Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    AutumnLeavesFall
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In a house with a door and a window and garage and flowerbeds and uhh... get the picture?
    Posts
    7

    The Seijin: Chapter One

    This is the first chapter of a fantasy story I wrote after taking a long break from SFF forums. Enjoy reading and pls critique for any grammar errors I may have made.

    CHAPTER ONE: THE MONK AND THE OUTCAST

    After many years of wandering into many lands across the great continent, on the third day of the fifth moon of the year, the Wandering Monk came to the island on the east where the world first meets the rising sun, which was called Kaminuri because it was said to be the only place in all of Yamana where the Kami, or heavenly gods, descend to meditate and seek guidance from the all knowing one. There he decided to remain and live quietly for the remainder of his days.

    During that fateful night, as the full moon wades gently among the stars and a smooth, wind rustles the leaves of the sleeping trees, the Wandering Monk was woken from sleep by a crying in the darkness. He rose, lit up a lantern and followed the source of the mournful sound.

    "Who's there? Why do you cry?" He asked gently.

    "I am an outcast." A voice answered from the shadows ahead.

    So the Wandering Monk moved closer and saw by the light on his lantern an old man in tattered red and yellow robes kneeling on the ground, his eyes and cheeks wet from streaming tears. Moved with pity, He lend an arm to the old man, who took it, and led him to his makeshift shelter of twigs and branches. There he offered the old man his only blanket and added firewood to the dying flames on the hearth. He then went to get his pot and utensils, some vegetables and seasonings and decided to make the old man some stew to eat. It was a common habit of the monks to be hospitable; to offer food and comfort to someone with a disheartened soul for they believe that a broken heart and spirit is easily mended by a hearty food and a warm bed. As he was adding some chopped potatoes to the simmering broth of herbs, The old man wiped his face with the blanket, stood up and sat beside him, moving closer to the warmth of the fire.

    "I thank you, my good man. You have a good soul. May the all - knowing one give you strength and watch over you at all times." The old man said, thanking the monk in a weary, trembling voice.

    "Please say no more, old man. You are weak, as the quiver in your voice tells it, and you are in much need of immediate nourishment. Here is some soup. It's not much but It'll lighten up your aching stomach as well as your dampening spirit."

    Saying this, the Wandering Monk ladled the hot soup on a bowl and gave it to the old man. Without saying another word, the old man took the soup and wolfed it hungrily like a man who hadn't touched a single morsel of food for many days.

    It wasn't long before he had his fill and his hunger quenched. He returned the bowl, now empty except for a few bits of soggy vegetables, to the wandering Monk.

    "Praise you, sir! Not only is your soul kind and considerate but your hands are also skilled in cooking! A legend you must be among chefs for making a delicious masterpiece out of the modest of ingredients!" The old man exclaimed, the quivering on his voice now gone.

    "A master of pots and cutlery i am not, old man." The wandering monk said. " I am but a pious man who had traveled through many roads and have a strong interest in learning the knowledge of man's subtle arts, who might be similar from one region to the next but are clearly different once pondered up close." He added as he replaced the bowl back with his humble belongings.

    "You are a man of humility but I also sense wisdom in you, young man. There are many intelligent people in the world but a few have gained wisdom. A man may possess great knowledge but still could be fooled but a man who has wisdom may yet know more but lives a simple, uncomplicated life."

    Pondering the old man's words, the Wandering Monk blushed for never has anyone praised him like this. Turning his back to hide the redness on his face, he stretched his legs on the soft earth.

    "I thank you for your words, old one, but I'm afraid that the night is getting older and our time for much needed rest grows thinner. Let us save this conversation for the dawn ahead of us. I believe that you are tired still and I too am in need of sleep. I feel a weariness such as I've seldom felt before." He said as he fumbled for his lantern.

    "Keep the blanket. It will keep you warm till morning for I fear that this fire wont last for more than a few hours. Worry not of me for I still am young and healthy."

    The answer came to him in the form of a loud snore. The wandering monk looked back on his guest and chuckled lightly. The old man was so tired that he had fallen to an immediate slumber while he sat.Old as he is, he'll be sore in the morning, the Wandering monk thought as he blew the light on his lantern and returned back to sleep.

    As he closed his eyes, a soft gust of wind blew on the topmost branches of a tree facing the old man. In a blink of an eye, A beautiful woman, wearing silken white robes with golden trimmings appeared out of nowhere and sat on one of those thick branches just as the wind died. Her skin was as white and fair as snow, far whiter than his robes and she had the most strange and beautiful pale blue eyes in the world.

    For a few moments, she gazed on the old man. there was sadness and longing at the look she gave. Then, a single bead of tear, like a streak of liquid silver, fell from her eye as she stretched her arm towards the old man like someone trying to cling on to something.

    "If only I had been there, I would've given up my immortality to be with you. Ahar mi soze Kazaho sou tire ulmath, Kahndrir." She said in a soft, beautiful voice filled with anguish and loneliness. Then she was gone, as sudden as when she appeared, in a whirl of breeze and scattering white and gold petals in the cold night air.

