WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


Cinderellis Ch. 1

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-16-2007, 05:05 AM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default Cinderellis Ch. 1


Well, I gotten some good comments on my prologue, so I'd like to move on to my first chapter for a bit. Well, I won't post the entire chapter, but here are the first two scenes which introduce my two main characters and their situations:

Chapter One

He sat on the floor amid a swirl of dust, framed by shafts of early morning sunlight. The pale, weak light streamed from a tiny window, a thing of smudged glass, cobwebs, and dust accumulated over the many years he – and his ancestors – had lived in this house. A rusted set of armor from years of past glory slumped in one corner, its once proud plumes broken and moth-eaten. The attic itself had seen better days, now merely a refuge for broken, forgotten antiquities.
"Ellis? What are you doing up there? The coach is all ready to leave!"
Ellis fingered the supple leather of his father’s saddle, ignoring his mother’s call. It had been two weeks since his father’s funeral, and still Ellis came every day to this dreary place. Here his mother had stored all of her husband’s possessions upon word of his death. The memories were too painful, she’d said, for she had loved Alaric deeply, and so shut everything that reminded her of him up in the farthest, loneliest corner of the house. She then set about selling the only home Ellis had ever known, and buying an old manor house in Aiscen, the crown city.
The weary creak of the stairs warned of someone’s approach, but Ellis barely turned when his mother entered. His mind was far away, reliving the far too few but infinitely precious times he had spent with his father.
"Ellis?" inquired Alina quietly. "If we don’t leave now, we won’t reach Aiscen by dark."
"I’ll be down in a moment, Mother. I just need to finish saying good-bye."
Alina’s heart broke all over again at the sight of her son among her husband’s belongings, but she pushed the pain away, putting a shield between it and her heart, so it could not harm her. Quietly, she left her only son to his grief, with but a brief admonition not to tarry too long.
Ten minutes later, Ellis climbed into the spacious carriage his mother had hired for the day’s journey, feeling as though he were leaving his very life behind in that house, in that grave. Ellis turned his head and looked unseeingly through the small windows. It seemed his tears had run out, and in their absence, Ellis’s eyes simply burned.
The carriage creaked as it began to move, carrying the few possessions that Alina had deemed they could bring. As Alina pushed her pain as far from herself as she could, Ellis seemed to relive it all the more. Each mile of thick forest brought another happy memory, that now brought only sorrow and an aching pain. Each minute of monotonous, rocking motion distanced Alina further from the pain, and from her world. By the time the sun was setting behind the trees, and the carriage rolled along crowded city streets, Ellis felt ready to drop from grief, and Alina felt her heart had frozen solid.

Princess Evora sat in a carved, straight-backed chair, her shoulders ramrod straight, and her small hands folded elegantly in her lap. She was the very picture of young royalty; her high cheekbones and determined chin gave her a regal bearing that nothing else could, even the silk and lace contraption called a gown that she was wearing. Her hair of blackest night was braided amongst silk ribbons and unopened buds, which provided charming contrast to her dark locks, and her sparkling green eyes stared past the group of older nobles in the room and out the western windows that lined the walls opposite her. The gardens on the other side of the thick, stone walls were in full bloom. The cool hours of the morning brought out young lords and ladies, who walked and flirted among the trees and flowers.
Evora, however, saw none of this. Her mind was far away from the business at hand, but even the beautiful gardens could not hold her attention. The King and Queen always insisted that she attend these royal council meetings, but her opinion was never asked, and Evora never paid much mind to the goings-on. She had learned on her first visit to the large, elaborately decorated chamber that it was mostly dull arguments about who should be taxed more than who, and how much, and why, and when, and how often, and so on and so forth. On this particular council day, Evora’s mind rode across the distant desert to meet the terrible dragon of the ballads. In her mind, she brandished her sword and laughed triumphantly in the face of the startled dragon. The dragon tried to spit fire, and –
"Evora’s marriage is, of course, forthcoming, we assure you. There’s no need to worry about that."
Evora was unpleasantly jerked back to reality at the mention of her name. She blinked her owlish green eyes rather blankly at the faces, all turned in her direction, of the stuffy old courtiers that made up her father’s council. "My apologies, my mind seems to have wandered. What were you saying?"
"It has come to our notice, Evora, that you have blossomed into a fine young lady. We have no other children, no sons to assume the throne when I am gone. Therefore, you must soon be married to a man who can take the crown and use it well." The King looked extremely pleased at this speech, as though expecting to see his daughter leap from her gilded chair in joy and embrace him. Instead, she sat frozen in her seat.
"Married?" she said in a small voice. She had always known that someday she would marry for the good of the country, but that day had always seemed to be far in the future, and she had never given much thought to it. When she thought of the various courtiers she knew that her parents might find "suitable," she grimaced.
"Do I have to?" Evora whined like a small child before she could stop herself, and the King looked sternly down his long nose at her.
"Of course you have to. You have always known it would be so. We have put it off much too long."
"But–"
The King cut her off. "What objections could you possibly have? Every young lady your age dreams of being married."
Evora knew it was fruitless to attempt to reason with her father. Once he had his mind made up, there was no swaying him, unless, of course, you were the Queen. Evora turned pleading eyes to her mother, but the Queen only nodded in affirmation of the King’s announcement. There would be no help in that quarter.
Evora slumped against the carved, wooden back of her chair, ignoring the sharp look from her mother at the breach in propriety, but refused to let her mind wander to the terrible things that could occur with her marriage to some courtier who was stuffy, arrogant, and likely much older than she was. She forced her mind back to what her father was saying.
"As soon as we decide upon a befitting husband, we will hold your betrothal banquet and ball. The wedding will take place in a year." That settled, the King moved on to other matters, but Evora hardly noticed. A year!
So wrapped up in her horrified thoughts, Evora did not notice that the council had finished and begun to disperse until she felt her mother’s hand on her shoulder. Evora started.
"Will you be down for tea, darling?" asked the Queen, looking concerned.
"Yes, Mother, I shall be right down." Evora’s voice was wooden in her shock.
The Queen hesitated, then exited the room, and Evora was left alone in the grand chamber. For a few moments, all Evora could do was sit in her chair, then, in a daze, she moved from the room and down the passageway, in the direction of her quarters. By the time she had shut the door behind her, it seemed her mind had cleared.
King or not, her father was not going to force her to marry before she was ready.
With hardly a moment’s hesitation, Evora proceeded to gather certain items from around her rooms. A comb, ribbons to tie back her often unruly dark hair, a soft cloth with which to wash her face, and other things she saw laying around that might come in useful. She moved to her ornate wardrobe and chose her simplest riding gown - a not-quite-plain garment of soft fawn, then grabbed the next simplest to add to her pile. She then seized one of the numerous bags that she used on the occasional royal journeys (on which she saw nothing but the carriage and the inside of whichever castle they were visiting) and filled it with what she had gathered.
She strode purposefully from her room, the bag slung over her shoulder, grateful that her parents were currently at tea, and that her nurse had gone to visit a sick aunt that morning, for they were the only ones who would dare question her. Servants merely bowed as she passed; though they may have wondered, they showed no outward sign of it. When she reached the stables, she ordered a groom to saddle her horse, and placed her traveling bag in a set of saddlebags.
Edalene, Evora’s gentle white mare, trotted nimbly through the crowded, noisy streets, used to her mistress’ rides at odd hours of the day, and appeared not to notice the extra weight of the bag upon her back. Edalene pranced in carefree joy at being ridden and whinnied at horses she recognized. But when Evora rode her faithful mare out of the city, Edalene became slightly jittery, for never before had Evora left the city without her carriage; the mare had been bred within the city’s walls, in the royal paddocks.
Evora soothed her with a soft pat on the neck and some softly spoken words, and Edalene soon calmed, completely trusting her mistress, who was only just beginning to realize she had no remote idea as to where they were or where they were going.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-16-2007, 07:14 AM
OnceUponATime's Avatar
OnceUponATime (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: State of Insanity - I must be in order to start my own paper...
Posts: 1,298
Thanks: 5
Thanks 12
Default

