anxiety. Blood thundered in his head, throbbing in morbid anticipation. The sun was a sliver on the horizon, the journey of a day completed. His time was up. With the full force of his fury, Patyr slammed his palms against the side of the glassy obelisk.

Agony. Unimaginable pain set flame to his blood, immolating him from within. He wanted to scream, but found he already was. It was too much, and the darkness overtook him.

Danica’s Gift.

James Carmack
March 22nd, 2007, 09:05 PM
Not bad. From this point, do we follow what happens next, do we take a step back to see how this mess started, or do we jump past the events of the moment to witness the aftermath?

I ask because you might be asking a little much of the reader in the first case. There's merit to starting a story in medias res, but you don't what to tax the audience too much. The early build-up can be boring, yes, but without it, there's not much emotional connection. The scenario is still workable if you develop the plot carefully, filling us in on the background as you go, but it's not easy.

The second or third scenarios are much easier to handle. In the second case, you've grabbed the reader by the ears so he'll be more inclined to sit through the build-up. You've made him want to to know the who, what and why. In the third case, you've created a mystery to be unraveled as the story progresses.

All three work, but I'm curious as to where we go from here. It'll play a significant factor in how we view this piece.

March 22nd, 2007, 09:22 PM
That's a great point, and not something I had spent much time thinking over. To be honest, I'm not really sure how to best characterize what happens next.

There's a scene cut and we find the character waking up the following morning with his brother by his side. The rest of the chapter is devoted to fleshing out the relationship between the brothers, the differences between the brothers, and the emotional ramifications. There's also a twist that careful readers will pick up on that sets up the next chapter.

James Carmack
March 23rd, 2007, 01:36 AM
Okay, so basically you've got a Number 3. Now, are you planning on filling in the blank in short order or is it going to be some major point that gets figured out later on? That'll play a significant role in the pacing of the next chapter and the general ambience of what follows. It's all a matter of what you tell the readers and when.

March 23rd, 2007, 01:42 AM
I'm planning on revealing it somewhat when the events call for it. There's a complex history entailed and the first draft I had related the history like an encylopedia. I'm willing to let a little confusion regarding the reasons stand since the event is just a defining event for Patyr rather than an immediately critical element to the plot.

Basically, I'm setting up a plot large plot twist for later in the book and adding a complicating factor into their lives. The reasons for the ceremony are there, but I don't have a good reason to reveal them yet.

Oh yea, and thanks for reading :)

James Carmack
March 23rd, 2007, 01:51 AM
Not a problem. Doing my bit for the greater good. ^_^

As long as you're judicious about your revelations, it should work out just fine. Just don't play any tricks on the reader. And by tricks I mean having all the signs point to one direction only for it to be something else in spite of no corroboration from the story itself. That's a cheap way to make a surprise and you will be beaten for it. A little misdirection is fine, but there better be some basis for the truth or you're likely to tick off your readers.

March 23rd, 2007, 01:55 AM
It's funny you mention the misdirection bit, because avoiding that is precisely why I have it in there. I have a general overview on the plot so I'm lacing a number of things in pretty early so there will be very few times where a person will be able to say "wait a second, there's no evidence for that." I really hate contrived plots that reek of last minute fixes.

By way of example: You may have picked up on the repeated references to wind, they're currently setting up and foreshadowing action in the 2nd chapter which will drive the plot for Patyr up until the 5th chapter or so. I'll be splitting the brothers after that.

My biggest task currently is how to explain a very complex magic system without delivering lectures. But that's half the fun :)

March 24th, 2007, 10:42 AM
My biggest task currently is how to explain a very complex magic system without delivering lectures. But that's half the fun :)

I would suggest you do it in bits and pieces throughout the story, rather than dump it all at once. I think this is how Jordan did it in the WOT, and I think it worked out pretty well.

I liked the piece, but I want to know how he gets to be there and feel like that. You said this was near the begining, which I have to admit kind of surprises me. It makes me wonder how you're going to explain the previous moments leading up to this scene by moving forward from here. You said he wakes up and the chapter is devoted to revealing the relationship between him and his brother; is it connected to this scene? So is this a dream then?

Overall, it was an interesting piece.

James Carmack
March 24th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Let me answer that for you, Penny. I've been privileged to see a bit of what follows (in its current form, at least). The story picks back up the morning after. Imagine it like this: You go to the frat party and they set the keg down in front of you. You stick your head under the spigot and get your drink on. The next thing we know, it's the following morning. You've got a splitting headache and you're naked in a back alley in Cleveland with a dead 45-year-old hooker and charming young billy goat (who's not dead, thankfully, but uncomfortably affectionate).

Okay, I might be hamming it up a bit, but you get the idea. (Or have I gone too far?)

March 24th, 2007, 12:36 PM
lol, no, I got it. Well it definately makes you curious to find out what led up to that moment, not to mention the dead hooker;)