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Hook for TAILING SHADOWS (epic fantasy) I will return all critiques


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#1 Sreid

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 05:43 PM

When wolves bite Stamm, ripping his sheep and younger brother to gory messes, his hopes for a better life die. With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the limping pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin.



#2 JoQwerty

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 01:56 AM

Neither of these sentences say what you think they do.

 

When wolves bite Stamm, ripping his sheep and younger brother to gory messes, his hopes for a better life die.

 

This sentence implies that by biting Stamm the wolves are ripping his sheep and younger brother to "gory messes". Is that what you wanted to say or did you want to say:

 

When wolves bite Stamm and rip his sheep and his younger brother to gory messes, his hopes for a better life die.

 

This sentence still has problems because a "bite" implies no serious damage has been done. (I have been bitten by dogs several times leaving no more than a flesh wound.) Contrast that with the "ripping" of Stamm's brother. It does not make sense that wolves attack and one person is bitten (nothing serious) and the other is ripped to a gory mess. (Using the phrase "gory mess" tells the reader this is going to be a splatter novel. Is that what you want?)

 

 

With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the limping pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin.

 

This sentence says the "limping pack leader" is ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin, whereas you probably want to say that the young shepherd is ignorant of the monster.



#3 Sreid

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 06:30 PM

Thanks JoQwerty.

 

I like your change to the first sentence, and I do mean to imply that, while the wolves only bite Stamm, they kill the sheep as well as his younger brother. I don't, however, want it to sound like a splatter novel. What I'm trying to say is that they ripped them to shreds, but that is so cliché it almost lacks meaning now, so I'm trying to find another way to say just that.

 

About the second sentence, I don't see the problem. Any way I look at it, I read it as meaning the young shepherd swears to flay the wolf, of which the young shepherd is also ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin. If I'd written "...ignorant of the monster lurking under its own skin" then you'd be right, but that's not what I wrote.

 

How does this look?

 
When wolves bite Stamm, and rip his sheep and younger brother to gory ribbons, his hope for a better life dies. With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin.


#4 Niambi

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 01:36 AM

Your second sentence still has the same problem. The last phrase still applies to the previous subject: "the pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under his skin."

So, if you do use this version, you'd have to write: With nothing left, the young shepherd, swears to flay the pack leader, but Stamm is ignorant of the monster lurking under the wolf's skin.

It becomes a bit of a long, wordy, clunky sentence, because you're trying to dump too much information into a tiny space.

I'd start by trying to get everything down to one sentence. Just the bare plot and no details about sheep or gory messes or ribbons.

"Stamm, bitting by a vicious wolf pack leader, swears to flay the beast after it murders his younger brother."

#5 Sreid

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 06:38 AM

Thank you, Niambi, for your viewpoint.

 

I agree that your single sentence concept does fit the bill as a hook, but it leaves out the aspect of the wolf being more than just a wolf, and the fact that Stamm is unaware of that. Both of those things are vital to my story and query, so I want to include them right from the beginning, but when I put them all into one sentence I feel it becomes unwieldy.

 

When the shepherd, Stamm, gets bitten by the wolf pack leader that killed his brother, he swears to flay the beast, unaware of the monster lurking under its skin.

 

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I still feel putting it into two sentences makes it follow better.

 

When wolves bite Stamm, and rip his sheep and younger brother to gory ribbons, his hope for a better life dies. With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin.

 

Consider for a moment the following sentences:

 

With no hope left, the young blacksmith swears to destroy the forge, unaware of the demon trapped within its stones.

 

and

 

In hopeless desperation, the the king decides to kill his childless queen, ignorant of the son growing in her womb.

 

In these two sentences, it is clear that the blacksmith is unaware, not the forge, and that the king is ignorant, not his queen. Structurally, these sentences are identical to the one in my hook. Therefore, when I say "With nothing left, the young shepherd swears to flay the pack leader, ignorant of the monster lurking under its skin," it is also clear that the shepherd is ignorant, not the wolf.

 

I could be wrong, but I wonder if you two haven't fallen into the trap of over-analysis, and then following the power of suggestion.

 

I've doubtless done the same thing when an over-analyser once suggested to me that the word "that" is an unnecessary filler that should almost always be weeded out. I used "that" three times in the previous sentence, and at least the second two are necessary, while the first is invisible until pointed out, and helps the sentence flow smoother. Apart from the fact that I've repeated the word three times, none of them are weeds, but once I've got the idea in my head that a word is unnecessary, it's hard to see it any other way. I'll bet you saw both "that"s in the previous sentence. I also used "that" three times in the previous paragraph, but all of them slipped by without you noticing, because it was before I suggested they were weeds.



#6 Sreid

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 02:10 PM

Ooops! I scared everyone off with that rant.



#7 Niambi

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 11:59 AM

Not at all and I feel the same way about "that" and other weed words. Only if they are necessary will I use them.

"Which bike?" he asked.
"That one," she told him.

And so forth.

As for the hook the one you revised does work, even with two sentences, since you placed the phrases in the proper order.
As for the blacksmith example, it's implied the stones don't refer to the blacksmith, but the same principle would apply. The previous phrase would usually suggest it's the blacksmith's stones. It's clear and allowable since readers will assume it's the forge. The same would go for the wife and her womb, which is done correctly.

All of this is moot however, since I'm reading your book again and you don't have that problem. You have "it's" skin instead of "his skin." I thought you had "his skin"

Sorry about that.

There goes THAT word again!




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