Originally Posted by wildbluefaerie View Post

Chapter One

He [Ellis] sat on the floor amid a swirl of dust, framed by shafts of early morning sunlight. The pale, weak light streamed from a tiny window, a thing of smudged glass, cobwebs, and dust accumulated over the many years he – and his ancestors – had lived in this house. A rusted set of armor from years of past glory slumped in one corner, its once proud plumes broken and moth-eaten. The attic itself had seen better days, now merely a refuge for broken, forgotten antiquities. [Good opener - nice scene-setting]

"Ellis? What are you doing up there? The coach is all ready to leave!" [Dialogue tag needed here - who is speaking?]

Ellis fingered the supple leather of his father’s saddle, ignoring his mother’s call. It had been two weeks since his father’s funeral,[<--remove comma] and still Ellis came every day to this dreary place. Here his mother had stored all of her husband’s possessions upon word of his death. [<--'word of his father's death'] The memories were too painful, she’d said, for she had loved Alaric deeply, and so shut everything that reminded her of him up [Give the father a name - as the reference to 'him' is vague & confusing] in the farthest, loneliest corner of the house. She then set about selling the only home Ellis had ever known, and buying an old manor house in Aiscen, the crown city.

The weary creak of the stairs warned of someone’s approach, but Ellis barely turned when his mother entered. His mind was far away, reliving the far too few but infinitely precious times he had spent with his father.

"Ellis?" inquired Alina quietly. "If we don’t leave now, we won’t reach Aiscen by dark."

"I’ll be down in a moment, Mother. I just need to finish saying good-bye."

Alina’s heart broke all over again at the sight of her son among her husband’s belongings, but she pushed the pain away, putting a shield between it and her heart, so it could not harm her. Quietly, she left her only son to his grief, with but a brief admonition not to tarry too long. [Shifting suddenly to Alina's point of view without transition (scene change). Suggest cutting this portion or rewrite to stay solely in Ellis' POV, as it can confuse the reader if you leap from one mind to another.]

Ten minutes later, Ellis climbed into the spacious carriage his mother had hired for the day’s journey, feeling as though he were leaving his very life behind in that house, in that grave. Ellis turned his head and looked unseeingly [<---'looked unseeingly' is clunky/confusing] through the small windows. [Suggest something like: "Ellis stared blankly through the small windows.'] It seemed his tears had run out, and in their absence, Ellis’s eyes simply burned.

The carriage creaked as it began to move [as it pulled away], [get rid of 'began to' and 'starting to' when possible - either something happens or it doesn't - 'beginning to' is not needed & wordy] carrying the few possessions that Alina had deemed they could bring.

