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 Unnamed book Prologue

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PostSubject: Unnamed book Prologue   Thu May 31, 2012 3:10 pm

I still need help for a title, but I figured I'd give you guys a preview of the book, like I did with my other one.

Quote :
Walls crashed, timber splintered and fire crackled, but all Henna could hear were the roars of the dragon that had destroyed everything she had ever loved.
The town was in flames. Smoke billowed upwards in a thick ethereal pillar rising into the sky. Why hadn’t anyone come?
A portion of ceiling crashed down, spewing fire all over the girl. She screamed as the pain of her burning flesh invaded all her senses. Tears ran, blackened by soot.
It was over. She knew it was. It had to be. The gods had left her. A flash of dark hair momentarily renewed her hope that her mother survived, but was simultaneously dashed and forgotten as she realized it was her own hair, cut off by the flames and now smoldering on the ground.
The last sound she thought she heard was the neighing of a horse in the distance. Then the pain of burning forced her consciousness to fade.

“Sir, I think we might be too late,” said one of the soldiers.
“As long as the dragon’s still here, we aren’t,” said Sir Garin, “We can kill it before it takes flight again.”
“Yes, sir!” said the soldier, reassuming his position among the others.
Sir Garin raised his lance, “Archers stand by, lances charge!”
The soldiers roared in affirmation and the charge began with Garin in the lead.
The cry of the soldiers drew the dragon’s attention from its meal of burned peasants. Its spikes rose on its back as it turned to face them. Flaring its wings, it roared, defending its meal with a show of intimidation.
But the Knight and his soldiers continued their charge. Sir Garin’s lance flew first, followed by a dozen of his soldiers’. The dragon’s hard scales shrugged off the attack, but it was angry now. Its maw opened, releasing a blast of angry flames. The soldiers’ horses reared, some losing their riders and charging off into the forest.
Picking himself up off the ground, Garin grabbed his shield from his back, successfully shielding himself from the flames. When the blast ended, Garin tossed the shield aside, shouting, “It’s used up its flames! Archers, loose arrows!”
A volley rained down upon the dragon, piercing its wings. It howled at the sky, allowing a lucky arrow to pierce one of its eyes. Garin reached behind him, “Squire!”
A young dark-haired lad ran up to him, holding another lance, “Here, Sir Garin!”
Garin took the lance and nodded in approval before turning back to the dragon. Holding out the spear, Garin advanced slowly, backed by the soldiers that still bore their spears.
Garin’s heart skipped a beat as he heard a scream come from one of the burning buildings. So someone was still alive. Already he saw some of his men rushing towards the voice. He sighed with relief and turned back to the dragon.
The partially blinded dragon failed to notice the threat until it was too late. Garin threw the lance with deadly precision, striking the dragon below its throat. The dragon writhed and slashed blindly for a minute before collapsing, releasing a last, weak roar and dying.
Not taking a second to bask in his victory, Garin immediately joined the men who had gone to search for the source of the voice. The men were clustered around a section of collapsed ceiling. A dark head of hair and an arm stuck out. A soldier pressed a cloth to it, putting out the flames that had been on it before. Garin launched into action immediately, “Lift the debris, men!”
The men obeyed his command dutifully, clearing enough space for the rest of her body to fit through. Garin reached under her arms and quickly pulled her out. Adjusting his grip, he cradled her and carried her outside, laying her down on an unburned patch of grass.
The men gathered around. “She’s just a child!” said one.
Garin brushed aside her hair, revealing horrible scarring where the fire had reached her, drawing a gasp from the men present. “She needs to be taken to a doctor immediately!” He picked her up once again and mounted his horse. He was on the road before his soldiers could even mount their own steeds.


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“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Thu May 31, 2012 8:11 pm

Apparently you already got critique, but whatever, I'm going to be a total jerk.
The biggest problem I have with... the whole thing, is a severe lack of adjectives and descriptions. My exact thought was "This would make a great picture book"
I just realized I wrote like 10 paragraphs, but they all add up to "I hate this because we know nothing." so I'll shorten it to that. I can't really yell at you more until you've gotten far enough to give us any character depth.

