new book! Going too fast?

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DaHeckIzDat
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new book! Going too fast?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 6th, 2018, 4:16 pm

So, here's the first few paragraphs of my new WIP, Chimera Knights, but I'm worried that I'm making it all move too fast. What do you think? Thanks!

Tanuc Mannes lay in bed, already awake as the sun rose above the Sethlan Sea to shine on the lush green forests of Vorma. He stared up at the thatched ceiling, absentmindedly rubbing the metal band that had been grafted to his wrist. There were two indentations on it, exact opposites of one another. One rose up like a bubble in the metal, and the other sank into it, like where a jewel would fit into a ring. He shuddered every time his finger touched one of them.

A knock came from his door, and it swung open to reveal another young man. Older than Tanuc by a few years, they had the same blond wavy hair, but little else. A concerned look crossed his face when he saw Tanuc lying awake in bed.

“Couldn’t sleep again?” he asked.

Tanuc shook his head. “I keep remembering that day. It’s impossible to sleep after that.”

Searing pain, the smell of burning flesh, his father commanding him to hold still no matter how much it hurt while animals howled and shrieked, unseen in the darkness around them. And before that, nothing. Not even a hint of memory prior to that very moment. He had awoken to gut wrenching agony, and the next thing he knew he was in the arms of Hedroph, a cousin he couldn’t remember, being taken to live here in Idemla.

Hedroph’s frown deepened. “Should I tell the boys you’re sick again?”

pacman000
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby pacman000 » June 7th, 2018, 10:15 am

No, not so far.

" had the same blond wavy hair, but little else. A concerned look crossed his face when"

Do you mean "little else in common?"

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Stalvern
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby Stalvern » June 7th, 2018, 12:46 pm

I would say so.

Even the first sentence gets ahead of itself. Maybe "the Sethlan Sea" means something to you as the author, but as a reader, I get no more information from it in this passing mention than I would from "the sea", along with being distracted by the unfamiliar name. It should be given a real introduction, as should Vorma. Plus, Tanuc is indoors; the image of the sea and forest is disjointed and out of place when it's spliced in between "lay in bed" and "stared up at the thatched ceiling". If you want to establish that the sun is rising, you should connect it to where the scene is actually set: "Tanuc Mannes lay in bed, already awake as the sun started to glint through his window," or something like that.

The flashback also doesn't get its due when placed here. A reader will be able to remember the reason for Tanuc's insomnia a page or even several pages on, where this interrupting glance can actually become a scene that grips the reader like it did Tanuc. Heck, you could make it its own chapter.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 7th, 2018, 4:06 pm

I went ahead and rewrote it. What do you guys think now?

-----

The boy awoke. He was fairly certain he hadn’t been asleep, yet he awoke all the same. He was sitting in a chair, though he had no idea what a chair was, with a lantern hanging above him. Its dim light illuminated only a small circle around him, and the shadows at the edge of that light were like a solid wall.

“Hold very still, Tanuc,” a voice said, and the boy realized he wasn’t alone. A man knelt before him, holding his right arm with one hand, and something else in the other. The boy felt something cold on his wrist.

The boy’s own mouth felt unfamiliar to him, and he struggled to make it work. “T… Taaa…”

“Yes, Tanuc,” the man said without looking up from what he was doing. “That is your name.”

The boy… Tanuc… couldn’t understand a word the man was saying, but the meaning was somehow clear to him all the same. The man was narrow faced and long nosed, and his mouth was a straight, stern line with barely any lip. He looked at Tanuc with cold, steely eyes that betrayed no emotion.

A sound came from the darkness: a low, menacing growl that invoked unspeakable terror in Tanuc’s heart. He tried to jump up, but the man kept him in place with a firm hand on his shoulder.

“I told you to hold still,” he said, giving Tanuc a stern look.

Tanuc gasped. The man was different now. His voice was the same, but now he wore a new face. There was a beard now that hadn’t been there before, and his nose was short and round. Those cold eyes were exactly the same, though.

“You must obey your father, Tanuc.”

Father. Another word Tanuc didn’t know. More sounds came from the shadows. Howls, squawks, bleats, and more. Tanuc wanted to run, to hide, but instead he stayed put because his… father… had told him to.

“Very good,” Father said, again wearing a new face. A mustache but no beard, and eyebrows so thick they almost obscured his hard-as-stone eyes. He raised Tanuc’s hand so he could see the gleaming metal band that wrapped around his wrist. “This is very important. You must always wear it. Understand?”

Tanuc nodded.

“Good.” Father laid Tanuc’s hand down on the chair’s armrest, moving delicately as if he were afraid of disturbing the band, and turned and walked away. He vanished into the darkness, leaving Tanuc alone. The noises began again, but Tanuc forced himself to stay still.

“Faa… Faaaa… Durrrr.”

“Yes, Tanuc, I am here.” He reemerged from the darkness with yet another new face. In his hand, he held a pair of long iron clamps that glowed as red as if they had just been taken off the forge. Holding them with one hand, he raised Tanuc’s arm with the other. Tanuc could feel the heat radiating from the metal as Father positioned the clamps directly above the band.

“Now hold very still. No matter how much this hurts, do… not… move.”

With that, he locked the clamps around Tanuc’s wrist. The pain came instantly. Horrible, agonizing pain that made his vision go dark and light up at the same time. Tanuc leaned his head back and screamed while the cacophony of animals in the darkness rose to a nightmarish crescendo.

But he didn’t move.

With a gasp, Tanuc awoke again—for real this time. He lay in his bed, the sheets soaked with sweat, his hand grabbing at his chest as he gasped for breath. It took him a minute to remember where, and who, he was. He wasn’t a little boy. He was almost seventeen years old. He wasn’t in that dark room with his father, he was in his cousin Hedroph’s house in Idemla, where he’d lived all his life. All of it that he could remember, anyway.

“Damn it, not again,” he whispered once his heart had stopped galloping in his chest.

Knowing that sleep wouldn’t be returning, he settled for lying in bed, staring up at his ceiling. Eventually the sun rose over the Sethlan Sea to shine on Vorma’s lush green forests, brightening his room bit by bit. His fingers idly traced patterns on the metal band that, nine years later, remained seared to his skin. There were etchings in it, writing that he had never been able to read, and on the top there were two indentations, exact opposites of each other. One rose up like a bubble in the metal, and the other sank into it, like where a jewel would fit into a ring. He shuddered every time his finger touched one of them.

A knock came from his door, and it swung open to reveal another young man. Older than Tanuc by a few years, they had the same wavy blond hair, but little else. A concerned look crossed his face when he saw Tanuc lying awake in bed.

“Couldn’t sleep again?” he asked.

Tanuc shook his head. “I keep remembering that day. It’s impossible to sleep after that.”

That night with his father was Tanuc’s earliest memory. Waking up later in Hedroph’s arms was his second.

Hedroph’s frown deepened. “Should I tell the boys you’re sick again?”

In an instant, Tanuc had kicked his covers off and was on his feet. “No! No, I’m fine. I can go.”

goldenband
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby goldenband » June 7th, 2018, 6:56 pm

It's difficult to overstate just how much of an improvement your second version is (in other words, it's huge!). The opening of the first draft would, if I were an editor, get an instant rejection; the opening of the new version is infinitely more intriguing and would at least get my attention.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 16th, 2018, 4:05 pm

If anyone's interested, I'd love to get some opinions on the first chapter before I get much further. Is there anything I need to change?

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: new book! Going too fast?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 16th, 2018, 4:06 pm



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