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A chain, a cradle and a heart (Revised #8)

Young adult Fantasy

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#1 Aneta

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:09 PM

I've started working on my new young adult novel. I really wonder if the opening lines are engaging.

Here it is...

 

 

Luka had been hiding behind a huge stalactite for, he looked at his phone, about two hours and a half. He was now squatting next to a mineral-built statue that looked fairly like David Jones’s tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean. And the moisty gloss over the statue made the resemblances even more vivid. Whenever he touched them, he drew away shivering disgusted.

 

In general, every stalactite and stalagmite resembled something else down here, in the cave, especially under the meek, mysterious lights that shifted from one rainbow color to another. For example, a face of hornless Hellboy, flushing red with light, was staring from opposite. A beardy dwarf-face was looking over from next to him.

 

At the sound of two couples of feet, he shrank into his hiding place so that his left arm pressed against the tentacles. This time, it didn’t bother him. The local ranger with a guide, a rather stout girl with wavy dark fair hair carelessly stacked up over her head, were pacing quickly. It was the same guide that had welcomed him a couple of hours ago with a standard phrase, ‘You are about to enter the Prometheus Cave. The humidity in the cave is 85% and the temperature 14 degrees Celsius all year round.’

 

They passed chatting by the stalactite he was hiding behind. It was the final check before the cave was closed for the night. Luka still had time to reveal his whereabouts and cry for help. He didn’t though.



#2 ambmae

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 03:27 PM

Luka had been hiding behind a huge stalactite for, he looked at his phone, about two hours and a half. He was now squatting next to a mineral-built statue that looked fairly like David Jones’s tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean. And the moisty gloss over the statue made the resemblances even more vivid. Whenever he touched them, he drew away shivering I would add a comma here disgusted.

 

In general, every stalactite and stalagmite resembled something else down here, in the cave, especially under the meek how can a light be meek?, mysterious lights that shifted from one rainbow color to another. For example, a face of hornless Hellboy, flushing red with light, was staring from opposite him? Opposite what? This is an intriguing idea, I'm just not sure I'm picturing it correctly Are the faces reflections of the light? Or are they revealed in the stalactites themselves? Are we describing normal stalactites that can easily be construed by the human brain into dark creatures?. A beardy dwarf-face was looking over from next to him.

 

At the sound of two couples of feet This would be a great opportunity for showing rather than telling, show me what the feet sound like, did they echo? Did they drag? Did they make a pat pat sound? How can you tell from the sound that it's exactly two couples of feet?, he shrank into his hiding place so that his left arm pressed against the tentacles. This time, it didn’t bother him. The local ranger with a guide, a rather stout girl with wavy dark fair this has three adjectives in a row and two of them are contradictory, is it dark or fair? Is there a way to change this sentence so you either eliminate or at least break up the adjectives? hair carelessly stacked up over her head, were pacing quickly. It was the same guide that had welcomed him a couple of hours ago with a standard phrase, 'You are about to enter the Prometheus Cave. The humidity in the cave is 85% and the temperature 14 degrees Celsius all year round.’ I love that you show us that he has heard this phrase a million times, even though we still don't know much about what's going on.

 

They passed chatting this sounds strange to me, it reads as if chatting is someone's name by the stalactite he was hiding behind. It was the final check before the cave was closed for the night. Luka still had time to reveal his whereabouts and cry for help. He didn’t though.

 

I know there's a lot of red, but I really think this is a fun way to start a novel. Hiding in a dangerous cave, for who knows what reason. Good luck!



#3 Aneta

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 11:50 PM

ambmae, thanks a lot.



#4 kevinmont

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 10:19 PM

I'm glad that you used the correct possessive for  "David Jones's tentacles." It bugs me when writers would say, "David Jones' tentacles." That's why my advice has always been, "Never have a character whose name ends in "s." Of course, sometimes you can't help it, as in this case. Nice job on the content. I understood the meaning of the word, "meek."



#5 Aneta

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 05:40 AM

Kevinmont, thanks for your encouraging post.



#6 BadgerFox

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 02:10 AM

I've started working on my new young adult novel. I really wonder if the opening lines are engaging.

Here it is...

 

 

Luka had been hiding behind a huge stalactite for (he looked at his phone) try brackets or italics, it can help the flow of this sentence about two and a half hours hours and a half. He was now squatting next to a mineral-built statue that looked fairly like Davyid Jones’s tentacles from the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' [it's Davy Jones, not David Jones. The PoTC wiki spells it out here: http://pirates.wikia...wiki/Davy_Jones ][italicise or put in inverted commas the title of a film or book, so it doesn't get jumbled up with the surrounding text. That way, even people who haven't read read or seen the book you're talking about will still understand you mean A book or film] . And the moisty ['moisty' isn't a word. That's ok, it's fine to invent words, but it's generally best not to do it a) in the first paragraph (give a reader time to orient themselves to who the character is, when and where first!) or b) in places that make it look like you've done it accidentally. A reader will have trouble trusting you if you don't seem to know the difference between real words and invented ones, because it can mistakenly signify that you don't know much about books in general. When you invent descriptive words, use your judgement to do it in a passage of description that's pretty slow-paced and poetic, and maybe mention several invented ones in the same passage. Obviously, if you're describing a fictional object, like an Alethiometre or a Pensieve, the rules are different]. gloss over the statue made the resemblances even more vivid. Whenever he touched them, he drew away shivering, [comma here] disgusted. [Two and a half hours is a very long time to squat on a hard stone surface. I'm impressed. I want to read on to find out what major thing can be motivating him to sit for THAT long in such an uncomfy place. This Luka character has BUNS OF STEEL! :) ]

 

In general, every stalactite and stalagmite resembled something else down here, in the cave, especially under the meek [how can a light be meek? Is there another adjective that would suit better, like 'weak', 'faint' or 'feeble'?] , mysterious lights that shifted from one rainbow color to another. For example, a face of hornless Hellboy, flushing red with light, was staring from opposite. A beardy dwarf-face was looking over from next to him.