For now my thoughts are make the town look less like a blank page, and describe the characters better then stick figures.
Or tell me it's a picture book.
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Thu May 31, 2012 8:37 pm

Issues addressed in the chatbox. Here's chapter 1:

Quote :
Chirping birds… Through the fuzziness of awakening, the sound echoed into Henna’s awareness. She was alive.
The next sense she became aware of was touch. She was aware, dimly at first, but it became clearer as she awoke, of a burning sensation on her face, shoulder, chest, arm and back. She gritted her teeth as it became genuinely painful.
She tried to open her eyes, only to find her left one refused to obey. Her right was greeted by a wooden ceiling and stone walls. Blue tapestries hung on all sides, bearing the picture of a bull.
At first glance it looked like the inside of any other house, but the sheer cleanliness of the room was something she had never seen before. And the sheets- no, every piece of fabric in sight- flowed in the wind, smooth to the touch, unlike the cotton clothes, bedspread, cloth and sacks that she’d had back home.The room wasn’t particularly spacious, but it felt so much more so due to the lack of furniture.
She tried to sit up but was stopped by an intense jolt of pain through the already pained parts of her body. At the sound of her cry, a doctor walked in. Henna couldn’t make out his features through her tears, but he had a reassuring tone of voice. “I see you’re awake. I would tell you not to move, but it seems you’ve already tried…”
Henna opened her mouth to ask where she was, but was greeted by another, less acute feeling of pain. She winced.
“I’m sure you must be wondering what happened. Would you like me to fill you in? You can use your right hand to answer.”
Henna blinked away her tears enough to see herself. Her left arm and shoulder were completely covered in bandages. Her right side seemed alright, though, as the doctor said.
But did she want to know? She stared at her hand for a long moment, clenching her fist to let the doctor know that she was indeed able to move it. She had lost her entire home town and family, and was in unbearable pain. Now the gods had decided to let her alone live. She wished she was dead.
Alone…
The word made her wonder if there possibly might have been any survivors. She had to know. Slowly, she twisted her hand and raised her thumb. A yes.
The doctor sighed and was about to begin when the door opened. Henna’s eye was still too wet for her to see who it was.
“She’s awake?” It was a man’s voice.
“Yes,” answered the doctor, “I was about to tell her what happened.”
“Allow me,” said the man.
The doctor hesitated for a moment but eventually got up, “I’ll be outside if you need my services, my lord.”
Lord. So Henna was in the house of a noble.
The lord took a chair and sat down to her right. Her vision was beginning to clear up, but she closed her eyes. As a last attempt to defy the gods, she refused to see the man that they were allowing her to see now.
She was surprised to feel him take her hand. “Are you in a lot of pain?”
Henna bit her lip which made her left cheek sting. She squeezed his hand, hoping he would take it as a yes.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get there in time to save you from being burned. But you’re alive, and I slew the dragon that destroyed your home.”
So it was dead. Henna opened her mouth the tiniest bit, “Survivors?” Her already small voice came out as barely a half-choked whisper.
The noble’s sigh failed to raise her hopes, “I’m sorry… the only reason we found you on time was because you screamed. You’re the only one that made it out alive.”
Her tears began to flow again. She hated the gods. She hated the dragon. She even hated this man that was being kind to her. He was a lord! Probably the lord of the land her family lived on. He should have made it in time.
The lord continued, “You sustained burns on most of the left side of your upper body. Your face wasn’t affected as badly as the rest, but you’ll have the scars the rest of your life.”
That wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Not only was she alone, but she would be deformed. Ugly. She moaned and her crying renewed.
A soft hand caressed her hair. She swatted it away with her unburned hand and turned her head away from him, ignoring the pain of doing so, “L-leave me alone.” She was too angry to even realize she had struck a person of higher rank than her.
The noble removed his hand, but remained seated. Her voice was so soft that he hadn’t made out a word she had said, though her actions made her meaning clear. Henna decided to ignore his presence. She only wished she didn’t have to turn her head to the left to not see him. The whole left side of her face felt like it was on fire.
The noble spoke again, “If you need anything-”
“Please…” begged Henna, loudly enough to make it audible, “Go…”
He sighed and got up. The door closed and Henna turned her head over to the right side. At least for one day, she just wanted to be alone.