As Alina pushed her pain as far from herself as she could, Ellis seemed to relive it all the more. [<---whose POV are we in? Alina's or Ellis'? This sentence seems to be omniscient, not 3rd person POV] Each mile of thick forest brought another happy memory, that now [that in turn] brought only sorrow and an aching pain. Each minute of monotonous, rocking motion distanced Alina [seemed to distance his mother] [stay in Ellis' POV] further from the [her] pain, and from her world. By the time the sun was setting [use 'By the time the sun set' here - a solid verb is active, avoid 'was' - which passive writing] behind the trees, and the carriage rolled along crowded city streets,[.] Ellis felt ready to drop from grief,[.] and Alina felt her heart had frozen solid. [<---Suggest staying in Ellis' POV by cutting the latter part of this sentence. He can't know what Alina feels, he can only guess, based on what her mannerisms are, the look on her face, etc. Example rewrite:

'Ellis felt ready to drop from grief. He glanced over at Alina, who sat in stone-faced silence. Her eyes were twin pools of blue ice. He wondered if her heart had frozen solid as well.'
(Turning the narrative into an observation made by Elliskeeps things in his Point of View.)]

Princess Evora sat in a carved, straight-backed chair, her shoulders ramrod straight, and her small hands folded elegantly in her lap. [Sudden scene change here. You need a transition. This paragraph reads like the beginning of a new chapter] She was the very picture of young royalty; her high cheekbones and determined chin gave her a regal bearing that nothing else could, even the silk and lace contraption called a gown that she was wearing. Her hair of blackest night was braided amongst silk ribbons and unopened buds, which provided charming contrast to her dark locks, and her sparkling green eyes stared past the group of older nobles in the room and out the western windows that lined the walls opposite her. The gardens on the other side of the thick, stone walls were in full bloom. The cool hours of the morning brought out young lords and ladies, who walked and flirted among the trees and flowers.
Who is observing this about her features? It sounds like she's sitting there, thinking of her own sparkiling green eyes, and she comes off as vain. When you give description like this, the narrative leaves 3rd person POV and goes into Omniscient (a 'godlike' view of the scene. Suggest establishing the POV character right away. Characters do not descibe themselves in their own minds. Here, you need to be in Evora's mind. How would she think? What is she doing? She's just sitting in what sounds like a highly uncomfortable chair while staring at a garden scene. If this were a movie, it would be (in a word) kind of boring. Have her doing something when you enter her scene. Save the description of her for later. If you want to describe her right away, have her staring into the calm surface of a pond while feeding koi fish, or something that might afford her an accidental glimpse of herself. Have her tuck a wayward strand of long curly black hair behind her ear because a hair being out of place annoys her.


In other words, to make this character come to life, you need to step inside her body, look out at her world through HER eye and tell us, the readers, what she sees. Make observations, but avoid the use of 'to look' verbs. If I were to rewrite this paragraph, I'd cut ALL the description of her and just put in little bits and pieces here and there throughout the chapter so as not to overwhelm the reader with description. If I were to step into Evora's mind and look out through her eyes, I might see her world like this:


The chair was stiff and uncomfortable, but still, it was the Throne. These Council meetings were always hideously boring. Princess Evora's only escape from the monotony of her duties was in letting her mind slip away, following her line of sight through the large windows and out into the gardens.


There, she let her imaginary self walk along the cobbled path and caress the soft pink roses on her way to the fountain, the rich scent of flowers filling the air. The fountain waters rose upward in a silvery fan against cobalt blue sky and then fell rainlike onto the four ancient stone angels surrounding the fountain's base. She would then sit beside the pool and stare down into the water at her own image, ignoring her long black tresses, her heart-shaped face and deep emerald eyes, searching for the soul that lay within. Though she was very young, she felt old as time itself. The four stone angels might have once been her sisters. After all, she had more in common with the statues than with her own family. Evora, the fifth angel, came out of her reverie when her mother, the Queen, nudged her with an elbow.


Remember - look at the world through your character's eyes, think in terms of how they would think and tell us what they see, using random observation and bits of character opinion about their surroundings and the people they know. Use all five senses when you do so. Notice how her observations of the garden and what she does there SHOWS us things about her rather than simply TELLING the reader about her. She identifies more with her surroundings and the things she finds there than with herself. Her escapism tells us a lot about her as well. This is just an example.

...snip....



Edalene, Evora’s gentle white mare, trotted nimbly through the crowded, noisy streets, used to her mistress’ rides at odd hours of the day, and appeared not to notice the extra weight of the bag upon her back. Edalene pranced in carefree joy at being ridden and whinnied at horses she recognized. But when Evora rode her faithful mare out of the city, Edalene became slightly jittery, for never before had Evora left the city without her carriage; the mare had been bred within the city’s walls, in the royal paddocks.
Evora soothed her with a soft pat on the neck and some softly spoken words, and Edalene soon calmed, completely trusting her mistress, who was only just beginning to realize she had no remote idea as to where they were or where they were going.
Nice hook here for the story to come.


Other than a sudden shift from one scene to another and a few POV slips, this is very well done. Evora's running away from home seems a bit sudden, though. There should be more a build-up to it. After all, she has been sheltered all of her life and there has to be some fear of the outside world involved there. Suggest having her proceed to where her parents are having tea, but then she pauses outside the doorway, unseen, and overhears her parents discussing the subject of marriage further. Maybe they've already picked a few prospects, and the favored one is a young man that Evora despises. Have her recall his behavior at a past palace event - maybe he's almost piggish - round and fat with small, devious black eyes. Now THAT would be enough motivation for anyone to panic and run away.