 

At the sound of two couples pairs of feet, he shrank into his hiding place so that his left arm pressed against the tentacles. This time, it didn’t bother him. The local ranger with a guide, a rather stout girl with wavy dark fair [is it dark or fair? It's hard for it to be both. If you mean a colour that's midway between blonde and dark brown, use a more specific colour like 'ash blonde' or 'mousy' to avoid using two contradictory words that cancel each other out] hair carelessly stacked up over her head, were pacing quickly [any brief description of what the ranger looked like? It's not essential but if it's important enough to mention the guide's hair colour and that she wasn't skinny, it reads as more natural to do it to the ranger too. Is the ranger a man? Is he fat or thin? What colour is his hair? Do we even need to know? If not, give neither of them much physical description. It's a matter of personal taste, but it comes off as a bit anti-woman to bring up a female character's physical appearance before you mention anything about a male one's appearance or mention any other distinguishing features about her. If Luka works in a hairdressing and Weight Watchers salon, and habitually notices every woman's hair colour and fat proportions because of his job, fine. Otherwise, a lot of today's readers will prefer it if you don't pick out visual things about female characters without good reason for it.]. It was the same guide that had welcomed him a couple of hours ago with a standard phrase, ‘You are about to enter the Prometheus Cave. The humidity in the cave is 85% and the temperature 14 degrees Celsius all year round.’

 

They passed chatting by the stalactite he was hiding behind, chatting. It was the final check before the cave was closed for the night. Luka still had time to reveal his whereabouts and cry for help. He didn’t, [comma]though.

 

Please don't be put off by my lengthy comments, I just over-explain things! :) It's good and I think it's a genuinely intriguing situation to put a character in to start off with. A reader wonders why he's hiding in this cave and what he's going to do when they lock him in for the night! :) Good job; mostly just cosmetic changes and re-phrasing needed.


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First 250 words of my AU novel: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/37913-jill-the-lass-alternative-history/


#7 Aneta

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 05:16 AM

Thanks a lot, Badgerfox. I don't mind any advice that can help the writing and really, thanks for your time to explain things so down to the core. But I have a question. Before using this 'moisty' word, I really checked it in the dictionary  https://en.oxforddic...finition/moisty . And it fit the situation so well, that I decided to leave it like that. Is it okay to use an archaic word in books? I'd like to hear an opinion about that.

And the next thing is, that I didn't describe the guide and skipped the ranger's appearance just because she's female. Luka had already met hear before, followed her into the cave and heard her talk about it. Right now, I'm thinking leaving it the way it is.



#8 Aneta

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 05:26 AM

Here, I've made some changes. That's what my opening lines look like now:

 

 

Luka had been hiding behind a huge stalactite for (he looked at his phone) about two and a half hours. He was now squatting next to a mineral-built statue that looked fairly like Davy Jones’s tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean. And the moisty gloss over the statue made the resemblances even more vivid. Whenever he touched them, he drew away, shivering disgusted.

 

In general, every stalactite and stalagmite resembled something else down here, especially under the dim, mysterious lights that shifted from one rainbow color to another. For example, a face of hornless Hellboy, flushing red with light, was staring from the wall of stalactites on the other side of the cave-path. A beardy dwarf-face was looking over from next to him.

 

At muffled tapping on the damp cement path of the cave, he shrank into his hiding place so that his left arm pressed against the tentacles. This time, it didn’t bother him. Quiet chatter echoed among the many shapes of the cave. A local ranger with a guide, a rather stout girl with wavy, fair hair carelessly stacked up over her head, were pacing quickly. It was the same guide that had welcomed him a couple of hours ago with a standard phrase, ‘You are about to enter the Prometheus Cave. The humidity in the cave is 85% and the temperature 14 degrees Celsius all year round.’

 

They passed by the stalactite he was hiding behind, chatting. It was the final check before the cave was closed for the night. Luka still had time to reveal his whereabouts and cry for help. He didn’t, though.



#9 BadgerFox

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 05:55 AM

Thanks a lot, Badgerfox. I don't mind any advice that can help the writing and really, thanks for your time to explain things so down to the core. But I have a question. Before using this 'moisty' word, I really checked it in the dictionary  https://en.oxforddic...finition/moisty . And it fit the situation so well, that I decided to leave it like that. Is it okay to use an archaic word in books? I'd like to hear an opinion about that.

And the next thing is, that I didn't describe the guide and skipped the ranger's appearance just because she's female. Luka had already met hear before, followed her into the cave and heard her talk about it. Right now, I'm thinking leaving it the way it is.

 

Sure, and that's a good question. Maybe use archaic language if your character is historical, or has a reason to study old words? It doesn't come up as an actual word on Dictionary.com or in my giant Collins paper dictionary here, suggesting it's REALLY archaic and out-of-use. It sounds Georgian or Tudor. So if you were writing a historical novel set in 1657, you could probably have a character's dialogue use something like that, or if you had a modern-day character who was a really eccentric person or a professor of old language, and you were writing it in first-person from their point of view, you could make them use weird old words as a deliberate character trait. :) That could be fun. There are some awesome books with characters who use their own made-up mishmash of old or foreign language mixed with English, like A Clockwork Orange (which I think is c.1950's Russian slang mixed with English).


Spare a shiny scrap of feedback for newbie?

First 250 words of my AU novel: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/37913-jill-the-lass-alternative-history/


#10 kevinmont

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:54 PM

I think that's a little TOO subtle for archaic usage, "moistly" vs just "moist." I think the reader would spot it as an error.







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