She spent several hours mentally revisiting every inch of her home. A village comprising of a handful of cottages around a well. On almost every side stretched fields where they grew potatoes, cabbages, carrots, sheep and cows. There was a forest, too, to the east.
She relived a typical day in her old life. Waking up at dawn, washing and eating breakfast. Then she would set to work with her mother cleaning the house, while her father went to get the plow horses ready.
Once the house was clean, Henna would go outside to wash the vegetables for lunch while her mother skinned and gutted a rabbit, or cut the fat off of a large piece of sheep or cow meat.
If her mother didn’t need help cooking, then Henna would have until lunch to entertain herself however she saw fit. She usually did so by playing with the hunting dogs’ puppies, or some of the other people her age. They would play fetch with the dogs, toss a ball back and forth while trying to keep it away from someone, pretend to be knights, and a number of other activities.
Once lunch was ready, everyone would head home to eat. Then Henna and some of the other village girls would go out into the forest to collect berries and roots, and if they were lucky enough to find some, mint leaves for tea.
Henna shed a tear for every person she crossed in her memories. Her mother, from whom she had inherited her thick, dark hair, her brown-haired father, from whom she had inherited his height, the muddy village kids, the burly farmers, the women, even the dogs. She would never see them again.

She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. Pain spread through her front, but she didn’t stop, only getting angrier and sadder. She clenched her fists and released all her pent up emotions, screaming into the pillow, beating the bed with her fists. The pain of thrashing only doubled her screams, not stopping her in the slightest.
Once spent, she lay there on her stomach. Her chest hurt more than her back had when she lay on it, but in this state of defiance, she remained unmoving. The gods, who had taken everything from her, offered her a means to be slightly more comfortable. But she refused it, hurting herself and fueling more anger.
She wanted to die.
Or did she, really? If she truly did want to die, she could just jump out the window and land on her head. It was as simple as that. Yet something inside her still wanted to cling to life.
By living, was she defying the gods or doing exactly what they wanted? Did they want her dead, or did they want her to suffer?
What did it matter? She was alive now, so why not go on?
With her anger subsiding, she turned onto her back. The action hurt, but she was more comfortable like this than on her stomach.
She sniffed and wiped the tears that had clung to her face. She thought she must look like a total mess. She let out a deep, hollow sigh. Her stomach growled. She probably hadn’t eaten anything in a whole day. Maybe longer. But she didn’t care. She just wanted to be alone for a while.
She stared out the window, letting her mind go blank.


_________________
Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:52 pm

Sevy wrote:
severe lack of adjectives and descriptions
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:58 pm

WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? Q_Q

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Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:16 am

I kinda wish I could see what you're seeing.
I'll put it this way...
Spoiler:
 
If you can honestly tell me "This is my vision", then I'll stop complaining.

Note: Prettier version further down.


Last edited by Sevy on Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:48 am

Sevy......

You have no imagination. ^^;


A French author once said: "The job of an author is not to tell, but to suggest."

You should never TELL the reader what they're supposed to be looking at, only SUGGEST it.

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Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:27 am

Draezeth wrote:
You should never TELL the reader what they're supposed to be looking at, only SUGGEST it.
Never?
Can you honestly tell me you've never had someones worked described to you?
As for the imagination thing, I'm going to give a cheapy answer of "Ok, then I'm brilliant, and this is abstract art!"
(Or I'm a terrible artist, but I'm pretending to have a point)
Spoiler:
 
Added labels, and the things you mentioned that I missed.
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:30 am

Maybe not NEVER, but it's best to just--

You're just doing this to give me a hard time now, aren't you? =_=

_________________
Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:55 am

If it makes you feel any better, over the last 5 days, I've probably walked about 150km (inohascar) to climb several radio towers so I can reset and repair every internet radio I work with, and all because our main tower got fried in a storm. I'm not pissed with you, I'm just pissed.
I'm not asking for "the door doesn't have a tiny roof", I'm asking for a vague interpretation of important characters.

I just realized I've slept for half an hour in the last 5 days, so yeah, I'm gonna go die now.
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:01 am

Haha "the door doesn't have a tiny roof over it" made me lol. Hard.

_________________
Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:39 am

Couldn't sleep, wanted to be more civil. Shit happened. I'll make it short.

I'd prefer a novel.
You'd rather write a story.
I really hate that.
Discussion end.
Someone else's opinion would be good to look into.
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:58 pm

Ok, I'm gonna be honest with you, Drae. If I picked this book up in a bookshop or a library I probably wouldn't buy/borrow it (I usually read the prologue or first chapter before I buy a book) as it is right now. While the idea seems like it could work I think we need a bit of build up before the dragon attack to get the reader somewhat attached to Henna and her parents thus making her parents' deaths and the destruction of the village that little more tragic in the reader's mind and giving us an emotional attachment to Garin for saving Henna.

In the first chapter I can understand how you're trying to fit in Sev's critique by making it more descriptive but it's kinda beige writing. For all the description in there it still feels fairly bland.

Please bear in mind that this is just my opinion and I am but one of the 7 billion people in the world =]

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:29 pm

Sevy: BORINGITSOSUCK
J: You could've made the dragon fight awesome
Aka: The first chapter's important, this could use more information

Drae, there's a pattern here.

I won't yell at you about adjectives, Sevy already did that, and you've already said you're trying to let us picture it ourselves. I leave it at "he's evil, but not wrong."

I guess I'll try to find some things then.
First off, how you're connecting your sentences.
"The word made her wonder if there possibly might have been any survivors. She had to know. Slowly, she twisted her hand and raised her thumb. A yes."
Those don't really mean anything on their own, and are really part of the previous sentence anyway... Frankly, the whole second half of this doesn't mean anything on it's own. You could put some of these 'paragraphs' together. This is mostly a "your language teacher wouldn't like it" thing, authors usually break rules like that anyway, so it's up to you.

My bigger thought is that the chapter seems short to me.
You might want to ask yourself if the next chapter is related to this one, or if some extra in-between scene could be added. This is still your work, and we don't have more yet, so I can't really be sure if you can or not. Even if you could, it's still up to you.
You could cheat a bit and use some filler words too...
"Her tears began to flow again. She hated the gods. She hated the dragon. She even hated this man that was being kind to her. He was a lord! Probably the lord of the land her family lived on. He should have made it in time."
You can throw in adverbs, that would make it longer, or you could replace the past tense combinations with... extended present tense?
I'll just throw in examples.
"Her tears began to flow again. She hated the gods. She hated the dragon. She even held hate against this man that was being so kind to her. He was a lord! Probably the lord of the land her family used to live on. He should have been able to make it in time."
I know you don't want to use too many words, but there are definitely some things you could play around with, should you want to.
If you're thinking what I'm thinking, these 'paragraphs' aren't taking up much more then a line or 2. You could add sentences, switch up thoughts, have at you.
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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:09 pm

Alright, thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'll do what I can.

_________________
Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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PostSubject: Re: Unnamed book Prologue   Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:03 am

Gonna go ahead and give you chapter 2 now.