Best wishes, hope this helps.

Jillian
__________________
Support your local newspaper -- and your local writers.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

-Jillian

Last edited by OnceUponATime; 06-16-2007 at 07:18 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-16-2007, 03:16 PM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime View Post
"Ellis? What are you doing up there? The coach is all ready to leave!" [Dialogue tag needed here - who is speaking?]
If you notice, I clarify that in the next sentence. Adding a dialogue tag would be unnecessary.

It had been two weeks since his father’s funeral,[<--remove comma] and still Ellis came every day to this dreary place.
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I remember learning in English class that when you have two independant clauses in a compound sentence you separate them with a comma.

Here his mother had stored all of her husband’s possessions upon word of his death. [<--'word of his father's death']
Referring to Alaric as "her husband" and "his father" in the same sentence would be a bit confusing, don't you think? Especially since the subject of the sentence is Alina, not Ellis.

The memories were too painful, she’d said, for she had loved Alaric deeply, and so shut everything that reminded her of him up [Give the father a name - as the reference to 'him' is vague & confusing]


Um.... I did....

The carriage creaked as it began to move [as it pulled away],[get rid of 'began to' and 'starting to' when possible - either something happens or it doesn't - 'beginning to' is not needed & wordy] carrying the few possessions that Alina had deemed they could bring.
See, here's the thing... creaking as it moves is something different from creaking as it begins to move. The carriage creaks in the transition from being stationary to moving, but not after.

Princess Evora sat in a carved, straight-backed chair, her shoulders ramrod straight, and her small hands folded elegantly in her lap. [Sudden scene change here. You need a transition. This paragraph reads like the beginning of a new chapter]
That's how this story is structured... each scene switches back and forth between Ellis and Evora. Right now it's two separate story lines, but before the end of this chapter they meet and run along side each other, basically giving the story through two different characters. So these two scenes are like starting the chapter twice, once with each character.

Each mile of thick forest brought another happy memory, that now [that in turn] brought only sorrow and an aching pain.
Um... why? No offense or anything but I don't see anything wrong with the way I phrased it.

By the time the sun was setting [use 'By the time the sun set' here - a solid verb is active, avoid 'was' - which passive writing] behind the trees
I suppose it is passive tense, but 'by the time the sun set' means it has already set all the way. 'by the time the sun was setting' means it's still happening.

Other than a sudden shift from one scene to another and a few POV slips, this is very well done.
Thank you. So here's the thing about the POV... I agree that switching from character to character can be confusing. But how I did this transition to the scene from Ellis to Evora's opening is by taking the 3rd person into omnisicent then back into 3rd person. Its almost like I step back for a moment, then back into a different mind. Starting Evora's scene with a description of herself doesn't, I think, mean she is thinking about herself. I don't really enter her consciousness until the next paragraph. But I'll definitely think about the POV and if I need to change any of it...

Evora's running away from home seems a bit sudden, though. There should be more a build-up to it. After all, she has been sheltered all of her life and there has to be some fear of the outside world involved there.
Do you really think so? I think that's kind of the point... she's shocked by this news and she acts impulsively. Yes, she has been sheltered and is therefore completely naive about what the world outside is like. That's why she forgets to bring food, doesn't think about the danger, etc. I think if she waited to leave, she's realize the foolishness of the decision and not go.

Maybe they've already picked a few prospects, and the favored one is a young man that Evora despises. Have her recall his behavior at a past palace event - maybe he's almost piggish - round and fat with small, devious black eyes. Now THAT would be enough motivation for anyone to panic and run away.
Yes, you're right, that would work, except for when she meets her betrothed later it's someone she's never met before. Though I guess they could change their minds.

Best wishes, hope this helps.
Yes, it does, and I really do appreciate the comments. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-17-2007, 06:16 AM
Writer@Large's Avatar
Writer@Large (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 28
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

And the story moves along! You might consider playing Ellis's story here out a little more, give us longer to linger on the death and his sadness. Make us grieve with him, like. We want to like Ellis--he's our hero, after all.

A note on names:

Fantasy stories are tricky with the naming. For example, I was reading The Children of Hurin recently, and frankly the naming got to me. Tolkien kept using similar names: Hurin and Turin (father and son), Fingolfin and Fingolas and Fingain (elves related ... somehow). I always hated that. (He also gives the same character, like, three names, which is a pain).

I'm sensing a little of that here. The parents are Alaric and Alina, the city is Aiscen--all "A" names. Then there's Ellis, Evora, and Edaline--all "E" names. And you seem to show a proclivity towards "L" sounds, and beginning names with vowels. As more characters appear in the book, those names are going to begin bleeding together. Because names in fantasy stories are unfamiliar to us, they really need to be distinct from one another for them to stand out.

Consider varying your names. You might consider choosing a real-world language (French, or Welsh, or even Middle English) and mining that for names (or names you can then alter for your story). I myself do this, and I find it helpful. I also try to avoid, whenever possible, having two or more main characters with names beginning with the same letter. And if they have the same forst letter, I try to make sure the rest of the name is very different.

Keep up the good effort!

