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September 5th, 2002, 11:58 AM
Hey gang. It's been a while Since i've posted here, but I've begun a story, and I'd like to ge ta little feedback on the opening 'prologue' or 'forward.'

I'm not too worried about the grammar yet, I'd like to know if you feel the 'style' or 'feel' of the forward would work. It is almost a direct address to the reader from an omnipotent 3rd (almost 2nd) person narrator. THe book itself goes into 3rd person throughout in a typical narrative style.

I'd like to know
A) if this style is too 'corny'
B) what type of 'mood' you feel it evokes. I won't post hte first chapter yet, because I want to be sure that the forward is actually accomplishing what I intend.


(BTW- the story is fantasy, but at least partly takes place in the present day.)

Every tale must have a beginning. Whether that tale begins slowly, quickly, or just somehow ‘comes into being’ is irrelevant. In the end, there is a beginning. The tale at hand, however, has a beginning shrouded in the long shadows of history. Few ever knew of its beginning, and therefore few preserved the memory. Its beginning is lost to all but a privileged few. Thus, it would be remiss to relate the tale of Richard Castus without starting at his beginning, but remembering that the tale is far older than he.

Richard Castus was born “Rolf Stefan Schmidt” in the belly of an overcrowded passenger liner somewhere between Hamburg, Germany and New York Harbor in the winter of 1901. His mother, a poor, uneducated, recently widowed German girl from Bremen, died in the bowels of that ship, for there were no doctors to attend to her, only other bedraggled passengers huddled together for warmth against the cold. It was as an orphan that Richard arrived at Ellis Island. No one knew the name his mother had picked for him before his birth, so by the time customs officials recorded his name, he was simply “Richard Doe.”

He spent the early part of his life in an orphanage in the German sections of New York City. There, a Priest who ran the orphanage gave him a last name to keep from confusing him with the other “John Does.” The priest, an Irish Catholic by denomination, chose a Latin name: “Castus,” meaning “chaste” or “pure.”

He was always a lanky boy, tall for his age but thin almost to the point of gauntness. It was in the orphanage and on the streets of New York that he learned to fend for himself, stealing food, clothes, and anything he might sell for profit. By the time he was old enough to leave the orphanage for good, he had lived a far harder life than many, but a far freer life than most.

The roaring twenties meant little to him. He knew how to read, but his education extended little beyond that. While New York exploded in debauchery and wealth around him, he still eked out a marginal existence doing odd jobs and whatever work he could land. When the Great Depression signaled an end to high times, Richard found himself penniless, and without options. Even the odd jobs on which he had depended for his entire life dried up, and he was forced to turn again to theft to feed and clothe himself.

Either from exposure, poor nutrition, or a combination of both, Richard’s health began to fail in the summer of 1931. Unable to afford a doctor, he was not even aware that he had contracted Tuberculosis, and his years were numbered.

To some, the tale would then be complete. “He was born, he lived, and he died…the end.” His headstone might have read nothing more than that. But Richard’s remarkable tale had only just begun. It is often said that when fate closes one door, another is opened. Richard’s ‘other door’ came with a key: a small, ornate, golden key.

September 5th, 2002, 04:27 PM
This looks really good Wastra and certainly makes me want to read more. To try to answer your points in order:

A/ No I don't think this is too corny for an opener. However, the first paragraph errs perhaps too far on the enigmatic side. I'm not saying it's not nice word play, only that it's rather dense. Perhaps if you amalgamated the sentances starting "Few ever knew of its beginning..." with "Its beginning is lost..."
I would extend the same point about giving too much information to other parts as well; eg.:
"His mother, a poor, uneducated , recently widowed German girl from Bremmen..."
Much of this information is superfulous and so breaks the flow. The same salient points are conveyed:
"His recently widowed mother, a poor girl from Bremmen..."
Okay, maybe it shouldn't be exactly like that, but nothing is really lost. The fact that she is uneducated can reasonably be inferred from her social status (and even if it weren't really isn't material). That she is German is implicit in stating that she is from Bremmen (and other clues such as the ships route and the name she gives her child).

B/ To answer your second question with more brevity than the first: a depressing mood. The first and second paragraphs add an air of mystery, but for the most part this seems a fairly believable biography (or perhaps obituary would be more appropriate).

I hope my criticisms don't cause any offence. In point of fact this forward has piqued my interest greatly and I look forward to reading more.

September 5th, 2002, 10:21 PM
I think this intro/prologue does a very good job of hooking my interest. It makes me want to find out how the story could possibly involved fantasy and adventure, given the predicament of the main character.

I am interested to see what the actual story narrative is like, what kind of style you write with, and what kinds of feelings it evokes from me.

And no, I do not think it is too corny at all.:)