Uncategorized, writing

WIPping up a Frenzy

Hello my friends! Today is a WIPpet day (work-in-progress snippet, to those who are new to this word). It is posted as part of a challenge hosted by K.L. Schwengel, and needs to have something to do with today’s date (8/13…8+13 = 21). Therefore, today I’m posting 21 sentences from the beginning of a fantasy novel that I’m currently revising/fretting about/screeching incoherently due to and I would REALLY appreciate your reaction to it since this selection is from the very first page. Mainly, I’m wondering if it’s something that entices you to read more or not and what questions it brings to mind.

I had just picked myself out of the mud puddle I’d stumbled into when I spotted the riders. Freezing in place, I strained to make out who they were, wondering if I should conceal myself until I got a better look at them. Under normal affairs, I’m not quite so wary. But since I had left my village and traveled alone across the wide, wild expanse of country between home and the thriving capital city of Lor, I had learned the benefit of suspicion.

The riders consisted of three men on horseback, traveling from the west across a wide, empty meadow toward me. Hiding, I decided, would profit nothing. They must have seen me already. I stood revealed at the base of a gentle hill, for once bare of thorn bushes, gnarled trees, and annoying rocks–everything but mud. If all went well I might have found companions on my lonely journey; or perhaps at least a shared meal.

As the three neared, I saw that they wore scraggly, faded leathers. Their unshaven faces and dirty, weary-looking mounts told me that they had been traveling for a while. I didn’t look all that respectable myself, with mud-covered boots and breeches and a tattered shirt.

A rusty, deep voice called out, “Ho there, young sir!”

“Ho there!” I replied, and then gave the traditional greeting, “Well met in Shaddai’s peace.”

The riders formed a semi-circle around me. The one who had hailed me, a big, dark-faced fellow a few pounds too heavy for the comfort of his horse, said, “Shaddai’s peace? A pox on it!”

I observed them. The man on the speaker’s right had orange-red hair and an explosion of freckles covering his face and arms. The third man was swarthy; likely a desert dweller, the first I had seen.

“Look, it’s one of them cowardly farmers from the Golden Hills,” Red-hair sneered. “Out picking flowers for your mother, whelp?”

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Also, my WordPress account seems to have gotten disconnected from my twitter page (which was down for a while due to a hacking I experienced but is now up again at @xuwriter) and it doesn’t seem to want to be reconnected even when I refresh it. Has anyone else dealt with this?

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15 thoughts on “WIPping up a Frenzy”

  1. Okay. I read it, let it roll through my head while I showered, and I haven’t read the other comments yet. So this will be pure, and potentially all stuff someone else has said already.

    I would begin with the first dialogue line, and weave the description and the narrator’s immediate past, through the conversation, He’s dripping and muddy – maybe let us wonder a bit before you tell us about that puddle he just pulled himself out of.

    You could show that he’s grown more suspicious simply by having him scan the group and the horizon in a way far more cynical and dispassionate than the farmer taunts would lead us to believe.

    The way it’s written, you’ve got a heavy chunk of really nice description being supported beneath by a few lines of action and intriguing dialogue. Braid them together, letting the characters have their voices at the outset, and I think your scene will come to new life.

    Hope it helps! =D

    1. Great idea!! I briefly considered starting with dialogue and then thought that maybe I shouldn’t and now I think you’re definitely onto something! I think I’ll have to write it the way you’ve suggested. You made it sound so compelling! Thank you, thank you!

      1. It’s easy to see this particular problem -because I do this exact thing over and over and over….slowly, I’m getting the hang of catching myself before I type, rather than needing to reweave and rewrite it in revisions.

        Glad I could offer fresh eyes and years of my own tangles to help you make it a better piece!

  2. I would definitely read on. I’m chuckling a bit because it reminds me very much of a piece I have sitting in my sandbox. Actually starts quite similarly. My only nit…your narrator’s voice sounds well-educated and probably mid- to upper-class. If that’s your intent, all well and good. But something about him doesn’t make me think in those terms. If he were higher class, I’d imagine he’d have a horse, but he’s on foot. Also, he came from a village. I don’t think of villagers as being the most sophisticated of folks.

    1. Interesting! This is why feedback from others is so valuable! I wouldn’t have noticed such a thing myself, but now I’ll definitely be looking for ways to improve it. Thank you!!

  3. Very slow to start, but the end entices…. The voice feels a bit odd; Kathi says that villagers aren’t the most sophisticated of folks, but they do tend to be very attentive. They aren’t foolish; they tend to be incredibly cautious outside their comfort zones.

    That said, the detail helps bring the world alive.

  4. I found the first couple of paragraphs confusing. At first, the pov doesn’t seem to know what to make of the riders, but then he decides to face them, for no logical reason I could discern. (Why would he think they might share a meal? If that’s common in this culture, why would he be suspicious in the first place?)

    I liked the exchange between the pov and the riders, but I didn’t have enough info about him or them to know what it might mean.

    I think you still need to either get across what’s at stake in this tale or make the pov character amazingly interesting and/or his motive compelling for it to be an effective beginning.

    Don’t want to be the party pooper, but for my own part, I would much rather have constructive feedback, and it seemed that was what you were asking for. Good luck with the new project!

    1. You’re not a party pooper at all! Yes, definitely, I much prefer constructive feedback, definitely. I like what you’ve said here – it’s definitely given me some ideas to chew over. Thank you so much!!

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