    The old man opened up his eyes. he wasn't sleeping at all as the monk had thought. Almost once tears began to swell back on his eyes. For some reason, they are very much like those of the beautiful woman before, eyes filled with despair and deep longing. He had heard every word she said.

    "Sou tire ulmath, Mikane." He whispered as he closed his eyes once again. As he did so, a single petal fell and landed softly in his lap.

    Meanwhile, the traveling monk had succumbed to dreams of his own, unable to witness the strange events that took place around him.

    (to be continued...)
    Last edited by CloudsCollide; February 22nd, 2010 at 12:12 PM.

  2. #2
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Near Austin TX
    Posts
    1,355
    This one is going to require some heavy lifting, so let's roll up our sleeves, shall we?

    Quote Originally Posted by CloudsCollide View Post
    [I][B]
    After many years of wandering into many lands across the great continent, on the third day of the fifth moon of the year, the Wandering Monk came to the island on the east where the world first meets the rising sun, which was called Kaminuri because it was said to be the only place in all of Yamana where the Kami, or heavenly gods, descend to meditate and seek guidance from the all knowing one. There he decided to remain and live quietly for the remainder of his days.

    During that fateful night, as the full moon wades gently among the stars and a smooth, wind rustles the leaves of the sleeping trees, the Wandering Monk was woken from sleep by a crying in the darkness. He rose, lit up a lantern and followed the source of the mournful sound.

    Telling & not showing: This sets the stage for a parable - which means you are telling the story rather than allowing the reader to be part of it - and you continue this through the entire piece.

    Hook: None that I can see that reaches out and grabs me by the throat. If you are planning for this to be an action novel then your target audience isn't looking for serenity through narrative exposition.


    "Who's there? Why do you cry?" He asked gently.

    "I am an outcast." A voice answered from the shadows ahead.
    Grammar: You need to read up on presenting dialog tags. For example, it should be "I am an outcast," a voice...


    So the Wandering Monk moved closer and saw by the light on his lantern an old man in tattered red and yellow robes kneeling on the ground, his eyes and cheeks wet from streaming tears. Moved with pity, He lend an arm to the old man, who took it, and led him to his makeshift shelter of twigs and branches. There he offered the old man his only blanket and added firewood to the dying flames on the hearth. He then went to get his pot and utensils, some vegetables and seasonings and decided to make the old man some stew to eat. It was a common habit of the monks to be hospitable; to offer food and comfort to someone with a disheartened soul for they believe that a broken heart and spirit is easily mended by a hearty food and a warm bed. As he was adding some chopped potatoes to the simmering broth of herbs, The old man wiped his face with the blanket, stood up and sat beside him, moving closer to the warmth of the fire.
    All narration - telling instead of showing. If we were in the monk's head, then we would be able to do this a bit better.

    Grammar: You don't capitalize after commas unless you are dealing with titles and such.

    "I thank you, my good man. You have a good soul. May the all - knowing one give you strength and watch over you at all times." The old man said, thanking the monk in a weary, trembling voice.
    Gonna stop here as we simply repeat the same problems.

    Grammar: Dialog tags should come after the first spoken sentence rather than after several sentences. Also, "All Knowing One" would be a preferable title and thus capitalized - and without any "-".

    Characters - you have none. "The Monk" "The Old Man" "The beautiful woman". These are props to me rather than living breathing people - each representing an idea but hardly expressing themselves as individuals (though your monk comes close). Here are the warning signs I picked up on:

    1. No names. They apparently aren't real enough for you to give them proper names.

    2. Stilted language. You have them reading off of scripts from the sound of it.

    So, in short, this piece reads like a parable as I first mentioned - somewhat idyllic and observed from afar as if you were reading this to a child. There is no significance to the reader as to the appearance of the woman and her words to the old man - a potentially touching scene wasted by no preparation. The reader just started this story...how would they know? So, the result is that there is no chance for the reader to attach themselves to anything here - meaning they could just as easily toss your book down and find something else as move on to the next page. An acquisitions editor may do just that - because there is nothing interesting to grab them.

    Maybe you started your story too soon, or too late. Where you need to start it is at a point of high drama that seizes the reader's attention. You need to engage your reader with a good character - get them into their head and wanting to sympathize with them - the first step toward the ideal of the reader wanting to live your adventure through this character's eyes. Right now there is no engagement whatsoever.

    Now, this is just my opinion, but keep a sharp eye for others who might say the same thing.

    One thing I can say with certainty - after a few grammar fails, most editors would stop reading anyway. You have to lock down your skill in this area, because no copy editor has the time to rewrite every other line for you.

    On the plus side, you paint a good overall backdrop, and you have started down the writing path - just have to pay attention to the details.

    There are plenty of good books out there on how to create characters - Orson Scott Card did one called "Elements of Writing Fiction". Might want to check it out.

    Kerry
    Last edited by kmtolan; February 22nd, 2010 at 01:26 PM.

  3. #3
    AutumnLeavesFall
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In a house with a door and a window and garage and flowerbeds and uhh... get the picture?
    Posts
    7
    thanks for the critique.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •