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First 250 WHISPERS OF THE BURNING WIND


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#1 Deeba

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 05:47 AM

Completely rewrote first chapter!! Check out post 6 for updated 250!!

 

Started a brand spanking new story the other day. Thought to include the first 250 I dreamed up. I've been less active because I haven't had any new material to work on, but now I do! Totally new experience, trying my hand at poetry considering it is important to the plot of the book. SO, would love suggestions on how to spice it up.

 

***************************

 

Naked sight unseen

Lurks among the in-between

Of dying day

And prevailing night.

Those who believe, beware:

 

We are coming.

 

Chapter One

 

The whispers were worst at dying day, when sun bled furiously into sky.

 

I brought my palm close to shield my eyes from the ruthless onslaught of light. It seemed fiery, intense--as if some unparalleled force caused enough disturbance to shake even the mighty star that lit our world.

 

Whatever the disturbance, I was not curious to find it.

 

Turning against the glare, my surroundings came to focus. A breeze danced about my feet, coaxing me deeper into the courtyard. I gripped my necklace--father's golden ring--for courage. Directly ahead was an impossibly tall arch that seemed to bruise the deep maroon sky. I craned my neck in an effort to see beyond the intricate structure. It would take a minute--maybe two--to climb to the top. My fingertips traced the delicate designs embedded in the grandiose stone, searching for foot holds. I drew my fingers back and frowned. The stone was hot.

 

What is this place?

 

The pathway bowed to another breathtaking courtyard, filled with winding vines of ivy snaking skyward on granite pillars. Within the center of the courtyard sat a fountain. My feet crunched on pebbles as the breeze pushed me closer. The air thickened, growing hotter with each step. Water would be nice right about now.

 

I grinned at the idea of stomping through the fountain before scaling a pillar. Until a breeze shifted the air and I noticed something peculiar. The water was boiling. 


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#2 joeday

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 08:38 AM

The whispers were worst at dying day, when sun bled furiously into sky. Great first sentence.

 

I brought my palm close to shield my eyes from the ruthless onslaught of light. It seemed fiery, intense—as if some unparalleled force caused enough disturbance to shake even the mighty star that lit our world. Even greater second paragraph.

 

Whatever the disturbance, I was not curious to find it.

 

Turning against the glare, my surroundings came to focus. A breeze danced about my feet, coaxing me deeper into the courtyard. I gripped my necklace—father's golden ring—for courage. Directly ahead was an impossibly tall arch that seemed to bruise the deep maroon sky. I craned my neck in an effort to see beyond the intricate structure. It would take a minute—maybe two—to climb to the top. My fingertips traced the delicate designs embedded in the grandiose stone, searching for foot holds. I drew my fingers back and frowned. The stone was hot. This paragraph is where you’ll start losing your reader. It reads like a dream. Nobody likes a heroine waking from a dream on the first page of a novel. Hopefully she wakes up in some kind of new dimension or world, not in bed.

 

What is this place? This reinforces the idea that it may be a dream.

 

The pathway bowed to another breathtaking courtyard, filled with winding vines of ivy snaking skyward on granite pillars. Within the center of the courtyard sat a fountain. My feet crunched on pebbles as the breeze pushed me closer. The air thickened, growing hotter with each step. Water would be nice right about now.

 

I grinned at the idea of stomping through the fountain before scaling a pillar. Until a breeze shifted the air and I noticed something peculiar. The water was boiling.

 

This is truly beautiful writing, but is it a dream? So far it’s happening in a vacuum. There is a courtyard, but where is it? The reader needs to feel grounded. Assuming this isn’t a dream, how did she come upon this idyllic hell? (A fountain of boiling water makes it a hellish place.) If it is a dream, you may as well scratch the whole thing.



#3 Deeba

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 01:00 PM

Thanks joeday. So, it's not a dream! It's a real place (part of the fantastical element of the story). She is stuck in the in-between, thus making it hazy (cause she's Human). My story heavily focuses on jinns. And she is in a fire jinn stronghold, which is why it's so hot! 

 

But, ofcourse, I'm struggling finding grounding for the reader because she also has no idea where she is or how she got there. Hmmm... thinking of adding more confusing thoughts (like wondering how she got here from the last place she remembers being). 


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#4 DJ McP

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 02:10 PM

Naked sight unseen

Lurks among the in-between

Of dying day

And prevailing night.

Those who believe, beware:

 

We are coming.intriguing lines--don't know if prevailing is the right word you want--breaks up the rhythm a bit

 

Chapter One

 

The whispers were worst at dying day, when sun bled furiously into sky. Great opening sentence!

 

I brought my palm close to shield my eyes from the ruthless onslaught of light. It seemed everything else in this paragraph is such strong imagery--seemed is a bit of a weak word--make it more active fiery, intense--as if some unparalleled force caused enough disturbance to shake even the mighty star that lit our world.

 

Whatever the disturbance, I was not curious to find it.​ maybe give a hint as to mc's indifference--why such a blaise response to a strong disturbance

 

Turning against the glare, my surroundings came to focus. A breeze danced about my feet, coaxing me deeper into the courtyard. I gripped my necklace--father's golden ring--for courage. Directly ahead was an impossibly tall arch that seemed to bruise the deep maroon sky. I craned my neck in an effort to see beyond the intricate structure. It would take a minute--maybe two--to climb to the top. My fingertips traced the delicate designs embedded in the grandiose stone, searching for foot holds. I drew my fingers back and frowned. The stone was hot. I'm wondering why the mc's first response is to want to climb arch? is it away of escape--also if so tall, why such a short time to climb it?

 

What is this place?

 

The pathway bowed to another breathtaking courtyard, filled with winding vines of ivy snaking skyward on granite pillars. Within the center of the courtyard sat a fountain. My feet crunched on pebbles as the breeze pushed me closer. The air thickened, growing hotter with each step. Water would be nice right about now.

 

I grinned at the idea of stomping through the fountain before scaling a pillar. Until a breeze shifted the air and I noticed something peculiar. The water was boiling. ​very intriguing ending. I agree with the other reviewer that the last two paragraph are more dreamy (not a dream I'm pretty sure). Maybe draw things back to disturbance at bigger and also tie dreaminess into the indifference. Again tough to say off the first 250. It's a strong start. Maybe play up the Mc's indifference to the intensity of the surroundings s a way of heightening the reader's interest.

 

Very beautifully written!

 

If you would like to take a look at my 250 here is a link Worm Blood Pudding and Swashbuckling Albert Einstein



#5 Caroline2016

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 06:28 PM

Very beautiful language. I'm not sure about how the MC is feeling, though...for someone who's not sure where she is, she's pretty comfortable in this strange environment, even wanting to stomp through a fountain & climb a pillar, which makes her sound child-like & playful. Yet she mentions she grips her father's ring for courage, indicating she's afraid.

#6 Deeba

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 03:40 PM

New 250 for opening chapter to WBW! Let me know what you think! :)

 

**************************************************************************************************

 

My father taught me to be truly free, we must confront the things that scare us.

I kept this in mind when my grip strength failed and I plummeted fifty feet to the ground, my rope slipping from my clips the farther I fell. I braced myself for impact when the last clip held, suspending me two feet above the ground of Wissahickon Park. The tips of my hair skimmed the dirt.

Gripping my rope with one hand, I unbuckled myself from my harness. I would have kissed the dirt sodden road if I didn't have an audience hurdling full speed towards me.

And by audience, I meant my father.

His eyes widened as he clasped me into his embrace, his body quaking.

"Farrah jan," he gasped, "my dear, are you hurt?" He spun me round, surveying quickly and efficiently for signs of distress. I set a brave face and shook him away.

"I'm fine. It's not like I haven't fallen before," I smoothed my ponytail to cloak my trembling fingers. "Really, I've had worse."

"This is why I told you to wait," he ignored my protests and loosened my harness around my hips. "You aren't read to lead climb by yourself."

I bristled. "Of course I can. I practice in the gym all the time—"

"You clipped in backwards." He pointed at my clips. "That's why the rope slipped when you fell."

My face paled. "But in the gym—"

"You're not in the gym," he countered. "And we're done for today."


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#7 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 05:31 PM

New 250 for opening chapter to WBW! Let me know what you think! :)

 

**************************************************************************************************

 

Is this Young Adult?

 

My father taught me early on in life that to be truly free, we must confront the things that scare(terrify) us.

I kept this in mind when my grip strength failed and I plummeted fifty feet to the ground, my rope slipping from my clips the farther I fell. I braced myself for impact when the last clip held sturdy, suspending me my thin body two feet above the rocky ground of Wissahickon Park. The tips of my hair skimmed the dirt.

 

Gripping my rope with one hand, I unbuckled myself from my harness. I would have kissed the dirt sodden road if I didn't have an audience hurdling full speed towards me.

 

 

And by audience, I meant my father.

His eyes widened as he clasped me into his embrace, his body quaking.


My father ran over and held me. "Farrah jan," he gasped, "my dear, are you hurt?" He spun me round, surveying quickly and efficiently for signs of distress. I would have kissed the sodden dirt road if I could. Instead, I set a brave face and shook him away.

"I'm fine. It's not like I haven't fallen before." 

 

"My dear, you could have died. I want you to be brave, not suicidal."

 

I smoothed my ponytail to cloak my trembling fingers. "Really, I've had worse." "I know dad. But like I said, I'm fine. I've fell before."

"This is why I told you to wait," he said. ignored my protests and loosened my harness around my hips. "You aren't ready to lead climb by yourself."

I bristled. I unbuckled the harness. "Of course I can. I practice in the gym all the time—" 
(No need for an "em dash" here. There's no break of thought. Just use period. Don't over use the em dash. It's a special tool. 

"You clipped in backwards." He pointed at my clips. "That's why the rope slipped when you fell."

My face paled. "But in the gym—"

"You're not in the gym," he countered. "And we're done for today."

 

Hey Deebs! Great Job! Looks like a cool new story...  I eliminated some stuff that slowed down the pacing. Also try to avoid on-the-nose writing. Let your readers imagine too. The first chapter of a novel is a challenge. You must add in only what is needed but not too little. Enough info for the reader while keeping the story moving. It's good that we know your character's motives right off the bat and we can assume she will be doing some more crazy ass shit at the expense of her father's probably regretful advice. However, I think we are missing where this novel is heading and what it is truly about. I think that should be hinted at on the first page of a commercial novel. Whether subliminally in the text or in the last line, but you also have the rest of chapter 1 to let us know... so... Keep working hard! :)

 

Oh, and also I believe your inciting incident should lead into the plot of the story and perhaps yours will on following pages.... :)

 

  

Check out my latest query - http://agentquerycon...ision/?p=324462

 

New 250 for opening chapter to WBW! Let me know what you think! :)

 

 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#8 cnrage

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 05:34 PM

Some of my edits mirror Preston's above.

 

New 250 for opening chapter to WBW! Let me know what you think! :)

 

**************************************************************************************************

 

My father taught me to be truly free, we must confront the things that scare us.

I kept this in mind when my grip strength failed and I plummeted fifty feet to the ground, my rope slipping from my clips the farther I fell Any way to reword this sentence or break it up? When I read the first section, I thought your character fell straight to the ground, but then go on to see that it isn't a free fall because the character is rapelling. I braced myself for impact, when but the last clip held, suspending me two feet above the ground of Wissahickon Park. The tips of my hair skimmed the dirt. 

Gripping my rope with one hand, I unbuckled myself from my harness. I would have kissed the dirt sodden road if I didn't have an audience hurdling full speed towards me.

And by audience, I meant my father. 

His eyes widened as he clasped me into his embrace, his body quaking.
 
Agree with Preston that these three lines aren't really needed. 

My father rushed forward. "Farrah jan," he gasped, "my dear, are you hurt?" He spun me round, surveying quickly and efficiently for signs of distress. I set a brave face and shook him away. You've packed quite a few action tags here and throughout. I think the situation and your character's dialogue move things at the right (faster) pace and allow the reader to envision the situation rather than spelling it out for them. If you do action tags, I think brief is better and all in one statement vs breaking up sentences...i.e. My father rushed forward and spun me around. Another thought is you might want to consider scrubbing any action tags where you also have a speech attribute (i.e. you don't need "he gasped" here since you have the tag.)

"I'm fine. It's not like I haven't fallen before," I smoothed my ponytail to cloak my trembling fingers. "Really, I've had worse." No need to restate the character has fallen twice in the same sentence.

"This is why I told you to wait,(period here I believe)" He ignored my protests and loosened my harness around my hips. "You aren't read to lead climb by yourself." I agree with Preston you should strike the tag in the middle. I sometimes overuse tags, but when I take them out where I can, it really picks up the pace. If characters are doing something every sentence it can be a bit distracting.

I bristled. "Of course I can. I practice in the gym all the time—"

"You clipped in backwards." He pointed at my clips. "That's why the rope slipped when you fell." "Apparantly not enough to know you clipped in backwards." Don't need to have the dad say this is why you fell as it's indicated by the fact the character clipped in backward.

My face paled. "But in the gym—"

"You're not in the gym," he countered. "And we're done for today."

 

 

Thanks for the read. You have a nice style. In summary, I'm wondering if there is a way to draw a reader in a bit more effectively. From the first 250 words, I'm not sure what the protag's goal is or where the story is headed? There is some basic conflict between daughter and father, but not really enough to hook me. Is there a way to amp up the tension? Maybe the daughter went climbing without Dad and he followed her and is really really pissed off. Maybe, she has a history of rebelling against dad and this is the last straw? Something like that? I just need more to grab onto.

 

Hope this helps.






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