--W@L
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-17-2007, 08:58 AM
OnceUponATime's Avatar
OnceUponATime (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: State of Insanity - I must be in order to start my own paper...
Posts: 1,298
Thanks: 5
Thanks 12
Default

Originally Posted by wildbluefaerie View Post
If you notice, I clarify that in the next sentence. Adding a dialogue tag would be unnecessary.
Technically true, but the narrative flow is clunky. I missed 'his mother's call' on the first read-through, and in a beginning paragraph, the speaker should be evident. After that, dump the tags.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I remember learning in English class that when you have two independant clauses in a compound sentence you separate them with a comma.
In English class I learned that having the word 'and' in this kind of compound structure renders the comma useless. You're placing the comma at a natural 'pause' in the sentence, which at first glance looks correct in regard to flow, but it isn't needed. See Strunk & White's 'Elements of Style,' particularly the section that focuses on doing away with technically correct but unnecessary conjunctions and commas.

Referring to Alaric as "her husband" and "his father" in the same sentence would be a bit confusing, don't you think? Especially since the subject of the sentence is Alina, not Ellis.
You're correct - but you shifted POV's without transition and my comments followed that line of thought (had it been done in Ellis' POV). My initial pointer was wrong, considering the original sentence as it stands.
See, here's the thing... creaking as it moves is something different from creaking as it begins to move. The carriage creaks in the transition from being stationary to moving, but not after.
True. This is another 'Elements of Style' thing concerning cutting down on wordiness. I'm sure the carriage would still creak as it pulled away, using a more 'active' verb tense. But this is your story, after all. Write it however you like.

That's how this story is structured... each scene switches back and forth between Ellis and Evora. Right now it's two separate story lines, but before the end of this chapter they meet and run along side each other, basically giving the story through two different characters. So these two scenes are like starting the chapter twice, once with each character.
Yes, I'm sure it is. However, in a published novel these two points of view would have a 'transition' sentence stating something like 'meanwhile, on the other side of town...' This prevents reader confusion when you snatch them out of one scene and immediately dump them into another. The effect is that it disturbs the flow of the story's narrative. Adding a transition sentence is really no big deal, it's just a way to keep your flow going without giving the reader whiplash.

Um... why? No offense or anything but I don't see anything wrong with the way I phrased it.
Your sentence & my comment: Each mile of thick forest brought another happy memory, that now [that in turn] brought only sorrow and an aching pain.

Clarification: Upon further reflection, the comma before 'that' could go and your sentence as it stands would be just fine.


I suppose it is passive tense, but 'by the time the sun set' means it has already set all the way. 'by the time the sun was setting' means it's still happening.
Not really - my comments were again geared toward less wordiness and 'active' verb structure, removing the need for the '-ing' suffix since you didn't use it in the other verbs in your sentence.
Your sentence:
By the time the sun was setting behind the trees, and the carriage rolled along crowded city streets, Ellis felt ready to drop from grief, and Alina felt her heart had frozen solid.


If the sun was setting AS they rolled into town, then 'the carriage rolled' should be 'the carriage was rolling' in order to agree. But, that's too many instances of 'was' in the sentence. For one thing, there are 2 instances where you used a comma paired with an 'and' in the same sentence, making it dangerously close to being a run-on. It's technically correct, but the flow needs a little adjustment. My comment was simply a Suggestion to shorten it a little. As the sentence stands above, you could leave the verbiage the same and simply remove the first occuring comma, but you still have the problem with simultaneous POV's (or Omnscient POV) injecting itself into your 3rd person narrative. It needs to be restructured to stick to 3rd person POV, that's all. Again, it's no big deal.

Thank you. So here's the thing about the POV... I agree that switching from character to character can be confusing. But how I did this transition to the scene from Ellis to Evora's opening is by taking the 3rd person into omnisicent then back into 3rd person. Its almost like I step back for a moment, then back into a different mind. Starting Evora's scene with a description of herself doesn't, I think, mean she is thinking about herself. I don't really enter her consciousness until the next paragraph. But I'll definitely think about the POV and if I need to change any of it...
You can do it however you like, but I've personally read three rejection letters sent to me from publishers telling me it's NOT a good idea to float back and forth between POVs (they call it 'head-hopping') or jumping from 3rd person into Omni without warning, as it can cause reader confusion. Tolkien got away with Omniscient POV back 'in the day' but these days, publishers hate it. They like more closeness in regard to character and though omniscient POV has its uses, it's generally frowned-upon especially when it pops up out of nowhere.

Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my suggestions,
comments or whatever are THE way to do it. I can only tell you what I've picked up along the way while trying to submit for publication and what editor & publisher friends have told me about my own writing. Any crit you receive here MAY NOT NECESSARILY be the right thing to do, as they are only OPINION. Feel free to take them or leave them, it's up to you.

Do you really think so? I think that's kind of the point... she's shocked by this news and she acts impulsively. Yes, she has been sheltered and is therefore completely naive about what the world outside is like. That's why she forgets to bring food, doesn't think about the danger, etc. I think if she waited to leave, she's realize the foolishness of the decision and not go.
The section with Evora was a lot different from the section with Ellis and his mother. In Ellis' section, you got into the story, not the description of Ellis and his mother. You 'showed' his story effectively in those paragraphs. In Evora's section, I (your reader) was being 'Told' about Evora. In trying to illustrate my point, I wrote an 'example' of Showing her personality as opposed to saying Evora was 'this' because of 'that.' That was my point. I'm not attacking your story. I found it quite good. What nit-picks I had were relatively minor in all reality, just a little adjustment here and there. You're not going to find an Editorial Service here, we are just ordinary readers and writers who are willing to read your story and offer you an opinion on it. Again, those opinions may not necessarily be something you agree with or even be 100% correct. If anything, all you should take from it is that if there are places in your story that 'sound strange' to other readers, then it's a clue that something in a sentence or paragraph that needs clarification or adjustment. It's not a condemnation of your writing by any means.

Keep writing,
Jillian
__________________
Support your local newspaper -- and your local writers.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

-Jillian

Last edited by OnceUponATime; 06-17-2007 at 09:10 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-17-2007, 12:41 PM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by Writer@Large View Post
And the story moves along! You might consider playing Ellis's story here out a little more, give us longer to linger on the death and his sadness. Make us grieve with him, like. We want to like Ellis--he's our hero, after all.
Hmm... yes. that's a good point. Perhaps an expansion of the scene is in order? That's something I really need to work in... Ellis' grief over his father doesn't really come up again after this scene, and it should...


Originally Posted by Writer@Large View Post
A note on names:

Fantasy stories are tricky with the naming. For example, I was reading The Children of Hurin recently, and frankly the naming got to me. Tolkien kept using similar names: Hurin and Turin (father and son), Fingolfin and Fingolas and Fingain (elves related ... somehow). I always hated that. (He also gives the same character, like, three names, which is a pain).

I'm sensing a little of that here. The parents are Alaric and Alina, the city is Aiscen--all "A" names. Then there's Ellis, Evora, and Edaline--all "E" names. And you seem to show a proclivity towards "L" sounds, and beginning names with vowels. As more characters appear in the book, those names are going to begin bleeding together. Because names in fantasy stories are unfamiliar to us, they really need to be distinct from one another for them to stand out.
I know exactly what you mean... that's one of the reasons I can't seem to get through Tolkien's books. And I've actually noticed the same with my characters. I think what happens is when I get my names from name sites, which I often do, they're organized alphabetically, and I see names I like on the same list. But if I'm going to be changing the title of the story, which it seems I am, I don't see any reason why I can't change Ellis's name, though it's difficult to picture him as anything else. I really like Evora's, and I don't want to change it, but Alina/Alaric could change as well.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
In English class I learned that having the word 'and' in this kind of compound structure renders the comma useless. You're placing the comma at a natural 'pause' in the sentence, which at first glance looks correct in regard to flow, but it isn't needed. See Strunk & White's 'Elements of Style,' particularly the section that focuses on doing away with technically correct but unnecessary conjunctions and commas
Yes, I do actually own that book, great resource, but unfortunately I don't have it with me for the summer...

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
Your sentence & my comment: Each mile of thick forest brought another happy memory, that now [that in turn] brought only sorrow and an aching pain.

Clarification: Upon further reflection, the comma before 'that' could go and your sentence as it stands would be just fine.
Yes, I agree, that does seem to flow a lot better.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
If the sun was setting AS they rolled into town, then 'the carriage rolled' should be 'the carriage was rolling' in order to agree. But, that's too many instances of 'was' in the sentence. For one thing, there are 2 instances where you used a comma paired with an 'and' in the same sentence, making it dangerously close to being a run-on. It's technically correct, but the flow needs a little adjustment. My comment was simply a Suggestion to shorten it a little
Yes, I see your point now...

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
You can do it however you like, but I've personally read three rejection letters sent to me from publishers telling me it's NOT a good idea to float back and forth between POVs (they call it 'head-hopping') or jumping from 3rd person into Omni without warning, as it can cause reader confusion. Tolkien got away with Omniscient POV back 'in the day' but these days, publishers hate it. They like more closeness in regard to character and though omniscient POV has its uses, it's generally frowned-upon especially when it pops up out of nowhere.
Well, then I will definitely keep that mind.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my suggestions,
comments or whatever are THE way to do it. I can only tell you what I've picked up along the way while trying to submit for publication and what editor & publisher friends have told me about my own writing. Any crit you receive here MAY NOT NECESSARILY be the right thing to do, as they are only OPINION. Feel free to take them or leave them, it's up to you.
Yes, I'm really sorry if I came across annoyed/offended in my earlier comments. I was in quite a bad mood when I responded before and was feeling fairly annoyed and offended at pretty much everything. Now that I'm myself again (and seeing sense) I do agree with most of your comments. So, yeah, sorry...

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
The section with Evora was a lot different from the section with Ellis and his mother. In Ellis' section, you got into the story, not the description of Ellis and his mother. You 'showed' his story effectively in those paragraphs. In Evora's section, I (your reader) was being 'Told' about Evora. In trying to illustrate my point, I wrote an 'example' of Showing her personality as opposed to saying Evora was 'this' because of 'that.'
I added that description of Evora at the beginning of the scene on advice from a user on another forum, who's main advice for my work was to add description, for I have very little. That first paragraph is definitely "telling" the reader about her, and I think you may be right, I should dive right into the character's mind, not into a description (though I still do like those descriptions a lot, perhaps they would simply do better spread out ). How does the rest of the scene tell rather than show? It seems to me this scene could be working up to a complete rewrite...