Quote :
Henna awoke to find the noble sitting in a chair next to her bed, staring out the window.
She could just make out his short blond hair and a thick beard through the blur of grogginess. He was wearing high-quality blue clothes, too.
What business did he have caring for a girl with nothing left?
She blinked until his features became clearer. He wasn’t as old as she thought. Likely in his early thirties, although his beard made him look a little older. What surprised her, though, were the tears running down his cheeks. Was he crying for her?
She shifted and the noble looked at her. Realizing she was awake, he wiped his eyes, “Good morning.”
Henna chanced opening her mouth again. It stung, but she could speak, “F…food.” Her stomach felt like it was on the verge of caving in. Still feeling groggy, she closed her free eye.
“Of course! What would you… actually, wait here, I’ll find something.” He got up and headed to the door. She heard a quick whispered conversation and the man returned to her side. “I am Lord Garin of Rion, by the way. I owned the land you lived on before.”
That’s right. Garin of Rion. Henna remembered hearing his name before. Her parents had always spoken highly of him. They said he was the most generous noble in the kingdom.
Henna opened her mouth again, “Henna…”
“That’s a lovely name. Like the Henna flower. It suits you.”
Henna felt her face flush. She opened her eye again to look at him questioningly.
Garin understood her questioning gaze and smiled, “You are very pretty. I’m sure your parents must have told you that many times.”
Henna smiled weakly, but her tears began to flow once more. They had said that before. Many times. Her parents that she would never see again… She could still see their faces, feel her mother’s arms around her and smell her father’s sweat from a day in the fields.
She hiccupped as the thought of her parents brought out more and more tears. She let out a low moan as she mourned the deaths of every person she had ever known once again.
Lord Garin placed his hand on her head again, “I know it must be hard. Cry all you want.”
She accepted his invitation and her moan grew into a sob. He placed a hand on her head and began to stroke her hair. It was something her mother had done when she was little. She still did it every once in a while, when Henna was crying, like she was now. It was comforting and saddening at the same time.
At length, she cried herself out and simply stared emptily at the ceiling. Lord Garin had remained by her side the entire time and now sat holding her hand. She wasn’t sure how she felt. She was angry that he hadn’t been able to save more people, but he was being so kind that she couldn’t help but feel his presence comforting.
The door opened and two servants stepped in with two large trays of food. Henna’s eye grew wide when she saw what they had brought. One was piled with meats, breads, vegetables and fruits, some of which she had never seen before, and the other was covered in pastries, cakes and tarts the likes of which she had only ever imagined.
“M… my lord,” she said weakly.
Lord Garin smiled, “Please, call me Sir Garin. I prefer being referred to as a knight, rather than a lord. Now,” he motioned to the platters, “Eat all you like!”

Henna had never felt so full in her entire life, nor had she ever tasted anything so amazing. Once she had finished eating, she sat back on the additional pillows she had been given and resumed staring at the ceiling, just remembering what it had tasted like. Sir Garin smiled, happy that he had succeeded in taking her mind off of her suffering.
Eventually Henna looked back to him. She asked, moving her lips as little as possible, “When will I be able… to get up?”
Sir Garin frowned at that, “I’m afraid I am not the one to ask that.” He turned towards the door, “Doctor!”
The doctor soon entered, “Yes, my lord?”
“Our guest wishes to know when she will be able to leave her bed.”
The doctor considered it for a moment, “That depends. If you do not mind the pain of having your arm moved into a more suitable position at the moment, you could get up as early as tomorrow, provided you are extra careful. If you wish to avoid pain, however, you may have to wait as much as two weeks.”
Henna almost put her hand on her left arm out of habit, but stopped herself, “I… I see.” She gave the doctor a weak smile, “Thank you…”
The doctor bowed deeply, “It is my duty to help the sick and injured.”
Remembering something, Henna gingerly touched the cloth covering the left side of her face, “When…” Her voice trailed off.
The doctor understood her meaning, “Your face is better off than the rest of your burns. We will remove those bandages in around four days, although we will have to take them off to replace them with clean ones every day.
Henna bit her lip, “Will it… hurt?” She gave the doctor a look that made Sir Garin’s heart melt.
“I… I’m afraid it will sting.”
Henna turned to Sir Garin as he touched her hand. “I’ll hold your hand so you can squeeze it if you need,” he offered with a fatherly smile.
Henna smiled, overwhelmed by his kindness. Her vision blurred as her tears threatened to flow once again, “Th-thank you… Sir Garin.”
Done answering Henna’s questions, the doctor left. Quiet took the room again as Henna closed her eyes. Despite the pain, she began to drift into sleep once more.
This was going to be a long week. But perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

_________________
Quote :
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

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Unnamed book Prologue
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