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
I'm not attacking your story. I found it quite good. What nit-picks I had were relatively minor in all reality, just a little adjustment here and there. You're not going to find an Editorial Service here, we are just ordinary readers and writers who are willing to read your story and offer you an opinion on it. Again, those opinions may not necessarily be something you agree with or even be 100% correct. If anything, all you should take from it is that if there are places in your story that 'sound strange' to other readers, then it's a clue that something in a sentence or paragraph that needs clarification or adjustment. It's not a condemnation of your writing by any means.
Once again, I appreciate that you took the time to critique my work, and the critiques have been quite helpful, especially in telling me what a publisher would and wouldn't look for. And thanks for your positive comments.

Last edited by wildbluefaerie; 06-17-2007 at 12:50 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-17-2007, 05:09 PM
OnceUponATime's Avatar
OnceUponATime (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: State of Insanity - I must be in order to start my own paper...
Posts: 1,298
Thanks: 5
Thanks 12
Default

Originally Posted by wildbluefaerie View Post
Yes, I'm really sorry if I came across annoyed/offended in my earlier comments. I was in quite a bad mood when I responded before and was feeling fairly annoyed and offended at pretty much everything. Now that I'm myself again (and seeing sense) I do agree with most of your comments. So, yeah, sorry...
No problem. My concern was that you might have felt 'attacked' and that wasn't my intention at all.


I added that description of Evora at the beginning of the scene on advice from a user on another forum, who's main advice for my work was to add description, for I have very little. That first paragraph is definitely "telling" the reader about her, and I think you may be right, I should dive right into the character's mind, not into a description (though I still do like those descriptions a lot, perhaps they would simply do better spread out ). How does the rest of the scene tell rather than show? It seems to me this scene could be working up to a complete rewrite...
One problem with critiques, those coming from unpublished writers, is that when they critique a chapter or portion out of a longer work they 'forget' that there's more to the story that explains the characters as the novel progresses and the description isn't right there for them to see right away. I read your story bearing in mind that your characters would further develop in bits and pieces as the story goes. The knee-jerk reaction to someone telling you that you need more description is to pile it all into one paragraph. This advice is close to the mark, but the person giving it has forgotten that a novel has plenty of room & time to allow character description to work itself in, chapter by chapter. It need not and should not come out all at once. Just a little bit here and there will do. Unless a reader has your entire novel in front of them to get these answers, they will always demand more description. Ignore this - it works in a short story, but not a novel. They are written differently. In a novel, you have 80,000 words to get your description across, so you have plenty of time. Your first paragraphs with Ellis could use a little more playing up on the father Alaric, maybe even a flashback scene where the boy and father are having a conversation that Ellis remembers later. he could be examining an object in the room and this would trigger a memory - a scenewith his father, which showsAlaric to the reader personally. This would give the reader a better view of Alaric, but there are many different ways to approach it with out flashback technique. Otherwise, Ellis' section is written well and looks like an opening chapter would in any bookstore novel.

With Evora, that section will call for a rewrite, but it should be only a few paragraphs at the most. Don't worry about piling on description for fear of the reader not being able to 'see' her mentally. This is a novel, so you've got room to do that. Just add a touch here and there, and do description through action, dialogue and inference from other characters. As a matter of fact, Evora's physical description need not come until she meets Ellis. You can then use his impressions of her to describe her to the reader. This is a common device used by most published writers. When you first introduce the reader to Evora in this section, just show us her personality and her situation to start with and then let the story progress naturally.

Best wishes & keep writing -
Jillian
__________________
Support your local newspaper -- and your local writers.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

-Jillian

Last edited by OnceUponATime; 06-17-2007 at 05:22 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-18-2007, 12:31 AM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime View Post
The knee-jerk reaction to someone telling you that you need more description is to pile it all into one paragraph. This advice is close to the mark, but the person giving it has forgotten that a novel has plenty of room & time to allow character description to work itself in, chapter by chapter. It need not and should not come out all at once. Just a little bit here and there will do. Unless a reader has your entire novel in front of them to get these answers, they will always demand more description. Ignore this - it works in a short story, but not a novel. They are written differently. In a novel, you have 80,000 words to get your description across, so you have plenty of time.
Yes, I see exactly what you mean... description is one of my weaknesses... if I don't consciously think about putting description in, I'll have none at all, which is just as bad. But that's a very good point, and I will bear it in mind.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
Your first paragraphs with Ellis could use a little more playing up on the father Alaric, maybe even a flashback scene where the boy and father are having a conversation that Ellis remembers later. he could be examining an object in the room and this would trigger a memory - a scenewith his father, which showsAlaric to the reader personally. This would give the reader a better view of Alaric, but there are many different ways to approach it with out flashback technique. Otherwise, Ellis' section is written well and looks like an opening chapter would in any bookstore novel.
Yes, you're the second one to suggest doing something like this... to have the reader enter into Ellis's grief more.

Originally Posted by OnceUponATime
With Evora, that section will call for a rewrite, but it should be only a few paragraphs at the most. Don't worry about piling on description for fear of the reader not being able to 'see' her mentally. This is a novel, so you've got room to do that. Just add a touch here and there, and do description through action, dialogue and inference from other characters. As a matter of fact, Evora's physical description need not come until she meets Ellis. You can then use his impressions of her to describe her to the reader. This is a common device used by most published writers. When you first introduce the reader to Evora in this section, just show us her personality and her situation to start with and then let the story progress naturally.
Brilliant. Then I don't have to get rid of those lovely descriptions I wrote that I like so much. Edit: do you mean I only really need to change a few of the paragraphs at most?

Okay, well I have tons to think about for reworking in this story between the advice from you and the advice from the other writing forum I'm on. So what I'm going to do is take a major look at my first chapter again, mainly the first two scenes, give them a makeover, then post the new-and-improved version here. I'm hoping to do this all today, but that might be a bit ambitious, so it might actually take a few days as I fit this around work.

Last edited by wildbluefaerie; 06-18-2007 at 12:38 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-18-2007, 12:53 PM
Writer@Large's Avatar
Writer@Large (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 28
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

Originally Posted by wildbluefaerie View Post
I don't see any reason why I can't change Ellis's name, though it's difficult to picture him as anything else. I really like Evora's, and I don't want to change it,
Then don't. I know how it can be with main characters and identities. I had a character who insisted he be called David for years, even though I felt he should clearly be a Nathan.

Ellis and Evora should be okay. They're very different names despite the "E" (and one is a long E, one a short E). But vow to yourself that there will be no more E names in your story. The horse will have to be called Trigger or Silver or something .

--W@L
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-18-2007, 01:05 PM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by Writer@Large View Post
Then don't. I know how it can be with main characters and identities. I had a character who insisted he be called David for years, even though I felt he should clearly be a Nathan.

Ellis and Evora should be okay. They're very different names despite the "E" (and one is a long E, one a short E). But vow to yourself that there will be no more E names in your story. The horse will have to be called Trigger or Silver or something .

--W@L
Lol. Yes. I have no qualms whatsoever with renaming the horse. Ellis has been Ellis for..... oh, 7 years.... since I first came up with the idea and the wrote first horrible opening scene (which was completely scratched 5 years later when I stumbled upon it and started to rewrite it). It's wierd, or cool, or something how character's really become their name. Or should it be the name becomes the character?

Last edited by wildbluefaerie; 06-20-2007 at 05:40 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-20-2007, 05:40 AM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Okay, let's start with the opening of Evora's scene. I've rewritten it (except for the last paragraph) with hopefully more showing then telling. I've gotten rid of the part about how Evora was forced to come to the council sessions but she never paid attention, but it seems that should quite obvious from her day dreaming. So here it goes, let me know what you think:

Princess Evora clenched her jaw unconsciously. She sat rigidly in a carved, straight-backed chair, her face the very picture of serenity. Yet her mind was far from serene, for there was a mighty battle raging behind her eyes. She could almost feel the scorching wind across her face as she rode across the desert to meet the terrible dragon of the ballads. She brandished her sword and laughed triumphantly in the face of the dragon. The dragon’s blood-red eyes glowed evilly; it tried to spit fire and –

"Evora’s marriage is forthcoming, we assure you."

Evora was jerked backed to reality at the mention of her name. She blinked at the stuffy courtiers who made up her father’s council. They were all staring in her direction, their expressions unreadable.

"What?" Evora squawked, then, attempting to recover her decorum, "My apologies, it seems my mind has wandered from the business at hand."

The King lowered his brow for a moment, clearly annoyed at her lack of attention. "It has come to our notice, Evora, that you have blossomed into a fine young lady. We have no other children, no sons to assume the throne when I am gone. Therefore, you must soon be married to a man who can take the crown and use it well." The King looked extremely pleased at this speech, as though expecting to see his daughter leap from her gilded chair in joy and embrace him. Instead, she sat frozen in her seat.

edit: I've just realized it would be rather difficult to clench your jaw and look serene at the same time (this is fresh out of my writing notebook). Do you think it would be bad to enter in like this: "Princess Evora sat rigidly ... " ?

Last edited by wildbluefaerie; 06-20-2007 at 05:43 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-20-2007, 02:58 PM
ennubi's Avatar
ennubi (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 147
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

'fraid i didn't read above, but let me show you another way...

Princess Evora ignored scorching winds across her face as she rode across the desert to meet the terrible dragon of the ballads. She brandished her sword and laughed triumphantly in the face of the dragon. The dragon’s blood-red eyes glowed evilly; it tried to spit fire and –

"Evora’s marriage is forthcoming, we assure you."

She jerked backed to reality the stuffy, mundane reality of her father's council at the mention of her name. She blinked at the stuffy courtiers who were all staring in her direction, their expressions unreadable.

You see, even in 3rd person you can slip into somebody's head for a bit and slip back out. this trick can help a lot when you need to have us live with a character instead of telling us about her life. you see, i think the unappropriate tension thing is understood above and i don't have to say a thing

food for thought.

ennubi
__________________
Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost....
—Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-21-2007, 12:07 AM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by ennubi View Post
'fraid i didn't read above, but let me show you another way...
Above as in my rewrite or above as in the original?

Originally Posted by ennubi View Post
you see, i think the unappropriate tension thing is understood above and i don't have to say a thing
Unappropriate tension?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-21-2007, 02:30 AM
ennubi's Avatar
ennubi (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 147
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

actually, i just read the one prior post to the one where i offered a slight rearrangement. jumped in late

well, the girl isn't supposed to be sitting ramrod stiff with a clenched jaw in a council meeting, right?

sorry

ennubi
__________________
Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost....
—Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-21-2007, 06:06 AM
wildbluefaerie's Avatar
wildbluefaerie (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 76
Thanks: 1
Thanks 5
Default

No need to apologize... I was just wondering. But, yeah, actually she is supposed to be sitting ramrod straight in the session, except she's supposed to be listening.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cinderellis (novel/novella) wildbluefaerie Fiction 10 06-26-2007 12:11 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:41 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.